Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Down on the Farm: 4/14/2014

AAA  Las Vegas 51's defeated the Fresno Grizzlies 5-2:

Adam Duvall(3B)- 1 for 3, HR(6), BB.  BA= .313.
George Kontos(RHP)- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K.  ERA= 4.82.
Dan Runzler(LHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 1.35.

Duvall has now hit something like 4 HR's in 3 games.  Runzler continues to keep his walks down.

AA  Reading Fightin Phils beat the Richmond Flying Squirrels 7-4:

Angel Villalona(1B)- 1 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .310.
Myles Schroder(Catcher)- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .273.
Brett Krill(RF)- 2 for 2, 2B, BB, HBP.  BA= .290.
Jack Snodgrass(LHP)- 4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K.  ERA= 1.13.

Villalona continues his impressive start to the season.  I kind of gave up on Krill last year, but maybe too soon?  Schroder continues to build a utility resume.

High A  Inland Empire 66'ers blanked the San Jose Giants 6-0:

Chris Stratton(RHP)- 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.94.

A better start for Stratton than his last.  He took a shutout into the 6'th inning in this one.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets vs Savannah Sand Gnats suspended after the top of the 5'th inning with the score tied 0-0:

Christian Jones(LHP)- 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K.  ERA= 3.00.

Coming out party for Jones?  My understanding is he was a pretty hot pitching prospect for Oregon before TJ surgery in 2012.  Pitched in relief last year for Oregon and for Arizona and Salem-Keizer after being drafted by the Giants.  He was working on a no-hitter here with dominant peripheral stats in the process.  Definitely someone to watch going forward!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fantasy Focus: Update on Savvy Vets

My Savvy Vets fantasy baseball team has now completed 2 weeks of head-to-head competition.  I'm currently sitting in second place in my division with a record of 11-9.  I went 8-2 in Week 1, but dropped a 3-7 decision this last week.  The opposing team had a huge offensive week with Jose Abreu having two 2- HR games and Brian McCann another, which ended up trumping my 3 dinger game from Ryan Braun.  I would have won any other matchup in the league except one, and would have been 4-5 in that one.

So far, Savvy Vets has been spared the injury carnage that has decimated many fantasy teams, but yesterday, RHP Alex Cobb went on the DL after pitching a tremendous game on Saturday, which led to my first pickup decision of the season.  While there were no obvious aces available, there were quite a few interesting starters on the FA list to choose from.  I decided I wanted to pick up a SP who is scheduled for two starts this week which narrowed the field down to these choices:

Robbie Ross(LHP, Rangers)
Taijuan Walker(RHP, Mariners)
Wei-Yin Chen(LHP, Orioles)
Robbie Erlin(LHP, Padres)
Juan Nicasio(RHP, Rockies)
Bronson Arroyo(RHP, D'Backs)
Eric Stultz(LHP, Padres)

I quickly narrowed it down to the two Robbies, Ross and Erlin.  I like Ross a bit more as a current pitcher and I like the run support he gets with the Rangers.  I like Erlin's long term value and the park he pitches in, but I'm not as sure about his current performance and he may be run-support challenged.  I went for the immediate value and took Ross.

Ross has 2 years of MLB experience as a middle reliever, a role he has performed very well in for Texas.   He was a starter all the way in the minors putting up consistent K/9's of 8-9 and BB/9's of 2-3, very nice ratios.  Last year, his K/9= 8.37 and his BB/9= 2.74 which are right in line with his minor league record.  So far this year, Ross has two starts with an ERA of 1.79.  His peripherals don't look as good with 11 K's and 8 BB's in 10.1 IP, but he inexplicably walked 6 batters in his first start, so I expect his walk rate to come way down and setting into the 2-3 range.  His last start was better with a line of 5 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 7 K's.  Normalize his BABIP and you have a very nice SP going forward.

I may decide to drop him after one week and stream in another 2-start pitcher,  but I am confident enough in him that I would not have a problem just keeping him either.  The other nice thing about him is he has RP eligibility which gives me the option of using him in an RP slot, which is an important consideration for my strategy of punting Saves to maximize W's and K's to work.

Robbie Ross is rostered in just 2% of Yahoo leagues right now.  He's my sleeper pick of the week!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Down on the Farm: 4/13/2014

AAA  Las Vegas 51's pounded the Fresno Grizzlies 10-4:

Adam Duvall(3B)- 2 for 3, 2 HR(5), BB.  BA= .311.
Mike Kickham(LHP)- 4.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 2 K.  ERA= 3.52.

Duvall is red hot at the plate!  Unimpressive start for Kickham.

AA   Richmond Flying Squirrels defeated the Altoona Curve 7-3:

Angel Villalona(1B)- 3 for 4, 2B, HR(3).  BA= .308.
Brett Krill(RF)-  3 for 3, BB, SB(1).  BA= .241.
Kelvin Marte(LHP)- 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 3.18.
Cody Hall(RHP)- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 6.23.

Angel V is swinging a hot bat.  Give him time!  Marte is quietly climbing the organization ladder.  I think his stuff is underrated.  Can get up to 92-93 on the FB and has a nice change and breaking ball to back it up.

High A  Bakersfield Blaze scorched the San Jose Giants 10-4:

Elliott Blair(LF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .387.
Steven Okert(LHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.

Not a lot to say about this one.  Blair seems to be a late bloomer who the Giants must like or they would not have kept him around all this time.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets edged the Charleston River Dogs 3-2:

Brandon Bednar(3B)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .378.
Christian Arroyo(2B)- BA= .200
Tyler Horan(RF)- 4 for 4, 2B.  BA= .344.
Matthew Lujan(LHP)- 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 1.38.
Dan Slania(RHP)- 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 0.90.

Bednar stays hot.  Horan and Bednar might deserve to be in San Jose.  Lujan is older and needs to do this at a higher level to be a serious prospect.  Nice appearance by Slania.

Game Wrap 4/13/2014: Giants 5 Rockies 4

Brandon Crawford broke a 4-4 tie with a walk-off, splash-hit home run in the bottom of the 10'th inning to send the AT&T Park crowd home in a delirious frenzy of joy.  Key Lines:

Angel Pagan- 2 for 4.  BA= .412.  Pagan continues to be the heart and soul of this team making things happen at the top of the lineup.  He's good for setting the table for the power guys or for driving in runners when the bottom of the order gets something going.  Today it was keeping a bottom-of-the-order rally going with a 2-run single.

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 4, HR(2).  BA= .180.  Pablo has had a rough first two weeks of the season, but has been hitting the ball hard, right at people.  The dinger today would have been a splash hit had it not caromed off a flagpole in the RF arcade.  Hopefully this is one to build on.  Giants need Pablo to get hot!

Gregor Blanco- 1 for 1, 3B.  BA= .091.  Blanco got thrown out in the bottom of the 9'th trying to stretch a triple into an inside-the-parker.  I don't have a problem with Flannery sending him in that situation.  There's two outs so not a great chance that he scores if he stops at 3B.  At worst, you come out of the inning still tied.  It took a perfect relay throw and a perfect tag by the catcher to get him.  He was definitely out, but his hand was just 1-2 inches short when the tag was applied to a sensitive area, leaving Gregor in some pain.

Brandon Crawford- 1 for 3, HR(1), SF.  BA= .308.  Crawford's game winner came off a pretty tough LHP to boot.  He's making a statement that he is more than a platoon hitter.

Brandon Hicks- 2 for 2, BB.   BA= .368.  Hicks is playing himself into more and more playing time, at least until Scutaro gets back which does not seem to be imminent.

Tim Hudson- 7.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 5 K, GO/AO= 12/3.   ERA= 2.35.  Huddy pitched much better than the final line would indicate as he went into the 8'th having allowed just 3 hits and 2 solo HR's.  Then he got BABIP'd in the 8'th with Rutledge's double down the RF line definitely a random hit as was the single off Lopez by Stubbs that drove in the tying run.  In fairness, he may have been tiring a bit and getting some elevation on those pitches, but at least 2 of the hits in the inning were random BABIP jobbies.

Santiago Casilla- 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 2.35.  No K's, but Casilla looked strong with a 94 MPH FB that he was getting in good locations.  The leadoff walk caused a bit of anxiety, but Casilla easily got out of it.

The Win improved the Giants record to 8-5 which left them 1 game behind the NL West leading Dodgers who completed a sweep of the hapless D'Backs and are 9-4.  The Rockies fell below .500 to 6-7, 3 games off the pace in 3'rd place while the Padres remained 3.5 games back at 5-7 after defeating Max Scherzer and the Tigers in Petco.  The aforementioned hapless D'Backs fell a full 6 games back in last place at 4-11.

The Giants have Monday off, then start a 3 game midweek series against the Dodgers with Tim Lincecum facing Josh Beckett on Tuesday night.

Down on the Farm: 4/12/2014

AAA  Las Vegas 51's edged the Fresno Grizzlies 1-0 in 10 innings:

Gary Brown(CF)- 2 for 4.  BA= .333.
Chris Heston(RHP)- 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's, GO/AO= 11/1.  ERA= 4.50.
George Kontos(RHP)- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 10.13.

Not much to say here except I hate 1-0 losses probably more than anything else in baseball.  Extra innings is even more demoralizing.  It's not every day you can hold a team scoreless for 9 innings.  When you do that, you better win!

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels topped the Altoona Curve 4-3:

Tyler Graham(CF)- 1 for 1, BB, 2 SB(8).  BA= .394.
Matt Duffy(SS)- 1 for 2, 3 BB.  BA= .333.
Jarrett Parker(RF-CF)- 1 for 3, BB, Assist(home).  BA= .351.
Kyle Crick(RHP)- 2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 2.35.
Jose Casilla(RHP)- 3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K.  ERA= 2.25.
Derek Law(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, Save(1).  ERA= 0.00.

Graham came out early.  Injury?  Matt Duffy!  Crick was a bit wild again.  I assume he came out due to pitch counts.  Law continues to be lights out.  Probably needs to be pitching for Fresno.

High A  Bakersfield Blaze and San Jose Giants scored 10 runs in the 10'th inning with the Blaze scoring 7 of them for the 11-7 win:

Elliott Blair(LF)- 2 for 4, BB, Assist(home).  BA= .370.
Chuckie Jones(RF)- 1 for 4, 2B, BB.  BA= .185.
Patt Young(RHP)- 5 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 2.70.
Jeremy Affeldt(LHP)- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.

Gotta think Affeldt is getting close to returning to the MLB roster.  Who will be the odd man out?

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets pounded the Charleston River Dogs 8-2:

Cristian Paulino(CF)- 3 for 5, SB(6).  BA= .320.
Brandon Bednar(1B)- 2 for 5, SB(2).  BA= .366.
Carlos Diaz(LHP)- 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.89.
Jake Smith(RHP)- 2.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K.  ERA= 0.00.

Paulino moves into the leadoff spot in the lineup.  I've long thought he seemed like a very dynamic player if he could just hit a little.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Game Wrap 4/12/2014: Rockies 1 Giants 0

This one was a classic Caining as the offense failed to support Matt Cain as has happened so many times in the past.  In other years, you could attribute these games to an expected failure of a weak offense.  This year, Cain should be able to expect better support than this.  Some serious bad mojo for Cain on the run support thing going on!  Key Lines:

Matt Cain-  7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 4.00.

Read it and weep!  That's the story right there in one line.  1 run in 7 IP and it wasn't enough.

Remaining games in the NL West are under the lights.  The Giants are 0.5 games behind pending the outcome of the Dodgers game.  The Rockies are 1 game behind the Giants.

Tim Hudson tries for a series win tomorrow afternoon facing Tyler Chatwood.

Down on the Farm: 4/11/2014

AAA  Fresno Grizzlied defeated the Las Vegas 51's 5-1:

Gary Brown(CF)- 1 for 3, SF.  BA= .317.
Tyler Colvin(RF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .194.
Jason Berken(RHP)- 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.60.
Dan Runzler(LHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 1.93.

Brown made the most of his one hit driving in 3 runs.  Berken may be a viable backup plan for SP/long relief.  Runzler could become a factor if a need arises in the bullpen.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels edged the Altoona Curve 5-4:

Tyler Graham(CF)- 2 for 5, 2B, 3B.  BA= .375.
Matt Duffy(SS)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .324.
Adalberto Mejia(LHP)- 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 6.00.
Austin Fleet(RHP)- 4.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K.  ERA= 3.12.
Josh Osich(LHP)- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 3.38.
Derek Law(RHP)- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.

Mejia got winged by a comebacker in the first inning.  He did not come out immediately, but I assume that has something to do with his early departure.  Derek Law continues to be lights out and gets the W.  Matt Duffy!!

High A  Bakersfield Blaze topped the San Jose Giants 5-2:

Martin Agosta(RHP)- 3 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.00.

Nothing else to see here.  Good to see Agosta apparently healthy and pitching.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets beat the Charleston River Dogs 8-1:

Brandon Bednar(3B)-  2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .361.
Ryder Jones(SS)- 3 for 5, 2 2B.  BA= .207.
Keury Mella(RHP)- 5 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 1.69.

A few more walks from Mella than we are used to seeing, but he was not very hittable and the K rate was solid.  Jones back at SS and Arroyo at 2B.