Friday, July 19, 2013

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!


  1. Awesome coverage Dr.B. What are your thoughts on an ordering of prospects that goes like this:

    #1 Kyle Crick – Elite stuff overpowers A ball batters. It’s just a matter of commanding that stuff

    #2 Andrew Susac – A catcher that can hit has considerable value. His patience at the plate is a virtue: 13.9 BB%. His numbers are up across the board after jump to AA. RC+ = 136.

    #3 Mac Williamson – The Giants organizational scarcity of outfielders that can hit with power is the biggest factor here. He has the tools and can take a walk. Just needs to cut back on strikeouts.

    #4 Edwin Escobar – Great numbers as 21 year old in Cal League. Earned his call up to AA as a low 90′s throwing lefty with strike out stuff (>11Ks/9) and good command (BB/9 around 2).

    #5 Clayton Blackburn – He’s just 20 and punching out over 10/9 IP. Not a pure stuff pitcher, but the reports on the make up, command and movement are very good. He figures to rise quickly through system.

    #6 Martin Agosta – More impressive #’s than fellow hard throwing righty and 1st rounder Chris Stratton: 11Ks/9, 3.9 BB/9.

    #7 Chris Stratton – A little bit of a let down year for Stratton. The line drive hurt, but he is still a former SEC pitcher of the year.

    #8 Gary Brown- Very slow start, reports about tweaking mechanics, yet a productive month of June. Still a plus defender.

    #9 Adalberto Mejia – He’s 20 and pitching well in the Cal League: 8.1 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9. Similarities to Escobar above.

    #10 Joe Panik – Still has more BB’s than K’s in AA. Limited power though and projects as a second base/utility infielder.

    Next tier/on the cusp or 11-20:

    Heath Hembree, Josh Osich, Mike Kickham, Bryce Bandilla, Eric Surkamp, Ty Blach, Jesus Galindo, Joan Gregorio, Cody Hall, Kendry Flores.

    1. Escobar has hit 97 from what I've heard. I would rank him higher than 4. easily a top 100 prospect, while Williamson and Susac may not be.

  2. I would say the Dominican Dandy program is getting some good results for undercover moneys. Mejia, Gregorio and hopefully Keury Mella who has nice scouting reports and a good K/9. Michael Santos was pitching well in the DSL, he's been shut down for about a month now. Kendry Flores has come back like gangbusters. Then there's the cheat dandy with Escobar, which is looking like a great trade. The Rangers... they sign a lot of players on the IFA. Maybe too many.

    I'd also say this is Gregorio's showcase game. In addition to what you listed, he was apparently in the mid-90s with the fastball, which is a big velocity gain. One of those upside projections plays paying dividends. I think Gregorio might have jumped to close to the top of the line of prospects. The control demonstrated along with the sinking fastball due to being a tall dude... Something to dream on. He fills in and adds strength, the Gints could have a RH Bumgarner on their hands.

    But Mejia is the jewel. This is just great to see. Mejia has the perfect pitchers frame. I remember some naysayer saying that Texas had tons of pitchers like Mejia in their system. Not a chance. If Kyle Crick doesn't get his act together with those walks, Mejia is taking the #1 spot.

    Gary Brown with the dramatic game winner! Don't give up the ship!

    Researching Ryder Jones a bunch, I think he has a quick bat, a quiet stance and way more power than what the pundits knew about. The part that impressed me comping around to the other showcase babies and hyped HS bats is Jones has shown up in games. Gatorade POY for NC baby!

    Also good to see Christian Jones pitching, he's the TJ survivor lefty we popped in the 18th. Could be huge, 93 MPH fastball and plus control.

    1. I would put Escobar ahead of Mejia at this point

  3. Urgh. Speaking of those Rangers... I was looking up to see any progress on Argenis Rodriguez, a guy we signed last year out of the DPL: and... He's playing for the Rangers, at least I think he is, because the b-day and size lines up in a guesstimate.

    What happened here, Felix Peguero? Inquiring minds want to know! Like I said, the Rangers sign everybody.

    1. It could also mean that the Giants rescinded their offer after the physical or some other due diligence check. Hopefully it will come out one day.

    2. Oh totally. This happened with Simon Mercedes, MLB held up some things to do with his name, even though he was already clear, the Gints had a 400K offer. It got cancelled, the Red Sox doubled up to 800K and he's pitching there now.

      The most famous case at the moment of the Gints pulling an offer is Alec Asher, they pulled his offer (while he was rooming with Kickham) after finding some bone spurs. Guess where he's pitching now... Yup, the Rangers.

  4. This has to be one of the best nights, pitching-wise, the Giants org. has had all year. Just a night after Crick tossed 5(?) no-hit (but wild) innings. There's a reason we're excited about these guys, and I hope the "experts" keep looking the other way so we can surprise the hell out of them in a couple years!

    Arroyo and Ryder playing their way toward a roster spot in Augusta next spring? That would be mighty nice...

  5. I looked up Javier Herrera and saw that he is 28 years old. He spent the last 3 years in independent league but he has a career minor leagu OPS of .867, BA of .298 and OBP of .375. Why has he never been given a cup of coffee?

    1. I think Herrera has had a lot of injury problems.

  6. I'm hoping that Roger K can still be one of those guys that makes it to the show late. Yesterday's results are confirming what Schulman said in his blog that the Giants pitching in the lower minors is their best trade bait. Not that want to see it happen though.. Everybody talks about Stratton & Agosta in the Sally League but Gregorio is having a great year too.


    1. Honestly, I think any of us could have said that our pitching in the lower minors (plus Susac) are our best trade bait. Was not really news to me.

      And people like to talk about the Giants trading away the farm, but the fact is that they have been almost perfect in Sabean's reign in NOT trading away any of their prospects who end up doing a lot at the MLB level.

    2. OGC,

      Agreed that its not news to the fans who visit this site regularly, Drb does great work covering the minors. I just found it interesting when its reported that a rival executive says it. That said, if the Giants go into the buy mode at the trade deadline, it might be a challange for them to complete a significant trade anyway without a significant trade chip in the higher minors. We'll see what happens.


    3. Yeah, that was my hard worked no-trade list! Mano!

  7. Question for the board:

    If the Giants move Timmy into the pen, can they give him a qualifying offer as a reliever to get the sandwich pick?


    1. At this point, I'd think Zito would be a better pick to hit the bullpen than Timmy.

    2. That is not how the QO works. A player now is either a QO, or he is not. There are no positional qualifiers or A/B/C type FAs.

    3. QO got simplified by new CBA. If team offers top percentage of entire MLB payroll (last year it was 13.5MM or so, 2013 should be about 14MM) then the signing team forfeits their pick. Offering team is free to negotiate with FA whether he accepts or not. If he does accept, they can either go with 1 Yr QO or make another deal. The draft pick part: signing team loses their pick, player losing team gets a pick after the first round. Meaning picks "vanish" now.

      Sabean got all savvy on this QO stuff on the radiophone apparently. Looks like he is aware he can get shiny draft picks after all, for not only Timmy but Pence as well. The Giants are very very conservative and "in the spirit" of the rules, they've never been one for gaming the draft. But the spirit of the rule in this case is teams get first crack at their own free agents, and get compensation if a proven MLB guy walks. Timmy's star is tarnished, but I imagine the Gigantes will move to protect their investment by making it cost for other teams, and continue the negotiation with Timmy, either a one year prove it or something more substantial. I was glad Sabean said what he did. Enough with these Timmy to the Tigers rumors, its not happening.

    4. Nice breakdown on QO, Shankbone. Especially the bit about using QO to make it more challenging for other teams to sign him.

      Timmy to the Red Sox?>>

    5. Just like the Timmy to Blue Jays for Rios...

  8. Came here to share this link:

    Evans was interviewed, Schulman tweeted info, blogger covered the news and gave his views. I think he did a nice job and a great service to Giants fans.

    Vogie starts rehab in AA, shoot for return in early to mid August. To me, that is big news, it is not that far from now potentially, the start of August is only 13 days away. At that point, the Giants will have an interesting decision to make: who losses their starting rotation job?

    Before it was easy to say Gaudin, as we need a long man, but he has one really well for us. I agree with covechatter that it might be Zito, though my speculation on my blog was that he could be DFAed at that point, as we are still at a full 40-man and Vogie is on the 60-day DL and someone would have to be cleared off the island to bring back Vogie. If Zito is DFAed, then I think Kickham would come up and be our long relief guy.

    About Pence, I took it the opposite of the author, I viewed it as more that Evans hoped that we don't go south and have to consider such an issue. But I agree that it was a non-comittal to Pence.

    I think the Giants are still on the fence, Pence's cold streak lately hasn't helped his cause, if he were still hitting like he were in April/May, I think it would be likely the Giants do pursue Pence, with QO at minimum, but I think they have a price in their head that they won't go over, and are willing to let free agency determine whether another team overpays for him or not.

    I still hope the Giants pursue Pence and be in the mix, but I don't want to pay him the market value that his arb awards portend, which is $17M per year. Astros really screwed up with him on his arbs, set a bad precedence, I think. But a 3-4 years deal in the $13-15M per year range is OK with me, as we need at least two good bats in the middle, Posey is clearly one, but Sandoval's weight and injury issues makes him iffy, and Belt, while he could be that bat for us someday, I don't know if he'll reach that point by the end of the season.

    About Brown, that's been the Giants position with all prospects that they expect to play a significant role on the team in the near future, they have said that about Wilson, Bumgarner, Posey, at minimum that I remember. They want them getting a lot of playing time and focused on improving themselves.

    1. About Romo, I didn't take that to be a not solid commitment to Romo. I view that more as an organizational stance, much like how Beane thinks closers are fungible and easily replaced. This to me confirms that the Giants do not share Beane's (or saber's) view that closers can be easily replaced. This to me means that the Giants, once they found their closer, will hold onto him as long as possible (and productive). So I did not view that as a slight to Romo relative to Sabean's statement about Lincecum.

      And speaking of Lincecum, if anything, Sabean's statement could be construed like the Pence statement, said in a different way. In any case, I think the Giants feel that they will be close enough to battle to late in the season for relevancy, and they can't do that without Lincecum (or somebody in his place) pitching well enough, plus there is the potential for Lincecum to have a really nice second half, much like he did in 2012 when he led the rotation in ERA until his last two bad starts, where his stamina issues finally took over. So it is very unlikely to see him traded, I think.

      Plus, I think the Giants still hope to work out something with Lincecum, depending on what the market bears for Tim. They are not going to go crazy, but if the other teams make reasonable offers, I can see the Giants upping the contract value to resign Tim.

      Plus, top relievers are getting $14-15M per year right now. The Giants could structure the deal to pay him, say, $16M per year, with $1M added on for each IP threshold that he makes, so that he makes, say, $22M per year if he's starting, but making good money for a reliever if not. Maybe starting with the 25th start to the 30th start.

      I believe that he can be a great super-reliever once he transitions over from starting. We could have a closer, like most teams, but Tim would pitch based on what the team needs at the moment. If they need a long man in the 2nd, he'll pitch that game. But maybe the next day, they need someone to come in the 5th, and he can bridge to the setup relievers if necessary. But maybe the setup guys are struggling to shut down things in the 7th or 8th, and like how the Giants used to bring in Wilson in the 8th to get 4 or 5 outs, he could do that as well. Or if the closer is struggling, bring in Timmy as needed, depending on how Bochy and Rags assess the situation. He could also be our extra innings guy, going 3-4-5 innings, as long as necessary to get that extra innings win, shutting down the other team.

    2. With relievers as fungible assets as the premise,

      Sergio Romo may be the best trade chip the Giants can dangle at the deadline. What would Billy Beane do ? Romo would be gone and someone akin to Josh Reddick would come in return.

    3. Billy never learns that the closer is essentially in today's baseball to win in the playoffs, Diamond Minds Tippett showed the importance of the bullpen to winning in the playoffs and BPs study showed how you not only need a good closer, you ideally want a great closer in there if you want to maximize your chances of winning it all that one year you make it into the World Series, oops, I forgot, Billy has not made it there yet, has he, and Sabean has made it how many times, plus won it?

      Let's take that as the premise, for the Giants, the could turn to Casila or Affeldt to take overthe reins if Romo is traded, but in Billy's world, he would have traded away Casilla already, and he actually gave away Casilla in real life for nothing, and he would not have signed Affeldt in the first place. He would have to go with Hembree to try to win the World Series in 2014, because relievers are easily replaced.

    4. Let's look at his history.

      1999: Billy Taylor closer, 79% conversion rate
      2000: Switches to Jason Isringhausen, only 27, 83%
      2001: Keeps Isringhausen, 79%
      2002: Moves on to Billy Koch, 27 YO, 88%
      2003: MOvest to Keith Foulke, 30 YO, 90%
      2004: Moves to Octavio Dotel, 30 and 79%, and Arthur Rhodes, 34 and 64%
      2005: Promotes Huston Street, 21 and 85%, over Dotal, 31 and 64%.
      2006: Keeps Street, 77% plus used Duchscherer for an extended period 82%.

      Romo the past two seasons, 90% save rate, Wilson's while full time closer, 88%. The A's during that prime period of competition for them, when they were in the playoff frequently averaged roughly 80% save rate.

      I prefer the Giants keeping a known, proven quantity at the closer position because BP's study found that great closers was a key to winning it all. Billy not only traded around, when he found his next one, he was not always good, wasting a good job by the team to make it into the playoffs.

      You might be able to replace your closer on the cheap, but the trade off is that you end up not having a viable closer when your team is playing well enough to make the playoffs, and as you can see with Billy's record, he ended up with closers who were a clear drop in quality below what the Giants got out of Wilson and Romo so far. Heck, out of those 8 seasons, he only had 2 where the closers were equivalent to what the Giants have had the past 6 seasons, in terms of save conversions.

      Lets go further. In 2004, the A's ended up 1 game back, while racking up a 74% save conversion rate. Foulke had a 90% conversion rate in 2003. At a 90% conversion rate, they would have ended up with 7 more saves/wins, they would have made the playoffs and won the division by a wide margin. In 2005, they ended up 7 games back. They had a 78% conversion rate. At 90%, they would have saved 6 more games, they would have been one game behind. Who knows how the A's might have played down the stretch being only 1 game back instead.

      I don't have time to go through all their one game margin losses in the playoffs during that period, but I have to imagine that their bullpen cost them a game here or there, preventing them from advancing beyond the first round of playoffs. In baseball, you need to seize the opportunity to get into the playoffs and to maximize your chances there, as you don't know what the next season will bring, and Billy routinely rolled the dice with his team's chances. Still think a closer is fungible?

    5. Really nice breakdown, OGC, but like any stat, S% is only useful to a certain point. Comparing a 75% to a 90% apples to apples is not fair. How many of the BS were of the 1 run lead with runners on base variety? How many were of the 3 run lead with the bases empty? How many vs the heart of the order, how many vs the 891?

      By definition, all reliever stats are SSS. If you can get a nice return for a non-Rivera/Eckersley, I think you have to consider it. Romo is no Eck/Rivera. He is too small and has a history of injury issues. If we can get a Reddick-ish return, I would jump all over it.

    6. It is nice that Billy got a Reddick this time. I don't recall him getting a lot of value for all the other relievers he traded away or let go, but I'll admit I don't follow the A's that much.

      I think comparison is fine when I'm lokking over a long period of time like I did. And 75% IS a big difference from 90%, over 50 saves, you are talking about 7-8 wins saved or not. That can make or break any season.

      I understand the balance between looking ahead and looking for now. For now, we don't really have great options if we trade Romo. If you are comfortable risking next season, then that is your choice.