Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Scouting the 2018 Draft: Nander De Sedas

Nander De Sedas, SS, HS.  6'1", 190 lbs.  B-S, T-R.  De Sedas is a HS SS from the same prep school as Francisco Lindor.  De Sedas is bigger and stronger than Lindor and may have the tools to stick at SS.  He started switch-hitting last year and is already proficient from both sides of the plate.  Here are the PG numbers:

60 Yard Dash:  6.67.
Arm:  96 MPH IF.
Exit Velocity:  94 MPH.
Time to Impact:  .102(excellent!).

Here are some scouting comments, also from PG:

Strong athletic build.
Outstanding defensive actions.
Plus range in all directions.
Very quick exchange and release.
Switch-hitter, legit from both sides.

On top of all that, if this kid reaches the majors, he will be in serious contention for the greatest name in the history of MLB!  In a SS smackdown with Brice Turang, at least based on what I've seen, I'll take De Sedas in a heartbeat.  I would even have to think twice before I put Jarred Kelenic ahead of him!  Brian Sabean once said that his draft philosophy was to draft shortstops then move them to where they are needed. He also has a longstanding love for switch-hitters.  I can see the Giants taking this kid at #2 overall.

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DrB's 2018 Draft Board:

1.  Jarred Kelenic, OF, HS.
2.  Nander De Sedas, SS, HS.
3.  Kumar Rocker, RHP, HS.
4.  Ethan Hankins, RHP, HS.
5.  Brady Singer, RHP, College(Florida).
6.  Brice Turang, SS, HS.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Giants Depth Charts: Shortstop

The Giants shortstop position is pretty much set in stone for the forseeable future with Brandon Crawford having 4 years left on his contract. Depth at the MLB level is provided by Kelby Tomlinson and Orlando Calixte.  Christian Arroyo, whose future is at another position, could probably play the position and Ryder Jones could even fill in for a dire emergency.

AAA:  I think Juniel Querecuto is a minor league FA, so the AAA position is open.

AA:  CJ Hinojosa had a pretty good season for Richmond in a traditionally tough environment for Giants positional prospects.  He should be ready to move up to AAA.  Carlos Garcia and Rando Moreno are organizational players.

High A:  Ryan Howard came within 1 game of taking a .300 BA wire-to-wire for San Jose and looks to be ready for the AA challenge.

Low A:  Brandon Van Horn is a project whose scouting reports favor his defense over offense, but he showed some stick during a month long hot streak and might be ready to take on the next level in San Jose.

Short Season:  I'm still at least slightly bullish on Manuel Geraldo who has had a couple of good short seasons, but now he needs to get over the Augusta hump on what will be his 3'rd try.  The Giants have allowed players in similar situations to bypass Augusta which is not out of the question for Geraldo.

Rookie AZL:  Nico Giarratano is an undersized scrapper who didn't hit much for USF and whose bat did not impress in rookie ball which is too low for a college draftee.  Francisco Medina, Jose Rivero and Hector Santiago are all looking for traction on their pro careers.

DSL:  Ghordy Santos is an intriguing prospect who the Giants paid a $300 K bonus to, the maximum allowed during their penalty phase for overspending on Lucius Fox.  He got off to a slow start, but hit .321 in August.  Enoch Watts has an interesting name but didn't do much else to garner attention.

The Giants have a fairly solid line of shortstop prospects lined up at each level although there is unlikely to be a need at the MLB level for at least the next 2-3 seasons.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Postseason Watch: The Buster Posey Rule Is A Good Rule

Well, the Hated Ones beat The Team With the Most Insufferable Overrated Manager In Baseball in Game 1 of the NLCS.  Man, I want the Cubs to beat the Dodgers in this series because, well, the Dodgers! But good God!  It is so hard to root for anything remotely associated with Joe Maddon, the most overrated, smug, arrogant, loudmouthed manager since Tommy Lasorda.

Maddon as livid over a play that ended up not impacting the outcome of the game when Wilson Contreras stuck is foot and leg out hockey goalie style before he had the ball to block home plate with  Charlie Culberson bearing down on him.  Contreras' foot kept Culberson's hand from touching home plate, and Contreras applied the tag as Culberson kneeled in the dirt on the other side of the plate.  The call on the field was Out.  The replay officials called Culberson Safe invoking the "Buster Posey Rule".

Ron Darling in the broadcast booth went nuts and spent the rest of the game complaining about how the rule negated a "great baseball play."  Maddon came out, ranted at the on-field ump, who is not the guy who made the call, waved his arm around, clearly dropped an F-bomb if you were reading lips and got tossed.  After the game, Maddon said he did not like the rule and he also thought the rule was not interpreted correctly.

As much as I don't want the Dodgers to win this series, the rule was interpreted correctly and it is a good rule.  Let's rewind and show this play without the "Buster Posey Rule."  Contreras sticks his leg out.  Culberson, knowing Contreras will do that, goes shoulder first into Conteras' leg and foot trying to displace it enough to get to Home Plate destroying a young star catcher's ankle in the process.  Or Culberson aims for Contreras' chest hoping to jar the ball loose causing one or both of them to suffer a concussion on the play.

Those are the outcomes the "Buster Posey Rule" was designed to prevent.  The rule worked perfectly as nobody was hurt and the replay call was correct.  If the Out call was allowed to stand, the next time the situation arose, the runner would know he had to blow up the catcher in order to score the run.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Scouting the 2018 Draft: Brice Turang

Brice Turang is a HS SS out of Corona, CA.  I believe he is the son of Brian Turang who had a brief major league career with the Mariners in 1993-94.  Brice is on the small side at 6'0", 165 lbs, B-L, T-R.  For a guy who is listed at the #1 draft prospect on some early rankings, there isn't a lot of information out there about him.  He apparently skipped the PG showcase where they do all the measurements.  One video I saw had him 3.97 to 1B on a bunt and 4.2 on a swing.  I think that is pretty good.  We don't seem to have any 60 yd dash times nor any throwing velocities.  I have seen scouting reports that question whether he has the arm for SS.  If he has speed, I suppose he could play CF.  His swing reminds me of Corey Seager's which is pretty good, except Seager is listed at 6'4", 220 lbs.

This kid is awfully small and I'm not sold that there is a lot of projectability there and there is information which I consider vital to scouting HS talent that is missing, at least from the sources I know about.  I'm going to say he is at best a second tier draft prospect without further information.

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DrB's 2018 Draft Board:

1.  Jarred Kelenic, OF, HS.
2. Kumar Rocker, RHP, HS.
3.  Ethan Hankins, RHP, HS.
4.  Brady Singer, RHP, College(Florida).
5.  Brice Turang, SS, HS(likely to fall further as we profile more prospects).

Scouting the Offseason: Are the Giants Going to Trade for Giancarlo?

Once upon a time, there was a very good power-hitting rightfielder named Vladimir Guerrero.  He was a free agent who seemed like a perfect fit for the Giants who were nearing the end of the Barry Bonds era and had not been competitive in RF for several seasons.  In his end of the season press conference, Brian Sabean told everybody to calm down and not expect any big free agent signings.  The fit seemed so obvious that speculation continued.  Fans on message boards wrote long posts with spreadsheets detailing how Vlad would fit into the Giants self-imposed salary cap(There was not "luxury tax" cap back then, but the Giants ownership, while not exactly cheap, was notorious for it's fiscal discipline).  There was vague talk of a "rainy day fund" that could be used for a "special" player.   I got caught up in that and wrote a few posts of my own.  Another fan politely pointed out to me that in his memory, Brian Sabean had never done anything different that what he said he would do.  Sure enough, Vlad went to the Angels while the Giants signed Michael Tucker with bonus money saved from a punted first round draft pick.  The internet based portion of the fanbase did not react well and Sabes called them the "lunatic fringe."  Whooo boy!  Those were the days!

14 years and 3 championship seasons later, we find ourselves nearing the end of another era.  The Giants need power.  They need a rightfielder.  Their ownership has lots of money.  Giancarlo Stanton appears to be available to any team willing to take on his entire contract.  The Giants are rumored to be interested.....except for one small detail.  The Giants had another end-of-season press conference.  While Bobby Evans is now the GM, Brian Sabean was still on the dais.  Guess what they said!  The Giants are going after a defensive CF and they prefer the trade market to the free agent market.

14 years after Brian Sabean kept his word to not sign Vlad Guerrero, Giants management still has not ever deviated significantly from what they said they would or would not do at that press conference.  I don't know why that would change now.  The message was loud and clear:

1.  The Giants still think pitching and defense will win games, especially in their ballpark.

2.  They are unlikely to go significantly over the "luxury tax" cap despite talk of not letting it get in the way of the "right" player, thus the trade over FA scenario.

3.  They are not likely to acquire a corner OF like JD Martinez or Giancarlo Stanton.

4.  I don't think they will punt a draft pick again after Larry Baer took pains to point out that the "luxury tax" penalty includes draft pick and international signing penalties which would impact talent acquisition and development.

Much as I would love it if they did, and I am not going to say there is a zero percent chance, I am not holding my breath until the Giants trade for Giancarlo Stanton.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Blast From the Past: Bad Memories

I seldom go off topic, but I have a personal story to tell which I think is relevant, so bear with me.  It was September 19, 1964.  I was 8 years old and had just started 3'rd grade.   We lived in a small house on 3 acres on a hill on the outskirts of a tiny college town, Angwin, in the mountains above St Helena in Napa County.  My dad taught chemistry at the small faith-based college there.  I was still only vaguely aware that San Francisco had a professional baseball team called the Giants and a famous player named Willie Mays.  As a kid, I used to worry about a lot of things that didn't seem to bother other kids.  One of them was wildfire.  There were always lots of them in the summers but they were usually small and only rarely burned houses.  I had seen pictures of fires "topping out" in pine forests and we had a lot of pine trees up on the mountain.  It just seemed to me a matter of time before a fire got going in the forest, caught a gust of wind and burned down the whole mountain!

There was an airstrip on the mountain behind the college.  Every summer they would install a tank for mixing fire retardant and bring in 3 small biplanes to deliver it to the fires in the local area.  When I see DC 10's dropping long strips of retardant nowadays, it's almost laughable to remember how small and pathetic those little biplanes were, but I felt safer with them around.

That day, the weather was unusually hot and dry.  As evening approached, a breeze started to rustle the trees, but it was not a cool ocean breeze like we had on most days.  It was a warm, dry breeze.  The biplanes had been flying to the north all day but I had not seen any smoke.  I recall walking around our property as the sun was setting and seeing a column of smoke directly to the north.  I remember wishing the biplanes could fly at night.  It seemed to be a fair distance away and the fire sirens did not go off, so even though the thought of going to bed with a wildfire burning made me a bit uneasy, I wasn't much more worried than I ever was.  I vaguely recall waking up a couple of times during the night and hearing the wind blowing pretty hard, but still no sirens.

When I awoke the next morning, it seemed like all hell had broken loose, and quite literally.  The wind was howling so hard, it stripped the leaves off the liquid amber tree in our yard leaving the stems attached to the tree!  There was a wall of smoke to the north blowing directly west.  My mother made a some phone calls and turned on the radio.  The fire had started the day before near the base of Mt St Helena.  The fire authorities thought they had it under control, but it had flared up in the evening.  That was the smoke I saw before I went to bed.  Driven by that hellacious wind, the fire burned right through Calistoga to the outskirts of Santa Rosa in one night.  I had a few classmates from school who commute up from Calistoga and I learned they had evacuated with only enough time to grab a few clothes.  Of course, the biplanes were of no use as they could not fly in that kind of wind.  They were pathetically way too small for that job anyway.

The winds gradually died down but the offshore flow remained for several days.  It seemed like a month!  The south flank of the fire kept advancing toward Angwin.  At one point, we could see the flames from our property.  Calls went out for volunteers from the community to help out on the fire lines.  My dad went for a night shift.  I was so scared, but I was already knew how to use an ax to chop wood and I didn't see why I couldn't go too!  That was a long night.  I was afraid if the wind shifted back to a onshore flow, it would blow the fire right at us, but my dad assured me that an ocean flow would bring cooler, wetter air which would help suppress the fire.  He was right. One morning we woke up to fog and the fire was essentially out.

As you can probably tell, I still have a touch of PTSD from that experience.  I did not know that fire had a name until I researched it on the internet after the Middletown fire and I found some 50 year anniversary stories from the Napa Register.  It was the Hanley Fire.  Look it up.  It must have followed an eerily similar path as the current fire that burned from Calistoga to Santa Rosa.

Any readers here remember the Hanley Fire of 1964?

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Giants 2018 Depth Charts: Third Base

Raise your hand if you predicted this time last year that Pablo Sandoval would be the Giants starting 3B at the end of the 2017 season.  Yeah, I didn't think so.  Since the Giants have an option on Sandoval at the league minimum salary for 2018, and because Ryder Jones and Christian Arroyo need more salt in Sacramento and because the Giants are going to spend all their offseason money on a CF, it's pretty much a given that Pablo Sandoval will begin the 2018 season as the Giants starting 3B with Arroyo and Jones next in line when they show they deserve another shot.

AAA:  I don't think Jae-Gyun Hwang is going to be back next year, so there is no 3B at the AAA level other than the aforementioned Ryder Jones and Christian Arroyo.

AA:  Brandon Bednar and TJ Bennett are organizational players at this point.

High A:  Jonah Arenado has a promising bat, but I've seen him play 3B and he ain't no third baseman.  Just my opinion.

Low A:  Michael Bernal has a little pop in his bat, but not a lot else to recommend him.

Short Season:  Shane Matheny is an interesting bat from the 2017 draft who may surprise some people on 2018.  He's one of my sleeper picks.  Junior Amion just can't seem to get traction on his career.

Rookie AZL:  Jacob Gonzalez has a more advanced bat than Heliot Ramos, but may be defensively challenged at 3B.

DSL:  Samuel Jorge showed flashes, but his overall record makes him appropriate for repeating the DSL.

The burning question here is whether Christian Arroyo or Ryder Jones is the Giants 3B of the future and how soon will they be ready to take over the position and be an asset?  If either of them are, it would make sense to not pursue a long term FA deal  or a major trade for a 3B and just let Pablo be the placeholder.  Best case scenario, IMO, is if Arroyo takes over the job early in 2017 and doesn't let it go.