Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Down on the Farm: 8/19/2013

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies slowed down the Reno Aces 3-1:

Francisco Peguero(RF)- 2 for 4.  BA= .316.
Johnny Monell(1B)- 1 for 4, HR(19).  BA= .275.
Yusmeiro Petit(RHP)- 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 4.52.
Heath Hembree(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K's.  ERA= 3.83.

Petit now has 6 fairly dominant starts out of his last 7 with 1 start on 8/9 where he gave up 3 runs in 5 IP.  In that 7 game span, he has an ERA of 2.57 with 43 K's against just 2 BB's in 42 IP.  His overall line for the season has 91 K's against 13 BB's in 87.2 IP.  IN his single MLB appearance he went 5.1 IP with 2 R and 7 K's with 0 BB's.  I saw him on TV during that appearance and I was very impressed with his stuff.  Petit could help a MLB club right now and help them a lot!  He's had a lot of chances, so I can understand why MLB clubs might be reluctant to go there again, but hey, we Giants fans know stranger things have happened!

AA Richmond Flying Squirrels vs Harrisburg Senators postponed due to wet grounds.

High A  San Jose Giants were idle.

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

Alberto Robles(2B)- 1 for 3, 3B.  BA= .316.
Joey Rapp(1B)- 1 for 3, HR(5).  BA= .257.
Chuckie Jones(RF)- 2 for 3.  BA= .238.
Ian Gardeck(RHP)- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's. ERA= 3.16.

Gardeck has an ERA of 1.88 in 14.1 IP over his last 10 appearances with 19 K's and 9 BB's.  Still a bit of a wild hair there but manageable.  I'm looking forward to some of these flamethrowing relievers graduating to SJ next year.

Low A  Game 2  Augusta Greenjackets shut out the Savannah Sand Gnats 4-0:

Mitch Delfino(3B)- 2 for 3, 2B.  BA= .256.
Joe Kurrasch(LHP)- 5.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 2.12.
Stephen Johnson(RHP)- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's. ERA= 3.94.

Kurrasch was the Giants 8'th round draft pick out of Penn St in 2012.  He has been a mixed bag so far, but seems to have found a strikeout pitch that hasn't been there before.  He has 19 in 17 IP for Augusta since being moved there from S-K.  And yes ogc, he is a bit old for the level.  Sigh!  Johnson is another flamethrower I am looking forward to seeing.  He has not allowed an ER in his last 10 appearances covering 14.1 IP.  He has an ERA of 1.5 in 15 appearances post All-Star Break.

Short Season  Vancouver Canadians topped the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 8-4:

Tyler Hollick(CF)- 2 for 5, SB(17).  BA= .262.
Jeremy Sy(SS)- 2 for 5.  BA= .289.
Brian Ragira(LF)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .275.
Ryan Jones(2B)- 1 for 2, 2 BB.  BA= .278.

Jeremy Sy is old(23) but I found out from Shankbone's blog that his pro career was delayed by TJ surgery.  He is putting up some numbers that rival Matt Duffy's here:  .289/.388/.503 with 8 HR's and 13 SB, 29 K's, 23 BB's.   Don't know if he can play SS at higher levels, but another sleeper to keep an eye on.

Rookie AZL  Giants were idle.

DSL  Giants outlasted the Orioles1 1-0 in 10 innings:

Jean Angomas(LF)- 3 for 4, 2B, BB.  BA= .275.
Gustavo Cabrera(CF)- 1 for 3, Sac, HBP.  BA= .236.
Nathanael Javier(3B)- 2 for 4, 2B, BB.  BA= .235.
Jose Morel(RHP)- 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K's, GO/AO= 11/3.  ERA= 1.23.
Shawn Gomez(RHP)- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 2.97.

Morel has pitched out of the bullpen prior to this game where he has recorded 6 Saves.  He's 19 yo but I'll pay attention to any dominant start like this one.  He has nice size at 6'2", 190 lbs.  I love Gomez' size, but he has unimpressive K/BB rates.


  1. Jeremy Sy was almost 23 years old when he was drafted last year as a senior out of Univ of Louisiana Monroe. I think the Giants draft 3 guys from that school last year. I also recalled that the Giants' already knew that he wouldn't be playing last year due to his injuries. As you can imagine, this pick was highly panned by the pundits. Given his background, everyone thought he should be a UDFA candidate. Instead, the Giants pick him in the 12th round, which is relatively early. I am really curious as to what the Giants braintrust see in him.

    1. I participated in MCC back when he was drafted, the forum is dominated by a poster who is obsessed with age/level to the point of high comedy, looking up birthdays frantically even though studies have only been done on the top 100 picks of any draft. Needless to say, already frustrated by all the pitching drafted, by the time hitters came around it was already full on bash the Giants...

      Your recollection is wrong. Jeremy Sy was practicing with S/K in 2012 when he had his injury, first day of practice while doing throwing drills. Your recollection is right: the Giants did draft 3 guys from U Louisiana Monroe, also Randall Zeigler and Joey Rapp.

      Here's something interesting about Sy: He was the Sun Belt Conference player of the year. He also was first team all-conference (Rapp/Zeigler were 2nd team). The Giants have been doing this for a while: picking guys who have succeeded and been recognized for excellence on the field. Sy was also drafted for his athleticism.

      I was initially mad about the lack of HS players, but after further analysis of the draft, the Giants sign-a-senior strategy in the later rounds was pretty interesting. Shayne Houck and Sy are two very interesting players, yes they are old for their level and behind the eight ball in that regard. But they both can hit some, and have played hard their entire college careers with good results.

      The Giants subscribe to a philosophy that goes like this: what can a guy do right? Don't beat the guy up for the bad things, focus on the good. I'd think that the 12th round, if you like a guy, is just fine.

    2. Shankbone:

      Thank you for the correction. I hope that I am not coming across as questioning the Giants' move. Frankly, I am a huge fan of this front office. They've made so many right moves as far as which players to trade and which to keep, that when they make a move like picking a Jeremy Sy, I am more intrigued than puzzled. What am I (and most of the other casual fans and so call experts) missing? What can I learn from this move?

    3. I would note two things in response to this comment.

      First, by the time you get past the first round, the odds of finding anyone good is already very low, and it just gets lower and lower with each round. So by the 12th round, you are really looking for a true needle in the haystack, even for someone who might prove useful, let alone a good starter. So it is early relative to the 40 rounds, but the odds are already very low by this point, you are mostly just filling bodies on your farm teams by this point and taking fliers.

      Second, not only are the odds already low, I would note that teams are already drafting seniors once the draft gets into the double digit rounds, there were a handful (maybe more, a lot of the ones listed by PG did not note their year) of seniors drafted in round 12 of this year's draft for example.

      Minor correction to the above: Sy has 39 K's right now to go with his 23 BB's.

      Also, FYI, he is tied for the league's lead in homers with 8. Tied for 8th in SB with 13, the only combo of power and speed in the NWL.

    4. Martin:

      While the odds are stacked against you, the 12th pick is not a throw away pick. Therefore, the Giants FO must have seen something they like. There were lots of criticism when the Giants made this pick, the usual age, small college, etc. Yet, Sy's performance to date seem to validated Giants' FO's confidence in him. What was it that the Giants' scout and front office saw? Is this what they expected? or is he exceeding expectations? That's what I would like to know.

    5. It appears to me that John Barr and the Giants braintrust are looking for players with great hit tools, and specifically hitters who have low K/BB's, of any size, shape or age. Sy fits right in with that profile.

      As far as whether this is a good strategy or not, too early to tell. The first guy they found with that profile was Buster Posey and he's kind of a special case.

    6. I guess Anon is from MCC, I haven't been called that online for a long while.

      Potato, Potahdo. Generally, the 12th round pick is essentially a throw away pick given the odds of him ever turning out. You can go through hundreds of these picks and never find a useful player, let alone a good one. That's why I got ran off last year at MCC after the draft, they can't stand to hear the truth.

      But to your point, the baseball draft is one of volume and thus you do not throw any away. You never know when you might pick up the next Pujols or Piazza. Yes, there must be something that attracted the Giants to him. There is something that attracted the Giants to all of the picks they selected.

      I doubt that the Giants would have expectations. They might have hopes, but true expectation should be that he will fail, and fail badly. That's just how the dice are rolled with baseball draft picks. If the FO need to be validated by good performances how any particular pick develops, they would get depressed pretty quickly. When a player performs well, I would say that he fulfilled the hopes the FO had in selecting the player.

      I agree it would be great to learn what the Giants saw in him that others did not. Unfortunately, that probably won't happen unless he makes the BA Top 30 list, at which point Baggarly would dig in and find out what attracted the Giants to him in the first place. Even then, it might not come out. He's hitting well now but maybe that is not what they saw in him.

      For example, when Posey was drafted, most pundits viewed him as a good bat, great defense, lower power hitter (peaking at 10-15 HR in a season). Did the Giants share that view? Or did they see the 20-25 HR power hitter he turned out so quickly to be? Don't know unfortunately. Similarly, Weiters was viewed as a good bat, great power, OK defense because of his size, but turned out to be OK bat, OK power, great defense. Is that what the Orioles thought they were getting? That would be excellent stuff to know, but I don't think that ever came out in the profiles I read on either of them as a prospect.

      What DrB notes makes sense. That is the trend that has happened after Barr took over, there are a lot of these great hit tools (also maturity and leadership) drafted since he joined. Though I would note that Noonan fit that profile too, but he was pre-Barr.

      I like this strategy. The key thing a position player has to do is to first be able to get hits. The best hitters who don't strike out much, while walking a lot, has a very strong hit tool. Then if he has power, all the better, same with speed, and as the saying goes, you can't steal first base. Then you can figure out which position he plays.

      In contrast, the Giants took a lot of fliers before on 5-tool athletic types. FLew was the prototypical one. It could be a drinking game back then going through the BA handbook, a shot every time you saw "5 tools" or "mature" or "athletic" (that was in Pablo's, honest!). They also found a lot of great defense poor offense hitters. And pretty much all of the failed, in which case they are of zero use to the team.

      With the hit tool focus, even if they don't develop all the way, like for example, Connor Gillespie, you can still trade him later on to an AL team and get a second chance lottery ticket in return. That failed with a lot of the other trades made before, but turned out nicely with the Escobar trade (I'm aware that was for a pitcher, what I'm getting at is that developing players is a huge volume business, and if one fails, that's the end of the line and you start over again with the next one, but if he can at least hit, there will be teams interested enough to throw you a bone in exchange, keeping the line alive for another day).

    7. A 12'th round pick, while it is a low probability pick, probably should not be called a "throwaway" pick. I believe the Giants take their picks seriously and try to take what they believe to be the Best Player Available until they use up all the 800+ names on their draft board. That gets them down to around pick #30 or so. After that, it seems pretty clear that they are just throwing names out there and hoping something sticks.

  2. Sorry to elicit such a response DrB, but Kurrasch is right there, age 22, average age 21.7, same age as everyone else basically, so I had nothing to say there. I'll try to be better at not saying anything about age, I just thought I would tackle only those that I thought were clearly such an issue, but I guess I was still too fixated on that.

    1. Is there a happy place we can get to with age/level? I think it is worth monitoring, but clearly in drafting more seniors than other teams the Giants are looking for an untapped market. Given the odds you are facing with the MLB draft, the older age seems like an OK gamble if there are other factors to pick up. And in that 2012 draft, there was definitely a fair amount of awards given out. Actually the 2013 draft as well - I'll give Craig Massoni as an example, Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year. Will Calloway was perhaps the oldest player drafted in the entire draft, he was two time finalist for the Brooks Wallace award, given to the nations top shortstop. More age/level dings? Well, the Giants drafted the two OLDEST High School players: John Riley and Ryder Jones. Age purists sob quietly and shake their fists!

      I think I land somewhere in the middle of this discussion with you and DrB. I understand you're just noting the odds and tempering expectations, and I can also understand DrB saying to not make a huge deal about it. Here's the bottom line for me, and it hooks into your draft study: everybody is facing long odds to make the majors, what's a little pile on with age going to matter much? Shiny youth is great, and the most talented talent rises just like cream. It sorts itself out pretty easy.

      Gigantes have Crick, Blackburn and Mejia right where they want them: top ten youngest in the Cal league. High-A and 19? Yes please. But most guys have to grind it out.

    2. Am I excited about the Giants drafting more HS players and having the do well in their pro debuts? You bet I am
      ! I really like that they are already doing well and have a lot more time to develop further. Am I excited about having a couple of kids as young as Blackburn and Mejia at High A level? You bet I am!

      Do I think it makes any significant difference whether Arroyo is 18 and Ryder Jones is 19? No I do not!!

      Would I be as excited about Tyler Horan and Brian Ragira if they were putting up the same lines in Arizona? No I would not! Players who had success at major D1 programs have no business playing in rookie league unless they are rehabbing an injury or unless they are working on something very specific and wanting to try it against a lower level of competition first.

      Do I think it's a concern that the 2012 first round draft pick who played at a major D1 program in college is putting up so-so numbers in low A ball? Yes I do!!!

      Do I think it's a problem that a concern that a 20 yo LHP who has apparently never played pro ball before is putting up some interesting numbers in Rookie ball? Absolutely not.

      Yes, I am discounting Craig Massoni's numbers in Arizona because he should be dominating that level, but to split hairs over the ages of John Riley and Ryder Jones vs Christian Arroyo? That is just ridiculous! It's also ridiculous to be talking about discounting Ysla's numbers as a 20 yo on Arizona.

      So, if you want to point out that a 23 yo college draftee is maybe playing at too low a level in Arizona, I will agree with you, but if you are grasping at 6 month or 1 year age differences and kneejerking every discussion about every prospect with that kind of age vs level pseudoanalysis, I will go ballistic on you!

    3. I'm afraid to reply, for fear of ballistics, but want to make clear to others that I did not bring up the 6 month difference, I don't do that, I only brought it up because that was the player being pointed out in the highlights above and had my name attached to it. Otherwise I would never had mentioned anything. I vary when I bring it up, must be at least a year, and it depends on where he stands among the leaders, plus I don't catch most of them, probably, just some catch my eye.

      And it is not pseudoanalysis, anymore than discussing a players motivations, his problems with weight, his lack of effort, clutch hitting, pitchers screwing up when RISP, there is a branch of sabermetrics that believes that age vs level is a valid factor to consider, which I wanted to bring up ocassionally as I know not everyone believes likewise. And that'll be the last I'll write here on it (or at least I'll try hard), as I've clearly crossed the line and want to still feel welcome here.

      But if you want me to go away, keep on throwing that psuedoanalysis label around.

    4. ogc,

      There are two things that novice sabermetric enthusiasts tend to do that drive me crazy because of their combined superficiality and condescension:

      1. For every single player being discussed they point out his BABIP and say "that's unsustainable. He will regress," or His BABIP was low this year. He will be great next year." Then when you point out some things that might reasonably explain why the player had a a outlier BABIP, they assure you that you are stupid and everything about BABIP is due to random chance and nothing else.

      2. For every prospect that is discussed they say "he is old for the league, you have to discount his performance" or "wow! He's only 18 years old and already in AA. He's the best prospect in history!" Then they proceed to sneer at any other factors such as draft position, whether the organization may be pushing the prospect at the expense of development(the Mets and Dodgers were well know for doing this a few years ago), whether he age difference is really all that significant(I maintain that a 1 year difference is not), how many years of pro experience the player has and a host of others.

      That is what I call pseudoanalysis, because it's an easy, lazy, one-size-fits-all metric that avoids thoughtful, more complete analysis. If you are doing it, that's what it is. If you are not, then that's great.

      As for whether age vs level is a valid factor, yes, it certainly is. I refer to it frequently in my own analysis. The problem I have is with people who misuse it and apply is inappropriately and indiscriminately. Labelling a 20 yo without previous professional experience too old for the Arizona League and saying his numbers have to be discounted is such an application, IMO.

      Again, nobody is saying Ysla is the next Madison Bumgarner or the next Clayton Kershaw. As you said yourself, the odds are against any of these kids in the low minors and low round draft picks and low bonus international prospects ever making it to the majors. So, if the kids chances are already somewhere around 1 in a hundred, whytheheck would you obsess over whether he is 19 or 20 years old in rookie ball? What we're trying to identify here is players who might have a 1 in 20 chance of making it instead of 1 in 100. I would submit that there is enough variability in how players get to the majors that a 1 year difference in age in rookie ball is a non-factor in the outcome.

      Now, if it is a 23 year old who played for a major D1 program and he puts up mediocre numbers in rookie ball, then by all means, you have a great point if you say that he should be dominating that level and really shouldn't be playing there at all! That's a far cry from the hairs we have been splitting here, though.

    5. BTW. this whole dustup started over a comment that LHP Luis Ysla was too old for the Arizona League. Well, according to Fangraphs, the average age of the Arizona league(I assume at the beginning of the season) is 19.4. Ysla was not quite 20.2 at the start of this season. So the difference between him and the average age of players in the league is less than 1 year, 10 months to be exact. Over 25% of the players in the league are 21 or over.

      Maybe ogc miscalculated something or misremembered what the average age of the league really is. If he really believes that 20.2 is significantly different than 19.4 in that league, then I have to vehemently disagree and say that is going way too far in overanalyzing age vs level as a factor in evaluating minor league talent.

  3. I watched Petit get rocked by the Royals AAA guys in spring training. I wasn't impressed with his velocity or his stuff. Hey, it was only spring training, maybe he was working on some things.

    Gardeck and McVay are perfect examples of the Giants skill in finding players further down the draft. They sure did spend a lot of their equity on that 2012 draft on pitching. BA hinted that wasn't necessarily the plan, it just turned out that way, but on the other hand Sabean right before the draft said he really wanted college pitching. And that's how it turned out...

  4. I'm sorry for any and all problems I caused. I know I get fixated sometimes and off the mark, my apologies.

    I was under the impression that he was 21 YO. The article from KLaw noted him as a 21 YO, as did the BB-Ref database, so I was relying on that for his age. In any case, to your point, the average pitchers age there is 20.3, which I rounded as one year.

    FYI, bb-ref calculates age for a league using the mid-season point. That's why articles will say, "so and so is 21 YO for this season". And there are glitches with that where one player born on June 30th would be 22 YO for the purposes of analysis while the player born one day later on July 1st would be 21 YO for the purposes of analysis, even though a single day separates them. And I admit I don't always remember to check for that, though I do try.

    1. Oh, to finish the thought, I think one year difference is important when they are very young, not as much as when they are in the higher levels of the minors. But I've said enough and I will try hard not to say anything again on this topic, again, my apologies.

    2. Lastly, I meant to have all this above, after DrB's comment, but my fumble fingers hit the wrong key on my laptop and refreshed the page instead, losing all my comments, then I forgot that it moved the comment box downward.

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