Saturday, February 17, 2018

Blogger's Note

I will be away from home through Monday, President's Day.  Posting may be infrequent or I may not post at all before Tuesday, Feb 20.

Thanks for reading, everybody!

DrB

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: Chris Shaw

Chris Shaw, LF.  DOB:  10/20/1993.  B-L, T-R.  6'4", 235 lbs.  Drafted 2015 Round 1, #31.

AA:  .301/.390/.511, 10 2B, 6 HR, 11.7 BB%, 16.9 K%, 154 PA.
AAA:  .289/.328/.530, 25 2B, 3B, 18 HR, 5.6 BB%, 29.4 K%, 360 PA.

Chris Shaw is easily the top power hitting prospect in the Giants farm system.  He has enough of a hit tool that you can quite easily envision the power being useful at the MLB level.  If prospect rankings were only about hitting, Shaw would probably be at least #2 on this list, possibly #1.  The problem is almost nobody outside the Giants organization thinks he can play a position in MLB.  Reviews of his D at both 1B and LF are dismal.  For their part, the Giants seem determined to make him a LF with Manager Bruce Bochy stating this week that Shaw would play exclusively LF in spring training games.  The Giants do not need a corner OF this year.....yet.  Shaw will undoubtedly start the season in Sacramento where he will try to up his BB% and shave down his K% while maintaining the doubles and dingers.  The Giants will have 2 corner OF openings in 2019.  They are clearly trying to prep Shaw to be the LF by then.

College Corner: Opening Day Roundup

Otherwise known as the Parade of the Friday Starters.  The 2018 college baseball season opened yesterday and the Friday Starters were on disaplay which included most of the top 2018 college draft pitching prospects.  How did they do?  Let's run them down.

The star of the day was Shane McClanahan of South Florida who dominated North Carolina with a line of 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 11 K's.  His FB reportedly sat at 97 most of the night.  Brady Singer of Florida, who sits on top of many early draft rankings also pitched well with a line of 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K's.  Casey Mize of Auburn dominated for 6 innings with line of 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K's.  Ryan Rolison of Ole Miss only went 5 innings but struck out 12 batters against just 2 walks while not allowing a run.

Remember Tristan Beck of Stanford?  He was draft eligible last year and ranked fairly high on many draft boards but missed the season with a back injury.  He's not ranked as highly this year but got off to a strong start with a line of 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K's against Cal St. Fullerton.

A couple of Closers from last year made noise in their starting debuts:  Nick Sandlin of Southern Mississippi went 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K's against Mississippi St.  He's not a big guy at 5'11", 170 lbs, but was dominant as a closer last year.  Griffin Roberts of Wake Forest was their closer last year.  He is a big guy at 6'3", 215 lbs.  Per BA he throws a heavy fastball with a wipeout slider.  The FB was mid 90's out of the bullpen last year, but sat in the lower 90's last night. His line:  6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 9 K's.

Junior RHP Nolan Kingham of Texas was also dominant with a line of 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K's.  He's a big guy at 6'3", 215 lbs. who should be of interest as the draft approaches.

It is harder to get much of a read on hitters in just one game.  Nick Madrigal of Oregon St went 3 for 4 with a 2B and HR.  Seth Beer of Clemson went 1 for 3 with a 2B.  Travis Swaggerty  of South Alabama went 1 for 4 with 2 BB's and scored 3 runs.  I don't have a boxscore line but Alec Bohm  of Wichita St hit a monstrous HR into the night that might still be in the air.  Greyson Jenista also homered in that game which was suspended with the Shockers leading 10-6. Tristan Pompey of Kentucky also homered.

Hot Stove Update: Giants Agree To Terms with Tony Watson

The Giants seemingly put a, ahem, cap, on their 2017-2018 offseason by signing veteran lefty reliever to a contract.  Not much has been reported on the deets, but word from MLBTR is it is for more than 1 season and does not put the Giants over the CBT threshold. How about that?  According to Fangraphs bio page, he earned about $5.6 M last year, so either he's taking a serious pay cut or the Giants were further from the CBT threshold than we thought, if it is true they stayed under it.

Most of Watson's career has been with the Pirates.  Last year, he was traded to the Dodgers at the trade deadline after a rough first half and pitched well down the stretch for the Bad Guys.  His overall line was 7-4, 3.38, 66.2 IP, 7.16 K/9, 2.70 BB/9, GB/FB= 1.62.  His ERA for the first half was 3.86 going down to 2.67 in the second half.  The scouting report in the MLBTR write up says he started using his 2-seam FB more and his slider less after the trade to the Dodgers and was more willing to work up in the zone, although his overall GB percentage was up for the season and was way up after his trade to the Dodgers.  He pitched 7 innings in 11 postseason appearances with an ERA of 2.57. His FB tops out at about 94 MPH.  His BAA is about even between L-R, but he is much stingier on long balls to lefty hitters than righties.

Watson provides early insurance against a late comeback by Will Smith and gives Bruce Bochy a double-barreled option from the left side after Smith does return.  Whether there is room for a 3'rd bullpen lefty slot for Steve Okert, Josh Osich and DJ Snelton to fight over remains to be seen.  The Giants veteran bullpen commitments now run 6 deep:  Melancon, Dyson, Smith, Watson, Strickland and Gearrin.  If the Giants go with the standard 5 man rotation and 7 man bullpen, that leaves just 1 bullpen slot and they need to fill that with a long relief/swingman person.

On paper this makes the Giants bullpen stronger, but Watson is 33 yo and his numbers have backed up over the last 2 seasons, the stretch run with the Dodgers notwithstanding.  If that trend continues, it may be a disappointing acquisition for the Giants.

Friday, February 16, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #7 Aramis Garcia

Aramis Garcia, C.  DOB:  1/12/1993.  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 220 lbs.  Drafted 2014 Round 2.

A+:  .272/.314/.497, 20 2B, 3B, 17 HR, 4.3 BB%, 21 K%, 347 PA.
AA:  .282/.360/.436, 12 2B, 10.1 BB%, 23.6 K%, 89 PA.

Aramis Garcia missed much of the 2016 season after suffering facial fractures in a collision at 2B so was reassigned to San Jose to get more experience at the level. The Giants are usually very conservative with prospects coming off injuries so that was not surprising.  He remained healthy for the entire 2017 season and did a lot of really good things.  The 17 HR's for SJ showed serious pop in the bat.  In a small sample after his promotion to AA Richmond, he was a doubles machine with 12 of his 22 hits going for 2 bags in just 89 PA.  The BB and K rates were kind of all over the place so hard to read too much into them. He generally gets positive scouting reports for his work behind the plate.  I would guess he returns to AA with the possibility of a midseason promo to Sacramento and an outside chance of an MLB debut, but a lot of bad things would have to happen for that to happen.  Giants don't really have a reason to rush him so let him get those PA's in a tough hitting environment.

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #8 Andrew Suarez

Andrew Suarez, LHP.  DOB:  9/11/1992.  6'2", 205 lbs.  Drafted 2015 Round 2.

AA:  4-4, 2.96, 67 IP, 7.39 K/9, 2.01 BB/9, GO/AO= 1.28.
AAA:  6-6, 3.55, 88.2 IP, 8.12 K/9, 2.74 BB/9, GO/AO= 1.34.

Suarez is described by John Sickels as an "ultra-polished lefty."  Sickels lists his FB as 88-94 MPH, which may mean he is really good at changing speeds on it.  Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs puts it in a narrower 89-91 MPH range.   Per Longenhagen, his best secondary pitch is a tight slider and he adds a good changeup while occasionally looping in a curveball.  Suarez has steadily climbed the Giants ladder since being drafted as a senior out of Univ. of Miami.  He had labrum surgery and an oblique injury in college but has not missed time as a pro.  His performance last year for AAA Sacramento means he is ready to challenge for a rotation spot with the Giants in spring training.  He'll most likely start the season back in Sacramento but with a high probability we'll see him in SF sometime in 2018.

Hot Stove Update: Giants News.....Sort Of

Brian Sabean gave an interview to Baggs on the The Athletic and had some rather inneresting things to say starting with him "being more involved" at the major league level this season.  I don't have a subscription to The Athletic, so am dependent on the summary in MLBTR, but this clearly sounds like a demotion for Bobby Evans and a re-assuming of direct control of some sort by Sabean, although Evans will still be "retaining wide authority."  MLBTR's interpretation includes an impression that Sabean will somehow be working closely with Bruce Bochy to "re-establish a winning culture."  Then there is this quote from Sabes:  "I'll pay respect to how (Evans has) operated the last 3 years, but my experience has been called upon and ownership and (CEO Larry Baer) want this as an initiative starting with me and we are going to carry it out as best we can on an everyday basis."

Wow!  Them's some words to chew on right there!  The questions just come flooding out:

Why are we hearing about this in an apparent 1 on 1 interview with Baggs?

Why are we not seeing a word of any of this from either Chris Haft or Alex P?

Why aren't we hearing it from Larry Baer himself?

What exactly does a GM do day-to-day to foster a winning attitude once he's assembled the team, other than the occasional trade or decision about a minor league callup?  Does this suggest there was friction between Bochy and Evans on a day-to-day basis?  Does this have anything to do with the whispers of clubhouse discord that started leaking out last year?  One player was anonymously quoted as saying players felt like they "couldn't do anything right" with the implication it was in Bochy's eyes.  Was it really in Bobby Evans' eyes?  Were Bochy and Evans giving discordant messages to the players?

Brian Sabean has always tended to talk in riddles and circles, but does this sound like he really knows what he is supposed to do himself?  If Sabes is vague about what he will be doing, does Bobby Evans have any idea at all what decisions he can and cannot make?

Stay tuned on this one, but I smell TROUBLE!

*********************************************************************************

Tim Lincecum threw a showcase for MLB scouts and reportedly looked to be in great shape and humped his fastball up to 93 MPH.  The Giants are in he market for an inexpensive SP option.  Does the 93 MPH drive Timmy's price out of reach for the Giants?  Would they go above the CBT threshold for a reunion with a player who is still an incredible fan favorite?  I'm guessing they would if they thought it would put a thousand or two more butts in seats every 5'th day for even part of a season and Timmy would definitely do that if he pitched half decently.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #9 Sandro Fabian

Sandro Fabian, OF.  DOB:  3/6/1998.  B-R, T-R.  6'1", 180 lbs.  IFA 2014.

Low A:  .277/.297/.408, 30 2B, 11 HR, 5 SB, 2.0 BB%, 17.5 K%, 504 PA.

Hitting .277 with 30 2B, and 11 HR in Augusta is no easy feat.  The list of good prospects who have struggled there is long.  So, Sandro Fabian's full season line is actually quite impressive.  On top of that, he just kept getting hotter as the season progressed slashing .311/.331/.473 with 8 of his 11 HR's in the second half.  He hit .370 in August and .476 over his last 10 games.  So, what's not to like here?  Welp, it appears he graduated from the Frankie Pegs school of hitting where students have it drilled into them that they absolutely cannot walk off the island!  On the other hand, the most HR's Frankie Pegs hit was 10 at age 22 in San Jose so Fabian is showing some power at a much earlier age in a more difficult hitting environment, especially for power.

Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs who is actually quite high on Sandro has written repeatedly about how bad his 2017 season was.  I think he is focusing on the walk rate almost exclusively because that actually pretty impressive performance from a 19 yo in Augusta.  Longenhagen scouted Fabian in the Fall Instructional League in Arizona this last October and posted this report:  "He's making among the loudest contact at Instructional League with multiple exit velocities in excess of 100 MPH during my in-person looks.  He tracks pitches well, has great timing and bat control and can drive balls to all fields.  There is a special offensive talent here, and I'm still buying stock in Fabian even after a horrendous season!"

OK, I love what I'm reading here until I get to the word horrendous.  I agree the walk rate is a concern, but Sandro Fabian actually had a pretty good season in Augusta.  If Eric Longenhagen wants  to see a truly horrendous season, he might want to look up what Christian Arroyo did in Augusta or Ryder Jones or maybe Pablo Sandoval in 2006.  By 2008, Pabs was hitting .345 in his MBL debut.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #10 Jacob Gonzalez

Jacob Gonzalez, 3B.  DOB:  6/26/1998.  B-R, T-R.  6'3", 190 lbs.  Drafted 2017, Round 2.

R:  .339/.418/.458, 15 2B, 3B, HR, 8.2 BB%, 11.9 K%, 194 PA.

Jacob Gonzalez is another member of the Giants Kiddie Korps of teenage prospects.  The son of baseball star Luis Gonzalez, you can tell from his stat line that he already knows how to hit with strong plate discipline to go with high contact skills.  He's a big kid, though not quite as big as the pre-draft 6'4", 205 lb numbers we saw in draft scouting reports.  He has limited tools except for the two most important ones, hit and power.  The power is more doubles power right now, but scouting reports I've read are confident the dingers will come.  Biggest challenge will be not having to move to 1B where the bat would have to be truly special as the speed is slow, the arm fringy and the glove clanky at times.  We should see him in Augusta later this spring.

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #11 Shaun Anderson

Shaun Anderson, RHP.  DOB:  10/29/1994.  6'4", 225 lbs.  Drafted 2016 Rd 3(Red Sox).

A(Red Sox):  3-0, 2.56, 38.2 IP, 8.61 K/9, 2.56 BB/9, GO/AO= 1.34.
A+(Red Sox):  3-3, 3.99, 58.2 IP, 7.36 K/9, 2.76 BB/9, GO/AO= 0.87.
A+(Giants):  3-3, 3.51, 25.2 IP, 7.71 K/9, 1.40 BB/9, GO/AO= 1.39.

Anderson is the other pitcher the Giants received from the Red Sox for Eduardo Nunez.  He's a big, strong RHP who was a college reliever only because Florida had too many great SP's.  Anderson throws a FB 92-96 MPH and also has a cutter, slider, curveball and an improving changeup he is starting to throw more often per Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs.  I saw Shaun pitch in his last start of the season in San Bernardino.  He was completely dominant, allowing his only baserunner in the 6'th and final inning while striking out 7 and walking 0.  BTW, it was so hot that night, I had to leave the game early and nearly fainted as I was walking out to my car.  Anyway, Shaun Anderson should move up to AA this season and I expect him to be MLB ready as early as midseason.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #12 Gregory Santos

Gregory Santos, RHP.  DOB:  8/28/1999.  6'2", 190 lbs.  IFA 2015(Red Sox).

DSL(Red Sox):  2-0, 0.89, 30.1 IP, 7.12 K/9, 4.45 BB/9, GO/AO= 4.55.
DSL(Giants):  1-0, 1.93, 18.2 IP, 8.20 K/9, 2.41 BB/9, GO/AO- 1.86.

Gregory Santos was one of two very nice pitching prospects to come to the Giants in the Eduardo Nunez trade to the Red Sox.  He's pitched 2 seasons in the DSL, but due to his birthdate, 2018 will be his age 18 season, which will likely be in Arizona.  He's got close to ideal size, a mid-90's FB and a nice mix of secondary pitches.  As you can see, his walk rate dropped dramatically after the trade.  Don't know if that's a sample size blip or if the Giants coaches were able to fix something quickly.  Then there is the sweet groundball rate.  It will take time for him to fully develop, but he's an exciting prospect with a high ceiling and a possible fast mover in the system.

Fantasy Focus: Value SP's

A word to the wise.  Pitching is going to be very thin again in 2018.  So much so, that you may want to reverse the age-old fantasy draft formulas such as drafting 7 position players before you take your first pitcher or spending 70% of you auction budget on position players.  If you think you are going to be able to fill in your rotation by plucking guys off the FA list, think again.  I've done some combing through depth charts and there are multiple MLB teams out there who don't have even 1 rosterable fantasy SP in their pre-season starting rotation.  If you don't believe me, look up the Padres, Rangers, Royals and Marlins rosters and depth charts.  I'll add the Pirates to that list too, and maybe the Twins.

With that in mind, I also combed through Fantasy Pros preseason ADP list and looked at two tiers:  #50-100 and ADP's greater than 100.  Let me tell you, the pickings are slim.  Here is what I came up with for possible value SP's.  Keep in mind these could change dramatically as the season approaches.  Note:  Listed ADP's are SP, not Overall.

I have already profiled Blake Snell(58) as a Breakout Candidate and Luis Gohara(78) as an Impact Rookie.  You already know that I absolutely love Tyler Chatwood(79) to breakout now that he is out of Coors Field.

It gets even thinner after you pass #100, but Tyler Mahle(106) has a chance to be an Impact Rookie.  Erasmo Ramirez(123) has been a Breakout Candidate seemingly forever. He always puts up great WHIP's but has struggled with consistency.  His overall numbers from 2017 don't look exciting but he ran off 7 of 8 QS down the stretch for Seattle last season.  My Deep Sleeper  /Breakout Candidate is none other than the Giants very own Chris Stratton(144), although the ride could be bumpy.

Monday, February 12, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #13 Alexander Canario

Alexander Canario, OF.  DOB:  5/7/2000.  B-R, T-R.  6'1", 165 lbs.  IFA 2016.

DSL:  .294/.391/.464, 17 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 18 SB, 12.0 BB%, 14.6 K%, 274 PA.

If you hadn't already figured it out, there is a huge yawning gap in my mind between #13 and #14 on this list.  Heliot Ramos is in a tier all by himself, but then the second tier goes from #2 to here, Alexander Canario.  I may have ranked a DSL player in my top 50 before, but I don't remember when.  I usually lump them into a separate Dominican Dandies category because there is just too darn much we don't know about them.  Which brings me to the prospect himself.  It's pretty obvious from the numbers that this kid has at least 3 tools, Hit, Power, Run.  The BB and K percents tell you there is already some skill added to the tools.  It's enough that he's already getting some national press among prospect watchers.

On video, he's a wiry strong athlete who looks confident at the plate with a short, simple swing to the ball with very little extraneous movement, yet with explosive power at the point of contact.  He needs to do some filling out, but the frame looks strong, like that should be no problem.  I expect him to follow the Sandro Fabian track with 2018 in Arizona and 2019 in Augusta.  By then, we'll know more about where he's headed, but the early returns are darn exciting.

DrB's 2018 Giants top 50 Prospects: #14 Joan Gregorio

Joan Gregorio, RHP.  DOB:  1/12/1992.  6'7", 180 lbs.  IFA 2009.

4-4, 3.04, 74 IP, 7.42 K/9, 4.26 BB/9.

Gregorio has been around forever and still hasn't quite broken through.  Although he posted a pretty good ERA for Sacramento in 2017, the K and BB rates were a regression.  Then on July 1, while on the DL with a back injury, he was busted for PED's and suspended for the remainder of the season.  He's always had intriguing height and has grown into his frame a lot more than the listed 180 lbs.  2018 is probably his last chance to put it all together.  He's not really being mentioned in the Giants SP depth chart.  He looks like he could be a nice swingman option, but again, he has to sharpen up his command.  Another question is his option status.  I have not seen him listed as being out of options but he's been optioned 3 times already.  Whether the Giants have an extra option on him due to injury or suspension is not clear to me.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #15 Miguel Gomez

Miguel Gomez, 2B.  DOB:  12/17/1992.  B-S, T-R.  5'10", 185 lbs.  IFA 2011.

AA:  .305/.330/.458, 19 2B, 2 3B, 8 HR, 3.7 BB%, 11.2 K%, 322 PA.
MLB:  .242/.235/.303, 2 2B, 0.0 BB%, 17.6 K%, 34 PA.

Gomez is still on the 40 man roster after an impressive season for AA Richmond and a promising, though SSS MLB debut.  There doesn't seem to be much doubt the man can hit and he looked surprisingly agile at 2B, again in a very SSS. He haas also played 3B and 1B  and C in the minors although his catching days are probably behind him.  Detractors point to the miniscule walk rate which MLB pitchers may well exploit once they get to know him a bit.  His offensive profile is very similar to another Giant who helps them sell a lot of funny looking hats.  I am not sure exactly where Gomez will land with all the minor league FA IF's the Giants are bringing in, IMO they could do worse than start the season with him and Kelby as the reserve IF's.  Reserve corner IF is probably Panda's to lose though.

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #16 Dan Slania

Dan Slania, RHP.  DOB:  5/24/1992.  6'5", 275 lbs.  Drafted 2013 Round 5.

AA:  5-3, 3.59, 80.1 IP, 6.16 K/9, 3.14 BB/9.
AAA:  0-8, 7.82, 61 IP, 8.41 K/9, 4.57 BB/9.

Big Dan Slania also pitched 1 scoreless inning for the Giants in 2017 before getting sent back down to the minors.  I guess if I was making this list today, I would rank him a bit lower.  I think I thought he was still on the 40 man roster, but he passed through waivers in October so at least is still in the organization.  As you can see from the numbers, his big challenge is controlling the strike zone and improving those AAA numbers.  If he does that, he could be in position for another crack at the majors sometime in 2018.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #17 Garrett Williams

Garrett Williams, LHP.   DOB:  9/15/1994.  6'1", 205 lbs.  Drafted 2016 Round 7.

A:  4-3, 2.25, 64 IP, 8.16 K/9, 3.52 BB/9, GO/AO= 2.44.
A+:  2-2, 2.45, 33 IP, 10.36 K/9, 2.73 BB/9, GO/AO= 2.11.

Garrett Williams has been on scouting radar screens since little league.  He was wild in college to the point where he actually pitched very few innings.  The Giants took a mid-single digit flyer on him and seem to be successfully helping him overcome the control/command issues.  There is a lot to like in these lines from his first full pro season:  Strong K/9, improving BB/9 and an extreme GB tendency.  He reportedly sports a low 90's FB but his curveball is what gets most scouts excited.  There is a nice scouting report on Baseball Census linked to the left.  The Author of that piece also had good things to say about his changeup.  Video shows a low 3/4 arm slot with strong sink on the FB.  If he continues to improve his command/control, he could keep climbing right up to #3 MLB SP.  It would not be unreasonable for him to start 2018 in AA Richmond.

Hot Stove Update: Cubs Sign Yu Darvish

The Cubs agreed to terms with Yu Darvish on a contract of 6 yrs/$126 M.  Davish was MLBTR's top rated FA for this cycle.  This deal equals MLBTR's predicted length but is well under the $160 M total dollar amount, although the deal reportedly has incentives that potentially bring it up to $150 M.

As much as some people have moaned about collusion and falling FA values, this is a pretty sweet deal for a guy who missed 2015 and part of 2016 with TJ surgery and is coming off a 3.86 ERA season capped by stinking out The Latrine in the World Series, which is not a easy feat. Still, I'd probably rather give a contract like this to Darvish than to Jake Arrieta.  Darvish joins Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, Kyle Hendricks and Tyler Chatwood to make a very solid starting rotation for the Cubs in 2018.  The contract is likely to be very bad by the time it is done, but is for tomorrow to worry about.  At this point, the Cubs bullpen appears to be their weak link for 2018 but they still have time to fix that too.

Fantasy Focus: Value Outfielders

Outfield is a tough position to write about in fantasy baseball because there are so darn many of them.  Unlike other positions where you only have to worry about 10-15 players for each position, each team will roster a minimum of 3 OF's and there may be additional OF's rostered in UT positions.  Some leagues even require you to carry 5 OF's trying to simulate a real MLB 25 man roster!  So, if you are in a 10 team league, you are going to have to know at least 30 OF's and possibly as many as 50.  Bigger leagues just force you to go even deeper.

Here is a list of OF's with ADP's greater than 30 per Fantasy Pros website who I think may give good value if you have to wait until the end of the draft to pick your last OF or two:

Marwin Gonzalez(#32) is interesting because of his extreme versatility.  He is listed as eligible for all 4 IF positions as well as the OF.  Adam Eaton(#41), Gregory Polanco(#46) and David Dahl(#67) are potential bounceback candidates coming off injuries.  Adam Duvall(#51) seems like a tremendous value to me although his BA may scare come people off.  I absolutely love Willie Calhoun(#64) and Michael Taylor(#65) although Taylor has his work cut out for him to stay ahead of Victor Robles on the National's depth chart.  I like Scott Schebler(#86) in Cincinnati.  If you are chasing SB's, Mallex Smith(#102) is currently sitting on top of the Rays LF depth chart and Victor Reyes is an intriguing Rule 5 pick for the rebuilding Tigers who just might end up as their starting CF.

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #18 CJ Hinojosa

CJ Hinojosa, IF.  DOB:  7/15/1994.  B-R, T-R.  5'10", 175 lbs.  Drafted 215 Round 11.

AA:  .265/.321/.340, 16 2B, 4 HR, 5 SB, 7.4 BB%, 10.1 K%, 417 PA.

I've followed CJ since he was an interesting HS draft prospect before embarking on a mostly disappointing college career at Texas.  He has a very similar profile to Ryan Howard. On the surface, Howard may look like the better prospect.  He's bigger, was drafted higher and had the great BA for San Jose.  I ranked CJ a notch higher because of success at the very challenging AA level as well as better BB and K rates.  CJ probably profiles as a future utility IF at the MLB level.

Friday, February 9, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #19 Ryan Howard

Ryan Howard, IF.   DOB:  7/25/1994.  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 195 lbs.  2016 Round 5.

A+:  .306/.342/.397, 21 2B, 9 HR, 7 SB, 4.1 BB%, 14.3 K%, 565 PA.

Howard is pretty much a cookie cutter Giants IF prospect.  A SS in the minors who is probably not quite good enough defensively to be a MLB starter there, high BA, occasional pop, a little speed, high contact.  He had a very consistent season for San Jose maintaining a BA above .300 for all but a few days at the beginning of the season.  He should move up to AA Richmond in 2018.  If he hits there, he'll be almost ready to be brought up as an injury fill-in or utility player.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #20 Ricardo Genoves

Ricardo Genoves, C.  DOB:  5/14/1999.  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 190 lbs.  IFA 2015.

R:  .252/.327/.356, 6 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 8.0 BB%, 18.7 K%, 150 PA.

There is a very nice scouting report on Genoves up at Baseball Census linked to the left where I got most of the info for this profile.  Genoves was a $550 K IFA bonus baby in 2015, the same year the Giants signed Lucius Fox.  He is very athletic for his size with advanced defensive skills behind home plate.  The bat trails significantly with a swing that looks a bit stiff and long.  On the other hand, batting .250 is a lot better than many defense-first catching prospects and the plate discipline looks promising in the stat line so I think there is hope for the bat.  Will the Giants send him to Augusta for his age 19 season or keep him in camp and send him to Salem-Keizer later in the summer?  Genoves is a long term project and time is on their side.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Fantasy Focus: Breakout Candidate- Blake Snell

Blake Snell LHP, Rays.  DOB:  12/4/1992.  6'4", 200 lbs.  Drafted 2011 Round 1 #52.

2017:  5-7, 4.04, 129.1 IP, 59 BB, 119 K.
1'st Half:  0-5, 4.85, 52 IP, 34 BB, 45 K.
2'nd Half:  5-2, 3.49, 77.1 IP, 25 BB, 74 K.

Snell was once one of the most highly rated pitching prospects in baseball before struggling in his MLB debut and the first half of his sophomore campaign.  He really seemed to settle in over the second have of last season and appears ready to break out in 2018.  The stuff is there with a FB that averages just under 95 MPH and plays up due to great extension of his long arm which releases the ball closer to home plate than the average pitcher.  He'll be one of my SP pitching targets on fantasy draft day.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #21 DJ Snelten

DJ Snelten, LHP.  DOB:  5/29/1992.  6'7", 245 lbs.  Drafted 2013 Round 9.

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= 2.05.

DJ Snelten is an interesting prospect.  He's a tall lanky lefty who has filled out his frame since being drafted in 2013.  He struggled for a couple of years as a SP, but blossomed last year as a reliever in both AA and more significantly after a promotion to AAA Sacramento.  He has both solid K and BB numbers but an extreme groundball tendency that held up in the PCL where sinkers don't sink so much.  In a Q/A with Conner Penfold of Giant Potential, DJ said he does not throw a typical 2-seam sinker.   What he does is throw his 4 seamer over the top and used his height to drive the ball down in the zone and create a steep downward plane that get hitters to make contact with the upper half of the ball producing all the groundballs.  It will be interesting to see if that approach works at the MLB level, but the results in the PCL where you might expect it to be not so successful are encouraging.  Snelten is a lefty reliever who can go more than 1 inning at a time and face both L and R handed batters.  He should get a chance to prove out in MLB sometime this season.

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #22 Reyes Moronta

Reyes Moronta, RHP.  DOB:  1/6/1993.  6'0", 175 lbs.  IFA 2010.

2017(3 levels):  3-1, 2.92, 37.0 IP, 20 BB, 47 K.
2017 MLB:  0-0, 2.70, 6.2 IP, 3 BB, 11 K.

First of all, let me just say I've seen Reyes Moronta pitch and he ain't no 175 lbs!  In fact, from a distance he looks like he might have been separated from Jean Machi at birth.  Moronta has been in the Giants organization seemingly forever.  He throws very hard and in the past 2 seasons has achieved enough control/command to be a legitimate MLB RP prospect.  His cup of coffee at the end of last season was impressive and may be the reason why the Giants felt Kyle Crick was tradable.  Reyes will compete for a RP roster spot in spring training.  If he does not make it, he likely will be a  mid-season callup at some point.

Hot Stove Update: Mets Sign Todd Frazier

The slow FA market bit Todd Frazier hard.  He was projected by MLBTR to get a 3 year/$33 M contract from someone, but yesterday settled with the Mets for 2 years/$17 M.  Ouch!  Now, before you go all THE GIANTS COULD HAVE...... Evan Longoria's hit on the Giants CBT is a lot less than  $8.5 M THIS YEAR and THIS YEAR is apparently all the Giants care about in terms of the CBT.  Of  course, they are so close to the threshold now, it's anybody's guess whether they will actually stay under it or not and it's hard to see how going over by $1 is much better than going over by $10 M.

The Giants need dingers and Frazier would likely give them a lot more of those than Longoria, but there is also risk that the dingers would disappear in AT&T and they'd be left with a .220 BA and 15 dingers, but just for 2 years.

The biggest news out of this is the FA and stock market officially crashed on the same day.  This signing is very bad news for the remaining FA's in the 2017-18 market.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #23 Julian Fernandez

Julian Fernandez, RHP.  DOB:  12/15/1995.  6'2", 160 lbs.  IFA 2012.

2017 A:  1-2, 3.26, 58 IP, 18 BB, 57 K.

One of many problems with the Rule 5 Draft process is that despite being signed as young as age 16, IFA's become eligible in the same number of years as HS draftees who are usually age 18 when drafted.  That means teams have to decide to add an IFA to their 40 man roster by age 21 or risk losing him in the Rule 5 Draft while a HS draft pick doesn't usually have to be added until age 23.  OK, now that I have that rant out of the way, the Giants selected RHP Julian Fernandez with the 2'nd pick in the 2017 Rule 5 draft from the Colorado Rockies organization.  Fernandez, who looks a bit bigger in videos than his listed weight, throws very hard, up to triple digits and a cutter in the mid-90's based on some video footage I found.  He's struggled mightily with his commend until last season in Low A ball pitching for Asheville.  Now, Asheville might be the most hitter-friendly environment in the SAL so those numbers are even more impressive.  Unfortunately, the Giants have to keep Fernandez in the 25 man active roster all season or offer him back to the Rockies.  That's a mighty big jump from low A ball to the majors, and triple digits is not as scary for hitters as it once was.  Another case of the Giants trying to catch lightning in a bottle.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #24 Tyler Rogers

Tyler Rogers, RHP.  DOB:  12/17/1990.  6'5", 187 lbs.  Drafted 2013 Rd 10.

AAA:  4-4, 2.37, 76 IP, 28 BB, 43 K, GO/AO= 2.25, 10 Saves.

Sidewinder/Submarine pitchers enjoyed a surge in popularity back in the 2000's, but now seem to be a vanishing breed.  Tyler Rogers is one such pitcher who has worked his way steadily up the Giants organizational ladder.  He had a rough introduction to AAA in 2016 and some analysts wondered if he had found his ceiling, but he came back in 2017 with a workhorse performance.  Of particular note is the extreme groundball tendency in a league that is generally not kind to sinkerball pitchers.  Other nice feature is the average of close to 1.5 innings per appearance, a skill that is becoming much more sought after at the MLB level.  The Giants have had several sidewinder/submariner types in their system over the years.  Maybe Rogers will be the one who finally breaks through?  A guy who could come into a game in the middle innings and get 4-6 groundball outs would do a lot to solidify the bullpen.

Friday, February 2, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #25 Sam Wolff

Sam Wolff, RHP.  DOB:  4/14/1991.  6'1", 204 lbs.  Drafted 2013 Round 6(Rangers).

2017(2 levels):  4-5, 2.93, 43.0 IP, 19 BB, 59 K.

Wolff was acquired by the Giants in the Matt Moore trade with the Rangers.  He's a hard throwing(as in triple digits) veteran minor leaguer who has missed time due to injury.  He was strong in AA and even stronger in AAA in 2017.  Part of the reason why the Rangers were willing to trade him is he will miss the first half of the 2018 season with a flexor tendon injury.  The Giants hope to catch lightening in a bottle when he is recovered.

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #26 Heath Quinn

Heath Quinn, OF.  DOB:  6'7'1995.  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 190 lbs.  Drafted 2016 Round 3.

A+:  .228/.290/.371, 9 2B, 10 HR, 6.7 BB%, 29 K%, 297 PA.

I saw Heath Quinn as being a definite second round talent, possibly even late first round in the 2016 draft cycle.  He then got off to a roaring start to his pro career and appeared to be off on the fast track to be the Giants RF or LF of the future.  Needless to say, his first full season assignment to San Jose, which is in a hitter-friendly league and all was a big disappointment.  He spent some time on the DL and I am going to chalk up this face-plant to injury.  Bounceback Candidate.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #27 Jonah Arenado

Jonah Arenado, 3B/1B.  DOB:  2/3/1995.  B-R, T-R.  6'4", 230 lbs.  Drafted 2013 Round 16.

A+:  .268/.308/.439, 36 2B, 4 3B, 13 HR, 5.0 BB%, 19.9 K%, GO/AO= 0.75, 488 AB.

Jonah Arenado is a big kid who hits the ball hard.  He's also the brother of a pretty good MLB 3B you may have heard of.  The line for his age 22 season in San Jose is pretty good.  He kept racking up XBH's in bundles.  The problem for Arenado is this was his second full season with San Jose and the numbers are almost identical to his first full season there.  So, where does he go from here?  Seems like the Giants have to either push him up to Richmond and see what happens or essentially give up on him, which they absolutely should not do on a kid with his power potential.  The red flag in his stat line is the very low walk rate.  For some of those doubles to turn into dingers, he needs to be more selective at the plate.  One other issue:  He wants to play 3B.  I saw him play late in the season and to my eye, he's just too big and to stiff in his actions to play 3B at higher levels.  This means 1b is likely his only option which puts even more pressure on the bat.  So, kind of a mixed bag here.  Tremendous power potential combined with a large bust potential.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #28 Raffi Vizcaino

Raffi Vizcaino, RHP.  DOB:  12/2/1995.  6'1", 195 lbs.  IFA 2012.

Low A:  5-7, 4.98, 77.2 IP, 8.58 K/9, 3.24 BB/9.

RViz has been kicking around the lower reaches of the Giants minor league system for awhile now.  After a promising start in the DSL, he missed most of the 2014 season, presumably due to injury, then came back and dominated the DSL in 2015.  He seems to have remained healthy since and put up decent numbers for Augusta last year.  He does not have the raw stuff of Melvin Adon.  His FB tops out at about 93-94 MPH He does have more developed secondary stuff.  He has very limited physical projectability so any further development will be polishing up his command and secondary pitches.

Thoughts on Giants CF

Yesterday I commented that the Giants still do not appear to have their defensive upgrade in CF even after the signing of Austin Jackson and Gregor Blanco.  If they are serious about staying under the CBT "cap", they don't have more than about $1 M to spend on the position and man, when you put it that way, it sure is curious as to why they thought it was a good idea to spend $3+ M on Jackson.  I also noted that with anticipated upcoming FA signings, there may be players hitting the waiver wire which the Giants have second dibs on this year.  With that in mind, I set out to find a defensive CF for the Giants and discovered they may already have him.

I went to Fangraphs and clicked on Batting Leaders and narrowed the search to CF, but widened the PA's from Qualifying to 0.  In other words, If they played 1 inning of CF in 2017, they would be on the list.  I then ranked them by UZR/150 which normalizes UZR to an equal number of games played, 150.  Here's what I found:

Just for point of reference sake, Juan Lagares, who I think we would all agree is one of the very best defensive CF's out there, was #10 with a UZR/150 of 24.7.  Billy Hamilton who was the Giants dream CF at the beginning of the offseason checked in at #29 with a 10.0.  Byron Buxton who is also an elite defensive CF was #24 at 11.8.

Alen Hanson was #20 with a 16.2!  Alen Hanson!  Yes, he played just 78 innings in CF last year, but he apparently made some plays in that time and got that number.  For what it's worth, Gorkys Hernandez was #38 with a 7.5.  I am not sure who would hit better, Hanson or Hernandez.  Jackson and Blanco are both likely to hit much better, but I'm pretty sure the difference in offense would be more than offset by the inferior D for Jackson/Blanco.

Looking at what's likely to be available out there and the likely cost, the Giants may be just as well off letting Hanson and Hernandez compete for the placeholder CF job until Steven Duggar proves he's ready, which might be now anyway.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Thoughts on Gregor Blanco

Gregor Blanco agreed to a minor league contract with the Giants, which is how he joined the Giants in the first place back before the 2012 season.  To be honest, I'm scratching my head a bit over what Gregor's path to making the team is, but this give me a good excuse to review the career of what might be the most undervalued player in Giants history, if not all of baseball history.  He'll always be remembered for The Catch that saved Matt Cain's Perfect Game, but he was much more than that.  For 5 seasons, Blanco always seemed to start the season as the Giants 4'th OF and always seemed to be starting by the end of the season which included the postseason twice.

From 2012-2015, 4 seasons, he ran up a fWAR of 9.3.  He did that through a combination of strong plate discipline, savvy baserunnning and scintillating defense.  Those are qualities that add up to winning baseball.  Unfortunately for Gregor Blanco, in spite of tremendous strides in how to measure the previously unmeasurable, teams still too often pay for shiny batting averages, dingers and ribeyes.  As Jeff Kent infamously put it, "the money lies in the RBI's."  If you add up Blanco's career fWAR including a couple of negative years, you get 11.  That should be worth a total of $78 M on the open market.  Blanco's total take home pay in his career so far?  About $15 M.  Now THAT is value!  Now he's signed a minor league deal after posting 0.5 fWAR in 256 PA's last year for the D'Backs which should be worth about $3-4 M.

The problem for the Giants is while Blanco can still get after it in LF, he is no longer a good defensive CF.  Combine that with the recent signing of Austin Jackson who is in pretty much the same boat, it's hard to see how they have improved their D in CF which was their primary stated goal at the end of the 2017 season.  Maybe they are still looking for their CF and Jackson/Blanco will be a L/R 4/5 OF?  Stay tuned!

Monday, January 29, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #29 Melvin Adon

Melvin Adon, RHP.  DOB:  6/9/1994.  6'3", 195 lbs.  IFA 2014.

Low A:  3-11, 4.35, 99.1 IP, 35 BB, 89 K, GO/AO= 1.72.

Most IFA's sign at age 16 or 17.  A few at age 18.  Adon signed at age 20, so he was already well behind the development curve when he signed.  What he has going for him is the ability to light up radar guns and maintain velocity deep into games.  He still battles command issues and seems to have just one significant secondary pitch, a downward biting slider.  You'd like a guy with his stamina to start, but he may run out of development time for that and have to get on the fast track to the majors via the bullpen.  The nice thing is the Giants don't have to worry about physical projectablity because his present physicality in velocity is more than enough.  It's just a matter of how long it takes to polish up the gem.

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #30 Patrick Ruotolo

Patrick Ruotolo, RHP.  DOB:  1/1/51995.  5'10", 218 lbs.  Drafted 2016 Round 27.

Low A:  4-2, 1.68, 48.1 IP, 12.85 K/9, 2.23 BB/9, 17 Saves.

Patrick Ruotolo was a college closer who stepped right into the Closer Track once he turned pro, so far with tremendous success.  He's short for a pitcher with a stocky build but has surprisingly long arms for a guy of his build.  On video, he's a big drop and drive guy which brings him even closer to the ground, but makes up for that by getting full arm extension on an over-the-top delivery.  It's a high effort delivery, but it looks like most of the effort goes into his lower half taking strain off the arm.  The FB goes 92-94 MPH with strong command.  He's mixing in a cutter, curveball and changeup.  As you all know by now, I am not a fan of the Closer Track as I question how much prospects learn to pitch in 1 innings appearances where the priority is to get the last 3 outs by any means possible, but so far so good for Patrick.  I expect him to be the Closer for San Jose in 2018.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #31 Jalen Miller

Jalen Miller, 2B.  DOB:  12/19/1996.  B-R, T-R.  5'11", 190 lbs.  Drafted 2015 Round 3.

A+:  .227/.283/.346, 25 2B, 4 3B, 6 HR, 6 SB, 6.6 BB%, 21.3 K%, 470 PA.

Several analysts keep saying Jalen Miller was "overmatched" in Augusta in 2016 and again in San Jose in 2017.  I would say that is the glass half empty way of looking at it.  The glass half full way is he was young for both levels and didn't wash out.  I saw the San Jose Giants play in San Bernardino in late August and Miller was still the starting 2B and got a couple of hits in that game.  At some point, he's going to have to hit better than he did the last 2 years, but he still has time to do that.  In the meantime, I still see him as being ahead of the age curve.  He was never going to be one of those kids who makes it to the majors at age 20 anyway. Think of it this way:  If he had gone to college, he would be just entering his junior or draft year.  Most good college draftees don't hit A+ ball until the year after they are drafted so Miller is still at least a year ahead of that timeline. The question for the Giants is do you keep pushing him up to Richmond for his age 21 season where he might be again "overmatched" or do you see if he can improve on his Cal League numbers in 2018?  If they leave him in San Jose, where does Kelvin Beltre go?

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #32 Kelvin Beltre

Kelvin Beltre, 2B.  DOB:  9/6/1996.  B-R, T-R.  5'11", 170 lbs.  IFA 2013.

Low A:  .253/.328/.362, 24 2B, 2 3B,6 HR, 15 SB, 9.9 BB%, 20.1 K%, 477 PA.

On the surface, Kelvin Beltre doesn't look like much of a prospect.  He's kicked around the low minors for 4 seasons now and doesn't have much to show for it.  On the other hand, he's a toolsy kid who still has some time on his side and finally got a full season's worth of PA's in 2017. Before you slam the slash line, consider that Augusta is one of the toughest hitting environments in all of affiliated professional baseball.  The BB and K percents suggest there is more to work with her than just tools.  His biggest challenge will be to prove he can stay heathy for full seasons as 2017 was the first time he did not suffer a season-ending injury midseason.  High Ceiling/Breakout Alert!

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #33 Seth Corry

Seth Corry, LHP.  DOB:  11/3/1998.  6'2", 195 lbs.  Drafted 2017 Round 3.

R:  0-2, 5.55, 24.1 IP, 22 BB, 21 K.

Seth Corry was an under-the-radar HS draft prospect out of Utah who the Giants took in round 3 and got him signed.  He got off to a solid start to his pro career and had a 1.69 ERA after a 3 inning stint on August 17.  Then, he gave up 11 ER in just 3 IP over his next 3 appearances with 7 BB's and 3 K's.  He allowed another 2 ER in 2.1 IP in 1 postseason appearance for the Arizona League Giants.  So, what to make of this late season collapse?  Was it fatigue?  Injury?  The league figuring him out?  The yips?  He has time to work it out.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Fantasy Focus: Impact Rookies- Willie Calhoun

Willie Calhoun LF, Rangers.  DOB:  11/4/1994.  B-L, T-R.  5'8", 187 lbs.  Drafted 2015 Round 4(Dodgers).

2017 AAA(2 teams):  .300/.355/.572, 27 2B, 6 3B, 31 HR, 42 BB, 61 K, 534 PA.
2017 MLB:  .265/.324/.353, 37 PA.

There has never been much doubt about Wille Calhoun's bat.  He came up in the Dodger's organization as a 2B where he reportedly had hands of stone.  The Dodgers sent him to the Rangers in the Yu Darvish trade.  The Rangers moved him to LF and he seemed to thrive there reaching the majors in a September callup and more than holding his own.  He enters 2018 at #1 on the Rangers LF depth chart.  ZIPS projects him to hit .277 with 28 HR's.  Of course, as long as he can stay on the field, you don't care one wit about his D in most fantasy baseball formats and on a AL team, he can be moved to DH if he is too much of a butcher in the field.  Those projected offensive numbers would make him a true impact rookie!

Scouting the 2018 Draft: Mike Siani; Xavier Edwards; Joe Gray Jr

Mike Siani OF, HS.  B-L, T-L, 6'0", 190 lbs.

I have not been able to find a family link of Mike Siani to a former first round draft pick of the Oakland Raiders with the same last name(They both hail from eastern Pennsylvania).  What I have found is a 5-tool player who seemingly does everything well, but perhaps lacks that one outstanding tool.  Siani is a muscular athlete who runs well enough to project as a MLB CF.  He doubles as a pitcher with a 90 MPH FB so he has the arm for CF or RF.  He fits in the mold of players like Andrew Benintendi and Adam Haseley, although I think Siani may utimately hit for more power.  He's committed to Virginia and I could see him emerging as a top 10 draft pick after 3 college seasons.  I guess it comes down to the question of whether you prefer to develop a kid like this in the minor leagues or in college.  Personally, I would advise him to go to college.  There are 1000 ways a kid's career can derail that have nothing to do with on-field performance.  It just seems to me there are fewer of those in college than in the minor leagues.

Xavier Edwards SS, HS.  B-S, T-R.  5'10", 155 lbs.

Edwards is a smallish HS SS with at least 4 tools, the best of which is his speed.  He's got a quick bat that should produce good on-base skills and definitely has the range to play SS.  The only question mark is if he has the arm to make throws from the deep hole at SS.  His IF throws have been clocked at 89 MPH which is marginal.  His Time to Impact is 0.94 sec, the best recorded for this draft class and his Exit Velocity is 90 MPH which is more than enough to produce gap power.  He runs a 6.53 60 yard dash.  I like him better than Brice Turang based on the information I have access to.  May be a tough sign with a commitment to Vanderbilt.

Joe Gray Jr. OF, HS.  B-R, T-R.  6'3", 195 lbs.

Joe Gray Jr. is a physical stud with power potential to dream on.  He is a 5 tool player who hits 98 MPH on OF throws, runs a 6.75 60 yard dash.  The ball jumps off his bat at 94 MPH.  The only concern in the raw numbers would be a Time to Impact of .212, but I suspect this is an artifact of early motion in the swing as the swing looks short and quick on video.  There is something about Joe Gray Jr. that scouts seem standoffish about which seems to suppress his rankings into the early second round, but I don't see what it is from reports and scouting videos I've seen.  He looks like a mid-late first round talent to me, maybe more with an extremely high ceiling.  Committed to Ole Miss, but most reports have him likely to sign with a decent draft position.

*********************************************************************************

DrB's Updated 2018 Draft Board:

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

8.  Matthew Liberatore LHP, HS.
9.  Travis Swaggerty OF, College(Univ. of South Alabama).
10. Tristan Pompey OF, College(Kentucky).
11.  Joe Gray Jr OF, HS.
12.  Carter Stewart RHP, HS.
13.  Mike Vasil RHP, HS.
14.  Cole Wilcox RHP, HS.
15.  Mason Denaberg RHP, HS.
16.  Nolan Gorman 3B, HS.
17.  Greyson Jenista OF/1B, College(Wichita St).
18.  Casey Mize RHP, College(Auburn).
19.  Alec Bohm 3B/1B, College(Wichita St.).
20.  Tristan Casas 3B/1B, HS.
21.  Nick Madrigal 2B, College(Oregon St.).
22.  Xavier Edwards SS, HS.
23.  Ryan Weathers LHP, HS.
24.  Shane McClanahan LHP, College(Univ. of South Florida).
25.  Ryan Rolison LHP, College(Mississippi).
26.  Mike Siani OF, HS.
27.  Steele Walker OF, College(Oklahoma).
28.  Will Banfield C, HS.
29.  Griffin Conine OF, College(Duke).
30.  Brice Turang SS, HS.
31.  Tim Cate LHP, College(Connecticut).
32.  Jeremy Eierman SS, College(Missouri St.).
33.  Joey Bart C, College(Georgia Tech).

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #34 Logan Webb

Logan Webb, RHP.  DOB:  11/18/1996.  6'2", 195 lbs.  Drafted 2014 Round 4.

SS:  2-0, 2.89, 28 IP, 7 BB, 31 K, GO/AO= 2.47.

Webb's 2016 season with Augusta was cut short on June 6 when I believe he underwent Tommy John Surgery.  The Giants took it slow with him in his return assigning him to Salem-Keizer and using him out of the bullpen.  He had been a starter prior to that.  By the numbers, he came back stronger than before with stellar K and BB rates and an even better groundball rate which was quite good before.  The sample size was small, though.  Webb is still just 21 years old so has plenty of time to get back on the SP track and work his way up.  We'll see is he gets assigned to Augusta or San Jose.  Sleeper Alert!

Friday, January 26, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #35 Jason Bahr

Jason Bahr, RHP.  DOB:  2/15/1995.  6'5", 190 lbs.  Drafted 2017 Round 5

SS:  3-2, 3.55, 33 IP, 9.82 K/9, 3.00 BB/9, GB/FB= 1.57.
College:  0-2, 2.97, 60.2 IP, 15 BB, 98 K.

Jason Bahr got dropped by his college team, UCF, but was brought back by a new coaching staff for his Junior(Redshirt Senior) season.  He broke out as a swingman with 5 starts in 24 appearances.  In the process he had 2 starts of 5.1 IP where he struck out 9 batters.  In another appearance, he struck out 9 Florida State batters in 3 IP.  As his college coach put it re. his #380 BA draft ranking, "There is no way there are 300-something better prospects in the draft. It's really hard to teach 6-6 and 96.  That's not something that just grows on trees."

Bahr backed up his college coach with a solid pro debut for Salem Keizer and looks ready to move up to either Augusta or San Jose for 2018.  His challenge will be durability as he does not have a long track record of either heath or success.   Breakout Candidate.

Blogger's Note: 3 Million Views!

On December 20, 2009, I started my own blog after posting comments on other blogs for several years.  I was tired of being ridiculed for daring to think Brian Sabean just might have the Giants on the right track and wanted a place I could post my own thoughts.  I was way past caring if anyone else read them or not.  I just needed an outlet to say what I wanted to say.  It is now 2960 days since that first post, which I would invite everyone who visits this site to go back and read.  It's linked to the left in the Blog Archive section.  A few minutes ago, someone made the 3 millionth visit to the blog since that first post.  You do the math.  That's just a bit over 1000 visits per day for the life of the blog.  

I just want to thank everybody who visits and comments.  It continues to be a labor of love.  I don't do it for the pay, of which I get none, or the number of visits, but continue to be gratified and amazed that so many people make this site a daily visit, sometimes more.  I will continue to chronicle my thoughts on San Francisco Giants baseball, until I stop.  I don't know when that will be, but not in the forseeable future.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Hot Stove Update: Brewers Make Two Stunning Moves

When the Hot Stove League started, everybody thought the Brewers had a surplus of good OF's and would likely use that surplus to buy pitching, which they appear to desperately need.  Well, today the Brewers dipped into that surplus and......well......they got outfielders in return!  As Vin Scully would say, "go figure!"  In move #1, they traded 4 prospects including OF's Lewis Brinson and Monte Harrison, IF Isan Diaz and RHP Jordan Yammamoto for Miami Marlins OF Christian Yelich.  Yep, you heart that right, Christian Yelich.  The first 3 of that group are all fairly well known prospects.  Yammamoto is less well known but had a breakout season of sorts with the Brewers A+ team in 2017.  Needless to say, if you are hold in a firesafe and rebuilding, this is exactly the type of return you need to get when you trade your star players.

The Brewers added Yelich to an OF of Ryan Braun, Keon Broxton, Domingo Santana and Brett Phillips all with MLB experience.  But wait!  The Brewers were not done yet.  After the trade for Christian Yelich, they went out and signed Lorenzo Cain to a 5 year/$80 M contract and suddenly, there are not going to be enough chairs when the music stops.  Talk about a glut of outfielders!

The Brewer still need to add pitching and perhaps they now have the right pieces to trade for who they want.  Stay tuned!

Fantasy Focus: Breakout Candidate- Ozzie Albies

Ozzie Albies 2B, Braves.  DOB:  1/7/1997.  B-S, T-R.  5'9", 160 lbs.  IFA

2017 AAA:  .285/.330/.440, 21 2B, 8 3B, 9 HR, 21 SB, 6.3 BB%, 20.1 K%, 448 PA.
2017 MLB:  .286/.354/.456, 9 2B, 5 3B, 6 HR, 8 SB, 8.6 BB%, 14.8 K%, 244 PA.

For some reason, Dansby Swanson seems to get more attention and now Ronald Acuna has shot to the top of prospect lists, but Ozzie Albies has been a top prospect for the Braves for several years and may be on the edge of a big breakout.  All he has to do is keep on doing what he did in the last 3'rd of 2017 for a full season.  Albies has always had the hit tool and speed, but the power started to show up last year at age 20.  He may still be 2-3 years away from his peak, but his ZIPS projection for his age 21 season has him at 15 HR's and 25 SB's which is an asset in almost all fantasy formats.  If his development continues to accelerate, he could easily give 20-30.

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #36 Stetson Woods

Stetson Woods, RHP.  DOB:  1/15/1995.  6'8", 200 lbs.  Drafted 2014 Round 9.

SS:  3-2, 3.36, 64.1 IP, 2.94 BB/9, 6.72 K/9, GB/FB= 1.34.

The Giants seem to target at least 1 signable HS player in the mid-late single digit rounds each year.  So far, that hasn't worked out so well.  Stetson Woods seemed to be another bust after 2 lost years following a promising pro debut.  Then he showed up in Salem-Keizer as the Volcanoes Opening Day SP and turned in a solid performance at age 22, the same age he might have been expected to be a college draftee.  Woods is still listed at his draft weight of 200 lbs, but in videos from last summer he looks just a big more filled out than in his pre-draft videos.

Woods has a big crossover step and long, whippy arm action.  He throws a low 90's FB and struggles to command his breaking stuff.  2018 will be a pivotal year as he tries to build on the gains he made in 2017, most likely in Augusta.  Oh, and he has at least a 70 name.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Scouting the 2018 Draft: Konnor Pilkington; Luken Baker

Konnor Pilkington LHP, College(Mississippi St.).  6'3", 225 lbs.

2017:  8-5, 3.08, 108 IP, 47 BB, 111 K.
2016 CCL:  2-1, 1.37, 39.1 IP, 12 BB, 33 K.

Pilkington is a large college lefty with a nice 3 pitch mix.  According to his MLB scouting report, his FB sits 88-93 and touches 96 MPH.  His best second pitch is a changeup.  His breaking ball tends to be slurvy.  He has a high release point with a steep downhill plane.  College pitchers tend to move up boards as the draft approaches.  Pilkington could easily break into the top 10 picks on draft day with a strong junior campaign.

Luken Baker 1B/DH, College(TCU).  B-R, T-R.  6'4", 265 lbs.

2016:  .379/.483/.577, 16 2B, 11 HR, 45 BB, 39 K, 298 PA.
2017:  .317/.454/.528, 8 2B, 3B, 8 HR, 40 BB, 36 K, 207 PA.

10-15 years ago, Luken Baker(do you think maybe his parents were fans of Waylon Jennings?) would have been a darling of the sabermetric crowd.  Terrible body but wow!  Look at that plate discipline.  Baker has a simple swing with a wide stance, barely a heel lift on his front foot with a small weight shift and short, quick body rotation.  The power comes from his massively strong arms which is what allows him to cut down on the extraneous motion.  The bat will likely eventually get him a MLB job, but he's stuck at 1B or DH.  Now that Billy Butler's career seems to be over, can we call Baker "Country Breakfast: Second Course"?

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DrB's Updated 2018 Draft Board:

1.  Seth Beer OF/1B, College(Clemson).
2.  Nander De Sedas SS, HS.
3.  Kumar Rocker RHP, HS.
4.  Ethan Hankins RHP, HS.
5.  Jarred Kelenic OF, HS.
6.  Matthew Liberatore LHP, HS.
7.  Brady Singer RHP, College(Florida).
8.  Logan Gilbert RHP, College(Stetson).
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9.  Travis Swaggerty OF, College(Univ. of South Alabama).
10. Tristan Pompey OF, College(Kentucky).
11.  Carter Stewart RHP, HS.
12.  Mike Vasil RHP, HS.
13.  Cole Wilcox RHP, HS.
14.  Mason Denaberg RHP, HS.
15.  Casey Mize RHP, College(Auburn).
16.  Nolan Gorman 3B, HS.
17.  Greyson Jenista OF/1B, College(Wichita St).
18.  Alec Bohm OF/1B, College(Wichita St).
19.  Tristan Casas OF/1B, HS.
20.  Nick Madrigal 2B, College(Oregon St.).
21.  Ryan Weathers LHP, HS.
22.  Shane McClanahan LHP, College(Univ. of South Florida).
23.  Ryan Rolison LHP, College(Mississippi).
24.  Konnor Pilkington LHP, College(Mississippi St).
25.  Steele Walker OF, College(Oklahoma).
26.  Will Banfield C, HS
27.  Griffin Conine OF, College(Duke).
28.  Brice Turang SS, HS.
29.  Tim Cate LHP, College(Connecticut).
30.  Jeremy Eierman SS, College(Missouri St.).
31.  Joey Bart C, College(Georgia Tech).
32.  Luken Baker 1B/DH, College(TCU).

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #37 Carlos Diaz

Carlos Diaz, LHP.   DOB:  11/18/1993.  6'2", 225 lbs.  IFA 2010.

A+:  2-2, 2.47, 58.1 IP, 23 BB, 67 K, GO/AO= 1.36.

Diaz has kicked around the lower levels of the Giants farm system seemingly forever.  He seemed ready to move up after a strong 2015 but struggled to a 8.18 ERA at 2 levels in 2016.  He was back to form in 2017 with a strong campaign out of the bullpen in San Jose.  He should move up to AA in 2018.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #38 Orlando Garcia

Orlando Garcia, 2B.  DOB:  12/31/1995.  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 190 lbs.  Drafted 2017 Round 15.

2017 SS:  .268/.366/.416, 10 2B, 6 HR, 11.3 BB%, 19.9 K%, 231 PA.

Garcia is from Kelby Tomlinson's alma mater, Texas Tech.  He's got a nice mix of plate discipline and pop in his bat.  He and Kelvin Beltre will likely be the 2B for Augusta and San Jose next year.  The question is who will go where.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Hot Stove Update: Bobby Evans Completes His Tour De Force

GM's who appear to win offseasons often don't win regular seasons or postseasons, but winning offseasons provide an excitement of their own independent of, you know, real baseball wins or losses.  Bobby Evans started out this offseason with what seemed like an impossible task:  Upgrade 3 OF positions and 3B, add power to the lineup and upgrade defense at least in CF all while staying under the CBT threshold which the Giants were about $10 M short of when the offseason started.  Evans, brought back memories of Bobby Fischer at a chessboard, making move to set up other moves sometimes 2 and 3 moves in advance.  It was an offseason tour de force if you will.

The checkmate move came today with the signing of Austin Jackson to a free agent contract reported to be 2 years/$6 M with incentives which could boost it to $8.5 M.  Grant Brisbee over at MCC has been pimping Austin Jackson all offseason and is a very happy man.  I'm less thrilled, but it's an OK move that stabilizes CF and gives the Giants a net to work with under Steven Duggar.

Jackson had a solid season last year with the Cleveland Indians slashing .318/.387/.482, 19 2B, 3 3B, 7 HR,  3 SB, 10.1 BB%, 20.1 K% in 318 PA.  The BA was fueled by a .389 BABIP, but before you go screaming about BABIP regressions, please note that Jackson's career BABIP is .352.

The only place where Bobby Evans may have fallen short of his stated offseason goals is in CF defense, assuming Jackson is going to be the starting CF.  Jackson's defense is somewhat polarizing among different analysts with ratings ranging from average CF to not good at all.  I guess it depends on what metric, if any you go by.  The one I prefer is UZR/150 because it takes playing time out of the equation.  By CF UZR/150, Jackson is not only not an upgrade on Denard Span, he may actually be worse, although Jackson's is a projection from a very small sample size for a metric that is notoriously unreliable in SSS's.  If Jackson can't cut it in CF, the Giants still have Steven Duggar and Jackson would still be a fairly cheap 4'th OF option and most likely an upgrade on Gorkys Hernandez.

Bobby Evans is almost certainly done for the offseason except for a minor league signing or two, but what an offseason it's been!  Again, kudos to Bobby and a truly impressive bit of GM'ing, a true tour de force!  The Giants may stink in the regular season, but Bobby just may have won the offseason.

Scouting the 2018 Draft: Tristan Casas; Alec Bohm; Tim Cate; Steele Walker

Tristan Casas 3B/1B, HS.  B-L, T-R.  6'4", 235 lbs.  Tristan Casas is a big fellow who is surprisingly athletic looking.  Might be the best pure power bat in this draft class.  His arm(91 MPH) is good enough to play 3B.  He has enough speed(7.15 60) to be passable in LF.  His bat is quick enough(Time to Impact .116) to make his power usable.  The perceived value of corner bats has dropped in recent years.  Casas is at least a mid-first round value who could drop into he second round where he would be a steal, IMO.

Alex Bohm 3B/1B, College(Wichita St).  B-R, T-R.  6'5", 240 lbs.  2016:  .303/.346/.489, 13 2B, 3B, 6 HR, 9 BB, 25 K, 178 PA.  2017:  .305/.385/.519, 13 2B, 2 3B, 11 HR, 29 BB, 31 K, 233 PA.  CCL:  .351, 5 HR.  Bohm is the RH half of Wichita St's version of the Bash Brothers with Greyson Jenista.  Bohm carries his size well and appears to be more athletic than you would imagine looking at the numbers.  He's played 3B in college though his size may make it difficult to stick there.  He's most likely a 1B in the pros, but is athletic and fast enough to be passable in LF.  The swing is kind of stiff looking but effective.  It looks like he's swinging a broom somewhat reminiscent of Keston Hiura.  Again, may be underrated in the draft due to his status as a corner player.

Tim Cate LHP, College(Connecticut).  6'0", 167 lbs.  2017:  4-3, 3.33, 75.2 IP, 31 BB, 102 K.  Small college lefty with a 3 pitch mix that gets lots of K's.  Could be a late first round value.

Steele Walker OF, College(Oklahoma).  B-L, T-L.  5'11", 190 lbs.  2017:  .333/.413/.541, 16 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, 25 BB, 39 K, 222 AB.  2017 CCL:  .280/.333/.400.  2016 Northwoods League:  .406.  High floor college OF who has performed well in wood bat leagues.  Probably not a CF which may hurt his value.

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DrB's Updated 2018 Draft Board:

1.  Seth Beer OF/1B, College(Clemson).
2.  Nander De Sedas SS, HS.
3.  Kumar Rocker RHP, HS.
4.  Ethan Hankins RHP, HS.
5.  Jarred Kelenic OF, HS.
6.  Brady Singer RHP, College(Florida).
7.  Logan Gilbert RHP, College(Stetson).
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8.  Matthew Liberatore LHP, HS.
9.  Travis Swaggerty OF, College(Univ. of South Alabama).
10. Tristan Pompey OF, College(Kansas).
11.  Carter Stewart RHP, HS.
12.  Mike Vasil RHP, HS.
13.  Cole Wilcox RHP, HS.
14.  Mason Denaberg RHP, HS.
15.  Nolan Gorman 3B, HS.
16.  Greyson Jenista, OF/1B, College(Wichita St.).
17.  Casey Mize RHP, College(Auburn).
18.  Alec Bohm 3B/1B, College(Wichita St.).
19.  Tristan Casas 3B/1B, HS.
20.  Nick Madrigal 2B, College(Oregon St.).
21.  Ryan Weathers LHP, HS.
22.  Shane McClanahan LHP, College(Univ. of South Florida).
23.  Ryan Rolison LHP, College(Mississippi).
24.  Steele Walker OF, College(Oklahoma).
25.  Will Banfield C, HS.
26.  Griffin Conine OF, College(Duke).
27.  Brice Turang SS, HS.
28.  Tim Cate LHP, College(Connecticut)
29.  Jeremy Eierman SS, College(Missouri St).
30.  Joey Bart C, College(Georgia Tech).

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Some changes in the board:

-I still think Seth Beer is the best bat in the draft and the quickest to the majors, but that's assuming a rebound in BA in his junior season.

-Both Eric Longenhagen and Keith Law seem to love Nander De Sedas.  Jarred Kelenic not so much. I've been liking De Sedas more the more I've thought about it too.  He would make a terrific OF/IF prospect combo with Heliot Ramos if the Giants were to draft him at #2.

-Brice Turang continues to be top 10 on most boards.  Somebody seems to be trying to hide him for something as there is just no recent information about him on PG with no recent video and no data on speed, arm strength and swing.  What is available just doesn't look that impressive to me despite the rave scouting reports.

-College hitters are kind of thin, although I am sure we will find some interesting ones for rounds 2-10 as the college season gets underway.  College pitching might be even thinner with most of the top prospects having serious flaws.  Even Brady Singer, who is #1 overall on some boards might be the quickest to the majors but has a very unorthodox, violent delivery and may be a reliever in the pros.

-HS pitching is really, really deep.  I'll be looking for more who might be available in rounds 2 and 3.

-There is a long list of HS SS's who are potentially signable in rounds 2-10.  I'll be reviewing them in the near future.

-From now on, I won't necessarily be ranking reviewed prospects on my board if if I don't think they are worthy of top 50 consideration, but will try to flesh out the board to 50 if I find worthy prospects down the list.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #39 Malique Ziegler

Malique Ziegler, OF.  DOB:  9/8/1996.  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 170 lbs.  Drafted 2016 Round 22.

SS:  .240/.329/.324, 9 2B, 5 3B, 5 HR, 26 SB, 9.5 BB%, 22.5 K%, 296 PA.

Malique Ziegler had a chance to rank a whole lot higher than this.  Sometime around the middle of July, I had him easily top 20 and possibly top 10 in the Giants system.  Then, the wheels just completely fell off his season.  He hit .314 in the first half of the short season and just .149 in the second.  His monthly splits were .359 in June, .258 in July and .141 in August.  My theory is his lack of bulk just could not take the grind of playing professional baseball day in and day out, but that's just speculation on my part.  The final peripheral numbers still look pretty good, so it could be just a wild random SSS swing.  Maybe it was a nagging injury we don't know about.  2018 will be a critical year for one of the most tooled up players in the Giants system.  He's going to have to prove the second half of a short season in S-K was a fluke and not his norm, plus he's going to have to prove he can stand up to the grind of a full season.  The ceiling is spectacular, but so is the bust potential.

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #40 Rob Calabrese

Rob Calabrese, C.  DOB:  10/13/1995.  B-R, T-R.  6'1", 205 lbs.  Drafted 2017 Round 10.

2017 College:  .353/.425/.583, 23 2B, 8 HR, 20 BB, 26 K, 243 PA.
2017 SS:  .277/.369/.383, 5 2B, 3B, HR, 10.8 BB%, 27.9 K%, 111 PA.

Rob Calabrese led his University of Illinois-Chicago into the college playoffs with a breakout junior campaign capped by a 10'th round draft selection by the Giants.  He also performed well in 2 wood bat leagues hitting .269 in the New England Collegiate League in 2015 and .306 in the Northwoods League where he earned the nickname Robbie Big Fly despite hitting just 1 HR.  Calabrese was noted primarily for his defense prior to his offensive breakout in 2017. Videos show a short, quick, choppy swing which puts backspin on the ball.  He showed nice plate discipline in his pro debut with limited power in a SSS.  Could move up to San San Jose in 2018.  Sleeper Alert.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #41 Shane Matheny

Shane Matheny, 3B.  DOB: 6/5/1996.  B-L, T-R.  6'1", 205 lbs.  Drafted 2017 Round 23.

2017 College:  .309/.408/.471, 16 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 5 SB, 28 BB, 36 K, 226 AB.
2017 SS:  .284/.381/.333, 5 2B, 12.7 BB%, 16.9 K%, 118 PA.

Shane Matheny was  slick fielding, no-hit 3B for Washington St, but broke out at the plate in 2017.  In one article I found, Matheny credits an injury suffered in a summer league for his turnaround.  He said sitting on the bench and talking to older players and coaches helped get him in the right frame of mind at the plate and learn to trust his ability and not try too hard.  In his first pro experience, he produced impressive K and BB percentages, but little power in a small sample size.  Those peripheral numbers are enough for me to label him a deep sleeper.  His first full pro season will be key, whether it's in Augusta or San Jose.  If he can keep getting on base, the defense should help him achieve a MLB career at least as a reserve.

Scouting the 2018 Draft: Carter Stewart; Mike Vasil, Cole Wilcox

Here are 3 HS RHP's who are very similar and in a tier just below Hankins/Rocker and LHP Matthew Liberatore:

Carter Stewart stands 6'6" 200 lbs with arms and legs that are long for his body.  He has a whip arm which he fully extends behind him and brings over the top in a "tall and fall" delivery which give full utilization of his height.  The delivery is free and easy.  His present FB velocity is 89-93 MPH with plenty of projection to the upper 90's.  What has gotten scouts excited is the highest curveball spin rate in the draft.  He also has an advanced feel for the changeup making him already a 3-pitch pitcher.  Lots to dream on here.  Only question is if the velocity will increase as expected with physical maturity.

Mike Vasil is listed at 6'4", 210 lbs.  Very similar pitcher to Stewart except his frame is a bit larger, but still with room to fill out.  He also has more present velocity with the FB topping out at 96 MPH.

Cole Wilcox is the most filled out of the 3 at 6'5", 220 lbs, but even he has some projectability in the body.  He also gets good extension at the beginning of his delivery, but to my eye, he then pulls the arm in and down and kind of pushes the ball out.  Evan so, the FB tops out at 97 MPH.

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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.  Ethan Hankins RHP, HS.
5.  Kumar Rocker RHP, HS.
6.  Brady Singer RHP, College(Florida).
7.  Logan Gilbert RHP, College(Stetson).
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8.  Matthew Liberatore LHP, HS.
9.  Carter Stewart RHP, HS.
10.  Mike Vasil RHP, HS.
11.  Cole Wilcox RHP, HS.
12.  Travis Swaggerty OF, College(Univ of South Alabama).
13.  Tristan Pompey OF, College(Kentucky).
14.  Mason Denaberg RHP, HS.
15.  Nolan Gorman 3B, HS.
16.  Greyson Jenista OF/1B, College(Wichita St.).
17.  Casey Mize RHP, College(Auburn).
18.  Nick Madrigal 2B, College(Oregon St).
19.  Ryan Weathers LHP, HS.
20.  Shane McClanahan LHP, College(Univ. of South Florida).
21.  Jackson Kowar RHP, College(Florida).
22.  Ryan Rolison LHP, College(Mississippi St.).
23.  Will Banfield C, HS.
24.  Griffin Conine OF, College(Duke).
25.  Brice Turang SS, HS.
26.  Jeremy Eierman SS, College(Missouri St.).
27.  Joey Bart C, College(Georgia).

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #42 Logan Baldwin

Logan Baldwin, OF.  DOB:  4/9/1996.  B-L, T-R.  6'0", 170 lbs.  Drafted 2017 Round 21.

2017 College:  .308/.370/.444, 13 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 13 SB, 16 BB, 50 K, 205 PA.
2017 SS:  .342/.395/.473, 11 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 17 SB, 6.3 BB%, 20.3 K%, 207 PA.

Baldwin was drafted out of Georgia Southern.  Available videos focus on highlight reel catches in CF.  He played mostly RF for Salem-Keizer and had a terrific pro debut at the plate.  His K and BB numbers were about the same as Bryce Johnson's but with a bit more power.  I would think SJ is a possibility for next season.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Hot Stove Update: Cards Trade Randal Grichuk

The Cardinals traded OF Randal Grichuk to the Toronto Blue Jays for RHP Dominic Leone and RHP prospect Conner Greene.  Grichuk's once promising career had plateaued in St Louis.  He hits for power and is not a defensive liability but that comes with a sub-.300 OBP and a 30% K rate.  2018 would have found him buried down in the Cardinals depth chart.  The BJ's have a crowded OF situation of their own and it's a bit difficult to see how they have upgraded it with this trade.

Leone is a quality RP who averages 95 MPH with the FB and pitched to a 2.56 ERA over 70 IP in 2017.  He will strengthen the Cardinals bullpen and could even close for them as it is hard to imagine them going with Luke Gregorson in the 9'th inning all season.

Conner Greene is a lottery ticket who throws hard(Fangraphs rates his FB a 70) but struggled with an ERA north of 5 with poor peripherals at AA last season.

I see this trade as a clear win for the Cardinals who took a player they had no use for and turned him into a valuable bullpen piece which was their area of biggest need.

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #43 Bryce Johnson

Bryce Johnson, OF.  DOB:  10/27/1995.  B-S, T-R.  6'2", 180 lbs.  Drafted 2017 Round 6

2017 College:  .350/.453/.433, 12 2B, 5 3B, 33 SB, 34 BB, 41 K, 322 PA.
2017 SS:  .329/.400/.369, 5 2B, 2 3B, 25 SB, 6.8 BB%, 20.8 K%, 250 PA.

Bryce Johnson fits the mold of a CF/leadoff hitter who got off to a nice start to his pro career with an aggressive initial placement in Salem-Keizer where he kept right on doing what he did in college, hit for average, get on base and steal bases.  What he hasn't shown so far is any sort of power, even gap power.  I mean, Kelby Tomlinson has more power than Johnson has shown so far!  It's hard to see him surviving at higher levels unless he can add at least gap power to his game.  He's a switch-hitter who you might expect to have better results from the left side(it's a couple of steps closer to 1B), but his L-R split, while significant, is not catastrophic, .289 R, .339 L.  It should be noted that he played mostly corner OF in S-K while Malique Ziegler got most of the innings in CF.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Fantasy Focus: Breakout Candidate- Byron Buxton

Bryon Buxton, OF(Twins).  DOB:  12/18/1993.  B-S, T-R.  6'2", 190 lbs.  Drafted 2012 Round 1(#2 overall).
2017:  .253/.314/.413, 14 2B, 6 3B, 16 HR, 29 SB, 7.4 BB%, 29.4 K%, 511 PA.

Byron Buxton has been a breakout candidate for so long and has disappointed so many times, he almost qualifies as a post-hype sleeper.  His time may have finally arrived.  That line is already a not bad fantasy line, but look at what he did in the second half:  .300/.347/.546, 8 2B, 5 3B, 11 HR, 13 SB, 228 PA.  Project that to a full season and we are well into 30/30 territory.  His GB/FB ratio is close to 1.00, so the power should be sustainable as long as he continues to make contact.  The K rate is worrisome, but that's just the kind of hitter he is.  A fractured rib suffered in the Wild Card game should not be a problem, even in spring training.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #44 Camilo Doval

Camillo Doval, RHP.  DOB:  7/4/1997.  6'2", 185 lbs.  IFA  2015.

2016 DSL:  2-0, 1.66, 21.2 IP, 9.97 K%, 4.57 BB%, GB/FB= 3.25.
2017 R:  1-2, 3.90, 32.1 IP, 14.20 K%, 3.62 BB%, GB/FB= 2.33.

Camilo Doval is an average sized pitcher with a pair of the longest loosest arms you'll see.  He pitches with some flair and if fun to watch on video.  The windup doesn't look like much but then he reaches way back with that long right arm, reminiscent of Madison Bumgarner except Doval brings the arm more straight back and released high 3/4 whereas Bumgarner haas more of a horizontal and circular reach back and delivery.

Scouting reports have Doval sitting in the 89-93 MPH range and occasionally toughing 95.  He also has a sharply downbreaking slider which is his only real secondary pitch at this point.  He misses bats bigly, needs to cut down on his walks and he has an elite GB tendency.  He's pitched esclusively in relief so far and that's probably his ticket unless he can develop a 3'rd pitch.  He may have a bit more velocity in the tank as he fully matures physically.

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #45 John Gavin

John Gavin, LHP.  DOB:  10/10/1995.  6'6", 230 lbs.  Drafted 2017 Round 8.

2017 College:  8-2, 2.67, 104.1 IP, 34 BB, 90 K.
2017 R:  2-1, 0.00, 16 IP, 7 BB, 22 K.

John Gavin is a big LHP who caught my eye during the college season pitching for Cal State Fullerton as he seemed to get stronger as the college season progressed.  I was hoping the Giants would draft him.  I don't know much about his stuff, but love the size.  He went on to have a couple of dominant starts in the college playoffs.  The Giants took it easy on him after the draft probably due to the extra college work.  Found one scouting report that gives him a FB that ranges from 88-92 MPH.  His second pitch is a changeup and he also has a slider.  San Jose would be an aggressive but reasonable assignment.

Thoughts on Bobby's Big Gamble

As I was digesting the trade for Andrew McCutchen, the thought occurred to me:  There is one guy who Bobby Evans and the Giants are making a huge gamble on, Chris Stratton.  When Evans traded Matt Moore and his $9 M salary to get the financial room for this trade, he suddenly put Stratton in the #4 SP hole with a safety net consisting of Ty Blach, Tyler Beede, Andrew Suarez and Joan Gregorio.  Not only that, but the #5 SP spot would need to be filled out of the latter 4 pitchers.  Now, with just $4.5 M of CBT cap space to operate with and marginal SP's commanding $8-10 M/yr, that roster spot is not going to be filled by an obvious upgrade.  Yes, the Giants will probably bring in at least one SP on a minor league deal.  The word I've read is they are talking to RHP Scott Feldman, but even at that, Stratton is the guy they appear to be counting on to run with the #4 SP slot.  So congratulations, Chris Stratton!  The 2018 season rests on your right arm.  No pressure on you or anything!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Hot Stove Update: Giants Land Cutch

When the offseason began, the Bobby Evans, Brian Sabean, Bruce Bochy and Larry Baer laid out an offseason agenda that appeared to be a conundrum, a Gordian Knot if you will.  A defensive upgrade in CF, adding power in the OF and at 3B all while staying under the CBT threshold and not giving up draft picks seemed like a plan full of contradictions and mutual exclusions.  Well, my friends, it looks like Bobby Evans just pulled it off and how about that?

Today, the Giants acquired OF Andrew McCutchen from the Pittsburgh Pirates for RHP Kyle Crick, OF Bryan Reynolds and $500 K in international bonus pool money.  In addition, the Pirates send the Giants $2.5 M in cash to partially offset McCutchen's $14.5 M salary to keep the Giants far enough under the CBT threshold that they may be able to make 1 or 2 smaller scale acquisitions before they are done. Cot's has the Giants currently sitting $4.5 M below the threshold.  They could also stand down and let Steven Duggar be the defensive upgrade in CF and still accomplish all of their offseason goals.

What may be more important than who the Giants gave up in the trade is who they didn't give up.  In my mind the Giants untouchables were Heliot Ramos, Tyler Beede and Andrew Suarez.  Ramos was off limits because he is the highest ceiling prospect the Giants have had since 2010 and possibly the highest ceiling OF prospect since....well....since Willie Mays!  Beede and Suarez provide SP depth that isn't coming from anywhere else.  I am not saying I'm thrilled to lose Cricky and Bryan Reynolds.  I just did not consider either of them untouchable and the Giants were not going to get McCutchen for nothing.  And yes, I would rather have the #2 and #5 draft picks next summer than Cricky and Reynolds and I would rather give up $500 K of international bonus pool money than $1 M.

Like the evening after the Evan Longoria trade, the Giants are a better team tonight than they were last night.  If Cutch plays CF, he should be a significant offensive upgrade on Denard Span and no worse on D.  If he plays a corner OF, he'll still be a significant offensive upgrade on last year as well as a definite defensive upgrade.

So, Bobby Evans deserves some serious kudos for his work this offseason.  He started the offseason by whiffing on Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani, but that may have been a blessing in disguise.  Since then, he played the market almost to perfection with several deft moves that not only added talent to the MLB team, but kept them under the CBT threshold and minimized damage to the farm system.  Very nicely done!

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #46 Jose Marte

Jose Marte, RHP.  DOB:  6/14/1996.  6'3", 180 lbs.  IFA 2015.

SS:  2-5, 5.33, 54 IP, 7.00 K/9, 5.67 BB/9, GB/FB= 1.44.

Marte has gotten a bit of national ink.  At first glance, his 2017 performance was disappointing, but there are some mitigating factors.  1.  Going from the DSL to SS in one year is a very aggressive placement.  2.  10 of his 34 BB's came in his first 3 appearances covering 5.1 IP.  3. 12 of his 32 ER came in just 2 starts totaling 4.1 IP.  He was dominant in a postseason start for the AZL Giants striking out 9 while allowing just 1 ER and 1 BB.

Marte reportedly has a mid-90s FB.  Not too much info available beyond that.  I would expect to see him in the rotation for Augusta in 2018 and I'll put a Breakout Candidate on him.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #47 Aaron Bond

Aaron Bond, OF.  DOB:  2/16/1997.  B-L, T-R.  6'5", 195 lbs.  Drafted 2017 Round 12.

2017 R:  .306/.368/.565, 8 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, 5 SB, 8.6 BB%, 30.7 K%, GB/FB= 0.70.  163 PA.

Aaron Bond was drafted out of JC ball where he played for 2 seasons at San Jacinto College.  He is a tall, lean, well proportioned athlete who had 5 tools and tremendous room for growth and power development.  He's already good at getting the ball in the air which is the first step to hitting a HR.  Well, I guess making contact is the first step and the K rate is a concern.  

It's always hard to know where to place JC draftees in the age vs level continuum.  Salem-Keizer would have been an agressive placement.  AZL is probably too low.  If he produced these numbers at a higher level, he would be ranked much higher on the list.  I would think Augusta would be a reasonable placement for 2018 although the competition for OF spots on full-season teams will be fierce in the Giants farm system.  

I'm going got put a High Ceiling Alert on this kid.

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #48 Diego Rincones

Diego Rincones, OF.  DOB:  6/14/1999.  B-R, T-R.  6'0", 175 lbs.  IFA 2015.

2016 DSL:  .244/.346/.343, 12 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 12.3 BB%, 13.6 K%, 236 PA.
2017 R:  .308/.373/.428, 8 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 7.8 BB%, 11.1 K%, 180 PA.

I've reported on the Giants stable of teenage prospects in a prior post.  The Kids are starting to get a little national attention, but one name you almost never see mentioned is Diego Rincones who is off to a nice start to his pro career with some budding power potential.  He's not as fast or athletic as Ismael Munguia, and will likely stuck to LF as a position, he is also bigger than Munguia with significantly more power potential.  I read one profile that said he is a free swinger, but the numbers suggest he actually has pretty good plate discipline.  He has limited projection in the body.  Deep Sleeper Alert!

Hot Stove Update: The Stove Warms Up

The Pirates and Astros pulled off a major trade yesterday with RHP Gerrit Cole going to Houston in exchange for 4 players, RHP Joe Musgrove, RHP Michael Feliz, 3B Colin Moran, OF Jason Martin.  Cole was an ace in 2015 when he went 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA, but has not pitched to that level since.  He's still a very solid SP who will strengthen the Astros rotation and could return to ace level in the process.  Like a lot of pitchers last year, the HR/FB bit him hard.  If that regresses, he's likely back to sub-3 ERA's.  The Pirates get a 4/5 SP with a ceiling of #3(Musgrove), a RP who sports an impressive K rate but a less impressive ERA, a MLB ready 3B who should hit for average with gap power and a promising OF prospect who played at A level in 2017.

Cole settled on a $6.75 M salary for 2018 the day before the trade and has one more year of arbitration before hitting free agency.  By trading him, the Pirates sent a clear signal that they are rebuilding and wanted to get maximum value while they could.  While they got good players in return, They were not able to land either of the Astros top 2 prospects, OF Kyle Tucker or RHP Forrest Whitley so the return has to be a disappointment for Pirates fans.  I mean, would we be happy if the Giants got this return for Madison Bumgarner?  Could they have gotten more from another team?  Maybe not.  The Yankees were reportedly not willing to include either Gleyber Torres or Miguel Andujar in earlier trade talks with the Pirates.  Could they have gotten more  by waiting until the trade deadline?  We'll never know, but the White Sox did very well for themselves at the deadline last year and there is a better than even chance Cole would rebuild some value in the first half of 2018.

I would say this trade increases the probability that the Pirates will trade Andrew McCutchen and be willing to accept less in return just to get rid of his contract.  That might be good news for Giants fans!

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The Padres agreed to a contract extension with LHP Brad Hand for 3 years/$19.75 M. The deal includes a team option for a 4'th season at $10 M with a $1 M buyout.  Hand was widely rumored to be on the trading block early in the Hot Stove season.  Maybe the Padres think they can contend within the next 3 years and want Hand to be part of that.  Maybe the 3 years of cost certainty will make him more attractive to potential trading partners.

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The Twins further bolstered their bullpen for a playoff run by signing RHP Addison Reed to a 2 year/$16.7 M contract.  They had previously signed RHP Fernando Rodney and LHP Zach Duke.  Reed and Rodney both have closing experience.  Reports suggest Rodney was less than thrilled by the news of Reed's signing.

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1B Adrian Gonzalez signed on with the Mets in a deal that will cost the Mets just the MLB minimum salary.  The Braves are on the hook for about $17 M.  Gonzalez is coming off a disastrous, injury plagued season with the Dodgers, but makes it just a little less likely the Mets commit to Dominic Smith as their full-time 1B.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Scouting the 2018 Draft: Ryan Weathers; Mason Denaburg; Will Banfield

Ryan Weathers is a husky 6'2", 210 lb HS LHP, the son of former MLB pitcher David Weathers.  He has an easy 3/4 delivery of a mid-90's FB with 2 good secondary pitches.  Committed to Vanderbilt.  Reminds me of Brett Anderson. Keeping his weight under control will be in issue.

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Mason Denaburg is a 2-way HS RHP/C who profiles more as a pitcher going forward.  Sturdy 6'4", 195 lb frame with long arms and legs and oodles of room to fill out.  He has a simple, easy 3/4 delivery that produces a heavy, tailing FB up to 97 MPH.   He also has a sharp, hard curveball and a changeup that is advanced for a HS pitcher.  He's more athletic looking than you would expect for a catcher.  With a 6.84 60 time, he could probably play OF too.  He is committed to Florida and could probably enhance his chances of continuing a 2-way career if he goes to college.  Love his ceiling as a pitcher, though.

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Will Banfield is a HS C/RHP who profiles as a future catcher.  Scouts currently rave about is catching defense and rate is as superior in all aspects, framing, blocking, throwing, footwork.  At the plate, he has light-tower power and an improving hit tool.  Strong physical presence from the RH batter's box at the plate.  Committed to Vanderbilt.  The history of HS catchers in he draft is dismal but Banfield may be the exception.  A team that thinks it can sign him away from Vandy and develop his bat, may just pop him mid-first round.

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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.  Logan Gilbert, RHP, College(Stetson).
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8.  Matthew Liberatore, LHP, HS.
9.  Travis Swaggerty, OF, College(Univ of South Alabama)
10. Tristan Pompey, OF, College(Kentucky).
11.  Mason Denaburg, RHP, HS.
12.  Nolan Gorman, 3B, HS.
13.  Greyson Jenista, OF/1B, College(Wichita St).
14.  Casey Mize, RHP, College(Auburn).
15.  Nick Madrigal, SS, College(Oregon St.).
16.  Ryan Weathers, LHP, HS.
17.  Shane McClanahan, LHP, College(Univ of South Florida).
18.  Jackson Kowar, RHP, College(Florida).
19.  Ryan Rolison, LHP, College(Mississippi St.)
20.  Will Banfield, C, HS.
21.  Griffin Conine, OF, College(Duke).
22.  Brice Turang, SS, HS.
23.  Jeremy Eierman, SS, College(Missouri St).
24.  Joey Bart, C, College(Georgia Tech).

Friday, January 12, 2018

Fantasy Focus: Shortstop Bargains

Shortstop is enjoying a bit of a renaissance as a position due to an influx of young, high ceiling talent at the MLB level.  Francisco Lindor, Corey Seager, and Carlos Correa will go off most draft boards early and for good reason.  I've read that Trea Turner is going top 10 overall in many early mock drafts which I think is a risky bet.  The upside is there, but he's coming off a disappointing, injury plagued season and there is bust potential.

There is depth at the position and you can get value by waiting.  I picked up Didi Gregorius off the FA list midseason after drafting and hanging onto Addison Russell way too long.  Gregorius was terrific and finish the season with a .287 BA with 25 dingers.  Tim Beckham is the very definition of a post-hype sleeper who had a breakout season last year with the Orioles ending up with a .278 BA with 22 dingers and Paul DeJong hit .285 with 25 dingers for the Cardinals.  Didi, Beckham and DeJong are my bargain SS's for 2018 Fantasy drafts.