Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Game Wrap 9/27/2016: Giants 12 Rockies 3

The top 8 batters in the Giants lineup reached base multiple times and Matt Moore was dominant on the mound in a runaway win.  Key Lines:

Denard Span- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .262.  Span started an XBH barrage in the bottom of the 5'th against rookie SP German Marquez with a double into the RF corner.

Brandon Belt- 3 for 5, 2B, 3B.  Love Belt in the 2- hole where his walks will help set up the middle of the order and his pulling the ball to the right side will advance runners.  He got the hits in this game including a shot down the 3B line into no-man's land.  His ball of the RF wall in the 5'th got to CarGo too quickly for him to try for a double and he got thrown out at 2B, though.

Buster Posey- 1 for 3, HR(14), 2 BB.  BA= .288.  Buster was the only positional starter who did not get multiple hits, but his was a dinger to add on in the 5'th and he added the 2 BB's.  Oh, and the dinger was Buster's 1000'th career hit.

Hunter Pence- 3 for 4, HR(13), BB.  BA= .294.  When was the last time 2 Giants hitters went B2B?

Brandon Crawford- 4 for 5, 2 3B.  BA= .272.  With the 2 triples, Crawford became just the second Giants player along with Willie Mays to have 2 seasons with double digit doubles, triples and HR's, or something like that.  The TV broadcast put it up as a graphic, but I couldn't find it this morning.

Angel Pagan- 2 for 5.  BA= .272.  Pagan has been steady Eddie this year, at least at the plate.  Do the Giants re-sign him to a 1 or 2 year deal?

Joe Panik- 2 for 4, 2B, 3B.  BA= .243.  That's more like the Joe we know.  Is this the start of a hot final week for him?

Conor Gillaspie- 2 for 5, HR(6).  BA= .247.  Might as well include everybody in the lineup.  Gillaspie has been a valuable bat off the bench this season.  He's arbitration eligible.  Do the Giants offer?

Matt Moore- 7.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 11 K's.  ERA= 4.21.   Nice recovery start from his disaster in LA.  He said he was too amped up for his start in LA.  Gotta learn how to handle LA starts there, Matt.

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The Win, coupled with wins by both the Mets and the Cardinals left the Giants 0.5 games behind the Mets for the first Wild Card playoff spot and 1 game ahead of the Cardinals for the second spot.

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The Giants traded minor leaguer Rich Rodriguez to the Braves for a 5 day rental of IF Gordon Beckham.  Beckham will fill in as the RH half of the 3B platoon until Eduardo Nunez recovers from his hammy strain.  They also released LHP Matt Reynolds and placed Mac Williamson on the 60 day DL with a quad strain.

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Jeff Samardzija takes on Tyler Chatwood, who has been extremely tough on the Giants in his recent starts, tonight.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Down on the Farm: 2016 Richmond Flying Squirrels Season Review Part 1

Most MLB organizations have come to use their AAA teams as an extended bench for the major league team.  Most of the high profile prospects do not spend a lot of time there before the big callup to the majors.  As a result, AA has become the real final testing ground for most prospects.  If you want to see a bunch of fringe players with a history of limited major league experience play, go to a AAA game. If you want to see the most and the best prospects who will someday be MLB starters and stars, buy a ticket to a AA game.  This year's Richmond Flying Squirrels team was no exception as it featured the Giants top 2 prospects, Christian Arroyo and Tyler Beede as well as several others who have a good chance of eventually contributing to the major league team.  We'll break down the position players first:

Full Time, Full Season Players:

Christian Arroyo IF.  DOB:  5/30/1995. B-R, T-R.  6'1", 180 lbs.  Drafted in Round 1, 2013.  .274/.316/.373, 36 2B, 3 HR, 29 BB, 72 K, 474 AB.  Not a spectacular season for the Giants young top prospect, but a steady one.  Arroyo fits the recent Giants profile of successful infield prospects with a high contact, low K approach.  A lot of us were hoping to see more power but Richmond is crazy tough on power and Arroyo is still young.  One more thing to consider when reading these numbers:  Not only was Arroyo making the toughest transition in the minors, High A to AA, but he was also asked to play multiple positions during the season.  By the end of the season he was mostly playing 3B, the position he will most likely play in San Francisco.

Ryder Jones 3B/1B.  DOB:  6/7/1994.  B-L, T-R.  6'3", 215 lbs. Drafted in Round 2, 2013.  .247/.291/.397, 26 2B, 15 HR, 26 BB, 79 K, 473 AB.  The BA is not much to look at, nor is the OBP, but the power is impressive and combined with a low K rate.  While Arroyo gets all the attention, Jonesy has been sneaking up the system and way more than held his own at the toughest minor league level.

Hunter Cole OF.  DOB:  10/3/1992.  B-R, T-R.  6'1", 190 lbs.  Drafted in Round 26, 2014.  .271/.319/.420, 25 2B, 3 3B, 13 HR, 31 BB, 115 K, 469 AB.  Cole got off to a painfully slow start to the season hitting just .211 in April and .247 in May. He had a huge month of June hitting .337 before leveling off at .274 and .280 in July and August respectively.  Final numbers are comparable to Arroyo and Jones but look at the difference in K rates, although Cole's K rate is not terrible.

Promoted to AAA:

Austin Slater OF.  DOB:  12/13/1992.  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 215 lbs.  Drafted in Round 8, 2014.  .317/.413/.490, 8 2B, 5 HR, 24 BB, 36 K, 145 AB.  Slater had a tough introduction to AA in 2015 while trying to learn a new position, 2B.  He moved back to the OF this year and got off to a blazing start at the plate.  He even played CF most of the season in Richmond and Sacramento, although he is probably a corner OF in the majors.  His fast start earned him an early promotion to AAA where he again thrived after an approximately 1 month adjustment.

Promoted From High A:

Steven Duggar, OF.  DOB:  11/4/1993.  B-L, T-R.  6'2", 195 lbs.  Drafted in Round 6, 2015.  .321/.391/.432, 16 2B, 4 3B, 1 HR, 28 BB, 51 K, 243 AB.  Most prospects take at least a small hit on their stat lines when they move up from San Jose to Richmond.  Not only is it a big jump in level of competition, but the Cal League is strongly hitter-friendly while the EL is more pitcher friendly with Richmond having one of the more pitcher-friendly parks in the league.  Duggar's HR's took a hit, but the rest of his stats got a lot better!  Tremendous season for Duggar whose stock as a prospect had to have taken on helium.

Chris Shaw 1B.  DOB:  10/20/1993.  B-L, T-R.  6'4", 235 lbs.  Drafted in Round 1S, 2015.  .246/.309/.414, 16 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 20 BB, 55 K, 232 AB.  After hitting 16 HR's for San Jose in the first half to win a promotion, Shaw had a 1 month adjustment, hitting just .208 in July for Richmond, but then he found his stroke in August with a .279 BA and a .505 SLG%.

CJ Hinojosa SS.  DOB:  9/15/1994.  B-R, T-R.  5'10", 175 lbs.  Drafted in Round 11, 2015.  .248/.312/.336, 7 2B, 2 BB, 3 HR, 20 BB, 43 K, 226 AB.   Next year would be his expected AA season so we'll view these results as a nice practice run.

Sleeper:

Tyler Horan OF.  DOB:  12/2/1990.  B-L, T-R.  6'2", 230 lbs.  .265/.337/.460, 12 2B, 4 3B, 12 HR, 31 BB, 79 K, 287 AB.  Long time personal favorite.  Horan got off to a hot start then slumped in June and July but came back with a tremendous August slashing .321/372/.603.  Needs to figure out how to stay out of 2-month slumps.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Nominations for Willie Mac Award

Who is your pick for this year's Willie Mac Award?  Why?

To me, there are 2 names that stand out as candidates:  Brandon Crawford and Johnny Cueto.  Neither has previously won.  Crawford's tenure with the team might make me lean toward him, but it's hard to top the sheer enthusiasm and joy Johnny Cueto brought to the mound every start.  Who do you think should win?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Game Wrap 9/25/2016: Padres 4 Giants 3

This game felt more like meaningless end-of-season than playoff atmosphere.  The stands at Petco Park were way more than half-empty.  The rookie SP for the Giants lasted all of 3 innings and was followed by a seemingly endless parade of relievers.  The lineup had a makeshift feel to it even though I am sure Bruce Bochy would tell you he was putting the best matchups out there.  Oh, and the Padres won.  Key Lines:

Eduardo Nunez- 2 for 4, SB(40).  BA= .288.  Nunez is the one guy in the lineup who seems to be playing with some fire in his belly.  Just when you thought the team might rally around him, he pulls up lame with a hammy after the SB.  Yeah, that's pretty much a microcosm of the season, right there.

Buster Posey- 1 for 3, BB.  BA= .288.  Buster still has the ability to get a big hit as he plated 2 runs with a solid single to R-CF.

Ty Blach- 3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.00.  Believe me, this could have been a whole lot worse.  The kid was obviously amped up for his first MLB start and was sailing his FB, walking batters and running up astronomical pitch counts.  I liked the way he fought his way out of the jams.  I was pleasantly surprised by the velocity on the FB, 90-92 MPH, the break on the slider and curve and the sink on the changeup.  He didn't throw too many of those, but the few he did throw had a Noah Lowryesque quality to them.  His most impressive moment came when he blew a high heater past the RH hitting Wil Myers after a 13 pitch battle.  Not a great first start, but he showed enough to make me want to see more when he is less amped.

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The Mets crushed the Phillies 17-0 and now lead the Giants for the first Wild Card playoff spot by 1 game.  The Giants are currently tied with the Cardinals for the second spot pending the outcome of the Cards-Cubs game tonight.

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The Giants get tomorrow off before starting the final 6 game homestand agains the Rockies first then the Dodgers for the final weekend.  Matt Moore gets the start Tuesday night against rookie German Marquez.

Down on the Farm: 2016 San Jose Giants Season Review Part 2

Historically, the San Jose Giants field one of the best pitching staffs in the California League.  Part of that is due to San Jose playing in one of the more pitching friendly parks in the league and part due to the talent the Giants send them every year.  This was a down year for the pitching staff with the top prospects hanging around for only  a short time and most of the guys who stuck around all season appearing to be marginal prospects scuffling to show enough to make the next level.  The result was the 3'rd lowest Team ERA in the league.  

Full Season Starters:

Mark Reyes LHP.  DOB:  10/8/1992.  6'1", 225 lbs.  Drafted in Round 22, 2014.  9-9, 4.74, 127.1 IP, 60 BB, 80 K, GO/AO= 1.43.  An 80/60 K/BB is not going to cut if for a lefty known more for his pitchability than stuff.

Jordan Johnson RHP.  DOB:  9/15/1993.  6'3", 100 lbs.  Drafted in Round 23, 2014.  8-9, 5.33, 120 IP, 39 BB, 111 K, 24 HR Allowed.  The K/BB looks OK but my goodness!  24 dingerz in 120 IP is a whole lot of dingerz, even for the Cal League!

Jason Forjet RHP.  DOB:  1/4/1990.  6'2", 185 lbs.  Drafted in Round 31, 2012.  10-7, 4.84, 102.1 IP, 20 BB, 87 K.  When Forjet is on, he looks like he can pitch in the major leagues.  He had 9 games in which he pitched at least 5 innings and gave up 2 ER or less.  The problem is when he is not on, he gets lit up with too many disaster starts.  Unfortunately, it's getting late to expect anything different with more experience.

Swing Men:

Jose Reyes RHP.  DOB:  1/3/1991.  6'1", 185 lbs.  4-6, 5.38, 100.1 IP, 33 BB, 64 K.  Disappointing season for the hard throwing righty.

DJ Snelton LHP.  DOB:  5/29/1992.  6'7", 245 lbs.  Drafted in Round 9, 2013.  4-7, 4.11, 96.1 IP, 32 BB, 82 K, GO/AO= 2.69.  Disappointing season for the big lefty, but enough positives that he should get an assignment to AA Richmond next season.

Movin On UP to the Eastside:

Sam Coonrod RHP.  DOB:  9/22/1992.  6'2", 225 lbs.  Drafted in Round 5, 2014.  5-3, 1.98, 63.2 IP, 22 BB, 42 K's.  The K/IP is low, to say the least, but I tend to believe the Giants had him working on pitching to contact to help his command and limit his walks.

Andrew Suarez LHP.  DOB:  9/11/1992.  6'2", 205 lbs.   Drafted in Round 2, 2015.  2-1, 2.43, 29.2 IP, 5 BB, 34 K, GO/AO= 1.84.  Not the hardest thrower in the organization, but the Giants like that he commands the FB to both sides of the plate and has good command of 2 secondary pitches.  I think he was the first promo to AA from the 2015 draft class and he pitched well there too.

Rodolfo Martinez RHP.  DOB:  10/4/1994.  6'2", 180 lbs. 1-1, 0.88, 30.2 IP, 10 BB, 33 K, GO/AO= 1.32, 23 Saves.  Very hard thrower, upper 90's FB.  He dominated the Cal League in a Closer role, which did not provide a large sample size of IP.  He got the promo to AA, but struggled mightily there.

Movin' On UP From the Eastside:

Phil Bickford, RHP.  DOB:  7/10/1995. 6'4", 200 lbs.  Drafted in Round 1, 2015.  2-2, 2.73, 33 IP, 12 BB, 36 K.  Did not miss a beat after a promotion from pitcher-friendly Augusta.  Traded to Milwaukee for Will Smith amid rumors of reduced velocity.

Relievers:

Dusten Knight, RHP.  DOB:  9/2/1990.  6'0", 185 lbs.  Drafted in Round 28, 2013.  3-1, 5.02, 80.2 IP, 20 BB, 90 K's.  Very nice K/BB in long relief role.  Should be enough to move him up next season.

Reyes Maronta, RHP.  DOB:  1/6/1993.  6'0", 175 lbs.  0-3, 2.59, 59.0 IP, 20 BB, 93 K's, 14 Saves.  Took over the Closer role after Martinez' promotion.  Performed very well.  Should get the promo to AA next year.  Throws hard, sits about 96 MPH, but not as hard as Martinez.

Jose Fernandez RIP

Shocking and awful news out of Florida where Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez and at least 2 others apparently died when a 30 ft boat they were in capsized on some rocks near Miami.  Not that his stardom makes it any more or less tragic but Fernandez is the most talented and accomplished star I can recall to die suddenly while still playing.  The Marlins-Braves game scheduled for today has been appropriately cancelled.  Thoughts go out to Jose's family and the Miami Marlins team.

Game Wrap 9/24/2016: Giants 9 Padres 6

The Giants offense picked up Madison Bumgarner, who uncharacteristically gave up 5 runs on 3 dingers, to win in extra innings.  Key Lines:

Denard Span- 1 for 5, HR, BB.  BA= .261.  Span has been struggling, but hit one into the short porch down the RF line plating 2 insurance runs in the 10'th.  He now has 11 HR's on the season, 3 more than his previous career high of 8 in 2009.

Eduardo Nunez- 2 for 5, SB(39).  BA= .286.  The Giants may have found a new emotional leader.  In addition to the offensive line, he sprinted in from 3B without a second's hesitation to make a running catch of a foul pop that Buster Posey completely lost in the twilight.  If the pure joy and enthusiasm of that play isn't enough to convince you, add in the emotional response to getting called out by the 2B ump on a steal attempt in the 9'th and the subsequent overturning of the call on replay.  Yeah, Nunez is fired up and it's starting to fire up his teammates too!

Angel Pagan- 3 for 5, SB(14).  BA= .273.  Pagan has been struggling out of the #2 slot in the batting order.  He moves down for this game and responds with a 3-hit night including a leadoff single in the 10'th that led to the go-ahead run.

Madison Bumgarner- 2 for 3, 2 2B.  BA= .171.  On a rough night on the mound, Bumgarner helped himself again at the plate.

Kelby Tomlinson- 1 for 1. BA= .299.  Kelby is 10 for 23, .435, with RISP.  This one drove in the go-ahead run after Pagan led off the 10'th with a single and took 2B on Adrianza's Sac Bunt.

Madison Bumgarner- 6 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 2.71.  There is an offshore flow going in SoCal and the ball was jumping out of Petco Park.

Hunter Strickland- 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.15.  Strickland overcame his recent struggles to hold the line for 5 batters in dominant fashion.

Sergio Romo- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, Save(3).  ERA= 2.93.  Romo's 3 Save in as many tries.  He seems to have stabilized the Closer role, at least for the time being.

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The Win put the Giants into a tie with the Mets, who lost, for the 2 Wild Card playoff spots.  The Cardinals won and still trail by 0.5 games.

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Ty Blach gets the call for his first MLB start today facing lefty Clayton Richard.  If you think Petco was a live yard last night…..Day Game, hot, dry, offshore flow…...