Thursday, March 5, 2015

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/5/2015: Giants 8 Cubs 6

The Odd Year Curse struck early and with a vengeance taking out Hunter Pence for 6-8 weeks with a fractured ulna in his left forearm after being hit by a pitch.  The bad news about Pence overshadowed some nice performances by some of the Giants young prospects in camp.  Key Lines:

Hunter Pence(DH)- 0 for 2.  BA= .250.  Pence tried to get out of the way of an inside pitch from a Cubs minor league pitcher, but took it on he left forearm just above the wrist.  Of all the places he could have suffered a fracture, that was probably the least damaging.  The fracture was non-displaced.  Pence should be out no more than 8 weeks which would put him back around the first of May at the latest.

Daniel Carbonell(LF)- 1 for 2, HR(1).  BA= .200.  Carbonell put a nice swing on the ball and put quite a charge into it.  I am going to dissect this a bit more here.  Carbonell swing was harshly criticized someone named Eric Longenhagen in Fangraphs after the Arizona Fall League.  Longenhagen referred to Carbonell's swing as "stiff, weak wristed and without good bat speed or any semblance of weight transfer."  He posted video of Carbonell's swing from he AFL, I suppose to illustrate his point.  Problem is that is not what I saw in that video back then and that is not what Carbonell showed today when he hit the dinger.  Here's the thing.  It is true that Carbonell does not really move his front foot except for a very small heel lift.  He has very little load, simply bringing his hand straight back and up to begin his swing.  He does, in fact transfer his weigh and gives a quick hip turn.  With his natural strength and the leverage his gets with his long arms, he generates plenty of power.  He does not NEED the load, leg kick or weight transfer.  Since all of those components added split seconds to the swing time, Carbonell is able to get his bat quickly to the ball and thus start his swing later.  Advantage Carbonell.  At least that is how I saw it then and that is what I saw today in the video of his HR swing.

Adam Duvall(3B)- 1 for 2, E(throw).  BA= .375.  Rough day for Duvall as he misplayed a ball down the line in addition to the throwing error.  He did get a hit, but was nailed on the basepaths trying to stretch it into a double.

Mitch Delfino(3B)- 1 for 1, BB.  BA= .667.   I believe Mitch Delfino is the Giants 3B of the future.  Terrific spring, what little of it we have seen so far.

Jarrett Parker(RF)- 1 for 2, Assist(1B).  BA= .400.  Parker has an arm, I tell you!

Christian Arroyo(SS)- 2 for 2, 2B.  BA= 1.000.  Arroyo's job here is to win a spot on the San Jose Roster.  He took a big step toward that with this 2-hit performance.

Ryan Vogelsong(RHP)- 2 IP 3 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 18.00.  After a 1,2,3 first inning, Vogey gave up a grand slam to uber-hitting prospect Kyle Schwarber.  Vogey was hampered by the 2 miscues at 3B by Adam Duvall, but you gotta get out of those situations.

Chris Heston- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Very nice outing by Hesto Presto.  He may be moving up the Giants SP depth chart, maybe 8'th after Vogey and Petit?

Jean Machi- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Machi has kind of been forgotten because he did not do much in the postseason, but I'm pretty sure the Giants don't make it that far without his heroics in innings 6 and 7 throughout the season.

Hunter Strickland- 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 K, HR.  OK, this is getting just a bit ridiculous.  Maybe he is working on his breaking stuff, but both dingers this spring have come off the fastball.  Forget about the triple digit stuff.  The FB is hittable!

Erik Cordier- 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Not a pretty line, but it is important for Cordier to show he can pitch his way out of trouble.

The Giants travel to Surprise, AZ tomorrow to take on the Texas Rangers with Yusmeiro Petit getting the start.

Who plays RF for the Giants for 2-4 weeks in Hunter Pence's absence after the season starts?  Gregor Blanco?  Justin Maxwell?  Daniel Carbonell?  Gary Brown?  Juan Perez?  Mac Williamson?  Trade?  Oh, and thank God it is not for longer than 1 month barring any unexpected setbacks.

Sounds like the Houston Astros are being run by a bunch of used car salesmen(sorry if any of you readers are used car salesmen.  Nothing personal).  Jon Heyman is reporting that after agreeing to a 1 year/$4M contract, the Astros came back with a lower offer after viewing Vogey's physical report.  Sound familiar?  That's exactly the same stunt they pulled on first round draft pick Brady Aiken that ended up blowing up in their faces, costing them the signing of not just Aiken but 2 other draft picks they had apparently made promises to contingent upon signing Aiken for the lower amount.  If this report on Vogey's situation is true, the Commish needs to get involved and come down on those scam artists down there.

Around the League:

Yu Darvish left his start for the Texas Rangers after 1 inning with "triceps tightness."  Darvish insisted that the injury is not serious and his exit was more precautionary than necessary, but he did miss the last 7 weeks of the 2014 season with elbow inflammation.

Mike Minor of the Atlanta Braves has shoulder pain and is going to get an opinion from Dr. Andrews.

Rumors surfaced that Cuban 2B Hector Olivera is a TJ surgery waiting to happen.  This was vehemently denied by Olivera's camp.


  1. I think Strickland really needs AAA work. He's just become a HR surrendering machine since the playoffs. Cordier is someone I have little confidence in based on his track record, albeit he did show AAA improvement in Fresno last year, finally getting to a sub 4.0 ERA.

    I have to smile at Duvall's throwing error. The guy does have an MLB, so I'm sure he'll find a job somewhere. But it won't be at 3B for the Giants unless a miracle happens.

    Sucks about Pence. But I think Blanco is one of the better 4th outfielders in MLB and if he's the primary replacement, he won't be batting lead-off where he's historically been very bad, but rather later in the order where he, historically, seems to bat reasonably well for a defensive outfielder.

    1. I am going to say I think someone else is going to get a shot at the temporary RF job before Blanco does, maybe Maxwell or Carbonell? I don't think they will make a trade, but may be scouring the waiver wire at the end of spring training.

  2. I agree Doc, I think they are going to try to fill that role internally with someone who has some pop. Another option would be to start Ishi in left and move Blanco or Aoki to right. We did alright for a short period with Hicks last year so if we can catch similar lightening from some one else in that role, we may not be too bad off until Pence comes back.

    Billy Baseball

    1. I'd like to see what Parker can do.

      Seize the opportunity, kid.

  3. The Astros continue to be the worst organization in baseball. Vogey hinted at some oddness. They have over 15mm to commit, it'll be interesting to see how advisors fight back against their lowball tactics, and you have to think they won't be getting much love from Casey close. The GM knew exactly what he was doing when he made negotiations public, effectively taking ucla off the table for Aiken and Nix, a total scumbag move he hasn't really been called on much.

    1. If I was an agent for a player drafted by the Astros, I would get them a complete medical evaluation from a reputable clinic, whether that be Dr Andrews or Kerlan-Jobe or another one like that. I would then present the findings on the first day of negotiations and inform them that my client would not be signing any contract contingent on passing a physical performed by the team medical staff. Any offers the Astros want to make should be based on what they see in the already completed physical and will be final once signed by both parties. If the Astros walk away from the table, fine, I would absolutely not budge on it.

  4. This is a silver lining moment:

    a) Early in the season
    b) Allows us to experiment with depth guys--more time for Travis in LF, perhaps some time for Carbonell (wouldn't it be great if he sticks or they have enough confidence in him that he jumps to AAA)
    c) Gives Aoki and Blanco playing time so they're ready.

    I just don't see us doing anything drastic and rather we use this to make us stronger.

    As for Strickland, yeah, he's broken at this point. Not sure what happened between his Sept call up and the playoffs, but he needs to get on that fastball a bit. I think its great he's working on secondary pitches but if his primary out is too hittable it doesn't make a difference. I also am not sanguine on Cordier. I think this really opens the door for either Machi or Kontos to get the last spot (maybe they trade one too, which wouldn't be bad).

    Duvall is toast. Would love to see Delfino get more ABs to see what he can do. Same for Carbonell and Parker.

  5. I doubt they trade for a big bat when Hunter will only miss a month at the most. An outfield of Blanco in LF, Pagan in CF, and Aoki in RF seems most likely with Perez and Ishikawa as backups. That would be a fast outfield. It would be tough to get the ball into the gaps on those three.

  6. While I agree with everyone "don't panic", and I doubt there will be a 'big' trade, it certainly could be wise to keep ears open for an additional outfielder. Several clubs (Padres, Red Sox for example) are over crowded and Pagan needs to be handled carefully (I know I've said this before, but back injuries make me nervous). I'd love to see Carbonell excell, but most of what I've seen puts him a year away. I do think the Aoki addition will turn out to be worthwhile, but neither Aoki or Blanco are going to be "impact" bats (they're handy, but not studs). Wonder what it would take to get Venable?
    And, completely off topic, any scouting on how Hector is doing? I could certainly see us carrying 3 catchers, for when Buster plays 1st.

  7. looks like darvish is gonna have to undergo tommy john

    thats a bummer

    sorry that i havent been commenting on st, but been very busy and i really dont get interested in what goes on in st games till the final week