Sunday, June 23, 2013

Down on the Farm: 6/23/2013

AAA  Tacoma Rainiers edged out the Fresno Grizzlies 5-4:

Gary Brown(CF)- 1 for 5, HR(10).  BA= .244.
Johnny Monell(C)- 2 for 5, 2 2B.  BA= .318.
Chris Heston(RHP)- 7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 5.30.

I think it's pretty clear now that Brown must have made some changes in his swing and approach at the plate to have this kind of a power surge.  I don't think he's ever done anything like this in his entire career, pro or college. Hesto Presto turns in a QS.

AA  Reading Phightin' Phils pounded the Richmond Flying Squirrels 14-6:

Brett Krill(RF)- 2 for 4, SB(3).  BA= .289.
Adam Duvall(3B)- 1 for 4, HR(7), BB.  BA= .268.
Ehire Adrianza(SS)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .228.
Seth Rosin(RHP, Phils)- 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 4.07.

Fun to check in on former Giants farmhands who've been traded away.  Rosin isn't exactly dominating the EL, is he?

High A  Stockton Ports crushed the San Jose Giants 10-1:

Bond(.246), Lofton(.247), Schroder(.254)- 2 hits each.
Clayton Blackburn(RHP)- 3.2 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 4.80.
Jason Forjet(RHP)- 3.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.03.

Hopefully these hiccups are just part of Blackburn's learning experience.  High A at age 20 is a fairly aggressive track.

Low A  Kannapolis Intimidators beat the Augusta Greenjackets 5-3:

Matt Duffy(SS)- 2 for 4.  BA= .301.
Trevor Brown(C)- 2 for 4.  BA= .256.
Chuckie Jones(RF)- 3 for 4, SB(7).  BA= .202.
Chris Stratton(RHP)- 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K's, GO/AO= 8/3.  BA= 3.39.

Solid start for Stratton.

Short Season  Salem-Keizer Volcanoes topped the Vancouver Canadians 2-1 in a game shortened by rain to 5 innings:

Tyler Hollick(CF)- 1 for 1, HR(1), BB.  BA= .463.
Sam Eberle(1B)- 1 for 2, 2B.  BA= .343.
Shilo McCall(DH)- 1 for 2, 2B.  BA= .265.
Reyes Maronta(RHP)- 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 1.29.

Maronta is a 20 yo who pitched in the DSL in 2011 and the AZL in 2012.  He's put up decent numbers.  Could be someone to keep an eye on.  Like where McCall is so far.

Rookie AZL  Giants crushed the Angels 11-3:

Rando Moreno(2B-SS)- 2 for 6.  BA= .267.
Leonardo Fuentes(RF)- 3 for 4, 3B, HR(1), BB.  BA= .529.
Fernando Pujadas(C)- 3 for 4, 2B, BB.  BA= .417.
Craig Massoni(1B)- 2 for 3, 2 BB.  BA= .429.
Brett Kay(DH)- 2 for 5.  BA= .300.
Yusmeiro Petit(RHP)- 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 1.80.

I know there's a double whammy here of a small sample size and an extreme hitter-friendly environment not to mention age vs league, but I can't help but start to feel excited about Fuentes, who I've always thought had a huge ceiling if he ever figured it out.  Petit is obviously on a rehab assignment and him facing rookie league batters is a joke.  Massoni is a college masher from a smaller program who I thought might stay in school after getting drafted so low.  Keep an eye out for him.


  1. High A at 20 for Blackburn is fantastic. Hopefully the kid isn't discouraged by the lack of elite production this year. His ability to throw strikes at such a young age is really phenomenal. Barring injury, he'll definitely be in a big league rotation some day, maybe not a superstar, but it's great to have guys in the farm system that you point to and say "that's a big leaguer."

    Question: Have you read or heard anything about Brown's seemingly difficult time learning to steal bases? His speed is off the charts in center (I've seen him play multiple times) and he didn't have huge issues stealing in college (obviously not the same). What do you attribute the hiccup to? How much does his inability to steal a base (if it persists) hurt his value as a leadoff hitter in the bigs?

    1. This is mostly conjecture on my part. I think Brown did not have to read pitchers at lower levels to get his SB's. He was able to use his speed to just take off. The kids at the lower levels weren't ready to handle that aggressiveness.
      That doesn't work at higher levels. You have to be able to read pitchers, know when they are coming home with the pitch and take off at the right instant to get that jump. We have some evidence that Brown may be a bit on the stubborn side about listening to coaching and applying it. I think he has a lot of work to do in learning to read pitchers and get good jumps.

      Yes, I think SB's are a big part of his value and it is something he needs to work on and correct, although I would also say that SB's are only a small part of good baserunning. Taking the extra base, being able to score from 2'nd on a single, from first on a double are at least as important, maybe more so.

    2. Frankly, Brown has never been good at stealing bases as a pro. Even in his first full season, even though he stole 53 bases, his success rate was just under 75%. The best basestealers are above 80%. And he has gotten worse and worse as he rises.

      I think clearly he stole based on speed, as DrB noted, and as he has risen, he has found that speed, even speed that gets him to 1B equal to the best LHH, is not enough. And as DrB noted, he has not been as open to coaching as he initially made himself out to be. Hopefully he starts soon and learns something before he reaches the majors.

      I basically agree with DrB about his speed value. I think SB can be a nice add-on to his value, but if he can hit as well as he has proven at each level, he will have the power to get himself into scoring position in spite of his lack of stolen base ability.

      I think if he can hit and play excellent defense, that gets us to the floor we all seem to have for him, average 2.0 WAR ballplayer. Add-ons that could make him an All-Star potential is high batting average (with his HBP supplementing his low walk rate, he could be above average OBP), good power, base stealer, great gold glove defense.

      But most studies do not show that there is a lot of value via base stealing. They show that the speed value shows up instead in moving up two or three bases where others move only one or two. He can add tremendous value if he can steal among the leaders in the league with a good success rate, but if he's having problems stealing off AA and AAA catchers, what chance does he have in the majors?

      His potential is why I really hoped that Dave Roberts would have stayed in our system as a coach, he was taught by Maury Wills, one of the best. I'm still hoping that whatever turned Winn into a better basestealer with us will rub off on Brown at some point. But that has been one of Sabean's goals since the early days of his tenure, getting speed onto the team so that it becomes a weapon as baseball moves away from the longball (he said this in the early 2000's, so he was early in thinking about it).

    3. I would probably discount this gamy by Blackburn - it's against the A's farm team and so, strange things happen.

      As for stealing bases, a big part of its value comes from its high visibility and emotional lifting factor...something hard to quantity and therefore, best to ignore...sorry to bury the head in the sand.

  2. 359/405/744 is a helluva way to go through life son... for the past 10 days. 12 K's, and 3/5 on the SB front. We'll see how this turns out, but Gary Brown is going on a rampage. 302 ISO for June. His BABIP is up to 362, but lets be fair here, in April it was 224.

    Hey, if Gary Brown wants to hit HRs instead of take walks...

    1. Brown had a huge power surge in his last season in college, though it was not for HR power. But his SLG and ISO was elite that season, I think it was better than what Longoria did in the same league a couple of seasons earlier. But isn't the saying that double power can become HR power at some point?

      Exciting to see him break out, but he still have a few more games before his contact rate is considered improved over earlier, vastly.

      But if he does that and Pagan go under the knife, does he get to come up and platoon in LF with Torres?

    2. Torres splits are kind of all over the place, but don't we want him mainly facing the lefties like Brown? The beats hint that the Giants really want the proven MLB hitter, hence Torres. Brown will run into the fact Perez is a RHH as well. This is my point about only so many positions available and once the Gints have their core filled in the depth just starts backing up. Lots of CFs. Brian Sabean, way ahead of the curve on the go after all the CFs train.

    3. Ooops, sorry, forgot that Brown is RHH, for some reason I had him as lefty, that's what I get for posting minutes after waking up...

      Yeah, very good point about the backlog of players. I think that adding non-40 prospects like Brown would start hurting in terms of releasing prospects who are interesting, but if he keeps hitting like this, he would force the Giants hands.

      I also checked in on his hitting and he's slipping back into strikeout mode, 12 in his last 33 AB/36 PA, so this nice run could be ending soon, if not already, if he's wildly swinging away. Once pitchers figure out where his weak points are now, the homers will stop and the strikeouts will stay.

  3. Dr. B, I'm a big fan of your blog and love all your commentary.

    I had a chance to see most of the Grizzlies - Rainiers game yesterday. I think Heston pitched a really good game. He got a unlucky with a couple of the runs. Velocity wise it looked like he was sitting around 86-87 with his fastball and he did a good job of keeping the hitters off balance.

    The second batter of the game absolutely crushed the ball for a 2 run home run, but the lead off hitter singled on a ball that just got under the glove of Gillespie at second base. I think a regular second basemen would probably have been able to make the play.

    For the third run there was a runner on second and Heston struck the batter out on a bouncing breaking ball. Monell blocked the pitch and it was in front of the plate, but he was looking for it behind the plate. That allowed the batter to take first and the runner on second to take third. Heston's next pitch looked like it went right through the legs of Monell. To me it looked like a passed ball but it was scored a wild pitch and allowed the runner on third to score.

    Gary Brown's first at bat looked pretty bad. He struck out on three pitches and was badly fooled on the last pitch, a breaking ball way out of the zone. He tried to check his swing but wasn't able to hold up. He looked a lot better In his second at bat, when he hit his home run. He worked the count to 3-2 and even though he was fooled on the next pitch, he was able to foul off the off speed pitch to keep himself alive. I think it was the pitch after that, that he hit out. I think it was the pitch after that, what looked like a fastball, that he hit

    A couple of other notes. It was interesting seeing Todd Linden after all these years. I once had such high hopes for him. A switch-hitter with power and speed!

    It was dog day at the park and they had a dog act as the bat boy for the Rainiers. Monell was unaware and the first time the dog ran out to get the bat it scared him half to death. It was pretty funny.