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.


  1. Nice rundown. I would add that they did spend above slot for Ishikawa long ago (nearly $1M, which, while not Will Clark range, I think that it was at least in the supplemental first round range of bonus) and then gave Villalona that bonus, which was pretty high historically for IFA at that time, oh, plus selected EME with second round pick. But, to your point, generally, the Giants have not spent a lot of time, money, or good draft picks on firstbasemen.

    Part of it might be that good 1B has been expensive to get and keep. FG analysis showed that on a $/WAR basis, 1B was one of the higher paid positions. Perhaps the Giants saw that already, and thus avoided spending on that position.

    Another is that defense at firstbase has been more important to Sabean teams than it is in baseball in general. To have a good defensive firstbaseman, they are on the cheaper side since Sabean don't need him to be a good hitter, allowing him to spend on other positions.

    In addition, the Giants under Sabean seem to ascribe to the "up the middle" philosophy, focusing a lot of resources on picking up C, SS, and CF, and under the defensive spectrum, these players could be moved to 1B relatively easily. With that type of flexibility, he could focus more on up the middle talents, less on 1B, though they have obviously taken 1B power talents in the past, Shaw being the latest in the line.

    I'm enjoying this series, thanks, looking forward to the rest of the series!

  2. Injuries were all over the place last year. I think we need to address that even if we have to overpay a little. I think Ben "Put me anywhere" Zobrist is the guy. He probably will get either a 2 or 3 year deal because of his age. In his career he has played these many games at each position:

    2B 616, OF 453, RF 336, SS 229, LF 111, CF 34,
    DH 26, 1B 17, 3B 8

    We need a guy like this that can cover when/if the injuries come and we put guys like Maxwell, Adrianza, Perez, etc and they were not getting the job done. Zobrist is pretty productive and can play about anywhere you need him to. He can give just about anybody a day off. The only question is how much he would cost and would he want to play in this scenario or would he want a set position.

    1. Zobrist will be quite expensive this offseason. Worth it? Maybe, but I think the Giants are going to sink almost all of their FA money into pitching.

    2. I think every team would like a bench guy who can plug in and start everyday at a different spot.
      Between Blanco, Tomlinson, and Adrianza I see a good bench core. The infield starters are lights out, so any long term injury help should be solved via trade, if necessary.

    3. I think that Zobrist is going to be very expensive, even at a 2-3 year deal. He's only 35 YO next season, and basically put up starter's numbers his whole career. Byrd got a 2 year, $16M deal at roughly the same age (36), and that was a couple of years ago, so with inflation, we're talking $10M per season minimum, then you should add on a premium for his ability to play defense, particularly in the outfield, at multiple positions, I think 3 year @ $12M per season ($36M) is the minimum that he's getting.

      I just don't see the Giants spending that much on a starter-level player, especially one who expects to start everyday. They could have gotten that with Byrd if they wanted, at least for LF. His versatility does provide value, but with Tomlinson around, the infield is pretty much covered, and the outfield is covered by Blanco. It's when multiple injuries occur that the Giants would get in trouble next season.

      But so would all other teams, it's extremely hard and expensive to cover that many positions with good backups, hence why no team has such depth. People seem to think that just because the Giants have money, they can buy their way out of anything and everything. Even the Yankees can't do that, nor has the Dodgers.

      And something people don't seem to notice is the quality of depth. I see it all the time about the Dodgers and how much depth in their starting rotation that they had, but the fact is that having an available MLB level pitcher is not the same as replacing a mid to top rotation starter. They had pitchers but they were back-end starters, and they spent a lot for them.

  3. Belt seems to have established what we can expect from him each year - .280ish, 18HRs, 65RBIs, 9SB and miss a few weeks for some kind of injury. None of the current full-time first base free agents project to do any better than that, so no need to spend any money here for a starter. However, I wonder if the Giants might not take a flier on someone like Steve Pearce. He put up 21HRs in 338ABs for Baltimore a year ago. He hasn't been able to stay healthy for a full year at any point. He might be a nice bat off the bench and to push Belt a little bit. I don't think he would be that expensive and would probably be open to a 1 or 2 year deal.

    1. Ideally you want a bench player who can fill in at more than just 1B. Not sure if Pearce can still play a passable OF or not.

    2. I agree with DrB, Sabean and gang is not going to spend money on someone who can only play 1B. Ishikawa is the only example of someone who could really only start at one position whom the Giants have kept on the bench, but they were kind of reduced to that because they didn't have anyone else. And they dumped him in 2011 when push came to shove and dumped him again in 2015 when push came to shove. I can see your idea work if you were talking about someone who could play 3B or LF, who could also go to 1B, being signed on to such a role.

      I was wondering if Byrd could play such a role, he would be valuable off the bench, but he should be looking for starter's money and probably wasn't too happy about being sat down so close to his option. However, if he's still a free agent in February, I would not be surprised by a reunion at a similar $3-5M range deal that Huff got (he got $3M but with inflation, this is the range that covers him, I think).

  4. Byung-ho Park is going to be posted this year. In case you have not heard of him he is as close to the Korean version of Miguel Cabrera. This is not to say his numbers would translate to the MLB but they are pretty eye dropping:

    First Baseman - 28 years old

    2013 - .318/.437/.602 17 2B, 37 HR, 117 RBI
    2014 - .303/.433/.686 16 2B, 52 HR, 124 RBI
    2015 - .343/.436/.714 35 2B, 53 HR, 146 RBI

    I believe the Giants should really look into Park. Jung Ho Kang was his teammate and he translated over to the MLB just fine and will probably even receive a few votes for ROY. With Belt having concussion symptoms 2 years in a row it may be good to think about a plan B with him. Concussion symptoms can cause early retirement as it did in Mike Matheny and derailed Justin Morneau's career for a few years. What do you guys think?

    1. The Giants are not going to spend on a posting fee then contract for contingency in case Belt gets hurt again. The whole posting system is something that I don't think Brian Sabean was ever comfortable with. Too many unknowns. Maybe Evans has a different perspective? Anyway, I would look more for them to bring someone in on a minor league deal with a spring training invite. Kind of like Michael Morse in 2014.

    2. The Giants have been dancing around the Asian posting situation for a decade now, hiring somebody around the same time as Barr so that they would be more active in that region, and yet nothing. So I don't see anything happening with Park.

      Easy to salivate over those numbers, but the only Asian power hitter to translate that power in the majors was Godzilla, and even then, he was more like a Pikachu than a Godzilla in the MLB. An MI (forgot name, I think it was Matsui, played MI for Mets) from Japan had, I think 30-30's in Japan, but I think he couldn't even break single digit homers in the MLB and he came here in the prime of his career, late 20's. And those were Japanese players, and Park is Korean. I think someone hit 50+ HR about 5 years ago or so, got posted for under $1M (some Giants fans were salivating over him too), and I don't think he ever did anything in the majors.

      Plan B, I believe, is probably Posey playing 1B and Susac starting at C, with Tomlinson probably then getting significant playing time at 1B to allow Posey to start at least every Bumgarner start, and probably 2 of every 5 starts, anyway.

      Belt is not a catcher, he had two random concussions that should not recur again. But to your point, everyone is different, have different tolerances, some can take a million hits and be fine, and some could be greatly affected by one hit. But I don't think that planning should account for unlikely random things happening. Belt most likely will stay healthy in terms of no further concussions, but he does seem to be a magnet for injuries, and that's where Posey being around helps.

      Michael Morse signed a $6M deal with bonuses with us, no MiLB deal. Uribe, Torres, Blanco, Arias, they all got MiLB deals then made the majors based on their spring training performance.

  5. Sorry for hitting the button on someone who pointed out that Dillon Dobson played 1B for Arizona in 2015 and did well. Yes he did. Point noted. As a college draftee, he'll have to do it at higher level to make much of an impression.