Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Nick Pratto; Heliot Ramos

Nick Pratto, LHP/1B/OF, HS.  B-L, T-L.  6'2", 200 lbs.

Pratto is HS two way player from Huntington Beach, CA.  As a hitter, he has a sweet swing and as a pitcher he has a 89-92 MPH FB.  He's played some OF, but all the scouting reports project him at 1B where his terrific arm would be wasted.  Read between those lines and you get the idea he has no wheels.  BA has Pratto ranked as their #8 draft prospect.  That is, by far, the highest ranking I've seen for him.  To me, he's a tweener who is a very good all around player but as a pitcher, he doesn't have elite velocity and as a position player, he's stuck at 1B which really devalues him.  IMO, he should go to college and find out which direction he develops fastest.  Most likely he's a pitcher.

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Heliot Ramos, OF, HS(PR).  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 185 lbs.

Ramos has tools.  The PG metrics have him as a 6.55 runner, 88 MPH on OF throws, 89 MPH exit velocity.  The only thing giving me pause is a very long Time to Impact, .132 sec.  I have to confess that I don't really know what Time to Impact means.  It seems like it should be roughly an objective way to measure length of swing, but I am not sure we know that yet.  Ramos absolutely tore up some major showcases including one where he fell a double short of hitting for the cycle in one game.  I think  I will start a research project where I record Time to Impact for all these HS hitters who were recorded by PG and track them for several years and see how predictive it is in terms of hit tool.

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DrB's Updated 2017 Draft Board:  Some major changes to the current board as it is time to acknowledge that Jeren Kendall is having a darn good junior season and probably deserves to be the top prospect, although his K rate remains worrisome.  Also time to drop some severely underperforming college players.

1.  Jeren Kendall, OF, College(Vanderbilt).
2.  JB Bakauskas, RHP, College(North Carolina).
3.  Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, College(Louisville).
4.  Brady McConnell, SS, HS.
5.  Hunter Greene, RHP/SS, HS.
6.  Alex Faedo, RHP, College(Florida).
7.  Alex Lange, RHP, College(LSU).
8.  Seth Romero, LHP, College(Houston).
9.  Ricardo De La Torre, SS, HS(PR).
10.  Jordan Adell, OF, HS.
11.  Mark Vientos, SS, HS.
12.  Royce Lewis, SS/OF, HS.
13.  Heliot Ramos, OF, HS(PR).
14.  Trevor Rogers, LHP, HS.
15.  Austin Beck, OF, HS.
16.  Will Crowe, RHP, College(South Carolina).
17.  Brendon Little, LHP, JC(State College of Florida).
18.  Kyle Wright, RHP, College(Vanderbilt).
19.  Brewer Hicklen, OF, College(UAB).
20.  Alex Scherff, RHP, HS.
21.  Hans Crouse, RHP, HS.
22.  DL Hall, LHP, HS.
23.  Jacob Heatherly, LHP, HS.
24.  Calvin Mitchell, OF, HS.
25.  Conor Uselton, OF, HS.
26.  Garrett Mitchell, OF, HS.
27.  Keston Hiura, 2B, College(UC Irvine).
28.  Clarke Schmidt, RHP, College(South Carolina).
29.  Pavin Smith, 1B, College(Virginia).
30.  Jake Burger, 3B, College(Missouri St.).
31.  Cole Brannen, OF, HS.
32.  Colton Hock, RHP, College(Stanford).
33.  Mackenzie Gore, LHP, HS.
34.  Nick Allen, SS, HS.
35.  Blayne Enlow, RHP, HS.
36.  Hagen Danner, RHP, HS.
37.  Alejandro Toral, 1B, HS.
38.  Nick Pratto, LHP/1B, HS.
39.  Corbin Martin, RHP, College(Texas A&M).
40.  Griffin Canning, RHP, College(UCLA).
41.  Tanner Houck, RHP, College(Missouri).
42.  Michael Gigliotti, OF, College(Lipscomb).
43.  Evan Skoug, C, College(TCU).
44.  Tristan Beck, RHP, College(Stanford).
45.  JJ Schwarz, C, College(Florida).

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/28/2017: Giants 10 Cubs 7

The Giants hit 4 dingers to outslug the Cubs in the Cactus League finale.  Key Lines:

Denard Span CF- 2 for 3, HR(2), SB(2).  BA= .294.  Span has been swinging a hot bat and has looked much healthier than at anytime last year.  In addition to the SB, he raced home from 2B in a WP, and that never would have happened last year.

Gorkys Hernandez CF- 1 for 2.  BA= .216.  Hernandez is the best defensive OF the Giants have.  Maybe his late hitting surge will be enough for him to keep his 4'th OF role?

Chris Marrero 1B- 1 for 2, HR(7).  BA= .276.  The power is sweet, but I have a hard time seeing how Marrero fits on the roster as he's pretty much stuck to playing 1B and the Giants have plenty of backup options for 1B.  On a typical 5 man positional bench, you must have a guy who can play catcher, a guy who can play SS and a guy who can play CF.  That leaves just 2 openings for guys who can't play those positions, so the numbers really start to work against a guy like Marrero.

Justin Ruggiano RF- 1 for 2, HR(2).  BA= .256.  Ruggiano is another guy making a case for himself late in the spring.  I think he actually has a better shot at a roster spot than Marrero because he is an adequate CF and a plus defender in LF and RF.  His RH bat also complements LF Jarrett Parker.

Matt Cain RHP- 5.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 7.82.  This was a better start than the final line would indicate.  Leading 5-2 after 5 IP, Cain gave up a double to Jason Heyward and a single to Javier Baez.  Josh Osich the relieved and gave up 3 hits and a walk.  He allowed Cain's run to score and then gave up 3 more of his own.  Look for Cain to open the season as the 5'th starter and for Ty Blach and Steven Okert to be the two lefties in the bullpen.

Steven Okert LHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.96.  I think this was the first run Okert gave up all Cactus League and on the final day!

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The Giants get the day off tomorrow before starting the Bay Bridge Series on Thursday evening in AT&T Park with Johnny Cueto starting against Sean Manaea.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/27/2017: Giants 14 Reds 2

Madison Bumgarner was in midseason form and the competition for roster spots reached a fever pitch as the Giants dominated the Reds.  Key Lines:

Denard Span CF- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .271.  A healthy, strong season from Span would be a huge plus for the Giants chances of adding another championship banner.

Aaron Hill 3B-2B- 3 for 4, 2B, BB.  BA= .255.  Hill made a statement that he wants a roster spot.

Jae-Gyun Hwang 3B- 2 for 3, HR(5).  BA= .349.  It seems settled that Hwang is going to start the season in Sacramento, but he remains the most intriguing player in the Giants camp.  Is he the Giants 3B of the future or is Christian Arroyo?  And what about Conor Gillaspie?

Gorkys Hernandez LF-RF-CF- 3 for 5, 3 2B.  BA= .204.  Hernandez comes back from getting extra AB's in minor league camp and raps out 3 doubles.  He also played all 3 OF positions, which seems to send some kind of message.

Madison Bumgarner LHP- 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 9 K's, GO/AO= 9/3.  ERA= 2.52.  Madison Bumgarner in midseason form.

Josh Osich LHP- 0.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 5.00.  Not a strongly encouraging line for Osich.

Mark Melancon RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA- 0.00.  Another boring inning for Melancon.  Have I mentioned that boring is good?

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Matt Cain takes the mound for the Giants final Cactus League game facing Jake Arrieta and the Cubs.  This would seem to be a critical start for Cain.

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Griffin Canning; Brewer Hicklen

Griffin Canning, RHP, College, UCLA.  6'2", 180 lbs.

2016:  5-8, 3.70, 109.1 IP, 21 BB, 95 K.
2017:  1-1, 2.72, 39.2 IP, 15 BB, 49 K.

Canning is a classic pitchability college pitcher.  His FB is adequate at best topping out at 94 but usually sitting 89-92 MPH, but he has 4 pitches he can command.  His changeup is his primary secondary offering.  Canning will be popular with teams who value a high floor over a high ceiling on draft day.  For me, he's a round 2 talent at best.

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Brewer Hicklen, OF, College, UAB.  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 208 lbs.

2016:  .289/.413/.408, 7 2B, 4 3B, 3 HR, 22 SB, 38 BB, 41 K, 201 AB.
2017:  .349/.389/.663, 4 2B, 5 3B, 4 HR, 9 SB, 5 BB, 21 K, 83 AB.

Hicklen may be moving up draft boards.  I found out about him on Minor League Ball where some under-the-radar college prospects were profiled.  Hicklen is a tremendous athlete who doubles as a WR on the UAB football team.  He has done a 6.5 60 yd dash and plays CF for the baseball team.  He has shown more speed than power so far but the size and strength would suggest there is power potential there.  With the extreme dearth of good college hitters in this draft, Hicklen may have a chance to move all the way into the first round.  He is a redshirt sophomore and draft eligible.

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Don't have time to update my draft board right now. Will catch that later.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/26/2017: White Sox 4 Giants 3

Neil Ramirez walked the first two batters he faced in the 9'th inning to set up a walk-off win for the ChiSox to spoil a fine start by Ty Blach.  Key Lines:

Jimmy Rollins 2B- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .125.  Is there still a battle between Rollins and Kelby Tomlinson for a reserve MI roster spot?  Rollins looked good on a pair of doubles but got himself thrown out at 3B trying to stretch one into a triple.

Chris Marrero LF- 1 for 3, BB.  BA= .278.  Marrero continues to look good at the plate, but let me tell you, a LF he is not.  Got a look at him running the bases on TV and if he and JT Snow ran a 60 yd dash, I'm not sure Marrero would win!  There was probably nothing he could do with on rocket that went past him to the wall, but then he took a long time finding it after it bounced back.

Conor Gillaspie 3B- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .333.  Gillaspie continued his hot hitting with a ringing double that split the RF-CF gap.  He also made several excellent defensive plays.  Gillaspie was not a good fielder at 3B early in his career, but he's really turned that part of his game around!

Justin Ruggiano CF- 1 for 2, 2 BB.  BA= .243.  While Gorkys Hernandez was down in minor league camp getting extra AB's, Ruggy was starting in CF and continuing his hot hitting.  Advantage Ruggiano in the race for 4'th OF.

Kelby Tomlinson SS- 1 for 3.  BA= .279.  Kelby might not have helped his cause when he muffed what should have been a fairly routine play to set up a 2-run 5'th inning, the only inning Blach allowed runs in.

Ty Blach LHP- 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K, GO/AO= 10/4.  ERA= 4.43.  Blach was given an opportunity and he made the most of it.  The 1 K does not look so impressive, but he kept ChiSox hitters off balance all day with a mixture of locations and speeds.  He really only gave up 1 hard hit ball  which came right after Tomlinson's muff.  Whether he is the 5'th starter or not, Blach probably locked up a roster spot for himself today.

Cory Gearrin RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 7.88.  Gearrin had his slider working to perfection and dominated his inning.

Neil Ramirez RHP- As already mentioned, Ramirez walked the first 2 batters he faced to set up the walk-off win for the ChiSox.  Ramirez and Gearrin are probably battling for the last bullpen spot and Gearrin's stock went up while Ramirez' went down today.

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Madison Bumgarner starts against the Reds tomorrow in Scottsdale for the Giants final home game of the Cactus League season.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/25/2017: Giants 8 Padres 7

The Giants scored at least 1 run in each of the last 5 innings while the bullpen stymied the Padres to overcome a 7-1 deficit for the Win.  Key Lines:

Justin Ruggiano LF- 1 for 1, 2B, BB.  BA= .229.  Ruggy's bat has come to life after his BA hit a nadir of .067 on March 7'th.  He's 7 for 20 over his past 10 games.

Joe Panik 2B- 2 for 4, 3B.  BA= .279.  Panik should not stay in slumps for too long because he makes so much contact.

Buster Posey 1B- 2 for 3, HR(1).  BA= .353.  Buster looks like he's slimmed down a bit, but still has the Popeye arms.  He looks like he's in great shape!

Jae-Gyun Hwang 1B- 1 for 2.  BA= .308.  Hwang drove in the winning run with a bloop hit to RF.  He also won the Barney Nugent Award for best first spring training.  He's reportedly ticketed for Sacramento and is reportedly OK with that.  He plans to work on his fielding and strike zone judgement(apparently the strike zone is different here than in Korea).

Brandon Crawford SS- 1 for 3, HR(1).  BA= .174.  The BA is deceiving as Crawford missed a lot of Cactus League games to play in the WBC and had a great run there.

Nick Hundley C- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .324.  Hundley is definitely looking like an offensive upgrade over Trevor Brown so far.

Gorkys Hernandez CF- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .159.  Gorkys sez, "Hey!  Don't forget about me!"

Chris Stratton RHP- 3 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 1 BB, 3 K.  ERA= 9.00.  If this was an opportunity for Stratton, well, he didn't exactly take advantage of it.  He basically threw batting practice for the Padres for 3 innings.  I guess it's a positive that he completed the 3 innings.

Mark Melancon RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  More boring baseball from Melancon. Boring is good!

George Kontos RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 4.50.  Dominant inning from Kontos whose roster spot seems very safe.  After giving up 3 ER in his second spring appearance on March 1, Kontos has allowed just 2 R over his last 8(1 inning each) for an ERA of 2.25 with 2 BB, and 13 K.

Josh Osich LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 5.40.  Osich needs a strong finish to spring training.  Today's appearance gives him a great start on that.

Cory Gearrin RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 9.00. Gearrin has scuffled so far.  Can he hold off Neil Ramirez for the final bullpen spot?

Neil Ramirez RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 1.93.  Ramirez and Gearrin are probably competing for the final bullpen spot, unless the Giants don't carry a long man.

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Ty Blach gets the start tomorrow agains the ChiSox.  It does seem like the Giants are auditioning a backup plan for Matt Cain.  According to Pavs, Tyler Beede has been tabbed to start next Saturday's game in Oakland for the Bay Bridge Series.

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Also according to Pavs, Michael Morse says he plans to rehab in Sacramento after his hammy heals.  He is aware that if the Giants get off to a good start, they probably won't call him up when the rehab is over in which case it's Happy Trails.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/24/2017: Giants 6 Rockies 5

Brandon Belt's 3-run dinger was the centerpiece of a 5 spot in the 3'rd inning and Jeff Samardzija had his best start of the spring by a wide margin.  The Giants held off a 9'th inning rally by the Rockies against Derek Law for the final margin.  Key Lines:

Denard Span CF- 3 for 4.  BA= .244.  Span is hot.  Let's hope it carries over into the season.

Brandon Belt 1B- 1 for 4, HR(3).  BA= .289.  3-run dingers correlate with wins.

Chris Marrero 1B- 1 for 1, HR(6).  BA= .292.  Pavs thinks Marrero is competing with Kelby Tomlinson for a roster spot which is really too bad because both players are deserving based on their spring performances.

Aaron Hill 3B- 0 for 3.  BA= .225.  The beats seem to think Hill has made the team but his 0 for 3 today drops his BA to .225 and he just has not been impressive over the past several years.  Giants should keep both Kelby and Marrero and release Hill.

Kelby Tomlinson 2B- 1 for 3, 3B, BB.  BA= .282.  Kelby's BA has slipped a bit but he had a strong game here.  Hill may have more occasional HR pop than Kelby but nobody grinds out AB's like Kelby and Kelby is more versatile in he field, IMO.

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 1 for 2, 2B.  BA= .333.  Shark's hit was a double.  He said afterwards he was sitting fastball and happened to run into a slider.  Always fun to see Giants pitchers hit.

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 4 IP, 2 H 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 8.22.  Shark has had rough spring so far, but maybe he's turned a corner at the right time?

Albert Suarez RHP- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 4.35.  Is Suarez still in the running for long relief/swingman?

Steven Okert LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Okert maintains his perfect spring.

Reyes Maronta RHP- 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Maronta struck out the final batter of the game to preserve the Giants win, but after he wild pitched in a runner he inherited from Derek Law.  Don't be shocked if we see Maronta back in the regular season.

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Johnny Cueto will get his innings in a minor league game while Chris Stratton gets called up from minor league camp to face the Padres tomorrow.

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LHP Will Smith will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the 2017 season.  He should be back sometime fairly early in 2018.