Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Game Wrap 7/31/2013: Giants 9 Phillies 2

Maybe the coming and passing of the trade deadline made some players re-think their feelings about each other and  about the organization.  Maybe Brett Pill and Roger Kieschnick were the kids that finally breathed new life into the team.  Maybe they finally just hit rock bottom and had nothing to lose anymore.  Or maybe it was just the normal random luck of baseball.  Whatever the reason, the Giants unloaded on Kyle Kendrick and the Phillies for a runaway win.  Key Lines:

Gregor Blanco- 0 for 4, BB.  BA= .256.  Didn't Hunter Pence play CF once upon a time?

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 4.  BA= .274.  Pablo came out with a bruised heel, but said he felt fine after the game.  We'll see.

Brett Pill- 3 for 5, HR(2).  BA= .278.  Brandon Belt is taking a few games off to "clear his head" and taking some extra BP.  Word is that he will return to the lineup soon.  Really?  Where in the lineup?   I know we've seen Pill have hot streaks before, but it seems to me when you have a hand this hot, you have to keep playing it until it cools off!  I smell a first base controversy brewing.  Should make for fun times on certain other blogs and websites!

Roger Kieschnick- 2 for 5.  BA= .400.  Roger K finally makes his MBL debut and it's a successful one!  I am happy for him!

Brandon Crawford- 1 for 4.  HR(6).  BA= .274.  First dinger in something like 260 AB's but he's hit pretty well all season as the BA attests.

Chad Gaudin- 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 2.64.  Another strong start by Gaudin.  Somehow I don't think he's going to be the odd man out of the rotation when Vogie comes back.

Matt Cain goes against Cole Hamels tomorrow evening trying to win the series.

Down on the Farm: 7/30/2013

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies beat the Round Rock Express 7-1:

Gary Brown(CF)- 0 for 5.  BA= .239.
Nick Noonan(2B)- 3 for 4.   BA= .302.
Pegs(.313), Monell(.295), The Hector(.309)- 2 hits each.
Eric Surkamp(LHP)- 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.90.

Gary Brown has a pattern of slumping after teammates get promoted.  Nice rebound game for Surkamp.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels blanked the Portland Sea Dogs 4-0:

Ryan Lollis(CF)- 2 for 3, 2 2B, BB.  BA= .275.
Angel Villalona(1B)- 1 for 4, HR(5).  BA= .241.
Adam Duvall(3B)- 1 for 3, HR(10).  BA= .236.
Ryan Vogelsong(RHP)- 5 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 0.00.
Taylor Rogers(RHP)- 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 5.51.

Vogie is slowly but surely stretching it out.

High A  Visalia Rawhide edged the San Jose Giants 4-3:

Matt Duffy(SS)- 2 for 5.  BA= .344.
Elliott Blair(CF)- 2 for 2, 2B, BB, Sac.  BA= .239.
Kyle Crick(RHP)- 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 11 K's.  ERA= 1.58.

Matt Duffy stays hot.  More dominance from Cricky.  He now has 64 K's against 27 BB in 45.2 IP on the season.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets edged the Rome Braves 2-1:

Joey Rapp(1B)- 3 for 3, HR(3).  BA= .246.
Kendry Flores(RHP)- 7.1 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 2.78.

I love these lines that Flores puts up.  They are so clean!  He now has 109 K's against just 15 BB's in 113.1 IP on the season.  Rapp is hitting .385 over his last 10 games and .295 for the month of July.

Short Season  Salem-Keizer Volcanoes topped the Tri-City Dust Devils 6-5:

Chris Johnson(RHP)- 6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 2.31.
Christian Jones(LHP)- 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.38.

This was Jones' second appearance for S-K after 4 with Arizona.  No multi-hit games for the Volcanoes.

Rookie AZL  Giants were idle.

DSL  Giants outhit the Padres 7-5:

Jean Angomas(LF, 18 yo)- 2 for 4, 3B, BB.  BA= .257.
Gustavo Cabrera(CF, 17 yo)- 0 for 3, 2 BB, 2 SB(12).  BA= .206.
Carlos Cartegena(RF, 19 yo)- 2 for 5, HR(4).  BA= .205.
Nathanael Javier(3B, 17 yo)- 3 for 4, 2B, SB(3).  BA= .235.
Kleiber Rivas(C, 18 yo)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .235.
Reymi Rodriguez(RHP, 18 yo)- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 0.82.

Cartegena is hitting .346 over his last 10 games.  Angomas is hitting .333 over his last 10.  Javier his hitting .310 over his last 10 and .278 for the month of July.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Game Wrap 7/30/2013: Phillies 7 Giants 3

You knew it wasn't going to be a good day when Buster Posey called in sick just before gametime.  Barry Zito was shaky in the first inning and couldn't get out of the 4'th.  The rest of the game was a sleepwalk.  Key Lines:

Andres Torres-  1 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .255.  I love Andres Torres.  I will always remember his amazing 2010 season and what it meant for him and for the Giants.  I love that he wanted to come back to SF so bad.  The problem is, he is 35 years old and not part of the future of this team.  As a fan, I would much rather see Juan Perez or Gary Brown out in CF than Torres at this point.

Marco Scutaro- 1 for 2, BB, Sac.  BA= .314.  Scutaro could really help a contending team.  I'm not in love with his contract for the next 2 years.  Unfortunately, the Detroit connection flew out the window today in the Peavy 3-way trade.

Pablo Sandoval- 1 for 3, SF.  BA= .271.  Pablo is about the only guy really producing right now.

Brett Pill- 3 for 4.  BA= .226.  Pill probably earned himself some more looks with this performance.  Hopefully he gets some chances against RHP's too.

Jeff Francoeur- 0 for 4.  BA= .203.  I can see giving Frenchy 100 AB's or so to see if he can get anything going.  He was one of to top prospects in all of baseball once upon a time and you can see why when you look at him.  There's gotta be an endpoint somewhere though.  How long do the Giants give him?

Barry Zito- 3.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 5.09.  Zito threw something like 43 pitches in the first inning alone.  He seemed to stabilize in the next 2, but then gave up a 2 run blast to Ruiz in the 4'th and hit the showers early.  It seems that the Giants must be reaching a tipping point with Zito where they make a decision that they are not bringing him back next year.  Hard to imagine the Giants releasing him mid-season, and in some ways he deserves better than that.  On the other hand, as a fan, if this is the type of performance he is giving, I'd much rather see a young pitcher struggle or succeed.  Moscoso?  Kickham?  Surkamp?  Petit?  Heck, bring up Edwin Escobar and see what he can do!  Gotta say, the probability that Zito's option gets picked up for next year is dwindling with each start like this one.

Not gonna bother with the standings from here on.

Chad Gaudin takes on Kyle Kendrick tomorrow evening in Philly in a battle of two pitchers from my fantasy team.

Around the League:   The Tigers obviously expect Jhonny Peralta to be suspended so they got in on the Jake Peavy fun by sending Avisail Garcia and a SS prospect named Cleuluis (Clueless?) Rondon to the White Sox while acquiring Jose Iglesias from the Red Sox.

Thoughts on Brian Wilson

When Bruce Bochy's career is done, it may well be that looking back, he will say that the single best decision he ever made was to make Brian Wilson his closer.

Brian Wilson was drafted by the Giants in the 24'th round of 2003 draft out of LSU.  He was a starter in college with good, but not great, numbers.  He was a hard thrower with a terrific curveball.  He also underwent Tommy John surgery halfway through his junior year.  The Giants drafted him and he chose to sign rather than return for his senior year.

His first pro experience was a bit rocky for Low A Hagerstown in 2004 at age 22.  He went 2-5, 5.34, 57.1 IP, 22 BB, 41 K's.  But then, what do you expect from a 24'th round draft pick?  He was reassigned to Low A, now Augusta in 2005 where things went much better as he ran up a record of 5-1, 0.82, 33 IP, 30 K's, 7 BB and 13 Saves.  Giants prospect watchers started hearing anecdotal stories of him hitting 99 MPH on the radar guns.  He moved up to AA Norwich where he put up similar numbers and finished the season with Fresno.

He started out 2006 with AAA Fresno, but was called up mid-season amidst the Armando Benitez disaster and the general chaos of the end of Felipe Alou's tenure as Manager.  He promptly pulled an oblique muscle in his first MLB appearance and spent the next 6 weeks on the DL.  He came back to post a 5.52 ERA while finishing 9 games and posting 1 Save.

He started out 2007 back in Fresno where he posted a record of 1-2, 2.10, 34.1 IP, 24 BB, 37 K's with 11 Saves.  The ERA looked great, but you had to wonder about that K/BB.  2007 was also Bruce Bochy's first as Manager of the Giants and his first priority became to bring order to chaos in the bullpen.  Wilson got the callup mid-season again and in a short period of time, Bochy had installed him as the closer.  He finished the season at 1-2, 2.28, 23.2 IP, 7 BB, 18 K's, with 6 Saves.

By the start of the 2008 season, Bochy had his undisputed closer.  Wilson was a bit ragged with an ERA of 4.62, but Boch stuck with him and he rang up 41 Saves while serving as an anchor to the bullpen that allowed other roles to start falling into place.

The 2009 Giants were much better.  Cain was coming into his own and Timmy was winning the second of 2 Cy Young Awards.  A big part of what made that possible was the stabilization of the bullpen anchored by Brian Wilson.  He rang up another 38 Saves while posting an ERA of 2.74.  The 2009 Giants won 88 games.

Of course we all know about the 2010 season with Wilson turning in one of the great seasons a closer has ever had:  3-3, 1.81, 74.2 IP, 26 BB, 91 K's.  That success carried over through the postseason with Wilson recording the final out of the 2010 World Series striking out Ryan Howard in one of the iconic moments in Giants baseball history.

I will always believe that the single most important and best decision Bochy made to achieve that championship was his decisiveness in 2007 and 2008 to install and stick with Brian Wilson as his closer!

When Brian Wilson first came up, he kind of had a wild, crazed look in his eye at times.  I commented at the time that I thought it was a very good thing for hitter to think the closer is just a little bit crazy.  It keeps them from getting too comfortable up there at the plate, especially when he is throwing fastballs at 98 MPH and doesn't alway seem to be too sure about where they are going.  Despite this slightly crazy look in his eye, there was no indication of what was to come.

The first sign of the fun stuff came when he appeared in a game wearing bright orange cleats.  The opposing manager(I think it may have been Fredi Gonzalez of the Marlins, you might know) objected and the league fined him for wearing shoes that were not the predominant color of the team, which was deemed to be black.  Really?  So, what are all those Orange Fridays about?  Wilson responded by coloring in part of the shoes with a black Sharpie Pen and we were off on a Crazy Train.  Wilson went on ESPN with one of the strangest, most fun interviews in the history of baseball.  He talked about his "sweet cleats" and "too much awesome on my feet."  He talked of "Black Ops" and appeared to talk into a big old-fashioned cellphone.  All of a sudden, a large figure dressed in S&M gear appeared in the hallway behind him for just a second or two.  The ESPN host was flabbergasted and temporarily speechless.  Wilson calmly explained that it was "The Machine" and that "he doesn't say much."  It was all a wonderful distraction from the pressures of the pennant race and Giants fans, who are always ready to embrace the quirky, fell in love with the act.

Wilson and Sergio Romo had grown beards, which was no big deal, until one day Wilson showed up on the mound with his dyed jet black.  Whatheheck?  Wilson and Romo continued to let the beards grow and get more scraggly by the day.  Fear the Beard was born, and fake black beards started flying off the shelves at the Dugout Store and appearing in the stands by the 10's of thousands.  It was great theater, great entertainment and served as a critical rallying point as the Giants relentlessly pressed on to the first World Series Championship since their move to San Francisco.

He was still good in 2011, recording 36 Saves but his ERA was up to 3.11 and his velocity was down by 2-3 MPH.  Fans still loved the beard, but to some fans like me, the constant seeking of attention threatened to make Brian Wilson a parody of himself.

By the start of the 2012 season, it was obvious something really bad was wrong.  Wilson spent most of spring training pitching in minor league games. He made just 2 appearances in the regular season then shut it down and announced that he would need a second Tommy John surgery.  His contract was up at the end of the season and the Giants chose to not pick up an $8 M option.

Today, Brian Wilson's Giants career came to an apparent end as he signed a contract with the Dodgers, of all teams.  While I wish him the best of health, I do not wish him success in any way.  I hope he has the same kind of success as other former Giants Ned Colletti has signed, which is to say I wish for him to be a total bust!

Brian Wilson will eventually be regarded as a great Giant.  After all, even Juan Marichal finished his career with the Dodgers.  There will be time enough to bestow honors and appreciation after he officially retires from the game.  For now, he is just another Hated One.

Down on the Farm: 7/29/2013

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies vs Colorado Springs Skysox postponed(is this an 8 game series or something?  Seems like they've been in Colorado forever!).

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels were idle.

High A  San Jose Giants were idle.

Low A  Rome Braves outhit the Augusta Greenjackets 9-6:

Shawn Payne(DH)- 2 for 3, 2B, 2 BB.  BA= .333.
Mitch Delfino(3B)- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .251.
Ben Turner(C)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .258.
Andrew Cain(CF)- 1 for 2, 2B, 3 BB.  BA= .252.
Alberto Robles(2B)- 3 for 5, 2 2B, SB(6).  BA= .282.
Stephen Johnson(RHP)- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 5.06.

Short Season  Salem-Keizer Volcanoes topped the Tri-City Dust Devils 3-2:

Tyler Horan(LF)- 2 for 4.  BA= .284.
Ryan Tuntland(3B)- 1 for 3, HR(1), BB.  BA= .261.

Rookie AZL  Giants beat the Angels 9-6:

Rando Moreno(2B)- 5 for 6, 2 2B.  BA= .369.
Christian Arroyo(DH)- 2 for 4, 2B, 2 BB.  BA= .303.
Ryder Jones(3B)- 2 for 6.  BA= .368.
Jonathan Jones(1B)- 2 for 4, 2B, BB.  BA= .250.
John Riley(C)- 0 for 2, 3 BB,  BA= .125.
Leonardo Fuentes(LF)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .350.
Johneshwy Fargas(CF)- 2 for 5.  BA= .333.
Marvin Barrios(RHP)- 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 10.13.
William Simpson(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.
Nicholas Gonzalez(LHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.
Dylan Brooks(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.

Great to see the lads all doing so well.  I wonder if there is any possibility that Arroyo and Jones might sneak in a few games in Augusta to give them a headstart on next season?  My white whale, Leonardo Fuentes, re-emerges presumably from the DL.  Several pitchers make their pro debuts.  Not sure where Nicholas Gonzalez comes from.  He's a big LHP at 6'4", 200 lbs.  He's 21 yo.  Undrafted FA signee?  Brooks is another of my early obsessions from the 2013 draft.  Rando Moreno is 10 for 17 in his last 3 games with 2 doubles and 2 triples.  John Riley has drawn 6 BB's in his last 2 games.

DSL  Giants defeated the White Sox 3-2:

Gustavo Cabrera(CF, 17 yo)- 1 for 3, 3B, BB.  BA= .211.
Olbis Parra(RHP, 18 yo)- 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 3.79.

Gustavo is 8 for 22 over his last 6 games with 6 BB's against 7 K's.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Down on the Farm: 7/28/2013

AAA  Colorado Springs Skysox defeated the Fresno Grizzlies 7-2:

Johnny Monell(1B)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .293.
Ehire Adrianza(SS)- 1 for 3, BB.  BA= .319.

Rookie AZL Giants outhit the Angels 12-8 in 12 innings:

Rando Moreno(2B)- 3 for 7, 2 3B, SB(5).  BA= .333.
Christian Arroyo(SS)- 2 for 6, 2B, SF.  BA= .295.
Ryder Jones(DH)- 2 for 6.  BA= .371.
Jonathan Jones(1B)- 2 for 7, 2 2B.  BA= .225.
Jonah Arenado(3B)- 2 for 4, 2 BB.  BA= .333.
Fernando Pujadas(C)- 2 for 6, 3B.  BA= .297.
Cristian Paulino(CF)- 2 for 6.  BA= .310.
Carlos Diaz(LHP)- 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 4.85.
Renzo Freite(RHP)- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.09.

Lots of hitting in this one.  Good game to pad the ol' stat line.

Richmond Flying Squirrels blanked the Akron Aeros 2-0:

Brett Krill(RF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .290.
Edwin Escobar(LHP)- 7.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K's.  ERA= 3.00.
Cody Hall(LHP)- 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 2.03.

Escobar may be rapidly moving up the SP depth chart as may be Cody Hall in the RP side.

High A  Stockton Ports beat the San Jose Giants 4-2:

Matt Duffy(SS)- 1 for 3, HR(1), BB.  BA= .333.
Ricky Oropesa(1B)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .350.

Matt Duffy!

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets smothered the Savannah Sand Gnats 6-1:

Mitch Delfino(3B)- 2 for 5, SB(4).  BA= .249.
Chuckie Jones(RF)- 2 for 4, 3B.  BA= .224.
Travious Relaford(SS)- 2 for 4.  BA= .250.
Matt Lujan(LHP)- 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 2.66.

Short Season  Tri-City Dust Devils edged the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 5-4:

Ryan Tuntland(3B)- 1 for 2, 2B, 2 BB.  BA= .231.
Ryan Jones(2B)- 2 for 4, 2B, SB(3).   BA= .397.

DSL  Giants idle.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Game Wrap 7/28/2013: Cubs 2 Giants 1

The story in this game was the same as it's been the last 2:  Futility in driving in RISP and another wasted pitching effort.  Key Lines:

Buster Posey- 0 for 4, 2 K's, 6 LOB.  BA= .308.  Buster doesn't slump, but he's slumping and when he slumps, the whole team slumps.

Pablo Sandoval- 1 for 2, 2B, 2 BB.  BA= .270.  Pablo is about the only player on the team that's hitting right now.

Hunter Pence- 1 for 4, 7 LOB.  BA= .277.  Tough day at the plate for The Rev.

Brandon Belt- 0 for 4, 4 K's.  BA= .255.  An even tougher one for Belt.

Tim Lincecum- 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 10 K's.  ERA= 4.61.  I don't know what the significance of the fact that the 2 dingers Timmy gave up were hit by guys who had a total of 4 between them at the start of the day.  It just seems worth mentioning.

The Loss leaves the Giants in sole possession of last place in the NL West, 9.5 games behind the Dodgers pending the outcome of their game with the Reds which is tied 0-0 in the 10'th inning.  The second place D'Backs lost to the Pesky Padres 1-0 and sit 2 games back while the Rockies topped the BrewCrew 6-5 to sit at 5.5 games behing. The Padres are at 8.5 back, but will be 1 game ahead of the Giants no matter what happens in the Dodgers game.

The Giants now get a day off to visit the White House before they take on the Phillies and then the Tampa Bay Rays.

Down on the Farm: 7/27/2013

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies defeated the Colorado Springs Skysox 6-4:

Juan Perez(CF)- 2 for 2, SB(15).  BA= .311.
Johnny Monell(C)- 2 for 5, HR(17).  BA= .290.
Brett Pill(1B)- 3 for 5, HR(18).  BA= .344.
Roger Kieschnick(LF)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .273.
Ehire Adrianza(SS)- 2 for 4, 3B, BB.  BA= .318.
Mitch Lively(RHP)- 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 5.68.
George Kontos(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 2.79.

Brown was lifted for Perez after 3 PA's. No mention of why in the game summary on the Grizzlies website.  Pill has 7 hits in his last 2 games.  Adrianza continues to hit well.

AA  Akron Aeros beat the Richmond Flying Squirrels 7-4:

Joe Panik(2B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .260.
Javier Herrera(LF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .301.
Drew Bowlin(RHP)- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.48.

Panik has an 8 game hit streak and is hitting .324 over his last 10 games.

High A  San Jose Giants outslugged the Stockton Ports 8-5:

Brock Bond(2B)- 2 for 4, 2B. BA= .255.
Matt Duffy(SS)- 3 for 5.  BA= .333.
Mac Williamson(DH)- 3 for 4, 2 HR(19).  BA= .285.
Devin Harris(RF)- 2 for 4, HR(20).  BA= .260.
Ricky Oropesa(1B)- 0 for 2, 2 SF.  BA= .344.
Kelvin Marte(LHP)- 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 6 K's, GO/AO= 7/1.  ERA= 3.38.
Derek Law(RHP)- 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, Save(5).  ERA= 3.72.

Go Mac!

Low A Game 1  Savannah Sand Gnats edged the Augusta Greenjackets 3-2:

Shawn Payne(DH)- 1 for 4, HR(1).  BA= .375.
Joey Rapp(1B)- 2 for 3.  BA= .247.
Chris Stratton(RHP)- 4.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 5 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 3.59.

Another kind of strange line out of Stratton.

Low A Game 2  Savannah Sand Gnats stung the Augusta Greenjackets 3-1:

Shawn Payne(LF)- 1 for 3, 3B.  BA= .364.

Payne was the only baserunner in the game for the 'Jackets and it came in the 7'th inning.

Short Season  Tri-City Dust Devils topped the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 5-4:

Shilo McCall(LF)- 1 for 4, 3B, BB.  BA= .244.
John Polonius(SS)- 4 for 4, 2B.  BA= .250.
Chase Johnson(RHP)- 3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 1.06.
Eduardo Encinosa(RHP)- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.93.

McCall took a 3 day breather after an 0 for 5 on 7/23.  Chase Johnson's scoreless string comes to an end.

Rookie AZL  Giants stopped the Athletics 6-2:

Ryder Jones(3B)- 1 for 3, BB, HBP.  BA= .375.
Craig Massoni(RF)- 2 for 4.  BA= 327.
John Riley(C)- 1 for 1, 3B, 3 BB.  BA= .167.
Will Callaway(DH)- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .296.
Johneshwy Fargas(CF)- 1 for 3, HBP, SB(3).  BA= .324.
Luis Ysla(LHP)- 4.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 4.50.
Alejandor Flores(RHP)- 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.86.

DSL  Giants pounded the White Sox 10-2:

Gustavo Cabrera(CF)- 0 for 3, 2 BB.  BA= .208.
Miguel Gomez(1B)- 3 for 4, 2B, BB.  BA= .373.
Nathanael Javier(3B)- 2 for 4, BB, SB(2).   BA= .215.

Giants drew a total of 12 walks in this game.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Game Wrap 7/27/2013: Cubs 1 Giants 0

The Giants have almost become interesting just to see the varied and innovative ways they find to lose games.  Tonight, they left 6 runners stranded in the last 2 innings with a total of 1 out between them.  Then Romo gave up a HR to a guy the Giants gave up on.  Ballgame!  Key Lines:

Madison Bumgarner- 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 2.76.  You can't ask for better pitching than that.  Another wasted effort by the Giants offense.

Pedro Strop(Cubs)- 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  The Giants loaded the bases against Strop in the 8'th with a walk and 2 bunts.  Things were looking terrific with Posey, Sandoval and Pence coming up. Alas!  Strop shattered Posey's bat and he hit into a force out at home.  Sandoval followed with a soft bouncer to Rizzo who again got the force at home.  Pence then flailed at 3 pitches none of which I believe were in the strike zone.

Kevin Gregg- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K.  After getting Francoeur to ground out, Gregg loaded the bases on a single by Arias and walks to Belt and Blanco.  Tony Abreu then hit a sharp grounder to Rizzo who got the force at home and then took the relay back to first to complete the DP and end the ballgame.

Sergio Romo- 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 3.00.  I'll say it again, Romo does not have an out pitch to use against LH batters and he is in a lot of trouble if he has to throw a strike.  Terrific reliever when used in the right situations, but not who you want as your long term closer.

Nate Schierholtz(Cubs)- 1 for 4, HR(14).  BA= .281.  Hate to see the Giants lose, but after what transpired in the 8'th and 9'th innings, they did not deserve to win anyway.  Gotta be happy again for Nate, who has worked hard to make himself a solid MLB player, and for his family.  I'll send out congrats to my old friend Vai, wherever he may be.  Vai, are you out there?

With the Loss, the Giants dropped into a tie for last place in the NL West, 9 games behind the leading Dodgers who beat the Reds 4-1.  The second place D'Backs dropped to 1.5 games behind the Dodgers after getting crushed by the Padres 12-3.  The 3'rd place Rockies topped the BrewCrew 8-3 to remain 5.5 games behind.

Tim Lincecum tries to salvage a win out of the series tomorrow afternoon facing lefty Travis Wood.

Down on the Farm: 7/26/2013

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies pounded the Colorado Springs Skysox 10-6:

Nick Noonan(2B)- 1 for 3, 2B, 2 BB.  BA= .297.
Brett Pill(1B)- 4 for 5.  BA= .339.
Roger Kieschnick(LF)- 2 for 5, 2B, HR(13).  BA= .271.
Francisco Peguero(PH)- 1 for 1.  BA= .313.
Justin Fitzgerald(RHP)- 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 5.94.

Roger K is hitting .324/.405/.676 over his last 10 games.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels beat the Akron Aeros 9-4:

Ryan Lollis(CF)- 3 for 5, BB.  BA= .275.
Andrew Susac(C)- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .267.
Chris Gloor(LHP)- 8 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 3.53.
Cody Hall(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 2.31.

High A  Stockton Ports defeated the San Jose Giants 4-2:

Mac Williamson(RF)- 2 for 3, 2B, BB, SB(8).  BA= .280.
Ryan Vogelsong(RHP)- 2.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 6.75.
Ty Blach(LHP)- 5 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 2.64.

Vogie continues his rehab.  He will accompany the team to Washington DC then make his next rehab start for AA Richmond.

Low A  Savannnah Sand Gnats swarmed the Augusta Greenjackets 9-4:

Shawn Payne(DH)- 2 for 4.  BA= .500.
Trevor Brown(2B)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .263.
Mitch Delfino(3B)- 2 for 3, 2B, 2 BB.  BA= .248.
Joey Rapp(1B)- 3 for 5.  BA= .241.
Rafael Rodriguez(LF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .209.
Joan Gregorio(RHP)- 2 IP, 11 H, 8 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 4.16.
Ian Gardeck(RHP)- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.76.

Giants pitchers tend to not do so well after they throw a no-hitter, huh?  Delfino is hitting .326 over his last 10 games.  Rapp has 4 multi-hit games in a row and is hitting .333 over his last 10.

Short Season  Salem-Keizer Volcanoes buried the Tri-City Dust Devils 10-4:

Brandon Bednar(SS)- 4 for 5, 2B.  BA= .301.
Brian Ragira(LF)- 2 for 4, 2B, BB.  BA= .293.
Tyler Horan(RF)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .273.
Ty Ross(C)- 1 for 5, 2B.  BA= .314.
Andrew Leenhouts(LHP)- 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.16.

Ragira in LF seeems to be more than a 1 game trial.

Rookie AZL  Giants topped the Athletics 5-3:

Rando Moreno(2B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .324.
Christian Arroyo(SS)- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .310.
Julio Pena(LF)- 1 for 4, HR(2).  BA= .257.
Ethan Miller(RHP)- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.27.
Dusten Knight(RHP)- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 2.08.
Eury Sanchez(RHP)- 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's, Save(7).  ERA= 0.00.

Great to see Arroyo tearing it up after a slow start.

DSL  Reds topped the Giants 5-3:

Gustavo Cabrera(CF, 17 yo)- 1 for 3, BB.  BA= .213.
Cesar Yanez(RHP, 18 yo)- 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 1.83.

Game Wrap 7/26/2013: Cubs 3 Giants 2

Brandon Belt Bill Bucknered a ground ball that should have been the final out of a 2-1 win turning it into a 2 base, 2 run error as the Giants re-discovered long lost ways to lose a ballgame.  Key Lines:

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .272.  Sandoval has three 2-hit games in a row and is hitting .351 over his last 10.

Brandon Belt- 0 for 3, BB.  BA= .260.  In addition to the butchered groundball, Belt also was indecisive on the basepaths and got himself out in a rundown between 3'rd and home at the end of the play that drove in the Giants 2 runs.  Bad mental game for Belt and you have to start to wonder if this kid is ever going to have the mental toughness to get to the next level in this league.

Jeff Francoeur- 2 for 4.  BA= .214.  Not a bad looking line for Frenchy, especially with the 2 RBI's in it, but one hit was a squibbed popup that never left the infield and the other was a blooper to RF with the bases loaded and drove in the 2 runs.

Matt Cain- 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 4.79.  The real Matt Cain was back tonight with a strong game.  Wouldn't you know it?  He got Cained!

Sergio Romo- 0.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 2.79.  Romo is clearly not completely comfortable pitching to LH batters and he's in a lot of trouble if he gets into a situation where he has to throw a strike, but he did pitch out of this one until Belt did the Bill Buckner thing.  Romo appeared to show his frustrations with the kid as he came off the mound but said his peace into his glove.

Nate Schierholtz(Cubs)- 1 for 3, 2 BB.  BA= .281.  Gotta be happy for what's happening to Nate this season.  A lot of us have a strong emotional investment in him from watching him work his way up the Giants minor league system.  This season is ensuring that he's going to have a nice long MLB career and take some financial security away from the game when he's done.  It would have been great if he could have spent his entire career with the Giants, but that rarely happens with any player anymore.  Best wishes for continued success, Nate!

With the Loss, the 4'th place Giants fell 8 games behind the NL West leading Dodgers who edged the Reds 2-1 behind Clayton Kershaw.  The 2'nd place D'Backs crushed the Padres 10-0 to remain hot on the Dodgers' trail at 0.5 games back.  The Rockies topped the BrewCrew 8-3 to remain 5 games behind the leaders in 3'rd place.  The Last Place Padres are 9 games behind.

I have said my over/under for the Giants dropping out of the race at this stage is an 8 game deficit.  Well, we're there!  There are exactly 60 games left in the season.  With an 8 game deficit, 10 games under .500, one of the tougher stretches of the season looming and the Dodgers and D'Backs showing no signs of crumbling, I think it's time to put a fork in the Giants this year. They are done!  On the bright side, if the season ended today, they would hold the 7'th overall draft pick in a strong draft.

Madison Bumgarner takes the mound this evening facing lefty Chris Rusin.  What are your odds that Brandon Belt is in the lineup?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Down on the Farm: 7/25/2013

AAA  Salt Lake City Bees swarmed the Fresno Grizzlies 9-4:

Juan Perez(CF)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .308.
Hector Sanchez(DH)- 1 for 4, HR(3).  BA= .328.
Roger Kieschnick(LF)- 1 for 3, HR(12), BB.  BA= .269.
Ydwin Villegas(2B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .358.
Mike Kickham(LHP)- 0.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 5.29.

That does not look good after Kickham's name.  Anybody know what happened?  Game wrap on the Griz' website just says he was taken out of the game.  Maybe pitch count?  First 5 batters reached base, but then he got the next two outs and he K'd the last batter he faced.

AA  Akron Aeros defeated the Richmond Flying Squirrels 5-1:

Joe Panik(2B)- 1 for 3, HBP, SB(9).  BA= .258.
Andrew Susac(C)- 2 for 4, HR(12).  BA= .263.

High A  San Jose Giants held off the Lancaster Jethawks 4-3:

Matt Duffy(SS)- 2 for 4.  BA= .294.
Ricky Oropesa(1B)- 1 for 4, HR(5), BA= .367.
Ryan Cavan(3B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .303.
Clayton Blackburn(RHP)- 8 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K's, GO/AO= 10/4.  ERA= 4.02.

Command performance by Blackburn who had a perfecto going through 6.2 IP.  He now has 4 QS in a row in which his ERA is 1.73 in 26 IP with 25 K's against just 3 BB's.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets vs Savannah Sand Gnats postponed.

Short Season  Hillsboro Hops topped the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 1-0:

Chris Johnson(RHP)- 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.25.
Dan Slania(RHP)- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K's.  ERA= 0.00.

Rookie AZL  Giants were idle.

DSL Giants beat the D'Backs 4-1:

Jean Angomas(RF, 18 yo)- 2 for 3, 2 BB, SB(4).  BA= .355.
Gustavo Cabrera(CF, 17 yo)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .210.
Carlos Valdez(LF, 19 yo)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .286.
Eusebio Encarnacion(RHP, 18 yo)- 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.21.

Gustavo has a little 3 game hit streak going with multiple hits in his last 2. He's hitting .243 over his last 10 games.    Take out one 0 for 5 and it would be .281 over his last 9.  Those 0 for 5's will kill the old BA!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Down on the Farm: 7/24/2013

AAA  Salt Lake City Bees edged the Fresno Grizzlies 4-3:

Gary Brown(CF)- 2 for 5, 3B.  BA= .243.
Hector Sanchez(C)- 2 for 4, HR(2).  BA= .333.
Adalberto Mejia(LHP)- 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 K's  ERA= 3.60.

Not a bad spot start for Mejia.  Salt Lake City is a tough, tough place to pitch.  If the Giants consider Sanchez a long term option, they need to leave him put in Fresno and give him the majority of starts behind the plate the rest of the way.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels outhit the Erie Seawolves 10-9:

Joe Panik- 2 for 5.  BA= .257.
Javier Herrera(LF)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .301.
Angel Villalona(1B)- 2 for 5.  BA= .276.
Brett Krill(RF)- 2 for 3, HR(2), BB.  BA= .292.

Panik is hitting .368 over his last 10 games.  Angel V is hitting .317 over his last 10 albeit with a .317 OBP.

High A  Lancaster Jethawks edged the San Jose Giants 8-7:

Matt Duffy(SS)- 1 for 4, BB.  BA= .231.
Ricky Oropesa(1B)- 2 for 3, 2 BB.  BA= .372.
Elliott Blair(CF-1B)- 2 for 4, 2B, HBP.  BA= .234.
Myles Schroder(3B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .265.
Nick Vander Tuig(RHP)- 2.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 11.57.

Lancaster is a pretty rude greeting for any pitcher making their first pro start and second pro appearance.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets were idle.

Short Season  Salem-Keizer Volcanoes topped the Hillsboro Hops 4-1:

Brian Ragira(LF)- 2 for 3, 2B, BB. BA= .275.
Pat Young(RHP)- 3.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.

Good to see Ragira in the OF.  Yes, this is Pat Young and he's the same dude who made a few appearances under the name Matt Young in Arizona.

Rookie AZL  D'Backs defeated the Giants 6-3:

Cristian Paulino(CF)- 2 for 4, HR(2), SB(4), Assist(3B).  BA= .306.

Marvin Barrios, Emmanuel DeJesus and Rayan Hernandez made pitching appearances in this game with below average results.

DSL  Giants beat the Orioles1 5-3:

Gustavo Cabrera(CF)- 3 for 4, 2B.  BA= .202.
Marco Guzman(SS)- 3 for 4, 2B.  BA= .265.
Richard Rodriguez(2B)- 3 for 4.  BA= .239.
Jonathan Loaisiga(RHP)- 7 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.32.
Jose Morel(RHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's, Save(3).  ERA= 1.32.

Game Wrap 7/24/2013: Reds 8 Giants 3

Chad Gaudin struggled with his command and the Reds pecked away at him to build up a 6-1 lead while the Giants offense somehow managed to produce just 3 runs out of 17 baserunners.  Key Lines:

Marco Scutaro- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .311.  Typical Scooter game.

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .269.

Hunter Pence- 5 for 5.  BA= .278.  Pence is not a guy you really expect to go 5 for 5 and if he does, you would not predict that they would all be singles.

Brandon Crawford- 2 for 3.  BA= .274.

Jeff Francoeur- 1 for 5, 7 LOB.
Guillermo Quiroz- 0 for 5, 8 LOB.  Giants hitters combined for a whopping 35 LOB, but Francoeur and Quiroz were the two biggest black holes in the lineup costing the Giants the game.  Of course Sandoval and Posey both leaving the bases loaded didn't help either, but these two guys really did not deliver with runners on base.  Quiroz, in particular, shows just how valuable Buster is behind the plate. You knew rallies were dead as soon as Quiroz stepped up with the pitcher on deck.

Chad Gaudin- 3.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 5 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 2.77.  I'll give Gaudin credit for battling.  He did not really fall apart out there, but the Reds just kept pecking away and the next thing you knew it was 6-1 in the 4'th inning. Amy G interviewed the missus during the game about the Giants wives auction.  She looks very young, but was well spoken.  Their young son is definitely a chip off the old block.

Grounds Crew- This team gets an F for the RH batters box which was set not at all parallel to home plate.  Howtheheck did that happen?  It kind of freaked Kruk out, but Kuip didn't seem to think it was a big deal.  I know I couldn't stop looking at it so it could have been a distraction for somebody on the field.

Mike Leake(Reds)- 6 IP, 12 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.73.  Classic bend but no break here, but that's always been his game.

With the Loss, the 4'th place Giants dropped to 7.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West.  The Dodgers beat the Blue Jays 8-3 in extra innings to sweep that series and win their 6'th in a row.  The 2'nd place D'Backs lost to the Cubs 7-6 to fall 1.5 games behind the leaders.  The 3'rd place Rockies topped the Marlins 2-1 to remain 5 games back while the Pathetic Padres lost to the decimated BrewCrew 3-1 to fall 9 games back in last place.

The Giants get a day off to regroup before starting a 3 game home series with the Cubs.  Matt Cain faces Edwin Jackson in game 1.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Down on the Farm: 7/23/2013

AAA  Salt Lake City Bees stung the Fresno Grizzlies 5-4:

Juan Perez(RF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .307.
Roger Kieschnick(LF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .272.
Francisco Peguero(DH)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .314.
Ehire Adrianza(SS)- 2 for 4.  BA= .324.

The Bees hit 4 HR's including 3 by Kole Calhoun.  Adrianza stays hot.

AA  Erie Seawolves beat the Richmond Flying Squirrels 5-1:

Joe Panik(2B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .255.
Jarrett Parker(RF)- 2 for 4.  BA= .244.
Kelby Tomlinson(SS)- 2 for 4.  BA= .500.
Edwin Escobar(LHP)- 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 4.32.

High A  Lancaster Jethawks defeated the San Jose Giants 7-4:

Kyle Crick(RHP)- 6 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 1.33.

Crick needs a few games like this where he learns to just grind it out.  Lancaster is a very tough place to pitch.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets pounded the Asheville Tourists 10-3:

Jesus Galindo(CF)- 2 for 2, Sac, SB(49).  BA= .275.
Mitch Delfino(3B)- 4 for 6, 3 2B.  BA= .244.
Joey Rapp(1B)- 2 for 6, 2B.  BA= .232.
Ben Turner(C)- 3 for 5.  BA= .259.
Charles Jones(RF)- 4 for 5, 2B.  BA= .228.
Kendry Flores(RHP)- 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.97.
Jacob Dunnington(RHP)- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.

Players have accumulate enough AB's that 1 big game does not move the BA all that much.  Rooting for Chuckie Jones to keep it going.

Short Season  Hillsboro Hops outhit the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 9-6:

Hollick(.301), Bednar(.287), Sy(.282), Horan(.264), Ross(.286)- 2 hits each.

Horan had a double while Sy(9), and Bednar(4) had a SB each.

Rooke AZL Giants blanked the Reds 6-0:

Christian Arroyo(SS)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .307.
Ryder Jones(3B)- 1 for 3, BB.  BA= .434.
Julio Pena(LF)- 2 for 4, 2B, 3B.  BA= .265.
Jonah Arenado(DH)- 1 for 3, 3B, BB.  BA= .200.
Ryan Vogelsong(RHP)- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.
Keury Mella(RHP)- 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.49.
Carlos Alvarado(RHP)- 2.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 1.80.

Good to see Vogie on the comeback trail.  With the way Gaudin has pitched, not sure I want him back in the rotation!

DSL Giants edged the White Sox 8-7:

Gustavo Cabrera(CF)- 1 for 4, 2 BB.  BA= .182.
Carlos Valdez(LF)- 2 for 4.  BA= .277.
Nathanael Javier(3B)- 3 for 5, 2B.  BA= .212.
Miguel Gomez(DH)- 4 for 5.  BA= .348.

Check out a nice post about Matt Duffy over on Cove Chatter linked to the left.

Game 2 Wrap 7/23/2013: Giants 5 Reds 3

It was finally the Giants turn to put up a 3 spot in the first inning.  They were able to add on a couple more and make it stand up to salvage the second, "road" game, of the DH.  Key Lines:

Tony Abreu- 2 for 5.  BA= .286.  I've been impressed with Abreu when he's played.

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .266.  Sandoval's double came in the first inning with Abreu on 2B and Posey on 1B.   The ball was to almost the exact location of where Buster got thrown out at home on Sunday.  Well, Flannery sent him again tonight.  I let out an audible "oh, no!" at the TV, but Buster scored this time and it wasn't even that close!

Hunter Pence- 2 for 4.  BA= .268.  Pence added on by driving in Sandoval after his double in the first.

Brandon Crawford- 1 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .271.  Crawford is hitting .303 with 4 BB's and 3 K's in his last 10 games although 6 of his 10 hits came in SD before the All-Star Break.

Barry Zito- 4.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 4.92.  Not a great line, but hey, he managed to not get blown out early which gave the bullpen a fighting chance.  Here's where Yumeiro Petit's 5.1 IP, in game one really saved the day.

Santiago Casilla- 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 1.59.  The Giants missed this guy a lot while he was out.

Sergio Romo- 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's, Save(24).  ERA= 2.84.  4 out Save for Romo.  I missed it because I went to bed, but it must have been exciting to see him K 4 of the 5 batters he faced.

With the split of the DH, the 4'th place Giants lost 0.5 games to the NL West leading Dodgers who came from behind to top the Blue Jays 10-9.  The Giants are now 6.5 games behind the leaders.  The second place D'Backs remained 0.5 games behind with a 10-4 win over the Cubs.  The Colorado Rockies lost to the Marlins 4-2 to fall 5 games off the pace in 3'rd place.  The Last Place Padres won their second in a row over the Ryan Braun-less BrewCrew 6-2 and are 8 games back.

Chad Gaudin tries to salvage a split of the 3+1 series facing Mike Leake tonight.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Game 1 Wrap 7/23/2013: Reds 9 Giants 3

Eric Surkamp, meet Mr. Votto.  Bam!  How ya doin, kid?  Actually, most of the damage was done by the bottom of the Reds' lineup, but Eric Surkamp got treated roughly by a very tough lineup and the Giants got blown out for the 2'nd consecutive game.  Key Lines:

Eric Surkamp- 2.2 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 23.63.  Back to Fresno to continue his rehab.  Maybe a recall in September?

Yusmeiro Petit- 5.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 3.38.  I tuned into the game for awhile while Petit was pitching and he showed some surprisingly good stuff.  Might be worth keeping around awhile to see if it's for real this time.

Down on the Farm: 7/22/2013

AAA  Salt Lake City Bees outhit the Fresno Grizzlies 9-7:

Chris Dominguez(3B)- 2 for 5.  BA= .296.
Roger Kieschnick(LF)- 2 for 3, 2B, 2 BB.  BA= .269.
Ehire Adrianza(SS)- 3 for 4.  BA= .303.

AA  Erie Seawolves beat the Richmond Flying Squirrels 5-1:

Joe Panik(2B)- 2 for 5.  BA= .253.
Angel Villalona(1B)- 2 for 4, HR(4).  BA= .282.

You read it here first.  Villalona's bat has a chance to be special!

High A  San Jose Giants pounded the Stockton Ports 10-5:

Brock Bond(2B)- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .261.
Matt Duffy(SS)- 2 for 5, 2 2B.  BA= .400.
Ricky Oropesa(1B)- 2 for 5, 2B, HR(4).  BA= .363.
Devin Harris(DH)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .260.
Chris Lofton(LF)- 2 for 3, 2B, SF.  BA= .256.
Jason Forjet(RHP)- 3.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.03.
Jeff Soptic(RHP)- 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 6.07.

Matt Duffy!!

Low A  Asheville Tourists outlasted the Augusta Greenjackets 7-5 in 11 innings:

Trevor Brown(2B)- 3 for 5, 2B.  BA= .263.
Joey Rapp(1B)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .229.
Chuckie Jones(RF)- 3 for 5, 2B, HR(6).  BA= .217.
Joe Biagini(RHP)- 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 9 K's.  ERA= 4.54.

This is Chuckie Jones' age 20 season and his 4'th as a professional.  The Giants have 1 more season after this before they have to decide whether to protect him from the Rule 5 draft by adding him to the 40 man roster.

Short Season  Tri-City Dust Devils topped the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 2-1:

Randy Ortiz(CF)- 2 for 4.  BA= .281.
Chase Johnson(RHP)- 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 0.00.
Cameron McVey(RHP)- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.54.

14 scoreless IP for the Giants 3'rd round draft pick.

Rookie AZL Game 1  Giants crushed the Brewers 11-2:

Brett Kay(2B)- 2 for 5, 3B.  BA= .333.
Christian Arroyo(SS)- 3 for 4, 2B.  BA= .284.
Ryder Jones(DH)- 2 for 3, SF.  BA= .438.
Jonathan Jones(1B)- 2 for 3, 2 HR, HBP.  BA= .222.
Johneswhy Fargas(CF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .370.
Michael Connolly(RHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.

Rookie AZL Game 2  Giants made it a twinkilling of the Brewers 4-1:

Rando Moreno(SS)- 2 for 3, 2 2B, BB.  BA= .328.
Christian Arroyo(DH)- 2 for 3, 2B.  BA= .300.
Ryder Jones(3B)- 1 for 2, 2B, BB.  BA= .440.
Carlos Diaz(LHP)- 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 4.22.
Dusten Knight(RHP)- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.35.
Eury Sanchez(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, Save(6).  ERA= 0.00.

Arroyo reaches .300!  Ryder Jones keeps raking.  Fargas is quietly off to a nice start to his pro career.

DSL Game 1   D'Backs defeated the Giants 5-3:

Carlos Valdez(LF, 19 yo)- 2 for 3, 2B, HR(3).  BA= .268.
Nicol Parra(DH, 18 yo)- 0 for 1, BB, 2 HBP, 2 SB(14).  BA= .240.

DSL Game 2  Giants blanked the D'Backs 5-0:

Robinson Medrano(PH-RF, 17 yo)- 2 for 3, SB(6).  BA= .286.
Reymi Rodriguez(RHP, 18 yo)- 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K's. ERA= 0.93.

Like Reymi's profile, 6'2", 195 lbs.  He has 29 K's against 8 BB's in 29 IP with a GO/AO= 1.89.

Game Wrap 7/22/2013:

No no-no for Timmy after Gregor Blanco couldn't quite reach a sinking, slicing flyball down the LF line off the bat off leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo.  The Reds proceeded to score at least 1 run in each of the first 7 innings while the Giants bats were quiet against Bronson Arroyo.  Key Lines:

Tim Lincecum- 3.2 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 4.73.  Choo's leadoff double was pure BABIP luck and it looked like Timmy was about to pitch his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, but then Todd Frazier crushed one over the head of Andres Torres off the CF wall and the route was on.  Timmy was basically throwing batting practice up there.  

Bronson Arroyo(Reds)- 9 IP, 7  H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 3.19.  Arroyo seems to always give the Giants fits.  He's a classic late bloomer whose career has seemed to get generally better with age.  He started out at age 18 in the Pirates organization, but did not pitch his first full MBL season until age 27 with Boston.  He is durable as heck as he has never had less than 32 starts since 2004.  He beats you by keeping his walk rates low and keeping hitters' timing off with a funky leg kick and a 4 pitch mix which he releases from a variety of angles.  I have him on my fantasy team and he really helps by adding to the counting stats while maintaining a low WHIP.

With the Loss, the Giants remain in 4'th place now 6 games behind the new NL West division leaders, the Dodgers who crushed the Blue Jays 14-5.  The D'Backs lost to the Cubs 4-2 to slip 0.5 games behind the Hated Ones.  The 3'rd place Rockies lost to the Marlins 3-1 and are 4 games behind while the Padres topped the BrewCrew 5-3 and remain in last place, 8 games behind the Dodgers.

The Giants are now staring down a double barrel with Barry Zito and Eric Surkamp expected to start the twinbill. Neither of these pitchers inspires much confidence right now in what could be the backbreaker of the season for the Giants. 

Speaking of the BrewCrew, Ryan Braun threw in the towel on the PED issue and decided to take his medicine this year with the Brewers in last place.  It will be interesting to see what other dominoes fall.  The Brewers are already out of it, but there are other players in the hot seat who could impact the outcome of division and wild card races in major ways.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Down on the Farm: 7/21/2013

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies defeated the Tacoma Rainiers 5-3:

Chris Dominguez(3B)- 1 for 3, HR(13).  BA= .294.
Ydwin Villegas(SS)- 2 for 3.  BA= .347.
Justin Fitzgerald(RHP)- 8 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 6.03.
Brett Bochy(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, Save(1).  ERA= 4.19.

This was, by far, Fitz' best start in 6 games for Fresno.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels vs Bowie Baysox suspended in the middle of the 10'th inning tied 5-5:

Javier Herrera(DH)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .304.
Jarrett Parker(RF)- 2 for 4, SB(12).  BA= .242.

High A  San Jose Giants held off the Stockton Ports 7-6:

Hector Sanchez(DH)- 1 for 2, 2B, BB.  BA= .200.
Mac Williamson(RF)- 2 for 3, BB, HBP.  BA= .280.
Ricky Oropesa(1B)- 0 for 2, 3 BB.  BA= .360.
Eric Sim(C)- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .375.
Kelvin Marte(LHP)- 6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 3.28.
Derek Law(RHP)- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, Save(3).  ERA= 2.35.
Michael Ynoa(RHP, Ports)- 2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 6 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 14.90.

Remember when the A's made a huge splash siging Ynoa?  This line does not look good but he is still listed as just 21 yo.

Low A Augusta Greenjackets stung the Asheville Tourists 3-2:

Mitch Delfino(3B)- 2 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .240.
Ben Turner(C)- 2 for 4.  BA= .257.
Joseph Rapp(1B)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .225.
Martin Agosta(RHP)- 5.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 2.03.

Encouraging start for Agosta.

Short Season  Tri-City Dust Devils beat the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 6-2:

Nothing to see here.

Rookie AZL  Giants vs Brewers postponed

DSL  Giants were idle.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Game Wrap 7/21/2013: D'Backs 3 Giants 1

The Giants offense failed to mount an attack against Randal Delgado and the D'Backs' bullpen as they wasted a strong performance by Madison Bumgarner.  Key Lines:

Tim Flannery- The Giants best opportunity to take the lead in the game came in the 6'th inning.  Posey led off with a walk and Pablo doubled up the alley in left-center.  Flannery waived Buster home.  It was close, but Pennington made a perfect relay thrown and Buster's slide was just a bit on the unimaginative side.  He was out by about 4 inches.  You could tell on TV from where Buster was on the basepath and how quickly Pollack got the ball to Pennington that it was going to be close at best.  I don't know, I just don't think you want the first out to be made at home plate in that situation.  There are no guarantees with this team that a they would have scored in a no-out, runners at 2'nd and 3'rd situation, but I like the odds of that better than the odds of Buster scoring from first on a double.  He's not Bengie Molina out there and might be faster than JT Snow was, but he ain't a speedburner.   I'm guessing that over the years Flannery has won more games for the Giants than he's lost, but he may well have lost this one.

Kensuke Tanaka- 1 for 4.  BA= .269.  Tanaka was not charged with any errors in the game but he whiffed on 2 balls that I think a good LF would have caught.  I like Tanaka, but the initial enthusiasm has worn off.  It looks to me like opposing pitchers have figured out they can pound him without worrying about giving up a longball.  That severely limits his offensive potential and when you see plays like that in LF, you start thinking he might not be the right guy out there.  I'd probably rather have Torres in CF and Blanco in LF against RHP's, or give Frenchy a shot at all comers and see if they can catch lightning in a bottle.

Madison Bumgarner- 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 2.93.  The triple by Prado in the first inning which led to the lone run Bummy allowed was one of the balls Tanaka should have caught, IMO.

The Loss leaves the Giants in 4'th place and drops them 5.5 games behind the NL West leading D'Backs.  The 2'nd place Dodgers kept pace with a 9-2 drubbing of the Nationals to remain 0.5 games back.  The Rockies remain in 3'rd place, 4 games back with a 9-3 win over the Cubs.  The Last Place Padres drop 8.5 back with a 3-2 loss to the Cardinals.

Tim Lincecum tries to become just the second pitcher in history to throw 2 no-hitters in a row facing the Reds and Bronson Arroyo tomorrow evening.

The doubleheader on Tuesday looms as a potential backbreaker with Barry Zito and probably Eric Surkamp slated to start for the Giants.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Down on the Farm: 7/20/2013

AAA  Tacoma Rainiers pounded the Fresno Grizzlies 12-5:

Gary Brown(CF)- 1 for 3, 2B, 2 BB,  BA= .247.
Johnny Monell(DH)- 1 for 3, HR(16), BB.  BA= .286.
Brett Pill(1B)- 2 for 4, HR(17).  BA= . 343.
Chris Dominguez(3B)- 2 for 3, 2B.  BA= .294.
Mike Kickham(LHP)- 4 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 5.12.

The fact that he started tonight at all would seem to indicate that Kickham was not under consideration to start the first game of the DH against Cincinnati on Tuesday.  That looks like a good thing.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels edged the Bowie Baysox 2-1 in 10 innings:

Taylor Rogers(RHP)- 6.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 5.65.
Cody Hall(RHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.70.

Except for 1 rough appearance, Cody Hall has continued the dominance he showed in the Cal League with 12 K's against just 2 BB's in 10 IP.

High A  Stockton Ports defeated the San Jose Giants 5-3 in 13 innings:

Elliott Blair(CF)- 2 for 6, 2B.  BA= .223.
Mac Williamson(RF)- 3 for 5, SF, Assist.  BA= .277.
Ricky Oropesa(1B)- 1 for 4, 2 BB.  BA= .370.
Ty Blach(LHP)- 5 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.59.
Chris Marlowe(RHP)- 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 3.38.

Mac stays hot.  Not one of Blach's best, but not terrible either.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets stung the Asheville Tourists 4-1:

Mitch Delfino(DH)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .236.
Matt Lujan(LHP)- 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 2.89.
Steven Okert(LHP)- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.18.

Lujan was signed as an undrafted FA after his senior season at USF.  He's a classic old-for-level prospect.  Gets some mitigation for it being his first full professional season, and he's a lefty.  Nice numbers warrant keeping an eye on him as long as your expectations don't become too unrealistic.  It is uncommon, but not unheard of, for a guy like this to reach the majors.

Short Season  Tri-City Dust Devils no-hit the Salem-Kcizer Volcanoes 3-0:

Chris Johnson(RHP- 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 2.54.

Dust Devils used 4 pitchers to combine on the no-no.

Game Wrap 7/20/2013: Giants 4 D'Backs 3

Coming of the two worst starts of his career, Matt Cain gave the Giants a decent start and Bruce Bochy worked his bullpen wizardry the rest of the way to hold the D'Backs at bay.  Hey!  That rhymes!  Key Lines:

Buster Posey- 2 for 4, HR(14).  BA= .326.  Some Giants fans are envious of the D'Backs for having Paul Goldschmidt at 1B.  Well, the entire universe of non-Giants fans is envious of them for having the best darn player in all of baseball!

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .269.  Giants need Pablo to be healthy and playing well in the second half in order to make a run.

Jeff Francoeur- 1 for 3, BB.  BA= .215.  Stop the presses!  Frenchy drew a bases-loaded walk to drive in a run.  Man, when you seen Frenchy at the plate and on the basepaths, you can sure see what prospect watchers were dreaming on back in the day.  What an athlete!  Maybe Bam Bam can fix him?

Matt Cain- 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 5.00.  Not exactly vintage Matt Cain, but a whole lot better than his last 2 starts.  Still, 102 pitches is a lot in 5 IP.

Jeremy Affeldt- 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 3.51.  Affeldt's troubled season took a turn for the worse when he threw a pitch and came off the mound clutching his front of 42,000 fans and a TV audience.  Ouch!  What's your over-under for how long he'll be out?  I say 6 weeks.  Most likely Machi is the replacement.  The Giants have 2 other lefties in the pen and Mijares has shown he can face both LH and RH batters.

With the Win, the Giants remain in 4'th place in the NL West but gain a game on the leading D'Backs to 4.5 games out.  The second place Dodgers narrowed their gap to 0.5 games with an extra-inning win over the Nationals 3-1.  The Rockies pounded the Cubs 9-3 to remain in 3'rd place, 3.5 games out and the Padres topped the Cardinals 5-3 to gain a game to 7.5 games back in last place.

Madison Bumgarner goes for the sweep tomorrow afternoon against Randall Delgado.

Down on the Farm: 7/19/2013

Even more good stuff last night.

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies held off the Tacoma Rainiers 3-2:

Gary Brown(CF)- 2 for 4.  BA= .246.
Brett Pill(1B)- 1 for 4, HR(16).  BA= .340.
Ehire Adrianza(SS)- 1 for 2, 2B, BB, SB(1).  BA= .273.
Yusmeiro Petit(RHP)- 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 5.24.
Heath Hembree(RHP)- 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K, Save(21).   ERA= 4.43.

Good that Hembree did not give up the walks in front of the dinger.  He allows a run after 9 scoreless appearances.

AA  Game 1  Bowie Baysox smashed the Richmond Flying Squirrels 10-2:

Angel Villalona(1B)- 3 for 3 2B, HR(3).  BA= .274.
Phil McCormick(LHP)- 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 3.24.

Wow!  Angel V showing he can hang with the AA guys!

AA  Game 2  Richmond Flying Squirrels defeated the Bowie Baysox 4-3:

Angel Villalona(1B)- 1 for 3.  BA= .277.
Andrew Susac(C)- 1 for 2, BB.  BA= .262.
Jack Snodgrass(LHP)- 5.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K's, GO/AO= 10/4.  ERA= 3.45.

High A  San Jose Giants topped the Modesto Nuts 3-2:

Kelby Tomlinson(SS)- 2 for 4.  BA= .277.
Mac Williamson(DH)- 1 for 3, 2B, BB, SB(7).  BA= .272.
Ricky Oropesa(1B)- 2 for 4, HR(3).  BA= .377.
Clayton Blackburn(RHP)- 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 8 K's, GO/AO= 7/2.  ERA= 4.26.
Jason Forjet(RHP)- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.09.
Derek Law(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.70.

3'rd QS in a row for Blackburn.  Dominant peripheral numbers in this one.  His overall season line is 5-4, 4.26, 95 IP, 26 BB, 107 K's, GO/AO= 1.42.

Low A  Lakewood Blueclaws scored 3 runs in the top of the 9'th inning to edge the Augusta Greenjackets 3-2:

Matt Duffy(DH)- 2 for 4, 2 SB(21).  BA= .308.
Mitch Delfino(3B)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .232.
Chuckie Jones(RF)- 0 for 2, 2 BB, 2 SB(10).  BA= .213.
Chris Stratton(RHP)- 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 4 K's, GO/AO= 9/2.  ERA= 3.66.
Tyler Mizenko(RHP)- 1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 2.24.

Encouraging start for Stratton, although not quite the dominant numbers you would hope for.  Rare BS(3) by Mizenko against 21 Saves.

Short Season  Salem-Keizer Volcanoes came from behind to bury the Tri-City Dust Devils 10-7:

Tyler Hollick(CF)- 3 for 5, BB.  BA= .307.
Brandon Bednar(2B)- 2 for 5, BB, SB(3).  BA= .298.
Jeremy Sy(SS)- 3 for 6, HR(5), SB(8).  BA= .286.
Brian Ragira(1B)- 1 for 4, 2B, 2 BB.  BA= .333.
Tyler Horan(RF)- 2 for 6, 2B.  BA= .256.
Sam Eberle(DH)- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .283.
Eugene Escalante(C)- 3 for 5, 2 2B.  BA= .301.
Jake Smith(RHP)- 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 2.41.
Tyler Rogers(RHP)- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 0.00.

Lorenzo Mendoza allowed 6 unearned runs in the first 2 innings as the Volcanoes committed 6 errors in the game including 3 by Jeremy Sy.

Rookie AZL  Giants pounded the Rangers 12-3:

Christian Arroyo(SS)- 1 for 5, HR(1).  BA= .254.
Ryder Jones(DH)- 3 for 5, 2B, HR(1).  BA= .422.
Cristian Paulino(CF)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .286.
Nick Vander Tuig(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.
Matt? Young(RHP)- 3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.60.
Carlos Alvarado(RHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.13.

The Giants top 2 picks both go deep.  It will be interesting to see if either of them get any respect in BA's League Top 20 this offseason.  Jones, in particular, scorching the desert.  Vander Tuig make his pro debut.  I imagine the Giants will be conservative with him after he pitched through the College WS. continues to list Matt Young, an 18 yo HS draftee on the Giants roster and in boxscores.  This has to be a mistake, right?  Matt Young was drafted by the Marlins.  The Giants drafted Pat Young out of Villanova.

DSL  Giants were idle.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Game Wrap 7/19/2013: Giants 2 D'Backs 0

The Giants scored 2 runs in the first inning.  Chad Gaudin pitched 7 innings of shutout ball and the bullpen close the door in the last 2.  Key Lines:

Buster Posey- 1 for 4, 2B.  BA= .324.  Buster got just one hit, but he made it count as he drove in 1 of the Giants' runs and scored the other.

Hunter Pence- 2 for 4.  BA= .265.  If the Giants are going to make a run for it in the second half, The Rev is going to need to drive in some runs.

Brandon Belt- 2 for 4.  BA= .264.  Belt is hitting .270, very close to his season average over his last 10 games.

Chad Gaudin- 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 2.15.  I don't know what the Giants saw or what tweaks they might have made, but man, where would this team be without Gaudin?  What a pickup!

Sergio Romo- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, Save(22).  ERA= 2.78.  The 2 LH batters hit the ball hard but to Torres in CF.

With the Win, the Giants remain in 4'th place but gain a game to 5.5 behind the NL West leading D'Backs.  The Dodgers topped the Nationals 3-2 to move to 1.5 games behind the leaders.  The Rockies lost to the Cubs 3-1 to stay 4.5 games out in 3'rd place.  Teh Pathetic Padres lost again to the Cardinals 9-6 to remain 8.5 games back in last place.

Matt Cain faced Wade Miley tomorrow evening in a game that could go a long way toward telling us how the second half might go.  If the Giants are going to compete, they will need Matt Cain performing as he can.

Happy 90'th birthday to Lon Simmons, who I grew up listening to on the radio broadcasting Giants games play-by-play .  He also had a great sports news show on KSFO in the evenings.  I think he also did the 49'ers radio play-by-play back in the John Brodie-Gene Washington days.

Down on the Farm: 7/18/2013

The Giants minor league system was like AM/PM last night:  Too much good stuff!

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies out hit the Tacoma Rainiers 8-7:

Gray Brown(CF)- 2 for 5, HR(12).  BA= .244.
Nick Noonan(2B)- 3 for 5, 2B.  BA= .340.
Johnny Monell(DH)- 1 for 3, 2 BB.  BA= .299.
Roger Kieschnick(RF)- 3 for 4, 3 2B, BB.  BA= .271.
Jackson Williams(C)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .232.
Eric Surkamp(LHP)- 4.2 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 4.79.
Heath Hembree(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, Save(20).  ERA= 4.31.

Brown has been in a mini-slump hitting just .225 over his last 10 games.  The 3 doubles help lift Roger K's BA over his last 10 to .333.  Hembree is on a roll with 9 consecutive scoreless appearances.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels defeated the Bowie Baysox 6-3:

Javier Herrera(LF)- 2 for 5, HR(13).  BA= .301.
Skyler Stromsmoe(2B)- 1 for 3, HR(1), 2 BB.  BA= .170.
Mark Minicozzi(DH)- 3 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .335.
Angel Villalona(1B)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .237.
Edwin Escobar(LHP)- 6.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 4.22.

Angel V is hitting .282 over his last 10 games.  I think the big news here is Escobar's performance.  I think you would call this a dominant start, and it's so great that he's at AA!  It's taken awhile but this is looking more and more like Sabean got a steal in the Ben Snyder trade way back when.

High A  San Jose Giants turned the tables on the Modesto Nuts 2-0:

Devin Harris(LF)- 2 for 4, 2B, HR(19).  BA= .259.
Adalberto Mejia(LHP)- 5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K's.  ERA= 3.51.
Derek Law(RHP)- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's, Save(1).  ERA= 3.18.

As he has done in previous assignments, Mejia just keeps getting stronger.  He has now made 10 starts on the season and his line stands at 3-3, 3.51, 51.1 IP, 15 BB, 50 K's.  He has 22 K's against just 3 BB's over his last 17.2 IP spanning 3 starts.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets blanked the Lakewood Blueclaws 8-0:

Andrew Cain(LF)- 2 for 3, BB, SB(13), HBP.  BA= .254.
Rafael Rodriguez(DH)- 2 for 4, 2B, SB(3).  BA= .212.
Joan Gregorio(RHP)- 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K's.  ERA= 3.12.

7 no-hit innings from Gregorio with dominant peripherals.  Wow!  Too much good stuff!  His season line stands at  5-2, 3.23, 55.2 IP, 12 BB's, 68 K's.  He has 19 K's in his last 2 starts.  What impresses me the most is the low walk rate from a tall gangly kid like him.  21 yo.  Good Stuff!!

Short Season  Tri-City Dust Devils topped the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 5-3:

Brandon Bednar(2B)- 1 for 4, HR(3).  BA= .293.
Cameron McVey(RHP)- 3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 4.15.
Eduardo Encinosa(RHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.65.

McVey is old(24) for the level, but has nice size at 6'5" 205 lbs.  He has 20 K's vs 10 BB in 17.1 IP. with a GO/AO= 1.91.  Encinosa has an extreme groundball tendency in a small sample size of 4.50.  He put up a 3.17 for AZL last year also in a very small sample size.  He is 21 years old.

Rookie AZL  Giants stopped the Rangers 5-3:

Christian Arroyo(SS)- 1 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .259.
Ryder Jones(3B)- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .400.
Ryan Cavan(2B)- 2 for 3, 3B, BB.  BA= .486.
Dusten Knight(RHP)- 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.51.
Christian Jones(LHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 1.69.
Eury Sanchez(RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, Save(5).  ERA= 0.00.

Love that the Baby G's are 18-4, but isn't it time for Cavan and Pegs to be moving on?  I guess we're seeing why Ryder Jones was a Stanford recruit.  He's destroying this level.  Arroyo is hitting .293 over his last 10 games.  He has 9 K's and 9 BB's in 58 AB's so far with 8 of his BB's and just 4 of his K's coming in his last 10 games.  Eury Sanchez is a 20 yo DSL graduate who's been under my radar.  Looking back at last year's DSL numbers he put up a line of 4-4, 1.23, 29.1 IP, 14 BB's, 36 K's, 7 Saves.  He is listed at just 5'11", 170 lbs, but I'm guessing he has a pretty big fastball for a guy that size.

DSL  Giants edged the Orioles1 5-4:

Jean Angomas(DH, 17 yo)- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .242.
Gustavo Cabrera(CF, 17 yo)- 0 for 5.  BA= .190.
Nathanael Javier(3B, 17 yo)- 2 for 5.  BA= .204.
Royel Astacio(1B, 19 yo)- 2 for 3, 2 2B, BB.  BA= .193.
Robinson Medrano(RF, 17 yo)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .282.
Shawn Gomez(RHP, 18 yo)- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.33.

On the bright side, at least Gustavo didn't K, so he's at least making contact.  Medrano is a pleasant surprise so far.
Astacio has a nice little 4 game hit streak going in which he is 6 for 12.  Love Shawn Gomez' size at 6'4", 180 lbs.

Long post, but a pleasure to write!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thoughts on Age vs Level Part 5

The spectacular rise of Miguel Cabrera, which contributed to a championship for the Florida Marlins, occured around the same time studies were showing that star players tend to develop early and fast.  We started to see a flurry of very young prospects playing at relatively high levels as some teams started to "push" their prospects.  We saw it more with international players in part because it was possible for them since they were turning pro at 16 yo.  It's pretty much physically impossible for a draftee from a 4 year college to hit the majors at age 19 or 20 and it's extremely rare that a HS draftee to be in the pros soon enough to play at AA at age 17.  Again, you have to  account for context when setting your benchmark ages and levels.  

These "pushed" prospects created quite a buzz in the prospect watching community.  Remember when Fernando Martinez(FMart) was the toast of BA?  Remember when the prospect watchers at Minor League Ball were drooling over Carlos Triunfel and Jose Tabata?  Remember when we were all shaking in our shoes at the thought of facing future Dodger teams with Edwin Jackson and Greg Miller on the mound?  Let's take a look at what the excitement was all about and where these players are now.

Fernando Martinez(FMart):  FMart reached AA Binghampton in the big bad Eastern League at age 18 and performed well, .271/.336/.377.  Good average, especially for the EL, decent walk rate, little power.  Say what you will, but those are impressive numbers for an 18 year old in AA.  Even Mike Trout was not playing in AA at age 18!  FMart continued to progress nicely hitting .290/.337/.540 at age 20 in AAA Buffalo.  Since then, he has failed in numerous attempts to break through into MLB, first with the Mets, then Houston.  He is currently 24 years old with his third organization and hitting well for the Yankees AAA team after washing out of Houston.  The book is far from closed on FMart.  I would currently consider him a possible post-hype sleeper, but he's not exactly on the fast-track anymore and definitely not young for his level.

Carlos Triunfel:  Triunfel created a buzz when he hit .309/.342/.388 in the tough low A Midwest League at age 17 and got a midseason promotion to High A High Desert in the Mariners organization.  He hit .288/.333/.356 for High Desert, an admittedly extremely hitter-friendly environment.  He then hit .287/.336/.406 in a repeat at High Desert at a still young age of 18.  His development was interrupted by injury in 2009.  He has since put up modest numbers at higher levels but hit poorly in 2 brief MLB trials.  He is currently 23 yo.  He could still develop further, but he is no longer anybody's hot prospect.

Jose Tabata:  Tabata was signed at age 16 by the Yankees and sent straight to the Rookie Gulf Coast League where he hit .314/.382/.417.  He then hit .298/.377/.420 in Low A Charleston(SAL) at age 17 and .307/.371/.392 in High A Tampa(FSL) at age 18.  This time it was Yankee fans who were all in a lather.  He was traded mid-season of 2008 to the Pirates and hit .348/.402/.562 for AA Altoona in the EL at age 19.  Since then, he has bounced between AAA and Pittsburgh putting up pedestrian numbers at the MLB level.  He is currently 24 years old.  

Edwin Jackson:  The Dodgers went through a phase where they kind of went crazy with aggressive promotions.  In 2003, they sent a kid named Edwin Jackson directly from low A ball to AA at age 19.  He responded by striking out 157 batters in 148.1 IP.  He had some control issues with 53 BB's but he was at or near the top of every prospect list and was the toast of BA.  Although he has had some brilliant moments and modest success at the MLB level, he never overcame his control issues and currently has a 5.11 ERA for the Cubs at age 29.

Greg Miller:  Miller was the other half of the Dodgers' 1-2 punch in the early 2000's.  He was a 6'5" LHP with a blazing fastball who went 11-4, 2.49, 115.2 IP, 41 BB, 111 K's for High A Vero Beach in the FSL at age 18 in 2003.  He earned a late season promotion AA, where he went 1-1, 1.01, 26.2 IP, 7 BB, 40 K's!  That was his zenith as injuries derailed his career and his last year in affiliated baseball was 2009.

The experiences of these 5 players seemed to have a sobering effect on teams that were aggressively promoting players.  The Mets and Dodgers, in particular came under some criticism for harming their prospects with overly aggressive promotion.  We now don't see as many players at extremely low age for level as it seems to be limited to players with obviously exceptional talent like Mike Trout, who force the issue with not just good, but outstanding performance.

While it is extremely difficult, if not impossible to prove anything in baseball, I would assert that the evidence is quite strong that it's really performance trumping age and level here rather than the other way around.  Mike Trout's performance would be outstanding even if he was 2 or even 3 years older.  The corollary is that these 5 players show that their performances did not deserve any markup just because they were exceptionally young for their level.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Down on the Farm: 7/17/2013

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies were idle.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels beat the Binghampton Mets 6-5:

Joe Panik(2B)- 2 for 5, 2 2B.  BA= .253.
Adam Duvall(3B)- 2 for 5, HR(9).  BA= .248.
Cody Hall(RHP)- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.38.

Third straight 2-hit game for Panik.  4 of those 6 hits were doubles.

High A  Modesto Nuts blanked the San Jose Giants 2-0:

Mac Williamson(RF)- 2 for 4.  BA= .272.
Kyle Crick(RHP)- 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R,  5 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 1.04.

5 no-hit innings for Crick, but those pesky walks continue to be an issue.

Low A  Lakewood Blue Claws outlasted the Augusta Greenjackets 5-4:

Jesus Galindo(CF)- 2 for 5, SB(43).  BA= .273.
Ben Turner(C)- 3 for 5, 2B.  BA= .254.
Andrew Cain(LF)- 2 for 4, 2 3B.  BA= .249.
Kendry Flores(RHP)- 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 10 K's.  ERA= 3.15.
Mason McVay(LHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 4.37.
Ian Gardeck(RHP)- 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.16.

Flores got nicked up by BABIP and gave up a dinger, but once again had dominant peripherals.

Short Season  Salem-Keizer Volcanoes topped the Eugene Emeralds 4-3:

Randy Ortiz(CF)- 2 for 4, SB(8).  BA= .282.
Tyler Horan(RF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .242.
Ryan Jones(2B)-1 for 2, 2B, BB.  BA= .440.
Chase Johnson(RHP)- 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 0.00.

Rookie AZL  Athletics beat the Giants 6-3:

Christian Arroyo(SS)- 1 for 3, 2 BB.  BA= .255.
Craig Massoni(1B)- 2 for 4, 2B. BA= .357.
Keury Mella(RHP)- 4.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.82.

Mella pitched 4 shutout innings then could not get out of the 5'th.

DSL  Giants edged the Padres 5-4:

Royel Astacio(1B, 19 yo)- 1 for 3, HR(1), BB.  BA= .176.
Marco Guzman(2B, 18 yo)- 1 for 3, HR(1), BB.  BA= .246.
Jose Morel(RHP, 19 yo)- 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 1.45.

Thoughts on Age vs League Part 4

Sergio Romo is an interesting story for those of us who like to go rummaging around in the minor leagues for hidden talent.

Romo was drafted in 2005 in the 28'th round out of little known Mesa State College as a senior.  Now, if you are someone who thinks college juniors are already pushing the age curve, college seniors are completely around the bend!  He signed immediately at age 22 and was assigned to Salem-Keizer, an age appropriate level, but even there, he was pushing the upper limits.  He absolutely dominated at S-K as a starter going 7-1, 2.75, 68.2 IP, 9 BB, 65 K's.  Prospect watchers were struck by the sensational K/BB and miniscule BB/9.

Generally a performance like that would earn a promotion the high A ball the next year but Romo was sent to Low A Augusta for his age 23 season, way old for the level.  He split his time starting and relieving and put up similar numbers as he did at S-K:  10-2, 2.53, 103.1 IP, 19 BB, 95 K's.

Moving up one level at a time, Romo spent his age 24 season in San Jose exclusively relieving and again was sensational:  6-2, 1.36, 66.1 IP, 15 BB, 106 K's.  Again, he was on the older side for the league, a full 5 years older, in fact, than Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner at the same level.

He finally made AA in 2008 at age 25.  His ERA was not so good there, but his peripherals were the same as always with 30 K's against 7 BB in 27 IP.  At this point, the Giants decided that he was capable of sustaining it all the way to the top.  He made 3 appearances for Fresno in which he struck out 7 batters while walking 2 in 6 IP.  He got the call to The Show later that year and put up a 3-1, 2.12, 34 IP, 8 BB, 33 K's line, pretty much the same numbers he put up as an old-for-level nobody for Augusta 2 years earlier.

He has maintained those numbers throughout what is now a 6 year MLB career in which he worked his way up from middle reliever to top setup man to closer for a World Series championship team and an All-Star Game berth.

Just a reminder that when you see nice looking numbers from a guy who seems to be too old for his level, don't immediately write if off as being due to inferior competition.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Down on the Farm: 7/16/2013

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies were idle.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels beat the Binghampton Mets 9-3:

Javier Herrera(LF)- 2 for 4, 2B, 1 BB.  BA= .300.
Joe Panik(2B)- 2 for 3, BB, Sac.  BA= .251.
Mark Minicozzi(3B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .334.
Angel Villalona(1B)- 1 for 5, HR(2).  BA= .218.
Brett Krill(RF)- 2 for 4.  BA= .292.
Ryan Lollis(CF)- 2 for 5.  BA= .272.
Chris Gloor(LHP)- 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 3.55.
Josh Osich(LHP)- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 9.95.

Herrera is a guy whose prior pedigree and tools might just trump his advanced age, although his experience is undoubtedly a factor in his success at this level.  Mark Mincozzi is a guy with very limited tools who is succeeding because he has more experience than the competition.  Panik needs to build on the last two games in which he has 2 hits each.  Hopefully this appearance will stabilize Osich after a couple of very ugly ones.

High A  San Jose Giants were idle.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets were idle.

Short Season  Salem-Keizer Volcanoes pounded the Eugene Emeralds 8-2:

Brandon Bednar(DH)- 1 for 3, HR(2), SF.  BA= .295.
Jeremy Sy(SS)- 1 for 4, HR(4).  BA= .272.
Brian Ragira(1B)- 2 for 3, HR(1), BB.  BA= .345.
Shilo McCall(LF)- 2 for 3, HR(3), BB.  BA= .280.
Eugene Escalante(C)- 2 for 3.  BA= .279.
Ryan Jones(2B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .438.
Andrew Leenhouts(LHP)- 5 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 1.65.
Jake Smith(RHP)- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.87.

Ragira is quietly raking.  Should have more than 1 HR though.  Love what Shilo McCall is doing against mostly older competition.  Leenhouts has 13 K's against 0 BB's in his last 15 IP.  His relatively advanced age is mitigated by his size, lefthandedness and short experience in pro ball.  Unlikely to be in impact starter, but I could see him eventually becoming a solid lefthanded relief specialist.

Rookie AZL  Giants were idle.

DSL  Giants defeated the Twins 3-2:

Robinson Medrano(RF, 17 yo)- 2 for 4.  BA= .274.
Jonathan Loaisiga(RHP, 18 yo)- 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.21.
Reymi Rodriguez(RHP, 18 yo)- 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 1.17.

Thoughts On Age vs Level Part 3

So let's take a look at a couple of highly successful college draftees, Tim Lincecum and Buster Posey.

Tim Lincecum was taken by the Giants as the #10 overall pick in the watershed 2006 draft at age 22.  In college, he dominated the Pac 10, one of the top 3 or so college conferences.  After signing, he made 2 brief appearances for Salem-Keizer then was promoted to High A San Jose, an aggressive assignment for a draft summer, but not unheard of for a high level college draftee.  He absolutely dominated the Cal League with an ERA of 1.95 with 46 K's against 12 BB's in just 27.2 IP.

The Giants were so impressed that they had Timmy skip AA entirely and start 2007, his age 23 season at AAA Fresno where he again dominated winning 4 of 5 starts with a 0.29 ERA and 46 K's against 11 BB's in 31 IP.  He arrived in SF to stay in May 2007 at age 23.  The rest is history.

Buster Posey was the 5'th overall pick in 2008 at age 21.  He was initially assigned to Rookie Arizona League, a ridiculously low assignment and predictably hit .385/.484/.692 in his 26 AB's there.  He was then promoted to Salem-Keizer where he appeared in just 3 games.

His first full season assignment at age 22 was San Jose which he again dominated.  he was then skipped over AA and promoted to AAA Fresno where he again dominated at the plate.  He was called up for a cameo appearance in the majors in Sept of 2009, but the Giants believed he needed work on his catching defense and sent him back to Fresno to start the 2010 season.

He finally arrived in the majors to stay in May, 2010 at age 23 and again, the rest is history.

Now listen up, team!  If you go strictly by age vs level, you would have to say that Matt Cain, who arrived in the majors to stay at age 20 was a much better prospect than Tim Lincecum who arrived at age 23!  Likewise, you would have to say that Mike Trout, who arrived in the majors at age 19 was a far better prospect than Buster Posey  who arrived at age 23.

You have to understand context.  The earliest age at which these players were physically capable of arriving in the majors was pre-ordained by decisions they made 3 years earlier.  Their success in the majors was wholly dependent on their talent and skill, not their ages!

Age vs Level purists would dismiss college draftees out of hand because they are already "too old" for their level.  In fact, to take it a step further, if you really want to get the jump on the age vs level curve, you would concentrate your resources on the international market where you can get players on a professional ballfield at the age of 16!  That is probably why some organizations have a strong preference for drafting HS players and other organizations commit diaproportionate resources to the international market even though the evidence that the success rate for those kids is better than for college draftees is, to put it charitably, shaky.

One of my mottos is "never say never and never say always!"  A corollary would be "context is everything!"

Thoughts On Age vs Level Part 2

Matt Cain is a prototype of how a successful top HS draft pick progresses through a farm system and gets established in the major leagues and is also an example of how Age vs Level can be misused to attack a prospect.

Cain was drafted out of HS in 2002 at the age of 17.  After signing, he was assigned to the Rookie Arizona League, where you would expect a HS draftee to be assigned.  He threw 19.1 IP, in 8 games with an ERA of 3.72.    The following spring, he was promoted to Low A Hagerstown in the SAL, also where you would expect a HS draftee to go for his first full season.  He dominated there with a 2.55 ERA and 90 K's against 24 BB in 74 IP.  He was shut down early with a stress reaction in his elbow.

Since he only got in a half season and had the injury, the Giants might have been cautious with him in 2004 at age 19, but they sent him to High A San Jose, his normal progression.  He again dominated there with a 1.86 ERA over 13 starts.  Here is where he really made his move to get ahead of the Age vs Level curve:  He was promoted mid-season to AA Norwich, still at age 19.  He was not as dominating there with a 3.35 ERA and 72 K's against 40 BB's in 86 IP.

Because he was now ahead of the curve age-wise, and he had not dominated AA in half a season, you might have predicted the Giants would send him back to AA to master the level to start his age 20 season in 2005, but they were again aggressive and assigned him to Fresno where he put up a 4.39 ERA with 176 K's against 73 BB's in 145.2 IP.  Those are not dominating numbers, but also very good for the PCL.  Remember league factors can be a confounding factor when evaluating performance in any given level!  He was promoted to the majors to stay in late 2005, his age 20 season, at least 1-2 years ahead of schedule for even a top ranked HS draftee prospect.

As you can see in Matt Cain's case, his precociousness in the minors was a good predictor of future success as a frontline starter in the majors.  I won't go into details, but Madison Bumgarner followed a very similar schedule as did Zack Wheeler, 2 other HS pitchers drafted in the first round.

Now, Felix Hernandez shadowed Matt Cain all the way through the minors and they broke into MLB in the same year.  Both their minor league records and MLB records are remarkable similar.  Felix may have pulled ahead slightly this year due to Cainer's struggles, but we are now 8 years into their respective MLB careers.  I think we can all agree that they are both successful frontline major league starting pitchers.  Felix Hernandez is 18 months younger than Matt Cain.

I remember getting into a brutal debate with some "King Felix" freaks over on Sickels' site, Minor League Ball.  I was using minor league stats to show that Matt Cain was as good or at least almost as good a prospect as Felix Hernandez.  They all admitted that Cain's numbers were as good, but their hammer was that "King Felix" was 18 months younger.  Nevermind that both young pitchers were competing at or above their expected level for their number of years of pro experience. And nevermind that Hernandez had been a pro since age 16.  Those 18 months made all the difference in the world to those guys.  Felix was a once in a lifetime prospect, maybe the best ever while Cain was garbage and probably never going to make it.  #3 starter at best!

Of course that is ridiculous and classic example of how a superficial understanding of age vs level can cause an inappropriate and wrong analysis.  Of course I suspect those guys probably knew that, but were just using whatever whatever weapon on hand to defend their intellectual territory, but intellectual dishonesty is a whole other topic.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Down on the Farm: 7/15/2013

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies were idle.

AA  Binghampton Mets defeated the Richmond Flying Squirrels 7-3:

Joe Panik(SS)- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .248.
Jarrett Parker(RF)- 2 for 3, HR(12).  BA= .242.

High A  Lake Elsinore Storm outslugged the San Jose Giants 10-7:

Chris Lofton(CF)- 3 for 5, HR(2).  BA= .262.
Devin Harris(RF)- 1 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .256.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets beat the Charleston River Dogs 8-5:

Chuckie Jones(RF)- 2 for 3, 2B, HR(5), BB, HBP.  BA= .220.
Eric Sim(C)- 2 for 4, 2B, HBP.  BA= .193.
Stephen Branca(2B)- 2 for 4, 2B, BB.  BA= .242.
Andrew Cain(LF)- 2 for 4, 3B, HR(6), BB.  BA= .244.

Jones is hitting .343/.452/.514 over his last 10 games.  Cain is hitting .286/.375/.629 over his last 10 games.  His also hitting .308 for the month of July.

Short Season  Salem-Keizer Volcanoes topped the Eugene Emeralds 8-4:

Brandon Bednar(2B)- 2 for 4, BB, SB(2).  BA= .293.
Brian Ragira(1B)- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .308.
Shilo McCall(LF)- 2 for 3, 2 BB.  BA= .269.
John Polonius(SS)- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .238.
Randy Ortiz(RF)- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .273.
Chris Johnson(RHP)- 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 2.70.

Rookie AZL  Giants overcame the Angels 8-3:

Christian Arroyo(SS)- 1 for 3, 2 BB, SB(3).  BA= .250.
Ryder Jones(3B)- 2 for 3, 2 BB.  BA= .408.
Johneshwy Fargas(CF)- 1 for 3, BB, SB(2).  BA= .333.
Carlos Diaz(LHP)- 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 4.96.
Ethan Miller(RHP)- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.12.

Great to see the kids carrying the load in Arizona.

DSL  White Sox edged the Giants 5-4:

Nicol Parra(CF, 18 yo)- 1 for 2, 2B, 3 BB.  BA= .261.
Nathanael Javier(3B, 17 yo)- 3 for 5.  BA= .210.
Robinson Medrano(RF, 17 yo)- 3 for 5, SB(5).  BA= .259.
Cesar Yanez(RHP, 18 yo)- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.19.

Medrano is 6'3", 180 lbs.  He's actually a bit younger than Gustavo and Javier.  He is performing better than them at the same level so far.

Thoughts On Age vs Level(Part I)

Few subjects generate more heat and less light on baseball oriented websites than Age vs Level.  What is Age vs Level you ask?  It is the age at which a player reaches a certain level of play in the minor leagues while progressing to what is hoped to be a major league baseball career.  Why does it generate such intense discussion?  Well, IMO, because many analysts have a superficial understanding of the subject, yet aggressively use it to support their contentions.  Also, once you understand the concept, its fairly quick and easy to look up and apply so it is easy to become lazy and rely on it to the exclusion of more complex analysis incorporating multiple factors.  The origins of the concept arise from the fact that throughout baseball history, many Hall of Fame caliber players reached the major leagues at an early age.  It certainly seems intuitive that if a player has Hall of Fame tools and skills, they will manifest themselves early.  Someone did a study and sure enough, great ballplayers tend to reveal themselves with great performances at an early age.  Easy, right?

Well, maybe not.  First of all, there is more to talent acquisition in baseball than finding the next superstar.  Secondly, there are exceptions to every rule, and thirdly, multiple confounding factors that have to be considered.  In order to fully understand Age vs Level, you need to know something about how ballplayers enter professional baseball, which is very age dependent and you need to know something about the minor league levels and how players are generally assigned.

There are basically 3 routes through which young players can enter professional baseball:  High School, college and the international market.  Each is naturally tied to a benchmark age:  16 for international players, 17-18 for high school and 21-22 for college.  Junior college is an interesting alternative that splits the difference between HS and college, but still has relatively few players who take that route.

In professional baseball, there are basically 3 entry levels for players which can be conveniently divided according to what route they entered from:

The Dominican Summer League(DSL) is where most international signees get their first professional experience.  Because the minimal signing age for international prospects is 16, most of the players in the DSL are 17 or 18 with a few as young as 16 at the start of each season.

Most players drafted out of high school are assigned to a Rookie League(Arizona League, Gulf Coast League).  Since most players drafted out of HS are 17 or 18, many Rookie League players will be in this age group, but there will also be a mixture of DSL graduates who are 18-19 and JC guys.  Many teams will also will also assign college draftees from smaller programs, D2, D3 and NAIA ball to rookie leagues too.

Short Season League(Northwest League, New York-Penn League) is where college draftees from major programs generally get their first pro experience the summer they are drafted.  You will also see some rookie league graduates in these leagues.

For their first full professional season starting in the spring of the calender year following their draft, the top HS draftees are generally assigned to Low A ball(South Atlantic League, Midwest League), while the top college draftees are generally sent to High A(California League, Florida State League, Carolina League).

After their first full season assignment, most prospects advance 1 level at a time with AA and AAA being the final steps.  AA is generally the level that separates the true MLB prospects from the organizational players.  AAA is often just a place to put on a few finishing touches and make sure the kid can compete with guys who have spent some time in the majors.

In the next installment we will look at some case studies of Players who successfully worked their way through the minor leagues and are currently members of the San Francisco Giants major league ballclub.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Down on the Farm: 7/14/2013

AAA  Sacramento River Cats and Fresno Grizzlies scored all 3 runs for the game in the 10'th inning with the Cats taking the walkoff win 2-1:

Juan Perez(RF)- 2 for 5, 3B, SB(14).  BA= .310.
Ehire Adrianza(SS)- 1 for 2, 2 BB. BA= .313.
Mitch Lively(RHP)- 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 5.77.
Brett Bochy(RHP)- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 4.39.
Dan Runzler(LHP)- 0.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 5.49.

Lively has kind of alternated strong games with poor ones.  Melonhead Jr. has a 1.38 ERA over his last 10 appearances with 15 K's against just 2 BB's in 13 IP.  Runzler just can't seem to get any traction.

AA  Bowie Baysox beat the Richmond Flying Squirrels 7-2:

Adam Duvall(3B)- 2 for 4, 3B.  BA= .250.
Mark Minicozzi(DH)- 1 for 2, HR(8), BB.  BA= .337.
Brett Krill(RF)- 2 for 4.  BA= .282.
Jack Snodgrass(LHP)- 6 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K's, GO/AO= 11/2.  ERA= 3.47.

High A  Lake Elsinore Storm out hit the San Jose Giants 14-9:

Brock Bond(DH)- 3 for 5, 2 2B.  BA= .261.
Mac Williamson(RF)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .273.
Ricky Oropesa(1B)- 2 for 4, HBP.  BA= .400.
Travious Relaford(2B)- 1 for 1, 2B, BB.  BA= .194.
Austin Fleet(RHP)- 1.1 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 4.57.

Low A Charleston River Dogs scored a walkoff win in the bottom of the 10'th inning 5-4:

Matt Duffy(SS)- 3 for 4, 3B.  BA= .310.
Alberto Robles(2B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .275.

Yes, Duffy is a bit old for the league, but I really like the numbers he is putting up with an OBP of .408 with a reversed K/BB of 38/41.  He has just enough power to keep pitchers from pounding him up in the zone.  With 17 SB's, he at least has enough speed to take the extra base and make pitchers watch him when he's on base.  I don't know if he can stick at SS, but if he can, he's a serious prospect.

Short Season  Spokane Indians doubled up the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 8-4:

Brandon Bednar(2B)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .284.
Tyler Horan(RF)- 1 for 3, 2B, BB, SF.  BA= .227.
Shilo McCall(LF)- 1 for 4, 2B.  BA= .257.
Cameron McVey(RHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 4.40.

Rookie AZL  Giants were idle.

DSL Game 1  Giants edged the Orioles1 3-2 in 11 innings:

Carlos Valdez(LF, 19 yo)- 2 for 5, HR(2), SB(4).  BA= .253.
Marco Guzman(2B-SS, 18 yo)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .233.
Raffi Vizcaino(RHP, 17 yo)- 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.53.
Shawn Gomez(RHP, 18 yo)- 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.52.

DSL Game 2  Giants dominated the Orioles1  9-1:

Nicol Parra(CF, 18 yo)- 1 for 2, 2 BB, SB(11).  BA= .254.
Jean Angomas(LF, 18 yo)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .244.
Royel Astacio(1B, 19 yo)- 2 for 3, 2B, BB, SB(2).  BA= .165.
Hengerber Medina(SS, 18 yo)- 1 for 2, 3B, BB.  BA= .167.
Eber Guzman(RHP, 20 yo)-6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 2.75.