Monday, November 11, 2013

Giants Dept Chart: Corner Outfield

This is kind of a tough category as the Giants tend to acquire centerfielders and then move them to the corners as needed.  I almost elected to lump them all together, but then you have a huge list.  We'll try it this way.

MLB Incumbent Starters:  Hunter Pence  .283/.339/.483, 27 HR, 22 SB.
                                      Gregor Blanco  .265/.341/.350, 3 HR, 14 SB.

Man, I just noticed that Pence had 27 HR with a SLG% of under .500.  That's how hard it is to slug .500!  Wow!  OK, Pence just signed a 5 year contract for $90 M so prospects can forget about this position opening up for at least that long.  Blanco is probably going to be a reserve again or at best part of a platoon so consider LF an open position.  When you factor in Blanco's defense, though, it is not as easy to find an upgrade for LF as it seems.  Also, there was a note today in Rotoworld that the Giants want to move Pagan to LF which means they may be actually looking for a CF.  Blanco's defense in CF is an even bigger factor and a CF platoon of Blanco and Perez would be real tough to top unless they are going to go all out and sign a Jacoby Ellsbury.

MLB Reserve:  Juan Perez  .258/.302/.348, 1 HR, 2 SB in 89 AB.  Did you know that little Juan Perez rang up a WAR of 1.6 in those 89 AB's over just 34 appearances.  Of course, most of that was on D and most of the D was from his magical throwing arm, but he can cover some serious ground out there too.  Juan Perez might be my favorite player on the team right now.

AAA  Francisco Peguero  .316/.354/.408, 3 HR, 3 SB.
         Roger Kieschnick   .273/.339/.497, 9 3B, 13 HR, 4 SB

Neither Pegs nor Roger K made much of a case for themselves to be on the 2014 active roster let alone the starter at any position.  Roger K got some hits early on but never got his power stroke untracked and then the hits stopped coming too.  Pegs didn't get many opportunities but did hit a dinger on the final day.

AA:  Javier Herrera  .296/.376/.485, 16 HR, 23 SB.
        Jarrett Parker   .245/.355/.430, 18 HR, 13 SB, 11 CS.
        Brett Krill       .258/.313/.329, 2 HR, 3 SB.

Herrera is a reclamation project who put up impressive numbers considering the environment.  Can the Giants please give him an invitation to Spring Training?  Parker's numbers were not bad for the environment.  Classic 3 true outcomes stuff here.  If he did that in the majors with plus D in the OF, he would be a 3 WAR player.  Krill has been one of my sleeper prospects, but has to hit for power to have any value at all.

High A:  Mac Williamson  .292/.375/.504, 25 HR, 10 SB.
              Devin Harris       .258/.318/.492, 23 HR.

We all know about Mac's tremendous season.  He is definitely a top 10 Giants prospect and possibly top 5.  Probably could use at least 2 more years in the minors by which time Pagan will have 1 year left on his contract.  That is thinking too far ahead!  Harris has nice power but may not ever hit for enough average.

Low A:  Andrew Cain  .240/.309/.402, 8 3B, 9 HR, 20 SB.
             Rafael Rodriguez  .208/.262/.304, 4 HR, 4 SB.
             Chuckie Jones  .236/.321/.371, 10 HR, 12 SB.

Cain showed flashes of 5 tool potential.  Hit tool may be a little short.  Chuckie Jones is listed as a CF but will probably end up in a corner position.  He came on really strong in the last 2 months of the season.  Is he primed for a breakout?  Sadly, Rafael Rodriguez has never been able to get any traction on his career and is starting to run out of time.

Short Season:  Tyler Horan  .295/.372/.460, 4 HR, 4 SB.
                      Brian Ragira .263/.371/.391, 3 HR,
                      Shilo McCall .235/.330/.398, 4 HR, 3 SB.

I think everybody knows how much I like Horan.  I think Ragira has a ton of upside.  He just needs to unlearn whatever they teach those hitters at Stanford.  McCall is a project but this is not a bad line for a 19 year old at this level.

Rookie AZL:  Ben Leslie  .348/.531/.435 in 23 AB.
                     Leonardo Fuentes  .261/.338/.522, 3 HR.

A lot of OF's shuffled in and out of Arizona so nobody got a lot of AB's.  Leslie is an Australian signee.  Fuentes continues to tantalize with enormous power potential but apparently just cannot stay healthy for a full season even in short season ball.

DSL:  Carlos Valdez  .273/.377/.447, 5 HR, 20 BB, 22 K in 132 AB.
          Jean Angomas  .286/.384/.383, 9 SB, 9 CS, 25 BB, 17 K in 175 AB.
          Robinson Medrano  .225/.267/.283, 1 HR, 7 SB.
          Carlos Cartegena  .200/.369/.336, 4 HR, 7 SB.

The DSL is a pretty extreme pitcher's league so Valdez' numbers are impressive even for a repeater.  Angomas is listed as a CF but Gustavo played CF so we'll lump Angomas with the corner dudes.  Medrano started off hot then went cold.  Cartegena is a former bonus baby who has never gotten traction on his pro career.


  1. If he can keep it up, Mac is the obvious heir to the throne here. But you know, there's definitely some sleeper talent in this group. Who'd have thought that Juan Perez would establish himself over Kieschnick and Peguero? I have to admit, Perez was one of my favorite guys too... the game is just more interesting when he's on the field. But does he get a roster spot coming out of ST? Herrera does deserve a spring invite. Finally, I'm interested to see how those short season guys fare in full-season ball. Some definite talent there. Thanks for doing these!

  2. Darren Lewis was a great OF as well but it didn't take long for him to find out you have to hit to play in the OF. Same with Shinjo and Raj Davis and Rowand and a bunch of other guys who don't play much or at all anymore. SS is really the only position you can play where they don't require you to bring a bat with you to work. It isn't that I don't value defense, I think when you judge a player by his WAR you are overvaluing it. For example, something that doesn't get a lot of attention statistically is the negative affect a hitter like Perez or Blanco or DLew has on their team when they are in the lineup.

    Hitters that don't get on base end up becoming black holes in the lineup that affect the total AB's and the confidence of a team. Even drawing a walk, reaching on an error, or getting hit by a pitch causes the lineup to turn over giving the guys at the top an extra AB a game and possibly extending an inning that results in runs scored. For a team like the Giants built around pitching, the percentage of games they win when their 1-5 hitters get 5 AB's a game is likely significantly more than when they only get 4. Thus, having an OFer who goes 0 for 4 even in the 8 spot can kill the chances that the best hitters in the lineup get one more AB. On a team like the Red Sox, Tigers, or Cards, I could see this affect being less as there are other places they get offensive production but a team like the Giants needs their LF to produce runs over defense to win games.

    1. In 2010 we won the WS with a defensive nightmare in Pat the Bat and in 2012 it was Melky most of the season until they pieced it together without him. Having Pagan healthy helped not having Melky in LF the second half of the season but last year and 2011 that was one common theme, no LF bat = no playoffs.

    2. Gregor Blanco had an OBP of .341 last year which was the 19'th highest of all OF in all of Major League Baseball. By your own criteria, he was a positive contributor to the offense as well as defense last year.

    3. That's why I mentioned he would have more value on a team like the Sox, Tigers, or Cards. Every stat can be deceiving even OBP. Getting on base is part of it but what did he do when he got on base? He scored just 50 runs in over 500 plate appearances and only 41 RBI's. You can't say that was just because he batted 8th all season, he batted everywhere in the lineup and at .341 should have stuck at leadoff once Pagan was out but didn't for a reason. What was his OBP when batting leadoff? Hitting 7th with an OBP of .341 doesn't help much when you have Crawford batting 8th with a .280 OBP. If Blanco was batting 9th for Boston or Detroit he would have added quite a bit more value but getting on base at .341 with nobody around to drive in or drive you in isn't going to make a difference! I don't mind my SS not hitting but I can't have a SS and a LF who could't hit sand if they fell on the beach.

    4. Pato,

      There are so many things wrong with your argument here I hardly know where to start. OBP is OBP. There are very well validated equations that assign value to it. Yes, baseball is a team sport. It is not Blanco's fault that his teammates did not take advantage of he excellent table setting.

      Yes, I would like to have a LF who hits for more power than Blanco. All I am saying is that when you factor in Blanco's total value to the team, it may be difficult to find such a player who is a true upgrade.

      BTW, I do believe Blanco was the starting LF throughout the 2012 postseason when the Giants won the World Series. Prior to that he played RF a lot before Pence came on board.

  3. I would much rather go internally than go with any of the free agent outfielders. Let's face it, Choo and Ellsbury are not going to happen. So what is left? Granderson and Beltran? Both a little long in the tooth and will command too much money. Morse? That dude is horrible at defense. I would rather get long looks at Pill and Herrera in Spring Training than any of those options. Marlon Byrd on a 1 year deal wouldn't be that bad but he will most likely get a 2 year deal somewhere else. So, I think you have to look for a trade. Does Mark Trumbo sound good to any of you? The guy can play 1B really well and can do pretty decent in LF. He would hit a tons of homers into LF at AT&T. I know the Angels are looking for major league ready pitching but maybe with the right package centered around Susac, Blackburn and Mejia they would think about it.

    1. They would need to make a trade and yes, Trumbo is very attractive. Think Pat the Bat with more position flexibility (I don't care how bad he is on D, really I could care less!!). There are several options and if they had a guy like Trumbo it would make Blanco much more valuable. He could come in late in games as a defensive replacement for Trumbo or Belt or even Panda as Trumbo could move to 1B or 3B in a pinch, it would be a huge advantage.

    2. The Angels want MLB ready pitching for Trumbo, something the Giants are trying to acquire themselves. Trumbo ain't coming here. You should care about his defense. A run saved is as good as a run scored.

      Chris Young and Justin Ruggiano are two guys who would upgrade the power out of LF without a regression is defense.

  4. Blanco had Pagan to take away the pressure in the playoffs but without Melky the first half of the season things may have been a lot different. I'm not looking for an upgrade in overall WAR I'm looking for an upgrade offensively which is easy to find over what Blanco is capable of.

    The OBP just like every other stat can be misleading. There are so many situations where Blanco reached base and it didn't result in him scoring or anyone else and that is what really matters. OBP should go hand and hand with runs produced but when you have 5 guys in your lineup like Blanco it throws that theory down the toilet.

    My point is valid you just aren't getting it. When the team last year was filled with a LF, CF, 1B, SS, and 2B who were all better defenders than hitters you have problems. Belt isn't a guarentee and Pagan has his health issues to at least concern you. Scutaro and Crawford can't be expected to produce a whole lot more than last year. LF is the only place we can upgrade the offense and it doesn't matter if the guy can't play D!! We have enough D at all the other positions and we need some O end of story.

    1. No Pato, your point is not valid. Sorry, It is not Blanco's fault that his teammates failed to take advantages of the opportunities he gave them. A run saved is just as valuable as a run scored or driven in.

      Yes, in a NL lineup you need more power out of the #7 hole but it's not Blanco's fault that the Giants chose to put a player with more power and a lower OBP in the leadoff position.

      Your disdain for defense is downright reckless. There is a reason why Sabean acquires CF's and then plays some of them in the corners. It's called defense. It works!

      Now if you want more power out of LF which I think is a worthy goal, I would be looking at Chris Young and Justin Ruggiano, 2 guys who have a proven track record of hitting double digit HR's and also would give you the plus D.

    2. Sabean also acquired Pat the Bat so please explain that! I don't blame Blanco for his teammates production and never have. My point is that he can't hack it as a leadoff hitter so batting him 7th in this lineup is not going to produce enough runs for us to make the playoffs. Not sure why that point isn't valid, it has been proven to be true the last 2 seasons we missed the playoffs! Chris Young barely bats his weight. Ruggiano is an unknown. Isn't Garret jones a FA? Byrd is another bare minimum guy but for the love of god please don't tell me you are happy with a defensive first OF after we have seen what this offense looks like when we build a team around that!

    3. We do have holes in our rotation and LF.

      I think we prioritize the former over the latter.

      When we had Melky in 2011, Huff and Belt were not hitting. It was not better than what we get with a D-first leftfielder and with Belt hitting. So, if we have the money, go for it. If we don't, I think or hope, we can get by. Do I want more? Do I hope they spend some money, after acquiring pitching, to get a bat? I hope they do.

  5. I have no expectations of signing a bat for left. The more urgent need is the additional of 2 viable starting pitchers. Lots of cash there will be needed. I am not unhappy with Pagan in left and the idead of Blanco / Perez in Center feels very defensively safe. The rotation needs there "D".
    I truly expect major bat production out of Panda, Posey, Pence and Belt.
    The table setters will be pushed in more often this year. Caveat is a return to above average player time versus DL time.

    Richard in Winnipeg

    1. I've read that the Giants are doing some serious tire kicking on Matt Garza, so I think pitching is indeed where they are going to put their money and it sounds like they may be willing to spend more than they have let on.

    2. I agree with Richard and DrB that we get pitching (elite pitching would be fantasyland fantastic - Timmy has not been the same since losing all those close games to Kershaw in 2011. We need someone who can intimidate LA when we play Kershaw - fantasy maybe ), either by spending money or by trading. We had a long way to go and hopefully will get there.

      If they have money left for LF, use it. If not, perhaps they will try to acquire the good old fashion way: by sifting quality from quantity - perhaps they sign one or two less visible free agents, invite a couple more reclamation projects and let the kids show what they got in spring training - and try for a mid-season acquisition.

    3. Make that 'acquire one the good old fashioned way:...'

  6. DrB, I love your blog but I have to disagree with Chris Young and Justin Ruggiano. First off, these players both seem like 1 year fixes in hopes of lightning in a bottle. I don't think a team coming off of 2 World Series should be looking for that. We have the money to get someone decent. Yes, it has worked in the past such as Juan Uribe and Aubrey Huff in 2010 but we can't always be looking for that sort of a fix. We are a good 2-3 years out of anyone in the minors filling in that position full time and if Williamson hits a wall in AA and becomes Gary Brown 2.0 then we have even longer to wait. We need to find a guy to roam out there for 2-4 years. Now, I don't believe in Choo and Ellsbury as replacements. I do believe Belt is the way to go for LF. The reason being is that he is very valuable at the plate and we will probably sign him to a longer term contract this spring. Posey will eventually switch positions such as Mauer is doing starting this year. So, where is Belt going to play. LF would be my guess. So why not get him acquainted with it sooner than later.

    I see you are all negative on the thoughts of Trumbo. I get the Angels want starting pitching that is MLB ready. But stranger things have happened. Did I ever think we would land Pence for Joseph? No way. There is nothing wrong with kicking the tires and seeing if we can work something out. We are former champions and we need to act like one. We shouldn't be looking for bandaids to fix a gaping power shortage. Ruggiano hit .222 .298 .396 last year. Yes, 2012 was much better but with only a few years under his belt we have no idea which player he is going to be. Chris Young whiffs a lot! 93 K's in 375 plate appearances. I am not a math wizard but that is about 25%. Ouch. I would rather have Blanco than either 2 of those guys.

    1. I completely agree with your sentiments about acting like champions, but Sabean has shown tendencies in the past, and bringing in a big offseason bat just hasn't been part of that formula. Even his trades for Melky and Pagan were pretty under the radar deals a couple years ago. Neither guy had a great track record at the time of the trade... they were wishful trades, and they worked in our favor. Sabes has shown a willingness to go big at the trade deadline if he needs to, though, so I wouldn't completely rule out getting a bigger bat this year if an opportunity presents itself.

      As for kicking the tires, I agree 100%. Kick those tires on Trumbo. Kick em on Brandon Phillips. Kick em on Shelby Miller. You're right, you never know what might happen. But I would think the Angels could get a better package than what the Giants are willing to offer right now. Unless Sabes is ready to deal Escobar, his only MLB -ready pitching is Surkamp and Kickham... don't know how enticing those guys are. But that's what teams want when they're trading a hitter.

      Do I think Sabes is looking at trades? Yes, of course. And maybe he'll swing something big that shocks the hell of out of all of us. But right now, we're stuck looking at realistic options for THIS season, as Sabes has made it apparent that building a rotation is his top priority. He already spent big money on one OF in Pence, so I would say the Youngs and Ruggianos are realistic at this point. Ideal? Nope, but pretty realistic.

    2. Looking back, those low-visibility, low-cost deals have proven to be better ones.

      Pagan - cost/benefit?
      Melky - cost/benefit?
      Pence - cost/benefit?
      Scutaro - cost/benefit?

      On these, one sees the fingerprints of a very good trader.

      And because we are all fallible humans, we can also point out his failures while acknowledging his successes.

      Wheeler for Beltran - high visibility.

    3. 80% is good.

      Grading on a curve, that would be an A in many classes today, maybe even an A+.

    4. Belt to LF: he may not have the footspeed to be effective. He may not be able to hack being lefthanded out there, some can, some can't. Those two factors and the Giants complete reluctance to try it are saying something. The "move Belt to LF" show is in the hands of the Giants. If they don't do it, its most likely for good reasons.

      If you look up Blanco's stats, as DrB has, you realize that the problem is protecting him from LH pitchers and limiting his PAs, getting him out when he slumps (less of a slump last year, maybe getting out of those slumps and making the adjustments comes with MLB experience). The need is a RH hitter to spell Blanco, supply pop off the bench.

      Hey, Trumbo isn't a terrible idea for that. But neither is Young/Ruggiano or any other platoon split guy. Trevor Plouffe for example!

  7. I get that "Belt to LF" is not the most attractive option. But something will eventually need to be done to protect the investment in Posey. I really think Belt will be a star in this league. So, you have a couple options. Move him to another position or trade him when his value is high. Me personally I like to have homegrown talent on the roster so I would rather move him to another position. There is just something about chemistry when the players become friends along the ride up to the majors that intrigues me. However, a few years ago we felt comfortable putting Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff out there. I believe Belt is way more athletic than those 2 combined.

    Trust me I would rather just go after a corner outfielder but I do not like any of the options people are throwing out. One guy I tend to like is Gerardo Parra. He is young, a plus on defense and can hit for average. However, he hits left handed which I don't like given his power and he is in the NL West which would be hard to pull off. Alex Gordon would be another decent guy to go after. I don't think the Royals are ready to compete so they may take prospects a few years away. I just don't like the idea of guy to plug holes. We are a championship quality team and we should run it as such. Tell me how many holes you see on the Cardinals minus shortstop. They always have a pretty decent team top to bottom. We need to follow that model and stop grabbing from the veteran bucket or cast offs. Cast offs have worked out in the past but that is not the best model to bring success.

    1. I would say the Giants have had a pretty decent roster, top to bottom for the past few years. Otherwise, they wouldn't have won two titles! Gordon would be a nice player to have, and I've thought about it myself. But I don't see KC willing to part with him... not for cheap, anyway.

      I'm not making excuses for last season, but for the record, I'll say I had pretty high hopes coming in despite the LF situation. Nobody could have forecast all the injuries, or the absolute blow-up by Zito and Vogey (two of the leaders down the stretch in 2012). Also, the fact that the farm system really didn't provide any support this year hurt as well.

      The point is, the Giants are a very well run organization, and they are committed to winning. There's no doubt in my mind about that. But there's only so much talent available out there, and even less talent that teams are willing to give up. I wouldn't doubt that Sabean is entertaining any trade situation that could make the team better, but I just don't see anything major going down for a LF. I, too, wish there were other options to talk about. But the priority is and will remain pitching... you just hope the offense improves enough to make due.

    2. Alex Gordon is signed to a reasonable deal and is productive, KC is competing (over 500 for the first time in forever) and Dayton Moore is all-in for his job. They will not be trading off Gordon, their best hitter.

      I don't see Parra getting traded inter-division, and the D-backs need him. He is indeed a great fielder, one of the best in the majors. But again, not very obtainable.

      Its one thing to demand standards, I think that is a good idea. But its another to look into the actual options. There are only so many stars to go around, so many solid roll-players to go around, every team has a shot at development and the CBA locks up players for 6 years, which is more than the average career. So it creates a lot of resource scarcity.

      Everybody loves the Cards, and they are indeed a good model to follow. But I'd point out that most of their players are just good role players, not stars. I don't think anybody really really wants to have Alan Craig or John Jay on their squad. Mostly they are riding their incredible 2009 draft with the young pitching. Giants might have something similar if we're just a little patient.

  8. What I was trying to say is that unless we can find a real replacement then maybe we should just try to handle things internally. Blanco is not a bad player. He is a plus defender and has nice speed. I have no problem with him hitting 7th or 8th. But why spend 8-10 million on Chris Young or make a trade for a bandaid. The Reds are making it clear that Brandon Phillips is available. I think it would be worth kicking the tires on him. Try to pick up as much of his salary as possible to avoid getting rid of top level prospects. He is a plus defender and has some power. The Nationals are listening on offers for Denard Span. He is a plus defender and had 170 hits. Lets just not make a move to make a move. Lets find a replacement for 2-3 years or stay put.

    1. Span is an interesting one. Even platoon splits on his career, and one of the best defenders the past few years. Pretty cheap on the salary front with an option for 15, hard to judge what he'd cost but the Nats gave up a good pitching prospect for him last year.

      Phillips is a tough call, his stats have regressed some, his SB #s have gone into witness protection, and he is pretty dependent on BA to generate any OBP due to his hacking. Plus the Gigantes have 2 resident hackers in Pence and Pablo. But Phillips has some sweet, sweet defense to dream on, and he hits 18 HRs like clockwork.

  9. Melky Part 2 anyone? He is available and even adjusting his stats for enhancements, his numbers would still probably plaay again well at ATT. Low cost alternative I think.

    1. Under contract with the Blue Jays for 8MM isn't completely available.