Thursday, November 30, 2017

Fantasy Focus: Impact Rookies- Brent Honeywell

Brent Honeywell was probably ready to pitch in the major leagues sometime last year, but the Rays are notorious for taking is slow with their prospects, especially pitching prospects.  Honeywell spend most of 2017 in AAA Durham where he put up terrific numbers:  12-8, 3.64, 123.2 IP, 11.06 K/9, 2.77 BB/9, 2.84 FIP, 2.77 xFIP.  Honeywell was drafted in round 2 of the 2014 draft out of JC ball and has marched up the Rays farm system.  He has an average pitcher's build at 6'2", 180 lbs.  While he does not have eye-popping velocity, he succeeds with excellent command of a somewhat unconventional 3-pitch mix, FB, screwball and changeup with a curveball that has potential.  Yes, you read that right.  He main secondary pitch is a screwball which he learned from his father who is Mike Marshall's cousin.  Yeah, THAT Mike Marshall!

The screwball and changeup both move away from LH batters and in to RH batters, so the concern with Honeywell is whether he will have a strong reverse split and whether he needs more time to develop a pitch that moves away from RH batters.  If I remember correctly, Mike Marshall didn't let that bother him and just threw the screwball at the back foot of RH batters.  That's an interesting sub-story with Honeywell.

The Rays will likely make him start 2018 back in AAA until they have an extra year of control on his contract, but he will almost certainly be up by mid-season and should be rostered in most fantasy baseball formats.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Scouting the 2018 Draft: Ryan Rolison

Ryan Rolison is a draft eligible college sophomore LHP from Ole Miss.  He's close to perfect size for a pitcher listed at 6'3", 200 lbs.  He started off his freshman year pitching in the bullpen but moved into the rotation as the season progressed and was Ole Miss' best pitcher by the end of the college season.  He followed that up with a terrific Cape Cod League performance and is poised for a breakout sophomore campaign and possible first round MLB draft stock.  Here are his 2017 stat lines:

2017(College):  6-3, 3.06, 61.2 IP, 24 BB, 64 K.
2017(CCL):  6-0, 1.54, 28 IP, 11 BB, 35 K.

One scouting report has his FB 89-93 and sitting at 91.  Another says his velocity ticked up toward the end of the CCL season reaching 94-95 consistently when he needed something extra.  His delivery is low-moderate effort which makes scouts think he can reach back for more when he needs to.  The delivery is a smooth and clean with a 3/4 arm slot reminiscent of Madison Bumgarner with a little less sweeping motion.  He commands the FB on both sides of the plate.  Some scouts think his best pitch is a 2-8 slurve.  His change up is rated as a work in progress, but I saw one on a video that had nice sink and a bit of a tail on the outside corner to a RH batter.  His goals for 2018 should be to lower his walk rate by about 0.5-1 BB/9.

My take: He does not have quite enough stuff to be a top of the draft prospect, but could be a nice high floor pick late in the first round or early second round.


DrB's Updated 2018 Draft Board:

1.  Seth Beer, OF/1B, College(Clemson).
2.  Jarred Kelenic, OF, HS.
3.  Nander De Sedas, SS, HS.
4.  Kumar Rocker, RHP, HS.
5.  Ethan Hankins, RHP, HS.
6.  Brady Singer, RHP, College(Florida).
7.  Matthew Liberatore, LHP, HS.
8.  Nolan Gorman, 3B, HS.
9.  Greyson Jenista, OF/1B, College(Wichita St).
10. Casey Mize, RHP, College(Auburn).
11. Nick Madrigal, 2B, College(Oregon St.).
12. Shane McClanahan, LHP, College(Univ. of South Florida).
13. Ryan Rolison, LHP, College(Mississippi).
14. Griffin Conine, OF, College(Duke).
15. Brice Turang, SS, HS.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Later Rounds Part 2

119. Marlins:  Colton Hock, RHP, College(Stanford).  R:  0-1, 7.00, 9 IP, 0 BB, 10 K.  SS:  1-3, 6.62, 17.2 IP, 12 BB, 13 K.  Hock was a polarizing prospect.  I had him ranked lower than some others.  Rough start to pro career.  Grade D.

120.  Royals:  Michael Gigliotti, OF, College.  R:  .329/.482/.477, 3 HR, 15 SB, 16.8 BB%, 11.0 K%, 191 PA.  A:  .302/.378/.419, HR, 7 SB, 8.0 BB%, 20.0 K%, 100 PA.  Gigliotti's stock dropped dramatically with a brutal junior season.  He continued to thrive as a pro after an aggressive promotion to A ball.  Grade A.

121.  Astros:  Peter Solomon, RHP, College(Notre Dame).  Pitched just 1 inning as a pro.  Grade:  Incomplete.

135.  Cubs:  Erich Uelman, RHP, College(Cal Poly).  SS:  0-2, 2.04, 17.2 IP, 9 BB, 23 K.  Grade B.

149.  Marlins:  Ryan Lillie, RHP, College(UC Riverside):  SS:  0-5, 4.35, 31 IP, 5 BB, 27 K.  Grade B.

153.  Mariners:  David Banuelos, C, College(Long Beach St.):  SS:  .236/.331/.394, 4 HR, 11 BB%, 27.4 K%, 146 PA.  Grade C+.

161.  Alex Scherff, RHP, HS.  DNP.  Scherff's stock dropped pre-draft.  I still liked him.  Grade Incomplete.

163.  Nationals:  Brigham Hill, RHP, College(Texas).   SS:  0-1, 2.63, 13.2 IP, 3 BB, 9 K.  A:  0-1, 6.07, 29.2 IP, 5 BB, 30 K.  Aggressive promotion to A ball.  ERA was high, but ratios look good.  Grade B.

166.  Twins:  Ricky De La Torre, SS, HS.  R:  .268/.341/.359, 3 HR, 5 SB, 9.4 BB%, 22.9 K%, 120 PA.  I had De La Torre as a first round talent all the way up to draft day.  Twins grab him at top of 6'th round and sign him with $500K bonus.  I'll be watching this one closely in future seasons.  Grade B on performance, but could be the steal of the draft.

207.  White Sox:  Evan Skoug, C, College(TCU).  R:  .529/.600/.882, 20 PA.  A:  .154/.263/.308, 76 PA.  Stock dropped after brutal junior season.  Aggressive promotion to A ball might have been a bridge too far?

210.  Royals:  Brewer Hicklen, OF, College.  R:  .299/.384/.471, HR, 3 SB, 9.1 BB%, 27.2 K%, 99 PA.  R:  .348/.439/.609, 3 HR, 13 SB, 11.0 BB%, 29.3 K%, 82 PA.  College sleeper.  Nice numbers but too low levels.  Grade B.

214.  Cardinals:  Chase Pinder, OF, College(Clemson).  R:  .320/.442/.438, 3 HR, 5 SB, 209 PA.  Nice numbers.  Level too low.  Grade B.

225.  Cubs:  Ricky Tyler Thomas, LHP, College(Fresno St).  SS:  1-0, 2.33, 19.1 IP, 13 BB, 24 K.  Too many walks.  Grade B-.

232.  D'Backs:  Tim Susanna, C, College(Oregon).  SS:  .210/.329/.282, 13.7 BB%, 24.7 K%, 146 PA.  Grade D+.

252.  Indians:  Eli Morgan, RHP, College(Gonzaga).  DNP.  Grade Incomplete.

261.  A's:  Jared Poche, LHP, College(LSU).  DNP.  Grade Incomplete.

363.  Marlins:  Darren McCaughan, RHP, College(Long Beach St.).  R:  0-1, 3.75, 12 IP, 3 BB, 18 K. Grade B.

550.  Dodgers:  Max Gamboa, RHP, College(Pepperdine).  1 IP.  Grade Incomplete.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Later Rounds

We'll continue our early returns series on the 2017 draft with some selected reviews of players on my draft board and others I profiled late in the cycle.  Again, grades are based on current performance and level of play only.  Listed by overall draft number:

72.  Pirates:  Connor Uselton, OF, HS.  R:  3 for 7.  Uselton's stock dropped as the draft approached.  I still liked him as a late first rounder or early second rounder.  Grade Incomplete.

74.  Orioles:  Zac Lowther, LHP, College(Xavier).  SS:  2-2, 1.66, 54.1 IP, 12.42 K/9, 1.82 BB/9.  I thought Lowther might make a good Giants pick as he dominated the Cape Cod League.  He's off to a terrific start for the O's.  Grade A.

76.  Twins:  Blayne Enlow, RHP, HS.  R:  3-0, 1.33, 20.1 IP, 8.41 K/9, 1.77 BB/9.  Enlow was another kid who seemed like a reasonable late first or early second round choice.  He fell to the top of the 3'rd round and did well.  Grade A.

77.  Reds:  Jacob Heatherly, LHP, HS.  R:  0-1, 12.00, 9 IP, 5.00 K/9, 4.00 BB/9.
 R:  2-1, 2.93, 30.2 IP, 7.63 K/9, 4.70 BB/9.  Pitchability HS lefty.  ERA looks OK but the ratios are ugly.  Grade C.

81.  A's:  Nick Allen, SS, HS.  R:  .254/.322/.326, HR, 7 SB, 8.4 BB%, 18.2 K%, 154 PA.  Undersized defensive SS.  Hard to judge defense at these levels.  Grade C(could be higher depending on how his D grades out).

83.  Phillies:  Conner Seabold, RHP, College(CS Fullerton).  SS:  2-0, 0.90, 10 IP, 2 BB, 13 K.  SSS, but you work with what you've got.  Grade A.

84.  Brewers:  KJ Harrison, C, College(Oregon St.).  R:  .308/.388/.546, 10 HR, 10.7 BB%, 25.7 K%.  Great numbers, but a draftee from the Pac 12 has no business playing in rookie ball.  Grade C+.

87.  White Sox:  Luis Gonzalez, OF, College(New Mexico).  A:  .245/.356/.361, 2 HR, 2 SB, 13.7 BB%, 18.1 K%, 277 PA.  Aggressive placement.  Decent numbers.  Grade:  B.

97.  Mets:  Quinn Brodey, OF, College(Stanford).  SS:  .257/.303/.348, 2 HR, 10 SB, 6.1 BB%, 21.5 K%, 228 PA.  Grade C+.

99.  Blue Jays:  Riley Adams, C, College(San Diego).  SS:  .305/.374/.438, 3 HR, 7.9 BB%, 22 K%, 227 PA.  Grade A-.

100.  Dodgers:  Conner Wong, C, College(Houston).  A:  .278/.336/.495, 5 HR, 6.5 BB%, 24.3 K%, 107 PA.  Aggressive placement.  Grade B+.

105.  Cubs:  Keegan Thompson, RHP, College(Auburn).  SS:  1-2, 2.37, 19 IP, 4 BB, 23 K.  Grade A.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Hot Stove Update: Rangers Sign Doug Fister

The Hot Stove, which had nearly frozen over, flickered to life today and whoo boy!  A major signing it was!(Just kidding there, team). The Texas Rangers must have decided to fill in their rotation from the back as they signed perennial 5'th starter Doug Fister to a 1 yr/$3.5 M contract with $500 K in incentive bonuses and a team option for $4.5 M with $500 K in more incentives with a $500 K buyout for 2019.

Fister's stock had a bit of a resurgence last year.  He originally signed a minor league deal with the Angels last offseason but exercised an opt-out clause on June 21 and signed with the Red Sox where he his average FB velocity, which had been south of 88 MPH for several years ticked up to almost 90 MPH.  He also mixed in about 10% more breaking balls than in recent seasons.  His line for 2017 was 5-9, 4.88, 90.1 IP, 8.27 K/9, 3.79 BB/9, 50.6 GB%.  The K rate increased along with the velocity and may have been helped by the additional use of breaking balls.  His FIP and xFIP were almost a run lower than is ERA.

The Rangers get a pitcher who is likely to eat some innings at the back of the rotation.  Fister has had his ups and downs as a pitcher, but since 2009 he's had just one season, 2015, in which the dollar value of his performance was less than $9 M which gives the Rangers an excellent chance of getting surplus value from him, which is good as long as they don't have someone better to turn to instead.

Scouting the 2018 Draft: Griffin Conine

Griffin Conine is the son of former Giants nemesis Jeff Conine.  Yeah, that guy from the Marlins.  Griffin is a B-L, T-R OF for the Duke Blue Devils who, after a slow start his freshman season broke out last year in his sophomore campaign and backed that up with a MVP performance in the Cape Cod League.

2017(College):  .298/.425/.546, 13 HR, 9 SB, 41 BB, 45 K, 218 AB.
2017(CCL):  .326, 11 HR, 20 BB, 48 K, 178 AB.

He's got an average build with some strength at 6'1", 200 lbs.  On video he has a spread stance with hands way back and up high.  He kind of wraps the bat around his head a bit reminding me of Nate Schierholtz.  The swing is long with a moderate uppercut which should produce dingers and K's.  Combine that with his plate discipline and you get a 3 true-outcomes hitter.  He might have enough speed and arm to cover LF in some MLB parks but in an era where OF defense is valued, he is more likely a 1B/DH type.  He has his supporters out there, but for me he's a late first rounder at best.


DrB's Updated 2018 Draft Board:

1.  Seth Beer, OF/1B, College(Clemson).
2.  Jarrad Kelenic, OF, HS.
3.  Nander De Sedas, SS, HS.
4.  Kumar Rocker, RHP, HS.
5.  Ethan Hankins, RHP, HS.
6.  Brady Singer, RHP, College(Florida).

7.  Matthew Liberatore, LHP, HS.
8.  Nolan Gorman, 3B, HS.
9.  Greyson Jenista, OF/1B, College(Wichita St.).
10. Casey Mize, RHP, College(Auburn).
11. Nick Madrigal, 2B, College(Oregon St.).
12. Shane McClanahan, LHP, College(Univ. of South Florida).
13. Griffin Conine, OF, College(Duke).
14. Brice Turang, SS, HS.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Fantasy Focus: Impact Rookies- Walker Buehler

As if don't have a disgusting amount of talent already at the MLB level, they have more on the way, an in the near future.  The Bad Guys drafted Walker Buehler #24 overall in the 2015 draft out of Vanderbilt.  He pitched just 5 total innings between 2015 and 2016 due to Tommy John surgery.  He made up for lost time in 2017 and then some as he rocketed through 3 minor league levels with a callup to the majors in September.   In the process, he regularly made headlines with spectacular performances and frequent triple digit readings on the radar guns.

High A:  0-0, 1.10, 16.1 IP, 14.88 K/9, 2.76 BB/9, 53.6 GB%.
AA:  2-2, 3.49, 49.0 IP, 11.76 K/9, 2.76 BB/9, 51.2 GB%.
AAA:  1-0, 7.71, 9.1 IP, 11.57 K/9, 7.71 BB/9, 66.7 GB%.

Buehler's FB average a tad over 98 MPH in the majors and he threw it 70% of the time.  He backed that up with a curveball which he threw about 20% and a slider for the other 5%. Despite that repertoire he had a severe reverse L-R split at both AAA and MLB levels albeit in small samples.  He might need to develop a changeup if he wants to have a career as a starter at the MLB level.  I would think he starts 2018 in AAA and will likely be called up again sometime midseason.  I expect his results will be better the next time.  He will only be fantasy relevant in most formats if he either starts or closes games for the Dodgers next year.

Scouting the Offseason: Free Agents to Avoid

Black Friday did not materialize in MLB's free agent market as the waiting game continued.  While we continue to wait, here are 5 free agents likely to give their new teams buyer's remorse:

Eric Hosmer, 1B.  28 yo.  2017:  .318/.385/.498, 25 HR, 6 SB, 9.8 BB%, 15.5 K%, .351 BABIP, UZR/150= -0.4, 671 PA.

If you are a GM who thinks Hosmer can put up a fWAR of 4.1 every season, then you might be happy to spring for MLBTR's projected contract of 6 yrs/$132 M.  But Hosmer's fWAR's for the past 5 seasons are 3.2, 0.0, 3.5, -0.1, 4.1.  You also might want to take a hard look at that BABIP and ask yourself what happens if it regresses to the mean.  There are other reasonable 1B options on the market projected to get less money including Yonder Alonso and Carlos Santana.  A GM who is thinking about signing Hosmer to a contract like this should be frantically trying to reach Bobby Evans to see if Brandon Belt is available.


Yu Darvish, RHP.  31 yo.  2017:  10-12, 3.86, 186.2 IP, 10.08 K/9, 2.80 BB/9.

MLBTR projects Darvish to get a contract of 6 yr/$160 M.  That's way too much for too long for any pitcher, and Darvish, while he is very good, is not quite one of the elite SP's in baseball.  While it is probably not rational to get too hung up on his WS performance, it was awful.  Team's thinking of signing Darvish to that kind of contract should be looking at Tyler Chatwood, Juan Nicasio, Alex Cobb and Jhoulys Chacin who should be available at a fraction of the price.


Jake Arrieta, RHP.  32 yo.  2017:  14-10, 3.53, 168.1 IP, 8.71 K/9, 2.94 BB/9.

2 years ago, Arrieta was the best pitcher in baseball, but his velocity has been declining while his ERA has been rising.  MLBTR's projected 4 yr/$100 M is payment for past performance.  As bad as Darvish's projected contract is, this one may be even worse even at 2 yrs/$60 M less.  The same alternatives as for Darvish apply here.


Wade Davis, RHP.  32 yo.  2017:  4-2, 2.30, 58.2 IP, 12.12 K/9, 4.30 BB/9, 32 Saves.

Despite the increasing reliance on bullpens, especially in the postseason, investing big money like MLBTR's projected 4 yrs/$60 M for Closers is always a bad idea.  This contract would be only slightly less likely to bust than Arrieta's above.


Lance Lynn, RHP.  31 yo.  2017:  11-8, 3.43, 186.1 IP, 7.39 K/9, 3.77 BB/9, BABIP= .244.

MLBTR's projected contract of 4 yr/$56 M is considerably less than for Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta. It's still a bad contract for the signing team.  Just say no and call the agents for Chatwood, Nicasio or Chacin.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Scouting the Offseason: Free Agent Bargains

I thought it might be fitting on "Black Friday", a term I hate BTW, to take a look at some potential bargains on this year's free agent market.  These are not necessarily names that fit for the Giants, just ones I think are likely to bring positive value to any team that signs them.

Cameron Maybin, OF.  31 yo.  B-R, T-R, 6'3", 215 lbs.  2017:  .228/.318/.365, 10 HR, 33 SB, 11.3 BB%, 20.9 K%, 1.2 fWAR, BABIP .274, 450 PA. CF UZR/150= 10.0.

Maybin is listed outside MLBTR's top 50 FA's. He did get an honorable mention.  They are predicting the guys at the bottom of that list to get contracts with AAV's in the $5-6 M range.  Maybin has had some trouble staying healthy but his injuries are not of the type that are generally recurrent and cause production decline.  Compare his numbers to Billy Hamilton who the Giants are believed to be pursuing and who they would have to give up prospects for.  If you project the SB's to equal PA's, Maybin isn't even that far behind in that category. Hamilton is probably a better fielder, but Maybin still has a positive UZR in CF.  A 3 yr/$15 M deal for Maybin would likely give a positive return over the life of the contract possibly by a large margin.


Sergio Romo RHP.  35 yo. 2017:  3-1, 3.56, 55.2 IP, 9.54 K/9, 3.07 BB/9.

Sergio Romo finally wore out his welcome in San Francisco and signed with his boyhood favorite team, the Dodgers last year for 1 yr/$3 M.  He then did what any good secret agent would do and blew up his ERA to over 6.  He ended up with the Tampa Bay Rays and immediately started putting up vintage Romo numbers:  2-0, 1.47, 30.2 IP, 7 BB, 28 K's.  Romo ain't getting any younger, but he will likely be available for a 1 year deal at no more than $3 M.  That's a risk worth taking on a reliever with his track record.


Nick Hundley, C.  34 yo. 2017:  .244/272/.418, 23 2B, 9 HR, 303 PA.

Hundley doesn't seem to be on anybody's radar as a FA.  He's probably not the guy you want to be your starting C, but he might be the best backup catcher in baseball.  He can probably be re-signed for about the same price as last year's 1 yr/$2 M contract.  The Giants might want to sweeten the deal to 2 yrs/$5 M.  He'd still be a bargain at that price.


Tyler Chatwood, RHP.  28 yo.  2017:  8-15, 4.69, 147.2 IP, 7.31 K/9, 4.69 BB/9, 58.1 GB%.

Chatwood is my white whale of this offseason.  His overall numbers have not looked that great and he tends to walk too many batters, but he has been hurt tremendously by having to pitch half his games in Coors Field.  His away ERA was 3.49.  He has a TJ in his history, but is just 28 years old, averages 94. 7 MPH on his FB and can erase a lot of those walks with GIDP's due to a huge groundball tendency. Oh, and he has absolutely shut down the Giants whenever he's faced them.  MLBTR predicts he'll sign for 3 yrs/$20 M, and that's a bargain.  The team that signs him will be getting a guy who is as likely as anyone out there to be a solid mid-rotation SP over the course of the contract.  If the Giants could trade any of their SP's for something of value in return and then sign Chatwood they would likely be getting just as much production for a much lower price and could re-allocated the difference.


Jake McGee, LHP.  31 yo.  2017:  0-2, 3.61, 57.1 IP, 9.10 K/9, 2.51 BB/9.

McGee is a big lefty reliever with a FB that averages 95 MPH.  He struggled to adjust to Coors Field in his first season with the Rockies but bounced back with a strong campaign in 2017.  He was even better outside of Coors with a 2.64 Away ERA.  MLBTR projects him to get 3 yr's/$18 M.  That's a bit rich for a lefty reliever, but not by a lot and he could become dominant in an environment like AT &T Park.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Fantasy Focus: Impact Rookies- Alex Reyes

Alex Reyes is a holdover from last year's list due to season ending TJ surgery that was performed very early in spring training.  So, he will pick up where he left off in spring training 2018.  Expect the Cardinals to take in easy with him early.  There is some talk of him starting 2018 in the bullpen.  He could rehab for a month or two in extended spring training and/or the minor leagues.  It is likely we'll seem him starting games again at some point next season.

You all know who he is.  He has an almost perfect pitcher's build and rides his fastball in the mid-upper 90's.  Control/command is an issue as his walk rates have alway sat in the mid-4's/9.  He makes up for that with double digit K/9's, but at some point he's going to have to throw strikes more consistently.  Given that command is often in issue post-TJ it's not a give that Reyes will be as dominant as he was in is ML debut in 2016, but the ceiling is ace starter.   Here are is 2016 stat lines:

AAA:  2-3, 4.96, 65.1 IP, 32 BB, 93 K.
MLB:  4-1, 1.57, 46 IP, 23 BB, 52 K.

Thoughts on Braves Punishment

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

I've seen a whole lot of comments on other sites about how harsh MLB's penalties are against the Braves in which they were stripped of multiple prospects and essentially banned from future International signings for a period of time.  In addition, their GM John Copollela was banned from working in the game for life and their assistant GM for 1 year.  With the possible exception of Coppy being banned for life, the evidence MLB lays out in their statement shows the infractions were egregious and the penalties were not too severe.  Of course, severity of penalties is always subjective and this is just my opinion, but allow me to explain.

First of all, each and every one of the prospects who MLB declared FA's likely would not have been the Braves property in the first place had it not been for the rule infractions.  What the Braves did was to sign older "prospects" who were not subject to their bonus pool cap to much higher than market value.  In return, those players agents or "buscones" promised to sign several other, younger prospects for less than market rate to keep the Braves under the bonus pool cap.  The buscones would then pass on the extra money from he older prospect to the younger ones.  All of the prospects MLB took away from the Braves were involved in those shenanigans.  When you realize the Braves never should have been able to sign them in the first place, the penalty doesn't really seem that harsh, at least to me.

As for Coppy, I don't think his lifetime ban is as harsh as it seems when you understand how dishonest his dealings apparently were.  It's one thing to cheat the system to gain a competitive advantage over other teams, which should be intolerable to MLB as an organization.  It's quite another to lie, cheat and steal from 16-18 year old starry eyed kids.  Among the MLB findings in their investigation, the Braves illegally made promises of future non-monetary compensation to multiple prospects in return for them signing for a lower amount of money.  They then allegedly reneged on those promises and never delivered the non-monetary goods.  In the case of Drew Waters, a 3'rd round draft pick, he was promised a car in return for a lower monetary signing bonus.  The car apparently never materialized.

Another complaint I've seen about the penalties is that everyone is doing it and the Braves biggest offense was getting caught.  While I am sure other organizations have been involved in similar shenanigans, it's not that hard to see patterns that suggest such activity.  I mean, are we really surprised teams like the Braves and Red Sox and GM's like the guy who moved from the Rangers to the Padres are the ones getting caught?  They are getting caught because they are doing it!  While I have no illusions that Giants management would be entirely above such behavior, if you look at the patterns of their international signings and their draft bonuses, there is nothing to suggest similar activity on their part as they have played the process very straight, much to the sometimes disgust of their fans who saw other teams signing shiploads of international prospects and wondering why the Giants weren't doing it.  So no, I don't accept the "everybody" else is doing it argument because I don't believe everybody else is doing it.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Scouting the 2018 Draft: Nolan Gorman

Nolan Gorman is a solidly built 6'2", 210 lb, B-L, T-R, HS SS who will likely be drafted as a 3B.  With an IF throw clocked at 91 MPH, he probably has enough arm to stick at the hot corner.   His calling card is power.  He uses a short, quick stroke to generate easy plus pull power.  He hit 18 dingers in a showcase batting practice this summer.

He's no 5-tool player but love the bat.  Right now, I think I will rank him just outside the top tier of 2018 draft prospects.


DrB's 2018 Draft Board:

1.  Seth Beer, OF/1B, College(Clemson).
2.  Jarred Kelenic, OF, HS.
3.  Nander De Sedas, SS, HS.
4.  Kumar Rocker, RHP, HS.
5.  Ethan Hankins, RHP, HS.
6.  Brady Singer, RHP, College(Florida)
7.  Matthew Liberatore,LHP, HS
8.  Nolan Gorman, 3B, HS.
9.  Greyson Jenista, OF/1B, College(Wichita St).
10.  Casey Mize, RHP, College(Auburn).
11.  Nick Madrigal, 2B, College(Oregon St).
12.  Shane McClanahan, LHP, College(Univ. of South Florida).
13. Brice Turang, SS, HS.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Hot Stove Update: Braves Stripped of 12 Prospects, Giants Could Benefit

The Commissioner came down hard on the Braves today declaring 12 of their prospects free agents including uber-prospect Kevin Maitan.  The decision was to remedy a series of dishonest maneuvers which enabled the Braves to sign more international prospects than they could have signed by following the rules.  The most egregious violations in my mind were multiple instances of promising prospects, including at least 1 draft pick, certain benefits to sign for less money then reneging on those promises.  Now THAT is lowdown, no-good and dirty pool!

What's interesting about this new pool of free agents is the rules the commissioner laid down for other teams to sign them.  The Giants may have gotten good news here.  The players can sign for any amount of money during a window in December and early January and are subject to international bonus pools.  What's interesting for the Giants is that teams can choose to use either their 2017-18 bonus pool or their 2018-19 bonus pool, but not both  The Giants cannot sign any prospect for more than $300 K out of their 2017-18 bonus pool, but they are only limited by their total pool in 2018-19.  So, the Giants have bonus pool money available to go after any of these prospects they might like and are not limited to $300 K per prospect.  In addition, the first $200 K of any signing bonus for these players does not count against the cap.

I don't pretend to know anything at all about any of these newly minted free agents except that Maitan has struggled a bit in pro ball and is not generally considered the elite prospect he once was.   This should be interesting!

Hot Stove Update: Giants Protect 4 From Rule 5 Draft

The Giants prepared for baseball's Rule 5 Draft, the exercise that annually makes the careers of 1 or 2 prospects and derails countless others, by adding 4 prospects to the 40 man MLB roster.  In compensatory moves, they designated utility man Orlando Calixte and OF/2B Micah Johnson for assignment and outrighted RHP Dan Slania to AAA Sacramento.  SS Engelb Vielma, who never appeared in a Giants affiliated uniform, was claimed off waivers by the Phillies.  The added prospects were RHP Tyler Beede, C Aramis Garcia, LHP DJ Snelton and RHP Tyler Herb.


Beede was the Giants first round draft pick in 2014.  He has not rocketed through the organization as some expected given his pedigree, but has steadily climbed the ladder to AAA and the Arizona Fall League.  He started last season in AAA Sacramento.  Although he had his ups and downs over the season, most of his poor starts occurred in the ridiculously hitter-friendly environments of some of the home parks of the PCL they River Cats travel to.  In his final regular season start on July 19, he pitched 7 shutout innings before going on the DL with a leg strain.  To make up for lost time, the Giants assigned him to the Arizona Fall League where Giants fans went into a bit of a panic after he got shelled in his first start, but he then settled down to pitch really well in his next 3 starts.  Here are his 2017 pitching lines:

AAA:  6-7, 4.79, 109 IP, 39 BB, 83 K, GO/AO= 1.61.
AFL:  0-1, 4.50, 16 IP, 4 BB, 11 K, GO/AO= 1.13.

He allowed just 3 ER in 14 IP with 1 BB and 10 K's in his final 3 AFL starts to give him a great starting point for the 2018 season.


Aramis Garcia was the Giants second round pick in the 2014 draft.  He missed a big part of the 2016 season with a facial injury suffered in a collision at 2B which put him back in San Jose to start the 2017 season.  He hit .272 with 17 HR's for San Jose then hit .282 after a late season promotion to AA Richmond.  He also went to the AFL and posted a .259 BA in 59 AB's.  He'll most likely start the 2018 season in Richmond with hope for a midseason promo to AAA with a September callup since he is now on the 40 man roster.


DJ Snelton had a breakout season as a lefty reliever in 2017 dominating AA and continuing his success after a promotion to AAA with a stellar Arizona Fall League Campaign.  Snelton uses his 6'7" height to induce groundballs at a high rate by driving his 4-seam FB down in the strike zone.  Here are his 2017 pitching lines:

AA:  4-1, 1.66, 21.2 IP, 5 BB, 28 K, GO/AO= 3.63.
AAA:  4-0, 2.42, 52 IP, 18 BB, 43 K, GO/AO= 2.08.
AFL:  0-0, 2.25, 12 IP, 5 BB, 11 K, GO/AO= 2.29.

Snelton's addition to the 40 man roster should get him some early looks in spring training with an outside chance of making the 25 man Opening Day Roster.  More likely, he'll head back to AAA and be ready for a callup when needed.


Tyler Herb was acquired from the Mariners organization midseason for cash, but he was really the PTBNL in the Chris Heston trade.  Herb is another strong groundball pitcher who put up interesting AA numbers both before and after the trade.

AA(Mariners):  6-4, 3.31, 98 IP, 30 BB, 88 K, GO/AO= 1.97.
AA(Giants):  2-3, 2.76, 65.1 IP, 18 BB, 48 K, GO/AO= 1.92.

Herb's ceiling is probably a backend MLB SP or a long reliever, but has a strong chance of reaching that.  I consider him a sleeper in the system.


These 4 prospects now have 3 Option Years in which they can be sent down to the minors at any time without being exposed to waivers which extends their development time within the Giants organization.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Hot Stove Update: Trader Jerry Strikes Again!

Just a few days after saying he wasn't going to "go crazy" with trades this winter, "Trader Jerry" DiPoto, GM of the Seattle Mariners completed 2 more trades for 3 in 4 days.  As I reported in a prior Hot Stove Update, DiPoto kicked the Hot Stove League off by sending a pretty good reliever and a DSL SS to the A's for 3B/1B/DH Ryon Healy.  His second trade was to send hard throwing RHP Thyago Viera to the White Sox for $500 M in International Bonus Pool money.

Viera pitched last season in AA and AAA compiling a combined pitching line of 2-4, 4.00, 54 IP, 22 BB, 46 K's.  That line isn't so impressive, but Viera's FB has been clocked in the triple digits.  After the trade, there was speculation that DiPoto is trying to build a war chest to make a bid for Shohei Otani.  There may have been 40 man roster considerations here too.

Trader Jerry then turned around and acquired RHP Nick Rumbelow from the Yankees for 2 lower level minor league pitchers, JP Sears and Juan Then.  Rumbelow is 26 years old, 6'0", 190 lbs.  He has something like 15 innings of MLB experience to his credit, all in 2015.  He missed most of 2016 after undergoing TJ surgery.  His AAA line for 2017 was 5-1, 0.62, 29 IP, 8 BB, 30 K.  The Yankees have a 40 man roster crunch coming into tomorrow's deadline for protecting players from the Rule 5 Draft, and needed to trade Rumbelow or lose him for nothing.

JP Sears is an undersized LHP drafted in Round 11 in the 2017 draft.  He goes 5'11", 180 lbs.  He put up a line of 1-2, 0.65, 272. IP, 12 BB's and 51 K's over 2 levels after signing.  Then is a 6'1", 155 lbs. 18. yo RHP from the DSL whose 2917 line was 2-2, 2.64, 61.1 IP, 15 BB, 56 K's.  The Yankees were able to take a player they were going to lose anyway and turn him into 2 intriguing lottery tickets.  Nice trade for the Yanks.

I thought the Healy trade was OK from the Mariner's standpoint but Trader Jerry seems to be spinning his wheels a bit on these last 2, unless he lands Otani.  Then he gets the last laugh.


We may see a few more of these kinds of trades today as the deadline for setting the 40 man roster looms.


Bobby Evans all but confirmed that the Giants had at least inquired about a trade for Giancarlo Stanton.  His comment was that he did not think the Marlins would have fielded the offer at all if they did not at least think it was a possibility they would trade the slugger.  Evans left the impression that interest from the Marlins end is still a bit vague and they indicated they would only approach Stanton about waiving his no-trade clause after talks had progressed to a final offer.  I would add that the Giants would not be kicking the tires on Stanton if they did not think they could figure out a way to absorb his hefty salary.  MLBTR is reporting that the Cardinals have also made an offer for Stanton.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Armchair GM: Giancarlo Stanton May Be Less Expensive Than He Seems

Ken Rosenthal seems to think the Giants have actually submitted a trade offer to the Miami Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton.  He give no hints of any names involved except to say that the Giants are willing to take on a "sizable portion" of Giancarlo's contract which will certainly put them well over the Competitive Balance Tax(CBT) threshold.  This may be alleviated by trading 1 or more high priced current Giants players, possibly in the same deal with Stanton.

Now, notice in that discussion the Giants don't seem to be nearly as worried about what they have to pay Giancarlo was they are how much of a penalty they will have to pay for going over the CBT threshold.  Here's where Stanton's contract gives them some help.  Many analysts, including Grant Brisbee of MCC, seem to think Stanton's contract is for 10 years/$295 M and thus has an AAV which counts against the CBT of $29.5/season.  It doesn't.  The 10 years/$295 M is how much he has left on the contract, but the contract as originally signed was for 13 years/$325 M for an AAV of $25 M.  Unless they change the rules of how the CBT is calculated, even in the years he is scheduled to be paid $32 M, the CBT hit is still just $25 M.

Now, Rosenthal did not say the Giants would take on all of Stanton's contract, just a "sizable portion."  Let's say the Marlins agree to pay $50 M of Stanton's $295 M contract or $5 M per season X 10 years.  That reduces the Giants portion of the CBT hit to $20 M.  Now, let's say the Marlins also take Denard Span and the remainder of his contract exchanging short term salary for much larger long term salary relief.  The Giants are about $10 M under the CBT threshold and removing Span's contract would put them $20 M under before adding Stanton's now $20 M hit.  Voila!  The Giants have Giancarlo Stanton and are right at the CBT threshold.  See, he is affordable after all!

Of course this scenario would still leave the Giants some holes to fill, and in at least one case, backup catcher, they don't have any viable internal options, so they would still need to find additional salary relief.  I doubt the Marlins would take both Span and Pence, but that would be sweet if they did.  Unfortunately Pence has a no-trade clause and would have no reason to accept a trade to the Marlins so that's all but out as a consideration.  More likely the Giants would have to trade a Joe Panik or Brandon Belt or even Johnny Cueto or Jeff Samardzija to clear more CBT cap space but there are probably trade options available for all of those players.  I mean, once Eric Hosmer signs, Brandon Belt may seem like a cheap alternative even with the concussion history!

Of course, the Giants also have to think about extending Madison Bumgarner's contract in the next 2 years, but I'm already on record that they need to be listening to offers of MLB ready prospect packages for Bummy sooner rather than later.


Then we have the question of whether Giancarlo will provide value for the cost of his contract.  For this, we'll use the actual money he is going to be paid.  We will also use the entirety of the contract as we all know it is likely to be underwater by the time it is completed.  As we all know, Giancarlo has been injured a few times.  His fWAR in a 8 year career has ranged from 1.9-6.9 with an average right at 4.  Apparently the current value of 1 fWAR is $9 M so in an average season, he's been worth $36 M.  The 6.9 came last year for a value of a whopping $62 M.

Eno Sarris of Fangraphs posted a  couple of theoretical decay curves to show there is a good chance he will provide that value.  One optimistic, yet reasonable, curve has him starting at his projected fWAR for 2018 at 5.4 and maintaining that for 3 years, then declining on a typical aging curve over the remaining 7 years.  His total WAR value for the life of that scenario would be over $400 M.  In a less optimistic scenario, you start at 5.4 and start the decline immediately.  You still get to $293 M over the course of the contract.

Of course, he could suffer an injury in the first season that accelerates the decline and the contract ends up a bust, but that is not the most likely scenario.


Market cost of Wins is just one way for a blind man to look at the elephant of MLB contracts.  Another way is to ask whether he will bring in at least $295 M more to the Giants over the next 10 years.  This one is impossible to know for the average fan like me.  We do know that the Giants hate empty seats in the stadium and their business model depends on fielding a competitive team, or at least an interesting team to put butts in those seats.  Last year, the Giants weren't just a bad team.  They were a boring team.  By the end of the season, we were seeing an awful lot of green space in the stands at most games.  In addition, the Giants are part owners of the TV channel that carries their games on cable/satellite TV.  That revenue stream depends on advertisers and advertisers depend on viewers and the numbers are enormous.  Then there is merchandising, and surrounding developments which depend on the foot traffic the games bring to the area.  All told, it is likely that Giancarlo would bring in more money to the Giants than he would cost.


What about the players traded to the Marlins in a Giancarlo Stanton trade?  Unfortunately, the one name that seems to have leaked out is Heliot Ramos.  There is one and only one player in the Giants farm system I consider untouchable, and that is Heliot Ramos. I will be crushed if the Giants trade him for anything, even Giancarlo Stanton.  They could trade the entire rest of the farm system and I would not be unhappy, but please not Heliot Ramos!  Now, I freely admit that is more of an emotional reaction than a rational one, but I am irrationally exuberant about Heliot Ramos' future.  Given his last name and where he comes from, though, it makes perfect sense why Ramos is the one player the Marlins would covet the most and not just from a future performance standpoint.

From a rational viewpoint, it will be at least 4 years before Heliot Ramos appears in a MLB uniform in a regular season game and the chances of him ever having as valuable MLB career as Stanton is likely to have over the next 10 years is very small to the point of approaching zero.  So, Heliot Ramos should not be the deal breaker in the Giants quest for Giancarlo Stanton.  If the Giants have a real chance to acquire a player of his caliber, the only question they need to answer before pulling the trigger on the trade is whether they can afford to pay him for the next 10 years. The answer to that question is probably yes.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Thoughts on What Went Wrong: It Wasn't Injuries!

Fangraphs posted stats yesterday of how many DL Trips and Days Lost for each team in 2017.  In discussions regarding what the Giants need to do this offseason, we've had a vocal contingent saying the biggest problem last year was injuries.  If the Giants just keep the gang together and they stay healthy, voila!  They're contenders again!  Bruce Bochy has made several comments this offseason blaming much of the Giants 2017 problems on a succession of injuries.  Now, maybe the Giants injuries just happened to the wrong people at the wrong times and therefore had more impact than other teams' injuries, but by sheer numbers, it wasn't the injuries!

The average number of days lost to injuries last year in MLB was 1061.  The median was 1035.  The Giants lost 1001 days to injuries, just a bit below both the average and median.

Conclusion:  The Giants poor record in 2017 was most likely not due to injuries.


Were the Giants unlucky in 2017?  Well, yes they were.  If you remember, when we did our midseason series on What Went Wrong, we pointed out the unusually low hitting BABIP for the Giants coupled with an unusually high pitching BABIP.  Those numbers improved in the second half without an improvement in W-L, but overall, the Giants were at least moderately unlucky on BIPs.  The Giants final hitting BABIP was .294 against an MLB median of .303.  Their pitching BABIP was .308 against a MLB median of .298.  It wasn't all luck as their horrendous OF defense contributed to the high pitching BABIP and explains why they are so intent on acquiring a top defensive CF.  But their record should be significantly better with league average BABIP's on both sides of the ball.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Hot Stove Update: A's Trade Ryon Healy

While rumors swirled around the Giants at the GM meetings, the two biggest trade addicts in MLB, Jerry Dipoto and Billy Beane, pulled off another one with young slugger Ryon Healy going to the Mariners for Reliever Emilio Pagan and a 17 yo SS prospect, Alexander Campos.

Healy was kind of blocked in Oakland despite a strong start to his MLB career as the Matts, Chapman and Olson had moved ahead of him at 3B and 1B respectively and the A's want to move Khris Davis to DH taking that option away from Healy.  Healy is a much better fielder at 1B than 3B and the Mariners badly needed an offensive upgrade at the position which they get in Healy.

I had never heard of Pagan before, but he put up tremendous numbers as a reliever last year with a 3.22 ERA in 50.1 IP, but with a K/BB of 10.01/1.97.  Wow!  That is good enough that he will probably compete for the Closer role in Oakland.  He is big and strong at 6'3", 210 lbs so he could also become a multi-inning reliever.

Campos is a defensive whiz at SS with some upside in his bat, basically a lottery pick throw-in on the deal.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Fantasy Focus: Impact Rookies- Victor Robles

Victor Robles is an elite OF prospect for the Washington Nationals.  He is the one they have refused to trade.  He's a 5-tool athlete with strong hit tool.  B-R, T-R.  6'1", 185 lbs.  He started last season in High A ball got a late season promotion to AA and a September callup to the majors.  Here are his numbers from 2017:

A+:  .289/.377/.495, 25 2B, 7 3B, 7 HR, 16 SB, 338 PA.
AA:  .324/.394/.489, 12 2B, 3B, 13 HR, 11 SB, 158 PA.
MLB:  .250/.308/.452, 2B, 2 3B, 27 PA.

Robles will most likely start 2017 in AAA, unless the Nationals trade Michael Taylor to, say, the Giants in which case Robles could play CF.  More likely the Nats will challenge him to force the issue by dominating AAA.  He's a definite future perennial 20/20 player with a chance to have a few 30/30 seasons.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Armchair GM: Should the Giants Trade Madison Bumgarner?

The GM meetings got underway yesterday.  In interviews since the postseason press conference, both Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans seem to be sounding more urgent and more willing to do something that would massively shake up the roster.  On the Giants own website, Evans was quoted as saying that while they are not shopping Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner or Brandon Crawford, they are willing to consider strong offers.  It is not a stretch to think that Brian Sabean may see parallels between the 1996 Giants and the 2017 Giants and be itching to pull off another Matt Williams type trade.

There are several reasons why, out of those three players, Madison Bumgarner may be the most likely to be traded.  The biggest reason why is also the reason why on the surface he seems to be the player the Giants would least want to trade.  He's a #1 SP that comes with a #4 SP price for the next 2 years, which is a lifetime in MLB.  In short, he is the one player the Giants could reasonably expect to get a massive return of elite young players for.  By contrast, while Posey and Crawford have trade value, the return would be limited by the large contracts they already have.

So we have one big reason why Bumgarner might be trade bait.  Are there others?  The Giants just exercised a very team-friendly option for 2018 and have another one for 2019.  Beyond that, they have to either extend his contract, which will undoubtedly be large and long, or they risk losing him to free agency after 2019.  Do the Giants want to extend Madison Bumgarner with the kind of contract it would take to get him to sign the papers?  He's still relatively young for a veteran pitcher, but he has a whole lot of miles on the arm.  The Giants track record with those kinds of contracts is downright terrible.  Barry Zito and Matt Cain are exhibits A and B.  They dodged a bullet with Tim Lincecum.  Johnny Cueto's contract is already looking iffy at best.  Let's take a look at Bumgarner's average FB velocities over the last few years(from Fangraphs):  2013- 92.5, 2014- 92.8, 2015- 93.0, 2016- 91.7, 2017- 91.3.  See a trend there?  Madison Bumgarner may be already 2 years past the peak of his career, at least in terms of his physical abilities.

Then there is the dirt bike incident.  Players that do things on or off the field that the Giants do not like don't tend to stick around long.  Remember Jeff Kent and the truck washing caper?  Melky Cabrera?  AJ Pierzynski?  There was some happy talk after Bummy's incident because they did not want to PO the big guy, but I wouldn't be shocked if there is some residual resentment from the front office.

So, in summary, here are the reasons why the Giants might be willing to pull the trigger on a Bumgarner trade:

1.  He'd bring the biggest return
2.  They might not want to give another mega contract to a pitcher with a ton of mileage on his arm.
3.  The Dirt Bike Incident.

The reasons why they might not want to trade him are fairly obvious, I think.


With that in mind, I set out to find a deal that might work for the Giants.  The deal has to be to a contending team that thinks Bumgarner can substantially increase their chances of winning the Commissioner's Trophy in the next 2 years.  It also has to be a team that is loaded with MLB ready prospects or young players with MLB experience they have backup plans for.  A second criteria is the Giants have to get young MLB ready pitching as part of the return package.  Teams I looked were the Yankees, Red Sox, Astros, Brewers, Cubs and Cardinals.   The Red Sox, Astros and Brewers have strong farm systems, but are light on MLB ready pitching.  The Yankees and Cardinals seem to be the best fit.  Bumgarner would be a tremendous addition to both teams and both teams have room to give a solid return.

Specific criteria for the return would be 1.  At least 4 good young players.  2. Need to fill specific holes at OF in 3B.  3.  Bring back at least 1 solid MLB ready pitcher.  Here are the two potential trades I came up with:

1.  Giants send Madison Bumgarner to the Yankees for IF Gleyber Torres, OF Clint Frazier, RHP Chad Green, RHP Chance Adams.

Torres can step right in at 3B as soon as he is fully recovered from TJ surgery on his left(non-throwing) arm.  Frazier is an MLB ready CF with both speed and power.  Green is a beast of a reliever who can go multiple innings per appearance and might even be able to start.  Chance Adams is a decent SP prospect.  Torres also opens up the possibility of a Brandon Crawford trade if the Giants were to get a good offer for him.

2.  Giants send Madison Bumgarner to the Cardinals for RHP Luke Weaver, RHP Sandy Alcantara, IF Aledmys Diaz and OF Harrison Bader.  Weaver can step into the rotation, Diaz can plug in at 3B, Bader can play CF immediately and Alcantara is a high ceiling arm.  Giants could also ask for Alex Reyes instead of Weaver, but I was not sure if they would want to take the chance on him before seeing how he performs after TJ surgery.  They could also ask for Jack Flaherty instead of Alcantara.

Personally, I like the Yankees deal better.  Is it enough for Madison Bumgarner?

Monday, November 13, 2017

Hot Stove Update: Could These Trades Happen?

Joel Sherman who is a knowledgeable baseball writer who is no stranger to breaking big stories, wrote a speculative piece for the New York Post of trades he thinks the Mets, Yankees and Marlins could make this week at the GM meetings.  And why do I or you care about trades the Mets, Yankees or Marlins could make?  Well, because 2 of them involve the Giants.  Here goes with my comments:

Trade 1:  Giants trade Joe Panik to the Yankees for 2B/SS Starlin Castro, RHP Luis Cessa and 1B Tyler Austin.  This may actually be a good trade for both sides.  Panik is a native New Yorker and a Yankee fan.  His left-handed swing is tailor made for Yankee Stadium.  Heck, he might hit 30 HR's there!  He's a better fielder than Castro.  The Giants would get an immediate replacement for Panik who is almost as good.  They also get a hard throwing RHP with significant upside who can both start and relieve.  Austin is a power hitter throw in.   I'm in!  I'll add that part of the Yankees motivation is they have way too many MLB caliber players to fit on their 40 man roster so have to trade them before the Winter Meetings or risk getting nothing in return for them.

Trade 2:  A 3-way trade that sends Johnny Cueto to the Cubs, Stanton to the Giants and Christian Arroyo, Seth Corry, Ian Happ and Ben Zobrist to the Marlins.  Zobrist is salary relief to lessen the net cost of Cueto.  I know everybody wants to find a place for Stanton and the Giants seem like a perfect fit, but if the Cubs really want Johnny Cueto bad enough to give up Ian Happ and with Zobrist as the salary dump, why not cut out the middleman, avoid the huge risk of Stanton's contract and simply trade Cueto to the Cubs for Happ and Zobrist?  Happ is a plus defensive CF with tremendous hitting potential.  Zobrist can be the everyday 3B until Christian Arroyo is ready, then go back to being a utility guy.

These 2 trades(my version) would fill the Giants needs in CF, 3B, and partially address pitching.  They could then use the money saved to sign Tyler Chatwood, who I think would be terrific pitching half his game in AT&T Park.

Could these trades happen? Would you want them to?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Scouting the 2018 Draft: Greyson Jenista

Greyson Jenista, 1B/OF, College(Wichita State).  B-L, T-R.  6'4", 210 lbs.

2016:  .326/.431/.471, 8 2B, 3B, 5 HR, 2 SB, 31 BB, 27 K, 172 AB.
2017:  .320/.413/.509, 14 2B, 3B, 9 HR, 6 SB, 32 BB, 46 K, 228 AB.
2017 CCL:  .310, 4 2B, 3 HR, 9 SB, 142 AB.

Jenista is a big, but athletic 1B/OF from Wichita St who hasn't completed tapped into his power yet.  He was named MVP of the Cape Cod League.   He has worked on his speed and felt confident enough in it to ask to play CF in the CCL. They let him play RF and he reportedly did better than OK defensively out there.  On video, he reminds me a bit of Anthony Rizzo.  If he can really play corner OF at the MLB level, then his value goes way up.  I don't like his swing as much as Seth Beer's, but I don't hate it either.


Dr B's 2018 Draft Board:

1.  Seth Beer, 1B/OF, College(Clemson).
2.  Jarred Kelenic, OF, HS.
3.  Nander De Sedas, SS, HS.
4.  Kumar Rocker, RHP, HS.
5.  Ethan Hankins, RHP, HS.
6.  Brady Singer, RHP, College(Florida).

7.  Matthew Liberatore, LHP, HS.
8.  Greyson Jenista, OF/1B, College(Wichita St).
9.  Casey Mize, RHP, College(Auburn).
10.  Nick Madrigal, 2B, College(Oregon St).
11.  Shane McClanahan, LHP, College(Univ. of South Florida).
12.  Brice Turang, SS, HS.

Fantasy Focus: Impact Rookies- Gleyber Torres

Gleyber Torres was the centerpiece of the package the Yankees received from the Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman trade.  He's a B-R, T-R, SS prospect who stands 6'1", 175 lbs.  He started last season in AA and put up a line of .273/.367/.496, 5 HR, 5 SB, 12.2 BB%, 15.1 K%, 139 PA.  He moved up to AAA and where he hit the ground running with a .309/.406/.457, 2 HR, 2 SB, 13.5 BB%, 27.1 K% in 96 AB.  There was talk of a promotion to the MLB team when he suffered an unusual injury tearing his left(non-throwing) UCL on a slide into home plate and underwent midseason TJ surgery.  I don't know what the timetable is for a position player undergoing TJ on their non-throwing elbow.  Torres reportedly is currently swinging a bat.  His situation should be monitored closely through the spring.  He is currently blocked at SS by Didi Gregorius, but he could potentially step in at 3B for the Bronx Bombers sometime in 2018.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Hot Stove Update: Thoughts on Giants Needs, Payroll and Giancarlo Stanton

As the Hot Stove starts to flicker to life, let's take a quick inventory of the Giants offseason needs which are amazingly complex, diverse and difficult to quantify.  They could probably field a team if they do absolutely nothing, but what kind of team would it be?  Actually, there is one position that they don't have a current option with Nick Hundley a free agent and a decline of Tim Federowicz' option making him a minor league FA, backup catcher.  So, in a way, you could reasonably put backup catcher as the one essential hole to fill this offseason, especially since Bochy seems to want to gradually increase Buster Posey's use at 1B.  

Adding to the complexity of the situation is that many fans perceive the Giants biggest need to be a power hitting LF, but that is not necessarily the thoughts of the Giants front office.  In a recent interview, Brian Sabean reiterated the need for improved OF defense, specifically CF, and then somewhat surprisingly added an everyday 3B to the list and mentioned that the Giants have to be "resourceful" in improving the bullpen.

So, let's list them:

1.  Back up Catcher.

2.  Upgrade CF defense

3.  Everyday 3B.

4.  Bullpen.


Further complicating the Giants offseason is the Competitive Balance Tax(CBT).  This one is a challenge for fans to wrap their heads around not only because of the arcane way it is calclulated but because there are now multiple levels or thresholds for CBT penalties which now include more than just money.  Fortunately the website Cot's Baseball Contracts, linked to the left, provides something called a Tax Tracker in a separate spreadsheet from payroll, which is not the same number.  According to the updated Tax Tracker, the Giants are just $9.5 M under the first CBT threshold after adding in estimated salaries for arbitration eligible players and salaries for the remaining 40 man roster.  If you go by MLBTR's Arbitration Salary estimates, you can add another $1.5 M to that number giving them $11 M to spend this winter before they hit the first threshold.

Since the Giants have gone over the threshold the past 3 seasons, the penalty for going over in 2018 is a 50% penalty for every excess dollar. There are two more thresholds:  A surcharge kicks in if the threshold is exceeded by more than $20 M and non-monetary penalties such as devaluation of draft picks and loss of International bonus pool money kick in at $40 M over the limit.

It is difficult to interpret what the Giants stance is on the CBT.  On the one hand, they keep listing multiple offseason needs.  On the other hand they express concerns about exceeding the CBT threshold.  Those two concerns seem close to being mutually exclusive as $11 M might get you a barely league average player in free agency, if you are very lucky.  Bobby Evans has expressed a preference for acquiring needed players by trade, but even players coming in trades will have salaries that get added to the payroll.  Players earning league minimum salaries are seldom available in trade and would come at high prices in prospects, probably higher than the Giants have available even if they wanted to pay the price. 

Larry Baer has expressed concern about the non-monetary CBT penalties.  Most of those kick in at $40 M over the first threshold, so maybe the management group has clearance from ownership to add as much as $30 M in AAV salary this offseason?  That would enable them to acquire 2-3 players in the $10 M range or, here we go, acquire a Giancarlo Stanton without shedding payroll.  It's a tangled web the Giants have woven here.  Cutting through it to make the upgrades they need and want will be a challenge.


MLBTR reports that the Marlins have discussed a Giancarlo Stanton trade with 4 teams, the Cardinals, Red Sox, Giants and Phillies.  It's hard to reconcile the Giants reported interest in acquiring Giancarlo with their stated goals and CBT limitations, but the rumors continue to persist.  I would note that while the Giants vehemently denied the accuracy of a recent Jason Heyward rumor, there have been no such denials around the Stanton rumors.

The Cardinals would seem to have the best combination of CBT space and tradable assets to acquire Stanton.  The Red Sox have never worried much about the CBT and Dave Dombrowski likely does not care about the non-monetary penalties, so the Red Sox rumors have legs.  The Phillies have an intriguing combination of low current payroll and an up-and-coming team of young players which might interest Stanton who has full veto power over any trade.  Stanton is believed to prefer a coastal team which may complicate the Cardinals pursuit.  He's from California, so the Giants may have a leg up on his preference list. Perhaps the Giants could ask the Marlins to take on the short term salaries of Denard Span and Hunter Pence to offset the first year of Stanton's salary, but it's unlikely the Marlins would accept that.  BTW, Stanton's AAV which is the number that would count as CBT salary, is $25 M.

While I would not want to see the Giants incur draft pick and international bonus penalties to acquire Stanton, I would be otherwise fine with adding him.  It's not my money and the Giants are widely believed to have plenty of it. Whether Stanton is enough of a difference maker that the Giants could add just him and go with internal options everywhere else?  Probably, but they would be boxed in for at least the next 3-4 seasons until the Posey/Crawford/Belt/Cueto/Samardzija contracts are up.  They also have to think about what they are going to do with Madison Bumgarner whose contract will have to be extended and will be quite costly if they want to keep him beyond 2019.

In summary, I would still rate a Stanton trade as unlikely.

Scouting the Draft: 2017 Round 2 Grades

Again, grades are determined by current performance adjusted for assignment levels in relation to pre-draft experience(HS/college/JC).  They are not necessarily predictive of future performance or eventual ceiling.  Round 2 of the 2017 draft includes quite a few names we profiled prior to the draft, so hopefully of interest to the draftnik readers.

37.  Landon Leach, RHP, Twins, HS(Canada).  R:  2-0, 3.38, 12.1 IP, 6 BB, 10 K.  SSS with unexciting K and BB ratios.  Grade C.

38.  Stuart Fairchild, OF, Reds, College.  R:  .304/.393/.412, 3 HR, 12 SB, 234 PA.  Nice numbers but Rookie ball?  Grade B-.

39.  Luis Campusano, C, Padres, HS.  R:  .250/.377/.455, 3 HR, 53 PA.  R:  .278/.327, .356, HR, 98 PA.  Campusano was rumored to be a potential Giants first round target, but the interest was more likely as a second rounder.  Padres grabbed him near top of 2'nd round.  Illustrates how hard it is to target specific players in the draft.  Grade B.

40.  Michael Mercado, RHP, Rays, HS.  R:  0-0, 1.69, 21.1 IP, 4 BB, 14 K.  Grade B-.

41.  Drew Waters, OF, Braves, HS.  R:  .347/.448/.571, 2 HR, 2 SB, 58 PA.  R:  .255/.331/.383, 2 HR, 4 SB, 166 PA.  Grade B.

42.  Steven Jennings, RHP, Pirates, HS.  0-2, 4.10, 26.1 IP, 10 BB, 13 K.  Grade C.

43.  Greg Deichmann, OF, A's, College.  SS:  .277/.385/.530, 4 3B, 8 HR, 4 SB, 195 PA.  Polarizing draft prospect who some analysts really liked.  Grade A.

44.  Drew Ellis, 3B, D'Backs, College.  SS:  .227/.327/.403, 8 HR, 3 SB, 208 PA.  Power, but will it be usable at higher levels?  Grade C+.

45.  Spencer Howard, RHP, Phillies, College.  SS:  1-1, 4.45, 25.1, 18 BB, 40 K.  Lots of K's and BB's.  Grade C+.

46.  Caden Lemons, RHP, Brewers, HS.  R:  0-1, 6.75, 2.2 IP, 0 BB, 1 K.   Extreme SSS.  Grade Inc.

47.  Griffin Canning, RHP, Angels, College.  DNP.  Grade Inc.

48.  Ryan Vilade, 3B, Rockies, HS.  R:  .308/.438/.496, 5 HR, 5 SB, 146 PA.  Grade B.

49.  Gavin Sheets, 1B, White Sox, College.  A:  .266/.346/.365, 3 HR, 218 PA.  Interesting placement.  Grade B.

50.  Calvin Mitchell, OF, Pirates, HS.  R:  .245/.351/.352, 2 HR, 2 SB, 185 PA.  Grade C.

51.  Joe Dunand, 3B, Marlins, HS.  R:  .375/.476/.750, 21 PA.   A+:  .364/.462/.545, 13 PA.  ARod's nephew.  Tiny sample size, but bump to A+ is fascinating.  Grade A with SSS noted.

52.  MJ Melendez, C, Royals, HS.  R:  .262/.374/.417, 4 HR, 4 SB, 198 PA.  Grade B.

53.  Joe Perez, 3B, Astros, HS.  DNP.  Grade Inc.

54.  Matt Sauer, RHP, Yankees, HS.  R:  0-2, 5.40, 11.2 IP, 8 BB, 12 K's.  Grade C.

55.  Sam Carlson, RHP, Mariners, HS.  R:  0-0, 3.00, 3 IP, 0 BB, 3 K's.  Tiny sample size.  Grade Inc.

56.  Corbin Martin, RHP, Astros, College.  R:  0-0, 0.00, 5 IP, 1 BB, 5 K's.  SS:  0-1, 2.60, 27.2 IP, 8 BB, 38 K.  Ran hot and cold in the college season.  Grade A-.

57.  Rey Rivera, OF, Tigers, JC.  DNP. Grade Inc.

58.  Jacob Gonzalez, 3B, Giants, HS.  R: .339/.418/.458, 194 PA.  Strong slash line with excellent K and BB ratios.  Flew under my radar in pre-draft rankings.  Grade A.

59.  Mark Vientos, 3B, Mets, HS.  R:  .259/.316/.397, 4 HR, 193 PA.  Was top 10 on some early rankings.  Stock dropped but I still liked him.  Grade C.

60.  Adam Hall, SS, Orioles, HS(Canada).  R:  .667/.667/1.000, 3 PA.  SSS.  Grade Inc.

61.  Hagen Danner, C, Blue Jays, HS.  R:  .160/.207/.248, 2 HR, 3 SB, 136 PA. Touted 2-way player in HS who I wasn't too impressed with.  Blue Jays are going to try to make a catcher out of him.  Grade D.

62.  Morgan Cooper, RHP, Dodgers, College.  DNP.  Grade Inc.

63.  Cole Brannen, OF, Red Sox, HS.  R:  .231/.383/.246, 9 SB, 168 PA.  SS:  .111/.385/.333, 13 PA.  Well, he can take a walk.  Grade D.

64.  Quentin Holmes, OF, Indians, HS.  R:  .182/.220/.289, 2 HR, 5 SB, 169 PA.  Touted as fastest players in the draft.  You can't steal 1B.  Grade D-.

65.  Wil Crowe, RHP, Nationals, College.  SS:  0-0, 2.61, 20.2 IP, 3 BB, 15 K's.  Low ceiling/high floor college pitching prospect.  Grade B.

66.  Hans Crouse, RHP, Rangers, HS.  R:  0-0, 0.45, 20 IP, 7 BB, 30 K.  Small sample but nice numbers.  Grade A-.

67.  Cory Abbott, RHP, Cubs, College.  SS:  0-0, 3.86, 14 IP, 3 BB, 18 K.  Underrated college pitcher from Loyola Marymount.  Grade B.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Fantasy Focus: Impact Rookies- Eloy Jimenez

Eloy Jimenez, OF, B-R, T-R, 6'4", 205 lbs.

Eloy Jimenez is a young power hitting prospect who moved from the Cubs organization to the White Sox in the Jose Quintana trade.  His bat, which had always been highly touted, but possibly a bit underperforming in the Cubs organization, exploded upon arrival in ChiSoxland and has not stopped in winter ball.

2014 R:  .229/.268/.367, 3 HR, 167 PA.
2015 SS:  .284/.328/.418, 7 HR, 250 PA.
2016 A:  .329/.369/.532, 14 HR, 464 PA.
2017 A+(Cubs):  .271/.351/.490, 8 HR, 10.3 BB%, 20.1 K%, 174 PA.
2017 A+(White Sox): .345/.410/.682, 8 HR, 9.8 BB%, 17.2 K%, 122 PA.
2017 AA(White Sox):  .353/.397/.559, 3 HR, 6.8 BB%, 21.9 K%, 73 PA.

Eloy has continued to rake in the Dominican Winter League with a .373 BA and 4 HR in 65 PA.

He's a big body who probably weighs in at least 30 lbs heavier than his listed 205 lbs.  He has average speed and a below average arm which leaves LF as his only defensive option other than 1B.  The other rap on him is a series of nagging injuries including several hammys.  He's sidelined again in winter league right now.  Since most fantasy formats don't count defense, he's likely to be an asset as long as he can stay healthy.  I would think he starts 2018 in AAA with a midseason callup if he continues to rake.  If you have a roster spot or 2 for prospects, he's defnitely worth drafting.  If not, follow him closely and pick him up as soon as you start hearing rumors about a callup.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Thoughts on Roy Halladay, RIP

I king of expect to get shocking headlines across the newsfeed on my phone these days, but I wasn't expecting to see one reporting that Roy Halladay had died in a plane crash.  Maybe it's just me, but we seem to have come a long ways in understanding airplane safety and it's not quite as common to hear about them as when I was growing up.  Roy Halladay's career was too long and too stupendous to write an exhaustive post about it.  You all know the story of his career as well as I do.  He as more of an east coast star anyway and spent most of his career in the AL which I don't follow as closely as the NL because, well, the Giants.  Instead, I will offer some maybe random thoughts about Halladay.

His remarkable career was all the more remarkable because he played most of it in the AL Beast.  His 10 year peak was longer and higher than most star pitchers while spending all of it in home parks that are extremely hitter-friendly and most of it in an extremely hitter friendly division.

I remember how unbeatable he seemed going into the 2010 ALCS.  It was his first season with the Phillies.  He had pitched a Perfect Game early in the season then pitched the second no-hitter in the entire history of MLB postseason play in the NLDS.  It looked like two sure losses for the Giants which meant they would have to win 4 of the other 5 games in the series. Then Cody Ross kicked his front leg and swung from the heels at a cutter that caught just a smidgen too much of the plate and suddenly we dared to dream.

I am struck by the almost eery similarities between Roy Halladay's death and John Denver's.  Both had fathers who were pilots who they apparently idolized.  Maybe they both deep down felt like they had something to prove to their dads?  Both found extreme success in other lines of work.  Both apparently had a fascination with exotic aircraft.  Both died while flying exotic planes over the ocean.  I don't know what that all means.  Probably nothing.  I just have always had a fascination with historic parallels, and this one is striking.

RIP Roy Halladay.  He was a great pitcher who will be long remembered.  Perhaps someday his family will see him inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Scouting the Draft: 2017 Round 1.5 Grades

31.  Drew Rasmussen, RHP, Rays, College.  Did not sign.  Grade F.

32.  Jeter Downs, SS, Reds, HS.  R(Pioneer);  .267/.370/.424, 6 HR, 8 SB, 172 AB.  Nice combo of power, speed and plate discipline.  Pioneer is an extreme hitter-friendly environment.  Grade B.

33.  Kevin Merrill, SS, A's, College.  SS:  .320/.362/.424, 2 HR, 10 SB, 125 AB.  Merrill's stock got a late boost from a BA article.  Early returns look good.  Grade A-.

34.  Tristen Lutz, OF, Brewers, HS.  R(AZL):  .279/.347/.559, 3 HR, 68 AB.  R(Pioneer):  .333/.437/.559, 6 HR, 93 AB.  Big kid who can play CF.  Love the power.  Grade A.

35.  Brent Rooker, OF/1B, Twins, College.  R:  .282/.364/.588, 7 HR, 85 AB.  A+:  .280/.364/.552, 11 HR, 143 AB.  My top bat in the draft.  I would not have been upset if the Giants drafted him.  Candidate to be the first 2017 draftee to reach the majors.  Grade A.

36.  Brian Miller, OF, Marlins, College.  A:  .322/.384/.416, 17 2B, 21 SB, 233 AB.  Several mock drafts had Miller going to the Giants.  I wasn't too excited about that, but looks like a worthy pick from here.  Interesting the Marlins sent him directly to A ball.  Grade A.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Scouting the Draft: 2017 First Round Grades

Last year, we profiled about 60 draft prospects and ranked them in a draft board.  Most of our profiled prospects were drafted in the first 3 rounds of the 2017 draft.  Let's take a look at how they performed in their first pro competition.  Remember, these grades are for current performance only and do not necessarily reflect future value or ceiling.  Grades are impacted by whether the player was drafted out of college, JC or HS and by level of pro competition.  Expected placements are Rookie for HS draftees and Short Season A for college draftees.

1.  Royce Lewis, SS, Twins, HS.  R:  .271/.390/.414, 15 SB, 133 AB.  A:  .296/.363/.394, 71 AB.  I was a Lewis skeptic and had him lower on my board.  GCL and Midwest League are tough places to hit.  Midwest is an aggressive placement for a HS draftee.  Grade A.

2.  Hunter Greene, RHP/SS, Reds, HS.  R(Pioneer):  .233/.233/.367, 30 AB.  0-1, 12.46, 4.1 IP, 1 BB, 6 K's.  Greene pitched and DH'd.  After the season ended, he announced that he would concentrate on pitching in the future.  Grade D(should still have high ceiling as pitcher).

3.  Mackenzie Gore, LHP, Padres, HS.  R:  0-1, 1.27, 21.1 IP, 7 BB, 34 K, GO/AO= 3.67.  Some analysts thought he was the best pitching prospect in the draft.  I didn't see anything all that special.  Preliminary returns suggest the Gore enthusiasts were right.  Grade A.

4.  Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, Rays, College.  SS:  .232/.349/.376, 4 HR, 125 AB; 1-0, 1.80, 20 IP, 5 BB, 21 K, GO/AO= 1.47.  Looks like the Rays will try to develop McKay as a 2-way player which will be interesting.  So far, so good.  Grade A.

5.  Kyle Wright, RHP, Braves, College.  R:  0-0, 1.59, 5.2 IP, 2 BB, 5 K, GO/AO= 3.50.  A+:  0-1, 3.18, 11.1 IP, 4 BB, 10 K, GO/AO= 2.83.  Very aggressive promotion to A+.  SSS makes him hard to grade.  Can only go by results.  Maybe like to see more K's and fewer BB's?  Grade B+(good candidate to be first 2017 draftee to reach the majors).

6.  Austin Beck, OF, A's, HS.  R:  .211/.293/.349, 4 3B, 2 HR, 7 SB, 152 AB.  Beck caught helium mid-spring, but then fell back as the draft approached as concerns were raised about his swing and hit tool.  Tools are evident here, but contact concerns remain.  Grade C-.

7.  Pavin Smith, 1B, D'Backs, College.  SS:  .318/.401/.415, 15 2B, 27 BB, 24 K, 195 AB.  Vottoesque hit tool and plate discipline, but is there enough power potential for a 1B?  Grade A-.

8.  Adam Haseley, OF, Phillies, College.  R:  .583/.643/.833, 12 AB;  SS:  .270/.350/.380, 2 HR, 5 SB, 137 AB; A:  .258/.15/.379, 66 AB.  5-tool college OF I liked a lot.  Aggressive promotion schedule with mixed results.  Grade B.

9.  Keston Hiura, DH/2B, Brewers, College.  R:  .435/.500/.839, 5 3B, 4 HR, 62 AB.  A:  .333/.374/.476, 105 AB.  Brewers drafted him for the bat which is real.  They are gambling that he'll eventually be able to play a position.  Appeared in 3 games at 2B.  Grade A-.

10.  Jo Adell, OF, Angels, HS.  R(AZL):  .288/.351/.542, 6 3B, 4 HR, 5 SB, 118 AB.  R(Pioneer):  .376/.411/.518, 2 3B, HR, 2 SB, 85 AB.  My candidate for most physically gifted player in the draft.  Angels have to be ecstatic with the early hit returns.  Arm strength reportedly went missing in the pros.  Grade A.( I saw Mike Trout play in Rancho Cucamonga at age 19.  I would love to see Adell play in San Bernardino).

11.  Jake Burger, 3B, White Sox, College.  A(SAL):  .271/.375/.409, 4 HR, 191 AB.  Aggressive placement. Power maybe a bit disappointing?  Grade B+.

12.  Shane Baz, RHP, Pirates, HS.  R:  0-3, 3.80, 23.2 IP, 14 BB, 19 K, GO/AO= 1.25.  I thought Baz might be the best HS pitching prospect in the draft.  Early results disappointing.  Grade C.

13.  Trevor Rogers, LHP, Marlins, HS.  DNP.  I thought Rogers was the most projectable LHP in the draft.  Will be a project.  Grade Inc.

14.  Nick Pratto, 1B, Royals, HS.  R:  .247/.330/.414, 4 HR, 10 SB, 198 AB.  Sweet swing.  Good arm.  Lack of speed limits him to 1B.  Royals hoping for the next Eric Hosmer.  Grade B.

15.  JB Bukauskas, RHP, Astros, College.  R:  0-0, 0.00, 4 IP, 1 BB, 3 's.  SS:  0-0, 4.50, 6 IP, 4 BB, 6 K.  SSS after pitching deep into the college postseason.  I had him ranked a bit higher than where he was drafted.  Grade C.

16.  Clarke Schmidt, RHP, Yankees, College.  DNP.  Recovering from TJ surgery.  Grade Inc.

17.  Evan White, 1B, Mariners, College.  SS:  .277/.345/.532, 3 HR, 47 AB.  Late start, but power already evident.  Grade B.

18.  Alex Faedo, RHP, Tigers, College.  DNP.  Grade Inc.

19.  Heliot Ramos, OF, Giants, HS.  R:  .348/.404/.645, 6 3B, 6 HR, 10 SB, 138 AB.  Grade A.

20.  David Peterson, LHP, Mets, College.  SS:  0-0, 2.45, 3.2 IP, 1 BB, 6 K's, GO/AO= 4.00.  Very SSS, but good results.  Grade A-.

21.  DL Hall, LHP, Orioles, HS.  R:  0-0, 6.97, 10.1 IP, 10 BB, 12 K.  Several mock drafts had him going to the Giants.  Grade D.

22.  Logan Warmoth, SS, Blue Jays, College.  R:  .273/.304/.409, 22 AB.  SS:  .306/.356/.419, 5 SB, 160 AB.  Nice prospect if he can stick at SS.  Grade B.

23.  Jeren Kendall, OF, Dodgers, College.  R:  .455/.455/.727, HR, 4 SB, 22 AB.  A:  .221/.290/.400, 7 3B, 2 HR, 5 SB, 8 CS, 140 AB.  Mixed bag here, but high K rate followed him to the pros.  Grade C-.

24.  Tanner Houck, RHP, Red Sox, College.  SS:  0-3, 3.63, 22.1 IP, 8 BB, 25 K, GO/AO= 1.21.  Grade B.

25.  Seth Romero, LHP, Nationals, College.  SS:  0-1, 5.40, 20.0 IP, 6 BB, 32 K.  Romero got kicked off his college team(Houston), but Scott Boras is buds with the Lerners so the Nats took a chance.  Mixed results here.  Grade B.

26.  Bubba Thompson, OF, Rangers, HS.  R:  .257/.317/.434, 3 HR, 5 SB, 113 AB.  Tools are evident.   Grade B-.

27.  Brendon Little, LHP, Cubs, JC.  SS:  0-2, 9.37, 16.1 IP, 9 BB, 12 K's, GO/AO= 0.85.  Grade D.

28.  Nate Pearson, RHP, Blue Jays, JC.  SS:  0-0, 0.95, 19 IP, 5 BB, 24 K's.  Grade A.

29.  Chris Seise, SS, Rangers, HS.  R:  .336/.395, .509, 3 HR, 5 SB, 116 AB.  SS:  .222/.250/.273, 99 AB.  Late riser in the draft.  Was terrific at age appropriate level.  Grade A.

30.  Alex Lange, RHP, Cubs, College.  R:  0-1, 4.82, 9.1 IP, 3 BB, 13 K, GO/AO= 0.88.  Cubs took it easy on him after college postseason.  Grade C(performance next season after a winter of rest will be big test).

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Scouting the 2018 Draft: Casey Mize

Casey Mize is will likely be the Friday Starter for Auburn this spring.  He is coming off a breakout sophomore season which saw him dominate in the always tough SEC.  Mize was a skinny 6'3", 175 lbs coming out of HS.  Since matriculating at Auburn, he has filled out his frame with 35 lbs of muscle and has worked assiduously on his pitching skills.  His FB, which was 88-92 out of HS, now reaches 96 MPH.  He backs that up with a hard splitter and slider.  Here are his stat lines from 2 years at Auburn:

2016:  2-5, 3.52, 69 IP, 18 BB, 59 K.
2017:  8-2, 2.04, 83.2 IP, 9 BB, 109 K.

The K/BB led the entire NCAA in 2017.  Caution:  Mize pulled out of Collegiate Team USA after 1 dominant start with forearm tightness, something to watch as 2018 unfolds.  Aside from that, the combination of size, velocity and command should make him a sought after commodity in the draft.  Think of a Luke Weaver and Aaron Nola with more size.


DrB's 2018 Draft Board:

1.  Seth Beer, OF/1B, College(Clemson).
2.  Jarred Kelenic, OF, HS.
3.  Nander De Sedas, SS, HS.
4.  Kumar Rocker, RHP, HS.
5.  Ethan Hankins, RHP, HS.
6.  Brady Singer, RHP, College(Florida).
7.  Matthew Liberatore, LHP, HS.
8.  Casey Mize, RHP, College(Auburn).
9.  Nick Madrigal, 2B, College(Oregon St.).
10.  Shane McClanahan, LHP, College(Univ of South Florida).
11.  Brice Turang, SS, HS.

Scouting the Draft: Grading the Giants 2017 Draft

Here's a review of the 2017 Giants draft picks, with grades on their first short season of pro performance just for fun.  Remember, the grades are based on performance only, not on future ceiling or overall value of the pick.  Grades are impacted by what level the player was drafted out of(HS, College, JC) and level they played at(Rookie vs Short Season).

1.  Heliot Ramos, OF, HS, R:  .348/.404/.645, 11 2B, 6 3B, 6 HR, 10 SB, 6.6 BB%, 31.8 K%, 151 PA.  Season cut short by a concussion from a HBP.  Not worried about the K's.  Grade A.

2.  Jacob Gonzalez, 3B, HS, R:  .339/.418/.458, 15 2B, 3B, HR, 8.2 BB%, 11.9 K%, 194 PA.  Would have liked to see more power, but that should come.  Ecstatic over ratios.  Grade A.

3.  Seth Corry, LHP, HS, R:  0-2, 5.55, 24.1 IP, 22 BB, 21 K.  Appearances tended to be dominant or extremely wild.  Has time to develop.  Grade C.

4.  Garrett Cave, RHP, College, SS:  1-1, 5.85, 20 IP, 12 BB, 29 K.  K ratio looks good, but disappointing control/command.  Grade C.

5.  Jason Bahr, RHP, College, SS:  3-2, 3.55, 33 IP, 11 BB, 36 K.  Nice ratios in a hitter's league.  Breakout alert! Grade B.

6.  Bryce Johnson, OF, College, SS:  .329/.400/.369, 5 2B, 2 3B, 25 SB, 6.8 BB%, 20.8 K%, 68 GB%, 250 PA.  Extreme groundball hitter with some speed.  Grade B.

7.  Logan Harasta, RHP, College, SS:  0-1, 18.00, 1 IP, 0 BB, 2 K's.  Grade Inc.

8.  John Gavin, LHP, College, R:  2-1, 0.00, 16 IP, 7 BB, 22 K.  Pitched deep into the college postseason so Giants took it slow.  Grade B(sleeper/breakout alert).

9.  Aaron Philips, RHP, College, SS:  3-0, 4.45, 28.1 IP, 13 BB, 36 K's.  I don't recall ever posting a line for him in Down on the Farm, but that's a nice K rate.  Grade B+.

10. Rob Calabrese, C, College, SS:  .277/.369/.383, 5 2B, 3B, HR, 10.8 BB%, 27.9 K%, 111 PA.  Intriguing hit tool for a catching prospect.  Sleeper alert!.  Grade B.

11.  Doug Still, LHP, College, DNP.  Grade Inc.

12.  Aaron Bond, OF, JC, R:  .306/.368/.565, 8 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, 5 SB, 8.6 BB%, 30.7 K%, 163 PA.  Should JC draftees be assigned to short season A or to Rookie ball?  You can only do well where you are assigned.  Grade A-.

13.  Tyler Schimpf, RHP, College, SS:  0-2, 4.50, 24 IP, 12 BB, 25 K.  Grade C.

14.  Michael Sexton, 3B, College, SS:  .218/.284/.278, 5 2B, HR, SB, 8.7 BB%, 26.8 K%, 149 PA.  Sexton announced his retirement immediately after the end of the minor league season.  Grade F.

15.  Orlando Garcia, 2B, College, SS:  .268/.366/.416, 10 2B, 6 HR, 11.3 BB%, 19.9 K%, 231 PA.  Intriguing power from a MI prospect.  Solid ratios.  Grade B+.

16.  John Russell, RHP, College, SS:  1-2, 1.99, 22.2 IP, 7 BB, 37 K, 4 Saves.  Historically the Closer track is not a great place to be.   Grade B +.

17.  Brac Warren, RHP, College, DNP.  Grade Inc.

18.  Chris Corbett, C, College, SS:  .150/.222/.150, 40 AB.  Hit .333 in 15 AB in the AZL before a promotion to S-K.  Grade D.

19.  Frankie Tostado, OF, JC, DNP.  Then name is grade A.  Grade Inc.

20.  Logan Baldwin, OF, College, SS:  .342/.395/.473, 22 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 12 SB, 6.3 BB%, 20.3 K%, 207 PA.  Terrific start to pro career.  Grade A.

21. Greg Jacknewitz, LHP, SS:  0-2, 7.47, 15.2 IP, 4 BB, 10 K.  6.08 ERA in 13.1 IP in AZL prior to promotion.  Grade D.

23.  Shane Matheny, 3B, College, SS:  .284/.381/.333, 5 2B, 4 SB, 12.7 BB%, 15.9 K%, 118 PA.  Strong plate discipline numbers.  Breakout/Sleeper alert.  Grade B.

24.  Nico Giarratano, SS, College, R:  .253/.375/.342, 5 2B, 3B, 8 SB, 9.1 BB%, 13.1 K%, 99 PA.  OK numbers but college player in rookie ball.  Grade C.

25.  Franklin Van Gurp, RHP, College R:  5-1, 0.92, 29.1 IP, 7 BB, 41 K, 2 Saves.  Strong numbers but at too low a level.  Grade C+.

26.  Kyle McPherson, 2B, College R:  .236/.283/.364, 3 2B, 2 3B, 4.8 BB%, 16.1 K%, 62 PA.  Bat came to life in the AZL postseason.  Grade C-.

27.  Matt Brown, RHP, College, DNP:  Grade Inc.

28.  Peter Lannoo, RHP, College SS:  1-3, 4.28, 40 IP, 12 BB, 26 K.  Grade C.

29.  Frank Rubio, RHP, College, R:  1-0, 3.45, 15.2 IP, 1 BB, 14 K.  Grade C.

31.  Keenan Bartlett, RHP, College, R:  4-0, 1.53, 29.1 IP, 12 BB, 34 K.  Grade C+.

34.  Conner Nurse, RHP, HS, DNP.  Grade Inc.

35.  Dalton Combs, OF, College, SS:  .208/.309/.313, 2B, HR, 10.9 BB%, 18.2 K%, 55 PA.  Grade C-.

36. Joey Marciano, LHP, College, R:  4-1, 1.57, 28.2 IP, 12 BB, 26 K.  Grade C+.

37.  Andy Rohloff, RHP, College, SS:  0-2, 12.96, 8.1 IP, 6 BB, 11 K.  ERA of 1.50 in 6 IP in AZL prior to promotion.  Grade D.

A draft is usually defined by the first round pick.  Anything you get after that is a bonus.  Gotta be excited by the Giants top 2 in this draft.  There is a smattering of intriguing possibilities after that.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Hot Stove Update: Johnny Cueto Opts In

Not sure why that took so long, but as the deadline for Johnny Cueto to opt out of the remaining 4 years and $84 M of his contract approached, Giants GM Bobby Evans announced that Cueto would remain a Giant, apparently on the same terms as the original contract, which is 4 more guaranteed seasons with a Giants option on a 5'th season.  This was the decision that was widely expected after Cueto scuffled through an injury plagued 2017 season and was as responsible as anyone on the team for the Giants tying for worst record in MLB.

Cueto may never be as good as he was in 2016 again, but I think there is a decent chance he is a lot better than last year, at least in 2018. The final year or two could get ugly though as he will be 36 years old in the final guaranteed season.

The decision makes it tough for the Giants to be big spenders this offseason unless they are willing to go significantly over the Competitive Balance Tax threshold, which they have never been in the past.

Interestingly, the 3 major MLB players with opt out clauses this season, Justin Upton, Mashiro Tanaka and Cueto, all chose to not exercise them.  The Angels guaranteed the option year of Upton's contract to get him to stay, but Tanaka and Cueto opted in without any adjustments.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Hot Stove Update: Angels Keep Justin Upton From Opting Out

The day after the World Series ended, Justin Upton decided to not opt out of his contract with the Angels and accepted an additional guaranteed season.  Essentially, the Angels converted an option year into a guaranteed year which changed the contract from 4 guaranteed years totaling $88.5 M to 5 guaranteed years at $106 M.  With an AAV of $21 M, this values Upton at an average WAR of 3 over the course of the contract, which is not unreasonable.  He will be 34 years old in the final season of the contract.

Upton is coming off his second best season by fWAR in his career at 5.0.  His fWAR's have ranged from 1.6-6.3 over the last 9 seasons so he has run a bit hot and cold, but an average of 3.0 over the next 5 seasons, while not a great bet is not a bad one either.

Upton's signing probably sets the market for JD Martinez who is the same age and whose fWAR's have ranged from 1.8-5.0 over the last 4 years.


Johnny Cueto has to decide by tomorrow whether to opt out of the 4 years/$84 M left on his contract with the Giants.  There is actually more demand for pitching this offseason than hitting so Cueto has to be looking at Upton's contract and wondering if he can do better on the open market.  The major difference being that Upton is coming off a good season and Cueto not so much.  Cueto has hinted that he would like the Giants to make a similar move as the Angels and guarantee a 5'th year when he said negotiations are still required.  I would hope the Giants would not do that as Cueto will be 36 years old by that time.  There is a high probability that Cueto's contract will be a sunk cost by the 4'th season let alone 5'th.  Stay tuned!  A lot hinges on Cueto's decision.  If he stands pat, the Giants are not likely to make any expensive acquisitions this offseason.  If he opts out, it makes something as big as a trade for Giancarlo Stanton at least thinkable.

Fantasy Focus: Impact Rookies- Ronald Acuna

The last few seasons have seen an almost unprecedented influx of young talent into the major leagues.  We saw some of it on display this postseason.  There is more on the way.  If you are into fantasy baseball and you don't know who these elitely talented prospects are, you might find yourself left behind in the dust, just like you favorite MLB team.

We'll start off with BA's 2017 minor league player of the year, Ronald Acuna from the Braves organization.  Acuna not big physically at 6'0", 180 lbs, but has a huge set of 5 tools.  He B-R, T-R and plays OF.  He clearly has the speed to play CF, but has mostly played RF where he can show off his arm.

Acuna was not well known prior to 2017.  He put up a strong slash line of .311/387/.432 for Rome in low A ball as an 18 year old, but was limited to just 171 PA due to injuries.  2017 was a huge breakout as he raced through 2 levels to reach AAA well before his 20'th birthday.  Just wait until you see his combined stat line for the 3 levels:  .325/.375/.522, 31 2B, 8 3B, 21 HR, 44 SB.  He actually performed better at each successive level and dropped his K rate from 31.1 A+ to 23.0 AA to 19.8 at AAA.

He is now tearing up the AFL.  He'll almost certainly start the 2018 season back in AAA for at least 2 months until he achieves "Super 2" status.  The Braves will have to figure out how to move Matt Kemp or Nick Markakis, but if Acuna keeps up this pace he will easily force the issue by midseason.

Down on the Farm: AFL Update

Giants prospects have never exactly dominated the Arizona Fall League, but we do have a few bright spots to report:

Steven Duggar is 7 for 16 over his last 4 games with 2 doubles and 5 SB's.  His season average after 14 games is .269 with 8 SB.  He reportedly is impressing with his CF play.

After getting knocked around in his first AFL start, Tyler Beede put up a line of 4 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K's in his second start.  

Lefty Reliever DJ Snelton continues to impress with a 8 scoreless IP in 5 appearances.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Giants Dept Charts: Lefty Relievers

With matchups playing an ever increasing role in analytical managing decisions, the increased demand for lefty relievers has created a relative shortage.  The Giants have struggled to replace the lefty half of the "Core Four".  Will Smith, who was supposed to replace Jeremy Affeldt fell victim to a torn UCL early in the spring and underwent TJ surgery.  He should be back by May or June of next season.  Steven Okert and Josh Osich struggled to pick up the slack left by Smith's untimely departure.  Okert finally seemed to get into a groove late in the season and seems to be more likely to establish himself as a long term Giants bullpen member next season.  Osich has to find some consistency somewhere, somehow.

AAA:  DJ Snelton is a huge, 6'7", 245 lb lefty who dominated for Sacramento and is having similar success in the Arizona Fall League.  He could contribute at the MLB level in 2018.  Kraig Sitton is a minor league veteran hoping for a cup of coffee.

AA:  Jarrett Martin, a big lefty, appeared midseason with the Richmond Flying Squirrels and pitched well.

A+:  Carlos Diaz seemed go gain some traction with a sub-3 ERA and a K/9 greater than 9 for the San Jose Giants.

A:  Sandro Cabrera pitched a lot of innings as a non-starter for the Augusta Greenjackets.  Caleb Smith struggled in both San Jose and Augusta after a promising 2016.

Short Season:  Alex Bostic and Greg Jacknewitz had ERA's over 5 for S-K.

Pretty tough to sort out whose a starter or reliever in the AZL and DSL.