Friday, February 21, 2020

Scouting the 2020 Draft: Elijah Nunez

Elijah Nunez OF, HS.  B-L, T-L.  5'9", 165 lbs.

Elijah Nunez is like a small engine wound tight.  Small body, big power.  PG does not have a profile on him, but I found some data on another scouting report:  6.4 60 yd dash, 90 MPH throws, 93 MPH exit velocity.  Fangraphs Boys say "squatty center fielder has plus speed, sneaky strength and feel to hit."  Ceiling may be limited by size.  I could see him having a Gregor Blanco type career.  Committed to TCU.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Spring Training Update: Out of Left Field...

So, let's start with a list of who played LF for the Giants last year by number of games played at the position:

Mike Yastrzemski 61.
Alex Dickerson 44.
Tyler Austin 22.
Gerardo Parra 20
Joey Rickard 20
Brandon Belt 14
Mac Williamson 13
Yangervis Solarte 9
Stephen Vogt 7
Connor Joe 5
Mike Gerber 5
Austin Slater 2
Abiatal Avelino 1.

Now, that is quite a list, huh?  7 of those 13 players are not in the organization at this time.  I think we can also check off Avelino and Belt from being serious contenders for significant playing time at the position.  That leaves YtY, Dick, Rickard and Slater as holdovers from last year. The Giants went out and added Hunter Pence on a guaranteed contract and Chris Shaw played a lot of LF in AA and AAA last season.  You can add Jamie Westbrook as a non-roster invitee to the mix but with close to zero chance of making the Opening Day Roster.

Mike Yastrzemski:  We've already covered him in the CF and RF posts.  Can play any of the 3 OF positions and was the Giants best overall of last season.  The weird part of his situation is he may be the Giants second choice to start at all 3 OF positions which means he could play an OF utility role or even get sent to Sacramento on one of his 3 options!

Alex Dickerson:  I think just about everybody's dream is for Dickerson to be healthy for a full season and see if he can rake the whole time the way he did for 30 games in June and July of last season when it looked like his bat just might carry the Giants to the postseason.  That's the big if with Dick. Last season was the first he played since 2016 and he was only fully healthy for a little over 1 month. He also has fairly extreme L-R splits so needs a platoon partner if he's the starter in LF.

Hunter Pence:  Pence could be a high profile short end of a strict L-R platoon in LF, but I'm sure he has designs on being out there every day.  He'll likely perform better at his age with a healthy number of days off.

Joey Rickard:  Rickard looked like a promising platoon partner for Dick, but the acquisition of Hunter Pence probably buried him.  He could conceivably partner with YtY in CF if Billy Hamilton's bat proves to still be a wet noodle in spring games.

Austin Slater:  Unfortunately a lot of bad things would have to happen for Slater to make the team as an OF which is why he is slated to play a lot of IF in spring games. He appears to be pretty far down the depth chart at all positions.  Likely to get hit with his last option and sent out to Sacramento.

Chris Shaw:  Will start the season in Sacramento barring multiple disasters to other players.

Jamie Westbrook:  Will be lucky to survive The Churn and start the season in Sacramento or Richmond.

Putting It All Together:  Seems like the ideal situation is for Dickerson and Pence to form a platoon with Pence maybe getting more playing time than a strict R-L platoon would give him.  If Dickerson gets hurt again or does a faceplant in the spring, look for YtY to move back to where he played the most last season.  Joey Rickard is insurance for Pence's side of the platoon.

Scouting the 2020 Draft: Yohandy Morales

Yohandy Morales SS/3B, HS.  B-R, T-R.  6'4", 200 lbs.

Based on physical projection alone, Yohandy Morales would easily be a top 15 draft pick or even top 10.  He's a HS SS with athletic actions and range to play SS at higher levels.  Other than his sheer size, the concern is with his arm which scouts OK but does not look good on radar guns which also raises concerns about his ability to play 3B.  he does have speed(6.76 60 yd dash) to play OF, but again, the arm may limit him to LF.  The other issue is a swing that I would describe as undisciplined.  There is a lot of bat waggle in the windup and a bit of arm-barring, a controversial action which may or may not doom a hitter.  Morales swing looks long on videos, though.

The physical projection is tough to ignore, though.  A team who believe in it and in their player development program could have him in the top 15 of their draft board. Otherwise, he's an intriguing lottery ticket for rounds 2 or 3.

Spring Training Update: Who's Right for Right Field?

Right Field was Hunter Pence territory from 2012 through 2017 when he was healthy.  Age and eroded his defensive skills and Pence is not pretty much limited to LF.  Last year's Opening Day starter in RF was the unforgettable Michael Reed which did not last long.  Kevin Pillar was put out there to keep Steven Duggar's superior D in CF, but Pillar was not comfortable with the position and eventually took over CF.  That left Mike Yastrzemski to get most of the innings in right with a cameo from Jaylin Davis at the end of the season.

Right Field in Oracle Park is unique due to the short wall and endless grass in Triple Alley.  Ideally you need a guy with enough speed and range to play CF in the position as the Giants have come to play Triples Alley like straightaway CF except for the RF to cover.  Remember Gregor Blanco's catch to save Matt Cain's perfect game?  How much that will change with the new field dimensions remains to be seen.

With that background, let's break down the RF candidates for 2020:

Mike Yastrzemski:  We already talked about YtY in the Centerfield post, but he's probably be more likely to play RF in 2020 than CF.  One problem is as the Giants add talent in the rebuild, YtY may find himself in a tweener state:  Not enough bat for a corner OF and not enough D to play CF.  It's just going to be hard for the Giants to not start him somewhere after what he did last season. How it plays out will be fascinating.  If Jaylin Davis blows everybody away with a monster spring, does that force YtY to CF?  But what if Billy Hamilton suddenly starts hitting line drives all over the field and drawing walks?  Isn't he the superior defensive CF?  Does YtY have enough juice in the bat to bump Dick to the bench in LF?  And anyway, I'm writing YtY way too often here!

Jaylin Davis:  Davis might be the closest the Giants have to a true 5-tool player in camp.  Well, Mauricio Dubon might have something to say about that, but Davis is the guy you can dream on having a huge breakout while taking over RF in Oracle park.

Austin Slater:  Slater is the forgotten man in The Churn.  The talk right now is he is going to be getting innings at all 4 IF positions so he can be a super-utility player, but wait, I thought that was Mauricio Dubon's role!  Or maybe Wilmer Flores!  Slater still has to overcome a horrendous GB tendency and believe it or not, he still has an option, so it would take some combination of several injuries and faceplates by other players for him to make the team.

Putting It Together:

That's really it right there.  I think it's going to be either Davis or YtY or a platoon of both starting in RF for the Giants in 2020.  Davis is the guy I think FZ wants to grab the position with a great spring and not let it go.  If he does that, Yastrzemski either moves over to CF or becomes 4'th OF moving among all 3 OF positions waiting for an opening.  If Davis has a weak spring, he'll get optioned to Sacramento to keep working on his swing path with Yaz The Younger taking RF with an occasional day off against LHP's. Austin Slater is depth and will most likely start the season in Sacramento barring injuries or faceplants to other players ahead of him on the depth charts.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Scouting the 2020 Draft: Aaron Sabato

Aaron Sabato 1B, College(North Carolina).  B-S, T-R.  6'2", 230 lbs.

2019:  .343/.453/.696, 25 2B, 3B, 18 HR, 39 BB, 56 K, 230 AB.

Aaron Sabato has prodigious power.  He recorded an exit velocity of 103 MPH in high school.  Hits well enough to tap into the power.  Played SS in HS with a projection of 3B, but has been limited to 1B and DH in college.  Kind of hard to imagine him playing anywhere else despite his athleticism.  May be tough to sign as a draft eligible sophomore.  Could be attractive as a second round value to a team looking for a big bat that doesn't care where he plays.  Slow start to his sophomore season going 1 for 14 with a 2B in the first 4 games of the season.

Spring Training Update: Put Me In, Coach, I'm Ready To Play.....Centerfield!

Quick trivia question:  Who was the Giants Opening Day starting CF in 2019?  If you answered Steven Duggar, you are correct.  He was flanked by the unforgettable Conner Joe in LF and Michael Reed in RF.  That, of course, didn't last long.  FZ hit the button on a trade he had contemplated for awhile bringing in Kevin Pillar who proceeded to have one of the strongest seasons of his career capped with wining the Willie Mac Award.  Pillar was arbitration eligible which is kind of a pain in the neck, but it's not free agency and we all kind of assumed he would be back in CF on Opening Day 2020 even if he was midseason trade bait.

Then we started hearing stories about Mauricio Dubon taking reps in CF and other stories about how the Giants wanted to look at younger players and see what they could do.  That all turned out to be a lot more than just posturing and Pillar was not offered arbitration.  So who is going to be the Opening Day starting CF in 2020?  Let's break it down:

Mike Yastrzemski:  Penciling YtY in CF made a lot of sense, if you believed the Giants were going to bring in a slugging corner OF.  YtY didn't play out there much last year but played about 1/3 of his minor league games in CF.  The bat is marginal for a corner OF, but could be excellent as a CF.  FZ seemed to promote this idea early in the Hot Stove season, but those rumors have faded of late.

Mauricio Dubon:  Last year's heir apparent to Joe Panik at 2B, possibly for the next 5-6 seasons, has been pushed so far down the depth chart there, he's gone from taking an occasional inning in CF to being more of an OF than a multi-positional utility player.  Could Dubon actually be the starting CF on Opening Day?  Will he even be on the active 26-man roster?  BTW, anyone know the depth chart for the 26'th man on the roster?  I've counted no less than 4 players who it's been said might have a chance for a roster spot because of that 26'th spot.

Steven Duggar:  Duggar endured a difficult, injury plagued season last year but like most hitters in AAA, tore the cover off the ball in Sacramento.  Does FZ take a chance with him as the starting CF again in 2020?  He is an elite defender in CF if/when healthy.

Billy Hamilton:  Just to shake things up a bit, FZ brings the very unique Billy Hamilton in on a minor league deal with a spring training invitation.  All of a sudden there are stories about the Giants development gurus seeing something they can fix in his bat. Gotta admit, if Hamilton could figure out a way to get on base at just a .320 clip, he could be a major offensive force because of his game-changing speed on the basepaths.  He's also a gold-glove quality defender in CF.  Speaking of that 26'th man, there is also talk of Hamilton taking on some sort of super-pinch-runner role, which of course that extra roster spot would leave room for.

Jaylin Davis:  There has been talk of Jaylin Davis maybe having the tools to play CF, but he's put most time in RF which seems to be his natural position.

Putting It Together:  I think Billy Hamilton is the guy the Giants want to win the job, but they won't just hand it to him.  He'll have to show something at the plate during spring training to validate the work of the development team.  Just a thought:  Between the Hamilton and Yolmer Sanchez signings, you don't suppose FZ is thinking of making defense a major weapon for the Giants in 2020?  Duggar has 2 options and I really don't think FZ takes a chance on putting him out there on Opening Day. He's going to have to prove he's healthy in AAA and someone will have to stumble higher on the depth chart, which could very well happen!  I love the idea of Dubon taking on a super-utility role but don't the Giants have about 6 other guys who fit that description?  I also don't see them handing him the starting CF job.  He has an option.  Mike Yastrzemski still makes a lot of sense to me, but he seems to be more in the corner OF plans right now.  Oh!  And don't forget about Joey Rickard!  BTW, it's too late to bring back Kevin Pillar who finally signed with the Red Sox.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Scouting the 2020 Draft: Carson Montgomery

Carson Montgomery RHP, HS.  6'2", 190 lbs.

Average sized RHP with a mid-90's FB, maxed out at 96 MPH.  Excellent breaking ball and promising changeup.  Athletic enough to be a 2-way player doubling as OF with a 6.81 60 yd dash time, but will be a pitcher in the pros.  Committed to Florida St.  Second or third round option if deemed signable.  Would be higher if the draft class wasn't so darn deep.