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.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Scouting the 2018 Draft: Jarred Kelenic

Jarred Kelenic is a HS OF/LHP from Wisconsin who might be the best position prospect in the 2018 draft.  He is a muscular 6'1", 196 lbs, B-L, T-L with 5 tools.  Here are some numbers:

FB:  91 MPH.  OF Throw:  96 MPH.

60 yd dash:  6.57.

Exit Velocity: 96 MPH.

Perfect Game raves about him:  "CF range and speed.  RF throwing arm.  Highest level defensive OF."  "Big Power when he turns on the ball.  Will let is travel and drive it into the gaps."

On video, he looks bigger than his listed dimensions.  He generates tremendous bat speed with a minimum of extraneous movements.

The first comp that entered my mind looking at the videos....dare I say this?  A left-handed Mike Trout!  That could be his ceiling.  More likely outcome would be something more along the lines of Lenny Dykstra(hopefully the player, not the person).

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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).

IMO, you could put these names in any order and have a strong argument.  All things being otherwise equal, I think you have to go with the position player over the pitchers, which is why I have Kelenic #1 here.  You could also make the argument that if all 4 are approximately equal, you address organizational needs, which for the Giants is pitching.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Scouting the Offseason: More Numbers

MLBTR has released their annual Arbitration Projections which are generally accurate.  Here is a list of Giants arbitration eligible players with their projected arbitration salary:

Will Smith LHP- $2.5 M

Cory Gearrin RHP- $1.6 M

Sam Dyson RHP- $4.6 M

Joe Panik 2B- $3.5 M

Tim Federowicz C- $1.3 M

Hunter Strickland RHP- $1.7 M

Total- $15.2 M

Comments:

-Smith, Gearrin, Panik and Strickland are no-brainers.

-Much as I am a Fedex fan, I don't think the Giants want to pay him $1.3 M.  Non-tender.

-I'm on the fence with Dyson.   I mean, he was OK as long as the Rangers were paying most of his salary, but $4.6 M?  Isn't that a bit rich for what he gives them?  Those last 2 Blown Saves were not what you want to see from a guy you are going to entrust the setup and backup Closer roles to.  On the other hand, who do they put in that role?

-Should the Giants go 1 year at a time with Panik or try for a long term team-friendly deal in exchange for security?

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Giants Depth Charts: Second Base

Joe Panik has a stranglehold on the starting 2B job.  He is entering his arbitration years, but the Giants still have time before they have to offer him a longterm contract.  Look for them to negotiate a 2-5 year deal to avoid arbitration if they can get Panik to accept team-friendly terms in exchange for security.  Depth at the MLB level is provided by Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez who is technically still a prospect with an intriguing bat and a questionable glove.

AAA:  Ali Castillo and Juan Ciriaco are strictly organizational players and are likely minor league FA's.

AA:  Myles Schroder is the only 2B listed on the roster with Rando Moreno, TJ Bennett and Brandon Bednar having some experience at the position.  All 4 are organizational players.

High A:  Jalen Miller did not put up great numbers but held his own at age 20, about 3 years under the league average.  Miller is a kid who could break out sometime in the next 2 seasons.

Low A:  Kelvin Beltre was the starting 2B for the full season and got a full season's worth of desperately needed AB's.  He needs to continue to stay healthy.  Tyler Brown's playing time has been severely limited, apparently by injuries.

Short Season:  Orlando Garcia is from Kelby Tomlinson's alma mater.  He shows intriguing power at the plate.  Kevin Rivera regressed possibly due to injury.

Rookie AZL:  DSL graduate Robert Antunez and 2017 draftee Kyle McPherson failed to make in impact although McPherson caught fire in the playoff final series against the Cubs.

DSL:  Aynesber Sivira played several positions but is listed as a 2B. He started strong but faded in the last month.  He did steal 23 bases.  Andrew Carabello, Wascar DeLeon and Martin Doria also logged playing time at 2B without showing much, at least in the stat page.

A relatively thin position in the minors but not a lot of need at the MLB level.

Scouting the 2018 Draft: Kumar Rocker

I have to confess that when I first heard about Kumar Rocker, my mental picture was of a football lineman throwing a baseball hard.  Maybe a future Closer?  When I dug into it more and watched several videos, Rocker is more like an edge rusher throwing a baseball which is a truly impressive sight!  Ethan Hankins is an exciting prospect for what he can become.  Rocker is exciting for what he already is.  While projection and upside are important considerations in scouting, If a prospect is already monstrously strong and hitting 98 MPH, projection and upside become moot issues.  We're already there!

Kumar is the son of College Football hall of famer Tracy Rocker and has a football player's body.  Outside linebacker is the position that seems to come most often to scouts minds.  At 6'5", 250 lbs, of big bones and muscle, think of a more physical version of last year's #3 overall pick, Hunter Greene.  If you watch videos of him pitching, he's lot more than just a physical specimen.  He uses his massively strong lower have to drive and easy delivery with good extension producing a fastball that explodes over the plate.  He backs that up with a sharp breaking slider and an emerging changeup.  Here is Perfect Game's scouting report:

"Physically imposing build.  Lots of lower half strength.  Low effort delivery.  Arm is fast, loose and easy.  Shows fastball command and can spot it up to both sides of the plate.  Mid-80's slider flashes sharpness.  Feel for spinning it.  Developing changeup with sinking action."

On the PG update:  "Up to 98 and now with a power breaking ball.  Fun to watch him pitch.  Dominant summer.  PG All-American."  PG has him as the top prospect in the current prep class.  He is a good student and is committed to Vanderbilt, but should sign if he's a top 5-10 pick which he easily should be barring injury.

I have to say I am blown away by this kid.  No dis to Ethan Hankins, but I'll take the present physicality over projection in a second.  Kumar is a big kid, but I see the body aging well.  He should become a SP who can take the ball every 5 games and pitch deep into games year after year.

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So, with 3 pitching draft prospect profiled so far, I'll start my draft board.  This board will be a living organism that changes as we add more profiles and go into the 2018 season and approach the draft.

DrB's 2018 Draft Board:

1. Kumar Rocker, RHP, HS.
2. Ethan Hankins, RHP, HS.
3. Brady Singer, RHP, College(Florida).

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Scouting the Offseason: Centerfield

The Giants brass has publicly identified upgrading defense in CF to be their #1 priority this offseason.  If it comes with an offensive upgrade, fine, but they won't sacrifice defense for offense.  They have also said they prefer to trade and want to get younger, which would seem to rule out Lorenzo Cain(more on him later).

Remember when the Giants had Gregor Blanco and every offseason they started with the presumption that he was a 4'th OF and every year he was a starting OF by the end of the season and into the postseason?  The Giants might be in a similar position with Gorkys Hernandez.  If you look at his Def for the season, you see a negative number, but that number includes the innings he played LF which comes with a positional penalty.  If you dig a bit deeper and look up his UZR for CF only, he is a positive defensive CF with a UZR/150 of 7.5.  He also OPS'd .735 over the last 4 months of the season.  He is having surgery to remove bone spurs or chips or something from his wrist this offseason, so that might make the Giants not want to count on him, but I think Gorkys' numbers provide a floor for what the Giants should be looking for if they want to invest money or prospects in a CF upgrade.

With that floor in mind, I sorted Fangraphs Leaders page for players with 100 or more innings played in CF last year by UZR/150.  There were only 17 players with better UZR/150 than Gorkys.  Here they are with CF Innings, UZR/150 and OPS:

Juan Lagares- 566.2, 24.7, .661.  Definitely an upgrade on D, but can't hit his way out of a paper bag.  I'll take Gorkys.  Mets would probably be willing to trade him.

Brett Phillips- 177, 20.9, .799.  Brewers are not trading Brett Phillips!

Tyler Collins- 199.2, 19.4, .611.  SSS on the UZR and doesn't hit at all.

Scott Schebler- 117.2, 17.5, .791.  Very small sample in CF.  Would the UZR hold up over a full season?

Ian Happ- 346.2, 17.0, .842.  I don't think the Cubs would trade Ian Happ, but Happ might make them think Albert Almora is expendable.  Almora's UZR is not better than Gorkys', but it is in positive territory.  He also hits better and has upside.

Michael Taylor- 940.1, 16.9, .806(19 HR, 17 SB).  Taylor is an interesting name here.  With Adam Eaton coming back next year and Victor Robles about ready to graduate to the majors, the Nats just might be willing to trade Taylor.  He won't come cheap and they might prefer to hang onto him even if he is their 4'th OF.  He's worth a tire kick or two.

Tommy Pham- 281.1, 13.7, .931.  Cardinals have a surplus of OF's, but they are more likely to want to trade Randal Grichuk or Steven Piscotty.

Aaron Hicks- 440.2, 13.5, .847.  Doubt the Yankees would trade Hicks but he'd be a nice target if they would consider it.  There's a pretty big park adjustment on offense here,

Byron Buxton- 1143, 13.1, .728.  The Twins are not going to give up on Buxton this soon.

Franchy Cordero- 192, 11.6, .699.  Young, but if he's really any good, the Padres will hang onto him.

Cameron Maybin- 450.2, 10.0, .683(10 HR).  Maybin is a FA.  He's getting a bit old and has never been able to stay healthy.  He should be fairly cheap, though, and he could provide depth and be a placeholder for Steven Duggar or Bryan Reynolds.

Billy Hamilton- 1175, 10.0, .634(59 SB).  Ron Wotus may have tipped the Giants hand in a recent interview when he brought up Hamilton as an example of the type of player the Giants want in CF.  He does not hit as well as Gorkys and his UZR/150 is only 2.5 better.   He does bring vroom though.

Leury Garcia- 406, 9.6, .739.  We're getting into territory where we would want an offensive upgrade.  I don't see Garcia as that.

Odubel Herrera- 1144, 9.3, .778.  A nice offensive upgrade on paper, but there's a significant park adjustment.

Zack Granite- 174, 8.8, .611.  SSS barely an upgrade on D and there's no stick.

Jarrad Dyson- 771.2, 8.6, .674(28 SB).  Billy Hamilton lite.  Should be an affordable FA, but is he really an upgrade over Gorkys?

Bradley Zimmer- 697.2, 8.4, .692.  Not an immediate upgrade, but interesting upside here.  Not sure if Cleveland would trade him.

Gorkys Hernandez- 331.1, 7.5, .652.  Slashed .295/.358/.377(OPS .735) after May 31. 12 SB.

Kevin Pillar- 1343.1, 7.4, .704(16 HR).  Not a defensive upgrade on Gorkys and the power would take a big hit in AT&T Park.

Albert Almora- 643, 2.3, .782.  Like his upside.

Randall Grichuk- 29, 16.1, .758.  UZR/150 was -1.7 in CF in 2016 and only played 29 innings in CF in 2017.  Hits dingers.  Probably available in trade.

Who would you like to see the Giants target for CF in 2018?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Giants Organizational Depth Charts: First Base

Brandon Belt is still the incumbent first baseman, but we have to wonder if those days may be numbered as Buster Posey played a lot more first base after Belt suffered yet another concussion with Nick Hundley taking more games as the starting catcher.  Both Buster and Manager Bruce Bochy seemed to like that arrangement, so it's possible the Giants brass may view Belt and his contract as expendable.  Pablo Sandoval can slide over to 1B when needed.  Ryder Jones got quite a bit of playing time there late in the season, but was never able to show that his bat is ready to handle MLB pitching.

AAA:  Ryan Lollis is the only 1B listed on the current Sacramento Roster and he is strictly an organizational minor league player.  Chris Shaw played LF all season but has played enough 1B that he could come up and play the position regularly if needed.  His bat seems to be about ready and is good enough to play at 1B.

AA:  Two career minor leaguers, KC Hobson and Jerry Sands are listed on the current Richmond roster.  I believe they are both minor league FA's and may or may not be in the organization next season.

High A:  Dillon Dobson showed some power for San Jose but struggled to make consistent contact.  Jonah Arenado wants to be a 3B and mostly played there in 2017, but looks more like a 1B to my eye.

Low A:  Jose Vizcaino Jr has had trouble finding traction on his pro career due to injuries.  Maybe he can find a full season of AB's in San Jose next season?  Skyler Ewing filled in at 1B when he wasn't catching.

Short Season:  2016 draftee, Ryan Kirby, didn't stick in Augusta but thrived after being moved to Salem-Keizer when their season opened.  Maybe he'll get another chance in Augusta next season?

Rookie AZL:  3 DSL graduates shared the 1B position for the AZL Giants, none of them making a strong case for promotion next spring.  I was impressed by Angeddy Almanzar's 2016 DSL campaign but he struggled in Arizona.  Nathanael Javier had his best season as a pro, but he's starting to get a bit long in the tooth for rookie ball.  Beicker Mendoza had his moments but overall struggled.

DSL:  Ismael Alcantara is one of two 1B listed on the current DSL Giants roster.  He was a $300 K bonus baby but appeared in just 3 games at the start of the season.  I assume he suffered some sort of injury and missed the rest of the season.  Omar Medina hit under .200.

Overall, first base is extremely thin in the Giants organization.  It is supposed to be an easy position to fill, but that has not been historically true for the Giants.  Brandon Belt has given the position the most stability in recent memory.   Would the Giants consider drafting a Seth Beer if they think he is the best and most advanced hitter in the draft?

Scouting the 2018 Draft: RHP Ethan Hankins

Ethan Hankins is a prep pitcher from Georgia who is at or near the top of most early draft rankings.  He's on the tall side of ideal pitcher's height at 6'6" and an unfilled out thin youthful frame at 200 lbs. He's gotten lot of attention in scouting mags like BA for dominant showcase performances including one this summer where it pitched 9 perfect frames and struck out the first 6 batters he faced.

His FB tops out at 98 MPH per PG's bio, but sits in the mid-90's.  He relies on the FB, but has enough of a curve to steal and early strike or put away a hitter.  He's also working on a changeup.

On video, he works fast and is already changing tempo in games even flirting with a few quick pitches.  He stays fairly upright throughout his motion without a lot of leg drive.  Arm extension is excellent and the delivery is easy with a mid-3/4 release point which should provide good ball movement as well as downward plane.

This kid has a high ceiling with a ton of room to fill out.  He does need to get stronger and I'm not sure it's a slam dunk he will.  Physical development and avoiding injury are the only major question marks here, the latter being a given for all pitchers.  I could see an argument for him going #1 overall,  but there is significant risk as with all HS pitchers.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Scouting the Offseason: Priorities

The Giants top brass held their annual end-of-season press conference discussing the just-ended season and what they plan to do about it.  I could not find  a full transcript of the conference so I'll be paraphrasing the takeaway quotes reported by the beat writers as well as some of their interpretations.

The top priority this offseason is improving outfield defense.  I agree this needs to be done as the Giants got out-BABIP'd this season and some of that is attributable to poor OF defense, 47 runs worth by one metric.

Larry Baer said that the Giants are willing to go over the Competitive Balance Tax threshold for the right player, but they prefer to stay under.  This means you can expect them to add about $15 M to the currently signed roster.  Although this may disappoint fans who are hoping for a Giancarlo Stanton trade or a JD Martinez signing, I don't have a problem with it.  The Giants won 3 championships without acquiring those types of players.  They can do it again and I am willing to wait a couple more seasons for it to happen.

In a likely corollary to Larry Baer's comments, Bobby Evans made it clear he wants to add players by trade rather than free agency.  The beats seem to think the primary target will be a defense oriented CF with Denard Span moving to LF and Hunter Pence's role a question mark.  Ron Wotus may have provided a window into the Giants thinking in a recent interview where he talked about how many runs a CF like Billy Hamilton could save.

Bruce Bochy is frustrated that he did not get longer looks at some of the Giants top prospects such as Christian Arroyo and Austin Slater due to injuries.  True to form, it does not sound like the Giants are ready to hand starting jobs to prospects next spring.  This may be a mistake in the long run.

My take on all of this is yes, the Giants need better OF defense, but they need more power too.  The game has changed dramatically in just 3 seasons since the last championship.  OF defense does not help you if the other teams are hitting half again as many HR's.  As I have said in the past, the two positions where they can add significant power are 3B and LF.  Moving Denard Span to LF may help the OF D, but it won't fix the power outage.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Giants Organizational Depth Charts: Catcher

Like the sands in an hourglass, time is slowly but surely running out on the catching part of Buster Posey's career, which makes the Giants Catcher of the Future search take on a bit more urgency.  Here is my take on the Giants catching depth chart at the end of the 2017 season:

MLB:  Buster Posey is still the first string catcher, but that is not nearly as set in stone as it was even 1 month ago.  Nick Hundley is a free agent, so is not on the depth chart, but by the end of the season, he was playing catcher at least as much as Buster.  Bruce Bochy seemed to be almost gushy over his newfound ability to use Buster at first base more often, and you know what?  Buster seemed to be enjoying it too!  He definitely hits better when his legs get some relief from the squaaaaaat.

With Hundley hitting free agency, Tim Federowicz takes over the back up catcher spot on the depth chart, at least until the Giants re-sign Nick Hundley.  I do wish someone would "Fedex" a serious shot at being at least a backup at the MLB level.  Count me as a "Fedex" fan.

AAA:  Not really anyone at this level to give serious depth.  Trevor Brown has MLB experience but slumped to a sub-.200 BA.  The oft-injured Jeff Arnold likewise hit under .200.

AA:  Aramis Garcia finally got the call up from San Jose and held his own amidst the toughest transition after AAA-MLB in baseball.  Consider Garcia the Giants Catcher of the Future until further notice.

High A:  Matt Winn doesn't hit for a high BA, but has a little bit of pop in the bat.  He has a rep for maturity and handling pitchers.  Has a chance to be a backup MLB catcher.

Low A:  Skyler Ewing, who did a bit of catching in college, is trying to salvage his career from behind the plate after failing to hit well enough to move up as a 1B.  He probably did well enough in this trial to move up the ladder as a catcher.  The longterm odds are against him, though.

Short Season:  Rob Calabrese, a 2017 draftee made it to Salem-Keizer and showed flashes of the offense he generated at a small college program.  He's a project.

Rookie:  Ricardo Genoves is just 18 yo and drew raves from scouts in his stateside debut.  If Aramis Garcia falters on his way to the major leagues, Genoves is probably the next best hope, but it will take a few years to develop him.  Jeffery Parra is more of a project who I am cautiously optimistic about.

DSL:  Nobody hit over .200 at catcher in 2017.

Overall this is a thin position entering a transition at the MLB level and the search for Buster Posey's successor takes on some urgency.  The Giants have a lot riding on the development of Aramis Garcia and Ricardo Genoves.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Scouting the 2018 Draft: Brady Singer

No sooner had the 2018 draft order been settled than Baseball America published their first Mock Draft with RHP Brady Singer going #1 overall to the Detroit Tigers.  By the way, BA had the Giants taking HS RHP Ethan Hankins at #2.  Between now and the draft, Singer will play his junior season for the Florida Gators college team.

Brady Singer was drafted in the second round out of high school by the Toronto Blue Jays who didn't like something they saw in his physical and he ended up not signing and going to college.  He pitched well out of the Gators bullpen his freshman year then stepped not the rotation last season giving Florida tremendous pitching depth. He really stepped it up in the College playoffs and World Series with a string of dominant starts.  Here are Singer's college stat lines:

2016:  2-2, 4.95, 43.2 IP, 17 BB, 38 K.
2017:  9-5, 3.21, 126 IP, 32 BB, 129 K.

Singer stands 6'5", 200 lbs.  He throws a mid-90's FB, a sharp slider and a changeup.  On video, he has a rather abrupt acceleration, a medium length stride and a whippy low 3/4 delivery that is somewhat on the violent side with an abrupt deceleration.  I"m no expert on pitching mechanics but I don't see a lot of leg drive and I do see a lot of stress on the arm, especially the shoulder.  I have seen his arm angle compared to Aaron Nola and I agree, but his tempo is much faster than Nola's.

The arm angle should create a lot of ball movement, especially for his slider, which I could see being romoesque, but I worry about the durability of what looks like a high stress delivery.  Keith Law sees him as a future reliever, probably due to the effort in the delivery.

I would project Brady Singer to be the most likely player in the draft to make the quickest impact at the MLB level, but I worry about the durability.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Scouting the Offseason: By the Numbers

Giants management, from Larry Baer to Bruce Bochy is saying their roster needs some major changes.  Bruce Bochy talked about attacking the offseason and being aggressive.  Yet, the current roster and MLB rules have some restrictions that give them little flexibility as the Giants have a large core of players signed to big, lengthy contracts and MLB rules for exceeding the Competitive Balance Tax threshold are more severe than ever.  So how much wiggle room do the Giants have?

Here are some numbers taken from Cot's Baseball Contracts Tax Tracker:

For CBT purposes, the Giants have $155+ M committed to 9 players.  That does not include the option for Matt Moore which would add $9 M.  It also does not include arbitration salaries for 4 players: Joe Panik, Hunter Strickland, Will Smith and Cory Gearrin which could add another $10-$12 M(my wild guess).  That gets us to $175+ M for 14 players.  Add in another $6 M for the remaining minimum salary guys and you have $180 M.  The CBT threshold for 2018 is $197 M.  So, the Giants have 3 choices:  1.  They can limit their spending to about $15 M worth of added payroll this offseason and stay around the CBT limit.  2.  They can try to shed payroll to give themselves more room to spend.  The obvious candidates for cost cutting would be Matt Moore who they could release and Brandon Belt who they could trade.  Bobby Evans has already said they will pick up Moore's option and it is doubtful they can trade Belt and his full salary until he proves he is fully recovered from his concussion.  3.  They can choose to ignore the CBT threshold and simply pay the penalties a la the Dodgers of the past few seasons.  The problem with this strategy is the penalties are more than just money now.  They include the loss or lowering of draft picks which can ultimately impact organizational talent levels.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Game Wrap 10/1/2017: Giants 5 Padres 4

The Giants fell short of winning the right to select first in the 2018 MLB Rule 4 Draft, a dubious honor they didn't seem to want any part of anyway.  Pablo Sandoval hit a walk-off HR in the bottom of the 9'th inning to complete a Giants comeback from a 4-1 deficit as several players achieved some personal milestones and stated their cases for next year in the process.  Key Lines:

Buster Posey 1B- 1 for 1, 2B, BB.  BA= .320.  I'm guessing it was no coincidence that Buster came out of the game when his BA hit exactly .320.

Brandon Crawford SS- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .253.   It was a down year for Crawford overall, quite likely in large part due to a tragedy in his family, but he finished with 2 strong months plus 1 day to give hope for a much better campaign in 2018.

Pablo Sandoval- 3B/1B- 1 for 4, HR(9).  BA= .220.  From September 8, Pablo hit .296 with 5 doubles and 3 HR's in 54 AB's and stated his case for opening the 2018 season as the Giants starting 3B.  The Giants can keep him around by exercising an option for the major league minimum salary with Boston paying the rest of what he is owed on his longterm deal with them.  The Giants should, and almost certainly will, pick up the option.  I would think Pablo's place in their plans next spring will depend largely on his ability to keep himself in playing shape.

Again, it might just be me, but I thought that Pablo initially gained some poundage after coming back to SF but then slimmed down again by the end of the season.

Johnny Cueto RHP- 5 IP, 12 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 4.52.  It will be a big surprise if Johnny Cueto opts out of his contract although the current market for pitching makes it a non-no-brainer.  If he does not opt out, the Giants owe him something like $84 M over the next 4 seasons, something I am not sure they were counting on.  They have to hope this was just a down year and he'll bounce back next season.  Have to think the anxiety of getting his dad to the states and setting up care for him through most of spring training had something to do with his regression this season.

Ty Blach LHP- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 4.78.  Whether it is competing for the 5'th starter role or the multi-inning reliever role, gotta think Blach is in the Giants plans for next season.

Steven Okert LHP- 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 5.67.  Okert's  ERA from September 1 on was 1.69 in 12 appearances covering 5.2 IP.  Definitely kept himself in the conversation for a lefty specialist role next season.

Cory Gearrin RHP- 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K. ERA= 1.99.  Gearrin faced and retired 1 batter to get his ERA below 2.00 then came out of the game.  Again, probably no coincidence he came out after the 1 batter.

Hunter Strickland RHP- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 2.64.  A reliever who can put up a 2.64 ERA while pitching over 60 innings has value, either to the Giants or another team.  Strick still struggles a bit against lefty hitting.

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The Giants Win coupled with the Tigers loss to the Twins put them in a tie for the worse record in MLB.  Since the Tigers had a worse record last year, I think by just 1 game, they get the #1 overall draft pick while the Giants will pick second.  At this point, it looks like a fairly trivial issue as there is currently no consensus #1 overall draft pick for 2018.  Last time the Giants drafted #2 overall they picked some guy named Will Clark.

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That's it folks!  Next Game Wrap will be the first exhibition game of Spring Training 2018.  Hang around this offseason for prospect reviews, Giants organizational depth charts, scouting reports on draft prospects, Hot Stove updates and finally Dr'B's annual Giants Top 50 Prospects for 2018.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Game Wrap 9/30/2017: Padres 3 Giants 2

The Giants somehow managed to pull off giving Matt Cain a career sendoff to remember AND keep the Tank Brigade happy.  Now, THAT is not an easy accomplishment!  Key Lines:

Matt Cain RHP- 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 5.43.  Talk about waking up the echoes!  Cain looked a lot like the Horse out there even if he was running on fumes in the 5'th inning.  What a triumphant exit.  Have to say I choked up a bit as he went down the hug line in the dugout and came back out for one last curtain call.  Cainer still has most of his life ahead of him.  I am sure he will find a way to live it well as he has up to this point.

One more thing:  When you factor in his postseason record, I am not so sure he doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame, but with HOF voting more and more taking on a sabermetric bent, I am sure he won't be judged as worthy by those who regard the postseason as just another small sample size.

Sam Dyson RHP- 1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 6.09.  Oh my!  Just when we think the Giants have found their backup plan for Mark Melancon, he blows 2 Saves in 2 games giving up multiple runs in both games.  In fairness, the first two hits were pure bad BABIP luck with a throwing error by Brandon Crawford thrown in, but there was nothing fluky about the 2-run double by Austin Hedges into Triples Alley.

I just don't see how the Giants can commit anymore money to the closer position this offseason, so they have to hope Melancon is fully healthy, or Dyson can pull it back together or someone else steps up, Maronta, Crick, Law?

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

The Giants Loss coupled with the Tigers win over the Twins put the Giants in the driver's seat for the #1 overall draft pick by 1 game with 1 to play. If the Giants lose tomorrow, the pick is there's no matter what the Tigers do. Unfortunately, if the Giants win and the Tigers lose tomorrow, the Tigers hold the tiebreaker and will get the first pick. The Giants are guaranteed at least the #2 pick.

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Johnny Cueto gets the final start of the season facing  Luis Perdomo.

Game Wrap 9/29/2017: Giants 8 Padres 0

The Giants unleashed a 17 hit attack to support the shutout pitching of Chris Stratton and 3 relievers after Nick Hundley won the Willie Mac Award.  Key Lines:

Joe Panik 2B- 4 for 5, 2B.  BA= .290.  Early in the season, it seemed like an open question whether the Giants wanted Panik to be their 2B next season.  There seems to be no doubt now.  .315 in the second half, .393 in September.

Buster Posey C- 3 for 4, 3 2B.  BA= .317.  Posey was driving the ball and he seems to be doing that more since cutting back on catching and playing more 1B.

Brandon Crawford SS- 3 for 5, 2B.  BA= .252.  Crawford is hitting .283 for the second half, .292 in August and .296 in September.

Pablo Sandoval 3B- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .219.  Pabs is hitting an even .300 since his 0 for 40 and .419 over his last 9 games.  His bat looked quick on a single through the left side batting RH.  Giants may decide they don't need to go after a 3B in the offseason and let Pabs be the placeholder for Christian Arroyo or Ryder Jones.

Jarret Parker LF- 2 for 4, 2B.  Kruk and Kuip were impressed by how deep he let the pitch get that he hammered into the left-center gap for the double.

Chris Stratton RHP- 6.2 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 3.68.  Stratton is pitching like a first round draft pick.  That is a nice curveball he flashed their.  Per Pavs, Fedex and Hundley have worked with him to use his 4-seamer up in the zone and back it up with that curve.  So far, it's working to get him back to what we saw in those pre-draft videos out of Mississippi St.

Kyle Crick RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 3.06.  Crick flashed a couple of very nice fading changeups to back his heater.  He should definitely be in the plans for 2018.

Josh Osich LHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 6.23.  Osich is still up and down. It looked like he was getting frustrated after allowing a baserunner, but he hung in there and preserved the shutout.

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

With the Win, the Giants fell into a tie with the Detroit Tigers in the race for the #1 overall draft pick.  They lead the Phillies by 2 games with 2 to play and have clinched no worse than the #3 pick as they lead the ChiSox by 3 games. Phillies hold the tiebreaker over the Giants. Not sure about the Tigers.

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Matt Cain makes his farewell start today against Jhoulys Chacin.

Blast From the Past: A Matt Cain Story

This is not much of a story, but I'll share it anyway because it shows why Matt Cain might be my favorite Giants player of all time.  Juan Marichal keeps giving me hard stares whenever I say that, but it's a close call between those two.  It was 2004.  The Giants were coming off 2 more heartbreaking postseason losses.  My family and I occasionally went to major league games at Dodger Stadium and once in Anaheim.  We are all big Giants fans, well, except maybe my wife who is a big Twins fan.  We had never been to a minor league game.

I always get irrationally exuberant about first round draft picks.  Cain was something like #25 overall in 2002 and considered an overdraft my most analysts, but I liked his size and profile.  He didn't make much of an impression in rookie ball as the Giants were very cautious with him.  He made 8 appearances but pitched just 19 innings.  I started to get really excited by his numbers in Hagerstown, the Giants low A affiliate at the time.  It just seemed like start after start was dominant with more than a K per IP and a low walk rate.  I was very disappointed that he got shut down early with a stress reaction in his elbow, but relieved when he showed up to start the 2004 season the next level up in San Jose.  I don't remember if he had 1 or 2 starts before the SJ Giants made their first trip to SoCal but it was early in the season and they were playing in Rancho Cucamonga.

I think my family thought I had gone completely crazy when I said I wanted to go to the game because a prospect was pitching that night who I had very high hopes for and I wanted to see him pitch in person.  They were good sports and came along with me.  We got tickets at the window for seats right next to the home plate side of the Giants dugout.  Trevor Wilson was the pitching coach.  He could see we were Giants fans by the gear we were wearing and came over to say hi.  Cain was actually a bit off that night, but his performance was a preview of his early MLB career.  He threw almost all fastballs.  Nobody made hard contact, but there were a ton of foul balls and he had to come out in the middle of the 5'th inning when he hit his pitch count.

Somewhere along the way, between innings, my younger daughter who was 11 years old held up a ball.  Trevor Wilson thought she was asking for his autograph but she shook him off and said we wanted Matt Cain's autograph.  How embarrassing!  He took it in stride and said he would send Matt over after he was done pitching.  Sure enough, after Matt came out of the game, Trevor motioned for him to come over and he signed the ball. "Matt Cain #18".  

Matt Cain wore #18 as a prospect.  When he was called up to the Giants, Moises Alou had #18 so Matt was assigned #43.  After Alou left the team, Cain got his #18 back.  We took a trip up to SF to go to a game and I bought a Matt Cain #43 shirt in the Dugout Store.  Now, that is one quality piece of merchandise!  I'm not sure how many Matt Cain #43 shirts are still out there, but I still have mine. It is my go-to shirt when I go to games or if I am watching a big game on TV.  Over the years, it may have faded just a bit, but not very much.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Down on the Farm: 2017 DSL Giants Season Review

The Dominican Summer League(DSL) is another place where age vs level is a critical metric for evaluating the health of the farm system.  Since international prospects can sign at age 16, you are looking for 17 year olds who succeed at this level and can then move on to the States for their age 18 season(although since government enforced truth-in-advertising came on the scene, the 17 yo thing suddenly became less critical as in the past, you never really knew if a prospect was really 16 when they signed.  Probably still don't, but it's less likely to be way off).  2017 would be the first pro experience for prospects signed in 2016.  The Giants were in the first year of their penalty of being limited to $300 K bonuses in 2016.  I found 2 names who got the maximum from this signing class:  SS Ghordy Santos and OF Ismael Alcantara.  Alcantara appeared in just 3 games in June then disappeared, which means he was probably injured.  Santos got off to a slow start but came on in the second half of the season.

Other 17 yo's to make on the DSL Giants roster include OF Raiber Gutierrez, 2B/3B/OF Aynesber Sivira, OF Alexander Canario, 3B Samuel Jorge, SS Andrew Caraballo, IF Enoch Watts, OF Luigi Pichardo, C Keyberth Mejia, RHP Yovanny Moronta.  Another RHP, Rafael Martinez was listed as a signing but failed to appear in any games.  Moronta was wild as a hair, walking something like 13 batters in just 2+ IP.

Key holdovers included OF Franklin Labour, OF Jose Patino, RHP Norwith Gudino and LHP Marco Gonzalez.  Loose armed Gregory Santos was added after the Eduardo Nunez trade.

Here are the Team Leaders for the 2017 DSL Giants:

AB:  Canario- 235, Sivira- 194, Labour- 186, Omar Medina- 179, Patino- 175.

Hits:  Canario- 69, Labour- 59, Sivira- 43, Gutierrez- 41, Patino- 41.

2B:  Canario- 17, Labour- 10, Ghordy Santos- 9, Wascar DeLeon- 8, Carabello- 7.

3B- Labour- 4, Canario- 4, Ghordy Santos- 3, DeLeon/Jorge/Gutierrez- 2.

HR:  Labour- 5, Canario- 5, Jorge- 2, Robinson Batista/DeLeon/Ghordy Santos- 1.

SB:  Sivira- 20, Canario- 18, Gutierrez- 18, Patino- 16, Ghordy Santos- 15.

BA:  Labour- .317, Canario- .294, Gutierrez- .275, DeLeon- .275, Martin Doria- .271.

IP:  Gudino- 74.1, Gonzalez- 69, Luis Moreno- 64, Francis Pena- 58.2, Aneudy Acosta- 54.2.

ERA:  Abel Adames- 1.50, Gudino- 1.82, Gonzalez- 1.83, Orleny Quiroz- 2.25, Lylon Lopez- 2.45.

K:  Gudino- 83, Gonzalez- 74, Pena- 60, Acosta- 53, Quiroz- 52.

Saves- Quiroz- 13, Jose Yan- 5, Adames- 3, 4 pitchers- 1.

DrB's 2017 DSL Giants MVP- Alexander Canario!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Game Wrap 9/27/2017: D'Backs 4 Giants 3

The Giants final game of the season against the D'Backs ended pretty much the same way their first one, with a Blown Save.  This time it was Sam Dyson giving up 3 in the 9'th while conjuring up memories of Mark Melancon's season debut.  The BS ruined another strong start for Jeff Samardzija. Key Lines:

Denard Span CF- 3 for 4, 2B, 3B.  BA= .270.  Span is making a case that he can hit enough to play LF next year.  He's hitting .313 on the month with a .547 SLG%.

Pablo Sandoval 1B- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .215.  And Pablo is making his case to start next season on the 25 man roster, whether we like it nor not.  He's hitting .283 since his 0 for 40 slump with 4 doubles and 3 HR's out of his 13 hits in that span.

Mac Williamson LF- 0 for 1, BB.  BA= .235.  Anyone know why Gorkys Hernandez pinch hit for Mac in the 6'th inning?  Was it an injury or did Bochy just decide he couldn't stand the site of Mac batting one more time?  Maybe his doghouse just needed a little warming up?

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 4.42.  That's pretty much the story of Shark's season.  He's been on the receiving end of a double whammy of dingers and poor run support.

Sam Dyson RHP- 0.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 5.87.  Uh-oh!  Dyson has pitched well for the Giants but between him and Melancon, the Giants closer situation next year is anything but secure.

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

With the Loss, the Giants maintained a 0.5 game lead in the race for the #1 overall draft pick over the Detroit Tigers who have lost 9 in a row.  The Phillies and ChiSox won so the Giants lead them by 2 and 3.5 games.  The Giants could still mathematically end up with the 4'th pick in the draft due to tiebreakers if the Giants swept the Padres and the ChiSox lost all 4 of their remaining games.

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Giants get the day off tomorrow before starting the final homestand of the season agains the Padres with Chris Stratton, Matt Cain and Johnny Cueto the scheduled starters.

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Matt Cain announced that Saturday's start will be his final appearance as a Giant and the final appearance of his career.  He's retiring to become just the 4'th player ever to play more than 10 seasons and play his entire career with the Giants.  What a terrific career!

Game Wrap 9/26/2017: D'Backs 11 Giants 4

The Giants won this game 4-3..... except for the Matt Moore part.   Key Lines:

Tim Fedorowicz C- 2 for 3, HR(2).  BA= .250.  I won't be complaining if the Giants find a way to bring Nick Hundley back next year, but Fedex might give them pretty much the same thing at a lower price.  I'm a big Fedex fan!  I will say, though, that if he wants a big league career, he might want to drop a pound or 20 between now and next spring.  Wow!  That is one big dude tamping down the infield dirt on his way around the bases!

Matt Moore LHP- 1.1 IP, 5 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 5.52.  We've seen more than our share of disappointing performances this season, but this line might be the most disappointing of all coming on the heels of some pretty good pitching and Bobby Evans announcing that the Giants would pick up his option.  It's hard to find words for this one.  I know there is a certain market out there for any veteran pitcher and Moore has had his moments, but my goodness!  If I'm Bobby Evans, I have to be reconsidering the promise to pick up that option.  Yeah, $9 M does not buy you much on the open baseball market these days, but couldn't it be put toward something, anything, else like maybe signing Tyler Chatwood?  It's just very hard to see any reason to be optimistic that Moore's recent success is at all sustainable after what we saw in this game.

Speaking of, maybe the Giants have already done their due diligence, but isn't it time to at least kick the tires on why this is happening?  Is he hurt?  Are there off-field issues?  Is he tipping pitches like I've suspected all season?  If you are about to invest $9 M in anything, I'd think you would want some answers not that I'm saying they don't.

Reyes Maronta RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 1.59.  Another impressive appearance for Maronta who is stating a real case to be a member of next year's Opening Day bullpen.

Kyle Crick RHP- 1 IP, 0 R, 0 B 2 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 3.16.  Cricky is nearing the finish line on a surprisingly successful season.  I'll have to go back and check but was he one of my top 50 prospects last winter?  Even Honorable Mention?

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The Giants Loss, coupled with a Phillies win, gave them sole possession of first place in the race for the #1 overall draft pick by 0.5 games over the Tigers and 1 game over the Phillies.  They lead the ChiSox by 2.5 games.

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Jeff Samardzija tries to end his season on an up note as he takes the mound for the series finale against D'Backs rookie Braden Shipley.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Game Wrap 9/25/2017: Giants 9 D'Backs 2

The Giants have won 62 games this year.  They have scored 5 or more runs in 38 of those Wins and 20 of the Wins have been by a margin of more than 3 runs.  Not sure what that means but it just seems like when they are good, they are very good.  So, I looked up their Pythagorean projection and they are only 2 games off how many they theoretically should have won.  Oh well!

Johnny Cueto lasted 6 innings and Jarrett Parker and Nick Hundley led a sustained offensive attack against the D'Backs B squad one day after they clinched a playoff berth.  Key Lines:

Hunter Pence RF- 2 for 5, HR(13).  BA= .260.  Pence is hitting .290 in September after hitting .290 in August.  He's actually hit pretty good in 4 of the months of the season but his May and July were awful.

Buster Posey C- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .315.  Buster is playing pepper with the OF's.  He is 8 for 23 over his last 6 games with 1 XBH.

Jarrett Parker LF- 3 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .250. Parker was playing pepper with the OF wall and may have left a couple of dents.  Those balls were hit hard!

Nick Hundley C- 2 for 3, HR(9), BB.  BA= .252.  In his comments after the game, Bochy sure sounded like he was ready to sign up Hundley to be the starting catcher with Buster moving over to 1B most of the time.  He said "you just don't know" when asked about whether Belt would be ready for next season.

Johnny Cueto RHP- 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 8 K.  ERA= 4.43.  Assuming Cueto does not opt out of his contract, it is important for the Giants to go into next season with confidence that he is healthy and can still be an effective SP.  He kind of showed that tonight.  Kruk and Kuip were all over him for his high pitch counts, though.

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The Win dropped the Giants back into a tie with the Phillies in the race for the #1 overall draft pick(I believe the Phillies hold the tiebreaker with a worse record last year).  The Giants are 0.5 games up on the Tigers and 2.5 up on the White Sox.

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Matt Moore tries to extend his good pitching tonight facing lefty Robbie Ray.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Game Wrap 9/24/2017: Dodgers 3 Giants 1

Clayton Kershaw induced a career high 4 GIDP's out of the Giants which helped him shut them down for 7 innings.  Mac Williamson homered to CF in the 8'th inning, but it was too little, too late.  Key Lines:

Hunter Pence RF- 3 for 4.  BA= .259.  Pence did not figure into any scoring in the game.  He was the lead runner on 2 of the GIDP's.

Mac Williamson LF- 3 for 4, HR(3).  BA= .242.  Mac also had an assist at 3B from the OF.  I STILL think Mac might be the Giants best hope for a 30 dinger/year LF, but he's out of options, so has to make the 25 man roster or be DFA'd and go through waivers.

Chris Stratton RHP- 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 2 K. ERA= 4.15.  I did not see the game, so hard to comment here.  He threw 84 pitches in the 4 innings, though, which tells you something.

Ty Blach LHP- 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 4.84.  Maybe Blach and Stratton can be tandem 5'th starters next year?

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The Loss allowed the Giants to retake sole possession of the lead for the #1 overall draft pick next year by 1 game over the Phillies and Tigers and by 2.5 games over the White Sox.

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The Giants move on to Arizona who clinched a Wild Card playoff berth today with Johnny Cueto starting game 1 of the series facing Zack Godley.

Down on the Farm: 2017 AZL Giants Season Review

Rookie or complex ball is where most teams assign HS draftees immediately after the draft for their first taste of professional ball and where DSL graduates make their entry into playing in the USA.  While most top prospect lists and farm system rankings emphasize players in the upper minors who can be expected to "graduate" within the next year or two, the longterm health of a farm system might be judged more accurately by the number of rookie ball players who are still teenagers.  Over the years, the Giants have tended to not have many of those to due to a strong emphasis on drafting college talent over HS players as well as a relatively weak international effort.  That all changed and fairly dramatically this season as the Giants used their top 3 draft picks to take HS players added to an unusually strong class of DSL graduates.

The list of teenage talent on this year's AZL Giants squad starts with OF Heliot Ramos(17) who did not turn 18 until after the season ended.  Second round pick 3B Jacob Gonzalez(19) joined him from the 2017 draft class.  DSL graduates included OF Ismael Munguia(18), OF Diego Rincones(18), C Ricardo Genoves(18), SS Jose Rivero(19), OF/1B Beicker Mendoza(19), Francisco Medina(19) and 1B Angeddy Almanzar(19).  C Jeffrey Parra(19) was a holdover from the 2016 draft class.  The pitching was generally older, but included LHP Seth Corry(18) from the 2017 draft class and Jake Greenwalt(19) from the 2016 class.

The starting lineup was augmented by 2017 college draftees OF Aaron Bond and SS Nico Giarratano while the pitching included 2017 draftees RHP Franklin Van Gurp, RHP Keenan Bartlett, LHP Joey Marciano joined later by LHP John Gavin off a successful College WS run.  Older DSL graduates included RHP Miguel Figueroa, RHP Camilo Doval, RHP Weilly Yan and RHP Olbis Parra.

Not only were the 2017 AZL Giants young, they were successful finishing with the top overall record in the AZL East at 34-22 after going 20-8 in the first half and 14-14 in the second half. They advanced to the final round of the AZL postseason where they lost to the Cubs in 3 games.

Here are the team statistical leaders:

AB:  Gonzalez- 168, Nathanael Javier- 162, Rincones- 159, Bond- 147, Munguia- 142.

H:  Gonzalez- 57, Rincones- 49, Ramos- 48, Javier- 47, Munguia- 47.

2B:  Gonzalez- 15, Javier- 14, Ramos-11, Rincones- 8, Bond- 8.

3B:  Ramos- 6, Munguia- 4, Bond- 3, Nick Hill- 3, Javier/Kyle McPherson- 2.

HR:  Bond- 8, Ramos- 6, Rincones- 3, Genoves- 2, Alcanzar- 2.

Runs:  Ramos- 33, Munguia- 31, Bond- 26, Gonzalez- 23, Genoves/Javier- 20.

RBI:  Rincones- 34, Bond- 31, Ramos- 27, Gonzalez- 21, Munguia/Genoves- 19.

SB:  Ramos- 10, Mikey Edie- 10, Hill- 9, Munguia- 8, Giarratano- 8.

BA:  Edie- .394, Ramos- .348, Gonzalez- .339, Munguia- .331, Rincones- .308.

OBP:  Edie- .444, Gonzalez- .418, Ramos- .404, Munguia- .398, Giarratano- .375.

SLG%- Ramos- .648, Bond- .565, Gonzalez- .458, Munguia- .458, Edie- .455.

IP:  Greenwalt- 49, Sidney Dupree- 47, Figueroa- 44.2, Yan- 33.2, Doval- 32.1.

ERA:  Van Gurp- 0.92, Bartlett- 1.53, Marciano- 1.57, Yan- 3.21, Doval- 3.90.

K:  Doval- 51, Yan- 43, Van Gurp- 41, Greenwalt- 41, Figueroa- 38.

Saves:  Parra- 8, Van Gurp- 2, Doval/Yan/Bartlett/Gavin- 1.

Game Wrap 9/23/2017: Giants 2 Dodgers 1

Gorkys Hernandez had a big night and scored both of the Giants runs to support a Dominant Start by Madison Bumgarner and a shutdown 9'th inning from Sam Dyson as the Giants evened their final series with the Dodgers.  Key Lines:

Gorkys Hernandez LF- 3 for 4, 2 2B, BB, SB(12).  BA= .258.  Hernandez had been hampered by a sore wrist most of September, but he shook that off to lead the offense.

Denard Span CF- 3 for 4, SB(11).  BA= .268.  Apparently the plan is to move Span to LF next year and go after a CF on the offseason.  I agree the Giants need better defense in CF, but Span is not what they need out of LF which is 30 HR's.

Buster Posey C- 2 for 4.  BA= .316.  Buster's season rolls on.  Love to see more power, but hey, a .300+ BA and .400+/- OBP with great catching defense is nothing to scorn.

Madison Bumgarner LHP- 7.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.32.  While I am a marginal member of the Tank Brigade, I do think it's important for the Giants to have confidence that Bumgarner is fully healthy going into next season, which he certainly seems to be.

Sam Dyson RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, Save(14).  ERA= 5.40.  It's also important for the Giants to have confidence in Dyson as either a closer or setup man going into next season.  I know the Dodgers did not have anything to play for in this game, but they have been so hard to close out all season, this Save impressed me.

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With the Win, the Giants fell into a tie with the Phillies in the race for the #1 overall draft pick.  They lead the White Sox by 1 game and the Tigers by 1.5 games.  While it's nice to control your destiny with the first pick, there is currently no clear #1 draft prospect out there, so it's really no big deal other than an extra $ million or 2 which could theoretically be used to sign a HS player or two away from school down in the draft, although most of the extra $$$ would likely go to the top pick.

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Chris Stratton tries for a series win and to send a message for next season in the series and season finale agains the Dodgers facing Clayton Kershaw who will likely not stay in there longer than 5 innings or 70 pitches.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Game Wrap 9/22/2017: Dodgers 4 Giants 2

The Giants did not play well and the Dodgers clinched the NL West Division title, but at least it was on their own field.  Key Lines:

Gorkys Hernandez CF- 1 for 3, BB, SB(11).  BA= .252.  Hernandez led the game off with a bunt single, stole 2B and scored on Buster Posey's line drive single up the middle to give the Giants an early lead.  That was the last run the Giants scored until the 9'th inning.

Pablo Sandoval 3B- 1 for 4, HR(8).  BA= .213.  Sandoval has a 4 game hit streak in which he is 8 for 15 with 2 doubles and 2 dingers.

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 4.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 4.51.  Dingers have been Shark's nemesis and 3-run dingers will kill you.  He gave up a 3-run dinger to Bellinger in a the 4-run 3'rd inning.

Josh Osich LHP- 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 6.31.  Osich' first appearance in 10 days and it was dominant.  He struck out Yasmani Grandal with the bases loaded to end the 5'th inning and then sailed through the 6'th.  This was his second scoreless appearance after a series of rough outings early in September in which he couldn't get anybody out.

Reyes Maronta RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 1.93.  Seems like Maronta must be forcing himself into a crowded mix for next year's bullpen.

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With the Loss, the Giants maintained their lead in the race for the #1 overall draft pick by 1 game over the Phillies, 2 games over the Detroit Tigers and 2.5 games over the White Sox.

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Madison Bumgarner takes on Hyun-Jin Ryu in game 2 of the weekend series today.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Down on the Farm: 2017 Salem-Keizer Volcanoes Season Review

Short Season A ball is where the better college draftees generally get assigned for the professional debuts.  This year's Salem-Keizer squad featured several 2017 draftees including OF's Bryce Johnson and Logan Baldwin, IF's Orlando Garcia and Shane Matheny, C Rob Calabrese and DH Michael Sexton.  There was an AZL graduate from 2016, Malique Ziegler manning CF and a couple of backsliders from Augusta in 1B Ryan Kirby and SS Manuel Geraldo.

The pitching staff was headed by Stetson Woods starting his 3'rd full season after doing absolutely nothing in his last 2 with the AZL Giants.  There were a trio of DSL Graduates in Julio Benitez, Jose Marte and Alejandro De La Rosa.  Draftees Peter Lanoo, Jason Bahr, John Russell and Garrett Cave were later additions.

Like most other Giants minor league affiliates, the Volcanoes finished with the worst record in their league with a 29-47 record.  Woods and Ziegler started out strong but faded badly in the second half.  Johnson and Baldwin hit for average and Garcia showed some interesting power potential.  International pitchers were inconsistent and the draftees were disappointing.  Here are the team leaders by category:

AB:  Geraldo- 276, Kirby- 276, Ziegler- 254, Johnson- 222, Garcia- 190.

H:  Geraldo- 83, Kirby- 77, Johnson- 73, Baldwin- 63, Ziegler- 61.

2B- Kirby- 16, Baldwin- 11, Garcia- 10, Ziegler- 9, Geraldo- 8.

3B- Ziegler- 5, Kevin Rivera- 4, Baldwin- 2, Johnson- 2, 8 Players- 1.

HR:  Kirby- 8, Garcia- 6, Ziegler- 5, Baldwin- 3, Geraldo- 3, Gustavo Cabrera- 3.

SB:  Ziegler- 26, Johnson- 25, Geraldo- 23, Baldwin- 17, Kirby- 10.

Runs:  Kirby- 51, Ziegler- 46, Johnson- 41, Geraldo- 38, Baldwin- 38.

RBI:  Kirby- 65, Geraldo- 40, Garcia- 33, Baldwin- 25, Ziegler- 24.

BA:  Baldwin- .342, Johnson- .329, Geraldo- .301, Matheny- .284, Kirby- .279.

OBP:  Johnson- .400, Baldwin- .395, Matheny- .381, Calabrese- .369, Garcia- .366.

SLG%:  Baldwin- .473, Kirby- .424, Garcia- .416, Rivera- .397, Ziegler- .374.

IP:  Benitez- 69, Woods- 64.1, Marte- 54, De La Rosa- 49.1, Luis Pino- 48.

ERA:  Russell- 1.99, Logan Webb- 2.89, Woods- .336, Bahr- 3.55, DLR- 4.01.

K:  DLR- 57, Woods- 48, Marte- 42, Russell- 37, Pino- 37.

Saves:  Russell- 4, Cave- 3, 7 Pitchers- 1.

DrB's 2017 Volcanoes MVP:  Ryan Kirby

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Game Wrap 9/20/2017: Giants 4 Rockies 0

Matt Moore did not allow a run for the first time this season as a SP while Joe Panik continued his hot  hitting to lead the Giants offense to complete a 2 game sweep of the Rockies.  Key Lines:

Joe Panik 2B- 3 for 4, 2B, 3B.  BA= .291.  Panik has been en fuego since he started choking up on the bat.  Is it too late for him to make a run at .300?  Will this hotness carry over into next season?

Brandon Crawford SS- 1 for 3, HR(14), BB.  BA= .246.  Crawford leads the team in doubles and is second in HR's.

Pablo Sandoval 3B- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .212.  Sandoval is 7 for 11 with 2 doubles and a dinger in his last 3 games.

Matt Moore LHP- 6 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 5.20.  Moore has a 2.84 ERA in September.  I'd say that bodes well for next season, but he was pretty good down the stretch last year too.

Steven Okert LHP- 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 5.88.  Okert came in with 2 runners on base and no outs in the 7'th inning.  He struck out the RH hitting Pat Valaika and got Charlie Blackmon to ground into a force out.

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The Giants win coupled with a win by the Phillies(over the Dodgers) and a loss by the ChiSox leaves the Giants 1 game ahead of the Sox for the #1 overall draft pick(2 in the loss column) and 1.5 games ahead of the Phillies and 2.5 games ahead of the Tigers, who also lost.

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The Giants get a day off before heading south to Dodger Stadium for a weekend series against the Dodgers with Jeff Samardzija facing Rich Hill in game 1.

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Brandon Belt appears to be feeling better and was running on the field today before the game.  He won't be playing again this year as he was moved to the 60 day DL to make room for waiver pickup RHP Pierce Johnson.

Game Wrap 9/19/2017: Giants 4 Rockies 3

Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval led the Giants offense in support of a QS by Johnny Cueto ending in a walk-off win and a Sac Fly by Pence.  Key Lines:

Hunter Pence RF- 1 for 4, HR(12), SF.  BA= .260.  The dinger was a long one for the Big Guy that landed halfway up the screen over the herb garden in CF.  The SF came with no outs and the bases loaded in the 9'th for the walkout.  The rally started with a squib hit by Pablo Sandoval followed by an attempted Sac that turned into an IF hit for Ryder Jones, then a slap hit by Kelby to set up Pence.

Denard Span CF- 1 for 4, SB(10).  BA= .265.  Span gets his second consecutive 10-10 season.

Buster Posey C- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .315.  Posey's season keep chugging along.  Maybe a questionable pitch call on the double by Parra off Hunter Strickland.  Maybe it would have worked without a location mistake but it sure looked like that was the pitch Parra was expecting.

Pablo Sandoval 1B- 3 for 4.  BA= .207.  Pabs is 5 for 7 in his last 2 games and hit the ball hard twice in the game before that.  Not sure it that is good or bad for the future of the Giants.

Johnny Cueto RHP- 6.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 4.49.  Cueto started this game off like he ended his previous start, throwing lots of pitches.  He had 50 by the end of the second inning.  He settled down and threw just 55 more over the next 4.2 innings and looked a lot like the Johnny Cueto of last year.  If he's not going to opt out of his contract, at least Giants fans can have some hope that next year will be  better and the rest of his contract won't be a sunk cost.

Steven Okert LHP- 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 6.04.  Okert has a 2.25 ERA in 8 appearances, 4 IP, in September.  He's allowed 1 ER and and 1 unearned run.  He's allowed baserunners in just 2 of those appearances, mostly as a strict LOOGY.  Ideally, Bochy will want 2 lefties in the bullpen next season and Will Smith is not a lock to be ready at the start.  The Giants could acquire one in the offseason, but Okert may be taking some of that pressure off with his September performance.

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The Phillies beat the Dodgers, so the Giants remain 1.5 games ahead of them in the race for the #1 overall draft pick.  The ChiSox lost and are now just 2 games behind the Giants. The Tigers lost and are 3.5 games back.

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Matt Moore tries for the 2 game series sweep this afternoon facing Giants Killer Tyler Chatwood.  BTW, Chatwood is a FA after the season.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Down on the Farm: 2017 Augusta Greenjackets Season Review

I was going to write a post about Ryan Vogelsong but I could not think of anything to say I haven't already written 10 times.  You all know the story by heart anyway.  You have probably already passed it on to your children and possibly grandchildren to be handed down to future generations of Giants fans into eternity.  So, back to the grindstone!

Low A ball is where good HS draftees are assigned the spring after they are drafted.  It's a big jump and many struggle at this level.  The SAL is generally a pitcher-friendly league and Augusta might be the most pitcher friendly venue in the league.  Many a young hitter has foundered there and others have had to take a step back before moving forward again.  You may recall that both Christian Arroyo and Ryder Jones washed out completely and were reassigned to Salem-Keizer before jumping going to San Jose the following season.

The biggest story line from day 1 was Sandro Fabian a 19 yo international OF who gained some national recognition as an 18 yo in the AZL.  Kelvin Beltre is a bit older than Fabian but he had lost the major parts of 2 seasons to injuries.  He desperately needed a full season's worth of AB's.  Minor league veteran Skyler Ewing decided to try to revive his career by taking up catching, a position he played a bit of in college at Rice.  Three 2017 college draftees, Jacob Heyward, Michael Bernal and Brandon Van Horn were also assigned to Augusta along with an assortment of minor league veterans.

On the pitching side,  lefty Dominic Mazza was a holdover from 2016 while college draftees DJ Myers, Steven WoodsGarrett Williams, Caleb Baragar and reliever Patrick Ruotolo got conservative assignments for their first pro seasons.  Hard throwing international signees Melvin Adon and Raffi Vizcaino rounded out the pitching staff.  

This collection of talent, like several other Giants affiliates, finished with the worst record in the league at 55-80.  Here are the statistical leaders of the 2017 Augusta Greenjackets:      

AB:  Fabian- 486, Beltre- 423, Heyward- 359, Jose Vizcaino Jr.- 309, Ewing- 297.

Hits:  Fabian- 133, Beltre- 107, Viz Jr- 81, Heyward- 80, Jean Angomas- 77.

Doubles:  Fabian- 31, Beltre- 24, Ewing- 21, Viz Jr- 17, Heyward- 16.

Triples- Angomas- 3, 7 players- 2.

HR:  Ewing- 13, Fabian- 11, Heyward- 10, Beltre- 6, Frandy De La Rosa- 5.

SB:  Cristian Paulino- 30, Beltre- 15, Dunston Jr- 13, Ashford Fulmer- 13, Van Horn- 11.

Runs:  Beltre- 65, Fabian- 51, Ewing- 48, Heyward- 40, Viz Jr- 34.

RBI:  Fabian- 61, Ewing- 47, Heyward- 45, Beltre- 37, Viz Jr- 34.

BA:  Angomas- .292, Fabian- .277, Paulino- .271, Bernal- .267, Viz Jr/Van Horn- .262.

OBP:  Ewing- .359, Bernal- .349, Paulino- .343, Angomas- .338, Carlos Garcia- .331.

SLG%- Ewing- .455, Fabian- .408, FDLR- .372, Paulino- .371, Bernal- .369.

IP:  Mazza- 119.1, Barattar- 114.2, Woods- 110.0, Adon- 99.1, Myers- 78.1.

ERA:  Conner Kaden- 0.47, Ruotolo- 1.66, Nolan Riggs- 2.13, Williams- 2.25, Woods- 2.95.

K's:  Woods- 113, Mazza- 97, Adon- 89, Baragar- 81, Vizcaino- 74.

Saves:  Ruotolo- 17, Riggs- 3.

DrB's MVP:  Sandro Fabian!

-Mazza pitched a perfect CG early in the season.  Finally got a late season promo to SJ.

-Garrett Williams tamed his control/command issues and made a successful midseason jump to SJ.  

-Skyler Ewing's career will probably live to see another season, possibly in San Jose.                          

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Game Wrap 9/17/2017: Giants 7 D'Backs 2

Chris Stratton honored Ryan Vogelsong's retirement with a Vogey-like performance and the Giants avoided a sweep by the D'Backs.  Key Lines:

Joe Panik 2B- 2 for 4.  BA= .289.  Is there enough time left for Panik to hit .300 on the season?

Austin Slater LF- 1 for 2, 2 BB.  BA= .282.  The Giants could do worse than simply handing the LF keys to Austin Slater for 2018.   He keeps doing good things.

Jarrett Parker RF- 2 for 3.  BA= .250.  Do the Giants see Parker as a strictly platoon player?  Kelby Tomlinson PH for him in the 7'th with no outs and the bases loaded and lefty TJ McFarland on the mound.  D'Backs countered with RHP Jake Barrett and Kelby hit a SF.  It worked out, but I find that whole sequence odd.

Pablo Sandoval 1B- 2 for 3, HR(7), SF.  BA= .197.  Sandoval was the hitting hero of the game with 3 RBI's.  He hit the ball hard in game 2 of the series so maybe this is a true breakout from his epic slump.  If so, I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing for the Giants future.

Chris Stratton RHP- 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.94.  This was an important start for Stratton.  His last full start on September 4 lasted just 4 innings and he gave up 3 runs.  Then he faced just one batter in the rain delayed game recording a K.  This game showed some resiliency which I think bodes well for the future.  BTW, Stratton said after the game that Vogey offered some words of encouragement before the game.

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The Win coupled with the Phillies loss reduced the Giants lead in the race for the #1 draft pick to 1 game(2 on the loss column).  The ChiSox lost so they are 3 games back while the Tigers beat the ChiSox and remain 5 games behind the Giants for the worst record in baseball.

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The Giants get a day off at home tomorrow before starting a 2 games series against the Rockies with Johnny Cueto facing German Marquez.

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In a fitting ending to one of the greatest baseball stories I know of, Ryan Vogelsong fulfilled another long held dream to retire as a Giant.  He took the mound wearing his #32 uniform with his wife, Nicole, looking on, just as she did the first time he walked off the mound at AT&T Park to a standing ovation.  This time his son, Ryder, was at his side and he got another standing O.   There will be more of those at 2012 and 2014 team reunions, but this one was special, just like the first one.  More on Vogey and his career in another post.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Game Wrap 9/16/2017: D'Backs 2 Giants 0

Madison Bumgarner gave up a 2-run HR to Paul Goldschmidt in the first inning and that was the difference in the ballgame as the Giants offense could muster just 2 hits against Zack Greinke and Fernando Rodney.  Key Lines:

Madison Bumgarner LHP- 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 3.48.  A much better performance than his last game, but still a loss without a whiff of run support.  At least we know Bummy is OK and the poor start in Chicago was an isolated event.

Zack Greinke RHP(D'Backs)- 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 2.87.  Greinke is a very good pitcher having a  very good season so it's not surprising he would shut down a moribund Giants offense.  Giants have their work cut out trying to figure out how to improve this lineup for next season.

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Chris Stratton will hope he has better weather than he did for his last start which lasted 1 batter(he struck that batter out). He will face Taijuan Walker in the series finale tomorrow afternoon.

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The Giants extended their lead in the race for the #1 overall draft pick to 2 games over the Phillies and 4 over the White Sox and remain 5 games up on the Tigers who have the 4'th worst record in baseball.

Down on the Farm: 2017 San Jose Giants Season Review

High A is an appropriate placement first full season placement for top college draftees and is thus a nice early barometer for how well those draft picks are working out.  The 2017 San Jose Giants started the season with a nice contingent of 2016 draftees including a trio of OF's, 2'nd rounder and top pick Bryan Reynolds, Heath Quinn and Gio Brusa as well as IF Ryan Howard and P's Matt Krook and Conner Menez.  Aramis Garcia was a holdover due to an early season-ending injury in 2016.  Promotions from the 2016 Augusta Greenjackets included IF's Dillon Dobson and Jalen Miller.  Last year's team MVP Jonah Arenado stayed on in 2017 as he was young for the level and deemed not ready to handle AA pitching.  At 20 yo, Miller was one of the younger players in the Cal League.  The rest of the pitching consisted mainly of minor league veterans who pitched for Augusta in 2016.  Later additions included LHP Garrett Williams and several big hard throwing relievers including Dylan Rheault, Will LaMarche and Michael Cederoth.

Reynolds, Howard and Garcia hit well all season long with Garcia finally getting the promo to Richmond later in the season.  Arenado came on strong in the second half.  Quinn was slowed by injuries.  Brusa hit for power but struggled to make contact and in the field and ended up mostly DH'ing by the end of the season.  Miller hit in the low .200's all season but improved modestly at the end and most importantly got a second full season's worth of pro AB's.  Don't give up on this kid.  He has some tools and is still very young for the level.  As a whole, the team struggled to a Cal League worst 62-78 mostly due to lack of consistent pitching.  About the best we can say of the pitching is Garrett Williams and Matt Krook both made progress in controlling their pitches which is not nothing as both are believed to have high ceilings.

Here are the team statistical leaders for 2017:

AB:  Howard- 526, Reynolds- 491, Arenado- 488, Miller- 431, Dobson- 428.

Hits:  Howard- 161, Reynolds- 153, Arenado- 131, Brusa- 101, Dobson- 100.

2B:  Arenado- 36, Brusa- 28, Reynolds- 26, Miller- 25, Howard- 21.

3B:  Reynolds- 9, Arenado- 4, Miller- 4, Ronnie Jebavy- 4, Dobson- 4.

HR:  Brusa- 17, Garcia- 17, Dobson-15, Arenado- 13, Reynolds/Quinn- 10.

SB:  Jebavy- 15, Howard- 7, Steven Duggar- 7, Miller- 6, Reynolds- 6.

Runs:  Reynolds- 72, Arenado- 67, Miller- 61, Howard- 59, Brusa- 58.

BA:  Reynolds- .312, Howard- .306, Danial Carbonell- .304, Garcia- .272, Duggar- .270.

OBP:  Reynolds- .364, Duggar- .361, Howard- .342, Carbonell- .338, John Polonius- .327.

SLG%- Garcia- .487, Carbonell- .486, Duggar- .470, Reynolds- .462, Arenado- .439.

IP:  Menez- 114.1, Mark Reyes- 101.0, Jake McCasland- 101.2, Michael Connolly- 94.2, Krook- 91.1.

ERA:  Ryan Halstead- 1.11, Williams- 2.45, Carlos Dias- 2.47, Rheault- 2.70, Cederoth- 3.20.

K:  Krook- 105, Menez- 99, McCasland- 95, Caleb Simpson- 80, Grant Watson- 69.

Saves:  Rheault- 21, Halstead- 8, LaMarche- 2.

DrB's 2017 San Jose Giants Team MVP- Bryan Reynolds.

Game Wrap 9/15/2017: D'Backs 3 Giants 2

Jeff Samardzija threw another Quality Start but also lost again as the Giants offense could not get over the hump.  Key Lines:

Joe Panik 2B- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .287.  Panik is hitting .438 through the first 15 days of September.

Hunter Pence RF- 2 for 3, 2B.  BA= .260.  Pence is showing he may have something left in the bat, but he had a rough night in the OF.  In fairness, those were tough balls to catch, but it seemed like Gorkys Hernandez had no trouble getting to one that looked similar.  Pence took a stumble on a close play at 1B and came up holding his right hand or wrist.  He later exited the game but reportedly with back spasms from a tumble in the OF.

Gorkys Hernandez RF- 0 for 0.  BA= .251.  Hernandez entered the game to replace Pence minutes after Amy G reported that he was unavailable.  After the game, Bochy clarified that he was not available to hit, but could play D and pinch run.  Jarrett Parker PH for Hernandez when his turn to hit arrived.  Which raises the question:  How deep is Mac Williamson in Bochy's doghouse if he didn't even get the call when Pence was injured?

Which raises another question:  Who are the two players who squawked to the press about feeling like they can't do anything to please Bochy?  When Bochy was asked why he put Gorkys out there with a sore wrist, his response is he wanted to keep a couple of guys on the bench- to give him options.  Who were the guys still on the bench?  Did Boch add the "options" phrase as an afterthought when he realized how the keeping a couple of guys on the bench might be interpreted?  Are we parsing words a bit too much here?

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 8 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 4.42.  That's an 8 inning QS that went for naught.

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Madison Bumgarner tries to bounce back from his last start this evening facing Zack Greinke.

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With the Loss, the Giants remain in first place in the race for the #1 draft pick leading the Phillies by 1 game(2 on the loss column), the ChiSox by 3 games and the Tigers by 5.