Thursday, March 31, 2016

Bay Bridge Series Game Wrap 3/31/2016: Giants 3 A's 1

The Giants got a nice start from Jeff Samardzija and the offense chipped away at the A's for the 3-1 Win in Game 1 of the Bay Bride Series.  Key Lines:

Buster Posey C- 3 for 4.  Buster was hitting the ball up the middle and to RF which is his happy zone.

Hunter Pence RF- 1 for 4, 2B.  Pence's double went screaming to the LF wall almost before he could get out of the batter's box.  He might not have made it to 2B if Rajai Davis's throw been a breaking ball, as Kruk and Kuip put it.

Matt Duffy 3B- 2 for 4, 2B.  Duffy should have been credited with a 3 for 4 as he was safe on an error on a ball he scorched off the glove of Marcus Semien.  I guess Semien made so many errors last year, the official scorers just assume he made an error if he is involved in the play.

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  This is the real story of the night.  Shark gave up a leadoff triple to Billy Burns, but then settled down to retire the next 15 batters in dominant fashion.  He pitched in a bandbox last year.  Tonight, Chris Coghlan crushed a ball to CF that was easily caught by Span at the warning track.  He had a bad defense behind him last year.  Tonight, Angel Pagan made a long run and a sliding catch of a blooper in shallow LF that not just any LF would have gotten.  Shark even tweeted after the game that he loved the "football weather."  As Kruk said, he's going to get that all season in San Francisco.  I'm tellin' ya, Shark is going to LOVE playing for the Giants!  I think he already does!


Game 2 of the Bay Bridge Series is tomorrow night with Jake Peavy facing Kendall Graveman.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/30/2016: Giants 8 Sacramento River Cats 4

The Giants took a detour on their way to the Bay Bridge Series and took on their AAA team, the Sacramento River Cats, in Sacramento.  The minor leaguers put up a respectable fight, but it was not enough to overcome the pitching and pickoff wizardry of Johnny Cueto or 3 dingers by the big leaguers.  Key Lines:

Buster Posey C- 2 for 3, HR.  Buster was probably there so he could catch Cueto and become more familiar with his quirks, shimmies and shakes.

Brandon Belt 1B- 2 for 4, HR.  I'm tellin' ya.  Belt is poised for a breakout season.

Brandon Crawford SS- 1 for 3, HR.  Crawford is out to prove last year's breakout was no fluke.

Kelby Tomlinson 2B- 2 for 4, 2B.  Panik played in Arizona last night, so Tomlinson got the call to fill in.

Ehire Adrianza 3B- 2 for 3, 2B, BB.  Duffy also played in Arizona last night, so Adrianza got some reps at 3B.

Johnny Cueto P- 1 for 1, Sac.  Looks like Cueto will fit right in with this pitching staff that likes to hit.

Trevor Brown C- 2 for 2.  Brown's ascent to the backup catcher role has been nothing short of amazing.  Maybe they could make a movie about his experience?

Johnny Cueto- 6 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.   Cueto also picked off 3 baserunners, all at 1B.

Mac Williamson RF(River Cats)- 2 for 4.  Looking for Big Mac to destroy PCL pitching this season.

Hak-Ju Lee SS(River Cats)- 1 for 3, HR.  We'll see if Hak-Ju can resurrect his career with the Giants.  He's been way to passive as a hitter trying to please his managers in the Rays organization.  He needs to be more aggressive at the plate and the  Giants are the right organization to help him do that.  It can be hard to change approaches this late in a career, though.

Darren Ford LF(River Cats)- 2 for 3.  Love Darren Ford.  Maybe he can steal a couple of bases in 1 play in September to help the Giants win their division?

Chris Stratton RHP- 4 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 3 K's, GO/AO= 6/3.  Not a great night, but not terrible either.  The Giants have a serious lineup that can give the best pitchers in baseball a hard night.


Bay Bridge Series starts tomorrow night with Jeff Samardzija going against his old(briefly) team.

Fantasy Focus: A Sleeper SP and Closer Clarity

There is a good chance that Juan Nicasio is not owned in your fantasy league, or if you have not drafted yet, that he will still be available at the end of your draft.  That won't last long.   You might want to run, not walk, to your leagues FA list and pick him up immediately.  If your draft is coming up soon, he will be well worth a higher grab than your last pick or more than $1 in an auction.

You may remember Juan Nicasio as a pitcher that Coors Field broke.  Well, he is out of Coors Field Hell and he may have landed in the perfect spot to not just resurrect his career, but become the star he looked like he might become years ago with the Rockies.  Last year, he pitched for the Dodgers, mostly in relief.  He put up a line of 1-3, 3.86, 58.1 IP, 10.03 IP, 4.94 BB/9.  Yes, the walk rate is worrisome, but this year he's in Pittsburgh where pitching coach Ray Searage has become the guru of reduced walk rates.  Imagine that same K/9 with a BB/9 of say, 3.00.  Now we are talking.  Of course he will almost certainly not sustain his 2% HR/FB, but hear me out.

Nicasio started the spring penciled in as long man for the Pirates bullpen, but then he put up a 0.00 ERA with 24 K's in 15 IP.  Today, manager Clint Hurdle named him to the starting rotation with Ryan Vogelsong, a guy who knows something about resurrecting a career being sent to the bullpen.  Juan Nicasio, major sleeper!


Big news out of New York where the Yankees plan for world domination via their bullpen was already reeling from Aroldis Chapman's suspension.  Now comes word that interim closer Andrew Miller has suffered a chip fracture of his right(non-pitching) wrist and will likely miss some time at the beginning of the season.   The obvious choice to close games until Miller or Chapman get back is Dellin Betances who was already a nice fantasy RP option despite is non-closer status due to his ability to go multiple innings, rack up K's and keep his WHIP and ERA at minuscule levels.  I drafted Betances for $1 in my league.  Go get him!


The Rockies announced that Jason Motte will start the season on the DL with a right shoulder strain.  They had been planning on a true closer-by-committee with Motte and LHP Jake McGee being the main components, but now it appears the closer job is McGee's alone.  He may not be the most exciting option out there, but he'll still be dirt cheap and the worst fantasy closer is almost as valuable as the best.  McGee is still on my league FA list.

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/29/2016: Royals 16 Giants 10

Not sure who's idea it was to have a night game on Cactus League Getaway Day, but this is a game that probably should not have been played.  Clayton Blackburn got roughed up for the second start in a row and some minor leaguers got to strut their stuff a bit.  That's about it.  Key Lines:

Christian Arroyo SS- 3 for 4, HR(2).  BA= .556.  What a spring Arroyo had!  The kid can flat out hit and can't be far away from being MLB ready, at least at the plate.

Austin Slater RF- 1 for 2, HR(1), BB, HBP, SB(1).   BA= .200.  Slater playing OF and showing a bit of power and speed.

Ricky Oropesa DH- 2 for 3, 2B, HR(1).  BA= .400.  Ricky got his hits off Yordano Ventura who is a pretty good MLB pitcher who apparently did not have this best stuff in this game.  Hoping Ricky makes the Sacramento roster this season.  He looks like he's hitting more out of a crouch this spring.

Clayton Blackburn RHP- 2.2 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 4 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 8.62.  Blackburn had a rough end to spring training after a nice start.


Giants play the Sacramento River Cats in Sacramento tonight.  Starters TBD, but I think it's Johnny Cueto's turn.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Fantasy Focus: 2016 Savvy Vets

OK, I know nobody wants to hear about my fantasy team, but Fantasy Draft Day is such a big day in my life every year, I think it ought to be declared a national holiday, so I'm going to bug you with it anyway.  I play in a 10 team league standard 5X5 scoring H2H.  We carry 26 rosters spots.  Full redraft each year, so no Keepers.  Rosters can be re-set daily and we get up to 40 Adds from the free agent list during the season.  Our commissioner allows unlimited Adds between draft day and the start of the season.  The draft is auction with $260 of imaginary money to spend on the 26 roster spots.

With that bit of housekeeping out of the way, I present to you the 2016 Savvy Vets(players are listed by position followed by the number of auction dollars spent on each one):

C   JT Realmuto(Marlins) 2
1B Paul Goldschmidt(D'Backs) 54
2B Cesar Hernandez(Phillies) 4
3B Mike Moustakas(Royals) 1
SS Addison Russell(Cubs) 2
IF  Brandon Belt(Giants) 3
OF Bryce Harper(Nationals) 52
OF Justin Upton(Tigers) 20
OF Carlos Gomez(Astros) 18
UT Ben Revere(Nationals) 3
UT Billy Burns(A's) 2
SP  Stephen Strasburg(Nationals) 26
SP  Cole Hamels(Rangers) 16
SP  Danny Salazar(Indians) 9
SP  Garrett Richards(Angels) 14
SP  Marcus Stroman(Blue Jays) 6
RP  Sean Doolittle(A's) 2
RP  Robert Osuna(Blue Jays) 2
RP  Dellin Betances(Yankees) 1
P     Drew Storen(Blue Jays) 1
P     Jason Grilli(Braves) 1
B    Arodys Vizcaino 1
B     Raisel Iglesias(Reds) 2
B     Carlos Rodon(White Sox) 2
B    Aaron Sanchez(Blue Jays) 2
B    Cody Anderson(Indians) 1


I entered this draft determined to be more aggressive in drafting elite talent a the top of the draft.  In all of my prior auction drafts, never went above $50 and ended up with more evenly balanced talent, but I always ended up feeling like I could have gotten close to $20 value out of players near the end of the draft that cost under $5.  So I went for more of a Stars and Scrubs approach this time.  When I drew up my pre-draft budget, I was willing to spend half of my $260 or $130 for 2 of the top 3 players who, IMO, were Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Paul Goldschmidt(approximately $65 each).  I was happily surprised to land Harper and Goldy for a total of $106 which still left me with $154 to spend.

I ended up leaving $13 on the table, which is not a good thing although there were extenuating circumstances in this case.  My goal was to have approximately $50 for the last 20 roster spots and $20 for the last 10.  Having that extra dollar per player allows you go poach pretty much whoever you want when most teams are down to $1 per roster spot.  The problem in this draft was one guy didn't start spending until bid were down into the $15 range.  Every time I bid on a player he would jump in and outbid me.  Not only did I lose out on the player, but I didn't spend any money in they process.  I had no choice but to wait until he filled his roster.  By that time, everybody else was out of money or had filled their roster so I had nobody to bid against which meant I could not spend all  of my money.

I am fairly happy with my roster.  I had originally intended to spend more on SP's and fill out my offensive roster after drafting Harper and Goldschmidt with sub-$10 players but after much analysis, I concluded that there was enough good, cheap pitching that the money would be better spent on a couple of mid-level offensive players.  I am quite satisfied that Upton and Gomez will prove to be good investments.

You will notice my bench is only pitchers.  With 40 adds allowed in-season, I can replace offensive players from the FA list.  With daily roster re-sets, you can double the effective size of your starting rotation by filling your bench with SP's and shuttling them in and out depending on when they are starting.

The bidding scenario I described above prevented me from spending more on closers so I had to scrounge at the end.  I handcuffed Osuna/Storen and Grilli/Vizcaino so I would get at least 2 closers out of those 4.  When the Blue Jays and Braves announce their closers, I will drop the losers and pick up a couple more SP's from the FA list.  Hopefully that will happen before Opening Day so I don't get charge with the Adds.

I will obviously need healthy seasons from Harper, Goldy and Strasburg, which might be a tall order.

I am hoping for breakouts from Addison Russell and several pitchers.  My sleeper picks were Hernandez(although another guy obviously knew about him and I had to bid $4 to get him) and Cody Anderson.

Spring Training Game Wrap 2.28/2016: D'Backs 7 Giants 3

Chris Heston had some trouble containing the D'Backs lineup while the Giant offense mostly snoozed agains Kyle Drabek and the D'Backs pitchers.  Key Lines:

Matt Duffy 3B- 2 for 4, 2B, SF.  BA= .308.  Duffy's bat has come alive late in the spring.

Angel Pagan LF- 2 for 3.  BA= .395.  Pagan seems healthy hand happy and ready to step into the 9'th spot in the batting order for a wrap around leadoff team with Denard Span.  I'm actually not sure what the rationale for batting the pitcher #8 is, but I've always said that once you get past the first inning, the batting order doesn't matter anyway as who leads off and who bats with runners on base becomes an exercise in randomness.

Brandon Belt 1B- 1 for 4, 2B. BA= .395.  I know Belt has had big springs in the past, but he's coming off a pretty good season and is now older and wiser.  I think this could be his big breakout year.  Enough that I drafted him for my fantasy baseball team, the Savvy Vets.

Chris Heston RHP- 4 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 5 K's, GO/AO= 5/1.  ERA= 6.38.  The K's and the GB rate look good.  The rest of the line, not so much.  Arizona is not a friendly place for Heston's style of pitching.

Cory Gearrin RHP- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.61.  Gearrin had a couple of rough outings that made me wonder if he would make the team.  He did make the team and showed here how he can really contribute out of the bullpen.

Jake Dunning RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Dunning is getting a long look at the end of camp.  He won't be on the Opening Day roster, but he's clearly auditioning for an early callup if needed.


Matt Cain pitched a 6 inning controlled game in minor league camp which went well by all accounts.  He reportedly sat in the 89-90 MPH with an easy delivery.  Cain said he thought there was another MPH or two in the tank.  He'll make his final spring start in the final game of the Bay Bridge Series.


The Giants play their final Cactus League game today against he KC Royals with Clayton Blackburn gets the start with Madison Bumgarner doing the minor league game thing in what I guess is his final work prior to starting the season opener in Milwaukee.


Remember Joe Biagini?  He's pitched well in the Toronto Blue Jays camp with a 3.38 ERA in 8 IP.  He gets the start in their game today with final roster spots announced after the game.  If the Blue Jays don't keep him on their 25 man active roster all season, they have to offer him back to the Giants for a small price.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/27/2016: White Sox 13 Giants 9

Travis Ishikawa had a big day against his former teammates as the ChiSox got the best of a slugfest in Scottsdale.  Key Lines:

Brandon Crawford SS- 3 for 4.  BA= .357.  Crawford seems poised to build on last year's breakout season.

Brandon Belt 1B- 1 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .410.  Belt seems poised for a breakout season.

Kelby Tomlinson 3B- 2 for 4, SB(3).  BA= .269.  Kelby has apparently made the 25 man Opening Day roster as a backup infielder.  Good job, Kelby!

Mac Williamson LF- 1 for 3, HR(5), BB.  BA= .298.  Williamson gets sent out after the game, but he's gotta be on the short list for an early callup if a corner OF is needed.

Trevor Brown C- 1 for 3.  BA= .324.  Brown has also apparently made the 25 man Opening Day roster as the backup catcher assuming Andrew Susac starts the season on the DL.  Brownie also won the Barney Nugent Award for the top player in his first major league camp.  Congratulations to Trevor Brown!

Gorkys Hernandez CF- 1 for 1, 2B.  BA= .333.  Gorkys has to be asking himself what it takes to make the Opening Day Roster.  Not much to improve on here unless you buy into the notion of an occasional hustle lapse in the OF.

Jake Peavy RHP- 5.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 7.43.  Not quite up the Cueto and Shark's last starts, but some improvement here.  This one fell 1 out shy of a QS.

Travis Ishikawa 1B- 3 for 5, 2B, 3B, HR(2).  BA= .289.  A single short of the Cycle.  Hopefully Travis can catch a bench spot on the ChiSox roster.


Mat Latos plunked Hunter Pence on the upper arm with a pitch which I am guessing was not unintentional.  Latos continues to display  his punkitude.  He's been terrible this spring so hopefully he gets his punk ass handed to him on cutdown day.


Just 2 more games left in the Cactus League.  Chris Heston starts tomorrow against the D'Backs.  Matt Cain will pitch a minor league game to avoid facing a division rival.


Wow!  The Giants cleaned house, sending out 9 players with just 26 remaining in major league camp including Andrew Susac who will likely start the season on the DL.  The Giants are indeed going to start the season with 13 pitchers including both George Kontos and Cory Gearrin.  That leaves just 4 bench players who apparently will be C Trevor Brown, IF Kelby Tomlinson, IF Ehire Adrianza and OF Gregor Blanco.   Those 4 will give you good AB's off the bench, but there's no pop there to speak of.

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/26/2016: Giants 5 Cubs 2

This one had the feel of a regular season game and was played crisply on both sides.  The Giants got a QS from Jeff Samardzija and a big day from Matt Duffy to beat the Cubbies in the Cubs spring training home park.  Key Lines:

Matt Duffy 3B- 3 for 4, HR(2), SB(1).  BA= .292.  The Duffman made two diving stops and throwouts at 3B in addition to his terrific day at the plate.

Gregor Blanco CF- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .270.  Best 4'th OF in baseball.

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 K's, GO/AO= 10/2.  ERA= 7.20.  This start should calm a lot of nerves about the Giants rotation.  Buster Posey had noticed some mechanical inconsistencies and talked to Samardzija about them.  Buster then passed those on to Trevor Brown who was the catcher for the day so Brownie could remind Shark about them if they cropped up during the game.  The results were gratifying as Shark pounded the bottom of the zone with FB's and a hard breaking curve/slider piece.  THAT was the Shark I remember from when he used to pitch for the Cubs and thought he would look great in a Giants uniform!


Jake Peavy starts agains the White Sox today.


Thanks to Campanari for pointing out an article linked in Extra Baggs detailing Gustavo Cabrera's hand injury and details of his recovery we have never read before.  Oh, and that was indeed a hamstring he suffered on the second day of Arizona League last year.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/25/2016: Dodgers 13 Giants 0

The nightcap of the Giants split-squad doubleheader was an unmitigated disaster as SP Clayton Blackburn could not get out of the first inning and it all pretty much went downhill from there.  No point in posting Key Lines.  Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford got 2 hits each.  It's bad enough that spring training is waaaay to long, then to schedule split squad games this late in the spring takes the cake for pointlessness.


Jeff Samardzija takes the mound against his old team, the Cubs, and John Lackey today at 1:00 PM.  It's at the Cubs park.


Some skinny on the Giants roster plans from the beatwriters:  Seems Bochy is seriously considering carrying 13 pitchers, at least until Bumgarner and Cain get fully stretched out.  That would leave just 4 positional bench spots.  The consensus is those will likely go to Trevor Brown, Kelby Tomlinson, Ehire Adrianza and Gregor Blanco.  No big bat off the bench.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/25/2016: Giants 8 Royals 5

Johnny Cueto got a Quality Start in while Brandon Belt continued to prep for a breakout season as the Giants topped the KC Royals in home half of a split-squad day in Scottsdale.  Key Lines:

Brandon Belt 1B- 1 for 4, HR(5).  BA= .417.  Belt pulled the HR into the back field at the Giants complex.  Big season coming up for The Belter if he can stay healthy.

Jarrett Parker RF- 1 for 3, BB.  BA= .242.  Parker continues to stay relevant in the reserve OF competition.

Trevor Brown C- 1 for 3.  BA= .355.  Brown continues to look like the reserve catcher to start the season.

Conor Gillaspie 3B-  1 for 2, HR(2), BB.  BA= .324.  And Gillaspie continues to state his case for a reserve IF role.

Ehire Adrianza SS- 2 for 3, SB(1).  BA= .353.  If I had to guess right now, I'd say Adrianza and Gillaspie are the reserve IF's on Opening Day.

Gorkys Hernandez PH-LF- 2 for 2, 2B.  BA= .318.  Hernandez is definitely not folding his tents in the race for reserve OF.  It's coming down to Parker vs Gorkys.

Johnny Cueto RHP- 6 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 9.58.  Cueto's last start was in a minor league game where he reportedly looked good.  This was one of the better starts for a Giants pitcher this spring.  I don't think we have to worry about Cueto right now.

George Kontos RHP- 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 4.70.  After what he did last year, is Kontos having to compete for a bullpen spot?

Derek Law RHP- 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 6.75.  Law had a rough time earlier in the spring.  This line looks better.

Sergio Romo RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 1.80.  Romo looks to be in midseason form, which is a bit unusual for him in the spring.  Maybe he wants that closer job back?


Clayton Blackburn gets the start tonight against the Dodgers in Goodyear.

Thoughts on Who Are the Indispensable Giants

I already really liked Jessica Mendoza, the former softball player who now does baseball color commentary in the broadcast booth for ESPN.   After last night's broadcast of the Cubs-Giants exhibition game, I absolutely love her.  She has a strong voice that sounds good on TV.  She is smart, knows the game and does her homework.  Last night, she took Aaron Boone, the other commentator in the booth to school on the Giants farm system leaving him more or less sputtering.  Here's how it went(paraphrased):

Boone:  "I feel like the Giants are a team that is more vulnerable to injury than other contending NL teams.  If one of their players goes down with injury, they don't have the depth to replace him that other teams have.

Jessica:  "I'm not so sure about that.  Take Brandon Crawford.  If he were injured, their top prospect is Christian Arroyo who looks like he's about ready to step in and do a great job.  Then there is Mac Williamson who's had a great spring and could step into the outfield.  Remember how a player like Kelby Tomlinson came up and filled in for Joe Panik last year?"

Boone:  "Well, I don't think Arroyo is that close to being ready.  I don't think the Giants would bring him up if Crawford were hurt.  I also feel like Williamson has some parts of his game that need polishing up."

Mendoza mercifully did not ask Boone what he thought would happen to the Dodgers if Clayton Kershaw was injured or to the Cubs if Arrieta or Lester went down.

That exchange got me to thinking:  "Who are the indispensable Giants?"  What players, if they were injured for an extended period, would cause the Giants to fall out of contention for another even-year championship?  Here is the list I came up with:

Buster Posey:  Any list of indispensable Giants has to start with Buster Posey.  He is the best player in baseball at his position.  He gives the Giants the widest positional competitive advantage over every other team, maybe of any position in baseball.  In other words, the difference between Buster Posey and the second best catcher in baseball is greater than the difference between the #1 and #2 at any other position.  We all saw what happened to the Giants 2011 season after Buster was injured.  It is extremely difficult to imagine the Giants competing for a championship in 2016 without Buster Posey starting at catcher.

Hunter Pence:  Pence is not the best RF in baseball.  He is the best Giants OF by a pretty big margin and the hardest one to replace.  Take a look at the Giants W-L record in games he played last year vs games he was out with injury.  I could see Big Mac or Jarrett Parker replacing Angel Pagan in LF and being almost as good or even better.  They would certainly provide more power in the lineup than Pagan.  They might do OK in RF replacing Pence, but it's not something I would count on.  I'll go with Hunter Pence as the second most indispensable Giant.

Madison Bumgarner:  Bumgarner has been the best pitcher on the team for a couple of years now.  The Giants absolutely do not win the 2014 championship without him.  After the additions of Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, if everyone else in the rotation stayed healthy and played up to expectations, the Giants might still be OK.  On the other hand, it's difficult to imagine a successful rotation without Bumgarner leading it.  I'll make Madison Bumgarner the Giants 3'rd most indispensable player.

Brandon Belt:  Brandon Crawford may be a better player than Brandon Belt.  The difference is in who would replace them in case of an injury.  In Crawford's case, the Giants have the aforementioned Kelby Tomlinson and Christian Arroyo.  In Belt's case, they have pretty much nobody.  Kyle Blanks hasn't proven he can stay on the field.  In fact, he's pretty much proven he can't.  Buster Posey could move to 1B, but then that creates a big drop off at the catcher position.  Lack of a reasonable alternative makes Brandon Belt the 4'th indispensable Giant.

Johnny Cueto:  Let's just say the Giants gave Cueto a $130 M contract for a reason.  Bumgarner is still the #1, but if Cueto gets hurt or has a disappointing season, the Giants are in a lot of trouble.  We'll say Johnny Cueto is the 5'th most indispensable Giant.

That is about it:  The Giants have Gregor Blanco backing up Pagan and Span with Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson behind him in LF.  They have Tomlinson and Arroyo in the IF.  They have Chris Heston, Clayton Blackburn and possibly Chris Stratton in case Matt Cain or Jake Peavy get hurt.  With Samardzija it's more whether you would be replacing the 2014 Shark or the 2015 bust.  The projected Samardzija would not be that hard to replace.  The entire bullpen is close to fungible except possibly Hunter Strickland.  The 5 guys the Giants would have the toughest time replacing are Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, Madison Bumgarner, Brandon Belt and Johnny Cueto, in that order.

Who are your indispensable Giants?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/24/2016: Cubs 16 Giants 14

Another football score.  If there was any doubt in your mind about spring training being too long?  This game should settle the question once and for all.  I mean, it was awful.  Nobody looked like they wanted to be out there.  The conditions were terrible due to the game time with the setting sun shining directly in the eyes of players stationed on the right side of the field.  The most interesting moment in the game was some sign-stealing drama between Bummy, Jason Heyward and Dexter Fowler(more on that later).  Key Lines:

Denard Span CF- 1 for 3, BB, SB(1).  BA= .250.  Giants will happily take a game like this from Span everyday.

Joe Panik DH- 3 for 5, SB(1).  BA= .313.  I'm sticking with my prediction that Joe Panik wins a batting title, possibly as soon as this season.

Hunter Pence RF- 2 for 3, HR(6), BB.  BA= .500.  Hunter Pence sez "let's start the season tomorrow!"  Hunter Pence doesn't need spring training!

Jarrett Parker RF- 1 for 2, 3B.  BA= .237.  Parker is keeping hope alive for a roster spot.

Madison Bumgarner LHP- 3.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 3 K.  ERA= 11.12.  Bummy threw some good looking pitches, especially in the second inning, but was obviously not in mid-season form.  I think we're still in the get-his-work-in phase of spring training.

Bummy's 'tude was in mid-season form.  He got a called third strike on a front door cutter to Jason Heyward that Heyward did not seem to be expecting at all.  Heyward sent not just one, but two stankeyes out to Dexter Fowler who was on second base.  Bummy walked toward Heyward asking "are you looking at me?"  Buster Posey also thought there was some rotten cheese in Denmark and had already stepped out and barked at Heyward.  Both benches started to empty, but Bummy quickly broke it off and walked to the dugout as he had reached his pitch count.  Afterward, the Giants said they could think of only one reason why Heyward would have anything to say to Fowler and I'll let you guess what THAT might be.  Stay tuned for the regular season.

Cory Gearrin RHP- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.38.  A shutout inning was an impressive feat in this game and Gearrin topped that by 1 out.  He's also keeping hope alive for a roster spot.

Jake Dunning RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  2 impressive appearances by Jake Dunning who is not going to be on the Opening Day 25 man roster.  He is making a case for an early callup if the bullpen needs help during the season.


Tomorrow is a split-squad day with the KC Royals visiting Scottsdale and the Giants visiting the Dodgers in Goodyear.  I'd be willing to bet a lot of money that no member of the Giants projected starting rotation will be pitching in the Dodger game.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/23/2016: D'Backs 10 Giants 6

Brandon Belt had another big day but the Giants pitchers got knocked around again and the D'Backs won by another football score.  Key Lines:

Brandon Belt 1B- 3 for 3, 2B, 2 HR(4).  BA= .448.  Belt continues to look like he is going to have a true breakout season.  Both dingers came off a pretty good lefty in Robbie Ray.

Jarrett Parker RF- 2 for 4.  BA= .228.   Can Parker put on a late push for the 5'th OF spot?

Ehire Adrianza 2B/3B- 2 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .333.  The double was Adrianza's 6'th of the spring.  He made a couple of nifty plays at SS too.  He's had a better spring than Kelby Tomlinson although Kelby got a hit today also.  Could the Giants keep both?

Trevor Brown C- 1 for 3, HBP.  BA= .370.  Brown comes back from a forearm bruise from a backswing of a bat.  So, the kid is tough too?  I'm guessing that wins him a point or two with the manager.

Matt Cain RHP-  4 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 3 K's, GO/AO= 6/0.  ERA= 12.15.  Cain got some swing throughs and his velocity was reportedly good too.   Both Peavy and Cain have said they aren't sequencing the way they would in a regular season game.  As I said at the beginning of spring training, the big thing for Cain is him making his starts and hitting his pitch counts.

Chris Heston RHP- 2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 2 BB, GO/AO= 3/0.  ERA= 5.65.  The 3 runs scored on an inside-the-park HR by Jason Bourgois.  Baggs was critical of Gorkys Hernandez' effort in not cutting off the ball in the gap and indicated this was not the only time it's happened this spring.  No word on Bochy's or the coaches opinions.


Marquee matchup tomorrow evening with Madison Bumgarner facing the Cubs and Jake Arrieta.


Just a thought on the Giants poor pitching and great hitting.  I wouldn't get to down or up about either one.  I'm pretty sure that if the entire regular season was played in these parks and in these conditions, league average ERA would probably hover right around 5 if not higher.


Dan Farnsworth has his Giants prospect list up over at Fangraphs and has some surprisingly positive, almost downright effusive things to say about the Giants farm system.  Turns out he is also impressed by the depth and number of potential breakouts/sleepers in the system.  Ch-ch-check it out!

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/22/2016: Giants 7 D'Backs 7

Peter O'Brien hit a 3 run HR in the 8'th inning to bring the D'Backs into a 7-7 tie with the Giants and that's how it ended after a total of 10 innings in the nightcap of a split-squad day.  Key Lines:

Denard Span CF- 2 for 4, 2B, HR(2).  BA= .243.  Just stay healthy Denard!

Hunter Pence RF- 3 for 4, 2 HR(5).  BA= .478.  Just stay health, Hunter!

Kelby Tomlinson 2B- 2 for 5, 3B.  BA= .231.  Tomlinson is not throwing in the towel in the battle for the MI bench spot.  Any chance the Giants keep both him and Adrianza?  That would probably mean letting both Gillaspie and Green go.

Angel Pagan LF- 1 for 3, BB, SB(1).  BA= .440.  I imagine the Giants would be quite thrilled to get this line out of Pagan batting in the 9-hole every game.

Ty Blach LHP- 4 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 0 K, GO/AO= 9/2.  ERA= 6.23.  A bit of bad BABIP luck here?

Chris Stratton RHP- 3 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 3 K, GO/AO= 5/1.  ERA= 1.80.  Stratton dominated for 3 innings then allowed 2 baserunners to start the 8'th inning.  They came home on O'Brien's dinger off Mike Broadway.  Someone commented in another post that the Giants secret weapon may be the pitching prospects who are ready to step up to MLB level if needed.  That may well be true.  Everybody talks about the Dodgers pitching depth and their pitching prospects who might not be quite ready.  Well, the Giants have Heston, Blackburn, Stratton and Blach all lined up as #6, 7, 8 and 9 starters with Mejia looking like he could be almost ready too!  Beede probably needs a bit more seasoning, but don't count him out in the second half of the season.  Good stuff!


Matt Cain takes the mound today against the D'Backs.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/22/2016: White Sox 8 Giants 7

This was game 1 of a day-night pair of split-squad games in which the ChiSox won a see-saw hit-fest.  Key Lines:

Joe Panik DH- 2 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .300.  Panik looking healthy and ready to start the season.

Brandon Belt 1B- 1 for 2, HR(2), SF, HBP.  BA= .385.  Belt is looking more and more like he could be entering a breakout season. Staying healthy will be the key.

Miguel Olivo C- 2 for 2, HR(1), SF.  BA= .800.  Talk about taking advantage of opportunities!  Has Olivo inserted himself into the backup catcher conversation?

Ehire Adrianza 2B- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .311.  Adrianza his hitting with more authority and winning the backup MI competition.

Jake Peavy RHP- 4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 8.31.  Again, the peripherals look much better than the ERA here.  8 K's tells me his stuff was good and Peavy seems healthy enough.  I think the Peav will have a solid season.

Cory Gearrin RHP- 0.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 4.05.  Is Gearrin's hope for a bullpen job starting to fade?

Hunter Strickland and Santiago Casilla pitched scoreless innings.

Prospect Retrospective: Trevor Brown

Someone asked for a Prospect Retrospective on Trevor Brown.  Ask and ye shall receive!

Trevor Brown was about as nondescript college prospect as it's possible to be, playing multiple positions at UCLA including C, 2B and 1B.  He slashed .321/.373/.427 with 13 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR in 246 AB.  Good numbers, but nothing special for a college hitter.  I'm guessing the Giants scouted him in the wood bat Northwoods League in the summer of 2011 where he hit .287/.373/.350 with a K/BB of approximately 1.

The Giants drafted him in round 10, a relatively high draft position, in 2012 and assigned him to Salem-Keizer where he hit just .221, but with a 9.4 BB% and an 11.5 K% in 139 PA.  He hit a bit better for Low A Augusta in 2013:  .250/.304/.326 with 10 SB and 3 HR in 423 PA.  His K/BB was 12.3/6.4.  He was promoted to San Jose late in the season where he hit just .179 in 62 PA's.

He stayed over in San Jose to start 2014 and continued to struggle to a .215 BA in 212 PA's.  Inexplicably, he got promoted to AAA Fresno where he was a completely different player, hitting .319/.380/.361 in 80 PA's.  The Giants kept him at AAA, now Sacramento, to start the 2015 season and he slashed .261/.319/.343 with a 6.7 BB% and 16.9 K% in 314 PA.  He got the September callup when the Giants ran out of backup catchers and hit a modest .231 but impressed everybody with his game management skills and athleticism behind the plate.

Brown has hit well this spring and may well end up as the last man standing in the demolition derby that has become the Giants backup catcher job, although even he suffered a setback yesterday when he took a backswing off his forearm and suffered a pretty good bruise.

Here are some thoughts on what we might learn from Trevor Brown's experience as a prospect in the Giants system:

1.  The Giants scout more than just offensive numbers in college players.

2.  The Giants scout the wood bat leagues and put a ton of stock in what they see there.

3.  The Giants value athleticism and versatility and the ability to play an up the middle position.  Multiple up-the-middle positions is even better!

4.  The Giants value contact over walk rate and power.

5.  A long term, perhaps unintended consequence of the "Buster Posey Rule" is that we will see fewer catchers built like an Abrams tank and more smaller, quicker, athletic guys who can move around the plate and make athletic plays.

6.  Sometimes the most important factor in the success of a prospect is being in the right place at the right time and taking advantage of small opportunities.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/21/2016: A's 6 Giants 4

Jeff Samardzija became the first Giants starter of the spring to go 6 innings in a MLB level game, but gave up all 6 of the A's runs in a Giants loss.  Key Lines:

Hunter Pence RF- 1 for 3, HR(3).  BA= .421.  Just stay healthy, Pence!

Angel Pagan LF- 2 for 3.  BA= .455.  Pagan made a running catch in left-CF and even Andy Baggarly thinks he looks great so far this spring.

Miguel Olivo C- 2 for 3, 2B.  BA= .667.  Olivo was pressed into service when starter Trevor Brown took a backswing off his forearm and had to leave the game with a bruise.  Seems like Brown will be OK but will likely miss a couple of games.

Conor Gillaspie 3B- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .333.  With Kyle Blanks hurting and assigned to minor league camp, I'm thinking Gillaspie has the upper hand in the battle for corner IF backup over Grant Green.

Ehire Adrianza SS- 1 for 3, BB.  BA= .293.  I also see Adrianza currently leading Kelby Tomlinson for the backup MI bench slot.  Yes, they could keep both Tomlinson and Adrianza and drop both Gillaspie and Green, but neither Tomlnson nor Adrianza have played much at 3B and I don't think the Giants will go into the season without a solid back up for Duffy.

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 6 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 3 K's, GO/AO= 10/2.  ERA= 8.53.  The ERA is ugly but the peripherals look good.  Samardzija reportedly had good stuff and his split-fingered FB in particular really showed some progress.  The 2 dingers are part of a pattern, but hopefully AT&T helps beat those down a bit.


I guess there are split-squad games tomorrow against the ChiSox and D'Backs with Jake Peavy and Ty Blach getting the starts respectively.

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/20/2016: Giants 10 Rockies 4

Matt Duffy and Brandon Belt had big days at the plate and Clayton Blackburn continued to impress on the mound as the Giants crushed the Rockies at Talking Stick.  Key Lines:

Matt Duffy 3B- 3 for 4, 3B.  BA= .323.  Look who's hitting over .300 on the spring!

Brandon Belt 1B- 4 for 4, HR(1).  BA= .375.  Is this finally Belt's big breakout season?  Does he believe in himself enough to turn down a contract extension?

Clayton Blackburn RHP- 4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K's, GO/AO= 5/2.  ERA= 4.38.  Considering the team he was facing and the environment, that is a darn impressive line for Blackburn.  He got optioned to Sacramento after the game, but with effusive praise from Bruce Bochy.  Big time chance that he'll be back in a SF Giants uniform before the season is done.

Grant Green hit a 2-run dinger late in the game.

Clayton Blackburn, Brandon Crawford, Kelby Tomlinson and Buster Posey all hit a double.

Mac Williamson drew 2 BB's.


Johnny Cueto pitched 6 innings in a minor league game and reportedly looked terrific hitting 90 MPH on the radar gun with command while showing off the shoulder shimmy and quick pitch repertoire he is famous for.


In addition to Clayton Blackburn, the Giants also optioned LHP's Ty Blach and Steven Okert to Sacramento while reassigning 1B/OF Kyle Blanks, LHP Ricky Romero, RHP Vin Mazzaro, OF/1B Ryan Lollis and SS Hak-Ju Lee to minor league camp.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/19/2016: A's 9 Giants 1

Sorry for the late post on this game.  The power went out on our side of the street last night at about 1:30 AM.  We finally got power about 4:00 PM today thanks to a generator parked in front of our house.  It seems like the entire Southern California Edison workforce is on our street right now.

Anyway, not much to report on this game.  The Giants fielded mostly their B team behind Madison Bumgarner after a big win the night before against the Padres.  The hangover effect was in full force as they snoozed through the game.  In fact, I fell asleep at least 3 times while trying to watch it on TV!  Key Lines:

Mac Williamson LF- 1 for 1.  BA= .333.  Kruk and Kuip were kind of on Mac for letting his shoulder fly open in the last few games.  He looked bad on a couple of swings this AB but spit on a couple of sharp sliders that looked difficult to lay off then hit a sharp groundball single through the hole on what looked like a dowward plan FB.

Gregor Blanco DH- 1 for 2, BB, SB(1).  BA= .211.  You might forgive Blanco for being a big cranky that he's never seemed to secure a starting job after averaging 3 fWAR per 600 PA's over the last 4 seasons, but he seems to always have a sunny disposition and told Amy G how bad he felt when he wasn't able to play with a stiff back and how happy he is to be back on the field.  Hard to overrate how valuable Blanco was to the 2012 and 2014 championship teams.

Ehire Adrianza 1B-2B.  1 for 3, BB.  BA= .297.   Adrianza keeps on stating his case for  roster spot.  He and Tomlinson seem to be a bit redundant.  Gotta love what Tomlinson gives, but he has options and Adrianza doesn't and Adrianza has actually had the better spring.

Madison Bumgarner LHP- 2.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 10.57.  At this point, a start with no physical setbacks is a good thing.  Bummy even went down to the pen after he came out and got in some more throws.


The Giants are going to have Johnny Cueto pitch in a B game with controlled pitch counts each inning,   so Clayton Blackburn gets the start in today's game against the Rockies in an away game.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/18/2016: Giants 15 Padres 6

Bruce Bochy unveiled his probable regular season starting lineup for the first time this spring with spectacular results as every member of the lineup got at least 1 hit and 6 players had multi-hit games.  Key Lines:

Denard Span CF- 2 for 4, 3B, HR(1).  BA= .222.   Maybe we can breath a sigh of relief for Span. He reportedly also made a nice running catch in the OF and did not appear to have any problems with his shoulders.

Matt Duffy 3B- 2 for 4.  BA= .259.  Duffy's bat is heating up after a slow start.

Buster Posey C- 3 for 3, HR(1), BB.  BA= .350.  Anybody else thinking we're in for a huge season from Buster this year?

Hunter Pence RF- 2 for 4, HR(2).  BA= .462.  Just stay healthy, Hunter!

Brandon Crawford SS- 2 for 3, HR(2), BB.  BA= .308.  Crawford seems to be rounding into game shape for the season.  Can he duplicate or even build on last season?

Matt Cain P- 2 for 2.  BA= 1.000.  Bochy is apparently changing his mind about pitchers hitting 8'th.  He says it is because he has the right personnel now, but that seems like a smokescreen to me.  I think he's changed his mind, which is OK.  You want a manager who is open to new ideas.  Not sure how much difference in run production it actually makes, though.

Angel Pagan LF- 1 for 2, 2B, BB, Assist.  BA= .500.  So far, the move to LF has not been an issue.  As we've said many times, when he's healthy, Pagan is a dynamic player.  He doesn't seem to mind hitting 9'th in the lineup either.

Matt Cain RHP-  2.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 10.13.  Forget the ERA here.  What's important is he threw 51 pitches and appeared to be fully healthy.  The FB sat at 91-92 MPH and touched 94 according to Baggs with a sharp, downward breaking curveball.

Sergio Romo RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Romo is often not too sharp in the spring.  Giants took it slow with him this year and he's looked good in a couple of appearances.

Cory Gearrin RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 1.42.  Gearrin does not have an option, so there will be a crunch at final cutdown time.

Chris Heston RHP- 3.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 4 K's, GO/AO= 6/0.  The peripherals look great here.  Will Hesto Presto be needed in the rotation to start the season, or will he be the long man in the bullpen?  If he is not in the rotation, will the Giants exercise their option to keep Gearrin?


Madison Bumgarner has apparently recovered from his ouches enough to make his start today facing the A's in Scottsdale.


If you were like me and wondering what happened to Andrew Susac, his wrist flared up and he's been unable to play since Monday.  It's looking like Trevor Brown my open the season as the backup catcher.


Around the League:

Pirates prospect Austin Meadows suffered an orbital fracture after getting hit by a ball while playing catch.  He'll miss 6-8 weeks.

Cincinnati RHP Michael Lorenzen has a sprain of his UCL and will miss time to let it heal.

Red Sox RHP prospect Michael Kopech broke his hand punching a teammate.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Thoughts on Adam LaRoche and Kids in the Clubhouse

By now, you all are probably familiar with the story out of ChiTown in which Adam LaRoche left the team and apparently retired because the White Sox asked him to not bring his 14 yo son, Drake, into the clubhouse quite so often.  It is really unclear what all led to this state of affairs, but the fallout is still raining down with several White Sox players blasting management, LaRoche making a formal statement, White Sox management insisting there is another side to the story and players from outside the organization chiming in.

Apparently LaRoche's 14 year old son was an almost daily presence  in the White Sox clubhouse where he hung out with his old man and apparently kind of functioned like an unpaid clubhouse boy.  By all accounts, the kid is well behaved and everybody seems to agree that his behavior is exemplary and not an issue.  LaRoche claims that an agreement on the part of White Sox management to allow his son access to the clubhouse was a major part of his decision to sign a free agent contract last year.  It is unclear how formal this agreement was and the White Sox dispute some of the details but are not specific in their denials.  Word of the team's wishes were apparently conveyed to Adam LaRoche by team President Kenny Williams who says it was a team decision, but he, Williams delivered the message so as to deflect the expected backlash away from GM Rick Hahn.  The team's argument is they wanted the team to be more focused this year and to eliminate as many distractions as possible.

What we have right now are very few answers about what actually happened or why and a whole shipload of questions:

1.  Even if you completely believe LaRoche's story about the "agreement" at the time of his signing as a free agent, the very fact that he felt the need to bring it up and insist on assurances seems to indicate that he realized that what he was wanting to do was outside the norm of many MLB clubhouses and could become an issue.  So, what exactly was Drake's role in the clubhouse and how was is different?  Was the arrangement a carryover from what he was already doing in the Nationals clubhouse or was it something that started in Chicago?

2.  If the action by White Sox management is a response to what happened last year, why did it take them until the middle spring training to act?  Would it not have been better for all parties, including management for this to be hashed out ASAP after the season ended?  Did something happen in the last few days or weeks to trigger this action that nobody is talking about?

3. I personally have questions about what or who this is more about, Adam LaRoche or his son.  It is hard enough to be a 14 year old young man in this world without seeing your name in the headlines as being the cause of your father no longer being a major leaguer and losing $13 M and having this debated for days or more in the national media.  Might it have been better for LaRoche to have a quiet man-to-man talk with his son and just have him not come around the clubhouse as much to keep him out of the media glare?

Reading about his incident brought back a lot of unpleasant memories of the 2002 Giants and Dusty Baker's open clubhouse policy for players kids.  I know I have always felt like they ended up being a distraction which contributed to the Giants collapse in the World Series.  Of course that doesn't explain how they got to the World Series in the first place if it was all that much of a distraction, but nevertheless, I have felt that way ever since.

In the bigger picture, it would seem that teams are going to need to be more proactive in setting clubhouse rules regarding friends and family in the clubhouse and are going to have to make them uniform for all players on the team.  I could even see this issue coming up in the CBA negotiations to make policy uniform across all of MLB.

What do you think about the Adam Laroche situation?

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/17/2016: Giants 8 Padres 4

The Giants took advantage of some sloppy Padres fielding to double up the score on them.  Key Lines:

Brandon Belt 1B- 2 for 2, 2B, SF.  BA= .250.  Belt was late getting started due to an illness, but looked much better at the plate tonight than the last game I saw him in.

Jarrett Parker RF- 2 for 5, 2B, HR(3).  BA= .250.  Parker went deep again tonight and added a 2-bagger.  We've got a horse race between Parker, Gorkys Hernandez and Big Mac for that last OF roster spot.  Gotta think it's Parker's to lose, but options may end up playing a role.

Trevor Brown C- 1 for 3, BB.  BA= .400.  Is Andrew Susac hurting?  Does anyone else have the feeling that Brown is pulling ahead in the race for backup C?

Jake Peavy RHP- 4 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 8.53.  The ERA is a bit ugly, but again, the veteran starters are getting their work in getting ready for the season.  Peavy made some nice pitches to limit the damage from the 8 hits.

Ty Blach LHP- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, GO/AO= 4/0.  ERA= 5.00.  Blach was pitching to contact and got some great defensive plays behind him, especially in his second inning of work.

Hunter Strickland and Santiago Casilla pitched scoreless innings while Josh Osich gave up a run in the 9'th.


Giants take on the Padres again tonight.  Is it Matt Cain's turn?


Denard Span's jammed shoulder was diagnosed as a bone bruise and was already improved yesterday.  He took BP on a back field.

Madison Bumgarner says he is on track to make his scheduled start on Saturday, 3/19/2016.

Several people have asked about Kyle Blanks.  Baggs reports his Achilles tendons are barking at him again.  He was scratched from a start last night.

Gregor Blanco was scratched from last nights game with a stiff back.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Scouting the 2016 Draft: Nick Senzel

2. Nick Senzel, 3B, Tennessee.  B-R, T-R.  6'1", 205 lbs.

Senzel is a college 3B/2B from Univ. of Tennessee.  He seems to have settled in at 3B which is his likely future professional position.  He looks like a 3B with a thick, muscular body.  He's been a good college player hitting .315 and .321 his first two seasons.  Then, he went out and won the Cape Cod League MVP which will buy you some helium.  BA now has him listed as their #2 early draft prospect.  He is off to a blazing start this season hitting .389 with 9 SB's showing he has some speed to go with his hit tool.

There are questions about his glove and he has never shown significant game power, or I should say his power has been limited to gap power. There is probably a bit more power in there with some swing adjustments, but his body is maxed out with essentially no physical projection.  It would not be a shock if his stock dropped as the draft approaches due to these concerns.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/16/0216: Mariners 9 Giants 6

Jeff Samardzija got roughed up for 7 runs in 4 innings and Denard Span suffered an injury to the opposite shoulder that's been barking at him all spring.  Key Lines:

Denard Span CF- 1 for 3.  BA= .174.  This was Span's first game playing in the field.  He jammed his right shoulder while trying for a catch.  It's been his left shoulder that's kept him at DH before today.  Bochy's quote:  "He jammed it pretty good."

Hunter Pence RF- 2 for 4.  BA= .444.  Pence stays hot in a SSS.

Brandon Crawford SS- 2 for 4.  BA= .261.  Was this Crawford's first game at SS?  As far as I know, he didn't get injured in this game.  His bat seems to be heating up.

Ehire Adrianza PR-2B- 1 for 1, 2B.  BA= .321.  Adrianza says, "hey, don't forget about me!"

Angel Pagan LF- 3 for 3, 2B, 3B.  BA= .500.  Pagan is a dynamic player when he is healthy.  He did not move to CF when Span came out.  Mac Williamson, of all people got the CF call instead!

Trevor Brown DH- 2 for 3.  BA= .412.  Brown continues to impress with almost every chance he gets.

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 4 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 1 BB, 3 K.  ERA= 8.31.  OK, take a deep breath. Say it with me, "spring training for veteran pitchers is for getting your work in."  Too early to hit the panic button, but Dick Tidrow may want to start skulking around the perimeter of the stadium.

Sergio Romo- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Romo reportedly looked sharp today.

Chris Stratton RHP- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, GO/AO= 4/1.  ERA= 0.00.  I am so looking forward to how Stratton performs this season, presumably in Sacramento, but at the rate Giants SP's are going, SF at some point is not out of the question.


Giants take on the Padres tomorrow with the listed SP TBD.  Seems like it is Jake Peavy's turn, though.

Hot Tip: MLB Top Prospects

I and several other Giants-oriented bloggers were invited to answer 5 questions posed by the editor or a site called MLB Top Prospects regarding the Giants farm system, which they recently reviewed.  I have the site linked to the left and encourage anyone interested to check it out.  The Q/A is listed under 2016 Giants Top Prospects Chat.

Scouting the 2016 Draft: Jason Groome and Riley Pint

The BA Top 100 Draft Prospects list is out, which I have found to be the best starting point to analyzing the draft.  The Giants don't get their first pick until #59 overall in the second round, so they won't have a shot at a lot of the top draft prospects.  On the other hand, there are always draft prospects who fall during the season and disagreement among analysts, so you never know.  For instance, one of the strengths of this draft is said to be college OF's, yet Keith Law is quite vocal that he does not view any of the college OF's as being first round material, so there you have it.  We'll start with a couple of HS pitchers who are ranked near the top of BA's list:

#1.  Jason Groome, LHP, HS.  6'4", 224 lbs.  Groome is a big, hard throwing lefty who PG lists as 6'6", 180 lbs.  From video I've seen, I'll go with closer to 225 lbs., but the height is hard to judge from video.  He has elite velocity with a FB that reaches 96 MPH out of a mid-3/4 delivery.  PG says he has a good curveball to go with it.  Nothing funky or outstanding about his videos.  About as safe a prospect as you can get out of a HS pitcher.

#4.  Riley Pint, RHP, HS.  6'5", 195 lbs.  Pint is a mirror image of Groome on video.  Lots of room to grow into his frame.  96 MPH on the FB from a mid-3/4 delivery.  Classic HS pitching prospect who should go high in the draft if he stays healthy all season.

I'll just add that I consider any HS pitcher who throws over about 94 MPH to be high risk for TJ surgery.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/14//2016: A's 10 Giants 3

The Oakland A's love to take it to the Giants in spring training games and last night's game was no exception.  The Giants ended up feeling lucky to escape serious injury!  Key Lines:

Matt Duffy 3B- 1 for 3, HR(1).  BA= .211.  Duffy's bat is starting to heat up.

Gorkys Hernandez CF- 1 for 3, 3B.  BA= .345.  Hernandez continues to impress with the bat and he's a true CF.  That is a strong argument for a roster spot right there.

Ehire Adrianza SS- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .296.  Adrianza keeps sticking his and up from the back of the room and saying "don't forget about me!"

Johnny Cueto RHP- 3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 16.61.  OK team, listen up!  I've said it before.  I'll say it again.  It is not a matter of IF a pitcher is going to die on the mound from a batted ball, but WHEN.  Cueto was unbelievably lucky here.  First batter, Billy Burns hits a line drive right back at Cueto.  When you see something coming at your face, the instinct is to turn your head.  The problem here is turning your head exposes the temporal bone, the thinnest bone in the skull, which sits right over the middle meningeal artery.  Cueto turned his head away, but fortunately for him, it was too late and the ball hit his forehead where the skull is much thicker.  It also appeared to be more of  a glancing blow which may have deflected some of the energy.  Cueto passed all the concussion tests and stayed in the game.  He looked sharp after a rough first inning which included some bad BABIP luck.

Look, if MLB can make batters wear helmets with ear flaps, and make the base coaches wear helmets and change contact rules at home plate and 2B, they can insist that pitchers get better protection on the mound. It is way past time for a rule forcing pitchers to wear helmets.  They need to be more than the plastic lined cap we've seen from a couple of pitchers so far.  It needs to be a helmet with ear flaps and possibly one with a faceguard of some sort.  I know the pitchers will fight it for whatever macho reasons they can think of, but come on!  Nobody wants to see someone die in a ballgame!  Get it done, MLB!


The Giants have their only day off of the spring today.  Jeff Samardzija gets the start on Wednesday, 3/16/2016 facing the Mariners in Peoria with Hisashi Iwakuma on the mound for the Mariners.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/13/2016: Giants 8 Padres 1

Madison Bumgarner was scratched from today's start due to a painful neuroma in his foot and a "pulling" in his chest near the sternum(more on this later).  Chris Heston got the start in Bummy's place and sparkled in 4 innings of work which Mac Williamson was once again the hitting force of the day.  Key Lines:

Denard Span DH- 1 for 3, 2B BB.  BA= .150.  Span seems to be getting his timing down at the plate.  He has yet to play in CF.

Christian Arroyo PH-DH- 1 for 1.  BA= .538.  Arroyo completes the MLB portion of his spring training with another basehit.   He impressed pretty much everybody while showing a very mature approach at the plate and all around savvy on the field.  He will likely start the season in AA Richmond.

Brandon Belt 1B- 1 for 2, 2B, BB.  BA= .182.  Another guy who is getting his timing down after missing some games with the flu(is it just me, or does Belt get the flu every spring?).

Mac Williamson LF-  2 for 4, HR(4).  BA= .344.  OK, here's the real story of the day.  Big Mac continues to swing a batt fitting of the nickname.   Another sensational day at the plate.  The dinger came of Padres starter Brandon Maurer who is a serious MLB pitcher.  Boch has got to be wondering to himself what would happen if he just put Mac out in LF and in the 7-hole in the batting order every day for a full season.

Gorkys Hernandez CF- 1 for 2, 2B, BB, SB(4).  BA= .346.  Hernandez continues to state his case for a roster spot.  Unfortunately, there are just 25 of those available.  Giants are going to have some very tough choices come final cutdown day.

Chris Heston RHP- 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's, GO/AO= 7/1.  ERA= 3.12.  This is the Hesto Presto we remember from the first half last year giving credence to the idea that his poor second half was more due to fatigue than regression to true talent.  In the interview from the dugout after his stint on the mount, Heston shared that he lost 15-20 lbs over the course of last season and felt like that may have contributed to him not being as strong down the stretch.  He worked on gaining the weight back this offseason and then some.  Hopefully he was also working out and making it good weight.

Sam Coonrod RHP- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Coonrod impressed in a couple of spring appearances.  He'll go down to minor league camp and prepare for what should be an important season for him.

Ray Black RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K. ERA= 0.00.  Black got in one last game before shipping out to minor league camp on an option.

Josh Osich LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 4.15.  Osich will stick around as he is widely expected to take over Jeremy Affeldt's bullpen role, not easy shoes to fill.


Johnny Cueto makes his second spring start in an evening game against the A's tomorrow.


When the announcement of Bummy getting his start scratched came though on the MLB app on my phone, all I could see was Madison Bumgarner's start was scratched due to pain in the fo…….  My heart sank as the only thing I could think of to complete the line was forearm.  So you can imagine my relief to find out it is his foot and apparently a painful neuroma.  I think those can be treated with an injection.  Surgery would probably keep him out for 4-6 weeks.  He also has a pulling sensation in his chest wall near the sternum.  An MRI reportedly ruled out a dreaded oblique strain.  Bummy said he might miss 1-2 starts and says he'll still be ready for opening day.  The Giants are certainly testing the idea that spring training is too long, huh?


Big cutdown day and a total of 19 players shipped out to minor league camp.  11 players were reassigned:  including Arroyo, Ryder Jones, Rando Moreno, Junior Arias, Tyler Beede, Sam Coonrod, Chase Johnson, Albert Suarez, Aramis Garcia, Ty Ross and Matt Winn.  8 other players were optioned including Ray Black, Kyle Crick, Ian Gardeck, Joan Greagorio, Derek Law, Jake Smith, Chris Stratton, Adalberto Mejia.  Many of these players performed impressively during their stay in camp and can look forward to taking big steps toward the major leagues this coming season.  Unfortunately, bad news for Ian Gardeck who will undergo Tommy John Surgery and likely get placed on the 60 day DL which will create room on the 40 man roster if needed.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/12/2016: D'Backs 9 Giants 5; Angels 9 Giants 5

The Giants dropped both split-squad games by identical scores.  Key Lines:

Home Game:  D'Backs 9  Giants 5

Joe Panik 2B- 2 for 3, 3B.  BA= .421.  The out was hit hard, but at the 3B.  I think Panik could very well win a batting title, possibly as early as 2016.

Jarrett Parker RF- 2 for 5, HR(2).  BA= .267.  Parker had a nice basehit up the middle and later hit the dinger off the roof of the RF pavilion.  That one possibly could have carried into McCovey Cove on the fly, something that has not happened since the 2014 season.  Right now, I'd say Parker has the inside track for the 5'th OF job.

Andrew Susac C- 2 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .250.  Susac looked good at the plate today.  Gotta think the backup C job is his to lose.

Kelby Tomlinson SS-2B- 1 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .250.  Tomlinson is in the driver's seat for the reserve MI role.

Ty Blach LHP- 3 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 6.43.  Blach had been excellent in his first 2 starts but got smacked around in this one as his curveballs seemed to have some hang time.

Kyle Crick RHP- 1 IP 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Not a great line, but he showed some grit in getting out of a 2- on, 1 out situation and mostly pounded the strike zone.

Derek Law RHP- 0.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 9.00.  Law didn't seem to be fooling anybody today, although there was a stiff breeze blowing straight out to CF.

Jose Casilla RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Casilla makes his spring debut after a long bout with the flu.  He said he was still not feeling up to 100% strength, so threw more breaking balls.  The final K came on a  beautiful bender that completely locked up the hitter.

Hunter Strickland pitched another scoreless frame as did Steven Okert.  Javier Lopez allowed a run but impressively limited the damage from a runners on 2'nd and 3'rd with one out situation.


Away Game:  Angels 9  Giants 5

Trevor Brown C- 2 for 4.  BA= .308.  I feel like the backup C job it Susac's to lose, but Brownie is making it a closer call than you would think.

Brandon Crawford DH- 1 for 2, 3B, HBP.  BA= .188.  The HBP caused some concern for Crawford's hand, but it's reportedly fine.

Mac Williamson LF- 1 for 4, HR(3).  BA= .321.  The only way Big Mac makes the Opening Day roster is if he wins the starting LF job outright.  It's still unlikely, but he is definitely making his case.

Grant Green 3B- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .333.  I don't believe Tomlinson has played any 3B yet, so does that give Green and Gillaspie the advantage over Kyle Blanks for the reserve CI slot?

Jake Peavy RHP- 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 10.38.  For a veteran like Peavy, spring stats, especially this early, don't mean a thing.  He's just trying to build his pitch count to get his arm in shape for the season.  You really wouldn't want him trying to pitch like a counting game was on the line now, would you?


Matt Cain had another bullpen session that reportedly went well.  Next step is pitching to live batters then getting in a game.  He may miss one turn to start the season.


I have to admit I enjoy reporting bad news from the Dodgers camp just a bit too much.  Today it was Alex Wood getting scratched from his start with the dreaded forearm tightness.  He has a history of TJ surgery and made Fangraphs list of highest risk pitchers.  Another pitcher who made that list, Carter Capps, has already gone under the knife this spring.  The Dodgers have had more than their share of bad luck with pitchers this spring, but if investing in high risk pitchers as undervalued assets is part of your business plan, is it really bad luck when a wave of injuries hits?

Oh, an Rookie SS Corey Seager will miss 1-2 weeks with a mild knee sprain.

Thoughts on a Contract Extension for Brandon Belt

I was reading through the MBLTR chat yesterday and there seemed to be a lot of questions about a possible contract extension for Brandon Belt.  That prompted a question in my mind, which prompted an idea for a post.  Should the Giants want to sign a contract extension with Brandon Belt?  Let's break it down.

Brandon Belt is entering his 5'th season of MLB service time.  He and the Giants recently avoided arbitration by agreeing to a 1 year/$6.2 M contract.  He will be arbitration eligible again next year and then be eligible for free agency in 2018, a season which looks like it could be a buyers market with many top notch players coming eligible.  The Giants are generally resourceful in keeping players they really want out of free agency even going so far as to sign Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum in the "window" of exclusive negotiation rights with the players days away from hitting the open market.  Realistically, though, if Belt starts the 2017 season without a long term contract, he will most likely become a free agent at the end of the season.

One big barrier to a Belt extension so far is his own inconsistency in both staying healthy and on-field performance, which makes it difficult to set a value on his performance.  Here is a list of his season performances starting with his rookie season, 2011:

2011:  63 G, 209 PA, 0.6 fWAR.
2012:  145 G, 472 PA, 1.7 fWAR.
2013:  150 G, 571 PA, 4.4 fWAR.
2014:  61 G, 235 PA, 0.9 fWAR.
2015:  137 G, 556 PA, 4.3 fWAR.

It is easy to see why Belt and his advisors believe he is a 4+ fWAR player with potential for more while the Giants look at that record and see a lot of risk in a long term deal.

Another way of looking at it is Belt has averaged 3.6 fWAR per 600 PA's over his career including the adjustment to MLB of 2011 and 2012.  His injuries, while relatively frequent, have always been ones with full recovery expectations and ones that are not likely to recur.  In that sense, a long term contract should have a high probability of providing a healthy return on investment.

A big downside of any long term contract is the possibility that it may hinder organizational flexibility in the future.  Right now, the Giants have 4 long term commitments on the books:  Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto.  Cueto's contract has an opt-out after 2 years so may end up being a shorter term deal.  Matt Cain and Hunter Pence are on large long-term deals but they have 2 and 3 years left respectively, so have now changed into shorter term commitments.  The Giants have one of the strongest revenue streams in all of MLB and with the "Luxury Tax" cap likely to rise significantly after this season, they are in good shape to take on at least 1 more big long term deal.

Another way of hindering organizational flexibility is in the blocking of possible future players from the position.  This may be more of a barrier to the Giants wanting a longterm deal than the money.  While there are no plans to move Buster Posey to 1B in the near future, he is also probably 1 hard foul tip away from having to make the move at any time.  Do the Giants want be saddled with a long termer for Belt when and if that event happens?   Giants management is already starting to wrestle with where Christian Arroyo is going to play in the future.  Starting position spots on the roster are filling up fast with the emergence of Joe Panik and Matt Duffy as young stars and 2B and 3B.  1B is one position Arroyo could conceivably play, although he does not have ideal height for that job.  Beyond that there is Chris Shaw, who may have more usable power than Belt, but will probably never be the fielder Belt is, which is second best, statistically, in the NL.

As you can see, most of the arguments favor a contract extension for Brandon Belt.  It will likely come down to whether the Giants and Belt can agree on a value.  The obvious comp is Belt's buddy, the other Brandon, Crawford.  Like Belt, Crawford broke into the majors in 2011.  He has put up 12.4 fWAR in 2371 PA which comes out very close to Belt's 3.6 fWAR/600 PA's.  Crawford's contract is 5 yrs/$75 M which gives him a very nice nest egg for his long term future, and should give the Giants a nice return on value if he continues to be a 4 fWAR performer.  Win-win!  The Giants should be willing, even eager, to do a Crawford deal with Belt, but is also hard to imagine them willing to go above that.  The question is if Belt's camp thinks he can do better by going to arbitration 1 more season then hitting the open market.  Part of the equation is how much Belt values gaining security now and how much he wants to stay in SF.

In summary, the answer to my question is yes, the Giants should want to sigh Brandon Belt to a contract extension if he is willing to accept the same deal Brandon Crawford just got.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/11/2016: Mariners 5 Giants 4

Hunter Pence made capped his spring debut with a mammoth HR, but Jeff Samardzija was not as sharp today as in his prior starts and a late Giants rally fell short.  Key Lines:

Hunter Pence RF- 1 for 2, HR(1).  BA= .500.  Pence was ready for his spring debut.  He reportedly still has some soreness in his Achilles tendon.  Be careful with that, Hunter!

Ryder Jones 3B- 1 for 1, HR(1).  BA= .556.  Jones has looked great in short stints this spring.  He's probably ticketed for AA.  I think his bat is being grossly underrated by most prospect watchers based on my own amateur scouting report.

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 5.00.  Probably just normal inconsistency and SSS of spring training here.

Clayton Blackburn RHP- 3.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K's, GO/AO= 6/3.  ERA= 4.32.  Seems Blackburn was better than the line looks.  3 perfect innings and should have been out of the 4'th except for a pop fly that fell in no-man's land.  Blackburn is having a terrific spring so far.


Split squad tomorrow.  Starters listed as TBD.  I think it's Peavy's turn, right?


Terrible news for Jarrod Parker out of the A's camp.  He re-fractured the medial epicondyle of his right elbow.  He's also had 2 prior TJ surgeries.  It would seem like his career is all but over at this point.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/10/2016: Giants 3 Brewers 1

Joe Panik led the offense with 3 more hits while Chris Stratton started the game with 3 hitless innings and Giants pitchers limited the Brewers to just 3 hits overall.  Key Lines:

Joe Panik 2B- 3 for 3, 2 2B.  BA= .375.  I'm going to stick my neck out here and say I think Joe Panik could win a batting title someday, maybe as early as this season!  He's a hitting machine!

Mac Williamson LF- 1 for 2, 2B.  BA= .381.  Big Mac is showing he is more than just a raw power guy.

Gorkys Hernandez PR-CF- 1 for 1, SB(1).  BA= .389.  Hernandez is not showing signs of fading out of the reserve OF race just yet.

Chris Stratton RHP- 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's, GO/AO= 7/1.  ERA= 0.00.  Strong effort by the former first round draft pick.  From the video clips, his stuff looked more like what we saw in college.  A FB with a strong downward plane and a sharp, hard breaking curveball that dived under bats.  He keeps bringing that stuff to the park, he'll play in the big leagues.

Chase Johnson RHP- 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K's, GO/AO= 3/0.  ERA= 3.00.  Video clip showed a K on a hard sinking FB on the inside corner at the knees.  Gotta make sure you get that pitch far enough inside or a MLB hitter will drop the bathead on it.

Joan Gregorio, Tyler Beede, Hunter Strickland and Mike Broadway all pitched 1 scoreless inning each.  Beede, in particular, needed a clean inning to bounceback from a disastrous spring debut.


The Giants face the Hisashi Iwakuma and the Seattle Mariners tomorrow.  Giants starter is listed as TBD.  Is it Shark's turn again?


One of my fantasy baseball sleepers, Phillies OF Aaron Altherr, went down with a ruptured tendon sheath in his wrist requiring surgery which will keep him out the better part of the season, so mark him off your list.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/9/2016: Rockies 8 Giants 6

The Rockies rocked Johnny Cueto in his spring debut and the Giants weren't quite able to catch up.  Key Lines:

Denard Span DH:  1 for 2, BB.  BA= .200.  Maybe Span is starting to get his timing down.  Still not playing in the field.

Matt Duffy 3B- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .091.  Duffy's bat has been cold so far.  Maybe this will be the breakout?

Ehire Adrianza SS- 2 for 3.  BA= .278.  Adrianza is saying, "hey, don't forget about me!"

Johnny Cueto  RHP- 1.1 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 33.75.  The hitters are going to be ahead of Cueto with this late a start on the spring.  No worries.  He'll catch up.

Adalberto Mejia  LHP- 2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K's, GO/AO= 3/0.  ERA= 1.93.  Nice effort by Mejia here.

Sam Coonrod  RHP- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  I think this was Coonrod's spring debut, and a nice one at that!

Braulio Lara and Ray Black had 1 scoreless IP with 2 K's each.


Chris Stratton makes his second start of the spring tomorrow against the BrewCrew in Maryvale.

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/8/2016: Giants 16 Reds 7

The Giants wore their hitting shoes to the park last night and ran up a football score on the Reds in Scottsdale.  Key Lines:

Angel Pagan LF- 1 for 2, BB.  BA= .500.  Angel makes his spring debut a success.  The shorter hair looks good on him.

Mac Williamson LF- 1 for 3, 2B.  Mac's double was a scorcher down the 3B line.  Wonder what the exit velocity was on that one?  It was not a good look to drop one on the warning track for a 2-base error, but he had just entered the game and the lighting at Scottsdale Stadium is notoriously bad.  Later in the game, Junior Arias appeared to not see a pop-up in shallow left-CF at all.

Joe Panik 2B- 3 for 4, 3B.  BA= .231.  Panik was off to a slow start to the spring, but appeared to be in mid-season form in this one, especially when legging out the triple.

Rando Moreno 2B- 2 for 2, 3B.  BA= .500.  Moreno continues to open eyes and show that last season in Richmond was not a fluke.

Jarrett Parker RF- 1 for 4, HR(1).  BA= .313.  When Parker gets those long arms extended, he generates as much bathead speed as anyone in the game.  His shot to R-CF brought back memories of last September.  Stay hot!

Kelby Tomlinson SS- 1 for 2, 2 BB, SB(1).  BA= .286.  Another gritty game from Kelby who has to be the favorite to land the backup MI job.  Doubt the Giants are going to carry 2 backup MI's.

Conor Gillaspie 1B- 2 for 3.  BA= .364.  Gillaspie continues to make his case, but can he compete with Blanks' power?  Those two are probably competing for the same roster spot.

Christian Arroyo PH-3B- 2 for 2, HR(1).  BA= .500.  Oh my!  In thinking of a future LF for the Giants, I have been assuming that Mac Williamson has more raw power while Arroyo is the better all-around hitter.  After watching Arroyo's dinger sail into the night somewhere behind the berm in LF, I'm not so sure!  THAT was a blast!  Even more impressively, Arroyo worked his way back from an 0-2 hole to 3-2 then jumped on a pitch to hit in a hitter's count.

Andrew Susac C- 1 for 1, 2 BB.  BA= .167.  Trevor Brown got the start in this one, catching Bummy.

Grant Green 3B- 1 for 3, 3B.  BA= .412.  Does Green's versatility give him an advantage in the competition for the last roster spot?  If Tomlinson can handle the backup SS duties, it probably comes down to Blanks, Gillaspie, Parker and Green for the last 2 bench jobs.  I would bet on Blanks and Parker, but Gillaspie and Green can play 3B which gives Boch more options, and we know how much Boch loves his options.

Madison Bumgarner LHP- 3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 2 K, GO/AO= 5/1.  ERA= 7.20.  Bummy is a notoriously slow starter in the spring.  No worries.  He looked fine out there.

Chris Heston RHP- 2.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 4 K's, GO/AO= 4/1.  Heston was sailing along looking great until he loaded the bases with 2 outs in his 3'rd inning of work.  Derek Law came in and threw a WP for 1 run and then gave up a bases-clearing double on the pop-up that Arias lost in the night.

Josh Osich and George Kontos pitched 1 scoreless inning each.


Johnny Cueto is expected to make his spring debut today against the Rockies in Scottsdale.


Around the League:  The Cardinals may have found a secret weapon to fill in for Jhonny Peralta at SS in former Cuban bonus baby, Aledmys Diaz, who went 4 for 4 with 2 doubles.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/7/2016: Rangers 6 Giants 5

Jake Peavy went 3 innings and Kyle Blanks went deep for the second time this spring, but the Rangers rallied late to edge the Giants in Surprise, AZ.  Key Lines:

Denard Span DH- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .125.  Span's first hit of the spring.  He has yet to play in the field due to a sore shoulder.  Most likely just a precaution.

Grant Green PH-DH- 2 for 2, 2B, SB(2).  BA= .429.  The Giants are going to have a tough, tough time deciding on who's going to sit on their bench this year.

Christian Arroyo 3B- 1 for 2, SB(1).  BA= .333.  Arroyo is not going to be a bench player, but he continues to impress.

Kyle Blanks 1B- 2 for 3, HR(2).  BA= .571.  The Giants apparently have a lot of faith in their ability to keep players healthy, a bit ironic given what went down last season.   According to Baggs, they told Blanks the same thing they told Ricky Romero, "we can keep you healthy."  Blanks seems to be a bit thinner this year and his foot problems are much improved on a maintenance therapy regimen.  He reportedly made a couple of nifty plays at 1B and Bochy has plans to try him in the OF.  OK, here's the deal.  If Blanks is healthy, he HAS to make the team.  Heck, if he's healthy, I could easily see Bochy starting him in LF a la Michael Morse!

Jake Peavy RHP- 3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 13.50.  Today's start went better than the first one.  Buster Posey took the long bus ride to Surprise just to work with Peavy.  How about that?

Kyle Crick RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.  The BB's rear their ugly head again.

Ty Blach LHP- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Blach's second terrific spring appearance.  His composite line is 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  Blach may be moving up the depth chart with these appearances.

Cory Gearrin RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, GIDP.  ERA= 3.00.  Baggs was raving about the nastiness of Gearrin's stuff.


Madison Bumgarner makes his second spring start facing the Reds in Scottsdale tomorrow.


Around the League:

The Cardinals took a hit when Jhonny Peralta tore a ligament in his thumb and will miss about 3 months or more.  They basically do not have a replacement, unless you can envision Jedd Gyorko playing SS.

Pedro Alvarez finally signed a contract with the Orioles.  He needs to play in the AL as the LH half of a DH platoon.

The Padres are rumored to be very interested in Tim Lincecum.  Ha!  Yeah, why wouldn't they be?  Meanwhile, Timmy's long awaited showcase has been pushed back to "later this month", which can't be a good sign.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/6/2016: Dodgers 5 Giants 2

Jeff Samardzija became the first Giants pitcher to go 3 innings this spring and was dominant, but Carl Crawford was a one-man offense for the Dodgers who came away with the W.  Key Lines:

Brandon Crawford DH- 1 for 3, HR(1).  BA= .125.  Crawford has been limited to DH duties so far due to a barking shoulder.  Today, he came out of a mini-slump to hit his first dinger of the spring and hopefully the first of many on the season.

Mac Williamson PH-DH- 1 for 1, 2B.  BA= .400.  The longshot keeps getting shorter.

Gorkys Hernandez CF- 1 for 2.  BA= .455.  Hernandez continues to make his case for a roster spot.

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.60.  Shark started the game by striking out the side in the first inning.  His official FB velocity was 94 MPH, but Alex P of CSNBA says a scouts gun had him at 97.  Thanks to Covechatter for posting the Alex P tweets.  Good stuff!

Clayton Blackburn RHP- 3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.86.  Blackburn gave up 2 runs in his second inning of work.  You know what I like here?   I like that he came back out for another inning and shut it down.  More good stuff!

Josh Osich and Steven Okert both pitched scoreless innings to bounceback from rough spring debuts.

The Giants infield turned 4 DP's.  Too much good stuff!


The Giants make the trek, and I mean trek, out to Surprise tomorrow where Jake Peavy will face Colby Lewis  of the Rangers.


Denard Span apparently has some arm issues that are not considered too serious, but his debut in CF has been pushed back again.

Johnny Cueto threw today and pronounced himself ready to pitch on Wednesday as planned.

Matt Cain played catch from 90 feet and will start throwing off a mound again soon.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/5/2016: Rangers 7 Giants 5; Giants 6 Indians 2

In the home game of a split-squad day, Mac Williamson blasted 2 home runs in a losing cause while the traveling squad topped the Indians.  Key Lines:

Home Game:

Kelby Tomlinson SS- 1 for 2, BB, SB(1).  BA= .333.  Kelby has done nothing to hurt his case for a roster spot in early spring games.

Jarrett Parker RF- 1 for 2, BB.  BA= .444.  No offensive explosions like we saw in Oakland last year, but Parker is showing there is more to his game than an occasional power outburst.  It's still early, but I think he is building a strong case for himself to be one of the reserve OF's on Opening Day.

Mac Williamson LF- 2 for 3, 2 HR(2), BB.  BA= .333.  Now THAT's what I'm talkin' about!  I'm tellin' you, Mac is going to be the starting LF by the end of the season.  Bochy's quote:  "The longshot just go shorter."

Ricky Romero LHP- 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Is Romero the next player the Giants help resurrect a dead career?

Tyler Beede RHP- 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 13.50.  Bochy came and got him after he walked in a run.  Ouch!  Maybe Young Beedah was a bit amped up for his first MLB spring training appearance, but for a guy with a reputation for command problems this is not what we were hoping to see.

Kontos, Lopez and Strickland all pitched scoreless innings.


Away Game:

Ehire Adrianza SS- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .200.  The last 2 games have been good ones for Adrianza, but if Tomlinson shows he can back up SS, the Giants may decide to dump Ehire for a bigger bat on the bench.

Hak-Ju Lee SS- 1 for 1.  BA= .400.  Lee's hit drove in 2 runs.

Junior Arias CF- 2 for 4.  BA= .250.  Arias is a switch-hitter.  Probably not chance to make the MLB team, but may land a job in Sacramento although Gorkys Hernandez may have something to say about that.

Rando Moreno 2B- 1 for 2, BB, SF.  BA= .500.  Moreno is turning into the Little Engine That Could.  He does not seem intimidated by being in the MLB camp.

Chris Stratton RHP- 2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Enigmatic line from an enigmatic pitcher.  Can't argue too much with 2 scoreless innings, but he's not going to have many of those while giving up 2 hits per inning.

Adalberto Mejia LHP- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Nice outing for the guy who might be  #8 on the Giants SP depth chart.

Chase Johnson, Cory Gearrin, Ray Black and Derek Law pitched 1 scoreless inning each with Gearrin striking out 2 batters in his inning.


The Giants play the Dodgers today with the starting pitcher TBD.


Here are 3 lines from the Dodgers game today that should cause Giants fans to sit up and take notice:

Kenta Maeda RHP- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.

Jose De Leon RHP- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.

Chris Anderson RHP- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.

Whatever you think of the Dodgers current pitching situation, and I tend to think they are in some trouble this year, they have some serious pitching coming along in their system.  Of course, the Giants do too, but this is going to be a heckuva rivalry for years to come.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/4/2016: Giants 4 Reds 3

Madison Bumgarner made his spring debut and the Giants held on to beat the Reds.  Key Lines:

Ehire Adrianza 1B- 1 for 2.  BA= .143.  Adrianza's single in the 3-run 6'th drove in 2 of the Giants total of 4 runs in the game.

Jarrett Parker RF- 2 for 3.  BA= .429.  Parker gets extra credit for singling in the insurance run in the 6'th of big, hard-throwing lefty Amir Garrett.  Parker is off to a nice start in his quest to make the 25 man roster on Opening Day.

Conor Gillaspie 3B- 1 for 2, 2B.  BA= .500.  Conor got the only XBH of the game for the Giants.  You can really tell the guys who are competing for a roster spot came to camp ready to play while the regulars know spring training is too long anyway and are rounding in to shape, so to speak.

Madison Bumgarner LHP- 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 4.50.  Bumgarner gave up a dinger to Eugenio Suarez in the first inning(more on him later).  He came back in the second inning to strike out the side.

Chris Heston RHP- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Heston makes his spring debut.

Kyle Crick RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.  This might be the most significant line of the day.  The 0 BB's trump the 0 K's as Cricky's big challenge is to trust his stuff and pitch to contact.

Jake Smith, Ian Gardeck and Mike Broadway pitch scoreless innings with Gardeck getting 2 K's against 0 BB's.  Steven Okert got touched up for 2 runs in the 8'th inning.

Eugenio Suarez 3B(Reds)- 1 for 1, HR(1).  BA= .667.  Here's a fantasy baseball alert.  Suarez is going to be the regular 3B for the Reds this year, but he has SS eligibility in fantasy leagues due to his play there last year filling in for the injured Zack Cozart.  Suarez hit 13 HR's in 398 PA's last year.  With approximately 700 MLB PA's under his belt, it is not unreasonable to expect some offensive progression in 2016.


Johnny Cueto's scheduled start tomorrow in the home half of a split-squad game was pushed back to Wednesday 3/9.  The official line is he is not hurt and the Giants are being cautious due to the extra innings he pitched in last year's postseason.  Cueto apparently did not do a whole lot of throwing in the offseason.  Bochy's quote:  "We obviously think he's behind."  My take?  Spring Training is too long anyway and the Giants obviously know a thing or two about championship burnout.

Ricky Romero gets the start in place of Cueto while Chris Stratton starts the away game.


I'll leave you with 2 quotes from Dave Cameron of Fangraphs:

From 2 weeks ago:  "The idea that this rotation(Dodgers) isn't one of the best in baseball is weird."

From yesterday:  "The 2016 Dodgers rotation was essentially Clayton Kershaw and some combination of 4 high-risk pitchers with health problems."

No comment necessary.