Thursday, March 13, 2014

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/13/2014: Giants 4 Rangers 4

The Rangers rallied late against Jose De Paula to tie the Giants who built a lead on strong performances by starter Ryan Vogelsong and catching prospect Andrew Susac.  Key Lines:

Brandon Crawford- 2 for 4.  BA= .185.  Hopefully this will be the start of better results at the plate for Crawford.

Andrew Susac- 2 for 2, HR, 2 BB.  BA= .308.  What a game for Susac!  He was given the start as a reward for his strong work this spring before being optioned to Fresno.  He only added to his already impressive resume as a catching prospect.

Roger Kieschnick- 2 for 5.  BA= .130.  Roger K has struggled at the plate this spring.

Ryan Vogelsong- 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K, GO/AO= 6/2.  ERA= 5.11.  Strong start for Vogey coming off a poor previous start.  Hopefully this is something to build on.

Jose De Paula- 0.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 4.50.  De Paula had been sensational up to this point.

Derek Law- 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Law came in and re-established order bailing out De Paula.  I'm sure Bochy took note of that.

David Huff, Jake Dunning- 1 scoreless IP each.

Michael Morse will miss 4-5 more games due to a sore calf.   Angel Pagan has lower back pain and sat out.

Around the League:

Fantasy Alert- Remember Carlos Martinez, the fireballing rookie who was lights out in the postseason for the Cardinals last year.  Well, he's being used as a starter this spring and is expected to make the starting rotation out of spring training.


  1. Alright folks, time to put a spotlight on Susac. I got all excited and started reviewing the tape that we've got on Susac, and I must say there's something there that's kind of exciting to look at.

    First of all - Take a look at the shape of his body. Kid took the summer to re-create his shape and I'm impressed. He's always been thick, athletic perhaps, but pudgy. Right now, all that is gone. My best description: Toned.

    Second, have a look at some sweet swing-mechanics development:
    Spring 2013:
    Spring 2014:
    More from 2014:

    Take a look at video 1 from spring training 2013. His leg kick is quick, messy, and has no particular rhythm. His hands are steady, though, and he generates tremendous power from the hips, which is what allows him to drive the ball with authority. (Also, his heavier mid-section and overall frame is pretty noticeable here, too.)

    Now, check out video 2, (or either of the other 2014's). Look at his front leg lift now - Completely quite, extremely rhythmic, and there's an entirely new element of balanced momentum that was absent in 2013. But still, the hip rotation is generating tons of power (making it seem like Kirkman's offering was literally batting practice). The other thing I noticed from this shot was his body condition. I mean, it's clear as day - he's been hammering this winter.

    Take a look at the other two 2014 videos and you'll see the same mechanics. The other thing that stands out is that his bat trajectory is extremely level as it passes through the zone. I love this, because it signals a higher-contact approach, which I'd say is somewhat unique from a raw power prospect like Susac. (Insider tip - Check out the game footage from the "pressbox" link I shared a few days ago. It has video that isn't in the posted MLB official highlights, and if you watch Susac's homer, you might just blink twice and wonder which SF Giants catcher you were just watching..) I really have no idea how he's generating all that loft with his level swing, but them's the breaks for couch-scouts like me.

    Either way, the way this kid looks right now - and his all-important ability to translate it to the field - he's not long for the minors.. Good health Kid!!

    1. Wow! Thanks for that, Rainball! Yeah, it's very tough to not get exuberant about Susac right now. Between Buster, Hector Sanchez and Susac, the Giants have a veritable gold mine in catching talent! It's going to be interesting and fun to see how it all plays out over the next 2-3 years. Hector seems to have gotten the message that he better diversify and has been playing 1B. Says he'll play SS if he has to!

      Speaking of 1B, it looks like Ricky is playing 3B on the AA spring training squad while Angel V is playing 1B.

    2. How are his glutes?

      Is Susac's swing compact enough to handle hard stuff in?


      Again, no Hembree. Law bailed out Dunning from the mess he created. That sounded impressive. It sure seems like both of these guys, as speculated by DrB, are ahead of Hembree in Bochy's mind.

      I have 2 points of speculation about Hembree. One is that there is a physical issue. It may be as simple as dead arm or long recovery period. Not too big a deal, but it could be a pattern with him. #2, Bochy's bullpen is a tool box. Bochy can only have 7 instruments. Hembree may not be the tool he is looking for. Kontos, Dunning, or Law may be what he has in mind. Bochy may want the rubber arm tool for this last bullpen spot. No Hembree last night, we'll see what gives today.

    3. Susac has always struck me as an athletic guy. I know the footspeed is always an issue but I think he could hack LF if push comes to shove. Thanks for the links. Its almost like... the Giants are developing hitting. What a concept.

      Incidentally the UVA OF who had mid-1st round hype broke a hammate bone. Speaking of Susac...

    4. Ha, I knew someone would have to take my comments about Susac's "frame"/conditioning and run with it. Figures it'd be you, Ryan.

      By the way, Law didn't bail out Doc correctly noted, he bailed out De Paula. I had the pleasure of watching the latter innings sporadically during the live telecast, and Law was absolutely nasty. It was perfect having Law follow De Paula, because contrasting the two - De Paula's pitches were being essentially telegraphed from the back of his wind-up to the plate, and there was no deception of funkiness to it. Hitters were totally square, and the pitches just seemed to float in. On the other hand, Law's mechanics launch the ball from such a place that the hitter can't see it until he releases it. At that point, it has all kinds of snapping movement either in or down, and he had former A's prospect Michael Choice (#10 overall pick, 2010 - very good stats since) battling but in the end overwhelmed with heat, location and finally a breaking ball that fell off at the plate. With the two going back-to-back, it was night and day which pitcher is a rising star and which one is likely to continue to roam the nether-leagues. (Lastly, since I'm mostly talking about Law above, I'll also say that I've been a fan of De Paula this Spring, but after actually watching him, it's obvious why the Giants reassigned him despite good stats.)

    5. My bad. Dunning earned the tie last night. Bochy may really like this guy. Sounds like he field his position well and his arm is straight flowing with latex - no vulcanization either. Dunning vs. Law, IMO, perhaps, maybe. But then there's the wily "vet", George Kontos.

    6. Shank, yeah I saw that news about Derek Fisher too, and my first thought was that I'd be ok with the Giants taking him in the second round if teams are scared enough about his injury to allow him to drop. With all the lefty starters out there I get a strong feeling the Giants go that route in the first round.

    7. Rainball, thanks for that informative post.

      Law and Susac - looking forward to seeing them play for the Giants.

    8. I would not be surprised to see us pop Fisher in the second round, either. It is the EXACT same thing we did with Susac after he broke his hammate bone. Our bonus pool and usual draft games with relievers should allow us plenty of money to buy him out of his senior year.

  2. Well, with Panda becoming Stringbean, the urgency of a Posey to 3rd is no longer there. I know this sounds crazy, but how about Posey to 2b. Then you have Panda, Crawford, Posey, Belt, with Susac and Sanchez. The alternative is you have Belt move to OF if Susac couldn't (unfortuantely, none of Posey, Belt or Susac were getting "off position" experience). We don't have enough good bats so you hate to see an odd man out.