Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/25/2014: Giants 5 Brewers 4

Madison Bumgarner's streak of scoreless spring training innings came to an end, as he gave up 3 HR's in his last 2 innings of work, but the Giants rallied for 3 runs in the ninth inning to pull out the win.  Key Lines:

Angel Pagan- 1 for 3, BB, SB.  BA= .265.  The line doesn't look like much, but if your leadoff hitter does this every day, your team will be alright.

Gary Brown- 1 for 1, 2B.  BA= .350.  Brown has quietly had a strong spring in limited opportunities.

Michael Morse- 2 for 3.  BA= .296.  Morse played LF for the first time in awhile and made a couple of nice catches.

Pablo Sandoval- 1 for 4, HR(3).  BA= .278.  Hoping for more dingers from Pablo this year.

Ehire Adrianza- 3 for 4.  BA= .250.  Adrianza looked lost at the plate about a week ago, but has bounced back nicely.

Juan Perez- 1 for 2.  BA= .300.  Tyler Colvin went 0 for 2.  Perez should have this wrapped up.

Madison Bumgarner- 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 6 K's, 3 HR.  ERA= 1.19.  Probably better that he does not go into the season with a 0 ERA.

David Huff, Derek Law- 1 IP, 0 R.  Huff did nothing to unlock his roster spot.  Law may still be in the running after Machi gave up a run yesterday.

It was already all but official that Marco Scutaro would start the season on the DL.  Today he got yet another opinion on his back and received a "diagnostic" nerve block.  That sounds to me like it portends a possible surgical procedure or at least some type of radio ablation procedure.  Bochy said he could still get in 3 minor league games and be pronounced fit to start the season, but it doesn't take a medical degree to figure out that ain't happenin'.

Gettin' antsy to start the season, especially for my fantasy team!


  1. such a total bummer about scoots

    surgical procedure means out for the year

    oh well

    ez come, ez go

    got to get the heck out of az now....time of year when the ball does insane things

    i really hope i can actually enjoy the season

    im getting home at around game time every night, and am totally exhausted

    not complaining, but i have a feeling im gonna fall asleep during most games


    1. Depends on the procedure. If it's some type of nerve ablation, he could be back in a month or so, maybe sooner.

  2. You know what, that's great for Brown. Even if he ends up as 'just' a mistake hitter, or if that BA is inflated by going up against the other borderline prospects in late innings, he needed a boost to his confidence. Shows he's got something left in the tank. Now go show it in AAA. I'm not ready to give up on him (or Panik) - they've still got time!

    1. Yeah, I saw that Brown reference too and was thinking much the same, that it starts with building some confidence. Thanks for the great reporting on him DrB, I still think that he's still a viable prospect and that, at minimum, he can be what DrB has been saying is his floor: even if he's a replacement level hitter, roughly, or slightly above, with his defense, he could still be around an average 2.0 WAR (1.5 to 2.5) player for us.

      But I think that he can much more. Some are unhappy that he swings for power, but that is one of the tenets of Ted Williams philosophy of hitting, that you should swing it some. I think his junior season shows what his potential could be if he could develop that power. I'm not sure now if he can ever develop his OBP enough and his SB% looks like a lost cause, but if he can develop that power (and that 9 HR outburst in mid-2013 was eye opening), he could be a nice 2 or 3-spot hitter, providing power and speed up top the lineup, as with that power/speed combo, one, he'll have more extrabase hits, two, he'll score more on singles from the middle of the lineup, three, he'll drive in more of the top of the lineup.

      And I think he has kept pitchers honest by crowding the plate, getting HBP to help boost his OBP (history of it in college and pros), so that they don't bust him inside as much, though from what I've read, it is RHP coming inside that has been giving him problems, so maybe he's getting shy about getting hit as much? Or maybe that trick worked with less talented pitchers, but with the better pitchers, it don't work as much?

      And I'm pretty sure Panik will be able to hit in the majors, his contact rate and walk/strikeout ratios have both been great every season he has played as a pro, and that should translate to the majors eventually, like it did finally for Scutaro. Maybe he's a utility guy as everyone says, but that was what Scutaro was as an old rookie, and he built himself up from there, like Omar Vizquel, all were good with the bat in the minors, didn't do so well initially in the majors, but learned from there. And as we found with Scutaro, he has been very valuable providing what he does, without being a full-time starter until his 30's, some prospect hounds get so hopped up on looking for the next Trout or Stanton, that they forget that players like Scutaro can also add value to the team and that they are great and cheap complements to the stars of the team that every team needs in order to compete for a championship.

    2. Believing can generate lots of energy.

      If a player believes in himself, he gets that extra boost of energy.

      If fans believe in a player or his team, it works similarly.

    3. I agree that Brown should continue to try to be a gap-power hitter. I doubt that he will ever hit more than about 15 HR's in a season. He does need to hold his hands higher so he does not have to bring them up as the pitch is being delivered. With the velocities hitters have to deal with today, any extra movement like that before they start their swing makes it more likely they will not be able to get around on the hard stuff. Same problem Crawford tends to drift into, and we won't even think about Aaron Rowand!

    4. Good follow-up, DrB, I should have added that he's never going to hit that many homers. Somewhere in the tens is where he probably can get to. But hitting for power for him means more balls up the gaps, especially in AT&T, where he natural speed allows him to accumulate doubles and triples by the bushel full.

  3. Baggs said in his most recent chat that he believed Paniks woes last season were due to a hammy injury and being a bit out of shape. I still think he has those high contact/high on base skills that got him on the map to begin with. His fall from prospectdom was less due to his slightly above average AA season and more his move to 2B. That skill set doesn't wow as much from the keystone as it does the gap. All the second base prospects that get love these days have above average power and plus D.

    If he comes up, plays good D, gets on base and whacks his fair share of doubles then what is there to complain about?

    1. I don't think Panik's season at Richmond was all that bad. He was 22 yo with average age of the league about 24. 7 of the 10 top OPS's in the league were from players age 26 or over. He maintained an excellent K/BB to boot. The fact that he missed all of ST with the hammy and may have been slowed by it for much of the season just makes even more of an accomplishment. I think Panik will be fine. He's way younger than Brown at the same level.

    2. Panik is going to hit over .300 in the PCL with plenty of walks and doubles and will be playing second base in SF by July.

      Sounds good anyhow.

    3. BA's profile notes that spring training hammy issues hurting him some into the season. And as DrB noted, he didn't do all that bad there given his age and wasn't that bad overall. His .333 OBP was still above the league average (though barely, league was .330).

      However, I would note that he actually started off fast (.320/.400/.433/.833) in April, then I would guess that he reinjured his hammy in early to mid May (he had a nice stretch of extra-base hits ffrom 4/27 to 4/29, then they petered out in May). After his strong April, he had declining results until August: .647 OPS in May, .645 in June, .611 in July, before perking up to .274/.339/.358/.697 in August.

      I don't think his move to 2B was what hurt his prospect status among the rankers. Most have said, even as the Giants played him at SS, that he was a future 2B. That as his label for some when he was drafted. And others thought his future was utility even before 2013. His relatively poor 2013 is what got rankers to push him down.

      That's where having team-focused analysts helps us understand his situation better. Most of the rankers just look at his stats and read a few reports. They aren't aware of his hamstring problems that cut into his effectiveness. Some of them don't account for the fact that he's 22 YO in a league where the average age was roughly 24.5. And he was a strong 22 YO, he didn't turn 23 until after the season ended, in late Oct. Others aren't aware of how tough the AA can be on offensive players.

      Even fewer are aware of how rare it is for a hitter to hit under .250 when his BB/K ratio is basically 1.0. In the majors, if a hitter's BB/K ratio is 0.76-1.00, only 14% of them hit under .250, but 32% of the hit over .300; and for those over 1.0, which Panik was in 2011 and 2012, only 9% under .250 but 51% over .300. On top of that, Panik don't strike out much, and in the majors, those over 90% contact rate (which is 10% strikeouts vs. AB) usually hit in the .270-.290 range. So I think it's safe to say that Panik had a bit of bad luck with his BABIP in 2013, hitting only .257. If he had hit .277 instead, his OPS would have been around .725 instead, and if he had hit .297, his OPS around .770 instead, which would be pretty good for the league, and his OBP would have been much higher than the league average instead.

      Now, the caveat there is that while on average, hitters that control their bats well tend to be good hitters in the majors, maybe Panik is that percentage who don't pan out. Still, since he continued to control his bat pretty well, even in a season where his batting line took a hit, that's a good sign that he can carry that with him in AAA. So I haven't written him off yet as a starter for us.

      And people forget, the Giants already have their core set of hitters: Posey, Belt, Pence. Then you got Pagan and Crawford too, and Brandon might advance and join the core this season. We don't need Panik to be an All-Star hitting 2B, though that would be great as we would then crush the other teams. If he can just be a hitter like Scutaro, high BA, high walks, some power, some speed/smarts, that's great in the #2 spot. Same with Brown, we don't need him to crush the ball like Trout, he just needs to hit enough so that we can use him as a cheap spot in the lineup, so that we can win with the core players. That's the beauty when you have a young core already, we don't have to be desperate for star hitters, we can be very satisfied with good enough hitters who complement the core stars.

  4. Super solid post by The OGC. And some stout metaphysics from BLSL.