Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/22/2017: Giants 6 Brewers 4

Denard Span and Jae-Gyun Hwang led the offense with a pair of 2-run dingers as the Giants overcame a poor start by Matt Cain.  Key Lines:

Denard Span CF- 1 for 2, HR(1).  BA= .189.  Span is hitting .333 over his last 6 games and has hit for the cycle with 3 singles, a double, triple and HR in that span.  Eyewitness reports have him looking spry in the OF too.

Aaron Hill 3B- 1 for 3, 2B(4).  BA= .243.  Hill and Chris Marrero may be fighting for the same roster spot depending on how the injury situation plays out.

Jae-Gyun Hwang 3B- 1 for 1, HR(4).  BA= .324.  With Nunez flying back to SF to get a cortisone shot in his shoulder, Hwang could be the Opening Day starter at 3B.  You could make a case that he won that job competitively anyway.

Matt Cain RHP- 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 8.10.  Most of the damage came in the first inning, although one of our commenters reports that Cain was giving up rockets the whole time and was saved from more runs by some excellent defensive plays by Span and Aaron Hill.

Steven Okert LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.  With only one game left, it looks like Okert has wrapped up a scoreless Cactus League.

Roberto Gomez, David Hernandez and Albert Suarez pitched 1 scoreless inning each.

*********************************************************************************

Matt Moore faces Felix Hernandez in the Giants final night game of the Cactus League schedule.

*********************************************************************************

As mentioned above, Eduardo Nunez flew to SF to get a cortisone shot in his shoulder and will be shut down for 3 days.  Gotta think he might start the season on the DL which opens the door for Jae-Gyun Hwang, who has had a strong spring, to start at 3B on Opening Day.  Aaron Hill and Conor Gillaspie remain in the mix at 3B also.  Injuries have whittled down the bench options.  One scenario I scribbled down was Hundley, Tomlinson, Gillaspie, Hill and Marrero with Hwang starting at 3B. That leaves CF uncovered unless the Giants think Jarrett Parker could play it.

I they think Nunez will be back quickly, they might send Hwang to Sacramento and start Aaron Hill or Gillaspie at 3B and keep Ruggy or Gorkys as another reserve OF.  Or, Marrero and Hill could be competing for the same roster spot.

I get the feeling the Giants really want to keep Aaron Hill.

Tomlinson has options and Hwang has said he will accept assignment to Sacramento.  Would he still accept it after the spring he has had?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/21/2017: Giants 5 Padres 3

Nick Hundley and Chris Marrero provided the Giants offense with 3 dingers that drove in all 5 runs for a win over division rival Padres.  Key Lines:

Chris Marrero 1B- 2 for 3, HR(5).  BA= .302.  It was actually Marrero's 6'th dinger of the spring including a non-Cactus League game agains Team Puerto Rico.  Marrero has made a convincing case for himself to land an Opening Day roster spot.

Nick Hundley C- 2 for 3, 2 HR(2).  BA= .323.  Hundley doesn't have to worry about a roster spot and is looking like the offensive upgrade at the reserve catcher position the Giants signed him to be.

Madison Bumgarner LHP- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.50.  Bumgarner pitched just 2 innings to limit his exposure to a division rival's lineup.  After leaving the game, he pitched a bullpen to bring his total pitch count to 85.

Ty Blach LHP- 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 5.02.  Blach stays in the mix for either the 5'th SP role or a bullpen role which would seem to be a hybrid of long-relief/swingman and lefty specialist.

George Kontos and Derek Law pitched 1 scoreless inning each.

*********************************************************************************

Matt Cain starts tomorrow against the Brewers in what could be a critical start in his quest to regain his spot in the Giants starting rotation.  RHP Albert Suarez is also slated to see action.

*********************************************************************************

Injuries have started to narrow the Opening Day roster choices a bit for Manager Bruce Bochy:

We've already mentioned that Mac Williamson is likely out for a prolonged period with a quad strain which would seem to lock up the starting LF job for Jarrett Parker.

Injuries have plagued Michael Morse his entire career.  He suffered a hammy strain that will likely sideline him past Opening Day.  That would seem to increase Chris Marrero's chances of making the team, although Aaron Hill and Jae-Gyun Hwang may be competing for the same role.

The Giants got bad news from LHP Will Smith who has a left elbow sprain/strain which will almost certainly sideline him for an extended period.  There is even talk of possible TJ surgery which, of course, would put him out for the entire season.  Steven Okert had seemingly already locked down the other lefty reliever job.  Smith's absence creates an opening for another lefty reliever.  Ty Blach would seem to be the leader if Matt Cain can nail down the 5'th starter role.  Blach is attractive because he is effective against both L and R handed hitters and can go multiple innings, but he can also be used as a LOOGY if the situation calls for it.  Josh Osich is probably still in the mix, but walked 3 batters in his last appearance and time is running out.  LHP Michael Roth is also in camp, but has yet to prove he can be used in anything resembling a high leverage role, or even medium leverage!

*********************************************************************************

RHP Ryan Vogelsong was released by the Twins at his request, but if the Twins don't have a spot on their pitching staff for him, I'm not sure who would.  Padres?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Ricardo De La Torre

Ricardo De La Torre, SS, HS(PR).  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 175 lbs.

What's really fun about combing through early draft prospect lists is finding players you think are grossly under-ranked.  Ricardo De La Torre comes in at #38 on MLB's early top 50 list.  I think that is way too low and look for him to catch serious helium as the draft approaches.  He's got all 5 tools and they are all plus:  6.63 60 yd dash, 95 MPH on IF throw, 89 MPH Exit Velocity, .104 Time to Impact.  He is athletic enough with an arm to be a true SS.  He can hit and with enough power to move to a corner.  He's fast enough to play CF with enough arm for RF.  Wiry frame with plenty of room to fill out.  I like Brady McConnell, who I currently have at #6, just a tad better, but I like De La Torre just a bit better than another pop-up prospect, Austin Beck, who I have at #11.  Of course, moving De La Torre into the top 10 moves other good prospects down a notch.  This draft may be weak at the top but it is looking deep.

*********************************************************************************

DrB's Updated 2017 Draft Board:

1.  Jordan Adell, OF, HS.
2.  Mark Vientos, SS, HS.
3.  Hunter Greene, RHP/SS, HS.
4.  JB Bakauskas, RHP, College(North Carolina).
5.  Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, College(Louisville).
6.  Brady McConnell, SS, HS.
7.  RICARDO DE LA TORRE, SS, HS.
8.  Royce Lewis, SS/OF, HS.
9.  Trevor Rogers, LHP, HS.
10.  Brendon Little, LHP, JC(State College of Florida).
11.  Seth Romero, LHP, College(Houston).
12.  Austin Beck, OF, HS.
13.  Wil Crowe, RHP, College(South Carolina).
14.  Jeren Kendall, OF, College(Vanderbilt).
15.  Alex Faedo, RHP, College(Florida).
16.  Tanner Houck, RHP, College(Missouri).
17.  Kyle Wright, RHP, College(Vanderbilt).
18.  Alex Lange, RHP, College(LSU).
19.  Alex Scherff, RHP, HS.
20.  Hans Crouse, RHP, HS.
21.  DL Hall, LHP, HS.
22.  Jacob Heatherly, LHP, HS.
23.  Calvin Mitchell, OF, HS.
24.  Conor Uselton, OF, HS.
25.  Garrett Mitchell, OF, HS.
26.  Keston Hiura, 2B, College(UC Irvine).
27.  Clarke Schmidt, RHP, College(South Carolina).
28.  Michael Gigliotti, OF, College(Lipscomb).
29.  Pavin Smith, 1B, College(Virginia).
30.  Jake Burger, 3B, College(Missouri St.).
31.  Cole Brannen, OF, HS.
32.  Evan Skoug, C, College(TCU).
33.  Colton Hock, RHP, College(Stanford).
34.  Mackenzie Gore, LHP, HS.
35.  Nick Allen, SS, HS.
36.  Blayne Enlow, RHP, HS.
37.  Hagen Danner, RHP, HS.
38.  Alejandro Toral, 1B, HS.
39.  Corbin Martin, RHP, College(Texas A&M).
40.  Tristan Beck, RHP, College(Stanford).
41.  JJ Schwarz, C, College(Florida).

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/20/2017: Giants 3 White Sox 2

The Giants got a strong start from Johnny Cueto and Ryder Jones drove in all 3 of their runs with a dinger in the 8'th inning for the win.  Key Lines:

Ryder Jones 3B- 1 for 1, HR(1).  BA= .385.  Jones has had a very nice spring in limited opportunities. Don't sleep on this kid!

Justin Ruggiano RF- 2 for 3.  BA= .200.  It seems to me that Ruggy and Gorkys Hernandez are the two OF's competing for bench roster spots who can play CF.  He would also be a much better defensive option to platoon with Jarrett Parker in LF.  Can he mount enough offense down the spring stretch run to win a job?

Johnny Cueto RHP- 5 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.57.  Cueto just pretty much proved that spring training is way too long.

Josh Osich LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 7.11.  With Will Smith very unlikely to start the season, Osich had a chance to grab a roster spot here.  He have to hope for other chances.

Hunter Strickland RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 2.45.  Strickland seems to have settled into a good groove.

Will Smith LHP- 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Smith left the mound mid-inning with the trainer.  Recurrence of left elbow soreness.  No bueno!

Neil Ramirez RHP- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.45.  With David Hernandez and Jose Dominguez having recent rough outings, Ramirez seems to be putting himself in great position to win a roster spot.

*********************************************************************************

Madison Bumgarner makes his 6'th, that's right, 6'th spring start tomorrow against the Padres.

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Keston Hiura

Keston Hiura, 2B/LF, College(UC Irvine).  B-R, T-R.  6'0", 190 lbs.

2016:  .358/.436/.539, 12 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 6 SB, 25 BB, 44 K, 204 AB.
2017:  .463/.563/.944, 11 2B, 5 HR, 12 BB, 14 K, 54 AB.

They say that of the 5 basic tools you scout a player on, the Hit Tool is the hardest to find.  Well, in a draft class that is weak in college hitters, the best Hit Tool in the entire draft may well belong to Hiura who has put up astonishing numbers in a historically pitching-friendly environment.  The problem for Hiura is the Hit Tool is his only plus tool.  He is not particularly fast, average at best.  He does not have much raw power although he has hit some dingers this season.  The arm is a big negative.  Never strong to begin with(74 MPH on a throw out of HS), he is now battling a partial UCL tear that has been treated with platelet-rich plasma injection.  He has been limited to DH duties so far in the college season.

But oh my!  You keep going back to the hit tool.  I'd grade it at least a 70.  He's go short arms, a quick swing and kind of an odd sweeping motion that some scouts don't love, but is probably part of why he is so successful at barreling the ball.  The power is probably more gap power at the next level.  Unfortunately, the arm and lack of speed probably limit him to 2B, LF, 1B and DH in the pros and he does not have the height you want at 1B nor the power you want at DH or even LF.

*********************************************************************************

DrB's Updated 2017 Draft Board:

1.  Jordan Adell, OF, HS.
2.  Mark Vientos, SS, HS.
3.  Hunter Greene, RHP/SS, HS.
4.  JB Bakauskas, RHP, College(North Carolina).
5.  Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, College(Louisville).
6.  Brady McConnell, SS, HS.
7.  Royce Lewis, SS/OF, HS.
8.  Trevor Rogers, LHP, HS.
9.  Brendon Little, LHP, JC(State College of Florida).
10. Seth Romero, LHP, College(Houston).
11.  Austin Beck, OF, HS.
12.  Wil Crowe, RHP, College(South Carolina).
13.  Jeren Kendall, OF, College(Vanderbilt).
14.  Alex Faedo, RHP, College(Florida).
15.  Tanner Houck, RHP, College(Missouri).
16.  Kyle Wright, RHP, College(Vanderbilt).
17.  Alex Lange, RHP, College(LSU).
18.  Alex Scherff, RHP, HS.
19.  Hans Crouse, RHP, HS.
20.  DL Hall, LHP, HS.
21.  Jacob Heatherly, LHP, HS.
22.  Calvin Mitchell, OF, HS.
23.  Conor Uselton, OF, HS.
24.  Garrett Mitchell, OF, HS.
25.  KESTON HIURA, 2B, College(UC Irvine).
26.  Clarke Schmidt, RHP, College(South Carolina).
27.  Michael Gigliotti, OF, College(Lipscomb).
28.  Pavin Smith, 1B, College(Virginia).
29.  Jake Burger, 3B, College(Missouri St).
30.  Cole Brannen, OF, HS.
31.  Evan Skoug, C, College(TCU).
32.  Colton Hock, RHP, College(Stanford).
33.  Mackenzie Gore, LHP, HS.
34.  Nick Allen, SS, HS.
35.  Blayne Enlow, RHP, HS.
36.  Hagen Danner, RHP, HS.
37.  Alejandro Toral, 1B, HS.
38.  Corbin Martin, RHP, College(Texas A&M).
39.  Tristan Beck, RHP, College(Stanford).
40.  JJ Schwarz, C, College(Florida).

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/19/2017: Brewers 6 Giants 4

Jeff Samardzija was not sharp and the Giants offense struggled against RHP Zach Davies in a game that was not as close as the final score would indicate.  Key Lines:

Brandon Belt 1B- 1 for 2, BB.  BA= .324.  Belt continues to hit well.

Christian Arroyo SS- 1 for 1, HR(1).  BA= .278.  Arroyo continues to impress whenever he gets a chance.  He was reassigned to minor league camp after the game where he will get more AB's to get ready for the AAA season.

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 4 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 11.12.  Is it time to worry about Jeff Samardzija?  It's ALWAYS time to worry about Jeff Samardzija!  Runs hot and cold.  He could stink all of spring training then pitch 7 shutout innings in his first start of the season….or not.  You always worry about Shark's next start no matter what happened in his last start.  In the end, he will likely have his ups and downs and eat a lot of innings and earn his salary or close to it.

Steven Okert LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.  At this point, Okert seems destined to take the second lefty reliever spot on the Opening Day roster.

Tyler Beede RHP- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.96.  Another strong outing by Beede.  He was sent to minor league camp after the game.  Bochy muttered something about working him as a reliever..or not.

George Kontos and Derek Law pitched 1 scoreless frame each and both seem to be on track for roster spots on Opening Day.

*********************************************************************************

Johnny Cueto takes the mound for a start against the ChiSox tomorrow afternoon.

*********************************************************************************

In addition to Arroyo and Beede being reassigned to minor league camp, the Giants also reassigned LHP Kraig Sitton and optioned utility man Orlando Calixte to Sacramento.

Mac Williamson has a quad strain which will sideline him indefinitely which pretty much seals it up for Jarrett Parker to be the Opening Day starter in LF.

Around the League:

White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada had a monster day at the plate going 3 for 5 with 2 2B, and a HR(3).  He is hitting .317 on the spring.  If he is not in the ChiSox Opening Day lineup, he will be soon enough as the release of Brett Lawrie cleared the way for a quick promotion.  LG, you might come out smelling like a rose for drafting him for your fantasy league!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/18/2017: Mariners 6 Giants 5

Two non-roster relievers hoping to make the Giants Opening Day team got bombed to spoil a terrific start by Matt Moore and a nice offensive game from the top 4 hitters in the Giants lineup.  Key Lines:

Denard Span CF- 2 for 4, 3B.  BA= .143.  Span's bat seems to be coming to life in the last several games.

Joe Panik 2B- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .290.  Panik has cooled off a bit, but drove in a run and scored one today.

Jarrett Parker LF- 2 for 4, HR(4).  BA= .333.  Pedal to the metal!  Parker just is not going to blow his big opportunity.

Chris Marrero 1B- 2 for 5, HR(4).  BA= .256.  Interesting battle between Marrero and Morse for RH bat off the bench.  Does Marrero have an advantage because he is a better fielder?  Grant Brisbee over at mccoveychronicles.com makes a case for Jae-Gyun Hwang competing for the same roster spot.

Matt Moore LHP- 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's, GO/AO= 5/2.  ERA= 3.94.  Moore has come on strong in his last 2 starts.  The Giants need him to have a good season if they want to compete for a postseason spot and a shot at a championship.

David Hernandez RHP- 0.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 5.79.  Early on, Hernandez was looking like a shoe-in for a bullpen gig, but he's been bombed in two outings in a row.  Chances not looking so good right now.

Jose Dominguez RHP- 0.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 5.79.  Dominguez was always a longer shot than Hernandez, and he did not help his cause with this appearance.

*********************************************************************************

It's Jeff Samardzija's turn to start against the BrewCrew in Scottsdale tomorrow.