Friday, October 6, 2017

Giants Organizational Depth Charts: First Base

Brandon Belt is still the incumbent first baseman, but we have to wonder if those days may be numbered as Buster Posey played a lot more first base after Belt suffered yet another concussion with Nick Hundley taking more games as the starting catcher.  Both Buster and Manager Bruce Bochy seemed to like that arrangement, so it's possible the Giants brass may view Belt and his contract as expendable.  Pablo Sandoval can slide over to 1B when needed.  Ryder Jones got quite a bit of playing time there late in the season, but was never able to show that his bat is ready to handle MLB pitching.

AAA:  Ryan Lollis is the only 1B listed on the current Sacramento Roster and he is strictly an organizational minor league player.  Chris Shaw played LF all season but has played enough 1B that he could come up and play the position regularly if needed.  His bat seems to be about ready and is good enough to play at 1B.

AA:  Two career minor leaguers, KC Hobson and Jerry Sands are listed on the current Richmond roster.  I believe they are both minor league FA's and may or may not be in the organization next season.

High A:  Dillon Dobson showed some power for San Jose but struggled to make consistent contact.  Jonah Arenado wants to be a 3B and mostly played there in 2017, but looks more like a 1B to my eye.

Low A:  Jose Vizcaino Jr has had trouble finding traction on his pro career due to injuries.  Maybe he can find a full season of AB's in San Jose next season?  Skyler Ewing filled in at 1B when he wasn't catching.

Short Season:  2016 draftee, Ryan Kirby, didn't stick in Augusta but thrived after being moved to Salem-Keizer when their season opened.  Maybe he'll get another chance in Augusta next season?

Rookie AZL:  3 DSL graduates shared the 1B position for the AZL Giants, none of them making a strong case for promotion next spring.  I was impressed by Angeddy Almanzar's 2016 DSL campaign but he struggled in Arizona.  Nathanael Javier had his best season as a pro, but he's starting to get a bit long in the tooth for rookie ball.  Beicker Mendoza had his moments but overall struggled.

DSL:  Ismael Alcantara is one of two 1B listed on the current DSL Giants roster.  He was a $300 K bonus baby but appeared in just 3 games at the start of the season.  I assume he suffered some sort of injury and missed the rest of the season.  Omar Medina hit under .200.

Overall, first base is extremely thin in the Giants organization.  It is supposed to be an easy position to fill, but that has not been historically true for the Giants.  Brandon Belt has given the position the most stability in recent memory.   Would the Giants consider drafting a Seth Beer if they think he is the best and most advanced hitter in the draft?


  1. Sabean had some good things to say in his podcast about Shaw progressing as a hitter, but he might be defensively challenged
    playing LF at AT&T park. Thought to myself maybe he might be trade bait. What is their plan for him?

    Yes,I think they would consider drafting Seth Beer if they feel he is the top impact hitter in the draft. I remember you mentioning when John Barr became scouting director something to the effect that he's better at drafting and developing hitters. I think that's been true looking back at previous drafts.


    1. It was surprising to see Baseball America currently ranks Seth Beer as the #20 college prospect in the 2018 MLB draft, but the rankings will change once next season starts. It should be a fun process for Giants fans.


  2. Over the past three years Belt is (1,000 PA) for the Giants:

    #3 in WAR
    #1 in SLG
    #1 in WRC
    #1 in BABIP
    #1 in HR
    #1 (tied) in triples
    #1 in doubles
    #1 in walks
    #1 in Hard Contact rate
    All while having about 150-to-200 fewer PAs than the PA players he's being compared against.

    SO I just don't see Posey doing any better. Because, frankly, he hasn't and isn't likely to because he doesn't have anywhere near Belt's hard-contact rate (and never has). Posey is better at placing the ball and hitting Sacrifice Flies. And he doesn't strike out as much. But it makes little sense, at least to me, to take an elite catcher and make, pretty much, a zero-difference position move while replacing him with someone who'll never be as good (by a long shot).

    And much of it comes down to Belt's hitting doesn't work very well at AT&T. But on the road, nobody does it better (for power) than Belt who has hit 34 HRs in his last 720 road ABs. Which includes the non-juiced balls of 2015/2016.

    To me the bigger problem is why do they rest him so much on the road compared to at home? Rest him at home. Last game at home -- rest him. First game back from a road trip -- rest him. But they don't do that. Rather, they play him far more at home than on the road. It's stupid. Yet that's what they do.

    Anyway, the Belt saga is one of the most crazy-making things in the Giants organization. And if were playing for the Diamondbacks... He'd be an annual All-Star because that's a HR factory and he'd easily be putting 30+ jacks up a year.

    1. There is just something about Brandon Belt.......

    2. What are Posey’s splits while playing first?

    3. Posey's splits at 1B vs C: BA is .336 at 1B to .318 at C. IsoP is .156 at 1B to .146 at C.

    4. The claim is that the Giants play Belt far more at home than on the road, though it's stupid to do so. The facts, however, are that in no season from 2013 through 2017, five years' worth, have they done so. In 2013 Belt's PA at home and away were nearly the same, 287 h, 284 a. Since then, home lagged away 86 to 149 in 2014, 242 to 250 in 2015, 267 to 275 in 2016, and 220 to 231 last year. In short, he plays pretty much equally at home and away. The claim that the Giants "stupidly" err with Belt, at least in this regard, is factually false.

  3. I should add that Jacob Gonzalez at the Rookie AZL level may well eventually end up at 1B even though he is a 3B for now.