Friday, May 29, 2015

Game Wrap 5/29/2015: Giants 4 Braves 1

Buster Posey had a big night at the plate and Tim Hudson became the latest Giants pitcher to step up and get the best of a pitching duel.  Key Lines:

Joe Panik- 1 for 3, BB, SB(2).  BA= .297.  Panik scored ahead of Posey's HR in the first inning then again ahead of Buster's ground rule double in the 8'th inning to tack on one of two insurance runs.

Buster Posey- 2 for 4, 2B, HR(8).  BA= .301.  For awhile it looked like Buster's 2-run dinger in the first inning might be the only scoring in the game.   He added a 3'rd RBI in the 8'th for an insurance run that was critical to winning the game.

Brandon Crawford- 2 for 4, SB(13).  BA= .301.  I've said it before, Crawford looks like he's swinging a tennis racket up there and serving the ball just about wherever he wants.

Tim Hudson- 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K's, GO/AO= 13/2.  ERA= 4.62.  Huddy had the sinker working tonight.  With the way the Giants infielders are playing, that is a recipe for success.

Hunter Strickland- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Strickland was lights out again.  Tough to see him going down after the 4'th of June or whenever the Giants have their next day off.

Santiago Casilla- 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K, Save(15).  ERA= 1.66.  Casilla gave up a bomb to dead CF by Freddie Freeman and walked two other batters.  Good thing the Giants tacked on those 3 insurance runs in the 8'th inning!

The Win puts the Giants in first place in the NL West by 0.5 games over the Dodgers who lost to the Cardinals 3-0.  The Giants lead the Padres and D'Backs by 6.5 games and the Rockies by 8 games.  The Dodgers are 2 games ahead in the race for the first Wild Card playoff spot.

Tim Lincecum tries to extend the Giants current win streak to 6 games facing rookie Williams Perez, a sinker ball specialist tomorrow evening.

Scouting the 2015 Draft: New Mocks

A couple of big new mock drafts came out today with Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs doing his Mock Draft 2.0 and BA putting out their Mock Draft 4.0.  Jonathan Mayo of mlb.com has a new mock draft up too.  At the top of the draft, everybody seems to think Dansby Swanson is the dude for Arizona.  Kiley says there is at least a 50% chance Swanson is #1 overall.  He then says Houston will choose between HS SS Brendan Rodgers or LSU SS Alex Bregman.  BA says it will be Bregman.

Here are a few other nuggets of info from Kiley who seems to have very good inside sources:

Kyle Funkhouser's stock is dropping dramatically due to a sudden unexplained loss of velocity.  His agent, who Kiley lets you guess the identity of, won't release any medical info to teams on "principle".  Uh-huh!

There are several teams who will not draft any presently injured player.  While those teams have not been identified, the Giants are not believed to be in on any of those players.  Personally, I hope the Giants stay far away from injured players as the most reliable predictor of future injury is previous injury.

The Dodgers seem to be one organization believed to be willing to draft an injured player and everybody seems to think they are going to draft Brady Aiken.

Ian Happ's stock is not dropping and Kiley has both him and Benentendi coming off the board long before #18.

The draft is deepest in HS pitching so teams in the top half of the first round are looking at other positions thinking they will be able to take their HS pitcher later in the draft.  This is creating opportunity for a team like the Giants who kind of likes HS pitchers to grab a premium talent at #18.

Which brings us to the Giants:

Kiley says they are scouting Mike Nikorak heavily and in Kiley's scenario, Nikorak should be available at #18.  Enter another HS pitcher, Nolan Watson, out of Indiana who is said to have serious helium and who the Giants are believe to be in on.  Watson has serious helium.  The Giants may decide they like him better than Nikorak and believe Watson won't be there at #31 and just take him.  I've seen video of Watson and he looks very similar to Nikorak, so I'm going to call it a coin flip and trust the Giants.

The Giants have also been tied to multiple college pitchers including James Kaprielian of UCLA.  Mayo actually has them taking Kaprielian at #18.  Nothing wrong with Kaprielian, who I like a lot, but I just think there are several HS pitchers with more upside.

The Giants have also reportedly scouted HS hitters Nick Plummer, Cornelius Randolph and Tyler Stephenson.  They are also believed to be interested in LHP Justin Hooper who Kiley acknowledges has an enormous ceiling.  For his part, Hooper seems to be scaring off a lot of teams with contract demands and there is an emerging consensus that he will go to college at UCLA, but is he just trying to control where he is drafted?  I would think the Giants would be a team any young pitcher would want to sign with.

In summary, Kiley has the Giants taking Nikorak at #18 which I would be very down with.   BA has them taking Watson at #18 and Nick Plummer at #31 which would also be A-OK with me.  Mayo has them taking Kaprielian at #18 and Watson at #31 which would be OK too although maybe not quite as exciting as Watson or Nikorak plus Plummer.  Kiley seems to think Hooper will still be around at #31 and the Giants have $$$ to play with, so my dream scenario would be a 1-2 of Nikorak/Watson plus Hooper at #31.

On last thought: Kiley reports the Giants are one of the team heavily scouting big, flame throwing RHP Cody Ponce of Cal Poly Pomona.  I could see them popping him at #31 if he is still on the board.

Down on the Farm: 5/28/2015

AAA  Nashville Sounds topped the Sacramento River Cats 3-2:

Jarrett Parker(LF)- 2 for 2, HR(9), BB.  BA= .294.
John Bowker(1B)- 1 for 3, HR(2).  BA= .252.
Kevin Correia(RHP)- 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.58.
Steven Okert(LHP)- 02. IP, 2 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 3.80.
Mike Broadway(RHP)- 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 1.21.

Parker is one of the hottest hitters in the organization right now.  Obviously no room to move up to the MLB club.  A hiccup for Okert.  Another lights out appearance for Broadway.

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AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels edged out the Harrisburg Senators 3-2 in 10 innings:

Kelby Tomlinson(2B)- 2 for 5.  BA= .327.
Rando Moreno(SS)- 1 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .326.
Devin Harris(LF)- 1 for 4, HR(4).  BA= .301.

Moreno seems to be the starting SS for Richmond now and continues to be one of the bigger stories of the minor league season so far.  Stay hot!

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High A  High Desert Mavericks stampeded the San Jose Giants 12-2:

Ryder Jones(3B)- 2 for 4, HR(4).  BA= .297.
Ben Turner(Catcher)- 2 for 2, BB, HBP.  BA= .271.
Tyler Rogers(RHP)- 3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.24.

A week ago, Jones looked like he was fading again after his hot start, but now seems to be back on track for a strong season.

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Low A Asheville Tourists defeated the Augusta Greenjackets 7-3:

Travious Relaford(2B-SS)- 3 for 4, BB.  BA= .278.
Cristian Paulino(LF)- 1 for 3, 2B, BB, SB(11).  BA= .326.
Jared Deacon(Catcher)- 2 for 4, 3B.  BA= .192.
Rodolfo Martinez(RHP)- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 3.95.

Paulino seems to be emerging as a 5-tool player.  This was the 4'th consecutive appearance without issuing a walk for the fireballing Martinez.  He also has just 4 BB's against 11 K's in 10.2 IP over his last 10 appearances.

Game Wrap 5/28/2015: Giants 7 Braves 0

This game was a lot  closer than the final score would indicate.  Brandon Belt broke up a scoreless pitching duel between Atlanta starter Shelby Miller and Chris Heston with a 7'th inning HR.  The Giants added on a 6 run rally in the 8'th for the final runaway win.  Key Lines:

Norichika Aoki- 2 for 4.  BA= .326.  It seems like you can pencil in 2 hits for Aoki every game.   I think he now has 11 hits in his last 17 AB over 4 games.  He helped fuel the 6 run rally with a perfectly placed bunt down the 3B line with runners on first and second that forced a rushed throw that pulled the 1B off the bag for a bunt hit.

Joe Panik- 1 for 4, 2B.  BA= Panik followed Aoki's bunt single with a  bases loaded double that drove in 2 runs.

Hunter Pence- 1 for 4, 3B.  BA= .294.  Pence followed Panik's double with a triple that drove in 2 more runs and the route was on.

Brandon Belt- 2 for 4, 2B, HR(6).  BA= .305.  This is a sustained hot streak for Belt who is hitting .330 over his last 30 games.  He started out hitting for average but has now turned on the HR power with all 6 of his blasts coming in his last 15 games.  His dinger tonight broke a scoreless tie in the 7'th inning and came off one of the hottest pitchers in baseball, Shelby Miller.

Brandon Crawford- 2 for 4.  BA= .296.  Crawford's excellent season marches on.

Matt Duffy- 0 for 3, BB.  BA= .293.  OK, this is the guy I really want to talk about here.  It doesn't look like much of a line, but Duffy led off the 8'th inning against reliever Brandon Cunniff, who has an above average fastball and a nasty looking slider.  Cunniff made a huge mistake by starting Duffy off with his strikeout/wipeout slider which Duffy swung at and missed by about a foot.  He showed Duffy his best pitch right out of the gate, and Duffy, was we all know, is a fast learner.  Duffy swung and missed at another wicked slider for a 1-2 count.  He then spit on 3 straight sliders that were not easy takes and drew the leadoff walk that started the 6 run rally.  Now, how great is THAT?  Matt Duffy!!

Chris Heston- 7.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K's, GO/AO= 12/2.  ERA= 3.82.  This is what makes watching baseball such a joy.  On paper, Heston and the Giants had no chance in this one, but there is a reason why they play the games.  It's not like we didn't know Heston was capable of a game like this.  It's just that we've seen a lot of rookie pitchers have a few good games then a couple of bad ones then it snowballs and the next thing you know they are back in the minors.  On the other side of the field was Shelby Miller who might be the hottest pitcher in baseball right now.  Heston matched him pitch for pitch, and it was Miller who finally cracked first.  Just a tremendously inspiring performance from Hesto Presto on a night where it would have been reasonable to mentally check the game off as a loss and hope to win the next two.

And how inspiring is it to watch a couple of young players like Matt Duffy and Chris Heston, who we've all followed through their drafts and the minor league portion of their careers, see them improve with experience and then watch them perform on a night like this?  Add Joe Panik and Brandon Belt into that group too.

The Win improved the Giants record to 29-20. They are now 25-10 since hitting their nadir at 4-10 on April 19.  The Giants are now just 0.5 games behind the NL West leading Dodgers and are 1.5 games ahead in the race for the first Wild Card playoff berth.

This was also the Giants 9'th shutout of the season and 4'th home shutout in a row.  Can we say the pitchers are stepping up?

Tim Hudson tries to keep it going against the fireballing Mike Foltynowicz tonight.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Down on the Farm: 5/27/2015

AAA  Nashville Sounds blasted the Sacramento River Cats 11-4:

Ronny Cedeno(SS)- 3 for 4, 2B.  BA= .276.
Jake Peavy(RHP)- 4.2 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 11.57.

Gotta wonder how healthy Peavy really is after a start like this, even in the PCL.

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AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels crushed the Harrisburg Senators 12-0:

Kelby Tomlinson(2B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .325.
Mac Williamson(RF)- 2 for 5.  BA= .313.
Devin Harris(LF)- 3 for 5, 2B.  BA= .303.
Mitch Delfino(3B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .252.
Ricky Oropesa(1B)- 1 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .269.
Joe Biagini(RHP)- 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 5 K's, GO/AO= 8/2.  ERA= 1.53.
Phil McCormick(LHP)- 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.38.

15 hit attack with 13 singles and 2 doubles helps pad the stat lines.  Biagini was effectively wild.

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High A  San Jose Giants pounded the High Desert Mavericks 10-5:

Seth Harrison(CF)- 2 for 5.  BA= .316.
Jesus Galindo(LF)- 2 for 5.  BA= .269.
Tyler Horan(RF)- 2 for 5.  BA= .224.
Dylan Davis(DH)- 2 for 4, HR(3), BB.  BA= .253.
Ben Turner(Catcher)- 2 for 5.  BA= .250.
Brandon Bednar(SS)- 2 for 5.  BA= .213.
Keury Mella(RHP)- 3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 3.05.
Jason Forjet(RHP)- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 2.51.

Davis' HR was the only XBH out of 15 hits.  Seems like the Giants must be teaching that keep the line moving thing at all levels!  Mella came out after 3 IP due to pitch count issues.  LHP Mason McVay has been placed on the voluntarily retired list.

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Low A Game 1  Augusta Greenjackets defeated the Greenville Drive 5-2:

Cristian Paulino(LF)- 1 for 2, 2B, BB.  BA= .316.
Sam Coonrod(RHP)- 5.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 3.24.

Best part of Coonrod's line is the 0 BB's.

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Low A Game 2  Greenville Drive beat the Augusta Greenjackets 3-1 in 8 innings:

Johneshwy Fargas(CF)- 1 for 3, 2B, SB(19).  BA= .309.
Cristian Paulino(LF- 2 for 3, SB(10).  BA= .329.
Mark Reyes(LHP)- 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 1.53.
Jake McCasland(RHP)- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA=  0.00.
Yoan Moncada(DH, Drive)- 0 for 3, HBP.  BA= .286.
Michael Kopech(RHP, Drive)- 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 2.76.

This was Moncada's first game in several days due to a hammy.  Kopech was one of my favorite draft prospects last year.  I said it looked like he had tons of projection.  Boston drafted him #33 overall.  They made some adjustments in his delivery and he is not sitting in the high 90's with the FB and touching triple digits.  He has 38 K's against 11 BB's in 32 IP.  Of course, we now await the seemingly inevitable TJ surgery.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Game Wrap 5/27/2015: Giants 3 Brewers 1

Joe Panik hit a 2-run homer in the 5'th inning and that was all the offense Ryan Vogelsong and the Giants bullpen needed to secure a sweep of the BrewCrew and a happy flight home with a 5-2 road trip to brag about.  Key Lines:

Norichika Aoki- 2 for 5.  BA= .322.  Aoki went something like 9 for 13 for the series in his return to the city where he started his MLB career.  Was Aoki the most undervalued FA of this past offseason?

Joe Panik- 2 for 4, HR(3).  BA= .297.  Panik is showing flashes of power to go with his high contact approach.  And what a 1-2 punch of on-base goodness at the top of the Giants lineup with him and Aoki!

Angel Pagan- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .310.  Bochy shook up a lineup that didn't seem to need shaking up, moving Pence into the 3 spot and moving Pagan down to the 7-hole.  Personally I like the a 3-7 of Pagan, Posey, Belt, Pence, Crawford, but Boch seems to have the pulse of the team at his fingertips.

Ryan Vogelsong- 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 4.24.  Another stellar start for Vogey.  He is now 4-1 with a 2.66 ERA over his last 7 starts.

The Giants return home trailing the NL West leading Dodgers by 1.5 games pending the outcome of tonight's Dodgers-Braves contest.  The Giants lead the Mets by 1 game in the race for the first Wild Card playoff spot.

Chris Heston goes up against a red hot Shelby Miller in the opening game of the homestand and opening game of a 4 gamer against the surprisingly strong Braves.

Down on the Farm: 5/26/2015

AAA  Nashville Sounds blanked the Sacramento River Cats 3-0:

Ehire Adrianza(SS)- 2 for 3, BB, SB(2).  BA= .352.
Robert Coello(RHP)- 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 6 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.45.
Barry Zito(LHP, Sounds)- 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 4.72.

6 BB's in 5 IP is not going to get Coello back to the majors.  Maybe he needs to try to the two-seam/cutter approach that seems to be working for Tyler Beede?  Gotta respect Barry Zito laboring in the minors to try to get back to the majors.  This was a good game, but that ERA doesn't look too promising.

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AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels defeated the Harrisburg Senators 6-3:

Devin Harris(LF)- 1 for 4, HR(3).  BA= .291.
Ricky Oropesa(1B)- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .268.
Daniel Carbonell(CF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .170.
Matt Lujan(LHP)- 5.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 5.10.
Josh Osich(LHP)- 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's, Save(9).  ERA= 1.71.

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High A  San Jose Giants were idle.

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Low A  Augusta Greenjackets vs Greenville Drive postponed.