Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Down on the Farm: 4/30/2013

AAA  Sacramento River Cats pounded the Fresno Grizzlies 10-2:

Francisco Peguero(RF)- 3 for 4, 2B.  BA= .443.
Carter Jurica(SS)- 2 for 4.  BA= .360.
Jackson Williams(C)- 2 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .180.
Gary Brown(CF)- 0 for 5, 3 K's.  BA= .180.

Pegs continues to be crazy hot and Brownie continues to be crazy cold.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels vs Bowie Baysox rained out.

High A  Bakersfield Blaze defeated the San Jose Giants 8-5:

Ryan Cavan(2B)- 3 for 4.  BA= .364.
Devin Harris(DH)- 2 for 4, HR(9).  BA= .293.
Mac Williamson(RF)- 3 for 4, 2B.  BA= .244.
Clayton Blackburn(RHP)- 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 2.57.

Harris is a guy I really liked out of college who has struggled to make consistent contact in the pros.  Has he found something, or are these just Cal League numbers?  Hopefully Mac can start to string together some hits.  Blackburn's peripherals look good enough here.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets were idle.


  1. Having middle infielders who can hit is such a novel experience in my many years of Giants fandom. Joe Panik, Carter Jurica, Ryan Cavan, Matt Duffy - it's early in the season, and they are (after all) still in the minors. But isn't potential a fun thing to enjoy, after so long without it?

    1. I would also like to give a shout out to Nick Noonan, as an MI who is in the majors and been doing very well in a hard job that most vets would have a hard time adjusting to, let alone a rookie. He is striking out a little too much and not walking much either, but he's still only 24 YO and it is his first season, it took Utley a couple of years to acclimate to the majors himself (Nick has been compared to an Utley-lite in talent, minus the good power).

      We prospect hounds all have our own white whale prospect we love to death and think he'll do something eventually, and Nick is my dark horse of recent years since his first season in SJ.

    2. Brandon Crawford was my own white whale for many years ever since he dropped out of round 1 potential and fell to the Giants in round 2, & I never gave up on him. It's so satisfying to watch him absolutely killing it in the Big Show now with all the tools he promised early on.

      Oh yeah, great baseball name too ;)

      My other guy is Roger K. Love the Power, Average and Arm combo and the kid just seems to have that mentality to win. I'm going to do my own vodoo to keep him healthy, because I think this kids' got a long term spot waiting for him in LF right now.


    3. OGC - I've been smiling for you on Noonan. You should sponsor his B/R Page! I love the mix in of White Whale and Dark Horse in the same sentence.

  2. Peguero (in limited sample size, Roger K, Pill, and Jurica are all putting up really good numbers for the Griz. Any one you see having an impact this season?

    1. I could easily see either Pegs or Roger K manning LF for the Giants before the season is over.

    2. Yeah, I think it is a matter of time before the two of them get a trial in the majors, neither Blanco or Torres are holding on tight to their jobs, especially Torres with his errors in the field. I would think that Pegs with his great defense will get the first call, though if he cools off and K doesn't, then Roger will get the call. And that will probably happen by mid-late May, more mid if the struggles continue and the good hitting continues in the minors.

    3. If it were up to me, I'd call up Pegs and put him in the lineup for all three games against LA this weekend. Blanco has been decent, but Torres shouldn't be any more than a pinch hitter / fifth outfielder at this point, and his defense is becoming a liability. With three straight lefties this weekend, it's likely we'll see Torres starting all three games and there's a good chance he ends up costing the Giants at least one of them. I'd much rather see what Pegs can do in those games.

    4. Pegs and Special K need to stay healthy AND productive. Let them play every day in AAA, stay on the field and prove out. Ready to go if Torres or Blanco regress or if there is an injury.

      The Giants don't need to jump anyone to the majors - and that is a good thing.

  3. Crawford sucked his first experience in the Majors and he's doing alright too. And then there was the SS who actually was ahead of Crawford who totally failed. Belt has his ups and downs still too (and hopefully not forever). We have been spoiled with the likes of Clark, Williams, Thompson, Posey and Panda and think everyone who is good gets there quickly, and everyone who is bad or mediocre (like Nate) just never gets there. There are some that just take a little more time, and I think our problem is until recently, we didn't have the farm system combined with a winning major league team to allow for that to happen. Since they opted for a new system post Bonds that didn't rely on pricey free agents, they've been restocking the farm, and making selective trades which for the most part have not come back to bite us. Hopefully we're starting to see the fruits of that labor.


    1. That other SS was Adrianza. A bit early to completely write him off, but I don't think it is a stretch to place him in the bust column, especially on the inter-webz.

      Clark and Thompson hit the Bigs running, but Williams was on the Phoenix/SF shuttle for his first 3 years and put up some SERIOUSLY bad numbers in that time frame. This is what I am hanging my hat on as far as Belt is concerned. He shows flashes of brilliance, but then goes into prolonged slumbers that are very disconcerting.

      You don't think 2 World Series Championships equates to seeing the fruits of that labor? Wow, I would LOVE to see what your idea of fruit is :)

    2. I don't think that there are many here who don't know that most prospects take a long time to make the majors, and that many fizzle out in the big show.

      The Giants have not changed to a new system post-Bonds. They have been pretty consistently drafting good pitchers with their best bullets in the draft, it is just the first grouping for Sabean - Ainsworth, Williams, Foppert - didn't work out, whereas the latest grouping - Lincecum, Bumgarner - did. Meanwhile, they kept Cain around - despite all the Giants fans actively seeking to trade him away for hitting - and Lincecum being the first sign of the new era, was drafted in 2006, one and half season before the post-Bonds era began.

      And Sabean has rarely ever made trades that came back to bite us - some didn't work out for us, but very few has ever come back to haunt us, which is the implication you gave. AJ is really the only one, the other trades have either been a dud for both sides or good for the Giants, the Giants under Sabean has rarely lost in a trade. Among prospects, the best who got away were Foulke, Howry, Liriano, Villanueva, Correia wasn't lost in trade, but he's been valuable. Meanwhile, he did pretty well getting Kent, Schmidt, Snow, Nen, Livan, Winn, Burk, Pagan, Pence, among others, in trade. Trades, overall, has worked out for the Giants many times over what we gave up, under Sabean.

    3. The farm with regards to position players, not the Giants regarded strength: Posey, Sandoval, Crawford, Belt, Sanchez, Noonan. The trades: Pagan (scrapheap signing Torres/farm trade Ramirez (Dan Turpen); Scutaro farm trade (Charlie Culberson); Pence (Joseph/Schierholtz/Rosin). Scrapheap signings: Blanco, Guillermo the Catcher, Torres (again), Arias.

      That's some nice fruits right there. Not going into pitching, the Strength of Los Gigantes (TM). Suffice to say, it is good.

    4. In order:

      I was talking about fruit of their patience, not the overall production. Yes, they have two fantastic years in the last 3 and I think the bogey is completely understood in light of Posey's injury. Fact is they were in it until late in the year, despite that. No complaints. I am more pointing what appears to be the building of the farm system below the major league team.

      As for most fans knowing v. fans here, that's apples and oranges. Most fans do not know a fraction of what most of you know. I don't even put myself in the "knowledgeable" category when it comes to OGC, Dr.G, Shankbone or others. I have followed the team since 76, including the farm teams, but not to the level of details and statistics you all do. Most fans don't even have the awareness I do (many don't even know the farm system below AAA). So, I do think most fans, if not fans posting here, are impatient and spoiled.

      Shank is completely right--position players have been few and far between, and there was a time when we diluted our pitching talent. . We were willing to trade good pitchers for a win now attitude pre-Bonds, and that backfired. After depleting our strength (pitching) we then turned to high priced FAs and that also blew up on us. It is only in the last 3-5 years we've let the farm system become the primary source of position players (witness Crawford in lieu of a high priced SS, Belt instead of a first baseman, on top of the obvious of Posey and Panda) and we've held on to our pitching talent (Wheeler trade notwithstanding). I cannot remember when we've had "real" candidates at so many positions before.

      And I'm certainly not complaining. :)


    5. True vs. outside, but the way you worded it, it seemed like you were complaining about here too.

      I would count 2009 as fantastic too, and 2008 as pretty good in my eyes with Lincecum having his first Cy Young season, though I can see why others did not see it as that good given the overall record. But I viewed his ascendancy to the bright lights of the stage as the "big bang" of the Giants re-birth as a playoff team and team to be taken seriously, and his ace excellence is what got me thinking the Giants could be the Team of the 2010 Decade, well, that plus Sandoval and Posey and Bumgarner. That core, including Cain, has proven to be good enough to bring us two World Championships and counting, despite various stumbles (Sandoval, Posey injury, Lincecum).

      Again, I don't view it as a trade pitching to win now attitude, it was a "trade prospects who we don't think is going to be good for veterans who can help us win now". And you have to admit that worked out pretty well in the Jason Schmidt trade (both during and now that we got Vogelsong back. :^)

      The problem, as DrB has noted many times, was that AWF blew up and never contributed much, it was not that there was no strategy, but in baseball, prospects often blow up, look at the Cubs, they looked set for years with Prior and Woods in the rotation, but that was gone faster than Bartman standing up for that foul ball. That's why they got traded, not because the Giants was habitually trading pitching to prop up Bonds' golden years. If that was true, then Cain would have been traded away per Giants fans' conscensus opinion long ago. Sabean kept the good ones and only got rid of the other ones as needed by the team.

      And as I've been trying to show now for years, it was not trading, strategy or even execution that caused the Giants farm system to stagnate, it was winning every season (which I guess is a strategy and execution, so I guess I meant with regards to drafting and the farm system), which caused the team to have back of the first round picks, where, on average, it took 10 years for any team to find a good starting player, which does not replace talent at the major league level fast enough to keep the winning going. That was my big discovery from my draft study. And, of course, punting picks didn't help either, and that I laid on the greedy hands of the minority owners who were complaining about having to chip in to help pay in more to help the team win. They could have helped us keep Russ Ortiz instead of having to trade him for Damien Moss and Merkin Valdez.

      Thus, it was winning, not trading, that forced the team to turn to high priced free agents. And as recent studies have shown, really only mostly the dregs of other teams are left on the free agent market, teams know who to keep and who to let go of, both veterans and prospects, on a general, overall basis. But if you are trying to win, and everyone wants Matt Cain for their good player, not Brad Hennessey, then the Giants are forced to go to the free agent market.

    6. And while you expect some bad signings along the way because you have to take on more risks, even the good signings (Durham) turned out bad as his hammy started acting up, after signing, when he never spent a day on the DL previously. The surprise is not that it blew up on us, but that it almost uniformly blew up on us, from Benitez to Matheny to Alfonzo to Roberts to even DeRosa (let he be a lesson to all future Giants players not to get operated on locally instead of going to the expert far away), as well as Durham, only Grissom worked out well during that period, and really, he was the cheap sign, the found money, from what I recall.

      The Giants have been trying to let the farm system supply our players for a long time, and the focus has been on pulling pitchers because pitching both help rebuild faster and more efficiently (with less hiccups) than when you mix in position players. Then once pitching was pretty set, then they started focusing more on position players with their best bullets. That type of phased drafting is a good strategy for rebuilding an MLB team, as pitching and fielding is key to winning championships, then you fill in with the position players and offense.

      In other words, when you are winning and then losing/rebuilding, you need to focus your best bullets, your first round picks, on pitching, pitching, and more pitching, because they can return value more quickly than hitters, typically, and they have exponentially more flexibility in fitting the roster than hitters do (like if you have multiple good 1B, you have to trade them and introduce more risk into your rebuilding efforts, instead of slotting in another good pitcher into your roster). Once the pitching is set pretty well overall, then you can start using the first round picks on hitters. That is basically what the Giants have done.

      About us having real candidates, and I do agree with you on real, I give full credit to the addition of John Barr and I fear that another team might take him away from us to be their GM (particularly LAD) since he came from there to us.

  4. BuyLowSellLowerMay 1, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    Win or lose, Sacramento should be happy they made some of our top prospects look not as bright (temporary) as before: Kieschnick, Runzler and Hembree.

    I don't worry. These guys are still good.

  5. I know you hate when I bring up age, but Harris is 25 YO in the Cal League, he should be killing the ball in that league at that age if he has any prospect hope, but he's just among the leaders despite being so old, not head and shoulders above. He needs to be hitting this in AAA before I get very interested about his MLB prospects.

    Say, I just noticed that Duvall hasn't played since April 14th, but could not find any notice on your site regarding what is up with him. It apppears he's been injured, given the length of time, I'm just wondering how badly. His MiLB profile notes that he's on the 7-day DL, but nothing else noted on for what.

    1. Duvall has a thumb injury. He flew back to SF to have team docs look at it. Hopefully he will be back in action soon, he started hotter than a pistol.