Tuesday, January 13, 2015

DrB's 2015 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #20 Derek Law

Derek Law, RHP.  DOB:  9/14/1990.  6'2", 210 lbs.

2011 Rookie AZL:  0-0, 2.50, 18 IP, 1.00 BB/9, 9.5 K/9, 4 Saves.
2012 Low A:           5-2, 2.91, 55.2 IP, 3.72 BB/9, 10.83 K/9, 2 Saves.
2013 Low A:           0-3, 2.31, 35 IP, 2.57 BB/9, 12.34 K/9, 3 Saves.
2013 High A:          4-0, 2.10, 25.2 IP, 0.35 BB/9, 15.78 K/9, 11 Saves.
2013 AFL:              1-0, 0.00, 12.1 IP, 4.38 BB/9, 11.68 K/9, 0 Saves.
2014 AA:                2-0, 2.57, 28 IP, 4.50 BB/9, 9.32 K/9, 13 Saves.

Last year this time, Derek Law was where Steven Okert is this year, coming off a terrific regular season at 2 levels followed by an outstanding AFL that put him on the national map of prospect watchers.  Law was given a long look in spring training and finally sent down during the final week.  His AA season was good, but the walk rate seemed to spike a bit and something didn't seem quite right.  In late June, he underwent Tommy John surgery for a torn UCL.  He is expected back around midseason this year.

Law has a funky delivery where he turns his back to the batter, torquing his torso and then unleashing a quick, stabbing overhand delivery.  His FB goes 92-96 and is extremely difficult to time due to the delivery.  He also has a wipeout slider and a diving curveball.  Command sometimes suffers after TJ so that will be something to watch when he comes back.  If everything goes well, we could see him in SF come September a la Hunter Strickland, who came back from TJ surgery without missing a full season.


  1. I was completely enamored of him in spring training and I'm hoping he can develop 4 really good pitches and go the starter route. I don't have any real reason beyond I just ended up with a fan-level emotional investment in him. And certainly I don't mind him as a reliever or have any clue if could actually do the workload of a starter.

    But I'm hoping in a very wishful thinking sort of way because 'reasons...' :)

    And if I were Saebean, I might try that kind of move. Of course I'm the kind of guy who loves front-office management and tinkering... Like I do for Football: http://www.solecismic.com/fof/index.php (Front Office Football) And Baseball: http://www.ootpdevelopments.com/out-of-the-park-baseball/index.php (Out of the Park Baseball)

    And I always tinker that way...

    1. Law will never be a starter, but I think he can be a terrific bullpen arm.

  2. Midseason additions can be of tremendous help...Law, Okert, Hall, Blackburn, etc.

  3. What would it take to get Craig Kimbrel from the Braves ?

    -Inquiring Fan

    1. Our bullpen is one of our strengths. Our weaknesses would be the starting rotation and LF. The cost of Kimbrel would be too much and it wouldn't really solve anything. The bullpen is pretty solid going into 2015.

    2. I would say given the farm pipeline that is deep in quality and quantity of bullpen arms, the Giants are pretty set for the next 5+ years.

    3. Yeah, the Giants don't want to be spending the kind of $$$ and player capital it would take to get a Kimbrel on a closer.

  4. Although underrated in my opinion Casilla, Lopez, Affeldt and Romo are some of the best in the game. I just don't see any room or need to bring in a big name. Besides Romo's new contract the group is very cost controlled and we have nice replacements on the way in Okert, Hall, Law, Strickland and Cordier. The only big name I would be interested in would be Cishek and the Marlins arent in sell mode at the present time.

  5. The one element I feel extremely optimistic about for the Giants' long-term future is the bullpen. I just love the talent, potential, and depth. Plus, I recognize the Giants Brain Trust can absolutely find a guy to pick up at seemingly any given time. It would be highly optimistic to think all these guys come through in SF, but let's look at it. *IF* a team really values Crick, sure I'd trade him. His walk rate kinda terrifies me. But my hope is he can at least become an amazing fireman.

    By 2017, all these pieces in place? G's are spending $25M on 2015 bullpen. For 2017, maybe save 22M+ to put into a player (like Heyward or Zimmermann)?

    R Crick- long relief
    R Machi?
    L Bandilla/Osich
    R Hall
    R Law
    L Okert
    R Black closer

    Swap the names and pecking order around however one sees fit. Plenty of other options. Remember some of our #DogPound guys ("You Don't Want It!"). Not impossible to say Stephen Johnson, Kaden, Mizenko, submariner Tyler Rogers, McVay, Slania, or others make some noise. Strickland or Cordier? Somehow Michael Broadway re-discovers his best form? Heck, I dunno. Or a starter prospect converts into a shutdown reliever over time. Some scouts believe this will ultimately be where Ysla ends up (I strongly disagree). Even Dylan Davis could, who knows?

    Seems to me like Law is right in the mix for 8th or 9th innings in the future. Get these guys in the hands of Rags, Gardy, and Bochy. Nice!

    1. Don't get me wrong, I love your optimism. It is just not likely that our entire bullpen will be homegrown. After Affeldt, Lopez, Casilla and Romo become free agents expect a few to be resigned or replaced by free agents. The Giants are not scared to get quality arms in free agency. The strength of our bullpen is a top priority.

    2. Your optimism is through the roof. I'll have what you're snorting, Carmot.


    3. Nothing wrong with throwing out scenarios, it's what we "prospect hounds" do. And I can imagine the Giants front office having the same kinds of conversations. The Giants pen, one of the pillars of their recent success, is certainly not getting any younger. As far as I'm concerned, Strickland, Okert and Hall will all be battling for a 25-man spot this spring. The edge goes to Strickland as he's had the MLB experience. Can he figure out lefties? Okert isn't far behind, and I totally see him as an in-house replacement option for Affeldt in 2016 if he can keep throwing strikes. If he keeps that mid-90's velocity, who knows. If Derek Law returns healthy, he's very close to the bigs as well. Ray Black... get that guy to AAA and see what happens!

      The Giants may never have a completely homegrown bullpen, but I don't think it's farfetched to imagine a core 3 or 4 homegrown guys holding down spots in a couple years. That would be fun to watch!

    4. Lol. Y'all crack me up. I did try to qualify my statements by saying "highly optimistic... Plenty of options..." and " Brain Trust can absolutely find a guy to pick up..." which, in my mind meant another Lopez, Machi, Casilla, Penny, Mijares, Gutierrez, Petit, Gaudin, or whomever else you want to look back and remember. Even serviceable guys like Mota or Ray or Moscoso ate some innings when needed, eh? Yes, that *could* mean spending a bit. Heck, Miller and Robertson set a new bar this offseason for relievers.

      Let's face it, we can't even develop bench utility guys of late. We've reached outside to get Arias, Blanco, Abreu, and so many other fill-ins. At least our bullpen could or should offer strong depth moving forward. Yes, it is *unlikely* that our entire bullpen be homegrown. But I think it key that we have so many quality options in the pipeline. Well, unless we trade them.

      It's all good. Just my take. I read a lot of others feel more certain about guys like Kontos, Adrianza, or Blach than I am. If one were to inquire my opinion on a future ace in our system, for example, I'd be far less "optimistic." My thought about who we've signed/drafted since 2010 that could be a future All-Star caliber (or average 4+ WAR/season, if you prefer) position player and hasn't yet seen MLB time (so not Panik or Susac)? Uhhhhh.. Crickets. Cheers.

    5. You've got great perspectives Carmot. You are a very knowledgable and realistic member of the Giants blog community as far as I'm concerned. The bullpen arms are a major strength in the organization right now. Future aces... future all-stars? Don't know about that either. But future late-inning caliber arms? There seems to be a flock of them moving closer to the majors right now. Exciting times for a team that will eventually need some turnover in that area.

    6. The crickets answer:
      Beede, Crick, and Mella have potential Ace stuff and time to hone their craft. 2017 is still a long way off from a development standpoint. Removing Panik and Susac from your list of future All-star potentials drafted since 2010 is just unfair - you've cut out the best players because they've already made the show. I don't know if either should be counted on as be 4+ War/season, but your formulation/line-drawing will obviously under-cut the drafts since 2010 if you just take out those that have already succeeded. Even then we could add Carbonell and Cabrera to such a list based on *potential*.

      Can't develop bench/util guys?
      Right now: Duffy, Perez, Susac Potential: Parker, Adrianza, Brown, Duvall, Dominguez. Traded out from recent past: Tommy Joseph, Gillaspie, Culberson, Schierholtz. Skipped merrily past utility roles: Panik, Crawford.

      The Giants have indeed stuck with Arias over some homegrown talent. They've also used homegrown utility/platoon/backup guys to upgrade the ML roster. And some util type guys have been squeezed out in a numbers game. But every year they've used home grown guys to finish off the roster and bunch of them have rings/made WS rosters (we are talking about end of the roster guys here so they didn't contribute a ton, but they were there).

      With Arias (originally signed to SF on a minor league contract) and Blanco (ditto) on the the team as primary back-up/utility guys, Giants-drafted players took 69% of the ABs in the 2014 WS. Since Blanco was really the starting CF and not a "utility" guy, Arias's two ABs (and some of Morse's ABs) are basically the only ABs taken by the bench by non-Giants-drafted players.

      The Giants (and really all of baseball since 1988 or something) has shown what a good bullpen can add to a team - even if underrepresented in WAR. So we can be excited about this crop and this group of relievers. I expect Sabean will continue to look at it as depth in the farm - fodder for trades and reinforcements for the ML roster. But you are holding the position players and starters to an unfair level - asking about our next All-Star player. Maybe there is maybe there isn't. And the same can be said of the relievers - do you we see any of them as nailed on All Stars? And then what you said about utility players is just false. The system churns out just above replacement players for the end of the roster. Especially when you add FAs signed to minor league contracts and stashed in AAA.

    7. Thanks covechatter for the acknowledgement, and good questions about our future bullpen arms. Kenny, I don't mean to antagonize nor start arguments, that's never my intention. Hopefully, just some good Giants discussion among like-minded fans. I'm sorry if I put you off, it seems I might have. I won't re-hash all the roster moves with you in further discourse, but feel comfortable saying I'm fairly aware of them. I was just sharing some of my opinions is all.

      The reason I wasn't including Panik or Susac in my assessment was because they already have roles- not to tip an unfair bias or anything. If I include them on our 25-man roster, by 2017 we'll still likely need to fill at least 14 of the 25-man roster spots. So, my reasoning says that at least one or two other prospects will need to be some sort of 'impact' players. And cost-controlled. So, who have we signed/drafted that could be that? I'm simply not sure yet. It's more about the process the Giants choose of getting short-term guys... So, each year more holes open, old ones aren't filled (for the long-term).

      FA gets more expensive. Draft picks fall lower as we have winning seasons. We don't bust the IFA bonus pool. We aren't signing massive IFA contracts. We don't trade away players in walk years to replenish our farm. We trade some of our more valuable prospects for rentals. Our core guys are getting pricey, their salaries are quickly escalating... And, it doesn't look like ownership wants to bust the CBT. So, something's gotta give. I'm just looking to see where our next impact player comes from. 3B, LF, CF, #3 or #4 starter, bullpen, bench...

      Back to my original point, bullpen looks good. Derek Law could be a part of that. Cheers.

  6. Isn't Carmot saying something with more strategic force? That is, a payoff for the Giants' focus on relief arms, for draft and development, may well be the freeing up of payroll to go after costly players where our farm system isn't strong. We're therefore talking not only about excitement, that is, excellence in one vital area, the pen, but about the chance to improve the rest of the team too.

    It seems axiomatic nowadays that a team needs a cadre of cheap players to be able to afford the high-priced, much coveted, and exorbitantly salaried ones. Carmot has proposed that the Giants can have such a cadre, focused in the pen, and still maintain quality.m

    1. Except I don't concede that the Giants are necessarily weak in position player or SP's, so the strategy of taking high velocity bullpen arms later in the draft supplements the what they have always done earlier in the draft which is to take high ceiling SP's and up-the-middle position players.

    2. Ah, yes, capanari, that's it! Cost control has to come from somewhere, in order to have flexibility. Our core is getting pricey. Top 5 players already make 85M and cost over half our payroll in 2015. Top 10 (6M+ salaries) make up nearly 80% of our team payroll. And they're still RISING. All of our (16) players under contract or options combine for 142M, which is 88% of payroll. That doesn't even account for the rising cost of guys like Belt, Blanco, Crawford, and Petit in arbitration. So, we really could use some young talent, under long-term cost control.

      Otherwise, we're going to need to spend largely. Giant-ly. Bust the CBT? It also relates to secondary factors as well. All those that expect we can 'trade at the deadline' if we need somebody? What do we have to trade? Would our prospect offer beat a team like STL, WAS, LAD, CHC, MIA, TOR, or SEA if we're up against them in bidding for a help? What would be the asking price, if we also require the other team to give salary relief, since we're already right up against the CBT? A team like CLE, CIN, TB, MIL, MIN, or NYM would LAUGH at Sabean asking for cash in a deal. And what further damage would that do to our future payroll and roster construction?

      With respect, DrB... I didn't use the term "weak." There is obviously much value to be gleaned from 1-3 WAR players, and I'm not diminishing what depth the Giants' system has. But I was asking about an impact player (4+ WAR/season) to add to our core. In order to keep our window open. Instead, I concluded that our (overall) bullpen talents might help us in many ways- like potentially saving money to allocate for other needs. Cheers.

    3. I believe there are several POTENTIAL 4+ WAR position players in the system. Whether they live up to that potential remains to be seen, but that is true even of the highest rated prospects.

  7. Doh, my bad campanari. That was really lame to misspell your name, no offense meant. Sorry.

    Sure, DrB. I'm hoping one of 'em is our future CF! Or at least an outfielder. Slater? Mac? Horan? You like Edie. I've mentioned Angomas.