Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hot Tip: Highlights From Bagg's BA AQA

There were several requests for some info on Baggs AQA discussion re Giants Top 10 Prospects:

Here are some things I gleaned from it:

Biggest sleeper in the system:  Shilo McCall, although he doesn't think he will be necessarily a fast mover.

Giants system not highly rated because of a lack of blue-chippers.  Kyle Crick may be only Giants prospect to make the Top 100.  Lots of intriguing arms and the blue chippers have graduated which is a good thing.

Thinks Gary Brown has a good chance for a "bounceback" season in Fresno. Scouts say he still has some adjustments to make.

There is nothing about Angel Villalona's situation that would make him believe he will ever be allowed back in the U.S.

Giants would like to keep option open for Stephen Johnson to be a starter.  He and Marlowe have the two best curveballs in the system.  Giants consider Johnson to have a 98 MPH fastball.

Tidrow's strength in developing pitchers is getting guys to find a direct line to the plate and work with their body types to maximize velocity and repeatability.  Rags and Gardner are better at fine tuning and teaching how to make pitches in certain counts, miss bats, set up pitches, etc.

Mejia vs Escobar: Mejia has more physical projection left.  Escobar has pretty much filled out.

Ranking Gustavo Cabrera #12 is pretty aggressive for a player who hasn't made his US debut yet.

This one is priceless:

Dave(San Jose):  Hey Baggs.....How self-aware are the Giants of their seemingly systemic issues with developing high-ceiling position players, and are you aware of any specific efforts in the org to address this?

Andy Baggerly:  Do you mean systematically good of systematically bad?  Posey, Bumgarner, Cain, Lincecum, Wilson, etc all have multiple World Series rings.  I suppose they could finish 62-100 so they could draft at the top of the heap, but that isn't happening.  I look at it this way:  When they had four consecutive losing seasons from 2005-2008 and a chance to draft in the top 10, they didn't miss.  But it's harder to find the high-ceiling guys when you're drafting back in the first round."

Oh man! What a smackdown by Baggs there!!

".....I'd have a hard time believing the Giants have the third worst grouping of minor league talent.  The rankings are a better reflection of who has the most and least top-end talent, and yes, the Giants have graduated all of those guys.  But I'd have to believe the Giants' No. 20-30 prospects are better than many other organizations at that tier."

Prediction:  Brandon Crawford will wing his first Gold Glove this year.

Shawn Payne is limited to LF because of his arm.

Answer to Shankbone Q:  3 relievers to watch this year- Jacob Dunnington, Mason Tobin, Osich.

Another Shankbone Q:  Ownership is very stable right now.  Maybe most stable in all of baseball!  "I don't think you'll see a repeat of the Peter Magowan years when the farm budget was utterly plundered so Barry Bonds could have a Michael Tucker augmenting the roster."

Owners have seen their franchise value soar with sales of Dodgers and Padres.  They will have to resist the temptation to become the Red Sox now that the Dodgers are the Yankees of the West.  So far they seem to be.

Nice AQA.  Some of it was just stating the obvious.  Some of if validated stuff we've been saying for awhile now such as the Giants have some depth in the farm system even if they don't have a ton of blue-chippers.  Some of it was very revealing about Baggs frustration with some of the naysayers.  I don't recall Baggs being so aggressive in defending the Giants management.  The naysayers will probably say it's because Baggs is now working for CSN Bay Area and they are partly owned by the Giants, but I don't see Baggs as a guy who is just going to toe the party line if he doesn't really believe it.


  1. BA has a list of players recently released by the Giants. Fortunately, I don't think there were any from my Top 50 or Honorable Mentions.

    RHP Luis Angeles, RHP Andrew Berger, RHP Tyler Christman, LHP Mitchell Beacom, LHP Ari Ronick, LHP Scotty Walker, C Dashenko Ricardo, 1B Bryan Nicholson.

    1. I recognize Beacom and Ronick, but don't recall seeing them play last season anywhere in the system.

  2. Who is Mason Tobin? I have not heard of him, and he is not on your list nor is he a honorable mention.

    1. Mason Tobin is a non-roster invitee to spring training out of the Ranger's system, I think. Therefore not someone I consider a Giants prospect per se. If he sticks in the organization and does not "graduate" this year, he could make next year's list.

  3. It sounds like there are a lot of positive stuff from Baggs - Crawford, McCall, Johnson, Marlowe, Osich, Dunnington, etc. - to look forward to from our younger guys this year.

    I have the same question - any info on Mason Tobin?

  4. Mason Tobin is a FA pitcher signed by the Giants to a minor-league contract, after being actually or effectively released by three other teams. He has had injury problems, and a brief, inglorious MLB outing with Texas, but he had a reasonably good record in the minors: 2.43 ERA, 71 hits allowed in 96 innings (BAA .211, WHIP 1.09), and a better than 2 to 1 K/BB ratio. He has been a starter, and may do that in MiLB if he doesn't make the Giants roster; before that he probably will compete, though, for a spot in the Giants bullpen.

    1. He is not the guy the A's and Boston flipped back and forth a few times?

    2. Sandy Rosario is the name you're looking for on that angle.

    3. 4 very intriguing new arms in the organization: 1. Minor league FA Fabio Castillo. 2. Rule 5 draftee ??? can't remember his name right now. Shulman or something like that. 3. Sandy Rosario waiver claim? 4. Mason Tobin.

    4. Also Scott Proctor, who like Tobin has had arm problems (and with Proctor, alcohol problems as I recall), but has, like Tobin, v considerable natural gifts.

    5. I think joe torre's phone was proctor's biggest problem. I'm glad we have bochy now, alou had a similar style to torre.

  5. The thing we have to remember about 'top end' talent is that the year before Pablo (or Belt) broke up, he was not near anyone's top end list (as best I can remember).

    And so, being optimistic, I believe we will see at least one kid break out at uppper levels this year.

    1. Not every sleeper or breakout candidate actually breaks out or wakes up, but if you get enough of those guys 1 or 2 are likely to catch fire and that's all it takes.

    2. The feeling, or rather, the hope is that we have enough to expect one or two this year.

      There are about 30+ teams and so, on average, a team can expect to have 3 prospects on the top 100 list. Some years you have more, and some you have less. And bad teams might average less while good teams average more.

      Hopefully, next year this time, we see 4 or 5 Giants prospects on the list, as most don't expect Crick and Brown to graduate earlier than next year.

    3. I would be cautious about putting too much stock in the number 3 for the top 100. I'm pretty sure that the Giants have not had more than 2 at any time in the last 15+ years. Maybe 3 when AFW were getting close to the majors. Yet, what team currently has one of the best, if not THE best young homegrown cores in baseball. A characteristic of the Giants has been that once their prospects are good enough to be counted in the top 30 or so MLB prospects, they don't keep them down very long. That's where the graduation thing that Baggs was talking about comes in. One way you can look at it is the Giants do have 4 or 5 in the top 100 right now, but 3 or 4 of them are already in the majors!

    4. I agree that you should look at it as a good team would tend to have FEWER top 100 guys and bad teams would have more. Bad teams draft higher, and tend to miss more often (Royals, Padres, Pirates, etc).

      I think you are forgetting about the Big Four from just a few years ago...


    5. That's a good point. Bad teams have more.

      I was thinking 'bad-at-drafting/developing' teams, rather than 'bad-at-winning-at-the-major-league-level' teams. Often, they are the same - if you are bad at one, you are likely to be bad at the other, though, they are distinct marks.

    6. Alderson also points out one more point: We have traded a few really good prospects. I would have to guess Wheeler is in the top 100 now. But given our rotation now, where would we have put him (I guess you could say he'd be a nice guy to replace Timmy if we do something there, but Stanton, Crick... all could fit that mold by the time it happens). So, instead we leveraged that talent. It didn't necessarily work out but it was a calculated risk at the time.

      If you look at our farm, we have basically an entire pitching staff coming on line as we phase out, trade, release etc. current guys on current contracts. Not a bad place to be.

      As for ragging on position players, we have solid positions at 3 of five infielders (not including Pablo because of his weight), with candidates to fill at least one of the remaining two (Jurica and Panik) and possible help at each of our OF. I definitely would to see more development, but between the excess talent we've got at the pitching level, the talent we have and the fact that you have to play the FA game, we're way better off than most teams.


    7. I did not ven think of traded prospects in that light. If you include those, we would have at least 3 players who would be on thus year's top 100; Brown, Wheeler, Joseph.

      If you just look at guys who were drafted in the last four years (2009-2012) we ave a TON...


      Then add Blackburn, Stratton, Mejia, Cabrera, Hembree, Bochy, Panik AND two World Series Titles, and I do not think you can fault this org in any way.

  6. Baggs and Hank Schulman are great resources. I think they get too much grief from the twitter crowd. I actually asked Baggs a question about his objectivity while being employed by csn Bay Area. I did it because I saw a lot of "sell out" grumblings that I found grossly unfair and misguided. He answered it, said he would continue to report as be always has. This was sometime during the season during one of his chats. Schulman is a great beat reporter, he has an interesting style of engaging on twitter.

    Ari Ronick grinded out for a long time. He's Phil Jackson's nephew. Lefties get a lot of chances, hope he can get a shot with a team's AAA squad.

    So Dunnington has the early juice. Baggs had the great point that bullpens need different looks, and that it's something Boch values. You have to be able to switch up on hitters. Underrated part of Javy Lopez game is he can switch arm angles too.