Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Spring Training Open Post

Pitchers and Catchers report today, always a major symbolic day in the yearly baseball cycle, but one in which not much happens.  We've completed the prospect lists and graded the offseason.  I thought we would celebrate with an open post.  Feel free to ask questions or post a comment about anything baseball related.  We'll see where it takes us.


  1. How many wins are you projecting? I'm pretty aggressive in my bullishness (95 wins) for the following reasons.

    1. Massive pitching upgrade. Even if they're SALY, it's still +10 to the QS pool. I think the pitching upgrade gives us 7+ wins.

    2. Improved CF defense. Span may be in the naturally occuring downward spiral as far defense goes, he's still got to be a 2 game (minimum) upgrade over Pagan in CF.

    3. Duffy will start the season at 3B and we won't have two months of McGehee. And while McGehee was better at 3B than many other starters (Sandoval, Middlebrooks, etc.) Duffy, despite my misgivings about his arm, still managed to end up the #2 defensive 3B (Fangraphs) in the majors last year. That's 300 innings of the Casey McGehee experience we won't be experiencing again. I'm sure that's worth a game or three...

    So, everything else being equal, I can see a mighty-fine record with my Orange-Colored Glasses.

    1. I'm with you on 95 wins. I did my Game Score analysis a couple months ago, but sometimes I simply refer to my gut on these matters.

      Evans took an aging, below average rotation and inserted to arms who could well be stars in SF. That's all I needed to see happen to believe in this team again. Combining a strong lineup (one that isn't tied to hitting the long ball) with a consistent pitching staff is a wonderful thing. If this were a team without postseason experience, I might be a little leery... but considering the havoc this club has wreaked in October, I feel very confident in its ability to be a championship contender again this season.

      Wouldn't it be sweet to see this team go out and own the division, then continue its trend of postseason domination? I think it's all very possible!

      Cove Chatter

    2. For me, trying to predict exact Wins is a fools errand, but I think this could be an extremely strong team if all or most things break right. I don't think 95+ Wins is out of the question at all.

    3. I'm not trying to be exact. :) I figure 95 wins is a reasonable estimate. Bad things could happen, players regress, etc. and we could fall massively short, like the Nationals did last year. Or we could get career years out of half the pitching staff and be like the Cardinals!

  2. Hi all. We made it through another offseason! Personally, I was a fan of the Samardzija signing by itself. The Cueto deal took me by complete surprise, and I'm still finding myself daydreaming about the potential of this rotation.

    The more I learn about Denard Span, the more I like. If he were 5 years younger, we'd be looking at a cornerstone CF. If he can regain his health, I think he does great things this season.

    I have very high hopes for this team, no doubt. I do think there will be holes in the OF at some point though, and my gut says Mac Williamson is going to step in and secure himself an everyday role. It may not happen until late in the season, but I do believe it happens. Here's to another great season!

    Cove Chatter

    1. I had some more thoughts on Samardzija vs Greinke and why I like what the Giants did versus what the Diamondbacks did.

      While he's more erratic and prone to give up a bad-start than Greinke, Samardzija's also been good for a lot of Quality Starts, something no Giant not Madison Bumgarner has been consistently good at since Cain faded. So I compared him (QS wise) to the Top-3 Aces in the NL West (Bumgarner, Kershaw & Greinke (in that order) in parenthesis:

      2015 - 15 QS -- 61st in MLB. (22, 27, 30)
      2014 - 23 QS -- 16th in MLB. (21, 24, 21)
      2013 - 19 QS -- 38th in MLB (22, 27, 18)
      2012 - 17 QS -- 48th in MLB (19, 25, 20)

      And factor in just how awful the CWS defense was (adding an earned run to each of their Top-3 pitchers according to a FanGraphs analysis and that he had the 4th highest ERA-FIP difference in MLB I'm inclined to believe that analysis was on the right track)... I've also seen some work done on how the Cubs, with their bad defense, have also impacted their pitchers (including Samardzija) adn that the only good defense he's every played in front of was Oakland at +33 DRS, with the rest being negative.

      So I believe that playing in front of poor defenses alone likely cost Samardzija a number of QS that average defenses would have supported. And, looking over his game logs for 2015, there were 6 games where he missed a QS by 1 run. So, with a good Giants defense, how many, of those, does he get? Two? Four? All six? I'll go with four, it's fair enough. Which also puts him back at 19, a typical Samardzija year.

      Anyway, I'd rather pay $90 million for Samardzija than $206 million for Greinke who was, IMO, massively over-paid for a freak season (30 QS out of 32 starts) instead of for what he is a guy that, from 2012-2014, was a 19-QS guy. And that's not a bad pitcher by any means, but also not so far ahead of Samardzija or any other high-quality #2 pitcher.

      And with the $110 million in savings, it allowed the Giants to sign Cueto and Spann, spreading the risk, shoring up multiple spots on the team and making the club much stronger, over-all, than any difference in pitching prowess between Greinke & Samardzija might happen to be.

    2. I love reading these kinds of stat based arguments. QS are a decent metric, but fail in that a pitcher like Hudson who's only infrequently getting beyond 6ip (which is really the minimum a useful starting pitcher should be throwing) can still rack up a fair number of QS's. Samardzija, however, also throws 200+ innings consistently.

      In that sense, Samardizja is a plus in the two differentiating categories: The first being his peripheral stats and sabermetric/analytical merits, and the second being pure "stuff", or rather the "eye test." Samardzija knocked out that second test with flying colors, as far as I'm concerned.

      Sorry I can't follow my own advice and riddle this post with stats to back myself up - too much digging required and too little time right now!

  3. Stay as healthy as possible! That seems to be one of the biggest keys to success. Pence being healthy is a key. If Matt Cain regains form, that could be huge. Being ready to pull Peavy when he struggles is another key. I think its more when than if with Peavy. I'd really like another lefty in the pen besides Lopez and Osich. And while its a long shot, I'd love to see Juan Uribe get signed up over having some defensive whiz like Adrianza.

    On the subject of the two big pitcher signees... Every team would love to have multiple arms ready to go for the league minimum. But that is hard as hell to do, especially from poor draft position. Good for the Giants to recognize their glaring needs and make big efforts to improve. The thought of another year of Peavy/Lincecum/Vogelsong/Cain and sub 100 IP efforts... Ugh. The most exciting part is that these guys could very easily eat 200 innings, which makes the bullpen a ton stronger. Its a domino effect.

  4. Here is another reason the Giants signings of both Shark and Cueto look to be good moves. As many of you pointed out, the bolster to the pitching staff that those two provide is going to be a huge factor in 2016. Plus a full year of Osich and further development from Strickland are going to help as well.


  5. First, thanks DocB for another great off season. Now back to strap on the tools of ignorance.

    I'm stepping in it...104 wins...

    + Full year of Pence
    + No Pagan
    + Span, assumed healthy, very solid CF
    + Blanco better as 4th OF, giving Pagan and Span regular rest
    + Solid 5th OF/backups in Blanks/Parker/Williamson

    + Full year Matt Duffy! No soph slump, this kid is a stud.
    + Full year Panik
    + Full year Belt dodges head injuries, plays full time
    + Susac healthy, Posey can DH and get rest days
    + Kelby a .300 hitting, speed burning backup, rest days for 2B, SS, 3B

    + Cueto, proven stud, fits in, has fun, thrives. Better than Hudson.
    + Shark, power stud, polished by Posey/MadBum/Rags. Better than Voggie/Timmy.
    + Cain, he is THE KEY to 104 wins. Good Cain = Dominate Giants.
    + Peavy #4. Just get to the 6th is good enough.
    + Backup depth. Heston/Blackburn/Blatch/Beede. Better than red-ass duct tape.

    + Youth studs stepping in. Strickland/Osich. Power stuff has arrived.
    + Youth backups ready. Too many to list. More stuff will arrive if vets falter.
    + Starters go deep, bullpen rested.

    Bochy + staff, nuff said

  6. There are only 3 factors between the Giants and the World Series:
    health, health, health.
    The outfield is injury prone (now including Pence), and, well, getting up there in age. Of the 4 sure guys, Span is the youngest and will be 32 later this month. The best 5th OFer, Parker, bats LH and the Giants are laden with LH only hitters (Belt, Panik, Crawford, Span, Blanco -- LA does have 4 LH SP's).
    The infield is SET although only Crawford has played more than 150 games in a ML season (153 once). Belt has one year of 150 games. And the only guy who has significant reps at 3rd, played there for the first time last year and was in ALL of the last 117 games. The most experienced b/u, Conor Gillaspie, is LH bat only too and for that reason -- if no other -- means Adrianza will probably be the 6th IFer.
    #4 & #5 in the rotation have significant heath questions to answer and Heston can only replace one of them, then more question marks.
    The Giants have addressed their weaknesses, but still need:
    Health for the OF
    Health for the IF
    Health for the SP's
    As much as anything, 2011, 2013, and 2015 were sabotaged by health, health, health.
    If the G's are relatively healthy, then maybe 95 wins, but divine intervention is NEEDed for 105!

    1. So, are you saying that health is the key? (JK; health is obviously huge in a season).
      I'm really optimistic about this team, partly because we do have some young talent waiting in the wings. Given that there will be some injuries, we're in better shape to fill in than we were in '11, '13, and '15, and we're starting with a stronger overall roster than we had in any of those years.
      My prediction: Giants will be in the race all year long, and will be a great team to watch. If the health is reasonable, we'll make the postseason. And that, my friends, is when the "Bochy Giants" seem to shine.
      Play Ball!