Friday, October 30, 2015

Blogger's Note

I am attending a conference out of town.  Most likely no new posts until 11/1 or 11/2.  Thanks for reading everybody!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Giants Depth Charts: Second Base

I was surprised to find that second base has thinned out some organization wide.  Part of that is the graduations of Joe Panik and Kelby Tomlinson.  Some is due to departures of players like Jeremy Sy and Ryan Jones.  The good news is that 2B seems to be a relatively easy position to transition to.  Not that it's an easy position to play, but it does not require the tools that other positions like SS require.  Again, this depth chart is my opinion of where players stand in the Giants organization.


Joe Panik
Kelby Tomlinson
Ehire Adrianza

With Panik and Tomlinson being so good and both relatively young, it probably does not matter that the position has thinned a bit down in the minors.


Brandon Hicks

The Giants caught lightning in a bottle once with Hicks.  It seems unlikely to happen again.


Austin Slater

Slater is one of the better up and coming hitters in the organization.  He's getting extra AB's in the Arizona Fall League.  I expect to see him in Sacramento in 2016.

High A

John Polonius

Probably an organizational player at this point.

Low A

Richard Rodriguez

DSL veteran finished the season strongly for Augusta.  A bit old for Augusta at age 23.

Short Season

Richard Amion

Late round draftee from 2014.  Has a lot of speed but needs to hit more consistently.

Rookie AZL

Kevin Rivera
Tyler Brown

Rivera is a project who seemed to make some progress in 2015.  Brown was a teammate of Phil Bickford's in JC ball.  He had a great AZL campaign and at age 20 is not all that old for the league.  Brown is an interesting prospect who I will be watching for in 2016.


Robert Antunez
Manuel Geraldo

Antunez' numbers seem kind of nondescript to me.  Geraldo is listed as a SS but played 2B most of the first half of the season before moving back to SS.  I really like Geraldo a lot based on his size and numbers.  I look forward to seeing what he can do in the States.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Giants Depth Charts: First Base

The Giants have never invested a lot in the first base position, at least since they drafted Will Clark #2 overall.  They invest in pitching and up-the-middle positional talent and then fill in 1B with whatever undervalued good field mediocre hitter they can put there.  It should come as not surprise, then, that 1B might be the thinest position at all levels of the organization.  I mean, toward the end of last season, they found themselves with Ehire Adrianza playing there only to see him get hit in the face with a batted ball!  Again, these depth charts are my opinion.


1.  Brandon Belt
2.  Buster Posey

Since Buster Posey's day job is Starting Catcher, and there is no number 3, I think you would have to say that 1B depth is a problem here.


There are no first basemen listed on the current AAA roster.


Ricky Oropesa

Ricky hit 17 HR's in 2015 which tied him for 3'rd in the Eastern League. Most of those dingers came during 2 hot streaks.  Hopefully he gets a chance to move up to Sacramento in 2016.


Brian Ragira
Angel Villalona

Angel V's bat came alive in August and the Cal League postseason, but he looked woefully out of shape.  Ragira played mostly DH and had a very disappointing season.


Chase Compton
Skyler Ewing

Ewing did a faceplant after a promising pro debut.  Compton looks like an organizational player.


Chris Shaw
John Riley
Scott Price

Chris Shaw looks like he may be the premier power hitting prospect in the organization.  Look for him to skip Low A and start next season in San Jose.  Riley moved out from behind the plate and played 1B and DH.  He slashed .320/.433/520 in August for Salem-Keizer.  He may be a sleeper in the system.  Price looks like an organizational player.

Rookie AZL

There are no first basemen currently listed on the roster.


There are no first basemen currently listed on the roster.  Robinson Medrano played the position in 2015.  He is not listed as a participant in Instructional League.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Giants Depth Charts: Catcher

I temporarily forgot that I had promised awhile back to write up my impression of the Giants organizational/positional depth charts.  Just to be clear, this is my opinion of what I think the hierarchy is.  We'll start with the catcher position.


1.  Buster Posey
2.  Andrew Susac
3.  Hector Sanchez
4.  Trevor Brown

Posey is the clear #1 and probably will be for at least another 2-3 seasons.  Susac will continue to be #2 as long as he recovers from his wrist surgery.  Sanchez' future is very uncertain as he continues to suffer multiple injuries including concussions behind the plate.  Trevor Brown could easily move up to #3 as he demonstrated both defensive potential and surprising offense in a September trial.


Ben Turner

I've always liked Turner's bat due to terrific K and BB rates, but Brown has obviously jumped ahead of him in the eyes of the Giants management probably due to defense.


Nobody home here, unless you see Eliezer Zambrano as a prospect.


Aramis Garcia
Ty Ross

Garcia is the fast riser here.  He got a later season callup to San Jose and struggled, but hit well in the Cal League playoffs.  I'll guess he starts 2016 in San Jose.  Ty Ross is a defense first catcher who hits at times.  He will probably start out 2016 in Richmond.


Jared Deacon
Matt Pare

Neither of these guys seem to be more than organizational players at this point.

Short Season

Miguel Gomez
Fernando Pujadas
Matt Winn

One of my white whales is the concept of a reserve catcher who can play multiple other positions which would open the way for rostering 3 catchers which gives the manager an additional order of magnitude flexibility.  Gomez may be that guy and he's a switch-hitter to boot.  Whether his primary position ends up being catcher or somewhere else, the bat looks good enough to play.  Pujadas has been around awhile but may be a sleeper.  Matt Winn may be a sleeper from the 2015 draft.


Zach Bowers
Cody Brickhouse
Kleiber Rivas

Don't know much about Bowers.  Brickhouse was a HS draftee from 2015 and is obviously a project.  Rivas has missed some time with injuries, but seems to have a high ceiling.  He is a LH batter to boot.


Andres Angulo
Mecky Coronado
Jesus Tona

Angulo and Tona put up promising numbers at young ages.  I only list Coronado because he is listed as a catcher on the roster but he has actually played mostly DH and LF.  He seems to be quite the hitter, though.


Ricardo Genovese

Don't know much about this Venezuelan signee, but the Giants paid him a healthy 6 figure signing bonus.

Summary:  The Giants have excellent depth at the MLB level, assuming Susac comes back from his wrist injury.  They also have an impressive line of succession set up in the minors and seem to be intent on continuing to add on.  There is a bit of a break between the MLB level and high A so if Susac and Sanchez both can't go, they would probably need to bring in a journeyman backup catcher or two until Garcia and Ty Ross are ready.  Maybe bring back Jackson Williams on a minor league/spring training deal?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Down on the Farm: Arizona Fall League Update

Giants prospects have a long history of not performing well in the Arizona Fall League, a showcase league for top prospects across MLB who populate a relatively small number of AFL teams made up of prospects from multiple organizations.  Got that?  It's a little unclear what the AFL's reason for existence is.  Is it for players to work on specific skills?  Is it to showcase prospects for prospect oriented publications such as Baseball America?  It's all a little unclear.  For whatever reason, Giants prospects have not performed well there.  Even the great Buster Posey had a miserable AFL!  Needless to say, the AFL lost it's cache with Giants fans a few years back.  So, which Giants prospects are disappointing us this year?  Well, the good news is that some of them are not disappointing!

Christian Arroyo is the youngest Giants representative to the AFL this year, coming off a terrific season at age 20 in high A ball.  MLB organizations are only allowed to send players with AA and AAA experience to the AFL but are allowed one exception each year.  Arroyo is this year's Giants exception and as one of the younger players in the league, he is certainly justifying that confidence in his ability.  Through the first 6 games, Arroyo is tearing it up with 11 hits in 25 AB's for a .462 BA with a double and 2 HR's for good measure.  He has just 1 BB, but my goodness!  Why would he be taking walks when he is hitting like that?  On the plus side of the peripheral stats, he has struck out just 3 times.  All in all, Christian Arroyo continues to serve notice that maybe the Giants were not crazy to take him in the first round of the draft 3 years ago.  He should be more than ready to take on the challenges of AA and the Eastern League next spring.

Mac Williamson is also playing in the AFL.  He is hitting a fine .308 with 8 hits, all singles, in 26 AB's.  He has also drawn 4 BB's with just 5 K's.  What we've seen from Big Mac in September and apparently in the AFL is that he hits the ball hard, but on a level plane producing line-drive singles, but not the distance you would expect from a guy his size.  He may need to work on putting a bit of loft on the ball.

Austin Slater is the other position representative of the Giants. He has struggled so far to a .186 BA with just 3 hits in 19 AB's.  He has added 5 BB's and 2 of his 3 hits have gone for 2 bases.

On the pitching side, there is not much of a sample to look at, but Adalberto Mejia followed up a shaky first start with a strong 5 innings in which he allowed just 1 run with 3 BB's and 7 K's.

Dan Slania, Ray Black and Phil McCormick have pitched 4, 3 and 2 innings respectively with mixed results.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Thoughts on Top 100 Prospect Lists

Everybody loves lists!  There is a reason why the internet if full of lists.  People absolutely love them!  There are top 10 lists for everything you can possibly think of:  Top 10 Vacation Spots, Top 10 Thanksgiving Recipes, Top 10 Hottest Women Over Age 50, and well, you get the idea.   No matter what the topic, if you are writing about it on the internet, you will get more readers and comments if it's in a list than if it's not.  It doesn't really matter that 99% of these are simply somebody's opinion, or that the lists are far from complete or that #10 is often something you like better than #1.  It's just easy and fun to read through it in the form of a list.

I do my own lists.  Long before I started this blog, I used to write posts on the Message Board.  One of the things I became known for over there was my Giants Top 50 Prospect List.  Even now, after all these years of blogging on this site, the day I post my yearly Giants Top 50 Prospect List is always one of my biggest readership days.  I always tell my readers to please not get too hung up on the exact order of these lists.  The list is a nice, attractive vehicle for becoming more familiar with some of the prospects who you might see at some point the the future playing for the Giants.  The comments that I write about those prospects are much more important than the exact order of the list.  The list is just a way to organize it, in a way that makes it easier to remember, and it is, roughly, my opinion of the relative likelihood of each prospect having a future impact with the Giants.

Just to take one example of how this works is last year, I wrote a series of posts profiling some of the draft prospects for the 2015 amateur draft.  I got a few comments and I'm sure that people read them, but I got the feeling that readers did not really connect to those prospects until they saw them listed in some sort of order in the form of a mock draft, or ranking, a list if you will.  It helps give readers a point of reference if they can read about a prospect and then file it away in their mind's catalog in some sort of order, "oh yeah, he's the #13 ranked draft prospect and the Giants are drafting #18."  That sort of reference makes for improved memory and retrieval from the mind's phone book than if they were stored randomly.

Which brings us to the question Shankbone asked yesterday about how good Top 100 Prospect Lists are such as the one that Baseball America puts out or that Kiley McDaniel put out on Fangraphs.  I decided to try to get at this topic by comparing this year's rookies, ranked by performance measured by fWAR, with their pre-season BA Top 100 Prospect List, if they were listed at all.  So, without further ado, here are the top 10 rookie hitters and top 10 rookie pitchers from 2915 listed in order of fWAR with notations of their Top 100 rankings(I am including some commonly used stats just for our edification):


1.  Kris Bryant.  .275/.369/.488, 26 HR, 13 SB, 650 PA, fWAR= 6.5.  Top 100 Ranking:  #1.

2.  Matt Duffy!  .295/.334/.428, 12 HR, 12 SB, 612 PA, fWAR= 4.9.  Top 100 Ranking:  NR.

3.  Francisco Lindor.  .313/.353/.482, 12 HR, 12 SB, 438 PA, fWAR= 4.6.  Top 100 Ranking:  #9.

4.  Odubel Herrera.  .297/.344/.418, 8 HR, 16 SB, 537 PA, fWAR= 3.9.  Top 100 Ranking:  NR.

5.  Carlos Correa.  .279/.345/.512, 22 HR, 14 SB, 432 PA, fWAR= 3.3.  Top 100 Ranking:  #4.

6. Randal Grichuk.  .276/.329/.548, 17 HR, 4 SB, 350 PA, fWAR= 3.1.  Top 100 Ranking:  NR.

7.  Addison Russell.  .242/.307/.389, 13 HR, 4 SB, 523 PA, fWAR= 2.9.  Top 100 Ranking:  #3.

8.  Joc Pederson.  .210/.346/.417, 26 HR, 2 SB, 585 PA, fWAR= 2.8.  Top 100 Ranking:  #8.

9.  Billy Burns.  .294/.334/.392, 5 HR, 26 SB, 555 PA, fWAR= 2.3.  Top 100 Rankking:  NR.

10.  Devon Travis.  .304/.361/.498, 8 HR, 3 SB, 238 PA, fWAR= 2.3.  Top 100 Ranking:  NR.

Note that I left out Jung-Ho Kang who was not ranked but was not really a true rookie IMO.  Other Top 100 prospects who made in impact with their teams and accrued enough AB's to "graduate" included:  Jorge Soler #12, Miguel Sano #13, Blake Swihart #17, Kyle Schwarber #19, Dalton Pompey #30, Michael Taylor #32, Steven Souza #37, Maikel Franco #56, JT Realmuto #76, Jake Lamb #78, Steven Piscotty #79, Michael Conforto #80.


1.  Anthony DeScalfini.  9-13, 4.05, 184.2 IP, 7.36 K/9, 2.68 BB/9, fWAR= 3.2.  Top 100 Ranking:  NR.

2. Noah Syndergaard.  9-7, 3.24, 150 IP, 9.96 K/9, 1.86 BB/9, fWAR= 3.1.  Top 100 Ranking: #11.

3. Lance McCullers.  6-7, 3.22, 125.2 IP, 9.24 K/9, 3.08 BB/9, fWAR= 2.8.  Top 100 Ranking:  NR.

4.  Trevor May.  8-9, 4.00, 114.2 IP, 8.63 K/9, 2.04 BB/9, fWAR= 2.3.  Top 100 Rankikng:  NR.

5.  Robbie Ray.  5-12, 3.52, 177.2 IP, 8.39 K/9, 3.45 BB/9, fWAR= 2.1.  Top 100 Ranking:  NR.

6.  Carlos Rodon.  9-6, 3.75, 139.1 IP, 8.98 K/9, 4.59 BB/9, fWAR= 2.1.  Top 100 Ranking:  #15.

7.  Alex Colome.  8-5, 3.94, 109.2 IP, 7.22 K/9, 2.45 BB/9, fWAR= 1.8.  Top 100 Rankikng:  NR.

8.  Eduardo Rodriguez.  10-6, 3.85, 121.2 IP, 7.25 K/9, 2.74 BB/9, fWAR= 1.7.  Top 100 Ranking:  #59.

9.  Taylor Jungmann.  9-8, 3.77, 119.1 IP, 8.07 K/9, 3.54 BB/9, fWAR= 1.6.  Top 100 Ranking:  NR.

10.  Raisel Iglesias.  3-7, 4.15, 95.1 IP, 9.82 K/9, 2.64 BB/9, fWAR= 1.6.  Top 100 Ranking:  #58.

I left out relief pitchers who almost never get a Top 100 Ranking.  Other Pitchers who made an impact for their teams and accrued enough IP to "graduate" included:  Daniel Norris #18, Aaron Sanchez #27, Luis Severino #35, Aaron Nola #39, Andrew Heaney #42, Henry Owens #44, Joe Ross #96.

Some caveats:  1.  Most of these players did not play the full season in the majors.  2.  Players that did play a full season have a big advantage in this ranking due to fWAR being a counting stat.  3.  These numbers are for just one season and in most cases just part of a season, and may not be predictive of career success.

All in all, I think you have to say BA's Top 100 Ranking identifies a high percentage of prospects who are likely to have successful MLB debuts and careers.  It also does not identify all of them.  Is it a useful tool?  I know I consult it as a starting point for evaluating prospects that I may want to roster on my fantasy baseball team.  On the other hand, there are enough good performing rookies who were NR, that it seriously calls into question the oft used practice of adding up each team's Top 100 prospects and rating their farm system accordingly.

Top 100 Prospect lists and Farm System Rankings are what they are, lists.  Lists have their uses, mainly in terms of organizing and cataloguing in people's minds.  They are also based on someone's very subjective opinion, hopefully a well informed opinion.  They are by no means definitive. They should never be considered totally inclusionary nor exclusionary.

So, take heart, Giants fans.  Contrary to what you may read elsewhere, the Giants lack of Top 100 prospects and low levels on farm system rankings do not mean that the farm system is a "nuclear wasteland" nor does it mean there is no imminent or future help available in the farm system.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Thoughts On What To Write

We've kind of hit a dead phase for writing things that would interest Giants fans.  They are not in the postseason.  The Hot Stove League does not fire up until the World Series ends.  There's a few managerial shuffles going on, but writing about managers tends to be pretty boring, especially if it has nothing to do with your team.  Barry Zito retired and wrote a nice little eulogy to his own career, but I wrote a long piece about Zito a couple of years ago and don't have much, if anything, left to say about him.

I'm open for suggestions of what to write about.  Please feel free to suggest specific topics or general themes.  For Fantasy Baseball, I am starting to look at next year's rookie crop after an unusually big year for rooks in 2015, but it might be a bit early for that.  I'm also starting to look at next year's draft crop, but again, it's awfully early.  Not sure what else there might be to review from 2015.

What do you want to hear about?  Also feel free to ask any questions you may have.  Those are usually fun.

I've got a bit of writer's block going, so help me out.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Hot Stove Preview: Scouting the Tier 3 Free Agent Starting Pitchers

This group of pitchers will be significantly less expensive than any in the top 2 tiers.  At the same time, there is a high probability that 1 or more of them will perform better than 1 or more of the top 2 tier guys.

Wei-Yin Chen, LHP.  30 yo.  Career Line:  46-32, 3.72, 6.97 K/9, 2.19 BB/9, GB/FB= 0.96.  Nobody is talking about this guy but you could easily make a case for him being 2'nd tier as he has put up those numbers in the big, bad AL East.  His average FB velocity last season was 91.6 against 91.5 for his career.  He is young enough to give a long term deal.  I'm guessing he'll just re-up with Baltimore, but he's well worth kicking the tires on.

Marco Estrada, RHP.  32 yo.  Career Line:  36-34, 3.95, 7.97 K/9, 2.51 BB/9, GB/FB= 0.62.  Soft tossing RHP with a strong FB tendency who has had his ups and downs.  He's pitched in some pretty terrible pitching environments and survived.  He may be earning himself a bigger payday with his postseason performance with Toronto.  His average FB velocity in 2015 was 89.1 MPH against a career average of 89.5.

Doug Fister, RHP.  32 yo.  Career Line:  65-63, 3.42, 6.07 K/9, 1.77 BB/9, GB/FB= 1.56.  There is a lot of sentiment for the Kid from Merced.  He's got several red flags flying over him as his K/9 has slipped well below 6 over his last 2 seasons and his average FB velocity took a dive to 86.4 in 2015 against an 88.7 career average.  Probably someone to stay away from unless he comes dirt cheap and you don't have to count on him.

JA Happ, LHP.  33 yo.  Career Line:  62-61, 4.13, 7.63 K/9, 3.55 BB/9, GB/FB= 1.22.  JA Happ has kicked around a few places.  One intriguing thing about him is he is one of the few pitchers to gain velocity over time.  Last year, his average FB velocity hit 92 MPH against a career average of 90.8.  He's maintained the increase for a couple of years now, so it's likely not a fluke.  He thrived on Ray Searage's extreme pitch-to-contact approach in Pittsburgh which allowed him to cut his walk rate way down.  He'll probably just re-up with the Pirates, but he's another guy worth kicking the tires on.

Hisashi Iwakuma, RHP.  35 yo.  Career Line:  47-25, 3.17, 7.70 K/9, 1.75 BB/9, GB/FB= 1.62.  Has missed some time with injuries in Seattle, but when he's been healthy, he's been excellent.  His average FB velocity in 2015 was 89.5 MPH against a career average of 88.9 despite an early season oblique strain which cost him about half the season.  He's looking for a 3 year contract.  He'll probably re-up with Seattle but another guy worth kicking the tires on.

Scott Kazmir, LHP.  32 yo.  Career Line:  98-90, 3.96, 8.54 K/9, 3.64 BB/9, GB/FB= 1.15.  Kazmir's early career was ruined by injuries, but he's been healthy for the past 2 seasons and put up very nice numbers.  His average FB velocity in 2015 was exactly at his career average of 91.5 MPH.  You've got to respect the injury history, but might be a nice option up to a 3 year deal.

Ian Kennedy, RHP.  31 yo.  Career Line:  75-68, 3.98, 9.30 K/9, 2.78 BB/9, GO/AO= 0.94.  Had a rough season in San Diego when his HR/FB ballooned despite pitching mostly in HR suppressing ballparks.  Is his velocity dip to 90.4 MPH from a career average of 91.3 a red flag?  His K rate remained strong, so you  have to think there is still some upside in there.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Down on the Farm: Giants 2015 Draft Review Picks 21-40

We'll only cover the signees here, to save time and typing.  Again, Grades are for present performance only and for fun only.

Round 21.  Ryan Halstead, RHP.  Short Season:  1-2, 2.33, 27 IP, 4 BB, 32 K's, 8 Saves.  Impressive debut for this college closer.  Grade B+.

Round 22.  Dominic Mazza, LHP.  Rookie AZL:  3-0, 1.27, 21.1 IP, 4 BB, 24 K's.  Short Season:  0-0, 0.00, 4.1 IP, 0 BB, 4 K's.  The forgotten Gaucho.  Nice pro debut, but needs a larger sample size at a  higher level.  Grade C+.

Round 23.  Dillon Dobson, IF.  Rookie AZL:  .297/.347/.475 in 202 AB.  Short Season:  .182/.217/.273 in 22 AB.  Needs more AB's at a higher level.  Grade C.

Round 24.  Zachary Bowers, C.  Rookie AZL:  .165/.302/.278 in 79 AB.  8 of his 13 hits were for XBH's.  Grade D+.(The + is for taking a lot of walks and showing some power potential).

Round 26.  Tyler Brown, IF.  Rookie AZL:  .356/.422/.540 in 87 AB.  Phil Bickford's JC teammate.  As a 20 yo JC draftee, rookie ball is not a totally inappropriate level.  Very intriguing prospect.  Grade B.

Round 27.  Bryan Case, C.  Rookie AZL:  .188/.188/.188 in 16 AB's.  Too SSS to make any judgement.  Grade Incomplete.

Round 28.  Ashford Fulmer, OF.  Rookie AZL:  .235/.344/.284, 8 SB in 102 AB.  Showed some on-base skills and speed.  Needs to do it at a higher level.  Grade C.

Round 37.  Mark Weist, 3B.  Rookie AZL:  .224/.274/.373 in 67 AB's.  A bit of power, but otherwise unimpressive.  Grade D.

Round 40.  Roger Edwards, OF.  Rookie AZL:  .185/.299/.196 in 92 AB.  Those numbers are not going to cut it.  Grade D-.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Hot Stove Preview: Scouting the Second Tier Free Agent Starting Pitchers

This is an unusually rich class of FA SP's which could create a modest buyers market, although you can never have too much pitching, so the demand is always going to be there and multiple teams are believed to be looking for high end SP.  There are 4 pitchers who I would put into a second tier ranking behind the top 3 of David Price, Zack Greinke and Johnny Cueto.  My second tier consists of Jordan Zimmermann, Mike Leake, Jeff Samardzija and Yovani Gallardo.    These would be the guys the Giants would fall back to if David Price's price goes to the moon, Zack Greinke just re-signs with the Dodgers and Johnny Cueto's health is too suspect for their taste.  Let's break it down:

Jordan Zimmermann, RHP.  We have already covered Zimm in-depth in a prior post about the natural history of Tommy John Surgery.  Without the history of TJ hanging over him, Zimm's career numbers put him on the edge of the top tier, although 2015 was a down year for him.  Here are his career numbers:

70-50, 3.32, 7.43 K/9, 1.82 BB/9, GB/FB= 1.16.

His average FB velocity last year was 93.0 against a career average of 93.5 and down from his peak of 93.9 in 2013.  2016 will be his age 30 season.  He won't be cheap, but his price should be easily affordable by the Giants.  In many ways, he would seem like a perfect fit.  My only objection is he is the only SP in the top 2 tiers who has had TJ surgery.  While I don't think his risk of having another UCL tear is much higher than the others having their first, his chances of full recovery from a second surgery are significantly lower than the chances of the others recovering from their first.

Mike Leake, RHP.  Leake seems to be the Giants first second choice on the FA market and Leake has been open about wanting to be a Giant long term and was open to signing prior to testing the open market.  The fact that the Giants have not rushed to re-sign him tells me they are keeping their powder dry for a run at one of the top tier guys.  Who knows how that affects Leake's enthusiasm for signing with the Giants?   Anyway, we already know a lot about Leake, but here are his career numbers:

64-52, 3.88, 6.06 K/9, 2.30 BB/9, GB/FB= 1.76.

His average FB velocity in 2015 was 90.4 against a career average of 90.2.  He has the most extreme GB tendency of of the top 2 tier SP's by a wide margin.  2015 will be his age 28 season, so he is the youngest FA pitcher by a full 2 years.  He has pitched his entire career in a bandbox ballpark in Cincinnati.  His second half ERA in 2015 was a full run off his first half and he gave up 8 HR's in the second half as opposed to 14 in the first half.  Could be sample size, but it also could be a reflection of pitching in a better park.  Personally, I like Leake a lot and would be OK if the Giants just resigned him  and then went for a tier 3 pitcher to back him up.  If  the Giants think they can sign both Leake and a top tier dude, that would be A-OK too!  Bonus points to Leake for being a very good hitter.  I would be fun watching him and Bummy push each other at the plate.  I think that rubs off on the other pitchers too.

Jeff Samardzija, RHP.  Samardzija might have the highest ceiling of any of the tier 2 guys, but is a bit of an enigma.  He had a downer of a season pitching in a bad ballpark after Billy Beane traded him to the ChiSox.  Here are his career numbers:

47-61, 4.09, 6.86 K/9, 2.06 BB/9, GB/FB= 1.27.

He actually has the best velocity of any of the top 2 tiers averaging 94.3 on the FB in 2015 against a 94.5 career average.  His big problem has been a tendency to giving up dingers, but that may be due to the parks he pitched in.  His dinger rate was significantly lower while he pitched for the A's.  Samardzija will be an attractive option for a team willing to take a bit of a risk for upside.  2015 will be his age 31 season.  He is reputed to be a good clubhouse presence.

Yovani Gallardo, RHP.  Gallardo is a bit of a sleeper here, mostly because his peripheral numbers are not exciting, but he has put up remarkably consistently good numbers pitching in some terrible ballparks.  Here are his career numbers:

102-75, 3.66, 8.23 K/9, 3.31 BB/9, GB/FB= 1.44.

His K rate was down in 2015, but  his results were still good.  He average FB velocity in 2015 was 90.5 against a career average of 91.9, so there has been a small but significant drop off.  2016 will be his age 30 season.  He's another good hitter.  If the Giants signed both him and Leake, they would team up with Bummy to give the Giants a huge advantage over other NL teams at the plate.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Down on the Farm: Giants 2015 Draft Review Picks 11-20

Once again, letter grades are for current performance only and are just for fun!

Round 11 Pick #336.  CJ Hinojosa, SS.  Short Season:  .296/.328/.481, 5 HR, 189 AB.  Highly touted HS prospect who had a disappointing college career at Texas.  Giants like to draft guys like that.  Strong pro debut for S-K until sidelined by some sort of injury late in the season.  He keeps putting up numbers like this and he could end up being the steal of the 2015 draft.  Grade B+.

Round 12  Pick #366.  Hector Santiago, SS.  Rookie AZL:  .048/.130/.048 in 21 AB.  Puerto Rican HS pick.  Obviously a project.  Grade F*(* denotes possible future upside).

Round 13  Pick #396.  Matt Pope, RHP.  Rookie AZL:  0-2, 4.91, 18.1 IP, 10 BB, 21 K's.  College draftee with so-so numbers in a rookie ball.  Grade D.(remember, this is for current performance only)

Round 14  Pick # 426.  Matt Winn, C.  Rookie AZL:  .143/.219/.214 in 56 AB.  Short Season:  Low A:  .275/.375/.420 in 69 AB's.  Inexplicably put up much better numbers in pitcher friendly Augusta.  Grade C+.

Round 15  Pick #456.  Cody Brickhouse, C.  Rookie AZL:  .208/.358/.245 in 53 AB. High school catcher draftee.  Gets an extra point for a great walk rate.  Grade C-.

Round 16  Pick #486.  Grant Watson, LHP.  Rookie AZL:  2-0, 0.68, 36.2 IP, 8 BB, 40 K's.  Short Season:  0-1, 4.50, 10 IP, 5 BB, 10 K's.  Dominated the AZL which as a senior draftee out of a major college program, he should.  Struggled a bit in S-K, but extremely small sample.  Grade C.

Round 17  Pick #516.  Cameron Avila-Leeper, LHP.  Signed.  DNP.  I think I read somewhere that he underwent TJ surgery, but I could be wrong.

Round 18  Pick #546.  Heath Slatton, RHP.  Rookie AZL:  3-1, 0.79, 22.2 IP, 5 BB, 24 K's, 8 Saves.  Short Season:  0-0, 0.00, 2 IP, 0 BB, 1 K.  College draftee.  Was the closer for the AZL Giants.  Grade B.

Round 19  Pick #576.  Dave Owen, RHP.  Rookie AZL:  1-1, 5.40, 6.2 IP, 3 BB, 7 K's.  Short Season:  3-2, 2.49, 21.2 IP, 6 BB, 16 K's, GO/AO= 2.00.  Grade B.

Round 20  Pick #606.  Travis Eickert, RHP.  Did Not Sign.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Down on the Farm: Giants 2015 Draft Review Picks 1-10

We'll review the first pro season performances of the Giants 2015 draftees.  Just for fun, we'll assign a letter grade to the performance.  Keep in mind the letter grade is for the current performance only and does not necessarily predict the future nor does it grade their overall value as a prospect.  Once again, it's just for fun.

Round 1 Pick #18  Phil Bickford, RHP.  Rookie AZL:  0-1, 2.01, 22.1 IP, 6 BB, 32 K's, GO/AO= 1.29.  Over his last 3 starts, Bickford struck out 18 batters against just 2 BB's in just 8.1 IP.  These numbers at a higher level would merit a solid A, but the Giants were cautious with their prized first rounder.  Grade B+.

Round 1 Pick #31(Compensatory)  Chris Shaw, 1B.  Short Season:  .287/.360/.551, 12 HR.  Can't ask for a better pro debut than this.  Shaw led the NWL in HR's by 2 and in SLG% by almost .050.  Already the arguably the premier power hitting prospect in the organization although Mac Willamson might have something to say about that.  Grade A!

Round 2 Pick #61  Andrew Suarez, LHP.  Rookie AZL:  0-0, 1.80, 5 IP, 1 BB, 6 K's.  Short Season:  1-0, 1.40, 19.1 IP, 2 BB, 15 K's.  High A:  1-0, 1.80, 15 IP, 2 BB, 16 K's.  The High A numbers are for the regular season only.  Suarez also pitched 9 innings in the Cal League postseason with 7 K's against 1 BB.  For a pitcher to make high A in his pro debut and then dominate a hitter's league like the Cal League plus get postseason experience is quite the accomplishment.  Grade A!

Round 3 Pick #95  Jalen Miller, SS.  Rookie AZL:  .218/.292/.259, 11 SB in 174 AB.  Started off hot at the plate then cooled off.  Got high marks for his fielding and athleticism.  Grade C.

Round 4  Pick #126  Mac Marshall, LHP.  Rookie AZL:  0-0, 2.57, 7 IP, 5 BB, 11 K's.  Short Season: 0-0, 6.59, 13.2 IP, 10 BB, 18 K's.  29 K's in 20.2 IP show a high ceiling.  The walks are something he will have to overcome to get there.  Grade C.

Round 5  Pick #156  Ronnie Jebavy, OF.  Short Season:  .263/303/.419, 8 HR, 23 SB in 270 AB.  Started slow out of the gate, but hit .281 in the second half of the short season.  Very nice combo of power and speed.  Gotta worry just a bit about how the BA plays at higher levels.  Grade B.

Round 6  Pick #186  Steven Duggar, OF.  Short Season:  .293/.390/.367, 1 HR, 6 SB in 229 AB.  Hit .333 over his final 10 games.  Love the BA and OBP.  What else does he give you?  Grade B.

Round 7  Pick #216  Jose Vizcaino, Jr.  3B.  Short Season:  .288/.351/.457, 6 HR, 5 SB in 184 AB.  Big college SS immediately moved to 3B.  Had to fight for PT with Miguel Gomez.  That's a problem going forward with Jonah Arenado in the 3B mix for the lower minors too.  Otherwise nice numbers for a pro debut.  Grade B.

Round 8  Pick #246  Cory Taylor, RHP.  Short Season:  2-0, 2.45, 33 IP, 12 BB, 50 K's, GO/AO= 1.87.  Dominant numbers out of the bullpen for Salem-Keizer for this jumbo sized RHP.  Grade B+.

Round 9  Pick #276.  David Graybill, RHP.  Rookie AZL:  0-0, 18.00, 3 IP, 4 BB, 2 K's.  Big RHP who did not pitch a lot in college or in his debut.  His relatively high draft position tells me the Giants think they can develop him along the lines of Big Joe Biagini.   Grade F*.(asterisk means he is a project with upside).

Round 10  Pick #306.  Tyler Cyr, RHP.  Rookie AZL:  0-1, 2.25, 4 IP, 1 BB, 7 K's.  Low A:  2-1, 5.60, 17.2 P, 18 BB, 20 K's.  A bit on the wild side after aggressive early promotion to Augusta.  Grade C-.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Hot Stove Preview: Top Tier Starting Pitchers

It's no secret that the Giants will be shopping for starting pitching this offseason and all indications are they won't be looking in the bargain bin or scouring dumpsters.  No, the Giants absolutely have to acquire at least 1 high end SP and could use 2.  With almost $50 M coming off their 2015 payroll, and only one current obligation beyond 2017 and with a much stronger farm system than they are generally given credit for, they are in good position to compete for the top tier of free agents this offseason if they so choose.  In my mind, there are definitely 2 FA pitchers who qualify at "top tier" and possibly 3.  David Price and Zack Greinke(assuming he opts out of his contract with the Dodgers, which he almost certainly will) are definite top tier.  I will add Johnny Cueto, although current injury concerns make him more of a 1.5 tier in my mind.  Let's take a closer look at these 3 pitchers:

David Price:  Price is rare big LHP at 6'6", 220 lbs.  He is a hard thrower whose average FB velocity of 94 MPH in 2015 is actually an increase over his prior 2 seasons.  He just turned 30 years old on August 28, so the first season of his new contract will be his age 30 season.  Here are his career stats:

104-56, 3.09, 8.57 K/9, 2.32 BB/9.

He has pitched his entire career in the AL with most of it for Tampa Bay in the hitter-friendly AL East. He has a history of struggling in postseason starts which may be just a sample-size issue.

Zack Greinke:  Greinke is in the 3'rd year of a 6 year contract with the Dodgers.  He is owed $71 M over the next 3 seasons, but can opt out after this year.  Seeing as how his last 3 seasons have been among the best in all of baseball, he can certainly get a much larger total package than the $71 M he is guaranteed if he does not opt out.  Greinke will turn 32 years old in a few days so the first year of his possible new contract will be his age 32 season.  Here are his career stats:

142-93, 3.35, 8.11 K/9, 2.18 BB/9.

His numbers over his last 3 seasons with the Dodgers are significantly better than he career averages with a 3 year run which is, again, one of the best in all of baseball over that span. His average FB velocity has remained stable at just under 92 MPH for the past 3 seasons after averaging 94 in his rookie year.  He has limited postseason experience, but has performed well in a small sample.  Although he won't be cheap, his extra 2 years of age might be expected to yield a contract that is 1-2 years shorter than David Price's and $40-60 M less in total cost.  On the other hand, the Dodgers can still give him a Qualifying Offer if he opts out, so signing him would cost a first round draft pick whereas Price and Cueto would not.

Johnny Cueto:  Cueto has pitched in an extremely hitter friendly park in Cincinnati for most of his career and still put up top tier numbers.  He was traded to KC, a much more pitcher friendly ballpark at the deadline this year, but inexplicably had a string of subpar performances after missing some time earlier in the season with some vague injury concerns.  He did have a strong performance yesterday and will have more looks as the Royals advanced in the AL playoffs.  Here are his career stats:

96-70, 3.30, 7.42 K/9, 2.60 BB/9.

Prior to the hiccup after the trade to KC, Cueto had been a very steady performer putting up consistent numbers, again in a very hitter friendly ballpark.  His average FB velocity has remained just above 92 MPH over the past 5 seasons.  He does have a history of a couple of oblique strains and there was something funky with his arm before the trade.  How he performs the remainder of the postseason could be a big factor in how teams assess his future risk.  He is actually the youngest of the 3 top tier guys and 2016 will be his age 30 season.  A team convinced he is fully healthy will place a big value on him.

Again, the Giants are in an excellent position to go after one of these top tier guys if that is what they want to do.  The fact that they have not rushed to lock up Mike Leake tells me they may well be keeping their powder dry for a run at one of them.  Price will be the priciest with Max Scherzer's contract being the benchmark.  That contract was 7/$210 M, but is structured very oddly with no single season costing more than $15 M, but the Nationals paying him that much through 2028!  If there is a pitcher who is likely to stay healthy for the duration of a contract like that, Price seems like the guy to me.

Zack Greinke will come a bit cheaper, at least in total cost, although the AAV may be as high as for Price or higher.  Greinke's last 3 seasons have been as good as any in baseball.  The downside of Greinke would be he would cost a draft pick, but a huge positive is the negative impact on the Dodgers if the Giants signed him away.  Yeah, I think that's worth a late-mid round draft pick!

I see Cueto as being a fallback option if Price's price is just too ridiculous and if Greinke just signs an extension with the Dodgers.  I have to say, the injury concerns on Cueto give me enough pause that I might prefer to go for a second tier guy like Leake who may be healthier.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Down on the Farm: DrB's 2015 Giants Top 50 Prospects Review- Dominican Dandies

Kelvin Beltre, SS.  Rookie AZL- .239/.375/.348 in 46 AB.  The Giants obviously think highly of Beltre, but he needs to find a way to stay on the field to develop.  Stock- Stable.

Manuel Geraldo, MI.  DSL- .328/.383/.432, 3 HR, 18 SB in 274 AB.  I was surprised that Geraldo repeated the DSL.  He put up great numbers the second time around.  His name is on the list of Arizona Instructional League invitees which is generally a good sign that he'll be playing stateside next year.  Stock- Up.

Mecky Coronado, C/DH/OF.  DSL- .340/.398/.440, 2 HR in 191 AB.  From the numbers and positions he's played, Coronado profiles as a pure hitter who may struggle to find a defensive position.  He's listed on the instructional league roster, so should be playing in the states next season.  Stock- Up.

Robinson Medrano, 1B/OF.  DSL- .294/.372/.434, 5 HR, 7 SB in 235 AB.  Nice numbers but he played 1B almost exclusively which is going in the wrong direction defensively.  I did not find his name on the instructional league list, which is ominous for him.  Stock- Stable, but at risk of losing prospect status if he does not come stateside.

Deiyerbert Bolivar, LHP.  Rookie AZL- 2-1, 2.08, 30.1 IP, 14 BB, 30 K's, GO/AO= 1.38.  Successful stateside debut.  Stock- Up.

Prebito Reyes, LHP.  DSL- 5-3, 3.22, 72.2 IP, 21 BB, 57 K's, GO/AO= 1.21.  Good season but not on the instructional league roster which is a bad sign as this was his second DSL season.

Victor Concepcion, RHP.  DSL- 6-0, 0.42, 43 IP, 7 BB, 45 K's.  Tremendous second DSL season.  I can't think of any reason except injury to not bring him to the states, but he is not listed on the instructional league roster.  Stock- Up?

Jose Morel, RHP.  Rookie AZL- 5-1, 1.91, 33 IP, 11 BB, 28 K's, GO/AO= 1.75, 3 Saves.  Finally made it to the states and continued to put up strong numbers.  Stock- Up.

Pitchers Sandro Cabrera and Melvin Adon were on the instructional league roster posted in BA.  Missing names included Concepcion, Sandro Fabian, Francisco Medina, Beicker Mendoza and Hengerber Medina.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Down on the Farm: DrB's 2015 Giants Top 50 Prospects Review- Honorable Mention Part 6

Greg Brody, RHP.  DNP.  Injury?  Stock- Down.

Mason McVay, LHP.  High A:  2-2, 4.79, 20.2 IP, 7 BB, 21 K.  Voluntarily retired after pitching on 5/22/2015.

Travious Relaford, IF.  Low A:  .237/.313/.292 in 312 AB.  Relaford has kicked around the low minors for several years now.  Things were looking up when he hit .293 for S-K in 2014, but he struggled in Augusta.  Stock- Down.

Hunter Cole, OF.  Low A:  .275/.370/.425 in 40 AB.  High A:  .313/.373/.493, 6 HR in 217 AB.  AA:  .292/.338/.464, 3 HR in 192 AB.  26'th round draft pick in 2014.  Hit just .239 in his pro debut at S-K. This was a breakout season which he carried through 3 levels.  Stock- Up, Way Up!

We'll do the Dominican Dandies next followed by a review of the 2015 draftees.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Down on the Farm: DrB's 2015 Giants Top 50 Prospects Review Honorable Mention Part 5

Again, this is a REVIEW of the 2015 list.  There will be a new 2016 list after the Winter Meetings:

Ethan Miller, RHP.  DNP.  Listed as Voluntarily Retired.

Eury Sanchez, RHP.  Rookie AZL:  2-1, 1.04, 8.2 IP, 2 BB, 13 K's.  Low A:  1-2, 3.20, 19.2 IP, 9 BB, 23 K's.

Seemed to miss some time, perhaps due to injury?  Pitched well in a SSS.  Stock- Stable.

Hector Mercedes, SS/IF.  DNP.  Still listed as being in the organization.  Stock- Down.

Chase Compton, 1B.  Low A:  .212/.287/.282 in 85 AB.  Short Season:  .308/.400/.500 in 52 AB.

Terrible numbers in Augusta.  Rebounded in a SSS in S-K.  Stock- Down.

Richard Amion, 2B.  Short Season:  .229/.318/.299, 7 SB in 201 AB.

Not good numbers for a hitter's league.  Stock- Down.

Luis Lacen, OF.  DNP.  Very athletic looking, but young and raw when drafted.  Not sure why he DNP in 2015.  Stock- Down.

Kevin Rivera, 2B.  Rookie AZL:  .292/.330/.393 in 89 AB.

Needs to move up to a higher level to get some traction on his career.  Stock- Stable.

Rayan Hernandez, RHP.  Short Season:  2-0, 6.46, 23.2 IP, 11 BB, 17 K's.

Finally moved up from rookie ball, but the results were not particularly encouraging.  Stock- Stable.

Rodolfo Martinez, RHP.  Low A:  1-2, 2.54, 46 IP, 14 BB, 44 K's, GO/AO= 1.38.

Hard throwing righty couldn't hit the broadside of a barn in 2014, but turned that around in Augusta getting stronger as the season progressed.  Stock- Up, Way Up!

Kendry Melo, RHP.  Rookie AZL:  2-0, 4.15, 30.1 IP, 15 BB, 43 K's.

21 year old repeating rookie ball is generally not a good thing, but improved on a K/BB of 19/21 from 2014.   Promising international prospect who did not sigh until he was 20 yo, so could be just a late bloomer.  If he has a good season in Augusta at age 22, he will be on track age wise.  Stock- Up.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Thoughts on Bad Calls and Bad Managing

The bottom of the 7'th inning of last night's NLDS game between the Mets and Dodgers was a comedy of errors by Mets manager Terry Collins and the Replay Umpires, whoever they are.  The inning started with the Mets leading 2-1.  Mets starter Noah Syndergaard who had been brilliant, but also pitched out of a jam or two, was nudging his pitch count above 100.  He started the inning by striking out Yasmani Grandal, but then walked Enrique Hernandez.  The TV camera panned to the Mets bullpen where Collins had two RHP's, Bartolo Colon and Addison Reed, warming up.  I figured the Mets must not have any LHP's in their bullpen, otherwise, why would you have two righties warming up?  When Chase Utley was announced as a PH, 3 of the next 4 Dodgers hitters would be left-handed.

Syndergaard had been excruciatingly slow to home plate with runners on and the one thing Collins did not want was a successful SB by Hernandez who is not exactly a speed merchant.  He could have brought in Colon at that point, who is almost certainly quicker to home plate than Syndergaard.  Syndergaard stayed in and Hernandez stole 2B.  Utley followed with a single over the outstretched glove of 2B, Daniel Murphy putting runners at first and 3'rd with 1 out.  Collins now brought in Colon to face Howie Kendrick and all hell broke loose.

Kendrick hit a bouncer up the middle that was fielded by Murphy.  He fed the ball to SS Ruben Tejada who tried to make a spectacular DP, but was upended by a Utley who came in late and high and clearly was not aiming for the bag.  There was a violent collision between the jumping, twisting Tejada's legs and Utley's head.  The Ump called Utley out, the run scored and Tejada lay face down on the ground in obvious severe pain.  Tejada was eventually carted off the field with an inflatable immobilizer on his right leg and was eventually diagnosed with a fractured fibula.  Utley was apparently no worse for the wear.  Then, the Mets appealed the out call at 2B.

The Replay clearly showed that Tejada missed the bag by maybe 1 inch at the most.  Utley, who had never touched 2B during the play and then run off the field, was called safe and allowed to go back to 2B.  The explanation from MLB was that the "vicinity" rule was not in effect because the feed from Murphy was offline.  Utley could be ruled safe despite not touching 2B because the ump had erroneously called him out on the play.  So, we ended up with a situation where 1. Utley clearly made no attempt to touch 2B while taking out the SS who was the relay man on the DP attempt.  2.  A "vicinity" rule that was not allowed despite the relay man clearly attempting to complete a DP.  3.  A runner called safe despite having never touched the base or even trying to touch the base. 4. A SS with a broken leg and Chase Utley standing at 2B with just 1 out instead of 2.

I suppose there are reasonable arguments to be made on both sides, but I am personally much more comfortable with the call the ump made on the field than what was eventually ruled by the Replay Umpires.  Replayed calls are supposed to be overturned only if there is clear evidence of a wrong call.  Yes, Tejada's foot was clearly off the bag, but Utley still could have been reasonably called out for his clear takeout intent, for the "vicinity" rule and, well, because he never touched the base!  I like Instant Replay up to a point, but I have to say I am increasingly uncomfortable with calls being overturned when to my eye, the video is inconclusive.  Instant Replay has progressed from making calls more correct to fairly drastically changing the way the game is played.  I think that is something MLB is going to have to look at this offseason.  Oh, and this play also confirms that the Dodgers are an evil, despicable organization well deserving of the fear, loathing and hatred we all give them!  I mean, any organization that can make a New York team seem like the Good Guys is a truly evil organization!

Now, back to Terry Collins.  He took Bartolo Colon out of the game and replaced him with Addison Reed, a pitcher us Giants fans came to know and love as a gas can for the Arizona D'Backs.  Reed somehow managed to get the left-handed batting Corey Seager out on a soft flyball to LF, but you just knew he would not fare so well against Adrian Gonzalez.  Sure enough, AGone doubled down the RF line to drive in the go-ahead run plus an insurance run.  Justin Turner followed with an RBI double and the game was essentially over.  Collins took Reed out of the game and brought in……..Jonathan Niese?  You mean to tell me Collins had a pretty good LHP in his bullpen all this time when 3 of the previous 4 batters were left-handed?  What in the name of Bruce Bochy is going on here?  I mean, there is a darn good reason why the Giants have insisted on keeping at least 2 LHP's in their bullpen and paid a premium price to do it all these years!  It was just horrible bullpen management by Terry Collins who somehow managed to make Don Mattingly look like a managing genius by comparison!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Thoughts on Clayton Kershaw and Don Mattingly

Clayton Kershaw's postseason struggles continued last night as he lost to the Mets and Jake deGrom to remain winless in postseason competition.  Once again, those struggles were tied to questions about the timing of Dodger Manager Don Mattingly taking him out of the game.  Last year against the St. Louis Cardinals, the consensus seemed to be that Mattingly left him him too long, most likely because the Dodgers' bullpen was not trustworthy.  Last night, most of the criticism seemed to be that he took Kershaw out too soon, that he should have left him in to face David Wright.

The situation was that Kershaw had pitched brilliantly all night except for a solo HR to Daniel Murphy.  That the score was still 1-0 is a tribute to both pitchers because it was a hot, dry evening in SoCal and balls were carrying like crazy, much to the befuddlement of Michael Cuddyer in particular.  The Mets had been fouling off quite a few pitches all night, many of them coming on an umpteen pitch AB by David Wright in the first inning.  As the 8'th inning wore on and Kershaw's pitch count climbed above the century mark, you could see him tiring before your eyes.  He started dropping his elbow and failing to finish off breaking pitches.  After a couple of pitches with nothing on them, to the last batter, I wondered if Kershaw had enough energy to even walk back up to the top of the mound.  He did summon some reserve on the last pitch to Granderson which was just outside but otherwise a really good pitch.  Kershaw pounded his glove and grimaced, knowing that was the pitch he really, really needed.  David Wright had not done much against Kershaw all night, but he did have that long AB in the first inning.  With Kershaw clearly running out of gas, having walked 3 batters already in the inning and with Wright coming to the plate, Mattingly took him out for Pedro Baez.  Baez looked like he had good stuff, but Wright kept the AB alive and eventually singled up the middle to drive in 2 insurance runs which proved to be the difference in the game.

Afterwards, Mattingly said the reason he took Kershaw out was because of the pitch count, which stood at 112 pitches and because this would be Wright's 4'th PA against him.  To his credit, Mattingly avoided saying anything that could be construed as a criticism of Kershaw, such as saying he was out of gas or had lost control of the strike zone.  In the TBS panel discussion on the postgame show, both Dusty Baker and Gary Sheffield criticized the reasoning, saying Wright had not had good swings against Kershaw all night and it would not have been different in a 4'th PA.  They did not mention the long AB in the first inning.  I have a hard time understanding Pedro Martinez, but it sounded to me like Pedro thought Kershaw was showing signs of being out of gas and if anything, Mattingly left him in too long.  Pedro put the blame on pitching coach Rick Honeycutt for being too focused on pitch counts and not looking at the pitcher's mechanics on the mound.

My opinion, for what it's worth, is that 1. Kershaw appeared to be out of gas.  2.  He had lost control of the strike zone.  3.  He had thrown 112 pitches on a hot night.  4.  Even if David Wright was not likely to get a good swing at that point, which I think is a dubious assumption by Baker and Sheff, he was likely to grind out another AB with a high probability of running Kershaw's pitch count about 120 and still drawing a walk.  Mattingly made the right move.  Once again, his bullpen was not up to the task.  If you are going to blame anyone, blame the GM for once again not building a better bullpen.  And once again, let's marvel at just how great the Giants "Core Four" bullpen has been over the past 5 seasons.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Thoughts on a Woman in the Broadcast Booth

OK, I understand this is dangerous territory here, but I gotta comment on Jessica Mendoza doing color commentary for ESPN in the AL Wild Card Game.  Maybe hearing a woman's voice in a setting where you are not used to it is not so strange to Giants fans.  After all, we've been listening to Sherry Davis and then Renel Brooks-Moon do the PA duties at Candlestick and then Pac Bell/AT&T Parks and it sounds normal to us now.  Here are the things I liked about Jessica Mendoza's commentary on the game:

1.  I liked the tone of her voice.  Definitely sounded like a female voice, but not too high pitched.  She had some power in the voice without having to strain it or hit high pitches.

2.  She seemed knowledgeable about what she was commenting on.  The two points she made that I recall off the top of my head were 1.  Explaining why a batter spit on a slider from Masahiro Tanaka.  It might have seemed obvious to those of us who learn at the feet of Kruk and Kuip on a daily basis, but there are millions of people who don't start following baseball until the postseason starts.  2.  Solid explanation of why it was advantageous for George Springer to put his back foot on the back line of the batter's box, showing the plane of  his swing matching the plane of the ball as it met the bat.

3.  She was enthusiastic about the game.  That's a lot more than you can say for her booth-mate, John Kruk, or the dry, unemotional PBP from Dan Shulman, or whatever his name is.  She got really excited about describing Even Gattis as old school and even added in a subtle sense of humor about it.  Maybe not as funny as Kruk and Kuip would have been, but also more animated and not in a forced sense.

Some people objected to the idea of a former softball player being an expert commentator on baseball, but since when do you have to be a former baseball player to understand and describe the game?  I did not hear anyone objecting to the use of Tom Verducci as an expert commentator.  Eno Sarris does a great job of breaking down mechanics of both hitting and pitching over at Fangraphs and I don't think he ever played professional baseball.

I think it is only a matter of time until we get a woman PBP announcer in the booth either on radio, TV or both, so we better get used to the idea.  If they sound as good as Jessica did, they can start tomorrow as far as I'm concerned.  Between Gamer Babes and people I talk to at work who are Angels and Dodgers fans, it sure seems to me that interest in baseball among women is at an all time high and that is good for the game.   I know I have two daughters who would kill for a job like that!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Down on the Farm: DrB's 2015 Giants Top 50 Prospects Review Honorable Mention Part 4

Again, this is a REVIEW of the 2015 list.  The 2016 list will be out sometime after the Winter Meetings:

Jeremy Sy, IF.  Low A:  .247/.346/.372, 4 HR, 12 SB in 231 AB.

Jeremy voluntarily retired after playing a game on 7/15/2015 in which he went 3 for 4.  Stock:  Retired.

Ryan Jones, IF.  Low A:  .219/.303/.240 in 96 AB.  

Jones got a late start due to a suspension, played poorly and was released on 7/15/2015.  Stock:  Released.

Chase Johnson, RHP.  High A:  8-3, 2.43, 111.0 IP, 34 K, 111 K's, GO/AO= 1.60.  AA:  1-1, 5.93, 13.2 IP, 8 BB, 18 K's, GO/AO= 1.40.  

Chase Johnson had a breakout season for SJ putting up dominant numbers.  ERA was not as good after a promo to AA in a SSS, but the 18 K's look promising.  Should start next season for AA Richmond and I expect him to dominate again.  Stock- Up, Way Up!

Steven Messner, LHP.  DNP.  Released 3/20/2015.

Carlos Diaz, LHP.  Low A:  4-3, 1.63, 55.1 IP, 17 BB, 75 K's, GO/AO= 1.42, 9 Saves.  

Let's see, a lefty reliever who can go multiple innings with a K/9 of 12 and a strong GB tendency?  Didn't they just have a pretty elaborate ceremony honoring a guy who fit that general description?  Diaz has to prove it at higher levels but the numbers here look very good.  Stock- Up.

Robert Ramer, RHP.  DNP.  He was apparently injured all season and reinstated from the DL a few days ago.  Stock- Down.

DJ Snelton, LHP.  High A:  0-5, 4.84, 35.1 IP, 15 BB, 31 K, GO/AO= 1.31.  Low A:  5-6, 2.86, 85 IP, 19 BB, 95 K's, GO/AO= 1.50.  

This is going to sound very similar to Pat Young's comment.  Numbers were great for Augusta except he washed out in San Jose.  Hopefully he'll get another try at SJ next year and fare better, because I really like his ceiling.  Stock- Stable.

Conner Kaden, RHP.  Low A:  2-4, 3.81, 49.2 IP, 23 BB, 37 K's, GO/AO= 1.71.  

Decent numbers in first full season.  Stock- Stable.

Seth Harrison, OF.  Low A:  .253/.301/.356, 6  SB in 87 AB.  High A:  .212/.268/.307, 4 HR, 13 SB in 345 AB.  

Yikes!  I did not realize how bad Harrison was going for San Jose.  That is really bad!  Stock- Down.

Jason Forjet, RHP.  High A:  7-4, 2.67, 94.1 IP, 18 BB, 86 K's.  

Solid numbers for SJ.  Should move up to AA Richmond next year.  Stock- Up.

Scouting the Offseason: Should the Giants Sign Jordan Zimmermann?

The Giants offseason plans are well known.  They need to upgrade their starting pitching if they intend to compete for their 4'th consecutive even year championship.  The only questions left are what SP's they are going to acquire and how much are they willing to pay.  One available free agent pitcher seems like a perfect fit.  That would be Jordan Zimmermann of the Washington Nationals.  While he is not a top tier starter in the same class as David Price and Zack Greinke, he is solidly in the second tier and that makes his price tag potentially more palatable to Giants management.  

There is one factor in Jordan Zimmermann's resume that should make the Giants think twice about giving him a large, long term contract, which is likely what it would take to sign him.  He had Tommy John surgery in 2009.  You might respond to that concern by saying all pitchers are at risk of injury at all times.  Zimmermann has already successfully recovered from his surgery.  There are many very good pitchers in the major leagues who have undergone the procedure.  I will counter with some data about Tommy John surgery I have gleaned from articles in Hardball Times, Baseball Prospectus, ESPN and Viva El Birdos.  If you want to look them up for yourself, you can use the search words Tommy John Surgery Recurrence.

1.  The number of pitchers undergoing Tommy John surgery is increasing over time.  At the same time, the number of repeat Tommy John surgeries is increasing at an even faster rate.

2.  Long term data from TJ surgeries done between 1974 and 1999 are now complete.  Data from 2000-2009 in nearly complete.  20% of MLB pitchers who undergo TJ surgery never pitch in the major leagues again.  The median career survival after TJ surgery is 100 innings pitched.  95% of pitchers who undergo TJ surgery with a mean age of 22 years are retired within 10 years.

3.  The demographics of pitchers who need TJ surgery is changing with a strong trend toward younger, harder throwing pitchers.  Jordan Zimmermann was one of the first of the younger type of pitcher to undergo the procedure.  You might even call him the index case of the new TJ epidemic.

4. The career survival curves for pitchers who underwent the procedure between 2000-2009 is significantly lower than for those who had it 1974-1999.  It is too early to know how the career survival curve for surgeries done from 2010 on will compare, but lower end of the projected range is farther from the preceding curves than the top end.

5.  I was not able to find full career survival curves for second TJ surgeries, but 35% of pitchers who have a second procedure never pitch another MLB game and the performance levels of those that do are generally quite poor.

Of course, there are always exceptions such as Tommy John himself and AJ Burnett who has had a long post-TJ career and is a hard thrower.  In general though.  We also do not have comparison curves for the attrition rate for pitchers who have not had the procedure.  How many pitchers have 10 year MLB careers with or without TJ surgery?

Let's stipulate that the probability of a post-TJ pitcher having a recurrence is the same as a non-TJ pitcher having a first injury.  The pitcher undergoing the procedure for the first time is much more likely to come back and resume a successful career than one who has it for the second time.  In other words, the risk may not be so much in the probability of injury, but in the probability of successful recovery! While his prior TJ surgery should not disqualify Jordan Zimmermann from consideration for a free agent signing, it should factor into how much money the Giants are willing to pay him and for how long.  The market may push his price to the point where it would be more prudent to invest in a lower risk pitcher or pitchers.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Down on the Farm: DrB's 2015 Giants Top 50 Prospects Review Honorable Mention Part 3

Again, this is a REVIEW of 2015.  The 2016 list will be coming out later in the offseason:

Alberto Robles, IF.  DNP.  Stock Down.

Joe Biagini, RHP.  AA:  10-7, 2.42, 130.1 IP, 34 BB, 84 K's, GO/AO= 1.47.

Giants patience with this low round draft pick seems to be finally paying off.  Breakout season.  Stock- Up!

Pat Young, RHP.  Low A:  8-5, 3.39, 82.1 IP, 34 BB, 64 K, GO/AO= 2.03.

Numbers don't look too bad, but he washed out of high A.  Stock- Stable.

Joe Kurrasch, LHP.  DNP.  Stock- Down.

Tyler Rogers, RHP.  High A:  5-1, 1.47, 79.1 IP, 20 BB, 86 K's, GO/AO= 2.69.  AA:  0-1, 5.91, 10.2 IP, 5 BB, 15 K's.

One of the workhorses of the SJ bullpen.  ERA not so good in a SSS with AA, but the peripherals there look good.  Again, SSS.  Stock- Up.

Tyler Mizenko, RHP.  AA:  4-3, 1.98, 50.0 IP, 14 BB, 28 K's, GO/AO= 2.67.

Extreme GB pitcher.  Will this kind of line work at the MLB level as a middle reliever?  Stock- Up.

Martin Agosta, RHP.  High A:  5-9, 4.25, 106 IP, 26 BB, 125 K's.

Terrific K and BB rates but gives up a lot of HR's.  I'm predicting a breakout next season in AA.  Stock- Up.

Nick Vander Tuig, RHP.  High A:  3-0, 2.73, 33 IP, 6 BB, 17 K's, GO/AO= 1.30.

Was getting his best results since being drafted then disappeared after 6/16/2015.  TJ?

Stock- Stable.

Rafael Rodriguez, OF.   High A:  .293/.341/.366 in 82 games.

DNP after 5/3/2015.  Stock- Down.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Down on the Farm: DrB's 2015 Giants Top 50 Prospects Review Honorable Mention Part 2

Once again, this is a REVIEW of the 2015 list.  A new list for 2016 will be out after the Winter Meetings:

Ricky Oropesa, 1B.  AA:  .254/.311/.424, 17 HR in 453 AB.

The 17 HR was tied for 4'th best in the EL while the OPS of .734 was 14'th.  Ricky was still plagued by slumps.  He can hope for an assignment to Sacramento next season.  Stock- slightly up.

Angel Villalona, 1B.  High A:  .249/.334/.447, 13 HR in 257 AB.

Solid offensive season and came on strong in August and the September Cal League playoffs.  No telling what he might do if he got himself into better shape.  Stock- slightly up.

Jeff Arnold, Catcher.  High A:  .250/.370/.382 in 68 AB.

Didn't play much, presumably due to injury.  Love him as a player, but the injuries might be too much to overcome.  Stock- down due to apparent long term injury issues.

Phil McCormick, LHP.  AA:  4-3, 2.04, 57.1 IP, 21 BB, 38 K's, GO/AO= 2.33.

Lefty reliever who puts the ball on the ground and can go multiple innings.  Hmm….who does that remind us of?  Stock- Up

Carlos Alvarado, RHP.  Low A:  2-1, 3.75, 24 IP, 12 BB, 26 K.

Last appearance was 7/7/2015 presumably due to injury.  Stock- Down.

Dan Slania, RHP.  High A:  4-5, 3.53, 71.1 IP, 15 BB, 90 K's, 16 Saves.

Terrific K and BB rates.   Headed to the Arizona Fall League.  Stock- Up!

Bryce Bandilla, LHP.  DNP.  Not sure if he is still in the organization.

Elliott Blair, OF.  DNP.  Not sure if he is still in the organization.  Stock- Down.

Ben Turner, Catcher.  High A:  .267/.317/.333, 2 HR in 180 AB.  AAA:  .293/.359/.337 in 92 AB.

The man with the great K/BB.  Like his bat.  Apparently the Giants liked Trevor Brown's D better.  Stock- Stable.

Brandon Bednar, IF.  High A:  .237/.277/.327, 3 HR in 346 AB.

Didn't get much traction this season in a mostly backup role for SJ.  Stock- Down.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Fantasy Focus: 2015 Savvy Vets Season Review

My fantasy baseball team, the Savvy Vets, is part of a 10 team H2H Yahoo league with an auction draft.  After finishing a dismal 8'th out of 10 teams in 2014, the Vets improved significantly this year to finish in second place in the fantasy regular season and in 3'rd place in the fantasy playoffs.  Just for review, here is the Savvy Vets that started the season after our auction draft:

Catcher:  Evan Gattis  $4
1B  Albert Pujols  $26
2B  Dee Gordon  $29
3B  Evan Longoria  $17
SS  Troy Tulowitzki  $35
IF   David Wright  $6
OF Jorge Soler  $19
OF Billy Hamilton $16
OF Matt Kemp  $14
UT Matt Holliday $12
UT Brandon Belt  $2
SP  Johnny Cueto  $22
SP  Hisashi Iwakuma $7
SP  Jake DeGrom  $8
SP  Michael Wacha $6
SP  Ian Kennedy $2
RP  Jenrry Mejia  $5
RP  Johnathan Papelbon $5
RP  Hector Rondon $5
P  Joe Nathan $2
P  Neftali Feliz $2
B  Matt Garza $2
B  Brandon McCarthy $2
B  Carlos Carrasco $4
B  Doug Fister $3
B  Carlos Rodon $5

Now, here is my final Savvy Vets Roster.  We were allowed 40 moves in the regular season and 2 in the playoffs, all fantasy, of course:

Catcher  Wilson Ramos
1B  Albert Pujols
2B  Dee Gordon
3B  Evan Longoria
SS Eugenio Suarez
IF  Kendrys Morales
OF Matt Kemp
OF Jackie Bradley
OF Adam Eaton
UT  Anthony Rendon
UT  Domingo Santana
SP  Johnny Cueto
SP  Hisashi Iwakuma
SP  Jake DeGrom
SP  Michael Wacha
SP  Marcus Stroman
RP  Jonathan Papelbon
RP  Hector Rondon
RP  Jeurys Familia
P  Shawn Tolleson
P  Ken Giles
B  Noah Syndergaard
B  Lance McCullers
B  Mike Leake
B  Kevin Gausman
B  Brandon Finnegan


1.  After punting Saves for the past 2 seasons, I wanted to maintain 5 closers, but at the cheapest possible price.  I bid up to $5 on every closer that was nominated in the draft and ended up with 5.  3 of those did not work out, but I was able to replace them once the season started as new closers came available.  Jumping on Familia was the big pickup, but Tolleson and Giles helped a lot too.  I picked up Giles when it became clear that Phils were going to trade Papelbon.  After the trade, I had an extra closer.  I ended up winning Saves all but 1 or 2 weeks all season.

2.  Evan Gattis got off to a horrible start and Travis D'Arnaud, who I really liked too, got off to a hot start.  Unfortunately, D'Arnaud went down with a prolonged injury right after I dumped Gattis for him. Gattis go picked up by another team, so I went with Ramos.  He did not have a great season, but it wasn't terrible either.  He gave me fairly steady production all season.  I will probably target D'Arnaud in next year's draft.

3.  Tulo was my most expensive draftee.  He was good all season, but not spectacular.  I had to dump him just before the fantasy playoffs due to the injury and Suarez was the best available out of slim pickings.

4.  David Wright looked like a bargain for about 2 weeks then went down for the season with his perennial injury.  Talk about Injury Central!  Kendrys Morales was a terrific pick up to replace him.

5. Bradley and Eaton performed very well after I picked them up.  Rendon and Santana were very late pickups to replace injured players.

6.  My goal in drafting both Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon was to lock up the Steals category with just 2 players to free me up from having to worry about SB's in my other picks and moves.  The did that very well most of the season until Hamilton got injured late.  I thought I had overpaid for Gordon by a lot, but he turned out to be one of the most valuable fantasy players in all of MLB.

7.  I ended up with an inexpensive Starting Rotation. It was weak on the back end. I spent most of my early moves shoring it up and ended up with one that dominated most of the pitching categories most weeks.

8.  BTW, I beat the team that finished first in the regular season 9-1 in the 3'rd place playoff round.  The team that finished 6'th in the regular season won the Champiohship round over the team that finished 4'th, so you can see how competitive the league was and how much of a crapshoot any given H2H matchup is.

9.  I don't anticipate changing much in my draft approach next year although some of the other managers may have gotten wise to my SB strategy.

Down on the Farm: DrB's 2105 Giants Top 50 Prospects Review Honorable Mention Part 1

We'll got through the HM's 10 at a time.  Remember, this is a REVIEW, not a new list.  We'll do our 2016 Top 50 after the Winter Meetings:

Jarrett Parker, OF.  AAA:  .283/.375/.514, 23 HR's, 20 SB in 434 AB.  MLB:  .347/.407/755, 6 HR in 49 AB's.

Parker had an excellent season in Sacramento.  He whiffed on a 9 AB cup of coffee early in the season, but got a September callup when Gregor Blanco went down with a concussion.  He went nuts in a weekend series in Oakland including the 3 dinger game, but kept the BA up after pitchers started respecting him more.  Stock- Way Up!  Definitely on the radar for a 25 man roster spot for 2016.

Chris Dominguez, IF/OF.  Chris is in the Cincinnati organization now.  He hit just .223 for AAA Louisville.  Stock- Out of the organization.

Chris Heston, RHP.  MLB:  12-11, 3.95, 177.2 IP, 64 BB, 141 K, GO/AO= 1.76.

Heston made the Opening Day roster when Peavy couldn't go.  He had a tremendous first half of the season including a no-hitter.  Faltered a bit down the stretch.  In the mix for next year.  Stock- Way Up!

Mike Kickham, LHP.  Kickham was released and had an ERA of 7.00 for two AAA teams in 2015.  Stock- Out of the organization, going backwards.

Jake Dunning, RHP.   3 levels:  5-2, 5.43, 68 IP, 22 BB, 61 K's, GO/AO= 2.07.  Missed quite a bit of time, presumably due to injury.  Peripherals look much better than his ERA.  Stock- Stable.

Brett Bochy, RHP.  AAA:  6-1, 2.95, 58 IP, 22 BB, 43 K's.   MLB:  0-0, 0.00, 3 IP, 1 BB, 3 K's.

Strong season in Sacramento.  Looked sharp in 3 1-inning appearances for the Giants in September.  Could be in the mix for a back of the bullpen job next spring.  Stock- slightly up.

Austin Fleet, RHP.  2 levels:  3-3, 6.17, 35 IP, 13 BB, 23 K's.

Shut down after 5/23/2015, presumably due to injury.  Stock- down.

Kelvin Marte, LHP.  AA:  10-6, 2.63, 130 IP, 40 BB, 77 K, GO/AO= 1.45.

Seems like Marte has become an organizational pitcher.  Strong season for Richmond, but the peripherals are uninspiring.  Stock- Stable.

Mario Lisson, IF.  Left the organization for greener pastures.  Hit .269 at 2 levels for the Washington Nationals organization.  Stock- Out of the organization/Stable.

Devin Harris, OF.  AA:  .240/.301/.418, 14 HR in 404 AB.

Typical Harris season at the highest level he's achieved so far.  Stock- Stable.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Game Wrap 10/4/2014: Rockies 7 Giants 3

The Giants honored the career of Jeremy Affeldt before the game and had a Fan Appreciation party afterwards.  In between, they played a great game for 8 innings and a terrible one in the 9'th to end the season with a loss, but not on a losing note.  Key Lines:

Angel Pagan- 1 for 3.  BA= .262.  I don't know.  Pagan had a nice offensive month of September, but there was bad karma in the field seemingly day after day.  Today was not exception as there was yet another shallow flyball that he seemed to be giving less than 100% effort on.  He was lifted early, not sure why, but none of the other starters came out early.  Maybe he is still not 100% physically?  The beat writers seem to think there is going to be news on this front before the start of next season.  We'll see.

Kelby Tomlinson- 2 for 4.  BA= .303.  At one point, 2-3 weeks ago, it looked like the magic may be running out on Tomlinson's season, but he picked it up and literally sprinted to the finish line.   It's been announced that he is headed to Arizona to learn to play, not just OF mind you, but CF.

Jarrett Parker- 2 for 4.  BA= .347.  The Giants have a history in the recent past of sticking with young players who make an impression and what an impression Jarrett Parker made in the last 2-3 weeks of the season!  When pitchers made the adjustment and started throwing him more breaking balls, he adjusted and hit more singles and doubles.  I think he has adjusted the Giants offseason plans big time.

Matt Cain- 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 5.79.  Matt Cain needed this start.  Very nice, solid finish to a tough season for Hoss.  I don't know if he can be counted on to be the Hoss again, but this was an encouraging sendoff to the offseason.

That's if for the Game Wraps for 2015.  It was a tough season in many ways, but a hopeful one for the future in many others.  I am not sure exactly what I am going to write about this offseason or when.  I will write whatever I feel like writing.  I will do the 2016 Giants Top 50 Prospects later on after the Winter Meetings as always.

One more piece of really big news for the Giants future.  The Giants have reportedly reached an agreement with international free agent Eddy Julio Martinez, a Cuban emigre now residing in the DR.  Back in July it was expected he would sign with the Dodgers, but now the Giants have picked up the #2 and #4 international prospects of this signing period and that bodes so well for the longterm future of the organization.

Once again, the Giants are as well positioned for the future as any organization in baseball!

Thoughts on Jeremy Affeldt

The Giants signed Jeremy Affeldt, a journeyman swingman/middle reliever who had already played for 3 teams in his career to a 2 year/$8 M contract before the 2009 season.  That was a lot of money for a middle reliever at the time and the signing was greeted by dismay on more than 1 blog and baseball related website.  There go those Giants again.  Don't they know that relievers, particularly middle relievers are a dime a dozen and completely fungible assets?  Don't they know they need to be signing free agent hitters who draw a lot of walks and hit a lot of HR's?  Similar sentiments were posted on multiple sites when he re-signed after the 2010 season and again when he signed a 3 year/$18 M  contract after the 2012 season.

I am not going to bore you with a recitation of his stat lines.  Some were better than others.  He did have his share of downswings in his performances over the 7 years he was a Giants.  Overall, the good outweighed the bad.  He was a rare lefty reliever who could get RH batters out and who could go multiple innings.  Strangely enough, it was Dave Cameron of Fangraphs who defended that last contract by pointing out, among other things, that Affeldt was one of just 4 lefty relievers who combined a 55% GB rate with an 8 BB/9.  Then, there is his postseason record, which we are all familiar with.  Basically, if you don't count Saves, Mariano Rivera is the only reliever, lefty or righty, to have a better postseason record.  Although it cannot be proven, I believe, and I believe the Giants believe, that they would not have won any of those 3 championships without Jeremy Affeldt on the team.

Then there is Jeremy Affeldt's role in the community.  Lots of ballplayers profess to be born-again Christians.  Lots of ballplayers have charitable foundations.  Jeremy Affeldt went beyond those external manifestations of faith, which sometimes prove to be hypocritical.  He was well known to be friendly and outgoing to average fans.  I met him one time after a loss to the Dodgers in Dodger Stadium.  My family and I were waiting for a table at a restaurant, when who should walk out but Jeremy Affeldt.  He saw my Giants themed shirt, walked up and shook my hand.  He was soft spoken and apologized that the Giants had lost the game.  I said it was OK, they would get them tomorrow, and they did!  It was Jeremy Affeldt and Tim Flannery who took the lead in helping Brian Stow and his family after the assault at Dodger Stadium.  It was Affeldt who spoke to the fans after another ugly incident and pleaded for calm and sportsmanship.

Particularly impressive was his humility in admitting that his faith may have made him judgmental at times.  If you have not read the transcript of his news conference announcing his retirement, please do ASAP.  Pay particular attention to his answer to the question of what he will tell his grandchildren about playing for the Giants.  He spoke of the judgements he harbored about the city when he first arrived and how he came to learn those judgements were wrong and how he came to embrace the community.  He did not have to go into detail about what those judgements were about.

So, Jeremy Affeldt has been a good Giant, maybe one of the best, even though his name will never be in the Hall of Fame or his number retired on the OF wall at AT&T Park.  He gave much more, on the field and off, than he took from the Giants.  When you talk about unsung heroes of the organization over the entire history of the franchise, Jeremy Affeldt has to be at or at least near the top of the list.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Game Wrap 10/3/2015: Giants 3 Rockies 2

An inside-the-park HR by Kelby Tomlinson sparked the Giants to an exciting win on Tim Hudson day.  Key Lines:

Angel Pagan- 0 for 3, BB.  BA= .261.  Pagan appeared to be not exactly giving it 100% effort on a windblown flyball that fell for a double between him, Marlon Byrd and Kelby Tomlinson.  Kruk and Kuip seemed to think it was because the strong R to L wind blew what looked like a ball to RF into the middle of the field.  Neither Baggs, who seems to have an agenda against Pagan, nor Pavs, who as far as I know does not, were too impressed by that argument.  Both Baggs and Pavs seem to think Pagan's days in CF, or even with the team, are numbered as in one more game.

Kelby Tomlinson- 2 for 4, 2B, HR(2).  BA= .299.   In addition to his heroics at the plate, Kelby made a twisting, turning catch of a pop fly in shallow RF with his back to the infield.  Kelby is going to get some work in the OF in instructional league.  If Baggs and Pavs know anything at all about the Giants, don't be shocked if Kelby is the starting CF on Opening Day next season.

Marlon Byrd- 1 for 3, HR(23).  BA= .246.   Love the way Byrd just flicks the bat and the ball goes…..out of the yard.  His option is not going to vest, but the desire for him to be a Giant next season seems to be mutual.

Brandon Crawford- 1 for 3, HR(21).  BA= .257.  It's reassuring that Crawford is finishing the season on a strong note after an injury setback late in the season.

Jake Peavy- 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.58.  Peavy looks and sounds like he is ready to start 2016 on Monday.  His goal is to be a bit heavier and stronger next April than he was this season.  His current wt is within 2-3 lbs of his goal of 200.

Santiago Casilla- 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K'.  ERA= 2.79.  Casilla's $6.5 M option for 2016 vested with him finishing today's game.

Tim Hudson- Nice ceremony to send off Huddy.  The festivities might have dragged on just a mite too long, though.

Tomorrow is Jeremy Affeldt day and Matt Cain gets the start.

Game Wrap 10/2/2015: Rockies 9 Giants 3

The Giants were trounced by the Rockies on Willie Mac Award night.  Key Lines:

Matt Duffy- 1 for 4.  BA= .297.  Matt Duffy was the very deserving Willie Mac Award winner, although a few other Giants players could have legitimately won too.  He's the first rookie in the 35 year history of the award to win it.  .300 is a bit of an overrated number, but it seems unlikely that Matt will get his BA back up over it in the final 2 games.

Brandon Crawford- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .256.  Crawford was the other guy who has never won the Willie Mac Award who I thought had a real shot at it.  Maybe the injury hurt his chances or maybe Duffy's story was just too compelling?

Jarrett Parker- 1 for 4, 2B.  BA= .333.  I read that Bochy made up his mind about giving a roster spot to  Matt Duffy based on his play at the end of 2014.  I get the feeling that Parker has already made in impact on the Giants offseason plans and their thinking about next year's roster.

Mac Williamson- 1 for 4, 3B.  BA= .231.  The triple was a bomb to the base of the wall in Triples Alley.  Big Mac made it to 3B standing up.  He could probably use another half season of AB's in AAA, but man, the future looks bright!

Chris Heston- 3.2 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.95.  Heston needed to make a statement about next year's rotation and roster.  This game may have made the Giants wonder if he can be counted on in 2016.

Cody Hall- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R,  0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.24.  Strong outing for Hall who has not allowed a run in his last 3 appearances spanning 4.1 IP.  Bullpen is crowded for next year, but he should be one of the first callups.

Brett Bochy- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  You can pretty much say the same thing about Brett Bochy as Cody Hall.  Not enough room in the bullpen next year.

Jake Peavy starts today while Tim Hudson is honored before the game.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Game Wrap 10/1/2015: Dodgers 3 Giants 2

The Giants lost a game to the Dodgers and nobody cared!  Think about THAT for a minute!  Tim Hudson, as expected, started what everybody understands will be the final game of his career.  What maybe wasn't expected was Jeremy Affeldt holding a pregame news conference to announce HIS retirement from the Giants and Major League Baseball.  Beyond that, the game was a bit of an afterthought.  Key Lines:

Kelby Tomlinson- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .297.  The Kelby Train just keeps on rolling.  Not much left to say about the season he's had.

Jarrett Parker- 1 for 3.  BA= .341.  To stick in this league, you need more than a huge game here and there.  You also need to not rack up a bunch of O'fers in a row.  Parker has managed avoid the big slump since his breakout weekend against the A's  and that just might be enough to give the Giants the confidence they need to commit to him for next season.

Angel Pagan- 1 for 1.  BA= .264.  Pagan's infield single drove in Jarrett Parker, who had also reached on an IF single, and set up Kelby Tomlinson's RBI double to complete the Giants scoring.

Tim Hudson- 2.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 4.44.  Affeldt allowed a couple of his inherited runners to score, but the real deal here was Huddy making the final start of his career.  I don't know which team Huddy will come to identify with in retirement, but right now, he seems to be saying the Giants are the best organization he's ever played for, from management to the players to the fans.

Jeremy Affeldt- 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 5.97.  I will try to put together a Thoughts on Jeremy Affeldt post, but in the meantime, the transcript of his press conference recorded by Baggs on Extra Baggs is must reading.  I was in tears several times while reading through it.  Pay special attention to his answer to the question about what he will tell his grandkids about playing for the Giants and how he came to SF with a judgmental attitude toward the city and how the Giants and the city of San Francisco changed him and helped him grow as a person.  Also check out the part about how Buster Posey talked him out of retiring mid-season.

Ryan Vogelsong- 4 IP, 1 H 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 4.67.  Vogey made his own statement today.  He said, "Heck no!  I'm not retiring!  If I'm not playing for the Giants next year, I will play with another team."  Those aren't his exact words, but that is what he said with his pitching.

Josh Osich- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 1.95.  Osich is Jeremy Affeldt's heir apparent.

Christ Heston will be trying to make his own statement tomorrow evening against the Rockies.

Down on the Farm: DrB's 2015 Giants Top 50 Prospect Review #41-50

Again, this is a REVIEW of the 2015 list, not a new list for 2016:

41.  Byron Murray, OF.  Rookie AZL:  .272/.347/.412 in 68 AB.  Short Season:  .087/.125/.124 in 23 AB.

Late round HS draftee from 2014.  Hit well in the AZL.  Can he get a foothold at the next level next year?  Stock-Stable.

42.  Logan Webb, RHP.  Short Season:  3-6, 4.92, 60.1 IP, 16 BB, 40 K, GO/AO= 1.67.

This does not look too impressive until you consider that this was Webb's age 18 season in a league whose average age is 20.9.   Stock- Up.

43.  Stetson Woods, RHP.  Rookie AZL:  1-0, 6.00, 18 IP, 14 BB, 17 K.

Woods failed to build on the fine start he made to his pro career last year.  Stock- Down.

44.  Jonah Arenado, 3B.  Low A:  .264/.293/.367, 9  HR in 523 AB.

Before you scoff, remember what Christian Arroyo and Ryder Jones hit in the SAL.  Stock- Up.

45.  Dylan Brooks, RHP.  Rookie AZL:  1-2, 2.75, 32 IP, 10 BB, 27 K, GO/AO= 1.79.

Brooks season was delayed due to a substance suspension.  This was his 3'rd rodeo in Arizona.  Needs to move up to a higher level next year to get some traction on his career.  Stock- Marginally Up.

46.  Kelby Tomlinson, IF.  AA:  .324/.387/.431, 16 SB in 253 AB.  AAA:  .316/.354/.382, 2 HR, 5 SB in 136 AB.  MLB:  .291/.345/.367, 5 SB in 158 AB(before the 9/30 game).

What a season for Kelby!  His best season prior to this was hitting .263 with a bunch of SB's for Richmond in 2014, so I don't think there are very many people who can honestly say they saw this coming.  I do hope the organization is seriously looking into what Kelby and Duffy did to turn themselves from weak hitting college infielders into two of the toughest outs in MLB.  It it's that book, The Mental Side of Hitting, it should be required daily reading for every player in the organization!  Stock- Graduated/Up, Way Up!

47.  Matt Lujan, LHP:  AA:  4-6, 3.18, 107.2 IP, 42 BB, 88 K's, GO/AO= 1.38.

Solid AA season for Lujan.  Maybe he gets moved up to Sacramento next season?  Stock- Stable.

48.  Ty Ross, Catcher.  High A:  .244/.303/.332, 3 HR in 271 AB.

Defense-first catcher.  Showed flashes of a decent bat.  Stock- Stable.

49.  Christian Jones, LHP.  High A:  6-2, 3.50, 72 IP, 21 BB, 75 K, GO/AO= 1.80.

Jones started the season in the SJ bullpen.  Was starting and stretching out the innings by the end of the season.  Poised for a possible breakout season next year.  Stock- Up.

50.  Matt Gage, LHP.  Low A:  4-4, 4.07, 77.1 IP, 13 BB, 71 K, GO/AO= 1.04.  AA:  2-3, 4.66, 39.2 IP, 10 BB, 30 K, GO/AO= 2.04.

This was the big lefty's first full pro season.  He got called up to Richmond for a spot start and pitched so well the Giants kept him there with mixed results.  Stock- Up.

Game Wrap 9/30/2015: Giants 5 Dodgers 0

Mike Leake made a statement with a complete game shutout while Matt Duffy led the way on offense.  Key Lines:

Angel Pagan- 1 for 3, BB, SB(12).  BA= .263.  Pagan's bat has cooled off a bit as he is just 2 for 11 in his last 3 games, .231 over his last 7 and .250 over his last 15.

Kelby Tomlinson- 1 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .292.  Kelby is going to play some OF in either instructional league or fall league.  Not sure how he would be eligible for the AFL, but it seems like the rules are pretty loose for that.

Matt Duffy- 3 for 4, HR(12), SB(12).  BA= .300.  Duffy keeps the pedal to the metal.  Hey, a 12/12 season is pretty nifty.  Can he make 15/15 in the last 5 games?  Will he finish with a .300+ BA?  He's my candidate for the Willie Mac Award, hands down!

Jarrett Parker- 1 for 3, BB.  BA= .342.  Bobby Evans told Marlon Byrd that the Giants would be playing the kids the rest of the way, so Byrd's option is not going to vest.  Evans reportedly told him the Giants remain interested in re-signing him, but they have had so much success with rooks lately, they might be feeling more bold about committing to them from the start.

Nick Noonan- 1 for 3, HR(1).  BA= .125.  Noonan's first career MLB HR.

Mike Leake- 9 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 1 K, GO/AO= 16/6.  ERA= 3.70.  This was Mike Leake saying "I want to be here next year and you want me to be here."  Did it come 2-3 starts too late?

Tim Hudson makes his final MLB start tonight.  Don't expect him to stay in the game too long.

Brandon Belt underwent surgery to clean up a torn meniscus that had been bothering him most of the season.