Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Nick Pratto; Heliot Ramos

Nick Pratto, LHP/1B/OF, HS.  B-L, T-L.  6'2", 200 lbs.

Pratto is HS two way player from Huntington Beach, CA.  As a hitter, he has a sweet swing and as a pitcher he has a 89-92 MPH FB.  He's played some OF, but all the scouting reports project him at 1B where his terrific arm would be wasted.  Read between those lines and you get the idea he has no wheels.  BA has Pratto ranked as their #8 draft prospect.  That is, by far, the highest ranking I've seen for him.  To me, he's a tweener who is a very good all around player but as a pitcher, he doesn't have elite velocity and as a position player, he's stuck at 1B which really devalues him.  IMO, he should go to college and find out which direction he develops fastest.  Most likely he's a pitcher.

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Heliot Ramos, OF, HS(PR).  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 185 lbs.

Ramos has tools.  The PG metrics have him as a 6.55 runner, 88 MPH on OF throws, 89 MPH exit velocity.  The only thing giving me pause is a very long Time to Impact, .132 sec.  I have to confess that I don't really know what Time to Impact means.  It seems like it should be roughly an objective way to measure length of swing, but I am not sure we know that yet.  Ramos absolutely tore up some major showcases including one where he fell a double short of hitting for the cycle in one game.  I think  I will start a research project where I record Time to Impact for all these HS hitters who were recorded by PG and track them for several years and see how predictive it is in terms of hit tool.

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DrB's Updated 2017 Draft Board:  Some major changes to the current board as it is time to acknowledge that Jeren Kendall is having a darn good junior season and probably deserves to be the top prospect, although his K rate remains worrisome.  Also time to drop some severely underperforming college players.

1.  Jeren Kendall, OF, College(Vanderbilt).
2.  JB Bakauskas, RHP, College(North Carolina).
3.  Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, College(Louisville).
4.  Brady McConnell, SS, HS.
5.  Hunter Greene, RHP/SS, HS.
6.  Alex Faedo, RHP, College(Florida).
7.  Alex Lange, RHP, College(LSU).
8.  Seth Romero, LHP, College(Houston).
9.  Ricardo De La Torre, SS, HS(PR).
10.  Jordan Adell, OF, HS.
11.  Mark Vientos, SS, HS.
12.  Royce Lewis, SS/OF, HS.
13.  Heliot Ramos, OF, HS(PR).
14.  Trevor Rogers, LHP, HS.
15.  Austin Beck, OF, HS.
16.  Will Crowe, RHP, College(South Carolina).
17.  Brendon Little, LHP, JC(State College of Florida).
18.  Kyle Wright, RHP, College(Vanderbilt).
19.  Brewer Hicklen, OF, College(UAB).
20.  Alex Scherff, RHP, HS.
21.  Hans Crouse, RHP, HS.
22.  DL Hall, LHP, HS.
23.  Jacob Heatherly, LHP, HS.
24.  Calvin Mitchell, OF, HS.
25.  Conor Uselton, OF, HS.
26.  Garrett Mitchell, OF, HS.
27.  Keston Hiura, 2B, College(UC Irvine).
28.  Clarke Schmidt, RHP, College(South Carolina).
29.  Pavin Smith, 1B, College(Virginia).
30.  Jake Burger, 3B, College(Missouri St.).
31.  Cole Brannen, OF, HS.
32.  Colton Hock, RHP, College(Stanford).
33.  Mackenzie Gore, LHP, HS.
34.  Nick Allen, SS, HS.
35.  Blayne Enlow, RHP, HS.
36.  Hagen Danner, RHP, HS.
37.  Alejandro Toral, 1B, HS.
38.  Nick Pratto, LHP/1B, HS.
39.  Corbin Martin, RHP, College(Texas A&M).
40.  Griffin Canning, RHP, College(UCLA).
41.  Tanner Houck, RHP, College(Missouri).
42.  Michael Gigliotti, OF, College(Lipscomb).
43.  Evan Skoug, C, College(TCU).
44.  Tristan Beck, RHP, College(Stanford).
45.  JJ Schwarz, C, College(Florida).

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/28/2017: Giants 10 Cubs 7

The Giants hit 4 dingers to outslug the Cubs in the Cactus League finale.  Key Lines:

Denard Span CF- 2 for 3, HR(2), SB(2).  BA= .294.  Span has been swinging a hot bat and has looked much healthier than at anytime last year.  In addition to the SB, he raced home from 2B in a WP, and that never would have happened last year.

Gorkys Hernandez CF- 1 for 2.  BA= .216.  Hernandez is the best defensive OF the Giants have.  Maybe his late hitting surge will be enough for him to keep his 4'th OF role?

Chris Marrero 1B- 1 for 2, HR(7).  BA= .276.  The power is sweet, but I have a hard time seeing how Marrero fits on the roster as he's pretty much stuck to playing 1B and the Giants have plenty of backup options for 1B.  On a typical 5 man positional bench, you must have a guy who can play catcher, a guy who can play SS and a guy who can play CF.  That leaves just 2 openings for guys who can't play those positions, so the numbers really start to work against a guy like Marrero.

Justin Ruggiano RF- 1 for 2, HR(2).  BA= .256.  Ruggiano is another guy making a case for himself late in the spring.  I think he actually has a better shot at a roster spot than Marrero because he is an adequate CF and a plus defender in LF and RF.  His RH bat also complements LF Jarrett Parker.

Matt Cain RHP- 5.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 7.82.  This was a better start than the final line would indicate.  Leading 5-2 after 5 IP, Cain gave up a double to Jason Heyward and a single to Javier Baez.  Josh Osich the relieved and gave up 3 hits and a walk.  He allowed Cain's run to score and then gave up 3 more of his own.  Look for Cain to open the season as the 5'th starter and for Ty Blach and Steven Okert to be the two lefties in the bullpen.

Steven Okert LHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.96.  I think this was the first run Okert gave up all Cactus League and on the final day!

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The Giants get the day off tomorrow before starting the Bay Bridge Series on Thursday evening in AT&T Park with Johnny Cueto starting against Sean Manaea.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/27/2017: Giants 14 Reds 2

Madison Bumgarner was in midseason form and the competition for roster spots reached a fever pitch as the Giants dominated the Reds.  Key Lines:

Denard Span CF- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .271.  A healthy, strong season from Span would be a huge plus for the Giants chances of adding another championship banner.

Aaron Hill 3B-2B- 3 for 4, 2B, BB.  BA= .255.  Hill made a statement that he wants a roster spot.

Jae-Gyun Hwang 3B- 2 for 3, HR(5).  BA= .349.  It seems settled that Hwang is going to start the season in Sacramento, but he remains the most intriguing player in the Giants camp.  Is he the Giants 3B of the future or is Christian Arroyo?  And what about Conor Gillaspie?

Gorkys Hernandez LF-RF-CF- 3 for 5, 3 2B.  BA= .204.  Hernandez comes back from getting extra AB's in minor league camp and raps out 3 doubles.  He also played all 3 OF positions, which seems to send some kind of message.

Madison Bumgarner LHP- 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 9 K's, GO/AO= 9/3.  ERA= 2.52.  Madison Bumgarner in midseason form.

Josh Osich LHP- 0.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 5.00.  Not a strongly encouraging line for Osich.

Mark Melancon RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA- 0.00.  Another boring inning for Melancon.  Have I mentioned that boring is good?

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Matt Cain takes the mound for the Giants final Cactus League game facing Jake Arrieta and the Cubs.  This would seem to be a critical start for Cain.

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Griffin Canning; Brewer Hicklen

Griffin Canning, RHP, College, UCLA.  6'2", 180 lbs.

2016:  5-8, 3.70, 109.1 IP, 21 BB, 95 K.
2017:  1-1, 2.72, 39.2 IP, 15 BB, 49 K.

Canning is a classic pitchability college pitcher.  His FB is adequate at best topping out at 94 but usually sitting 89-92 MPH, but he has 4 pitches he can command.  His changeup is his primary secondary offering.  Canning will be popular with teams who value a high floor over a high ceiling on draft day.  For me, he's a round 2 talent at best.

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Brewer Hicklen, OF, College, UAB.  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 208 lbs.

2016:  .289/.413/.408, 7 2B, 4 3B, 3 HR, 22 SB, 38 BB, 41 K, 201 AB.
2017:  .349/.389/.663, 4 2B, 5 3B, 4 HR, 9 SB, 5 BB, 21 K, 83 AB.

Hicklen may be moving up draft boards.  I found out about him on Minor League Ball where some under-the-radar college prospects were profiled.  Hicklen is a tremendous athlete who doubles as a WR on the UAB football team.  He has done a 6.5 60 yd dash and plays CF for the baseball team.  He has shown more speed than power so far but the size and strength would suggest there is power potential there.  With the extreme dearth of good college hitters in this draft, Hicklen may have a chance to move all the way into the first round.  He is a redshirt sophomore and draft eligible.

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Don't have time to update my draft board right now. Will catch that later.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/26/2017: White Sox 4 Giants 3

Neil Ramirez walked the first two batters he faced in the 9'th inning to set up a walk-off win for the ChiSox to spoil a fine start by Ty Blach.  Key Lines:

Jimmy Rollins 2B- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .125.  Is there still a battle between Rollins and Kelby Tomlinson for a reserve MI roster spot?  Rollins looked good on a pair of doubles but got himself thrown out at 3B trying to stretch one into a triple.

Chris Marrero LF- 1 for 3, BB.  BA= .278.  Marrero continues to look good at the plate, but let me tell you, a LF he is not.  Got a look at him running the bases on TV and if he and JT Snow ran a 60 yd dash, I'm not sure Marrero would win!  There was probably nothing he could do with on rocket that went past him to the wall, but then he took a long time finding it after it bounced back.

Conor Gillaspie 3B- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .333.  Gillaspie continued his hot hitting with a ringing double that split the RF-CF gap.  He also made several excellent defensive plays.  Gillaspie was not a good fielder at 3B early in his career, but he's really turned that part of his game around!

Justin Ruggiano CF- 1 for 2, 2 BB.  BA= .243.  While Gorkys Hernandez was down in minor league camp getting extra AB's, Ruggy was starting in CF and continuing his hot hitting.  Advantage Ruggiano in the race for 4'th OF.

Kelby Tomlinson SS- 1 for 3.  BA= .279.  Kelby might not have helped his cause when he muffed what should have been a fairly routine play to set up a 2-run 5'th inning, the only inning Blach allowed runs in.

Ty Blach LHP- 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K, GO/AO= 10/4.  ERA= 4.43.  Blach was given an opportunity and he made the most of it.  The 1 K does not look so impressive, but he kept ChiSox hitters off balance all day with a mixture of locations and speeds.  He really only gave up 1 hard hit ball  which came right after Tomlinson's muff.  Whether he is the 5'th starter or not, Blach probably locked up a roster spot for himself today.

Cory Gearrin RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 7.88.  Gearrin had his slider working to perfection and dominated his inning.

Neil Ramirez RHP- As already mentioned, Ramirez walked the first 2 batters he faced to set up the walk-off win for the ChiSox.  Ramirez and Gearrin are probably battling for the last bullpen spot and Gearrin's stock went up while Ramirez' went down today.

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Madison Bumgarner starts against the Reds tomorrow in Scottsdale for the Giants final home game of the Cactus League season.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/25/2017: Giants 8 Padres 7

The Giants scored at least 1 run in each of the last 5 innings while the bullpen stymied the Padres to overcome a 7-1 deficit for the Win.  Key Lines:

Justin Ruggiano LF- 1 for 1, 2B, BB.  BA= .229.  Ruggy's bat has come to life after his BA hit a nadir of .067 on March 7'th.  He's 7 for 20 over his past 10 games.

Joe Panik 2B- 2 for 4, 3B.  BA= .279.  Panik should not stay in slumps for too long because he makes so much contact.

Buster Posey 1B- 2 for 3, HR(1).  BA= .353.  Buster looks like he's slimmed down a bit, but still has the Popeye arms.  He looks like he's in great shape!

Jae-Gyun Hwang 1B- 1 for 2.  BA= .308.  Hwang drove in the winning run with a bloop hit to RF.  He also won the Barney Nugent Award for best first spring training.  He's reportedly ticketed for Sacramento and is reportedly OK with that.  He plans to work on his fielding and strike zone judgement(apparently the strike zone is different here than in Korea).

Brandon Crawford SS- 1 for 3, HR(1).  BA= .174.  The BA is deceiving as Crawford missed a lot of Cactus League games to play in the WBC and had a great run there.

Nick Hundley C- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .324.  Hundley is definitely looking like an offensive upgrade over Trevor Brown so far.

Gorkys Hernandez CF- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .159.  Gorkys sez, "Hey!  Don't forget about me!"

Chris Stratton RHP- 3 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 1 BB, 3 K.  ERA= 9.00.  If this was an opportunity for Stratton, well, he didn't exactly take advantage of it.  He basically threw batting practice for the Padres for 3 innings.  I guess it's a positive that he completed the 3 innings.

Mark Melancon RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  More boring baseball from Melancon. Boring is good!

George Kontos RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 4.50.  Dominant inning from Kontos whose roster spot seems very safe.  After giving up 3 ER in his second spring appearance on March 1, Kontos has allowed just 2 R over his last 8(1 inning each) for an ERA of 2.25 with 2 BB, and 13 K.

Josh Osich LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 5.40.  Osich needs a strong finish to spring training.  Today's appearance gives him a great start on that.

Cory Gearrin RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 9.00. Gearrin has scuffled so far.  Can he hold off Neil Ramirez for the final bullpen spot?

Neil Ramirez RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 1.93.  Ramirez and Gearrin are probably competing for the final bullpen spot, unless the Giants don't carry a long man.

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Ty Blach gets the start tomorrow agains the ChiSox.  It does seem like the Giants are auditioning a backup plan for Matt Cain.  According to Pavs, Tyler Beede has been tabbed to start next Saturday's game in Oakland for the Bay Bridge Series.

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Also according to Pavs, Michael Morse says he plans to rehab in Sacramento after his hammy heals.  He is aware that if the Giants get off to a good start, they probably won't call him up when the rehab is over in which case it's Happy Trails.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/24/2017: Giants 6 Rockies 5

Brandon Belt's 3-run dinger was the centerpiece of a 5 spot in the 3'rd inning and Jeff Samardzija had his best start of the spring by a wide margin.  The Giants held off a 9'th inning rally by the Rockies against Derek Law for the final margin.  Key Lines:

Denard Span CF- 3 for 4.  BA= .244.  Span is hot.  Let's hope it carries over into the season.

Brandon Belt 1B- 1 for 4, HR(3).  BA= .289.  3-run dingers correlate with wins.

Chris Marrero 1B- 1 for 1, HR(6).  BA= .292.  Pavs thinks Marrero is competing with Kelby Tomlinson for a roster spot which is really too bad because both players are deserving based on their spring performances.

Aaron Hill 3B- 0 for 3.  BA= .225.  The beats seem to think Hill has made the team but his 0 for 3 today drops his BA to .225 and he just has not been impressive over the past several years.  Giants should keep both Kelby and Marrero and release Hill.

Kelby Tomlinson 2B- 1 for 3, 3B, BB.  BA= .282.  Kelby's BA has slipped a bit but he had a strong game here.  Hill may have more occasional HR pop than Kelby but nobody grinds out AB's like Kelby and Kelby is more versatile in he field, IMO.

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 1 for 2, 2B.  BA= .333.  Shark's hit was a double.  He said afterwards he was sitting fastball and happened to run into a slider.  Always fun to see Giants pitchers hit.

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 4 IP, 2 H 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 8.22.  Shark has had rough spring so far, but maybe he's turned a corner at the right time?

Albert Suarez RHP- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 4.35.  Is Suarez still in the running for long relief/swingman?

Steven Okert LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Okert maintains his perfect spring.

Reyes Maronta RHP- 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Maronta struck out the final batter of the game to preserve the Giants win, but after he wild pitched in a runner he inherited from Derek Law.  Don't be shocked if we see Maronta back in the regular season.

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Johnny Cueto will get his innings in a minor league game while Chris Stratton gets called up from minor league camp to face the Padres tomorrow.

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LHP Will Smith will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the 2017 season.  He should be back sometime fairly early in 2018.

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/23/2017: Mariners 9 Giants 2

Matt Moore was shelled and the Giants offense sputtered against Felix Hernandez in a lopsided loss.  Key Lines:

Joe Panik 2B- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .256.  Batting averages can swing hard in small samples.  Seems like just yesterday Panik was hitting .400.

Jarrett Parker RF- 1 for 3, 2B, Assist(2B).  BA= .271.  Parker looks like a lock for starting LF.

Justin Ruggiano PH-CF- 1 for 2.  BA= .212.  Ruggy and Gorkys Hernandez seem to be the only 2 names left in camp who can reasonably be projected to play CF.  Which one do you keep?

Matt Moore LHP- 1.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 5.60.  This line also includes a HBP and WP. When Moore is good, he is really good and when he is bad, he is really bad!

Neil Ramirez RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.16.  Ramirez shows his strikeout stuff and seems to be on track to win a job over Cory Gearrin who gave up 2 runs in an IP earlier.

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Jeff Samardzija tries to get his spring back on track with a start against the Rockies today.

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Will Smith has been advised to have TJ surgery which would put him out all season and likely for the first 2-3 months of 2018.  Giants control his contract through 2019.

Eduardo Nunez received 2 cortisone shots to the shoulder.  Nunez was reportedly able to make strong throws but was experiencing pain.  He still hopes to be ready for Opening Day.

Gordon Beckham requested and received his release and will try to hook on with another team.

Pavs reports that Kelby Tomlinson played 6 innings in the OF in a minor league game but only had one chance on a routine flyball.  Apparently one roster scenario under serious consideration would have just 1 reserve OF with Kelby, Aaron Hill and Conor Gillaspie all making the team.  Kelby and Hill would double as reserve LF's.

I'll take a stab at naming the 7-man Opening Day bullpen:  Melancon, Law, Strickland, Okert, Kontos, Ramirez, Ty Blach, unless Blach is the 5'th starter.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/22/2017: Giants 6 Brewers 4

Denard Span and Jae-Gyun Hwang led the offense with a pair of 2-run dingers as the Giants overcame a poor start by Matt Cain.  Key Lines:

Denard Span CF- 1 for 2, HR(1).  BA= .189.  Span is hitting .333 over his last 6 games and has hit for the cycle with 3 singles, a double, triple and HR in that span.  Eyewitness reports have him looking spry in the OF too.

Aaron Hill 3B- 1 for 3, 2B(4).  BA= .243.  Hill and Chris Marrero may be fighting for the same roster spot depending on how the injury situation plays out.

Jae-Gyun Hwang 3B- 1 for 1, HR(4).  BA= .324.  With Nunez flying back to SF to get a cortisone shot in his shoulder, Hwang could be the Opening Day starter at 3B.  You could make a case that he won that job competitively anyway.

Matt Cain RHP- 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 8.10.  Most of the damage came in the first inning, although one of our commenters reports that Cain was giving up rockets the whole time and was saved from more runs by some excellent defensive plays by Span and Aaron Hill.

Steven Okert LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.  With only one game left, it looks like Okert has wrapped up a scoreless Cactus League.

Roberto Gomez, David Hernandez and Albert Suarez pitched 1 scoreless inning each.

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Matt Moore faces Felix Hernandez in the Giants final night game of the Cactus League schedule.

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As mentioned above, Eduardo Nunez flew to SF to get a cortisone shot in his shoulder and will be shut down for 3 days.  Gotta think he might start the season on the DL which opens the door for Jae-Gyun Hwang, who has had a strong spring, to start at 3B on Opening Day.  Aaron Hill and Conor Gillaspie remain in the mix at 3B also.  Injuries have whittled down the bench options.  One scenario I scribbled down was Hundley, Tomlinson, Gillaspie, Hill and Marrero with Hwang starting at 3B. That leaves CF uncovered unless the Giants think Jarrett Parker could play it.

I they think Nunez will be back quickly, they might send Hwang to Sacramento and start Aaron Hill or Gillaspie at 3B and keep Ruggy or Gorkys as another reserve OF.  Or, Marrero and Hill could be competing for the same roster spot.

I get the feeling the Giants really want to keep Aaron Hill.

Tomlinson has options and Hwang has said he will accept assignment to Sacramento.  Would he still accept it after the spring he has had?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/21/2017: Giants 5 Padres 3

Nick Hundley and Chris Marrero provided the Giants offense with 3 dingers that drove in all 5 runs for a win over division rival Padres.  Key Lines:

Chris Marrero 1B- 2 for 3, HR(5).  BA= .302.  It was actually Marrero's 6'th dinger of the spring including a non-Cactus League game agains Team Puerto Rico.  Marrero has made a convincing case for himself to land an Opening Day roster spot.

Nick Hundley C- 2 for 3, 2 HR(2).  BA= .323.  Hundley doesn't have to worry about a roster spot and is looking like the offensive upgrade at the reserve catcher position the Giants signed him to be.

Madison Bumgarner LHP- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.50.  Bumgarner pitched just 2 innings to limit his exposure to a division rival's lineup.  After leaving the game, he pitched a bullpen to bring his total pitch count to 85.

Ty Blach LHP- 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 5.02.  Blach stays in the mix for either the 5'th SP role or a bullpen role which would seem to be a hybrid of long-relief/swingman and lefty specialist.

George Kontos and Derek Law pitched 1 scoreless inning each.

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Matt Cain starts tomorrow against the Brewers in what could be a critical start in his quest to regain his spot in the Giants starting rotation.  RHP Albert Suarez is also slated to see action.

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Injuries have started to narrow the Opening Day roster choices a bit for Manager Bruce Bochy:

We've already mentioned that Mac Williamson is likely out for a prolonged period with a quad strain which would seem to lock up the starting LF job for Jarrett Parker.

Injuries have plagued Michael Morse his entire career.  He suffered a hammy strain that will likely sideline him past Opening Day.  That would seem to increase Chris Marrero's chances of making the team, although Aaron Hill and Jae-Gyun Hwang may be competing for the same role.

The Giants got bad news from LHP Will Smith who has a left elbow sprain/strain which will almost certainly sideline him for an extended period.  There is even talk of possible TJ surgery which, of course, would put him out for the entire season.  Steven Okert had seemingly already locked down the other lefty reliever job.  Smith's absence creates an opening for another lefty reliever.  Ty Blach would seem to be the leader if Matt Cain can nail down the 5'th starter role.  Blach is attractive because he is effective against both L and R handed hitters and can go multiple innings, but he can also be used as a LOOGY if the situation calls for it.  Josh Osich is probably still in the mix, but walked 3 batters in his last appearance and time is running out.  LHP Michael Roth is also in camp, but has yet to prove he can be used in anything resembling a high leverage role, or even medium leverage!

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RHP Ryan Vogelsong was released by the Twins at his request, but if the Twins don't have a spot on their pitching staff for him, I'm not sure who would.  Padres?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Ricardo De La Torre

Ricardo De La Torre, SS, HS(PR).  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 175 lbs.

What's really fun about combing through early draft prospect lists is finding players you think are grossly under-ranked.  Ricardo De La Torre comes in at #38 on MLB's early top 50 list.  I think that is way too low and look for him to catch serious helium as the draft approaches.  He's got all 5 tools and they are all plus:  6.63 60 yd dash, 95 MPH on IF throw, 89 MPH Exit Velocity, .104 Time to Impact.  He is athletic enough with an arm to be a true SS.  He can hit and with enough power to move to a corner.  He's fast enough to play CF with enough arm for RF.  Wiry frame with plenty of room to fill out.  I like Brady McConnell, who I currently have at #6, just a tad better, but I like De La Torre just a bit better than another pop-up prospect, Austin Beck, who I have at #11.  Of course, moving De La Torre into the top 10 moves other good prospects down a notch.  This draft may be weak at the top but it is looking deep.

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DrB's Updated 2017 Draft Board:

1.  Jordan Adell, OF, HS.
2.  Mark Vientos, SS, HS.
3.  Hunter Greene, RHP/SS, HS.
4.  JB Bakauskas, RHP, College(North Carolina).
5.  Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, College(Louisville).
6.  Brady McConnell, SS, HS.
7.  RICARDO DE LA TORRE, SS, HS.
8.  Royce Lewis, SS/OF, HS.
9.  Trevor Rogers, LHP, HS.
10.  Brendon Little, LHP, JC(State College of Florida).
11.  Seth Romero, LHP, College(Houston).
12.  Austin Beck, OF, HS.
13.  Wil Crowe, RHP, College(South Carolina).
14.  Jeren Kendall, OF, College(Vanderbilt).
15.  Alex Faedo, RHP, College(Florida).
16.  Tanner Houck, RHP, College(Missouri).
17.  Kyle Wright, RHP, College(Vanderbilt).
18.  Alex Lange, RHP, College(LSU).
19.  Alex Scherff, RHP, HS.
20.  Hans Crouse, RHP, HS.
21.  DL Hall, LHP, HS.
22.  Jacob Heatherly, LHP, HS.
23.  Calvin Mitchell, OF, HS.
24.  Conor Uselton, OF, HS.
25.  Garrett Mitchell, OF, HS.
26.  Keston Hiura, 2B, College(UC Irvine).
27.  Clarke Schmidt, RHP, College(South Carolina).
28.  Michael Gigliotti, OF, College(Lipscomb).
29.  Pavin Smith, 1B, College(Virginia).
30.  Jake Burger, 3B, College(Missouri St.).
31.  Cole Brannen, OF, HS.
32.  Evan Skoug, C, College(TCU).
33.  Colton Hock, RHP, College(Stanford).
34.  Mackenzie Gore, LHP, HS.
35.  Nick Allen, SS, HS.
36.  Blayne Enlow, RHP, HS.
37.  Hagen Danner, RHP, HS.
38.  Alejandro Toral, 1B, HS.
39.  Corbin Martin, RHP, College(Texas A&M).
40.  Tristan Beck, RHP, College(Stanford).
41.  JJ Schwarz, C, College(Florida).

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/20/2017: Giants 3 White Sox 2

The Giants got a strong start from Johnny Cueto and Ryder Jones drove in all 3 of their runs with a dinger in the 8'th inning for the win.  Key Lines:

Ryder Jones 3B- 1 for 1, HR(1).  BA= .385.  Jones has had a very nice spring in limited opportunities. Don't sleep on this kid!

Justin Ruggiano RF- 2 for 3.  BA= .200.  It seems to me that Ruggy and Gorkys Hernandez are the two OF's competing for bench roster spots who can play CF.  He would also be a much better defensive option to platoon with Jarrett Parker in LF.  Can he mount enough offense down the spring stretch run to win a job?

Johnny Cueto RHP- 5 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.57.  Cueto just pretty much proved that spring training is way too long.

Josh Osich LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 7.11.  With Will Smith very unlikely to start the season, Osich had a chance to grab a roster spot here.  He have to hope for other chances.

Hunter Strickland RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 2.45.  Strickland seems to have settled into a good groove.

Will Smith LHP- 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Smith left the mound mid-inning with the trainer.  Recurrence of left elbow soreness.  No bueno!

Neil Ramirez RHP- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.45.  With David Hernandez and Jose Dominguez having recent rough outings, Ramirez seems to be putting himself in great position to win a roster spot.

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Madison Bumgarner makes his 6'th, that's right, 6'th spring start tomorrow against the Padres.

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Keston Hiura

Keston Hiura, 2B/LF, College(UC Irvine).  B-R, T-R.  6'0", 190 lbs.

2016:  .358/.436/.539, 12 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 6 SB, 25 BB, 44 K, 204 AB.
2017:  .463/.563/.944, 11 2B, 5 HR, 12 BB, 14 K, 54 AB.

They say that of the 5 basic tools you scout a player on, the Hit Tool is the hardest to find.  Well, in a draft class that is weak in college hitters, the best Hit Tool in the entire draft may well belong to Hiura who has put up astonishing numbers in a historically pitching-friendly environment.  The problem for Hiura is the Hit Tool is his only plus tool.  He is not particularly fast, average at best.  He does not have much raw power although he has hit some dingers this season.  The arm is a big negative.  Never strong to begin with(74 MPH on a throw out of HS), he is now battling a partial UCL tear that has been treated with platelet-rich plasma injection.  He has been limited to DH duties so far in the college season.

But oh my!  You keep going back to the hit tool.  I'd grade it at least a 70.  He's go short arms, a quick swing and kind of an odd sweeping motion that some scouts don't love, but is probably part of why he is so successful at barreling the ball.  The power is probably more gap power at the next level.  Unfortunately, the arm and lack of speed probably limit him to 2B, LF, 1B and DH in the pros and he does not have the height you want at 1B nor the power you want at DH or even LF.

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DrB's Updated 2017 Draft Board:

1.  Jordan Adell, OF, HS.
2.  Mark Vientos, SS, HS.
3.  Hunter Greene, RHP/SS, HS.
4.  JB Bakauskas, RHP, College(North Carolina).
5.  Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, College(Louisville).
6.  Brady McConnell, SS, HS.
7.  Royce Lewis, SS/OF, HS.
8.  Trevor Rogers, LHP, HS.
9.  Brendon Little, LHP, JC(State College of Florida).
10. Seth Romero, LHP, College(Houston).
11.  Austin Beck, OF, HS.
12.  Wil Crowe, RHP, College(South Carolina).
13.  Jeren Kendall, OF, College(Vanderbilt).
14.  Alex Faedo, RHP, College(Florida).
15.  Tanner Houck, RHP, College(Missouri).
16.  Kyle Wright, RHP, College(Vanderbilt).
17.  Alex Lange, RHP, College(LSU).
18.  Alex Scherff, RHP, HS.
19.  Hans Crouse, RHP, HS.
20.  DL Hall, LHP, HS.
21.  Jacob Heatherly, LHP, HS.
22.  Calvin Mitchell, OF, HS.
23.  Conor Uselton, OF, HS.
24.  Garrett Mitchell, OF, HS.
25.  KESTON HIURA, 2B, College(UC Irvine).
26.  Clarke Schmidt, RHP, College(South Carolina).
27.  Michael Gigliotti, OF, College(Lipscomb).
28.  Pavin Smith, 1B, College(Virginia).
29.  Jake Burger, 3B, College(Missouri St).
30.  Cole Brannen, OF, HS.
31.  Evan Skoug, C, College(TCU).
32.  Colton Hock, RHP, College(Stanford).
33.  Mackenzie Gore, LHP, HS.
34.  Nick Allen, SS, HS.
35.  Blayne Enlow, RHP, HS.
36.  Hagen Danner, RHP, HS.
37.  Alejandro Toral, 1B, HS.
38.  Corbin Martin, RHP, College(Texas A&M).
39.  Tristan Beck, RHP, College(Stanford).
40.  JJ Schwarz, C, College(Florida).

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/19/2017: Brewers 6 Giants 4

Jeff Samardzija was not sharp and the Giants offense struggled against RHP Zach Davies in a game that was not as close as the final score would indicate.  Key Lines:

Brandon Belt 1B- 1 for 2, BB.  BA= .324.  Belt continues to hit well.

Christian Arroyo SS- 1 for 1, HR(1).  BA= .278.  Arroyo continues to impress whenever he gets a chance.  He was reassigned to minor league camp after the game where he will get more AB's to get ready for the AAA season.

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 4 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 11.12.  Is it time to worry about Jeff Samardzija?  It's ALWAYS time to worry about Jeff Samardzija!  Runs hot and cold.  He could stink all of spring training then pitch 7 shutout innings in his first start of the season….or not.  You always worry about Shark's next start no matter what happened in his last start.  In the end, he will likely have his ups and downs and eat a lot of innings and earn his salary or close to it.

Steven Okert LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.  At this point, Okert seems destined to take the second lefty reliever spot on the Opening Day roster.

Tyler Beede RHP- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.96.  Another strong outing by Beede.  He was sent to minor league camp after the game.  Bochy muttered something about working him as a reliever..or not.

George Kontos and Derek Law pitched 1 scoreless frame each and both seem to be on track for roster spots on Opening Day.

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Johnny Cueto takes the mound for a start against the ChiSox tomorrow afternoon.

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In addition to Arroyo and Beede being reassigned to minor league camp, the Giants also reassigned LHP Kraig Sitton and optioned utility man Orlando Calixte to Sacramento.

Mac Williamson has a quad strain which will sideline him indefinitely which pretty much seals it up for Jarrett Parker to be the Opening Day starter in LF.

Around the League:

White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada had a monster day at the plate going 3 for 5 with 2 2B, and a HR(3).  He is hitting .317 on the spring.  If he is not in the ChiSox Opening Day lineup, he will be soon enough as the release of Brett Lawrie cleared the way for a quick promotion.  LG, you might come out smelling like a rose for drafting him for your fantasy league!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/18/2017: Mariners 6 Giants 5

Two non-roster relievers hoping to make the Giants Opening Day team got bombed to spoil a terrific start by Matt Moore and a nice offensive game from the top 4 hitters in the Giants lineup.  Key Lines:

Denard Span CF- 2 for 4, 3B.  BA= .143.  Span's bat seems to be coming to life in the last several games.

Joe Panik 2B- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .290.  Panik has cooled off a bit, but drove in a run and scored one today.

Jarrett Parker LF- 2 for 4, HR(4).  BA= .333.  Pedal to the metal!  Parker just is not going to blow his big opportunity.

Chris Marrero 1B- 2 for 5, HR(4).  BA= .256.  Interesting battle between Marrero and Morse for RH bat off the bench.  Does Marrero have an advantage because he is a better fielder?  Grant Brisbee over at mccoveychronicles.com makes a case for Jae-Gyun Hwang competing for the same roster spot.

Matt Moore LHP- 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's, GO/AO= 5/2.  ERA= 3.94.  Moore has come on strong in his last 2 starts.  The Giants need him to have a good season if they want to compete for a postseason spot and a shot at a championship.

David Hernandez RHP- 0.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 5.79.  Early on, Hernandez was looking like a shoe-in for a bullpen gig, but he's been bombed in two outings in a row.  Chances not looking so good right now.

Jose Dominguez RHP- 0.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 5.79.  Dominguez was always a longer shot than Hernandez, and he did not help his cause with this appearance.

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It's Jeff Samardzija's turn to start against the BrewCrew in Scottsdale tomorrow.

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Austin Beck

Austin Beck, OF, HS.  B-R, T-R.  6'1", 190 lbs.

Up to now, I've been grinding through MLB's top 50 Draft Prospect list.  In Austin Beck, we have our first "pop up" prospect.  He's a 5-tool HS OF prospect out of North Carolina who missed some time with a ACL tear of his knee but is now back on the field and wowing scouts.  First, let's go to the Perfect Game metrics:  6.52 60 yd dash.  92 MPH on OF throw.  97 MPH exit velocity.  1.20 Time to Impact.

Scouts think he is a true CF, but has the arm to play RF also.  The exit velocity indicates excellent power potential.  The Time to Impact is a bit slow.  If you look at his hitting videos, he draws the bat way back with the bat head almost pointing back at the pitcher at the top of his load creating a long swing path.  That is something that can limit a hitter's ability to handle higher velocity pitching, or if you compensate by starting your swing early to catch up to the heat, it's harder to adjust to the slower stuff.  The swing seems like it should be easy to fix, but in practice it doesn't always happen.

Beck is currently being added to a lot of top 10 draft prospects lists and in BA's just released top 10 mock draft, they have him going to the Braves at #5 overall.  I like his tools, but am skeptical of the bat so will put him a bit lower on my own board.

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Dr B's Updated 2017 Draft Board:

1.  Jordan Adell, OF, HS.
2.  Mark Vientos, SS, HS.
3.  Hunter Greene, RHP/SS, HS.
4.  JB Bakauskas, RHP, College(North Carolina).
5.  Brendan McKay, LHP, College(Louisville).
6.  Brady McConnell, SS, HS.
7.  Royce Lewis, SS/OF, HS.
8.  Trevor Rogers, LHP, HS.
9.  Brendon Little, LHP, JC(State College of Florida).
10.  Seth Romero, LHP, College(Houston).
11.  AUSTIN BECK, OF, HS.
12.  Wil Crowe, RHP, College(South Carolina).
13.  Jeren Kendall, OF, College(Vanderbilt).
14.  Alex Faedo, RHP, College(Florida).
15.  Tanner Houck, RHP, College(Missouri).
16.  Kyle Wright, RHP, College(Vanderbilt).
17.  Alex Lange, RHP, College(LSU).
18.  Alex Scherff, RHP, HS.
19.  Hans Crouse, RHP, HS.
20.  DL Hall, LHP, HS.
21.  Jacob Heatherly, LHP, HS.
22.  Calvin Mitchell, OF, HS.
23.  Conor Uselton, OF, HS.
24.  Garrett Mitchell, OF, HS.
25.  Clarke Schmidt, RHP, College(South Carolina).
26.  Michael Gigliotti, OF, College(Lipscomb).
27.  Pavin Smith, 1B, College(Virginia).
28.  Jake Burger, 3B, College(Missouri State).
29.  Cole Brannen, OF, HS.
30.  Evan Skoug, C, College(TCU).
31.  Colton Hock, RHP, College(Stanford).
32.  Mackenzie Gore, LHP, HS.
33.  Nick Allen, SS, HS.
34.  Blayne Enlow, RHP, HS.
35.  Hagen Danner, RHP, HS.
36.  Alejandro Toral, 1B, HS.
37.  Corbin Martin, RHP, College(Texas A&M).
38.  Tristan Beck, RHP, College(Stanford).
39.  JJ Schwarz, C, College(Florida).

Alex Faedo, Kyle Wright and Alex Lange all see their stock drop due to struggles in the early college season.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/17/2017: Rockies 5 Giants 1

Matt Cain allowed 3 runs in 4.2 IP and the Giants lineup went down quietly as we enter the dog days of spring training.  Key Lines:

Nick Hundley C- 2 for 3.  BA= .308.  Hundley was the only Giant in the lineup with 2 hits.  The rest of the lineup managed just 4.

Matt Cain RHP- 4.2 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 5 K's, GO/AO= 5/0.  ERA= 8.40.  If you squint hard, you can see a bit of progress here.  The K/BB looks good as well as the GB rate.  9 hits is a lot to give up in just 4.2 IP, though.

Mark Melancon RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Another boring appearance by Melancon and we like it that way!

Will Smith LHP- 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.  A Will Smith sighting!  Having him pitch this early and last a whole inning is great news!  Outside chance he'll be ready by Opening Day.  Smith is a major key to this bullpen, IMO.

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The Giants take on the Mariners tomorrow afternoon with Matt Moore facing Hisashi Iwakuma.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/15/2017: Giants 7 Angels 4

Madison Bumgarner allowed just 1 hit in 6 shutout innings and the Giants offense woke up late to give them the W over the Angels.  Key Lines:

Eduardo Nunez 3B= 1 for 3, 2B, SB(2).  BA= .269.  Nunez added a couple of dramatic defensive plays.  Go check out the videos.

Mac Williamson LF-RF-LF- 1 for 4, 2B.  BA= .324.  Mac is not backing down in the fight for the starting LF job.

Michael Morse 1B-  2 for 2, 2B.  BA= .304.  You get the feeling that Morse is pulling ahead of Chris Marrero if there is a roster spot for a defensively challenged RH power bat off the bench.

Madison Bumgarner LHP- 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.81.  Bumgarner looked like he was in midseason form.  Threw just 70 pitches in the 6 full innings.

Ty Blach- 2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 5.56.  Regression to the mean can be a real SOB.  I guess we can give Ty credit for finishing the 7'th inning then coming back out and pitching a shutdown 8'th.

Steven Okert LHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Okert is about as assured of a roster spot as anyone right now.  He's been lights out all spring.

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The Giants are off tomorrow.  Matt Cain is scheduled to start against the Rockies on Friday 3/17 in an evening game.

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Around the League:

Adalberto Mejia, remember him?  He struck out 8 batters in 3.2 IP against the St. Louis Cardinals.  Mejia allowed 4 hits, 0 BB's and 0 R in the start.

Michael Pineda struck out  8 batters in 5 perfect innings against the Phillies.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/14/2017: Giants 6 Indians 5

Jarrett Parker and Justin Ruggiano, potential LF platoon partners, matched 2 run dingers in a 5-run first inning and the Giants held on to edge the defending American League champs.  Key Lines:

Eduardo Nunez DH- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .261.  Nunez' bat seems to be heating up after a slow spring start.

Brandon Belt 1B- 2 for 2, 2B, SF.   BA= .333.  Belt continues to swing a hot bat.

Jarrett Parker LF- 2 for 2, HR(3).  BA= .323.  Parker keeps the pedal to the metal with another big day at the plate.

Aaron Hill 2B- 1 for 2, 2B.  BA= .292.  Hill seems to be making it tough to not keep him on the Opening Day Roster.  I suppose he could be kept as a utility IF and Nunez could cover SS if Crawford needs a blow.

Jae-Gyun Hwang 3B- 2 for 4.  BA= .346.  Speaking of making things tough…..

Justin Ruggiano RF- 1 for 3, HR(1).  BA= .136.  Ruggiano probably needs to get hot for the remainder of spring training to make the team, but he has two things going for him:  1.  He can play all 3 OF positions adequately.  2.  He historically kills LH pitching which would dovetail nicely with Jarrett Parker's extreme opposite splits.

Albert Suarez RHP- 2.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 6.14.  With Matt Cain's grip on the 5'th starter spot getting shakier by the day, Suarez had a chance to move into the lead to be next in line.  He did not exactly grab that opportunity by the throat.

Kyle Crick RHP- 2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 1.29.  Crick has pitched 7 innings this spring with 3 BB's and 6 K's.  Were he to maintain those ratios in his minor league assignment all season, it would be a major victory.

George Kontos and Derek Law pitched scoreless innings with Law striking out 2 and getting credit for the Save.

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Madison Bumgarner gets the start tomorrow afternoon against he Angels in Scottsdale while Johnny Cueto is slated to pitch in an exhibition at the minor league complex.

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Wil Crowe

Wil Crowe, RHP, College(South Carolina).  6'2", 245 lbs.

2017:  3-0, 2.25, 24 IP, 7 BB, 31 K.

Wil Crowe was a highly ranked draft prospect out of HS in 2013 who reportedly turned down contract offers above $1 M to go to college and play for South Carolina.  He ended up being drafted in the 31'st round.  He went straight into the Gamecocks rotation and pitched like an ace until he suffered a UCL tear halfway through his sophomore season in 2015.   He missed all of 2016 and is back for his redshirt Jr campaign in which he is off to a strong start. His stock is obviously on the rise and should continue to rise the longer he remains healthy and effective this college season.

Crowe has a big body and a big fastball that ranges from 92-97 MPH with a college starter's mix of a curveball that is sometimes a plus pitch and a changeup that still needs work.  His history of TJ surgery will turn off some teams on draft day but others will consider him a bargain if it causes some teams to pass on him.

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DrB's Updated 2017 Draft Board:

1.  Jordan Adell, OF, HS.
2.  Mark Vientos, SS, HS.
3.  Hunter Greene, RHP, HS.
4.  Alex Faedo, RHP, College(Florida).
5.  JB Backauskas, RHP, College(North Carolina).
6.  Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, College(Louisville).
7.  Seth Romero, LHP, College(Houston).
8.  Brady McConnell, SS, HS.
9.  Royce Lewis, SS/OF, HS.
10. Trevor Rogers, LHP, HS.
11.  Alex Lange, RHP, College(LSU).
12.  Kyle Wright, RHP, College(Vanderbilt).
13.  Jeren Kendall, OF, College(Vanderbilt).
14.  Tanner Houck, RHP, College(Missouri).
15.  Brendon Little, LHP, JC(State College of Florida).
16.  WIL CROWE, RHP, College(South Carolina).
17.  Alex Scherff, RHP, HS.
18.  Hans Crouse, RHP, HS.
19.  DL Hall, LHP, HS.
20.  Jacob Heatherly, LHP, HS.
21.  Calvin Mitchell, OF, HS.
22. Conor Uselton, OF, HS.
23.  Garrett Mitchell, OF, HS.
24.  Clarke Schmidt, LHP, College(South Carolina).
25.  Michael Gigliotti, OF, College(Lipscomb).
26.  Pavin Smith, 1B, College(Virginia).
27.  Jake Burger, 3B, College(Missouri St).
28.  Cole Brannen, OF, HS.
29.  Evan Skoug, C, College(TCU).
30.  Colton Hock, RHP, College(Stanford).
31.  Mackenzie Gore, LHP, HS.
32.  Nick Allen, SS, HS.
33.  Blayne Enlow, RHP, HS.
34.  Hagen Danner, RHP, HS.
35.  Alejandro Toral, 1B, HS.
36.  Corbin Martin, RHP, College(Texas A&M).
37.  JJ Schwarz, C, College(Florida).
38.  Tristan Beck, RHP, College(Stanford).

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/13/2017: Rangers 7 Giants 1

Jeff Samardzija game up a grand slam HR to Carlos Gomez that sounds like it might not have been out in most regular season MLB parks.  The Rangers cruised after that.  Key Lines:

Denard Span CF- 1 for 3, 2B, BB, SB(1).  BA= .091.  Maybe Span is coming around after an extremely slow start to spring.

Mac Williamson LF- 2 for 4.  BA= .333.  Mac also had an OF assist throwing out a runner at 3B.  Keeps the pressure on Parker in the race for the starting LF job.

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 3.2 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 9.82.  Sounds like Shark pitched in a bit of bad luck, but dingers have always been his downfall.  Hope he's getting game like this out of his system in the spring.

Michael Roth, David Hernandez, Reyes Maronta, Hunter Strickland- 1 scoreless IP each.  Hernandez is gunning for a roster spot.  Maronta is trying to impress for the future.  Strickland probably has a safe roster spot.

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The Giants face the Indians tomorrow with Albert Suarez getting the start.

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Big cutdown after the evening game as 40-man roster players Kyle Crick, Chase Johnson, Ian Gardeck, Reyes Maronta, Dan Slania and Miguel Gomez were optioned to minor league camp while non-roster invitees Wynton Bernard, Austin Slater, Steven Duggar, Aramis Garcia, Matt Winn and Ryder Jones were reassigned.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/12/2017: Giants 12 D'Backs 4

The Giants put on their hitting shoes and blasted the D'Backs in a runaway.  Key Lines:

Kyle Blanks PH-DH- 2 for 2, HR(1).  BA= .333.  Blanks was rewarded for a great game by being reassigned to minor league camp.  Good to see him apparently healthy and hope he works his way back to be big leagues.  He's a fun guy to watch just because of his tremendous size.

Jarrett Parker LF- 3 for 3.  BA= .296.   Jarrett Parker has a day!  No dingers or XBH's, but 3 singles will work too.  Because of Mac's option, you have to believe the starting LF job is Parker's to lose and so far he is not losing it!

Conor Gillaspie 3B- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .429.  Gillaspie stays hot.

Trevor Brown C- 2 for 3.  BA= .389.  Brownie is having a spring too.  Tough to see how he makes the team though.

Kelby Tomlinson SS- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .364.  The utility IF job SHOULD be Tomlinson's to lose.  He is not losing it!

Miguel Gomez 2B- 1 for 1, 2B.  BA= .300.  Gomez can hit!

Matt Moore LHP- 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 K, GO/AO= 7/2.  ERA= 5.73.  Moore is rounding into regular season form.

Mark Melancon RHP- 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Another ho-hum inning for Melancon.

Tyler Beede RHP- 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 1.23.  Beede give up his first run of the spring.

Josh Osich LHP- 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 8.30.  Did Osich allow Beede's inherited runner to score? The Plays record does not record who gave up the hit that drove in the run in the 7'th inning.

Neil Ramirez gave up a run in 1 IP, and Jose Dominguez maintained a perfect ERA with a scoreless 9'th inning.

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The Giants travel to Surprise tomorrow for an evening game with Jeff Samardzija getting the start.

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The Giants optioned Clayton Blackburn, Joan Gregorio and Chris Stratton to AAA Sacramento immediately after the game.  They also reassigned Sam Coonrod, Matt Reynolds and Kyle Blanks to minor league camp.

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Buster Posey had 2 hits in the WBC win for USA over Canada including a monster HR to CF that was clocked at 105+ MPH off the bat and traveled an estimated 425 ft.  Buster had 3 RBI's on the day.  Brandon Crawford contributed 2 doubles in the game, but did not figure in the scoring.

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Around the League:

Rockies 1B Ian Desmond was hit on the hand by a pitch from Rookie Davis and suffered a fracture.  He will almost certainly start the season on the DL.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/11/2017: D'Backs 5 Giants 1

Giants bats had a tough time against the D'Backs in Talking Stick, AZ.  Key Lines:

Gorkys Hernandez CF- 1 for 4, 2B.  BA= .136.  Hernandez is off to slow spring start offensively, like many other Giants hitters.  He drove in the only  Giants run in this one with a hard hit double down the LF line.

Mac Williamson LF- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .308.  Interesting battle between Parker and Mac.  They are both rising to the occasion.

Ty Blach LHP- 2.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.89.  Not a great outing, but the peripherals look good.  With Matt Cain looking more and more like he might be done, does #5 SP come down to Blach vs Beede?  Wouldn't Beede likely benefit from at least a half season in AAA?

Clayton Blackburn RHP- 2.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 6.23.  I think you'd have to put Blackburn behind Blach and Beede on the depth chart right now.

Kyle Crick RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Cricky has been pitching some clean innings this spring.  Has he figured something out?  

Joan Gregorio RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 3.38.  This is a big season for Gregorio's future.  He needs to kick it up a notch in AAA and bring his results in line with his peripheral numbers.

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Matt Moore gets tomorrow's start against the D'Backs.

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Around the League:

A big scare for the KC Royals as Salvador Perez hurt his knee in a home plate collision with Sal Butera in the Venezuela/Italy WBC game.  Perez was  carried off the field but later reportedly informed the Royals that the injury was "not serious."  Let's hope that is correct.

LHP TJ House of Toronto Blue Jays became the latest pitcher to be struck in the head by a comebacker.  He reportedly did not suffer any fractures and seems like he will be OK.  Once again, unless MLB does something about this, it is a question of when, not if, a pitcher will die from one of these injuries.

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/11/2017: Giants 9 Reds 7

Michael Morse hit 2 dingers and Jae-Gyun Hwang added his 3'rd of the spring as the Giants offense overcame some rough pitching by Johnny Cueto and Matt Cain in the home half of a split-squad doubleheader.  Key Lines:

Steven Duggar CF- 0 for 0, 2 BB, SB(1).  BA= .364.  Split-squad days give the kids a chance to show their stuff.  Duggar played CF and showed the skills of a leadoff hitter here.

Jarrett Parker RF-LF- 1 for 3, 2 BB.  BA= .208.  Parker has always been a 3 true outcomes guy and the  anemic BA tends to hide his value.  While touching 1B 3 times, Parker raised his spring OBP to .406 to with a .500 BA.  Bochy has some tough decisions ahead, but with Mac having options, it may be easier to give the starting LF job to Parker with approximately equal performances.

Austin Slater RF- 2 for 2.  BA= .313.  Slater gets a chance to show off his hit tool.

Michael Morse 1B- 2 for 3, 2 HR(2).  BA= .250.  Morse has gotten hot all of a sudden and is giving Chris Marrero a battle for a RH bat off the bench job.  One blast today cleared the batter's eye in CF which sits behind the CF fence which is 430 ft from home plate in Scottsdale Stadium.

Conor Gillaspie 1B- 1 for 2, HR(2).  BA= .455.  Gillaspie is definitely not backing down in the roster fight.  In fact, he's stating a case to be at least the left-handed half of a platoon which would give him the majority of AB's at the position.

Jae-Gyun Hwang 3B- 1 for 3, HR(3).  BA= .333.  How're you gonna keep 'em down on the farm?  Hwang may be forcing the issue with his spring performance.  Will his power translate to AT&T Park?

Nick Hundley C- 2 for 2, 2B.  BA= .294.  Hundley is all but assured a roster spot as the reserve catcher.

Kelby Tomlinson SS- 1 for 2, BB.  BA= .368.  The energizer bunny just keeps going.  This roster spot may come down to Hwang vs Tomlinson with Kelby getting optioned if Hwang forces Nunex into a utility role.

Johnny Cueto RHP- 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 4.50.  Cueto's first spring appearance in a ballgame.  Getting his work in.

Matt Cain RHP- 3 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 9.58.  This was not Matt Cain's first spring appearance and you have to start wondering if hoss has anything left.

George Kontos RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 7.20.  Kontos strikes out the side, gives up a dinger.  Pretty much a microcosm of what you love and hate about him.  Kontos probably has a roster spot to lose, but he may be losing it.

Steven Okert(0.00), Chris Stratton(1.80), Reyes Maronta(0.00)- 1 scoreless inning each.  Okert likely has a roster spot to lose.  Stratton will likely go back to AAA and wait for an opportunity.  Maronta may be a future closer.

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It's Matt Moore's turn to start tomorrow against the D'Backs.

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/10/2017: Indians 7 Giants 6

Some sloppy pitching by the relief corps game the Indians a come-from-behind win.  Key Lines:

Brandon Belt 1B- 1 for 1, HR(2), BB.  BA= .263.  Belt has a career spring training slash line of .340/.409/.617 with 35 HR in 469 PA.

Mac Williamson LF- 1 for 2, SB(1).  BA= .304.  Mac shows that he's not just a slugger.  He's got some speed which enables him to steal an occasional base and cover some ground in the OF.  Still rooting for Mac to win the Opening Day starting LF job outright.  The sky is the limit for this kid!

Chris Marrero LF- 2 for 3, 3B.  BA= .292.  Marrero gets some innings in LF and continues to pound the ball.

Jae-Gyun Hwang 3B- 1 for 2.  BA= .333. Hwang continues to show he can hit in the states.  He's said he is willing to go to AAA to start the season, but will that still be true if he continues to rake in spring training?

Jimmy Rollins SS- 1 for 2, HR(1).  BA= .188. Fluke HR by Rollins who pulled the ball inside the foul pole.

Kelby Tomlinson SS- 2 for 2.  BA= .353.  Tomlinson gets some time at SS. Both he, Rollins and Calixte should get plenty of looks there with Crawford off playing for Team USA.  Not only is Kelby winning the spring training statistical battle for reserve middle IF, but all you have to do is go look up his numbers from last year to see this is no fluke.  Give the job to Kelby!

Madison Bumgarner LHP- 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K's.  Uneventful 4 innings for Bumgarner as he slowly ramps up his pitch counts.

Mark Melancon RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Melancon is boring.  Boring is good!

Derek Law RHP- 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 2 K.  ERA= 3.60.  Law gets touched up for the first time this spring.

Hunter Strickland RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.60.  Strickland and Law are both probably still locks for bullpen jobs on Opening Day.

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The Giants play a split-squad doubleheader today with Johnny Cueto facing the Reds in Scottsdale with Matt Cain scheduled to follow him.  Ty Blach and Clayton Blackburn are slated to pitch against the D'Backs.

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Around the League:

The Rockies and RHP Chad Bettis got terrible news as Bettis was diagnosed with metastatic testicular cancer following surgery for the primary tumor in the offseason.  Bettis was quoted as saying he was told he has a 90% chance of a cure with aggressive treatment.  There are multiple types of testicular CA with differing prognoses.  Heads up guys!  Testicular cancer is rare, but the most common type of cancer in young men.  Be aware!

D'Backs RHP Taijuan Walker struck out 8 batters in 4 scoreless IP yesterday.

A's RHP Jharel Cotton had 5 K's in 3.1 IP.  Fantasy sleeper!

As if the Cubs needed anymore help, prospect Ian Happ went 4 for 5 with a 2B and HR yesterday.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Clarke Schmidt

Clarke Schmidt, RHP, College(South Carolina). 6'1", 200 lbs. 

2016:  9-5, 3.40, 111.1 IP, 27 BB, 129 K.
2017:  2-1, 0.48, 18.2 IP, 10 BB, 19 K.

Clarke Schmidt was a skinny 170 lbs coming out of HS with a FB that sat 89-90 MPH.  He's filled out, especially in the lower half, and now pumps heat at 92-96 MPH with what one scout described as "hard sink".  He adds a slider that he uses as a putaway pitch as well as a curveball and changeup.  Keith Law thinks he's a reliever in the pros, but if the changeup develops, he could be a workhorse starter.  I would put him at the head of a deep second tier of college pitchers who could sneak into the bottom of the first round.

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DrB's Updated 2017 Draft Board:

1.  Jordan Adell, OF, HS.
2.  Mark Vientos, SS, HS.
3.  Hunter Greene, RHP, HS.
4.  Alex Faedo, RHP, College(Florida).
5.  JB Bakauskas, RHP, College(North Carolina).
6.  Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, College(Louisville)
7.  Seth Romero, LHP, College(Houston).
8.  Brady McConnell, SS, HS.
9.  Royce Lewis, SS/OF, HS.
10.  Trevor Rogers, LHP, HS.
11.  Alex Lange, RHP, College(LSU).
12.  Kyle Wright, RHP, College(Vanderbilt).
13.  Jeren Kendall, OF, College(Vanderbilt).
14.  Tanner Houck, RHP, College(Missouri).
15.  Brendon Little, LHP, JC(State College of Florida).
16.  Alex Scherff, RHP, HS.
17.  Hans Crouse, RHP, HS.
18.  DL Hall, LHP, HS.
19.  Jacob Heatherly, LHP, HS.
20.  Calvin Mitchell, OF, HS.
21.  Conor Uselton, OF, HS.
22.  Garrett Mitchell, OF, HS.
23.  CLARKE SCHMIDT, LHP, COLLEGE(SOUTH CAROLINA).
24.  Michael Gigliotti, OF, College(Lipscomb).
25.  Pavin Smith, 1B, College(Virginia).
26.  Jake Burger, 2B, College(Missouri St).
27.  Cole Brannen, OF, HS.
28.  Evan Skoug, C, College(TCU).
29.  Colton Hock, RHP, College(Stanford).
30.  Mackenzie Gore, LHP, HS.
31.  Nick Allen, SS, HS.
32.  Blayne Enlow, RHP, HS.
33.  Hagen Danner, RHP, HS.
34.  Alejandro Toral, 1B, HS.
35.  Quentin Holmes, OF, HS.
36.  Corbin Martin, RHP, College(Texas A&M).
37.  JJ Schwarz, C, College(Florida).
38.  Tristan Beck, RHP, College(Stanford).

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/8/2017: Giants 6 Team Puerto Rico 5

Chris Marrero hit another bomb to give the Giants a walkoff win over a very good Team Puerto Rico that featured the likes of Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Yadier Molina, Carlos Beltran and Angel Pagan.  This was not a Cactus League game, so the stats do not count toward Cactus League totals.  Key Lines:

Hunter Pence RF- 1 for 3, 3B.  Pence seems to be slowly coming around after a slow start that may have been affected by a barking oblique.

Michael Morse DH- 1 for 3, HR.  Morse sez "Hey! Don't forget about me!"

Chris Marrero 1B- 1 for 2, HR.  If there is a place on the Opening Day roster for a defensively challenged RH power hitter off the bench, it seems it will come down to Morse vs Marrero.  Marrero immediately answered Morse's challenge with another bomb of his own and his second walkoff dinger of the spring.

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 3.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K, GO/AO= 5/1.  Nice start for Shark against a tough lineup.

Mark Melancon RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K.  Melancon has not allowed a run this spring.  He is not known as a strikeout pitcher but set down the side with 3 K's. here.

Josh Osich LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  Osich seems to be settling down after a very shaky early spring.

David Hernandez RHP- 0.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 0 K.  Uh-oh!  Competition for bullpen spots is fierce and Hernandez cannot afford many appearances like this.

Steven Okert LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  Okert's number look terrific in the early spring.  Gotta think he has the advantage over Osich is they are competing for the same spot.

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Giants get the day off tomorrow.

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Johnny Cueto threw 65 pitches of live batting practice including quick pitches to prospects and at least 1 shoulder shimmy according to the beats.  He reportedly looked to be in midseason shape and form.  He will make his first spring appearance in a game over the upcoming weekend.  He will make 2 Cactus League starts before deciding whether to pitch for the DR if they make it to the latter rounds of the WBC.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/7/2017: Giants 4 Dodgers 2

The Giants broke out the longball against the Dodgers with 3 solo dingers and backed it up with great pitching.  Key Lines:

Joe Panik 2B- 1 for 3.  BA= .471.  Panik continues to swing a hot bat.  He was charge with an error that was probably more Jae-Gyun Hwang's fault and a wide throw.

Brandon Belt  1B- 1 for 3, 3B.  BA= .222.  Belt's triple drove in Panik with the Giants first run.

Mac Williamson LF- 1 for 4, HR(2).  BA= .286.  Williamson homers for the second game in a row.  Seems to me that if the season started tomorrow, Mac would win the starting LF job.

Chris Marrero DH- 1 for 3, HR(3).  BA= .238.  Marrero lead the team in spring HR's.  Not sure where he fits on an Opening Day Roster, but he is definitely stating his case.

Jae-Gyun Hwang 3B- 1 for 3, HR(2).  BA= .313.  Speaking of stating his case....Hwang backed up his dinger with a diving stop and throw out, although he did make a bad throw to 2B with Panik getting charge with the error.  If Hwan keeps this up, Bochy and Evans are going to have one tough decision to make at 3B.  Nunez and Gillaspie have both been out with shoulder/arm soreness although neither situation seems serious enough to jeopardize being ready for Opening Day.  I am starting to believe Hwang has the highest ceiling of any of the 3B candidates.  If he wins the starting 3B job with Mac in LF, would a 5-man bench of Hundley, Nunez, Gillaspie, Marrero and Gorkys Hernandez fly?  Just working through all the possibilities give me a headache!

The kids continued to make noise as Ryder Jones(.333), Christian Arroyo(.400) and Aramis Garcia(.333) all went 1 for 1.

Matt Moore LHP- 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 6.43.  Moore allowed some baserunners but pitched out of the jams with the help of the K's.  The beats had stories about his improvement after he junked his 2-seamer for his cutter at the urging of Rags and Buster Posey.

Tyler Beede RHP- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Beede continues to pitch well.  He now has 6 scoreless IP this spring.

George Kontos, Neil Ramirez and Jose Dominguez all pitched scoreless frames and the final 1 or 2 bullpen spots are going to be just as gut wrenching as the 3B, LF and bench decisions.

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The Giants face Team Puerto Rico tomorrow with Jeff Samardzija getting the start.  The Giants are expected to start most of their regulars.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Brendon Little

Brendon Little, LHP, State College of Florida(JC).  6'2", 215 lbs.

2016 Cape Cod League:  1-0, 3.68, 22 IP, 7 BB, 29 K.
2017 JC:  1-0, 1.69, 32 IP, 15 BB, 55 K.

If you are looking for a guy the Giants might like a whole lot more than other organizations and would be willing to reach for, look not further than Brendon Little.  The Giants have already drafted him once, in round 36 out of HS knowing he had a strong commitment to Univ. of North Carolina.  They were just "marking their territory" so to speak.  Little tried to make some adjustments in his mechanics and ended up with control problems and he only pitched 4 innings his freshman year at UNC.  Frustrated, he transferred to State College of Florida where his manager is none other than former Giants RHP Don Robinson!  Before enrolling at St Col of Fla, Little stopped off in Cape Cod where he put up dominant secondary numbers and sat 93-96 MPH which prompted one scout to call him the best pitching prospect in the CCL.  His curveball has been called a "hammer curve" and is a putaway pitch with a sharp downward break.  So....1.  Previous Giants draft pick.  2.  Cape Cod League star.  3.  Former Giant pitcher is his manager.  I'll go out on a limb and say the Giants are aware of who this guy is and really like him a lot.

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DrB's Updated 2017 Draft Board:

1.  Jordan Adell, OF, HS.
2.  Mark Vientos, SS, HS.
3.  Hunter Greene, RHP, HS.
4.  Alex Faedo, RHP, College(Florida)
5.  JB Bakauskas, RHP, College(North Carolina).
6.  Brendan McKay, LHP, College(Louisville).
7.  Seth Romero, LHP, College(Houston).
8.  Brady McConnell, SS, HS.
9. Royce Lewis, SS/OF, HS.
10. Trevor Rogers, LHP, HS.
11. Alex Lange, RHP, College(LSU).
12. Kyle Wright, RHP, College(Vanderbilt).
13.  Tanner Houck, RHP, College(Missouri).
14.  Jeren Kendall, OF, College(Vanderbilt).
15.  BRENDON LITTLE, JC(State College of Florida).
16.  Alex Scherff, RHP, HS.
17.  Hans Crouse, RHP, HS.
18.  DL Hall, LHP, HS.
19.  Jacob Heatherly, LHP, HS.
20.  Calvin Mitchell, OF, HS.
21.  Conor Uselton, OF, HS.
22.  Garrett Mitchell, OF, HS.
23.  Michael Gigliotti,OF, College(Lipscomb).
24.  Pavin Smith, 1B, College(Virginia).
25.  Jake Burger, 3B, College(Missouri St.).
26.  Cole Brannen, OF, HS.
27.  Evan Skoug, C, College(TCU).
28.  Colton Hock, RHP, College(Stanford).
29.  Mackenzie Gore, LHP, HS.
30.  Nick Allen, SS, HS.
31.  Blayne Enlow, RHP, HS.
32. Hagen Danner, RHP, HS.
33. Alejandro Toral, 1B, HS.
34.  Quentin Holmes, OF, HS.
35.  Corbin Martin, RHP, College(Texas A&M).
36.  JJ Schwarz, C, College(Florida).
37.  Tristan Beck, RHP, College(Stanford).

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/6/2017: Giants 3 Indians 2

Aaron Hill and Kyle Blanks, both longshots to make the Opening Day roster were the only Giants player to get hits, a total of 4 in all.  The 3 runs produced by the offense was enough to break their 8 game losing streak due to some pretty good pitching.  Key Lines:

Aaron Hill SS- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .333.  Hill could be working his way into contention for a Utility IF role on Opening Day.

Kyle Blanks 1B- 3 for 3, 3B.  BA= .308.  It's tough to see a scenario where Blanks make the Opening Day roster no matter how well he hits in the spring.

Matt Cain  RHP- 3.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 7.36.  If you squint hard, you can see an improved appearance in the stat line.  When you factor in that a bloop single to lead off the first inning led to 1 run and a 1 out walk in the 4'th scored on a double allowed by Ty Blach, and it's Cain's best appearances for a long time.

Ty Blach  LHP- 2.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 1.35.  After giving up the double that drove in Cain's inherited runner, Blach settled down and continued his run of impressive pitching.  I think if he does not get the #5 starter, the Giants should still keep him in the swingman role.

Dan Slania, Derek Law and Hunter Strickland all pitched scoreless frames with Law striking out 2 batters.  Pavs reports that Strickland threw only 2-seamers and splitters.  Last year, he was 80% 4-seam and sliders.  Strickland is hoping an expanded repertoire will keep hitters off the 4-seamer.

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The Giants travel to Camelback Ranch to take on the Dodgers tomorrow with Matt Moore facing Clayton Kershaw.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/5/2017: Royals 4 Giants 3

The Giants offense thawed out a bit, but 3 relievers gave up single runs in each of the last 3 innings to hand the Royals a come-from-behind win.  Key Lines:

Buster Posey C- 2 for 3.  BA= .273.  Buster has not played much, but has the WBC ahead of him.

Mac Williamson LF- 1 for 3, HR(1).  BA= .294.  Reminder that the race does not always go to the fastest guy out of the chute.

Madison Bumgarner LHP- 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 7.50.  Bumgarner seems to be rounding into form.

Chase Johnson, Mark Melancon and Josh Osich pitched scoreless innings.  Cory Gearrin, Roberto Gomez and Albert Suarez gave up 1 run each over the final 3 frames.

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The Giants take on the reigning AL champs, the Cleveland Indians, tomorrow with Matt Cain getting the start and Ty Blach slated to get some work.

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Quentin Holmes

Quentin Holmes, OF, HS.  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 180 lbs.

Holmes is a guy with one elite tool and a very projectable body.  That tool is speed and he is likely the fastest player in this year's draft pool with a top 60 yard dash of 6.15.  An 85 MPH throw from the OF is average at best and his Time to Impact of .126 is slow.  The swing may be long but it does produce an exit velocity of 90 MPH which is not terrible and the body is highly projectable.  The speed plays on the field as scouting reports love his SB and OF coverage skills. He is a true future defensive CF.  

A team that drafts him in the first 2 rounds will have to believe they can help him shorten the swing and still get some semblance of power out of it.  IMO, guys like this are great risks to take in the supplemental or second rounds.  He's the type of prospect the Giants are not known for drafting.  Teams with a history of taking players like this would include the Royals and Brewers.  Sabermetrically inclined front offices tend to shy away, which is now most of MLB.

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DrB's Updated 2017 Draft Board:

1.  Jordan Adell, OF, HS.
2.  Mark Vientos, OF, HS.
3.  Hunter Greene, RHP, HS.
4.  Alex Faedo, RHP, College(Florida).
5.  JB Bakauskas, RHP, College(North Carolina).
6.  Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, College(Louisville).
7.  Seth Romero, LHP, College(Houston).
8.  Brady McConnell, SS, HS.
9.  Royce Lewis, SS/OF, HS.
10.  Trevor Rogers, LHP, HS.
11.  Alex Lange, RHP, College(LSU).
12.  Kyle Wright, RHP, College(Vanderbilt).
13.  Tanner Houck, RHP, College(Missouri).
14.  Alex Scherff, RHP, HS.
15.  Hans Crouse, RHP, HS.
16.  Jacob Heatherly, LHP, HS.
17.  Calvin Mitchell, OF, HS.
18.  Conor Uselton, OF, HS.
19.  Garrett Mitchell, OF, HS.
20.  Jeren Kendall, OF, College(Vanderbilt).
21.  Michael Gigliotti, OF, College(Lipscomb).
22.  Pavin Smith, 1B, College(Virginia).
23.  Jake Burger, 3B, College(Missouri St.).
24.  Cole Brannen, OF, HS.
25.  Evan Skoug, C, College(TCU).
26.  Mackenzie Gore, LHP, HS.
27.  Nick Allen, SS, HS.
28.  Blayne Enlow, RHP, HS.
29.  Hagen Danner, RHP, HS.
30.  Alejandro Toral, 1B, HS.
31.  QUENTIN HOLMES, OF, HS.
32.  Colton Hock, RHP, College(Stanford).
33.  Corbin Martin, RHP, College(Texas A&M).
34.  Tristan Beck, RHP, College(Stanford).
35.  JJ Schwarz, C, College(Florida).

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/4/2017: Royals 2 Giants 0

The Giants offense mustered just 3 hits for the second straight game.  Key Lines:

Clayton Blackburn RHP- 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 4.50.  Blackburn bounces back from a weak second spring appearance with a strong one here.  Is the 5'th starter job now a 3-way contest between Matt Cain, Ty Blach and Blackburn?  It's still Cainer's to lose.''

Kyle Crick RHP- 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Cricky now has 3.1 scoreless frames on the spring.  Is this the year he turns the corner?

David Hernandez RHP- 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Hernandez is close to a lock for a bullpen spot on the Opening Day roster.

Steven Okert LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  With Josh Osich struggling and Will Smith hurting, Okert would seem to be close to a lock for Opening Day too.

Neil Ramirez RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Ramirez is a darkhorse for a roster spot but may be pitching his way into a significant contender.

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The Giants and Royals play again tomorrow but move to Scottsdale where Madison Bumgarner will make his 3'rd spring start.

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Around the League:

Angels' closer Huston Street has a lat strain and will not throw for 4 weeks which means he will almost certainly start the season on the DL.

David Price does not need TJ surgery, at least for now.  He will rest the arm for 10 days and be re-evaluated.

Rockies Rookie OF David Dahl is having upper back issues that are apparently more serious than originally thought.  He may have to miss the start of the season which means Gerardo Parra would likely be the starter in LF.

David Wright has a shoulder impingement.  It seems like his career is about done as it is one injury after another for him.

Brewers second year CF Keon Broxton went 2 for 3 with a dinger and is hitting .412 on the spring.

RHP Carter Capps, who has had a rather, um, unorthodox delivery and is coming back from TJ surgery, was seen taking double hops while pitching off a mound in the bullpen.  This rang enough alarm bells that MLB released a clarification of the rules regarding delivering pitches.  It seems fairly safe to say Capps will not be allowed to take double hops before releasing the ball to home plate in games.

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Addendum: 1B coach Jose Aquacil got hit in the face with a foul tip.  He was doing what all coaches do and should not in spring training.  Sitting on a folding chair against the backstop.  Transported to hospital.  Reportedly did not lose consciousness.  Update:  Aguacil has a fractured nose and other facial bones and a deep facial laceration.  He is reportedly in stable condition and with his family in the hospital.

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Garrett Mitchell

Garrett Mitchell, OF, HS.  B-L, T-R.  6'2", 200 lbs.

Mitchell is a 5-tool OF prospect.  Lets go straight to the Perfect Game metrics:  6.30 60 yd dash.  94 MPH OF throw.  .100 Time to Impact.  All of those are close to elite.  The swing is a bit stiff and awkward looking.  Reminds me a bit of Brandon Belt, but that is the quickest time to ball I've seen so far.  It remains to be seen how well Time to Impact predicts future success as a hitter as it is a relatively new metric, but you've got to think it means something.

Concern about Garrett is he has type 1 Diabetes since age 3.  I think I read he uses an insulin pump.  Teams thinking of drafting him will want to do their due diligence on the medical reports, but it sounds like Garrett takes excellent care of himself.  The comp that comes to mind is Jay Bruce.

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DrB's Updated 2017 Draft Board:

1.  Jordan Adell, OF, HS.
2.  Mark Vientos, SS, HS.
3.  Hunter Greene, RHP, HS.
4.  Alex Faedo, RHP, College(Florida).
5.  JB Bakauskas, RHP, College(North Carolina).
6.  Brendan McKay, LHP, College(Louisville).
7.  Seth Romero, LHP, College(Houston).
8.  Alex Lange, RHP, College(LSU).
9.  Brady McConnel, SS, HS.
10.  Royce Lewis, SS/OF, HS.
11.  Trevor Rogers, LHP, HS.
12.  Kyle Wright, RHP, College(Vanderbilt).
13.  Tanner Houck, RHP, College(Missouri).
14.  Alex Scherf, RHP, HS.
15.  Hans Crouse, RHP, HS.
16.  Jacob Heatherly, LHP, HS.
17.  Calvin Mitchell, OF, HS.
18. Conor Uselton, OF, HS.
19.  GARRETT MITCHELL, OF, HS.
20.  Jeren Kendall, OF, College(Vanderbilt).
21.  Michael Gigliotti, OF, College(Lipscomb).
22.  Pavin Smith, 1B, College(Virginia).
23.  Jake Burger, 3B, College(Missouri St).
24.  Cole Brannen, OF, HS.
25.  Evan Skoug, C, College(TCU).
26.  Mackenzie Gore, LHP, HS.
27.  Nick Allen, SS, HS.
28.  Blayne Enlow, RHP, HS.
29.  Hagen Danner, RHP, HS.
30.  Alejandro Toral, 1B, HS.
31.  Colton Hock, RHP, College(Stanford).
32.  Corbin Martin, RHP, College(Texas A&M).
33.  Tristan Beck, RHP, College(Stanford).
34.  JJ Schwarz, C, College(Florida).

Notes:  This was already an extremely weak class for college hitters and most of the more highly ranked college hitters are off to slow starts.  JJ Schwarz, in particular, needed to have a big season to convince scouts that his relatively poor 2016 was just a down year, but he's been even worse so far.  Jeren Kendall's stock has dropped significantly with a high K rate already being a concern.  Alex Faedo, JB Bakauskas, Brendan McKay and Seth Romero have significantly improved their stock with great starts to the college season.  Some teams are looking at McKay as a hitter and he might actually be the best college hitter in the draft.  Alex Lange was looking good until getting blown out yesterday.  Kyle Wright and Tanner Houck have not dominated at all and their stock is dropping.  Tristan Beck is out with an injury and his stock will continue to drop as long as he remains out.  He's a draft eligible sophomore who will likely stay in school if he drops out of the first round.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/3/2017: A's 6 Giants 1

The Giants offense managed just 3 hits in a lopsided loss to their cross-bay rivals.  Key Lines:

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 2.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K's, GO/AO= 3/0.  ERA= 7.36.  Pretty good second spring outing for Shark.  The run was a dinger off the bat of Yonder Alonso.

Chris Stratton RHP- 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, GO/AO= 4/0.  ERA= 2.25.  Also a pretty good second outing for Stratton.  The run was a dinger off the bat of Ryon Healy.

Jose Dominguez RHP- 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, GO/AO= 2/0.  ERA= 0.00.  Anther darkhorse for a bullpen roster spot.  Dominguez is former Dodgers farmhand who spent a good portion of last year with the Padres.  FB averaged 96 MPH last year.  Problem has always been high walk rates.  Maybe the Giants pitching gurus can help with that?

Trevor Brown, Brandon Crawford and Kelby Tomlinson had the Giants 3 hits, all singles.  Tomlinson scored the lone run.

LHP Michael Roth gave up a 3 run dinger to blow a relatively close game open in the 7'th.  He has no chance of making the MLB team out on Opening Day.

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Clayton Blackburn gets the start tomorrow against the Royals in Surprise, AZ.

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Around the League:

Breakout Alert:  Andrew Benintendi, who Covechatter discovered early in the 2015 draft cycle and then shot up draft boards, went 4 for 4 today with 2 2B, and HR.  He is hitting .400 on the spring so far.  He is slated to be the BoSox starting LF in 2017 and is penciled into the coveted #2 slot in their batting order.

Prospect Alert:  SS Devin Marrero went 2 for 3, 2B for the same BoSox today.

Breakout Alert:  Domingo Santana, OF, Brewers.  3 for 3, 2B, 2 HR(2).  BA= .417.

The White Sox have placed IF Brett Lawrie on Release Waivers which means he's done in ChiTown.  This move creates a clearer and shorter path for uber-prospect Yoan Moncada to break into the big leagues.  In a related story, Bobby Evans is considering signing Lawrie to a minor league contract and inviting him to spring training if he clears waivers(just kidding).

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/2/2017: Angels 5 Giants 4

The Giants sent a split squad over to Tempe to take on the Angels and came away with a narrow loss.  Key Lines:

Joe Panik 2B- 1 for 2, BB.  BA= .600.  Panik looks like he's ready to have a great season.

Aaron Hill 3B- 2 for 3.  BA= .333.  Hill hitting well in the early going but Nunez and Gillaspie seem to be locks for 3B/UT roles.

Jae-Gyun Hwang 3B- 2 for 2, 2B.  BA= .444.  Hwang is the most intriguing of the alternative 3B options, but how do you get him on the roster without a fairly major trade?

Chris Marrero 1B- 1 for 4, HR(2).  BA= .286.  A scenario where Marrero makes the team:  Jarrett Parker wins the LF job while Morse and Ruggiano don't make the team.

Mac Williamson LF- 2 for 4.  BA= .333.  Williamson is not backing down in the battle for the LF job.  It's still Parker's to lose because options.

Kelby Tomlinson SS- 2 for 4, 3B.  BA= .273.  The beats seem to think Rollins practically has the IF Utility role locked up, but how do you give it to him over Kelby who has more than earned it and continues to earn it?

Gorkys Hernandez CF- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .167.  Gotta put the best defensive CF on the roster, right?

Tyler Beede RHP- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, GO/AO= 3/1.  ERA= 0.00.  Beede extends his scoreless IP to 4 after 2 appearances.

Andrew Suarez LHP- 0.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 16.20.  Suarez seems to need some more salt.

Coonrod, Gregorio, Crick, Chase Johnson- 1 scoreless IP each.

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Jeff Samardzija takes the mound to start today's game against the A's.

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Around the League:

SS Dansby Swanson hit his first HR of the spring for the Braves.  Power is probably his weakest tool.  He's hitting .455 on the spring.

CF Jackie Bradley hit 2 dingers and drove in 5 runs as the BoSox blasted the Rays 19-1.  Bradley, who is a plus OF, hit 26 dingers last year.

Speaking of the BoSox, David Price has a sore forearm and a bad looking MRI.  He's seeking second opinions, which does not sound good at all.

RHP Jose DeLeon, the pitching prospect the Dodgers were trying to peddle for Brian Dozier and ultimately landed Logan Forsythe, got shelled for 4 ER in 0.2 IP for the Rays.

LHP Amir Garrett pitched 3 scoreless innings for the Reds.  This guy is going to be a horse!

RHP Sergio Romo struck out the side in 1 IP for the Dodgers against the Indians.

RHP Archie Bradley pitched 3 scoreless innings with 4 K's for the D'Backs, but has a spring ERA of 10.38.

RHP Shelby Miller struck out 6 in 3 scoreless IP agains the Cubs B team.

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/2/2017: White Sox 8 Giants 6

The pitching lines were ravaged by some ragged fielding which was too much for the hitters to overcome.  Key Lines:

Jimmy Rollins 2B- 0 for 3.  BA= .200.  Rollins played 2B and handled several chances including a nice toss to the SS to start a GIDP.

CJ Hinojosa 2B- 1 for 2, 2B.  BA= .167.  CJ had a couple of errors.  Not sure how much 2B he's played in the past.

Nick Hundley C- 2 for 4.  BA= .333.  Hundley made couple of throwing errors.

Orlando Calixte RF- 2 for 5, 2B, SB(1).  BA= .273.  Calixte shows off his versatility, both at the plate and in the field.  Darkhorse to make the Opening Day Roster.

Steven Duggar CF- 2 for 2, 2 BB, SB(1).  BA= .375.  Great day at the plate that's getting some national attention but made 2 fielding errors that seemed to contribute to Matt Moore's poor stat line.

Matt Moore LHP- 2.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 2 K.  ERA= 11.25.  I'm a little confused because the beat writeup said that Duggar's errors contributed to the runs given up here, but the are all officially earned.  Still in the get-your-work in stage of spring training.

Mark Melancon RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Melancon is getting his work in and not allowing any baserunners.

Albert Suarez RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  With bullpen candidates giving up runs in bushels, does Suarez have a shot at a roster spot?

Derek Law RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  A roster spot is Law's to lose.

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Jeff Samardzija gets his second spring start against the A's today.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/1/2017: Dodgers 7 Giants 6

Jarrett Parker stayed red hot, but it wasn't enough to overcome some weak pitching by the Matt Cain and George Kontos.  Key Lines:

Jarrett Parker LF- 2 for 4, 2B, HR(2).  BA= .444.  Parker is on one of his hot streaks and is well on his way to winning the starting LF job for the Giants.  BTW, Parker's double came against Scott Kazmir, a LHP.

Matt Cain RHP- 2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 1 K, GO/AO= 4/0. ERA= 9.00.  The positive sign here is the groundball ratio.  Of course that does not count the batted balls that went for hits.

Ty Blach LHP- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, GO/AO= 4/O.  ERA= 2.25.  Blach continued his mastery over the Dodgers.  I would not count him out of the 5'th starter job although the job is still Cain's to lose.

George Kontos RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 2 K.  ERA= 13.50.  Set the table by walking 2 batters then gave up the 3-run dinger.  Kontos has always been a bit homer prone which is OK but you can't be walking batters that ride home on 3-run dingers.  It's still early.

David Hernandez RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Barring injury, Hernandez will be on the Opening Day roster.

Neil Ramirez RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Ramirez is an interesting story and a sleeper to make the Opening Day Roster.  Former first round draft pick of the Texas Rangers.  Had a couple of pretty good seasons pitching out of the Cubs bullpen.  Apparently got in Joe Madden's doghouse by going on the DL with abdominal pain which came on after sneezing.  He did not pitch well for Milwaukee or the Twins.  Maddon may have been a bit unfair as sneezing is a well known cause of pulled abdominal and chest wall muscles.  Ramirez FB velocity was down a bit last year but still averaged more than 92 MPH.  He is basically a FB/Slider guy.  Even in a down year last year, he averaged over 9 K/9.

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Giants play a split squad DH tomorrow with Matt Moore facing the ChiSox in Scottsdale and Tyler Beede getting the start against the Angels in Tempe.