Thursday, July 11, 2013

Down on the Farm: 7/10/2013

AAA  Reno Aces beat the Fresno Grizzlies 8-3:

Gary Brown(CF)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .247.
Heath Hembree(RHP)- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 4.66.

Brown is hitting .317/.341/.439 over his last 10 games.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels were idle.

High A  Visalia Rawhide defeated the San Jose Giants 6-3:

Mac Williamson(RF)- 1 for 4, HR(16).  BA= .270.
Devin Harris(DH)- 2 for 3, 2B, HBP.  BA= .252.
Eliezer Zambrano(C)- 2 for 3, 2B, HBP.  BA= .242.
Adalberto Mejia(LHP)- 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 3.94.

Visalia bunched 4 runs off Mejia in the 3'rd inning.  Peripherals look good.

Low A  Savannah Sand Gnats blanked the Augusta Greenjackets 1-0:

Kendry Flores(RHP)- 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K's, GO/AO= 10/2.  ERA= 2.97.

Right now, Flores is my favorite Giants minor league pitcher.  Not saying he's their best pitching prospect, but my favorite.  I absolutely love what he's doing in Augusta.  Those pitching lines are pure pleasure to look at.

High A  Spokane Indians topped the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 4-3:

Sam Eberle(DH)- 1 for 3, HR(5).  BA= .308.
Chris Johnson(RHP)- 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 11 K's.  ERA= 2.65.

I'd say 11 K's against 0 BB's in 5 IP, is fairly dominant.

Rookie AZL  Giants pounded the Indians 8-2:

Christian Arroyo(SS)- 1 for 4, 3B, BB.  BA= .265.
Ryder Jones(3B)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .438.
Hector Mercedes(RF)- 1 for 4, HR(1).  BA= 333.
Johneshwy Fargas(CF)- 1 for 2, BB, SB(1).  BA= .353.
Keury Mella(RHP)- 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 2.00.

Great to see so many of the HS draftees doing so well out of the gate.  Also have to be excited about Keury Mella who seems to be a Kendry Flores clone.  So far, in a small sample size, he's cut down his walk rate and increased his GB rate while maintaining his K rate from the DSL last year.

DSL  Giants were idle.


  1. Chris Johnson starting to pick up steam. SJ may see another VERY good rotation next year. Went to this morning, first picture you see is Javier Herrera, who was the AA All-Star game MVP last night. Clubbed a 3-run HR off Anthony Renaudo. I never paid much attention to Herrera until recently when his name came up on this blog. He's really rolling though!

    1. Every time I've gone to watych RICHMOND play this year, Herrera has been out of the linup...But every time I look at the box score, he's doing something at the plate and the base paths...clearly the Squirrel's best player.....He's 28 with a few years outside the US MLB minor League sytem, but is he too old to give a chance? With the way the SF Giants season is going, I say why not give him a chance in SF ..You never know..It's not like any of the OFs in Fresno are deserving of it...


    2. He's in the right age to give a chance to, the A's specialized in players like this about a decade ago, I know Geronimo was one reclaimation project that worked, I recall others. Funny that the A's did not pick him up, or maybe he wanted a new system.

      But yes, he's 28 YO, so he should be doing very well in AA, if he has any MLB talent, that is. Once the Giants give up on the season, he probably would get a chance with a September call-up, assuming the Giants jettison some people as the 40-man is jammed pack and the prospects on it now are ones I think they would want to keep, so it would be old guys like Abreu, Tanaka, Torres who would be on the bubble at that point.

  2. A slightly muggy but nice night for baseball in Visalia last night (considering it has been over 100 for about a week and a half, the clouds made the temperature bearable). Mejia looked good last night except for the 3rd inning. In his other 5 innings it was 3 up and 3 down. In the 3rd he gave up a single and then a hit to center. If Lofton had hustled and gotten the throw in accurately it would have only been a single, but he didn't hustle enough and the batter took second. The next batter hit a sinking line drive to left that Payne ran in on and then inexplicably stopped and the ball fell right in front of him. I thought that if he had continued running in he would have caught it - maybe not easily, but it was catchable. This allowed 2 runs to score as Payne has no arm and didn't even attempt to make a play at the plate. Mejia then gave up another single and after getting 2 outs gave up his last hit which drove in the 4th run. With a little more effort from his defense Mejia would have surrendered only 2 or maybe 3 runs. He was hitting between 90-92 MPH with his fastball according to a scout. The game was put away when Forjet gave up a massive 2-run homerun in the bottom of the 8th.

    Dr. B's white whale - Andrew Barbosa, looked good, but not as dominating as the last time I saw him. Williamson hit an opposite field 2-run home run off the barn in right field. He also made a great catch on a shot hit to right field that he caught on the run right up against the outfield fence. We thought it would be a hit. Not much else to report. With the catching prospects in the system not sure why Zambrano at 26 is playing in San Jose. Ricky took the hat trick and avoided a fourth strikeout in the top of the eight when he grounded back to the pitcher with runners on 1st and 3rd. :( APGiantsfan

    1. Barbosa was a Giants white whale too, they drafted him 2-3 times before giving up this last time. I wonder what he had against the Giants, or maybe it was the money? Or did he finally just give in on money since it was his last draft (I'm assuming)? You would think a pitcher of his height would want to be with a team that specializes in pitching like they do, and with taller pitchers, Bumgarner is kid of big, I thought.

  3. Not only that, but Brown in that 10 game slice only had 7 K's in 41 AB, which is a vast improvement over what he was doing before. He's been like that at almost every level, rarely good enough to dominate out of the blocks, but eventually he learns how to handle the strike zone. His batting line was nice but with a high BABIP of .371. Unfortunately, his CS continues, caught 2 of 3 times in this stretch.

    Here is where the Giants should be investing more money on a prospect, but that most teams don't. Pay somebody who knows base stealing to work with Brown during the off-season to improve his effectiveness there. Every day! He really needs to work on this, this is suppose to be part of his overall value as a player, leading off, getting on base, pressuring the pitcher, stealing bases.

    Chris Johnson is a bit old for the league, so his dominance has to be taken with a big grain of salt.

    Good for our young draftees!

    1. Chris Johnson is technically the 3rd youngest pitcher on the Volcanoes squad, so I guess the whole staff is a bit old for that league. There was an article about him in his hometown newspaper last week when the Volcanoes played in Everett, WA. Apparently the Giants reworked some of his mechanics in extended spring training and he's not the same pither he was last year. Don't know how or if it translates to higher levels but it kind of explains not only his improvement but why he's in Salem for a second year. Might be somebody to keeep half an eye on as a sleeper.

    2. Thanks for the link to the article. That makes a lot of sense, and it is better that he dominates than sucking, obviously. :^) Looking at his starts game by game, he looks like he was still incorporating the new mechanics in his first couple of starts, but he then made a jump, then another jump with this game.

      I had looked at his overall stats for my first statement, but if he can continue to strike out 2 batters per inning, then that would be impressive, even though he's old. The rework should translate to higher levels, and thus explain his improvement and his redo of Salem.

      And let me qualify what I mean by a bit old. He's actually about average for the league, which the average is 21.4, but top prospects typically are in San Jose by age 21, and here he is way down in short-season A-ball. And that makes sense that the staff is old, the Giants mostly draft college pitchers in the draft and this league is usually where new draftees end up playing first.

      To DrB's point recently, though, as he noted, once you know how to pitch, you know how to pitch, no matter what level he is at. So if these changes to mechanics makes him a much different pitcher, that also throws the age relative to league out the window too, in my mind, until we find out what level he should be at (by the Giants promoting him and seeing how he does). If he can keep his K/9 significantly above 9 K/9 in this league going forward, that's really excellent, and should translate to higher levels.

  4. And Mac Williamson's ISO is above .200. Boo yah! 333/432/477 for the past 10 games for Mac.

    Look at the Giants bringing some IFA pitching to the fight. Mejia/Flores/Mella. Nice 1-2-3. Those guys are all not big bonus babies who might just be impact. I'm sure the grumbling will pick up, it always does with losing. So the big argument will be the Giants haven't produced anything since Pablo Sandoval, and Pedro Feliz before that. 16 year olds take time... And Angel Villalona ain't dead yet.

    I'm curious if there will be any domino effect promotions after Escobar gets the bump to Richmond. I'm figuring the Giants want to move him because of his 40-man status. And I bet they had a lot of inquiries on him.

    1. Good point about Escobar and the 40-man, got to see what he's made of if the clock is ticking hard for him. And yeah, who gets his spot then in SJ?

    2. Hank tweets that the Gints love Mac's bat and they think it will play at higher levels. Good stuff.

      Seriously good value drafting here.

    3. Thanks for sharing that Shankbone, good to hear. You had made the nice comparison between Mac and another hitter in his same conference who was drafted much earlier, Schafer was his name, I think (Richie?), first rounder, yet Mac is doing much better.

      Would be another feather in cap for Giants scouting if Mac's bat does play at higher levels, a la Belt. He was a severe overdraft according to BA's pre-draft ranking (don't recall PG's ranking), yet I think he ended up signing overslot, if I remember right. And he has been great for us so far. He could be the OF prospect that breaks the Naysayer's backs.

  5. I know the pitchers kinda get weeded out as they rise through the minor league levels but dang are the Giants bottom heavy! or, optimistically, loaded the A level Taking an ojective look at the AA and AAA levels, I would say that only Surkamp at Fresno and the recenlty promoted Hall/Osich/Ecobar at RICH have chances at a ML career....Then you hit the gold mine in SJ (Crick, Blach, Meija, Blackburn, Bandilla, Strickland, Marlowe (soon again), my dark horse Austin Fleet, as well as others) and Augusta with Flores, Stratton, Agosta, Gregorio, maybe even guys like Okert and Miszenko......Of course, many of these will also fall by the wayside but there sure is alot of quality for a system that is seen as one of the worst.....

    Hopefully, if the Giants remain out of it, the potential trades of guys like Pence, Lincecum and whoever else could bolster the org even further, especially with players/pitchers closer to the Major Leagues.

    We shall see..


  6. Honestly, I don't see Gary Brown's ineptitude as a base stealer to be a problem, unless he continues attempting to be one. According to Baseball Between the Numbers (written by Baseball Prospectus), even the "best" thieves in the business fail to make a real impact on their team's record, and many of the guys who routinely steal 30 or 40 bases a year make a negative impact due to a SB's lack of value compared to the huge negative impact of a CS. BP goes on to say that the statistical record shows no evidence that helping the man at the plate by "putting pressure on the pitcher" is an actual phenomenon. They say that taking the extra base is the only truly valuable thing a base runner can do for his team.

    1. Wow, that's a pretty valuable perspective if true, and really changes the way I look at Gary Brown ~ who I've really come around to with the way he's turned it around. In all, he seems to be doing a very good job at hitting for extra bases. He certainly has the speed, by all accounts, to score from 1st or 2nd more often than the average player, and his defense AND arm are still considered plus (hoping this is still true).

      At this point the player I'm really more concerned about is Joe Panik. I mean, wahttheheck happened to that guy?? I haven't seen him have a noteworthy appearance in this month of June OR July! Quite honestly Doc, when a top prospect of ours is going that bad, I'd really appreciate having a weekly update or something on just how bad he's been doing and perhaps the silver linings. Even when they're struggling I'd still like to keep some tabs on them & know the peripherals, if possible..

    2. I read that study too (and most studies say basically the same thing), and I see your point, but to my view, his speed is part of his value, and yes, running the bases will be a key part of his value from his speed, but with speed like that, we are not talking 30-40 SB, we should be looking 50-60 or more SB.

      And that is one key point you noted, that CS really kills the value of stolen bases, and that's why it is frustrating that he has the speed but not the technique. With his speed, one would think not only quantity (50+ SB) but quality (successful stealing above 80%, I think most studies view 70-75% as breakeven). That would add value. If you look at Bill James metrics on baserunning, one speedguy - like Brown looks like he could be with his speed - can gain more bases via running on the bases and stealing than all but the top 10 teams.

      That might not be a real impact on the team's record, I still view it as a positive impact on the team's record. And by pressuring the pitcher, I mean in terms of making the pitcher throw to the base as well as affecting the pitcher throwing home. Errors throwing to the base does add value. And maybe it doesn't affect every pitch to every batter enough to show in a statistical study, but I refuse to believe it has no effect ever.

      I believe there is no statistical record because I don't believe that any study has looked at this correctly. Just like all these years sabers said there's no sucha thing as a clutch hitter, but recent study now says that there is a clutch, but to a very small degree. One problem is that most probably, it does not affect most pitchers, but there are pitchers it does bother, but that gets buried in the ocean of statistical data because of small samples making it hard to ID those who are bothered.

      You put that all together, that is value that I thought he could have added with his plus speed, and he's not doing it. I'm not saying he can't be a successful MLB player without his base stealing. His speed adds a lot of value via his defense, getting to balls others can't, and via taking extra bases, like scoring from second on singles. I'm saying that it is frustating that a player with his speed is not taking advantage of it in base stealing at a high success rate. If Pence can steal 13 bases without getting caught, putting him on pace for mid-20's SB, what is Brown's excuse?

    3. I know the Sabers scoff at anything that hints of an "intangible." I would also say that there is a lot more to good baserunning than stealing bases. I still believe that a lot of Gary Brown's value lies in his ability to steal a base. There are situations where a SB can make a bigger difference than others. For instance, stealing 2B with 2 outs so a single can drive in the run seems like a no-brainer to me.

    4. Rainball, that is why I've been consistently supportive of Brown as a prospect. He struggled to learn at each new level in college. But once he did, he hit very well there and people don't realize that his hitting in his last college season was not only best in the league, it was best in the league for the past 6-7 seasons, even beating out Evan Longoria, and even having a better ISO than Longoria, who did his via homers mostly, while Brown had a lot of doubles and triples, as well as some homers. And obviously his speed helps this. So I've been expecting him to hit for some power eventually.

      On top of that, his defense has been considered to be very good. Despite pulling a Buster and shifting to CF after starting at 2B, he was considered a gold glove quality defender due to his innate ability to get to the ball despite not playing much in CF. Experience as a pro should have only enhanced that, and DrB noted in a recent game that he had his 12th OF assist, which is a lot for a season, let alone the half a season he has put in so far. On top of that, I'll bet he gets to a lot more balls than other CF.

      I was also hoping that he could develop into a good base stealer, and yeah, I'm being picky, as I think he can still add a lot of value as a major leaguer without being a base stealer, but when you draft a guy and it is noted that he can get to 1B in the same time as LHB even though he has those extra steps to 1B since he is a right-hander, you want him to maximize his value, especially if it appears that he might be a borderline MLB prospect, you want him to do as well as his talent appears to be.

      But I still like him, I haven't been down on him, even when he's struggling, and I think more than ever that he's going to be at least an OK contributor to our team eventually, I mean, he still only 24 YO, plenty of players come up at age 26 and have a significant contribution to their team from ages 26-30.

      I think if he was more of an ordinary prospect like Peguero or particularly Perez, the Giants might have called him up to give him a shot. But the Giants don't want to bounce a prospect they think a lot of up and down, they prefer to bring them up when it is clear that they are up to stay.

    5. Rainball, about Panic, I wouldn't panic. :^D

      Most important, he's doing great in two areas, contact rate (89%, best players at at 90%+) and BB/K ratio (42/38, best player at above 1:1). The main issue is BABIP, he was at .317 last season, .277 this season. If you add the difference in BABIP to his BA, his OPS would be higher than last season, as his ISO is about the same in both seasons.

      There is no guarantee that he's better than that as a talent level. Hitters each have their own level, which blends together into a roughly .300 BABIP for pitchers generally at the major league level. Still, he had a .355 BABIP in his first season, .317 last, and now .277. Maybe it is just that much harder for him, or maybe it is just bad luck this season.

      But generally, if he can keep those peripherals going to the majors, Baseball Forecaster research showed that the vast majority of MLB players like that generally hit for over .300, making his 2012 season look more like the real deal, and not his 2013 season.

      But you never know.

      I would bet on the hitters who strike out few times and walks a lot, they are a better bet than hitters who strike out a huge amount of time in the minors. So despite his poor season, I'm still positive on him as a prospect. I view the EL as more of a house of mirrors regarding stats, I don't go negative greatly on position prospect struggling there (just as I take with grain of sale any pitcher there), I would prefer to reserve judgement until I've seen how they do in AAA. And it would take at least two years of poor AAA results to finally get me on a downturn on a prospect I've liked all the way up.

    6. I expect Joltin' Joe Panik to go on another rampage towards the end of the summer as he figures things out completely. Like OGC said, he's scuffling some with BABIP. But mainly, I think with Panik the important thing to look at is contact rate and BB/K ratio, where he is still elite.

      He will sink or swim on his ability to fight off pitchers not respecting his lack of power though. He needs to get to a Freddy Sanchez level of gap power, and then the Giants have something good. Panik is TWENTY TWO years old. He's in the Big Bad Eastern. Plenty of time to figure things out, and then we're going to go twitter-spam that snarky Keith Law with his utility guy label and it'll be sweet, sweet revenge...

    7. DrB, good point there about stealing second with two outs. That definitely is valuable, but the results of the BP study were based on the team's chance of winning the game before and after the attempt. So as valuable as stealing second base is when there are two outs, it isn't valuable enough to add significantly to a top base stealer's overall value on the basepaths.

      That being said, speed and base running are hugely important to Gary Brown's potential impact on the Giants. However, I do not view the potential to steal bases as a valuable asset for Brown. Additionally, since Brown is unlikely to spend significant time in the Majors until next season (at the age of 26), he will only have a few years left to make an impact with his speed, since most players have already lost a step by their late twenties.

    8. I believe the BP study is flawed and does not necessarily reflect the true value of SB's.

    9. But how could it be? The study took in data from a long period of time, so a small sample size is clearly not the issue. Besides, the best and most logical way to evaluate any action in a baseball game is to look at the team's change in win expectation--exactly what BP went by.

    10. You just pointed out the biggest flaw yourself. Win Expectation is not the same as real wins. It is based on many assumptions such as what will happen if all players in a lineup put up the same numbers. They are not based on real differences in hitters in real lineups.

    11. Win Expectation isn't the same as real wins, but it is based on MLB averages. If you want to find out if a stolen base is valuable in an average setting, using the MLB average as your baseline is probably the best way to go about it.

      By the way, the book mentioned earlier by RainBall, Baseball Between The Numbers, is a great book, and I really recommend that you all read it. Turned me into a sabermetrics addict after being a bricks-and-mortar kind of baseball fan all these years.

    12. I agree that it does tell you how valuable a SB is in an AVERAGE setting, but it does not parse out differences in value in different situations.

      For instance, a SB with 2 outs and Barry Bonds batting is probably going to reduce your run scoring potential. On the other hand a SB with 2 outs and Brandon Crawford at the plate hitting 7th or with a Marco Scutaro at the plate is probably going to increase it.

      Also, SB's on a team that is not hitting a lot of HR's or in a low-scoring game for whatever reason has more value than a SB in a high scoring game or on a team with a lot of HR power.

    13. This point by DrB is something always missed in all these discussions on what should happen in an average setting. I brought this up with TangoTiger once, and he basically said the same thing that DrB said, with Barry Bonds as the example.

      And those are other very good points made by DrB at the end.

      To the others's point, though, SB is not a very valuable stat to accumulate overall, true. But it does not mean that there is no value to doing them in key points of the game, as DrB noted. While Win Expectancy does take into account different points in the game, different leverage points of the game, it deals with what happens on average, and perhaps if the basestealer in our situation is very much above average because he has speed and technique on his side, he could bring more value. So I see both sides, yes, overall you don't accumulate a lot of value via the stolen base, but in key situations of the game, what little value there is could be maximized at that point in the game.

      I also recommend BP's Baseball Between the Numbers. Unfortunately, I think that book is out of print and hard to get, at least the last time I checked (I fortunately had bought one long ago, their study on success in the playoffs is the key study behind my baseball business plans and all my comments on MCC and other places for nearing 10 years now). I have not found the follow-up book (so be careful which book you think you are buying) to be as good, but that's generally true in life with sequels.

      However, the book that turned me into a sabermetric addict (not that I wasn't already before, I had bought Bill James books when they first came out, more so) is Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster series of books. While they are for fantasy baseball, I found that his toolkit format in the front of every book, and on hitting and pitching, as well as gaming, made it easy for me to pick up the latest sabermetric tools and principles. They illuminated what was perplexing to me from reading BP's annuals, which was like a club where you had to be there to understand fully. I knew peripherals were important from reading BP, I learned why they were important and when they are good from reading Shandler's book. Plus won my Yahoo Fantasy League as well.

  7. It looks like Vander Tuig signed yesterday...

    1. Unfortunately, you need to subscribe to that. I found this:

      Tweet says that he signed for $218K, who remembers what his slot was? I think it looks like he signed for around slot. BA notes that they are now $148,400 under slot, so they can spend up to that much plus $100K on players they had drafted but not signed yet.

      Have not found a Arenado signing bonus amount yet (BA does not report an amount), but a tweet that Jonah retweeted noted that he's one of the guys on the Giants squad, with Arroyo and Ryder Jones listed too (and other prospects).

    2. Arenado appeared in yesterdays game replacing Ryder Jones late. He went 0 for 1.

      If they really, really want one of the HS guys drafted late, they can add the $148 K to $100 K plus they can go 5% over the total cap without losing a draft pick next year, so they could get pretty close to $500 K.

    3. BAM! Got Riley. The Monks, the monks. Great draft.

    4. That's right, forgot about the $200K over cap that they can do, thanks for reminding me.

      And they got their men, Arenado, Vander Tuig, and now Riley! I wonder if they have any money left to get any other high schooler?

    5. I'd say most likely they are done. When is the deadline? Tomorrow? I'd love to get the 6'9" RHP from Canada, but I don't expect we'll see any more signings out of this draft.

      Still, a very savvy draft given their drafting position and bonus pool. I am very satisfied with their haul.

    6. They aren't exactly forthcoming with any details. It must drive MLB nuts, as well as BA and other outlets. And their fans.

      They got Christian Jones, their 18th rounder lefty from Oregon to sign as well, he was supposedly a hard pick because he had a year left and some very good stuff.

      Apparently they got Celeb Simpson their 21st rounder from Seminole State (OK) JC as well.

      If they do get any other high schooler my guess would be either CND RHP Dylan Brooks or PR RHP Rayan Hernandez. We'll know tomorrow. Scuse me, we'll know when one of them appears in a game as the Monks really don't seem to care at all about announcing things...