Friday, May 15, 2015

Down on the Farm: 5/14/2015

AAA  Sacramento River Cats edged out the Las Vegas 51's 6-5:

Brett Jackson(CF)- 3 for 5, HR(2).  BA= .286.
Hunter Pence(RF)- 3 for 5, HR(2).  BA= .294.
Travis Ishikawa(1B)- 3 for 4, 2B.  BA= .286.
Clayton Blackburn(RHP)- 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K's, GO/AO= 6/0.  ERA= 1.64.
Hunter Strickland(RHP)- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, Save(4).  ERA= 1.83.

Pence looks like he is just about ready to play MLB games.  What happens when Travis Ishikawa is ready too?  I noticed that there were 6 outs unaccounted for between Blackburn's 6 K's and 6 GO's so I looked up the game log.  He had 1 pop out, 4 LD outs and 1 out on the front end of a GIDP.  Still, a very nice start for Blackburn in a tough place to pitch.  If he can dominate AAA like this, he could make the Giants next offseason shopping list shorter.  Steven Okert was torched for 5 runs without recording an out.


AA Richmond Flying Squirrels defeated the Bowie Baysox 7-2:

Ricky Oropesa(1B)- 3 for 4, HR(4).  BA= .243.
Daniel Carbonell(LF)- 1 for 3, BB, 2 SB(7).  BA= .151.
Joe Biagini(RHP)- 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 6 K's, GO/AO= 12/3.  ERA= 2.06.
Tyler Rogers(RHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 5.91.

Ricky Oropesa is hitting .353/.370/.608 with 3 HR's in May spanning 14 games after hitting just .135 in April.  Another strong start for Big Joe Biagini.  Could he be the next Chris Heston?


High A  Modesto Nuts topped the San Jose Giants 5-4:

Hunter Cole(2B)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .316.
Austin Slater(DH)- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .315.
DJ Snelton(LHP)- 5 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 K.  ERA= 5.33.
Luis Ysla(LHP)- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 12.38.
Jason Forjet(RHP)- 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.48.

Maybe Ysla can get back on track in the bullpen?


Low A  Hickory Crawdads blanked the Augusta Greenjackets 1-0:

Will Callaway(2B)- 3 for 4.  BA- .315.
Skyler Ewing(1B)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .202.
Mark Reyes(LHP)- 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.00.
Raymundo Montero(RHP)- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.05.
Luis Ortiz(RHP, Crawdads)- 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 0.40.

Ortiz was a HS prospect I really liked before the 2014 draft.  He's off to a strong start to his pro career in the Rangers organization.


  1. I haven't followed Blackburn's injuries that closely, but he seems to be out on DL every year. Do you have any thoughts what the issue(s) might be, like is it related to his body type, or something mechanical, or just random bad luck?

    Yeah, I was wondering about Ishikawa too. I can see Susac going back down once Pence returns (reportedly Sanchez has an option, but instead of sending him down and bringing up, say, Duvall, he's still around, so I figure Susac is the one who goes), but who goes when Ishikawa is ready? I would hate to see him get DFAed again after a championship, and he got a bobblehead day too, but Maxwell has hit as well and can play all OF positions, plus 1B is crowded with Belt and Posey. The only reason I could see keeping Ishi is that he would balance out the bench with another lefty, and particularly, a lefty with power.

    But with no RH with power, then maybe they keep Susac and send down Sanchez at that point. Ishi and Susac for power from each side. Blanco and Duffy if you need to get on-base. The choices will be hard.

    Also, Peavy looks ready to return soon as well, and what happens then? A decision could be between Machi and Kontos, and right now that seems like Kontos is the clear choice. But Cain just started on the mound himself, who goes when he returns, both on the roster as well as the starting rotation? It would be a shame to send down Heston at that point, given how well he has pitched, but that's the only move where we don't lose anyone.

    Glad I don't have to make all these decisions. My head and heart hurts from thinking about the permutations. What do you think happens?

    1. Blackburn's injuries have always seemed to be relatively minor without a lot of time lost. I would say he is not at greater risk of a major injury than your average pitching prospect.

    2. Ishikawa is a good defensive 1B, has some LH power and works hard to increase his areas of competency to he can justify a roster spot. In a pinch, he can LF or RF though nobody is going to be thinking 'gold glove' when he's out there... So I think the odds are good for his getting back on the active 25-man roster and sticking.

      Between Sanchez and Susac, it's a tough decision. In fact, to be honest, I think they both need to go back to AAA. Sanchez was rushed through the minors (rookie league in 2009, first call-up in 2011) and has yo-yo'd back and forth. That's played havoc with his development and Sanchez, more so than Posey and Susac, has the talent to be an exceptional defensive catcher. His arm and feet are, by far, the best of the three. But his receiving skills are, well, ugly to the point he's an anti-pitch-framer as he stabs at too many balls. Which you can see illustrated in this article:

      And Susac may end up with developmental deficiencies, too. He's always been an 'offensive catcher' prospect and he needs work on his defense. Especially with his footwork when it comes to preventing steals. OTOH, he's a better receiver and was a positive pitch-framer at Fresno last year. So he's got some advantages over Sanchez.

      But both going back to AAA isn't really an option. So I'd keep Susac up here. Sanchez isn't hitting AND his receiving hurts the pitcher. Susac may not have Sanchez's defensive potential, but Sanchez (in my book) needs a LOT of work on his receiving to recognize his potential. Whereas Susac, IMO, needs to learn major league hitting and isn't a negative-pitch-framer like Sanchez.

    3. MosesZD,

      I came this close to hitting the button on this comment, but I'll go ahead and respond. This comment is incredibly unfair to Hector Sanchez.

      1. The BP article you site is from early in 2013, for crying out loud! Data published in Fangraphs from this year show Sanchez to be only slightly negative as a pitch framer. Buster Posey is something like 6'th best in MLB, Sanchez well within margin of error for average. Susac did not have enough data at the time to make the list at all.

      2. Pitch framing is not entirely a function of catching skill. It is also dependent on the pitcher command. A high percentage of Hector's games are catching Tim LIncecum who has the poorest command of any Giants pitcher and it is not particularly close. If you call for a pitch on the outside corner a the knees and the pitch arrives at the plate up and in, you have no choice but to "stab" at it and you are not going to get the call from the ump even if it is in the strike zone.

      3. As for "stabbing" Rene Rivera is one of the best "pitch framers" in MLB, and he never sets his glove until after the pitch is thrown. Look up a Fangraphs article entitled "The Little Technician" for a reference.

    4. Here are the up-to-date catcher framing stats for 2015. The link is

      Chris Iannetta is #1 with an RAA of +6.8. Nick Hundley is dead last at -5.6. Buster Posey is at +2.5 while Hector Sanchez is -0.4. Catchers who rank lower than Hector Sanchez include Salvador Perez at -1.0, Tuffy Gosewich at -1.8 and the vaunted Russell Martin at -1.9. I guess it's a bit more difficult to frame the Toronto pitchers than the Pirates where the pitching coach emphasizes command and pitching to contact, huh?

    5. Anyway, I think we have a long way to go before we fully understand pitch framing stats. I think the Russell Martin numbers should be very sobering to anyone who thinks it is a repeatable catching skill.

      Assuming you believe in the numbers we currently have, though, Hector Sanchez is not a great pitch framer but is not terrible and is far from being the worst.

    6. Could the Giants trade Hector in the deadline to free up Susac?


  2. I think Arias may be the odd man out if Ishi comes back. Duffy can fill his role and he's not getting much playing time anyway. He might be good for a minor leaguer if we wanted to try to trade him. Of course, the "injury bug" may hit on someone by then too.

    I still think we have some time to sort things out before Cain comes back. Besides Machi I would have said a couple of weeks ago that Vogey was on the hot seat but he has stepped up recently and I can see the Giants wanting to keep himself around longer if they can even with Cain comes back.

    In any case, these things tend to work themselves out.

    Billy Baseball