Thursday, March 31, 2011

Game Wrap 3/31/2011: Dodgers 2 Giants 1

Well, you can't win 'em all if you don't win the first one. Got that out of the way in a hurry! Pat Burrell's laser shot HR in the bottom of the ninth inning was too little, too late to keep Tim Lincecum from fallling victim to some sloppy defense by the Giants and a dominating pitching performance by Clayton Kershaw. Key Lines:

Pat Burrell- 1 for 4, HR(1).

Brandon Belt- 1 for 3, BB. The hit was a bouncer behind the bag at 1B that Belt beat out as Loney almost made a very tough play on it. Belt generally impressed by putting up good AB's and not swinging at bad pitches. If his strike zone judgement is as good as it looked tonight, kid's gonna be alright. He also showed some speed afoot and tremendous range and quickness around the bag at first. It looks like SF pitchers can pretty much forget about having to run over and cover 1B, Brandon Belt will take care of it himself, thank you! Oh, and what a target for the infielders to throw at! My goodness, Willie Mac may have to bequeath his nickname "Stretch" to Belt before this is all done!

Tim Lincecum- 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K's. Kershaw was by far the more dominant pitcher early on, but Timmy hung in there like a champ. It's a shame the game was essentially decided by bad fielding. I will say the deciding error was a error of aggressiveness by Buster Posey, abetted by Pablo Sandoval. They thought they had caught Matt Kemp loafing off 3B on a blocked pitch in the dirt. Unfortunately, Kemp was on the bag when the throw got away from Sandoval down the 3B line allowing Kemp to come home with the go-ahead run. Never say never and never say die, but you knew this one was over on that play.

Clayton Kershaw(Dodgers): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K's. Kershaw has pretty much ditched the curveball for a hard slider, and it is a nasty pitch. It was too easy for hitters to see the curveball coming and lay off it. With the slider, it looks like a fastball until it itsn't and the Giants hitters were flailing.

Barry Zito escaped serious injury after a very scary sounding motor vehicle accident in which is car was broadsided in an intersection by a red-light-running taxi. Zito was fortunate, and it helps when the car you are driving is a Bentley rather than a Mitsubishi Spyder convertible. Zito reportedly saw it coming and tried to speed past but the taxi caught the rear half of his car. Scary!! Zito says he is going to make his start on Sunday, but he was wearing a neck collar today and you have to wonder.

Brian Wilson reportedly aired it out today and everything checked out A-OK. He should be back soon.

Jonathan Sanchez takes the mound tomorrow against Chad Billingsley who is always tough on the Giants.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bay Bridge Series Game Wrap: Giants 2 A's 1

The Giants completed the sweep of the Bay Bridge Series today with a 2 out rally in the bottom of the 9'th inning. Pretty much nobody was paying attention though as roster decisions took center stage. The Giants have reached the stage of their post-Bonds rebuild that good deserving players don't make the team because the quality of the competition is so fierce. That is a good problem to have, but it makes the decisions wrenching and painful. First, the Key Lines:

Mike Fontenot- 2 for 5. BA= .304. Fontenot started the ninth inning rally with a single. Advanced to second on a botched pickoff attempt and scored the tying run on Whiteside's single.

Eli Whiteside- 3 for 5, 2B. BA= .324. Whiteside kept the rally going with a single to drive in Fontenot and kept going to 2B on the throw to the plate. Chris Stewart came up as a PH for Kroon and hit the walkoff single with Whiteside coming home.

Aaron Rowand- 2 for 4. BA= .222. More on Rowand later.

Nate Schierholtz- 1 for 4, SB(3), Assist(Pennington at 2B). BA= .269. Nate shows here why the Giants need him. He helps them win in so many ways.

Madison Bumgarner- 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 6 K's. ERA= 5.93. A bit easier to pitch at sea level than in the warm desert air. If Cain, Zito and Bum pitch in the regular season like they did in this series, the Giants are going to be allright!

Ryan Vogelsong- 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. ERA= 3.27. Vogelsong pitched well enough to make the team. Lost out on a numbers game. Now he goes to Fresno as the disaster plan.

Marc Kroon- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, W. ERA= 1.69. Kroon certainly did his part. Runzler looks like a beast, but he did have options left and Kroon looks to me like an asset to the team. Not sure I agree with Runzler over Kroon.

As I'm sure you all know, Brandon Belt made the Opening Day roster. That should pretty much put a nail in the coffin of the notion that Sabes and Bochy refuse to play young players or take chances on young players. Unfortunately, keeping Belt came at the cost of DFA'ing Travis Ishikawa. Ishikawa has been a good Giant. He's a gifted defensive first baseman and had his moments as a hitter, not the least of which was drawing a key walk in the NLDS to keep an inning going when it looked like all was lost. It's not a given that his Giants career is over as he could clear waivers and accept assignment to Fresno, but I think it's not likely all those stars will align. Still, it is clear that Brandon Belt is the Giants first-basman of the future. Since Travis can really only play 1B, there is just not room on the roster for both of them. It was the right decision.

For the time being, Huff moves to RF with Torres in CF, Burrell in LF with Rowand and Nate in reserve. Don't forget Cody Ross is out there on the DL. In about 3 weeks, the Giants will have another gut-check roster decision to make. Despite Rowand's 2 hits today, I don't see how Rowand can be kept while letting Nate go when Ross gets back. Rowand has no future with the Giants, his contract is a sunk cost. He's the one who has to go, unless of course there is another injury.

Brian Wilson starts the season on the DL. It looks like Mota claimed the 7'th bullpen role with Runzler filling in for Wilson. That left Vogelsong and Kroon as the odd men out. Vogelsong will go to Fresno and wait for an injury to the starting rotation we all hope never comes. Kroon is weighing his options, but Bochy is trying to talk him into going to Fresno. Runzler pitched darn well this spring, but so did Kroon. In this case, I think you have to go with the numbers game and use the option on Runzler so you don't lose Kroon. Not a huge deal, and Bochy has certainly earned the right to not be second guessed on his bullpen decisions, but I'd have optioned Runzler and kept Kroon who I actually see as the Giants second best closer option behind Wilson. Again, don't try to tell me Bochy always takes the veteran over the young player! Oh well, if Mota's job is safe, Runzler will be sent down as soon as Wilson is back anyway.

The Giants wrap up Spring Training 2011 with a fine 23-12 record. The performances of the pitchers in the Bay Bridge Series was especially encouraging.

The Giants begin their WS Championship defense in LA tomorrow evening with Tim Lincecum taking the mound against Clayton Kershaw, who is always a tough customer. I'm looking for Timmh to come out on fire though. Go Giants! Beat LA!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bay Bridge Series Game Wrap: Giants 4 A's 1

The Giants once again looked like a different team than the one that stunk up the Arizona desert last week. Tight pitching and timely hitting is what got them a ring last year and they were on the same track tonight in Oakland. Key lines:

Nate Schierholtz- 1 for 2, HR(2). BA= .270. Nate replaced Burrell in LF and homered. I would certainly hope that Nate is not on any sort of roster bubble after a solid spring.

Brandon Belt- 1 for 3, BB. BA= .282. Belt was the DH tonight. Gio Gonzalez is the second tough LHP Belt has faced in as many nights. He held his own in this one.

Pablo Sandoval- 1 for 4, 2B. BA= .280.

Barry Zito- 5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 4 K's. ERA= 2.30. Ugly K/BB here, but didn't give up a run until the 6'th inning. If he can do that most starts in the regular season and maybe get to the 7'th instead of the 6'th, the Giants will be OK.

Ramon Ramirez- 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. Ramirez allowed a runner he inherited from Zito to score, but then got out of the inning and into the next.

Dan Runzler- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's. ERA= 2.20. Runzler sure looks like he should be on the team to me. Having the option may work against him though.

Guillermo Mota- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K's, Save. ERA- 3.29. Mota has really pitched well enough to make the team too, but not as well as Kroon or Runzler.

Brian Wilson will definitely start the season on the DL opening up an extra bullpen slot, temporarily. The Giants released Jeff Suppan who only had one really bad outing, but couldn't beat out some insanely tough competition for a roster spot. He'll try to hook on with another team. I'm really not sure he's a better option for any team than their existing #5 starter though.

The Giants and A's return to AT&T Park for an afternoon game to close out the Bay Bridge Series before heading down south to LA. Yeah, Beat LA! It's Madison Bumgarner's turn to take the mound and try to shake off the desert doldrums.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bay Bridge Series Game Wrap: Giants 4 A's 3

Historically, the Giants have not fared well in the Bay Bridge Series against their regional rivals. After a shaky ending to the Cactus League, the Giants appeared to be in near mid-season form tonight producing a very Giants-like final score. This performance would tend to lend credence to the notion that the Giants lackluster play the last week in Arizona was more due to "desert fatigue" than anything else. Key lines:

Aubrey Huff- 2 for 3, HR(6), BB. BA= .365. If Huff Daddy is going to have a major regression, he certainly has given no indication of it in spring training leading the Giants in most offensive categories. Huffster played RF tonight to allow the Giants to get yet another look at Brandon Belt at 1B.

Buster Posey- 2 for 3. BA= .422. Buster is showing no signs of a sophomore slump in Spring Training.

Pat Burrell- 1 for 2, 2B, BB. BA= .245. Pat the Bat played Run Producer again.

Brandon Belt- 0 for 3. Belt may not have helped his cause of making the Opening Day roster with tonight's performance. On the other hand, he was facing a pretty tough LHP in Brett Anderson.

Matt Cain- 5.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 6 K's. Considering where Cain has been with the sore elbow and all, this was a pretty encouraging start. Especially like the K's.

Steve Edlefsen- 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. ERA= 0.96. I would say there is a high probability we see Edlefsen in SF before the year is over.

Santiago Casilla- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. After a couple of rough outings in the desert, Casilla pitched much better tonight. Pitches have more bite in SF than the do in the desert air.

Jeremy Affeldt- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. ERA= 0.79. Affledt has had a good spring.

Sergio Romo- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K's. ERA- 1.04, Save. Romo has also had a good spring. He will likely get the most Save Opportunities while Wilson is out.

The Bay Bridge Series moves to Oakland tomorrow night as Barry Zito opposes Gio Gonzalez.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

College Corner: Ricky Oropesa

My man, Ricky Oropesa, had a huge weekend in a 3 game series against UCLA. Ricky had been hitting for a fine BA with doubles power, but you really want to see HR power out of a corner IF. He faced off against none other than Gerrit Cole on Friday night. Now, Cole is being touted by many analysts as the frontrunner to be the #1 overall draft pick in the upcoming June draft. That's how good he is! Well, Ricky went 3 for 5 in the game including a HR, his first of the season. Trevor Bauer, who may end up being the steal of the draft, dominated on Saturday with a 1 hit, 14 K shutout, and an 0 for 4 with 3 K's for Ricky. Ricky struck back on Sunday against freshman Adam Plutko, a very good pitcher in his own right, with a 3 for 4 and another HR and 5 RBI's! So, for the weekend, Ricky went 6 for 13 with 2 HR's. His season line now stands at .372/.427/.532 with 2 HR's. Ricky has always tended to be a slow starter so look for more weekends like this from him between now and the end of the season. Having a game like that against Gerrit Cole has got to be a shot in the arm for Ricky's ranking on draft boards!

Spring Training Game Wrap: Royals 7 Giants 4

The KC Royals may be the doormats of the AL, but they sure have smacked the Giants around this spring. Today was no different. Key lines:

Tyler Graham- 2 for 3, 3B. BA= .500. Tyler Graham is a bit long in the tooth for a prospect, but he had a nice season last year for Fresno and has some serious speed. Could be a nice 5'th OF for somebody.

Juan Perez- 2 for 2, HR. Speaking of future 5'th OF's, nice game for Perez here.

Roger Kieschnick- 1 for 1, 2B. BA= .600. Roger is making the most of some late spring AB's. Always a good idea to leave a good impression on the manager and GM from your spring opportunities.

Chris Dominguez- 1 for 1, 2B. Another guy who wants to make an impression.

Jonathan Sanchez- 5.1 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K's. ERA= 2.70. Sanchez sometimes has trouble focusing in meaningless situations. This was Getaway Day in Arizona and the Giants were playing a bunch of minor leaguers on the field. Hopefully Durty will be more focused in Game 2 of the regular season against the Dodgers. I do really like it that he seems to have cut way down on his walks this spring, but maybe the price for that is making his pitches more hittable?

Marc Kroon- 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's. ERA= 1.86. Kroon has done everything he could to make this team. If this isn't good enough, you have to wonder why the Giants bothered to sign him in the first place.

Dan Runzler- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's. ERA= 2.40. Sometimes having options is a curse. Runzler has also done everything he needed to do to make the roster. He will probably fall victim to the numbers crunch, unless BWeez starts the season on the DL.

Ramon Ramirez- 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 0 K's. ERA= 8.71. Going back to the gopheritis he caught in the post-season, gotta be concerned about Ramirez who has had a terrible spring. The comforting thing is if he turns into a pumpkin in the regular season, Sabean has shown the ability to rebuild the pen on the run time after time.

The Giants finish the 2011 Cactus League with a 20-12 record, but lost several games in the last week when they seemed to lose focus and suffered a string of injuries. They start the 3 game pre-season Bay Bridge Series tomorrow night in AT&T park with Matt Cain taking the mound against Brett Anderson.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring Training Game Wrap: Giants 9 Reds 6; Giants 8 Indians 5

The wins were a bit ugly, but hey, we'll take any win from the Giants right now, won't we? Key lines:

Andres Torres- 3 for 4, 2 2B, BB. BA= .271. Torres had been slumping but broke out of it in a big way tonight. One of his doubles came batting from the right sides against none other than Aroldis Chapman. Now THAT is encouraging!

Freddy Sanchez- 2 for 3, 2B. BA= .250.

Buster Posey- 0 for 1, 3 BB. Even if his BA and HR's were equal to Molina's, he'd be way more valuable because of the OBP.

Miguel Tejada- 2 for 4. BA= .259. Miggy is getting warmer. He started 2 DP's in the field to boot.

Tim LIncecum- 5 IP, 11 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 3 K's. ERA= 4.37. Hopefully this was just a tune-up game and Timmy will be firing on opening day. He'll need to be against Kershaw!

Mota, Affeldt and Edlefsen all pitched scoreless innings.

Fred Lewis(Reds)- 1 for 2, HR(1), BB. Freddy is battling Jeremy Hermida for the 5'th OF job in Cincy. Even though Hermida has had a better spring, FLew can lead off, something Cincy needs.

Aroldis Chapman(Reds)- 0 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 0 K's. ERA= 5.73. A line like that will completely blow up a fantasy pitching line for the whole week in H2H scoring. Velocity is important, but it isn't everything.

Mike Fontenot- 2 for 5, 2 2B. BA= .271. Love what Fonty brings as a reserve IF.

Nate Schierholtz- 2 for 4, BB, SB(2). BA= .276. Nate is trying to prove he belongs on the roster. With Cody Ross on the DL, can he start in RF to open the season?

Brandon Belt- 2 for 4, HR(3), BB. .306/.358/.532! He's got the BA! He's got the power! He's got the OBP! He's got the D! What more do you want? Bochy said Burrell is his starting LF which some analysts interpreted to mean Belt will get sent down to Fresno. With Ross out, though, Huff could play RF with Belt at 1B pushing Nate back to the bench. So, if Belt plays his way onto the team, it not only will certainly cost Travis a job, it may push Nate back to the bench.

Brandon Crawford- 2 for 5. BA= .222. Nice to see Crawford get a couple of hits.

Eli Whiteside- 2 for 5, 2B, 3B. BA= .286. Whiteside was injured at the start of spring Chris Stewart was looking like he wanted Whitey's job. It looks like Whiteside will be staying on as backup catcher.

Roger Kieschnick- 2 for 3, HR. A Roger Kieschnick sighting! What a shot in the arm for the Giants organization it would be if Roger came back big in 2011!

Ryan Vogelsong- 4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 5 K's. ERA= 3.54.

Jeff Suppan- 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 K, GO/AO= 7/2. ERA= 5.50. Have either Suppan or Vogelsong shown enough to make the 25 man roster?

With the double wins, the Giants ran their Cactus League record to 20-11. They wrap up their 2011 stint in the Arizona desert with a trip to Surprise, AZ to take on the KC Royals with Jonathan Sanchez taking the ball.

Spring Training Game Wrap: Royals 15 Giants 3

The Giants Weekus Horribilus continued unabated as they go pasted by the KC Royals in an evening game. Key lines:

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 4. BA= .288. Pablo has cooled off a bit, but I think we'd all be satisfied with a .288 BA at the end of the year. Would like to see a bit more pop.

Miguel Tejada- 2 for 4. BA= .241. Good to see Miggy heating up a bit.

Brandon Belt- 2 for 4. BA= .293. Belt played 1B while Huff played RF in this game.

Madison Bumgarner- 4.1 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 0 BB, 5 K's. ERA= 7.17. Bum sailed through the first 3 innings before hitting the wall in the 4'th. Baggs said his velocity was OK. He just started leaving the ball over too much of the plate and maybe his breaking stuff was flattening out. The K/BB is encouraging that this won't carry over.

Santiago Casilla- 0.2 IP, 1 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 1 K. This as obviously a control issue. Again, shouldn't carry over unless he's suddenly gotten Steve Blass Disease.

Marc Kroon- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's. I'm becoming more convinced that Kroon needs to make the team, especially if Wilson starts out on the DL.

Speaking of Wilson, he threw again from 75 feet and reportedly felt good. That's good news!

The Giants split the squad tomorrow with Timmy making his final spring start against the Cincinnati Red in Scottsdale and Ryan Vogelsong going against Cleveland in Goodyear.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fantasy Focus: 2011 Savvy Vets

My fantasy league held its draft tonight. It's a 10 team league, H2H, 5X5, 6 Keepers. I present to you the 2011 Savvy Vets fantasy baseball team(Keepers denoted with a (K)):

C Brian McCann(K)
1B Paul Konerko(K)
2B Howe Kendrick
3B Casey McGehee
SS Reid Brignac
IF Adam Dunn
OF Justin Upton(K)
OF Brett Gardner
OF Chris B Young
UT Chone Figgins
UT David Ortiz
SP CC Sabathia(K)
SP Matt Cain(K)
SP Francisco Liriano(K)
SP Jonathan Sanchez
SP Ervin Santana
RP Matt Thornton
RP Francisco Rodriguez
RP Craig Kimbrel
P Jose Contreras
P Jake McGee
BN Manny Ramirez
BN Ivan Nova
BN Kyle McClellan
BN Erik Bedard
BN Edwin Jackson

My draft went as follows(keep in mind the 6 keepers were already on the team). I was picking #6 in a standard snake draft:

1. Adam Dunn
2 Brett Gardner- I went for raw power with the first pick. Went for speed with the 2'nd).
3. Matt Thornton-I know it's early for a closer, but closers are in high demand in this league and only about half the teams have settled closer situations. I ended up punting Saves last year and found out just how hard it is to win when you punt a category. Wilson and Heath Bell were Keepers on another team. Marmol and Neftali Feliz were already gone.
4. Francisco Rodriguez- I wanted at least 2 closers I could count on.
5. Chris B Young- Can hurt you with BA, but hits HR's and steals bases.
6. Jonathan Sanchez- I'm looking for an epic breakout this year. I had him as my #2 ranked SP behind Dan Haren in this draft. Obviously a lot of better pitchers were already Keepers.
7. Casey McGehee- There was a run of third basemen. McGehee was actually my top ranked at that position, so I figured I better grab him before someone else did. The 3B rankings after about #8 or 9 was not pretty.
8. Reid Brignac- again, there was a huge run on SS's. Brignac was on my All Breakout Team. He hit a HR ever 18 AB's after his callup last year. I figured he wouldn't be there at my next pick and the dropoff at SS was steep.
9. Howie Kendrick- If he can stay healthy, he might finally win that batting title everybody has been long predicting for him. He gives you double digit HR's and Steals too.
10. Craig Kimbrel- A serious run on closers had started. I was impressed with Kimbrel in the NLDS, to say the least. I think he will ultimately win the full time closer gig in ATL. This pick fills out my RP slots. There are 2 more P slots that can be used for SP's or RP's. My league lets you reset your lineup daily, so I like to use my bench as an extended starting rotation which frees up the two P to be potentially used for more Saves.
11. Chone Figgins- I think Figgy will bounce back some this year and I figured I needed another SB threat to complement Gardner.
12. Manny Ramirez- Manny still qualifies as an OF or I can use him in a UT position. He may be done, but also may have 1 last big year in him as the DH in TB.
13. David Ortiz- Hit over 30 HR's with 102 RBI's last year for Boston.
14. Ervin Santana- won 17 games last year for Anaheim. I couldn't believe he was still available this late.
15. Ivan Nova- I think he's going to win a lot of games pitching in front of the Yankee lineup.
16. Kyle McClellan- Converted RP who put up great numbers as a reliever. St Louis has a way of finding pitching in the darndest places. They will score some runs to back him up too. McClellan has had a nice spring training.
17. Erik Bedard- Bedard finally seems healthy and has pitched great in spring training. If figured he was worth a chance this late.
18. Jose Contreras- Looks like he's going to be the closer in Philly while Lidge is out. I actually don't think Lidge is coming back this time. As much as closers are valued in my league, I figured it was a no-brainer to take a chance here.
19. Jake McGee- I think he will ultimately emerge as the closer in TB. They just don't want to put pressure on the kid by naming him to the position coming out of camp. Agan, worth a flyer.
20. Edwin Jackson- I was stunned to find him still on the board at my last pick in the draft. A no brainer here.

What do you think? Any suggestions?


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Training Game Wrap: Indians 7 Giants 1

The dog days of spring training continued for the Giants as they lost to Cleveland and got more bad news on the injury front. Key lines:

Miggy Tejada- 1 for 3, HR(1). BA= .220. Tejada has come under a torrent of criticism for appearing to be over-the-hill on both defense and offense. Maybe this will be the start of something good?

Barry Zito- 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K's. ERA= 2.49. Zeets didn't pitch all that badly. If he keeps pitching this well into the season, he gonna be alright.

Ramon Ramirez- 0.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 0 K's. ERA= 7.71. Gotta be a bit concerned about our two midseason bullpen acquisitions from last year.

Dan Runzler- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. ERA= 2.57. Dan the Man keeps making a case to be on the opening day roster.

The Giants learned today that Cody Ross has a tear in his calf muscle and will likely miss at least 3 weeks which carries over well into the regular season. I'm guessing it's closer to 4-6 weeks if the muscle is torn.

Brian Wilson will try to throw again tomorrow but at this point is "50-50" for the regular season.

Ehire Adrianza, the Giants shortstop prospect, underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his hand. Ouch!! He'll likely miss at least 2 months of the season. He really needed this season to develop his hitting too.

The Giants travel to Surprise to take on the KC Royals in another evening game tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Training Game Wrap: Angels 8 Giants 0

Today was not a good day for the Giants. Matt Cain got knocked around. The bats were quiet against the Angels pitching. Cody Ross went down with an injury and Brian Wilson's throwing session did not go well. Key lines:

Aubrey Huff- 2 for 3. BA= .380.

Buster Posey- 2 for 2, BB. BA= .410.

Matt Cain- 3 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 3 K's. The silver lining, if there is one, is that all the damage came in the first inning, so maybe he was just a bit rusty?

Ramon Ramirez- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's. Ramirez lines have been noticeably better of late. The race does not always go to the swiftest in spring training.

Marc Kroon- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. ERA= 2.25. I don't know if Wilson's injury opens the door for Kroon or for Runzler or both. They are both deserving of making the team.

Cody Ross pulled up lame in the first inning with a strained calf. He came out of the game and eventually left the ballpark riding a cart. One of the OF's starting the season on the DL temporarily solves some of the roster crunch issues that have gained so much attention this spring.

Brian Wilson had a throwing session from level ground for 7-8 minutes and then shut it down. Bochy said Willie was still sore. Wilson kind of blew it off, but then admitted he might have to start the season on the DL, "if that's what my employers tell me to do." ....or something to that effect. I doubt BWeez would ever admit he couldn't go, but he obviously found a creative way to shift the decision/blame to someone else. It's a long season. The worst thing Wilson and the Giants could do would be to rush him back too soon. Kroon is a veteran with extensive closing experience in Japan. He's pitching well. I say give the ball to him in the 9'th inning until Willie gets back or he proves he can't get it done.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fantasy Focus: All Breakout Team

The Giants had a scheduled off day today. Jonathan Sanchez got in his regular work throwing 85 pitches in a minor league game. He got knocked around by the kids a bit, but said he was just trying to throw strikes and work on his changeup. Here's my All-Breakout team, which is not exactly the same thing as an All-Sleeper team:

C: Matt Wieters. Orioles. Wieters is back on after a disappointing sophomore campaign. I think he's going to break huge this year. Guy just has so much power and was so good in college and the minors.

1B: Billy Butler. Royals. Hit .318 last year with 15 HR's. Look for the power to take another step forward. Brandon Belt deserves mention here too. Gotta think it's almost a lock that he's up fairly early in the season if not on the opening day roster and all indications are he'll rake from day 1.

2B: Gordon Beckham, White Sox. Raked in the second half last year. Should pick up where he left off now that he's settled in at 2B. Honorable mention goes to Neil Walker of the Pirates.

3B: Chase Headley, Padres. Hate to say it, but I think Headley may be primed to be a more athletic version of Adrian Gonzalez, well, maybe not quite as much power, but double digit steals to make up for it. Honorable mention goes to Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates and Ian Stewart of the Rockies. Pablo Sandoval to have a re-breakout year!

SS: Reid Brignac, Rays. Once a highly touted prospect, he didn't develop quite as fast as anticipated, but hit a HR every 18 AB's last year after his callup. That, my friends, projects to 33 HR's over a full season...from the SS position! Honorable Mention: Alcides Escobar who I think will make the BrewCrew regret trading for Zack Grienke who seems injury prone and very full of himself for a guy coming off a down year.

OF: Jose Tabata, Pirates. If you are looking for 40+ steals with some power projection, look no further than Tabata.

OF: Brett Gardner, Yankees. Already a pretty good player, it sounds like Gardner is going to lead off for the Yankees. With a .380 OBP and Plus-plus speed, he could score 140 runs!

OF: Dexter Fowler, Rockies. Dang! I keep coming up with names from Giants division rivals here! Maybe it's just because I know the division better and am a bit paranoid? I know Fowler has his doubters, but I think he just might ultimately be a better player than Carlos Gonzalez.

OF Honorable Mention: Will Venable, Padres. There I go again, but Venable has enough power for Petco and a great deal of speed. Only question is whether he will hit for enough average.

SP: Jonathan Sanchez, Giants. He was good last year, but I think that's only the tip of the iceburg. He's always had elite stuff and now he's learning how to harness it.

SP: Brandon Morrow, Blue Jays. Another guy with elite stuff who's struggled to harness it. Ready to take the next step. Some analysts are calling his 17 K game from last year one of the most dominant of all time.

SP: Edwin Jackson, White Sox. Another guy with elite stuff who's had trouble controlling it.

SP: Jordan Zimmerman, Nationals. Now more than a full year post-TJ. Another guy with elite stuff.

SP: Gio Gonzalez, A's. A lot like Jonathan Sanchez.

RP: Craig Kimbrel, Braves. A lot of people are predicting this one. I think he will ultimately beat out Venters for the Braves closing job. What did he have, something like 17 K/9 last year? Unreal!

RP: Daniel Bard, Red Sox. Could be the closer in Boston by June.

RP: Ryan Madson, Phillies. Was a beast in the NLCS. LIke Bard in Boston, he could be the closer in Philly by June.

RP Honorable Mention: Kenley Jansen, Dodgers. If Broxton blows up again, which I think he will, Jansen is my pick to emerge as the closer as Kuo can't pitch in back-to-back games.

Who do you think is going to break out this year?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fantasy Focus: All Sleeper Team

Well, the Giants got rained out today so no game wrap. I thought I'd have a bit of fun with fantasy rankings here. I decided to post my All Sleeper Team which I will define as anybody ranked so low by Yahoo they would not be drafted in my 10 team league with 26 players per team. Here goes:

C : Carlos Ruis, PHI, Rank 281.
1B: Mike Morse, Was, Rank 343(Will play as an OF, but has eligibility at 1B).
2B: Danny Espinosa, Was, Rank 302
3B: Chase Headley, SD, Rank 270
SS: Omar Infante, Fla, Rank 329
OF: Chris Coghlan, Fla, Rank 295
OF: Will Venable, SD, Rank 338
OF: Cody Ross, SF, Rank 370
SP: Kyle McClellen, StL, Rank 301
SP: Eric Bedard, Sea, Rank 462.
SP: Ivan Nova, NYY, Rank 699
SP: Edwin Jackson, Rank 276
SP: Brian Deunsing, Rank 365
RP: Alexi Ogando, Tex, Rank 337
RP: Brian Fuentes, Oak, Rank 342
RP: Jon Rauch, Tor, Rank 377
P : Chris Narveson, Mil, Rank 642
P : Bud Norris, Hou, Rank 282

Some of these are probably being drafted higher than these rankings now.

Who are your "sleepers" this year?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Training Game Wrap: A's 6 Giants 4; Cubbies 3 Giants 2

The Giants split their squad today and lost both games. They lost to the Oakland A's in Scottsdale and to the Cubbies in HoHoKam. Key lines:

Aubrey Huff- 2 for 4, HR(5). BA= .362. The Huffster is on fire! He played LF today.

Brandon Belt- 1 for 4. BA= .269. Belt's BA has been slipping amid all the talk of him making the Opening Day roster. I think it's still more likely he starts the season in Fresno.

Madison Bumgarner- 2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K's. ERA= 4.76. Not a good outing for MadBum. He started the 2'nd inning by walking the first two batters. He then got a comebacker that might have helped get him out of the inning but threw it away. The next 3 batters all singled. Bum has shown a lot of mental toughness, but he's still very young. Maybe the throwing error rattled him a bit?

Dan Runzler- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's. ERA= 2.77. Very nice long relief job by Runzler who now has a K/BB of 12/2 on the spring in 13.1 IP.

Guillermo Mota- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's. ERA- 4.09. Did Mota put himself back in the hunt for the last pitching slot here?

Javier Lopez- 1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 0 K's. ERA= 9.00. There is bound to be at least 1 or 2 disappointing peformances this year. Lopez is looking like a good candidate for regression right now.

Brandon McCarthy(A's): 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 5 K's. ERA= 3.05. McCarthy is competing for the A's 5'th starter slot and is getting attention on fantasy sites as a possible sleeper/deep league option. He didn't hurt himself here.

Nate Shierholtz- 0 for 4. BA= .277. Nate lost an opportunity to put some distance between himself and Aaron Rowand here.

Aaron Rowand- 0 for 3. BA= .194. On the other hand, Rowand did nothing to make anyone think he shouldn't be released here.

Shane Loux- 3.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 K's, GO/AO= 6-1. Loux was probably auditioning for a spot in Fresno's rotation here.

Steve Edlefsen- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. ERA= 0.00. Edlefsen has pitched in 6.2 IP, over 8 appearances this spring without allowing a run.

Marc Kroon-1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. ERA= 2.57. I would like to see Kroon on the team if BWeez can't go on opening day.

The Giants Cactus League record falls to 18-8. They are 1.5 games ahead of the Colorado Rockies who are at 15-8. The Giants face the Rockies in Scottsdale tomorrow with Tim Lincecum taking the mound.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Training Game Wrap: Giants 3 Royals 1

The Giants used the long ball and more tight pitching to get back on the winning track in Cactus League action today. The starting lineup looked a lot like it might on opening day except for Fontenot at SS and Zito on the mound: Torres, F. Sanchez, Huff, Posey, Ross, Burrell, Sandoval, Fontenot, Zito. Key lines:

Aubrey Huff- 1 for 3, HR(4). BA= .349. Huffster hasn't gotten much attention this spring but leads the Giants in Cactus League HR's and RBI's.

Buster Posey- 1 for 3, HR(3). BA= .394. Buster has only played in 12 of 24 spring games but trails only Huff in RBI's with 10 to Huff Daddy's 11.

Cody Ross- 1 for 3, HR(3). BA= .308.

Darren Ford appeared once again as a pinch runner and stole his 9'th base of the spring. It seems like Bochy is intrigued by something here.

Emmanuel Burriss made 2 errors. He was ticketed for Fresno anyway, but this probably guarantees it.

Barry Zito- 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 2 K's, GO/AO= 10/2. I haven't seen Zito pitch yet, so can't comment on his stuff, but he's definitely getting far different results in terms of GO/AO. He's always been a fairly extreme flyball pitcher, but is getting far more GB's this spring.

Santiago Casilla- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, Save. Casilla has closer quality stuff if he can keep it under control.

The Giants announced that Brian Wilson has an oblique strain in his left side. Early indications are that it is mild, but these things have a way of dragging on for much longer than it seems they should. He should recover completely, but the worst thing he could do is rush it back just to make Opening Day.

The Giants split the squad tomorrow taking on the Oakland A's in Scottsdale and the Cubbies at HoHoKam(do they still play in HoHoKam?). Expect to see some minor league hurlers get a taste of big league action as Suppan and Vogelsong both pitched on Friday.

Around the league: Johnny Cueto of the Reds was pulled in the 2'nd inning of their game today after missing 8 days with a forearm strain. That combination often means UCL problems and possible TJ. I was expecting a breakout from Cueto this year. The Reds are pretty deep in pitching so they should be OK though.

Down on the Farm: International Signings

The Giants made another international signing yesterday according to BA. Adalberto Mejia, LHP signed for a bonus of $350 K. He's a 17 year old with nice size at 6'3", 190 lbs. BA reports that that he has a "loose arm" with a fastball that sits at 87-90 MPH and touches 92. He has advance feel for a changeup and a slurvy breaking ball that needs to be tightened up. The signing signals that the Giants are still active players in the international market as it is the second signing this calender year after hard throwing RHP Simon Mercedes was signed for $400 K.

The Giants were relatively quiet on the international front in 2010 although not completely inactive. They were expected to be bidders for several highly ranked prospects when the signing period opened last summer, but then pulled back after news of wholesale failings of drug tests conducted by MLB. They ended up signing 17 year old Venezuelan OF Carlos Cartagena for $300 K. I had not heard of the Cartegena signing until BA's international signing summary came out recently. He has nice size for an OF at 6'2", 185 lbs. He reportedly can drive the ball to the opposite field with occasional pull power, but can be inconsistent at the plate as you might expect from a 17 year old.

Prior to the July 2 opening of the signing period, the Giants had already picked up Reiner Roibal out of Cuba for $425 K in April, RHP Joan Gregorio in March and RHP Luis Angeles for $55 K in February. Gregorio is a skinny 6'7" but has put on some weight. He throws a low 90's fastball on a downhill plane with excellent control and repeatabiltiy for such a tall pitcher. Angeles is smaller. He can get it up to 91 MPH but is more of a 4 pitch/control artist. In 2009, the Giants also signed a couple of international prospects in the mid 6 figure bonus range, OF Leonardo Fuentes and RHP Marvin Barrios.

Since the Rafael Rodriguez signing, the Giants have seemed to employ a strategy of signing multiple players in the mid 6 figure range rather than single 7 figure splashes. This may have been dictated more by the quality of the market and the PED scandal of last summer than by a purposeful strategy, but I like it nonetheless. The Giants haven't been as active in the international market as the perennial big players like the Yankees, Rangers, etc, but they have maintained a steady infusion of talent to supplement their recent success in the draft.

It is also encouraging that the Giants are apparently still willing to spend money on the international market despite a payroll boost at the MLB level this offseason. It looks like the days of cannibalizing the draft and scouting to boost the MLB payroll are ancient history under the Bill Neukom ownership regime.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Training Game Wrap: Dodgers 6 Giants 3

Well, we've hit the dog days of Spring Training as the Giants sleepwalked through a loss to the Hated Ones. The game was somewhat important as all 3 pitchers competing for the last spot on the staff made appearances. Key lines:

Mike Fontenot- 1 for 4, 2B, BB. BA= .278. Fontenot has performed at about where I'd expect him to be over the course of a season, which is a valuable reserve IF.

Ryan Rohlinger- 2 for 3, 3B. BA= .333. Rohlinger has made the most of few opportunities this spring. He's a solid defender at multiple positions and could be a useful reserve IF at some point.

Chris Stewart- 1 for 2, 2B, BB. BA= .318. Anyone else ready for a change at reserve catcher? Whiteside may be better defensively if he's healthy though.

Jeff Suppan- 4 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, GO/AO= 7/2. ERA= 5.79. Not a terrible performance, but was it enough to make up any ground on Ryan Vogelsong?

Ryan Vogelsong- 3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K's. ERA= 2.87. Sending him to Fresno gives the Giants the most depth and allows Ryan to keep pitching regularly. He may be the best pitcher right now competing for the last spot though.

Guillermo Mota- 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 2 HR. If they are going to go with a 1 inning pitcher for the last spot, I'm kind of finding myself wanting it to be Marc Kroon.

Rubby De La Rosa(Dodgers): 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K's, GO/AO= 7/1. Watch out for this kid, Giants fans! He'll likely be in the Dodgers rotation before the season is over.

The Giants Cactus League record dropped to 17-6. Barry Zito takes the mound in Scottsdale against the KC Royals. I've lost track of where Matt Cain is supposed to be. Maybe he pitched on the minor league side to avoid exposing him to the Dodgers?

Spring Training Game Wrap: Giants 4 Angels 0

Spring training records don't count, but they do mean something. The Giants juggernaut just kept rolling, this time flattening an Angels' travel squad that mustered only 2 hits. Key lines:

Andres Torres- 0 for 3, HBP, SB. Torres managed to turn his 0 for 3 into 2 Runs scored. That's what a leadoff hitter is supposed to do, right?

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 4, 2B. Pablo also made a nifty fielding play at 3B.

Jonathan Sanchez- 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K's. ERA= 1.23. It was against a team of scrubs, but that line has the look of a mature ace pitcher. He didn't walk the first batter until the 6'th inning. People who study stats look at Durty's K and BB numbers and say his 4 years of declining ERA is luck. Those of us who watch him pitch day in and day out have witnessed a transformation that isn't as easy to quantify, controlling his emotions on the mound, confidence in his stuff, more consistency from game to game. I may be crazy, but if you are looking for a sleeper to win the Cy Young Award, Sanchez might be the guy. I think he's still getting better.

Brian Wilson- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K's. ERA= 1.80.

Marc Kroon- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. ERA= 3.00. Kroon is the forgotten man out there, but he's pitched well. Is he willing to pitch in Fresno?

The win ran the Giants spring record to 16-5. Jeff Suppan gets the start against the Dodgers in a day game. It's probably Suppan's last chance to get back into the musical chairs roster game.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring Training Game Wrap: Giants 5 White Sox 3

Tim LIncecum worked his way closer to being ready for Opening Day and Brandon Belt had yet another huge day at the plate as the Giants topped the ChiSox in Glendale, AZ. Key lines:

Brandon Belt- 3 for 4, 2B, HR(2), BB. BA= .302. It is becoming increasingly clear that the Giants are a better team with Brandon Belt than without him. Perhaps the coaches have noticed something specific that he needs to work on in Fresno before he's finally ready, but from everything I've read, everybody from the GM on down thinks he's the real deal. Pretty tough to see what he's going to learn facing AAA pitching. The other side of that coin is keeping Belt, or bringing him up, whenever that is, will create a domino effect on the roster and there will be some tough, tough decisions to make. Great problem to have, though.

Nate Schierholtz- 3 for 5. BA= .342. Nate is making a statement on a daily basis that he does not intend to be the odd man out in the roster musical chairs.

Tim Lincecum- 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 7 K's, GO/AO= 8/2. ERA= 2.55. Other than the 3 BB's, a dominant performance combining GB's and K's.

Dan Runzler- 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 2 K's, HBP. The HBP was AJ Pierzynski, which is A-OK with me!

Javier Lopez and Ramon Ramirez pitched a scoreless inning each.

The win increased the Giants record to 16-5, and you get the feeling that they are not even trying all that hard, not that there is anything flukey about it. Jonathan Sanchez takes the mound tomorrow evening against the Angels in Scottsdale.

Dave Cameron of dropped an intriguing tidbit in his chat today. You all may have been following the running debate about why and/or how Matt Cain and other Giants pitchers give up so few HR's despite having a strong flyball tendency. Well, the focus has been put on what, if any, role Dave Righetti may have on helping Giants pitchers achieve this. Cameron has been right in the middle of the debate, but his position has evolved. I'll give him credit for being one of the first non-Giants fans to come out and say, "you know, there may be something to this." Anyway, Cameron dropped the news that he snagged an interview with Rags that he is in the process of writing up, possibly for a national magazine, but it will be discussed on at some point in the future. Should be very interesting!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring Training Game Wrap: Giants 5 D'Backs 4

The Giants got back to their winning ways scoring a run in the top of the 9'th inning to break a 4-4 tie. Key lines:

Freddy Sanchez- 2 for 4, HR(2). BA= .290. Is The Mole becoming a power hitter? Maybe he's taking hitting lessons from Andres Torres.

Aubrey Huff- 2 for 4, 2B, HR(3). BA= .351. Huff Daddy is on fire!

Travis Ishikawa- 1 for 1, 2B. BA= .250. Travis has not had a lot of AB's this spring.

Madison Bumgarner- 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 6 K's. ERA= 3.60. Love the K's. The rest of the line is OK.

The W runs the Giants spring record to 15-5. Tim Lincecum will take the mound against Mark Buehrle and the Chicago White Sox in Glendale, AZ tomorrow

Monday, March 14, 2011

Just My Opinion: Aaron Rowand

There's a hilarious video clip of Aaron Rowand, um, settling into his batting stance over on in their Notgraphs section, that is if you don't mind a bit of risque humor. What's not so funny is Aaron Rowand still fooling around with that silly stance long after it was obvious to everyone but, apparently, him that it's NOT WORKING! It's like my daugher said at the game on yesterday, "nobody else is doing it, and he's a terrible hitter!" Yo Gamer! Do you think maybe there's a reason why NOBODY ELSE is copying your batting stance? Now, we had been led to believe that Gamer had, among other things, reworked his batting stance over the winter. It was supposedly more upright, less squatty. Well, we saw his stance on Sunday and if anything it's MORE squatty and, well, you can go look up the video on fangraphs to fill in the rest. It's just a ridiculous batting stance that long since became a parody of itself.

I believe the stance and swing itself is a big part of Aaron Rowand's struggles at the plate. What it is, essentially, is a timing mechanism. The mechanism is so long and has so many moving parts, it has two major effects: 1. It makes it easy for pitchers to disrupt that timing by forcing him to commit too early in the pitch. 2. It makes it difficult to maintain consistent mechanics from pitch to pitch. I think he does it in part to generate more power in his swing, but that power is seldom delivered exactly to the right place on the ball when his timing and balance are always off.

The big problem for the Giants is that Rowand is owed $24 million over the next 2 years. Grant, over on has a good discussion about the concept of sunk cost, so I won't repeat it here. I'll just say that if I had a choice between keeping Rowand or Darren Ford on the 25 man roster for equal cost, I'd keep Ford who I think could win the Giants several games by just pinch running and subbing in on defense. Since Darren Ford's chances of making the 25 man roster are a lot closer to the none side of slim to none, that tells you all you need to know about what I think the Giants need to do with Rowand and his contract.

The Giants might go with 11 pitchers to start the season, there are a lot of off days in April. They might choose to trade or waive Travis Ishikawa who hasn't played a lot this spring while Brandon Belt has established himself as the Giants first baseman of the future. Ultimately, sooner or later, the Giants will have to make a choice between releasing Rowand and hurting the team. There is one reason why I think they just might be willing to release him. He was signed before Bill Neukom took over as Managing Partner. Neukom can sign off on the release and not have to explain to the other partners why he allowed the signing in the first place. Last year, the Giants, for the first time in my memory, were willing to throw the big contract guys under the bus for the sake of winning. That had to start at the very top of the organization.

Spring Training Game Wrap: BrewCrew 12 Giants 8

Matt Cain pitched 3 shutout innings without any apparent residual arm probles and Jeff Suppan's chances of making the team took a major hit as the Giants lost a ragged game to the BrewCrew 12-8. Key Lines:

Andres Torres- 1 for 3, 3B(2). BA= .379. No signs of a regression yet!

Nate Schierholtz- 1 for 1. BA= .323. Nate making a strong case to be on the team again!

Freddy Sanchez- 1 for 2, 2B, BB. BA= .259. Freddy is rounding into form.

Aubrey Huff- 3 for 3, 2B, HR(2). BA= .333. Another guy who isn't showing any signs of a regression.

Buster Posey- 1 for 2, 2B. BA= .458. And yet another guy who doesn't look like he's regressing!

Pablo Sandoval- 1 for 3, HR(3). BA= .326. Pablo is looking primed for a big bounceback.

Gary Brown- 0 for 1, SB(4). The little we've seen of Brown would make us think he's going to be a good player someday. Got re-assigned to minor league camp today along with 12 other non-roster invitees. 8 forty man roster players got optioned down today also.

Matt Cain- 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. That sound you hear is a lot of Giants and Giants fans breathing a big sigh of relief!

Jeff Suppan- 1 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 0 K's. Remember Suppan gave up 2 dingers in the last inning of his last appearance. I've had a feeling Vogelsong had already moved ahead of him on the depth chart. Gotta wonder how many more chances Suppan has to prove he deserves a spot on the roster.

Brian Wilson- 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 0 K's. ERA= 2.25.

Steve Edlefsen and Marc Kroon each threw a scoreless inning.

The loss drops the Giants spring record to 14-5. Madison Bumgarner takes the mound against the D'Backs in an evening game

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spring Training Game Wrap: Giants 11 Rangers 8

My daughter and I attended this game in Surprise, AZ. Giants fans have certainly taken over the Cactus league as they made up at least half the crowd in the Rangers' crib today by my estimate. It's pretty easy to tell who the Giants star players are if you go by the names on the backs of the fans. I would say that its about 40% Tim Lincecum 55, 40% Posey 28 with a variety of names making up the other 20%. My daughter was pretty disappointed that Buster didn't make the trip to Surprise but we still enjoyed the experience. Gaylord Perry was in booth with Ferguson Jenkins and a few other retired players signing autographs. I shook his hand and got a signed copy of 6" by 8" biography card. He was just a bit short with me and obviously going through the motions even though there wasn't even a line to get the autographs. I've met a couple of other players/retired players who at least acted more interested in me and my brief introduction as a long time Giants fan. Anyway, on to the Key LInes:

Andres Torres- 2 for 4. BA= .385. Torres got the game started right with a line single to right-center and scored the first run on Pablo's triple. Torres hasn't hit much from the right side due to an oblique strain. He turned around and swung it from the right later in the game.

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 3, 3B, SB. BA= .325. Wow! Panda actually looked fast out there today! Actually, he doesn't really look like much of a panda any more. Time to retire that nickname! He legged out the triple with ease and then stole 2B on what looked like a busted hit-and-run with Cody Ross at the plate. Both hits were low liners with a lot on them.

Brandon Belt- 1 for 5, 2B(4), SB(2). Belt's double wasn't cheap at all, a hard drive that he pulled to the base of the RF wall. He also made a nice stab of a hard grounder with runners on first and second that looked like it was trying to be a double down the line. He then made a nice throw to 2'nd to get one runner but the relay was a bit off line and not in time for the DP.

Nate Schierholtz- 2 for 3, HR(1), Assist. Nate legged out a broken bat grounder to 2B that helped set up the 5 run 4'th and then pulled a HR to right off a LHP, Arthur Rhodes.

Chris Stewart- 2 for 3, 2B. BA= .316. Stewart has looked good at the plate this spring. Whiteside better get completely healthy soon or he may find himself replaced as backup catcher by Stewart.

Ryan Vogelsong- 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K's. ERA= 2.13. Vogelsong looked good working with a variety of pitches. Especially impressive was how he worked his way out of a bases-loaded no-out jam in the 3'rd with the top of the Rangers' lineup coming up. He got Kinsler to pop up, Andrus to ground out on a weakly hit ball to SS(DeRosa smartly got the out at 1B allowing 1 run to score), and then Hamilton had his bat sawed off to end the inning. The 3 hits that loaded the bases were all of the IF variety and none were hard hit.

Affeldt and Romo pitched scoreless innings. Santiago Casilla got roughed up a bit before settling down and striking out the last 2 batters he faced.

The Giants' spring record now stands at 14-4. Matt Cain returns to action tomorrow against the BrewCrew in Scottsdale.

Spring Training Game Wrap: Giants 8 Dodgers 7

The Giants ran their spring record to 13-4 with an exciting win over half of a split squad of Choking Dogs. Scottsdale Stadium had a record crowd and atmosphere was regular season, heck, it was PLAYOFF atmosphere as far as the crowd was concerned! Key lines:

Gary Brown- 1 for 1. Brown drove in the winning run with a single in the bottom of the ninth inning. Great, great experience for the kid to learn the importance of game winning hits against the Dodgers!

Pat Burrell- 1 for 2, HR(2), BB. BA= .269. I read to Pat the Bat shortened up his swing a tad and he's been hot since then.

Cody Ross- 1 for 2, HR(2), BB. BA= .333. Cody is having a great spring.

Andres Torres, Freddy Sanchez- each had a triple.

Dan Runzler- 3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K's. ERA= 2.16. Runzler got the start because the Giants were hiding Jonathan Sanchez from the Dodgers. Sanchez got his work done in an intrasquad game.

BWeez, Edlefsen and Marc Kroon all pitched scoreless innings with Kroon getting the W by pitching the top of the 9'th.

Javier Lopez got roughed up for 4 runs, 3 earned. He's a guy some observers have pegged as being in for a regression. Hope they aren't right!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Down on the Farm: DrB's 2011 Giants Top 50 Prospects- Dominican Dandies

Let's wrap up the 2011 top prospect list with a quick look at a few players from the DSL who caught my eye:

Fernando Pujadas C. BD: 1/2/1992. 6'1", 179 lbs. B- R, T-R. DSL: .289/.372/.447, 8 BB, 8 K's in 84 PA. Hit .333 over his last 10 games.

Christian Paulino 3B. BD: 9/4/1991. 5'10", 168 lbs. B-R, T-R. DSL: .251/.327/.340, 19 SB, 6 CS.

Jesus Galindo OF. BD: 8/23/1990. 5'11", 175 lbs. B-S, T-R. DSL: .246/.385/.281, 43 SB, 7 CS. HIt .308 over his last 10 games.

Shurendell "Danny" Mujica SS. BD: NA. 6'1", 158 lbs. B-R, T-R. DSL: .219/.332/.266, 22 SB, 6 CS. Hit .333 with 3 triples over his last 10 games.

Luis Angeles RHP. BD: 12/15/1989. 6'0", 165 lbs. B-R, T-R. DSL: 8-3, 1.85, 77.2 IP, 16 BB, 56 K's. A bit old for a DSL prospect, but has been sighted at the Giants Arizona camp this past fall.

Joan Gregorio RHP. BD: 1/12/1992. 6'7", 180 lbs. B-R, T-R. DSL: 6-3, 2.80, 74 IP, 17 BB, 41 K's, GO/AO= 2.29. The height alone is interesting.

Ariel Hernandez RHP. BD: 3/2/1992. 6'3", 180 lbs. B-R, T-R. DSL: 2-0, 2.01, 31.1 IP, 33 BB, 30 K's. GO/AO= 2.50. I think he got a sizable bonus in 2008. The K/BB is obviously an issue here.

Well, that wraps it up for the 2011 DrB's Giants Top 50 Prospects list. It will be interesting to see how these kids perform and move up the ladder, hopefully to play in San Francisco some day.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spring Training Game Wrap: Giants 6 Padres 4

I know it's in vogue to believe that intangibles don't matter in baseball, it's all in the stats, but tonight Mat Latos got a taste of what happens when you give an opposing team bulletin board fodder. The Giants spanked him for a 4-0 first inning lead and then overcame a lot of sloppy fielding to hang on to a 6-4 win against their division rivals. Key lines:

Aaron Rowand- 2 for 2, HBP. BA= .200.

Darren Ford- PR, SB(7), Run. Bochy has used Ford in this role a LOT this spring with a great deal of success. Think Ol' Boch might have something up his sleeve?

Mike Fontenot- 1 for 3, HR(1). BA= .333. I could have sworn Fontenot hit a HR earlier in the spring, but I guess not.

Pablo Sandoval- 1 for 4, 2 E(4). Time to get concerned about Pablo's fielding?

Brandon Belt- 2 for 4, 2B. BA= .281. Belt had cooled off consderably and I had pretty much resigned myself to him going to Fresno for more seasoning, then he puts up another nice line here. He's still probably going to Fresno though.

Emmanuel Burriss- 1 for 3, E(3). Burriss started 2 DP's from his 2B position.

Tim Lincecum- 4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K's. The Giants committed 3 of their 4 errors while Timmy was on the mound.

Clayton Tanner- 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 0 K's. Another ugly line from Tanner except for the 0 R.

Ramon Ramirez- 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K's.

Mat Latos- 4 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, WP, HBP. ERA= 10.50. So Latos' late season collapse is carrying over into the spring. Things could get really ugly for the Pads this year.

Jonathan Sanchez takes on half of a split Dodger squad in Scottsdale. I am heading out to Arizona tomorrow morning. My daughter and I have tix to the game against the Rangers on Sunday in Surprise. Will head back home right after the game so it's just a quick trip.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Spring Training Game Wrap: Giants 7 Reds 0

The Giants train just kept a rolling with 3 dingers and dominating pitching led by Madison Bumgarner who I'm just so excited about I can hardly contain myself! The Reds fielded their likely opening day lineup and still got dominated! Key lines:

Andres Torres- 1 for 3, HR(1). BA= .389.

Freddy Sanchez- 1 for 2, HR(1), BB. Freddy had a flurry of HR's at the end of last year. I wonder if we're seeing something emerge here?

Cody Ross- 1 for 3, HR(1). BA= .318. I'm expecting a solid season from Cody. He's a tough out.

Darren Ford- 1 for 1, SB(6), 2 runs. Entered the game as a pinch runner and scored the run. Later generated 1 of his own. I'm thinking this guy could have a lot of value as a 5'th OF pinch running almost every game.

Pat Burrell- 2 for 2, BB. BA= .250. A perfect game for Burrell at the plate.

Madison Bumgarner- 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K's, 1 Pickoff. A dominating, dominating performance from MadBum! Picked off the only baserunner he allowed against the Reds best lineup. This kid stays healthy and he's beast!

S. Casilla, Lopez, Affeldt, Romo, Edlefsen- 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K's. Affeldt allowed 3 baserunners but the rest had easy innings. Edlefsen has not allowed a run or hit in 5 appearances/3.2 IP. He's gotten 11 batters out, 4 K's and 7 GB's. He has walked 3 and hit a batter.

The Giants spring record now stands at 11-4. They travel to Peoria tomorrow to play the Padres with Tim Lincecum taking the mound in an evening game.

Around the League: Jonathan Broxton's trouble from last season resurfaced today in the Dodgers exhibition game against the Pads: 0.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 0 K's, HBP. Broxton gave up a solo HR to Hoffpauir and then allowed 3 more baserunners and another run. He was pulled and his successor coughed up the baserunners by serving up a 3 run gopher ball to Cedric Hunter. Broxton also allowed 3 SB's during the 0.2 IP. It would have been even more ugly except Anthony Rizzo was thrown out at home trying to advance on the thrown after he stole 3B.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spring Training Game Wrap: Giants 4 White Sox 2

If whoever fed the negative vibes about Barry Zito to Bruce Jenkins was trying to light a fire, well, it seems to have worked! Zito had a dominant outing today with an interesting approach as the Giants downed the ChiSox 4-2. Key lines:

Andres Torres- 1 for 3, 2B. BA= .400. Torres has missed some time with an oblique strain, but has done well when he has played. Hopefully it will be completely healed by opening day.

Aubrey Huff- 2 for 3, HR(1). BA= .320. Nice game by The Huffster. Not saying he's going to equal last year's 5.7 WAR, but for those counting on a big regression, it was just his 4'th best offensive season of his career.

Buster Posey- 1 for 2, BB. BA= .526. Seems like Posey's name is in Key Lines every day he plays. Never get tired of it. I'll be thrilled if it's there every day all season!

Darren Ford and Gary Brown stole their 5'th and 3'rd bases respectively as pinch runners.

Barry Zito- 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, GO/AO= 10/4. Very unusual line for Zeets. Normally a pretty extreme flyball pitcher, Zito was a classic GB pitcher today pitching to contact and using just 55 pitches while getting 10 of the 16 batters he faced to ground out including a GIDP by AJ Pierzynski. Well, I guess it isn't that hard to get AJ to GIDP! Ha! According to Baggs, Zito didn't seem to have his curveball command until the 4'th inning and got it done with mostly fastballs at the knees and a changeup. Hmm... I wonder if maybe he went to Affeldt for advice on the sinker grip too? IMO, it's long, long overdue for Zito to reinvent himself as a sinker/GB pitcher. Maybe today was a fluke, or maybe the callout passed on by Bruce Jenkins broke through the stubborness.

Brian Wilson- 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's. 3 baserunners, no runs. Wilson is in mid-season form. Let the torture begin! Gotta make sure I have my nitroglycerin supply by the start of the season.

Jeff Suppan- 3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 0 K, GO/AO= 8-1. Suppan allowed solo HR's to Adam Dunn and Stefan Gartrell who went to USF. Note Suppan's GO/AO and then note the 2 dingers. HR's are hit off mistake pitches and very few pitches get hit harder than sinkers that don't sink!

The Giants ran their Cactus League record to 10-4. They travel to the Cincinnati Reds camp tomorrow as Madison Bumgarner takes the mound against Dusty's boys.

Around the League:

Not to wish any bad luck on the team most people still seem to think was the better team last year and the team most people are picking to win the NL Pennant this year, but the Phils are definitely hurting on the offensive side of things. Losing Jayson Werth was big, but then his heir apparent in RF, Dominic Brown, suffered a fractured hamate in his wrist reguiring surgery. Ostensibly Brown is out for about 6 weeks, but hamate fracures often take a full year to fully heal and sometimes cause loss of power for longer than that. Now, Chase Utley is having problems with his knee. The report I read about his MRI sounded ugly. Chondromalacia(cartilage turned to scar tissue) and inflammation of the underlying bone. The knee did not respond to a cortisone shot. I'm guessing microfracture surgery is in Utley's not-to-distant future.

The BrewCrew made a couple of bold moves to acquire pitching this winter emptying out their farm system for Shaun Marcum and Zack Grienke. Now comes word that Grienke fractured ribs in a pickup game of basketball. This may be bit unfair, but Grienke seems like a bit of a problem child for whoever has his contract. He reportedly was a bit of pain in the rear in the KC clubhouse last year which may be why the Royals weren't too unhappy when he demanded a trade. He then had the Chutzpah to say that he demanded the trade to help the Royals because the KC fans would have revolted had they traded him without the demand. Anyway, the ribs are expected to heal in 4-6 weeks so this should not have a major impact on his season.

Jon Garland came out of today's game early with an oblique strain. BTW, how come I never heard of an oblique strain until about the time Noah Lowry had one a few seasons ago? It certainly seems to be the injury du jour. Anyway, Garland may well miss the opening of the season as these things seem to take forever to heal. Vicente Padilla underwent surgery and will start the season on the DL, so all that SP pitching depth Agent Ned acquired for the Dodgers is melting away fast.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spring Training Game Wrap: Mariners 1 Giants 0

1-0 games are great to win, terrible to lose. Good thing this wasn't a regular season game. Key lines:

Nate Schierholtz- 1 for 2, 2B, BB.

Mike Fontenot- 1 for 2, BB. Fontenot and Nate were the only Giants to reach base twice in the game.

Ryan Vogelsong- 3.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 5 K's. ERA= 1.04. Another solid outing by the one time Giants prospect. Quite a fight developing over the long reliever/6'th starter role.

Dan Runzler- 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K. ERA- 1.69. I'm on board with sending Runzler to Fresno as a starter.

Guillermo Mota- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. ERA- 3.60. Mota isn't going to make this decision any easier for the Giants.

Yet more evidence of a Giants organizational ability to suppress HR's in where the focus is on Rags and the pitchers who have worked under him as Giants Pitching Coach. While I agree Rags is part of the equation, it goes beyond that to the type of pitchers Sabes and Tidrow look for in the draft and how they develop them.

Matt Cain had another good throwing session. His next assignment will be a simulated game.

Barry Zito makes his 3'rd start of the spring against the ChiSox tomorrow with Jeff Suppan slated to get some work in too. Gamer is expected to return to the lineup against his old team.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Down on the Farm: DrB's 2011 Giants Top 50 Prospects- Honorable Mention Part VI

Carlton Salters OF. BD: 9/15/1987. 5'11", 200 lbs. B- R, T-R. Rookie AZL: .250/.250/.250 in 8 AB. Salters was a very good wide receiver on the Arkansas football team averaging 19 yards per catch when he decided his professional future lay in baseball. He hit .394 as a HS senior, so is not a stranger to the game. He showed up at an open tryout for the KC Royals who told him they wanted to sign him but did not have room in their system at the time. Given how loaded KC's farm system is, that may be true. Somehow, the Giants go wind of Salters' interest and held a private tryout 2 weeks later and signed him on the spot. Salters' asked if he was too old to be a baseball prospect and was told "not yet." Very interesting and intriguing story. We'll see if it pans out.

Joe Staley C. BD: 5/8/1989. 6'1", 235 lb. B-S, T-R. Rookie AZL: .250/.312/.460, 5 HR in 124 AB. Another switch-hitting catcher. Staley hit .361 over his last 10 games. Younger and out of smaller schools than Dan Burkhart so less advanced, he could ultimately have a higher ceiling, specifically more power.

Ryan Bean, RHP. BD: 3/9/1990. 6'4", 225 lbs. B-R, T-R. Rookie AZL: 1-0, 1.47, 18.1 IP, 8 BB, 25 K's, GO/AO= 3.83. Big JC RHP. Nice pro debut in a small sample size.

Jose De La Cruz, OF. BD: 4/28/1991. 6'3", 190 lb. B-R, T-R. Rookie AZL: .236/.281/.315. Started out hot, but slumped at the end of the season. Very nice size for an OF. The Giants seem to be collecting quite a few of these types.

Sundrendy Windster 1B. BD: 2/23/1989. 6'3", 185 lbs. B-R, T-R. Rookie AZL: .311/.416/.594, 5 HR. Good news- He put up great numbers. Bad news- he's not that young anymore and moved to 1B where it will be much tougher for a RH throwing player. Gotta hit a TON in that position.

Wes Hobson 2B. BD: 11/12/1987. 6'0", 187 lbs. B-L, T-R. Rookie AZL: .288/.342/.410. College(Appalachian State): .404/.478/.655, 11 HR, 17 SB. Drafted as a college senior. Another name I noticed as a potenial sleeper in predraft research. Seems to be a pure hitter with 4 college seasons with a >.350 BA, drawing 33 BB's against just 18 K's in 235 AB's his senior season. Older prospect from a small college program so has a lot to prove.

Spring Training Game Wrap: Giants 4 Rangers 1

The Giants just kept rolling in a rematch of the World Series opponents. Key lines:

Pablo Sandoval- 1 for 3, BB, SB. BA- .333.

Pat Burrell- 2 for 2, HR(1), BB. Nice game from Burrell to raise his spring BA to .211.

Jonathan Sanchez- 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K's. ERA= 2.08. Very solid effort from Sanchez. All those who are predicting a major regression? Don't hold your breath waiting for it!

Jeremy Affedt- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's. ERA- 2.25. Another solid effort from Affeldt who I think is going to have a strong season and play a major role out of the bullpen.

Ryan Vogelsong takes the mound tomorrow against the Mariners as Matt Cain takes a bit more time rehabbing his elbow.

The Giants pitching has taken up right where it left off last year despite the hopefully temporary loss of Matt Cain. They are #2 in the NL in spring ERA at 3.23 behind only Atlanta at 3.14. The Phillies? They're #9 at 3.88. The Giants lead the NL teams in spring K's at 88 and #4 in K/9. Their hitting is not as good, but with that kind of pitching, it doesn't have to be. It's been good enough at #10 out of 16 in BA, #7 in OBP, #7 in SLG%, #6 in HR's. So the Giants expected winning formula of great pitching with average to slightly above average hitting is already showing itself in Spring Training, much like it did last year.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Spring Training Game Wrap: Giants 6 Mariners 1

Tim Lincecum was dominant while Buster Posey and the Giants hitters kept up their timely blows and the Giants upped their spring record to 8-3. Key lines:

Miguel Tejada- 1 for 2, 3B. Miggy hitting .300 on the spring.

Buster Posey- 1 for 2, 2B, BB. In Buster we trust!!

Mike Fontenot- 1 for 3, 2B. Mikey batting .333 on the spring.

Tim Lincecum- 3.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K's.

Brian Wilson- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's. Weezy looked to be in mid-season form in his spring game debut.

Romo and Santiago Casilla pitched scoreless frames. Javier Lopez gave up a run on 2 hits in his one inning.

Matt Cain made 60 soft toss throws from 60 ft and reported his elbow felt fine.

Aaron "Gamer" Rowand will miss 2-3 games with a groin injury.

It's Durty's turn tomorrow in an evening game against the Texas Rangers.

Spring Training Game Wrap: A's 6 Giants 0

Maybe the Giants were tired out from their split-squad DH yesterday. They turned in a flat performance and were never really in this game. Key lines:

Nothing of note on offense. The Giants managed just 6 scattered hits. Nobody had more than 1.

Madison Bumgarner- 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, GO/AO= 6/2. The leadoff batter, Coco Crisp reached base on a throwing error by 3B Mark DeRosa. The next two batters singled to produce a run. Bum then got Josh Willingham to ground into a DP. All that took just 4 pitches. Bumgarner cruised the rest of the assinment. Another example of hanging tough and pitching out of jams for the young LHP.

Ramon Ramirez- 1.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 K's. Ramirez pitched the 4'th inning without incident but couldn't get out of the 5'th as he was basically throwing batting practice. This is the one arbitration eligible tender I wasn't too sure about. The Giants are paying Ramirez a fairly hefty salary for basically a fungible middle reliever commodity. Chris Ray signed a minor league deal with Seattle and I think he has more upside than Ramirez. Or, they could have signed any one of several other equal relievers on minor league deals.

Well, that's it for this game. Not much of a game, huh?

Timmy makes his third spring start tomorrow against Seattle in Scottsdale. Brian Wilson is scheduled to make his spring debut too!

Spring Training Game Wrap: Giants 5 Dodgers 3

Barry Zito turned in a solid performance to quiet his critics just a bit while Buster Posey and Thomas Neal homered as the Giants defeated The Hated Ones in Glendale, AZ. Key lines:

Buster Posey- 1 for 2, HR(2), BB. In Buster we trust! He hit this one to RF.

Thomas Neal- 1 for 3, HR(1). Thomas The Tank Engine will probably play most or all of the season if Fresno, but could be the Giants LF of the future.

Emmanuel Burriss- 0 for 4, 2 SB. Darren Ford- 0 for 0, BB, SB. Mike Fontenot- 1 for 4. Can't really talk about this without including all 3 performances. With 1 out in the top of the 7'th, Neal reached base on an error. Burriss grounded into a force out and stole 2B. Ford walked. Then, with Fontenot batting, Burriss and Ford executed a textbook double steal. Fontenot then made the effort worth it by cashing in both runs with a single.

Barry Zito- 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K's. Zeets got out of a bases-loaded jam in the 2'nd with a DP grounder. Nice bounceback performance after his disastrous first outing.

Clayton Tanner- 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K. Pretty typical line from Tanner. I imagine a 4.50 ERA with ugly peripherals is about his ceiling. If he is durable, that would be a decent #5 starter.

Jason Stoffel- 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. Stoffel has faced 2 batters this spring and struck out both. I believe both were with runners on base to get out of an inning.

Steve Edlefsen- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, GO/AO= 2/0. Another guy who walks a lot of batters but may be able to get away with it by keeping the ball on the ground.

Madison Bumgarner makes his first spring start tomorrow against the Oakland A's. Matt Cain will attempt some light throwing.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Spring Training Game Wrap: Giants 7 Brewers 2

The Giants broke out early in Game 1 of their split-squad day against the BrewCrew and coasted to a 7-2 win running their spring record to 6-2. Key lines:

Aaron Rowand- 1 for 4, 2B. Gamer is hitting .125 on the spring so far.

Aubrey Huff- 2 for 4, 2B. BA= .250. Huff Daddy is rounding into form.

Mark DeRosa- 1 for 2, 2B, BB. BA= .538. DeRosa acts like he wants to make up for last year.

Brandon Belt- 2 for 4, HR(1). You mean this is his first spring HR? Kid took another sledgehammer swing at that door the Giants are making him break down.

Chris Stewart- 0 for 1, 2 BB. Stew had a .337 OBP against a .248 BA in AAA last year, so he knows how to take a walk.

Jeff Suppan- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, GO/AO= 5/2. I wouldn't want to see Supp pitch in Coors or The BOB, but the Giants play 102 of their games in AT&T, Petco, Dodger Stadium and Oakland. You limit Suppan's HR's Allowed and he could be a pretty good pitcher. I like Bacci's suggestion of dangling him in trade talks too.

Dan Runzler- 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K's. Like the K's and BB's here.

Barry Zito tries to quiet his critics tonight against the Dodgers in the 2'nd half of a split-squad DH.

I will not have access to the blog for the next 24-36 hours. Will catch up on Sat nite or Sunday.

Down on the Farm: DrB's 2011 Giants Top 50 Prospects- Honorable Mention Part V

Ryan Scoma, OF. BD: 9/12/1987. 6'2", 180 lbs. B-L, T-R. Short Season(Salem-Keizer): .310/.377/.402. 36'th round draft pick out of UC Davis in 2009. Nice BA and OBP, but little power or speed. Probably an organizational guy.

Devin Harris, OF. BD: 4/23/1987. 6'3", 225 lbs. B-R, T-R. Rookie AZL: .275/.351/.392. Short Season(Salem-Keizer): .273/.298/.414. College(East Carolina): .314/398/.589, 13 HR. Harris is a guy I had picked out as a sleeper prior to the 2010 draft and the Giants took him in round 48. Might be too big for an OF. I like hit tool and power potential. OF is a very crowded position for the Giants, so not sure where he's going to find playing time.

Edward Concepcion, RHP. BD: 10/3/1988. 6'3", 190 lbs. B-R, T-R. Short Season(Salem-Keizer): 3-7, 6.39, 63.1 IP, 46 BB, 57 K's. A disappointing season after reading about what great stuff he had in Arizona in 2009. Lost some luster, but never want to write off a kid with tools.

Shawn Sanford, RHP. BD: 8/28/1988. 6'0", 200 lbs. B-R, T-R. Short Season(Salem-Keizer): 4-3, 2.14, 42 IP, 14 BB, 40 K's, GO/AO= 2.23. Numbers look promising. Will have to do it at higher levels.

Stephen Shackleford, RHP. BD: 5/5/1989. 6'1", 185 lbs. B-R, T-R. 2 Levels(Rookie/SS): 2-2, 1.60, 33.2 IP, 14 BB, 41 K's, GO/AO= 1.67. Drafted out of a small school. Promising first pro season numbers.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Spring Training Game Wrap: Giants 7 Rockies 5

With Matt Cain skipping his start due to elbow inflammation and the Giants facing the team that will likely give them their strongest competition for the NL West title, I didn't have much in the way of expectations for this game. The Giants came out and dominated the Rockies for 7 innings before a late Rockies run fell short. Key lines:

Darren Ford- 2 for 4, HR, SB(3). Nice game by Ford who, if he can hit at all, would make a pretty nice #5 OF option for some team.

Nate Schierholtz- 1 for 3, 2B, BB. BA= .357. Nate continues to have a quietly effective spring.

Buster Posey- 2 for 2, HR, BB. From Baggs' description, the HR was crushed to CF travelling as far a 450 ft. I think the scouts must have been lulled to sleep because Posey never looks like he's swinging that hard, but he must generate epic bat head speed with his swing.

Mike Fontenot- 3 for 3, 2B. Fontenot played SS with Burriss playing 2B. Interesting.

Emmanuel Burriss- 2 for 3, 3B. BA= .333. It would be nice to have Burriss' speed on the team. The numbers are against him though.

Ryan Vogelsong- 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's. Vogelsong seems to be a man on mission. Bagg's talked about an almost maniacal workout regimen. Not sure how a guy can kick around like he has and all of a sudden show up to a spring training camp and dominate like this. Did he learn a new pitch? Change his delivery? Some newfound dedication to conditioning? All I can say is the Giants know a thing or two about scouting pitching. Maybe they saw something.

Javier Lopez, Sergio Romo, Matt Yourkin and Henry Sosa all pitched scoreless innings.

The Giants split the squad tomorrow with Jeff Suppan facing the BrewCrew in Scottsdale in the day game and Barry Zito will try to quiet his critics vs the Dodgers in the nightcap.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spring Training Game Wrap: Giants 4 D'Backs 2

The Giants got solid game from several players and defeated the D'Backs 4-2 amid a swirling controversy over Barry Zito's standing with the organization. Key lines:

Freddy Sanchez- 2 for 3. Good to see Freddy get untracked. I'm going to predict he hits over .300 and stays healthy all year.

Cody Ross- 1 for 1, 2 BB. I'm not expecting 30 HR's out of Ross but it's great to have a tough out like him in the lineup.

Pablo Sandoval- 1 for 2. Pablo keeps it rolling.

Nate Shierholtz- 1 for 3, OF Assist. BA= .364. Nate making a case for staying on the roster.

Brandon Belt- 1 for 1, SB(1). BA= .444. The BA says it all.

Chris Stewart- 2 for 3, 2B, 3B. BA= .444. Could Stewart win the backup catcher gig from Whiteside?

Charlie Culberson- 1 for 2, 2B. Go Charlie!

Jonathan Sanchez- 3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K's. ERA= 1.93. Solid effort from Sanchez.

Jeremy Affeldt- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. Affeldt had been hampered by a hammy. Good to see him take the mound and look sharp.

Steve Edlefsen- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.

Santiago Casilla- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.

Marc Kroon- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, Save.

Not going to spend a long time on the Zito flap. You can read all about it on Extra Baggs, OGC's blog, Splashing Pumpkins, Ell Lefty Malo and McCovey Chronicles. Although Zito's contract is water under the bridge, and he's pitched reasonably well for the Giants the last 2 seasons and there is not a better option available to take his place, it is easy to understand why people in the Giants organization would be getting fed up with him. By all appearances he was not prepared to pitch even at an acceptable Spring Training level in his first start. There was just no sense of urgency or purpose to that start which you might expect after his humiliation at being left off the post-season roster. Whether he is making $20 M/yr or $1 M, he owes the Giants and himself enough personal pride to come prepared to Spring Training, even moreso after what happened at the end of last year. What we see instead is the same old que sera sera. When Timmy had a bad month and was called out for his conditioning, he immediately went to work fixing it. When Cainer was called out for his conditioning, he started running up and down the steps of AT&T Park. Ditto Bumgarner. When Pablo was embarrassed by his obesity and lack of conditioning last year he worked out with an Olympic decathlete and showed up to camp 35 lbs lighter and with his bat smoking. There is just no evidence that Zito's embarrassment last post-season lit any kind of a fire under him at all, just no signs of any rededication. Maybe that is all unfair to Zito and maybe he worked his butt off this offseason, but the only news out of Zitoland this offseason as an internet pic of Burrell with 2 bikini clad women allegedly at Zito's house. Maybe Burrell can get away with being doughy and out of shape, but Zito clearly can't.

Chilling news late today apparently originating from Baggs' Twitter. Matt Cain will miss his start tomorrow with elbow inflammation on MRI. If Cainer or any of the Big 4 starters go down for the count, the Giants chances of repeating their championship will lengthen considerably.

Ryan Vogelsong gets the start tomorrow against the Rockies.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Down on the Farm: DrB's 2011 Giants Top 50 Prospects- Honorable Mention Part IV

Christopher Heston, RHP. BD: 4/10/1988. 6'4", 185 lbs. B-R, T-R. Low A: 5-13, 3.75, 148.2 IP, 33 BB, 124 K's, GO/AO= 1.75. A perfect example of why W-L records, especially in the minor leagues are meaningless. The numbers look like a typical line from a sinker-slider pitcher. ERA= 2.11 over his last 10 starts. K/BB of almost 4/1 shows good command. Will he get more hittable at higher levels? He deserves a chance to find out.

Brian Irving, RHP. BD: 4/24/1986. 6'2", 205 lbs. B-R, T-R. Low A: 7-6, 4.42, 106 IP, 37 BB, 80 K's, GO/AO= 1.71. Older and numbers not as good as Heston's at the same level.

Jeremy Toole, RHP. BD: 6/17/1988. 6'4", 235 lbs. B-R, T-R. Short Season(Salem-Keizer): 6-5, 3.87, 97.2 IP, 37 BB, 75 K's. Big RHP with a big fastball which reportedly has gotten up to the high 90's. Numbers nothing special at this level.

Andy Reichard, RHP. BD: 12/4/1984. 6'4", 235 lbs. B-R, T-R. A+: 2-1, 6.57, 12.1 IP, 9 BB, 8 K's. Low A: 6-1, 3.39, 95.2 IP, 22 BB, 92 K's. I've always like Reichard. He's tended to be a late starter with strong finishes. Stumbled in the Cal League but pitched very well back down in Augusta. Awfully old for the level though.

Craig Whitaker, RHP. BD: 11/19/1984. 6'4", 210 lbs. B-R, T-R. 4 levels: 2-1, 3.36, 67 IP, 45 BB, 67 K's. Supplemental first round draft pick out of HS in 2005. "Raw as rain" when he was drafted, he's never had the breakout year expected of him, and time is running out. The K/9 looks good but that BB/9 is ugly.

Chris Gloor, LHP. BD: 3/7/1987. 6'6", 255 lbs. B-L, T-L. Low A: 4-2, 2.65, 68 IP, 27 BB, 73 K's. Big LHP with great looking numbers out of the 'pen at a low level. I'm optimistic about him, but he'll have to prove it at higher levels.

Chris Wilson, RHP. BD: 11/27/1986. 6'2", 205 lbs. B-R, T-R. Rookie AZL: 0-0, 1.42, 6.1 IP, 0 BB, 10 K's, 1 Save. Low A: 0-2, 2.76, 16.1 IP, 6 BB, 18 K's, 4 Saves. Was out the first 2/3 of the season presumably with an injury. Came back to pitch in a closer's role again. I would expect to see him in that role with San Jose in 2011 if healthy.

Jason Jarvis, RHP. BD: 10/1/1987. 6'2", 195 lbs. B-R, T-R. Low A: 0-1, 3.07, 14.2 IP, 2 BB, 13 K's. Last appearance was May 9. Released by the organization a few weeks ago.

Spring Training Game Wrap: Cubbies 3 Giants 2

The pitching was a bit sharper today, but the hitters were mostly quiet in a game that resembled many games from last year. Trench warfare! Key lines:

Buster Posey- 1 for 2, BB, Pickoff(Castro, S at 1B).

Hector Sanchez- 1 for 1. Nice to see Sanchez getting a few AB's. He's 2 for 2 so far.

Thomas Neal- 1 for 1. I think that's his first hit of the spring. It drove in a run.

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 3, 2 2B. Pablo is really stroking it so far!

Gary Brown- PR, SB(2).

Tim Lincecum- 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's. Much better looking line than his first start. Baggs says he was working on both the 4 seam and 2 seam FB's on the outside corner.

Madison Bumgarner- 2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 4 K's. Bum said he felt better than his first start. He gave up 2 singles that he stranded in the 4'th, then another hit in the 5'th. He came out for the 6'th inning and gave up 3 consecutive singles with a run scoring. He was relieved by Runzler who gave up a 2 run double to Aramis Ramirez who is a pretty good RH hitter. The 4 K's against 0 BB's are encouraging.

Ryan Verdugo- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K's. Pretty typical line for Verdugo. Good to see the kid get some ST action.

Jonathan Sanchez gets his second spring start against half of a split D'Back's squad tomorrow in a night game.