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"?


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).
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.


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(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).

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.


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).

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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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).

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.

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #49 Ismael Munguia

Ismael Munguia, OF.  DOB:  10/19/1998.  B-L, T-L.  5'10", 160 lbs.  IFA 2015.

2016 DSL:  .274/.359/.363, 13 2B, 4 3B, 8 SB, 11.0 BB%, 5.5 K%, 273 PA.
2017 R:  .331/.398/.458, 7 2B, 4 3B, HR, 8 SB, 10.4 BB%, 11.0 K%, 164 PA.

If you like small, scrappy players, Ismael Munguia is someone for you to root for.  He's played all 3 OF positions for both the DSL and Arizona Giants.  He already shows a combination of gap power and speed but the outstanding part of his stat line for me is the superior plate discipline he shows at such a young age, which thinks this may be sustainable at higher levels, unlike, say, Frankie Pegs or Manuel Geraldo.  The one big negative his his diminutive size which does not appear to have much room for physical growth.  Check out a recent nice profile in Baseball Census linked to the left.  Ceiling is probably 4'th OF at MLB level, but a sleeper in the Giants system.

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #50 Manuel Geraldo

Manuel Geraldo, SS.  DOB:  9/23/1996.  B-S, T-R.  6'1", 170 lbs.  IFA 2013.

2016 A:  .162/.205/.176, 9 SB, 2.6 BB%, 33.6 K%, 4.54 GB/FB, 142 PA.
2016 SS:  .298/.333/371, 10 2B, 5 3B, 13 SB, 4.8 BB%, 23.5 K%, 5.31 GB/FB, 272 PA.

2017 A:  .165/.204/.278, 2 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 5 SB, 2.5 BB%, 28.3 K%, 2.82 GB/FB, 115 PA.
2017 SS:  .301/.338/.370, 8 2B, 3B,  3 HR, 23 SB, 4.0 BB%, 25.8 K%, 3.85 GB/FB, 276 PA.

Geraldo has a lot in common with a couple of former Giants prospects who I also was irrationally exuberant about, Ehire Adrianza and Francisco "Frankie Pegs" Peguero.  The Adrianza comp is because he's an athletic, wiry thin, switch-hitting SS.  The Frankie Pegs comp is because he doesn't walk much but strikes out a lot.  Look at Geraldo's stat lines for the past 2 years.  You can almost superimpose one on the other.  Unfortunately that means he washed out of 2 tries in Augusta then performed much better in Salem-Keizer.  2018 is likely his last chance to gain a foothold in full season ball.  I will be rooting hard for him to do just that because I love his athleticism and think he still has a lot of upside.  He's also got to be more selective at the plate and get the ball off the ground more, but one thing at a time.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: Honorable Mention Part V

Tyler Herb, RHP.  DOB:  4/28/1992.  6'2", 175 lbs.  Drafted 2014 Round 29(Mariners).
AA(2 teams):  8-7, 3.09, 163.1 IP, 48 BB, 136 K, GO/AO= 1.95.  The Giants acquired Herb in a separate trade that also apparently settled the PTBNL part of the Chris Heston trade.  His ticket to higher levels is an extreme ability to keep the ball on the ground which runs counter to the current trend in MLB, so we'll see.  He was Rule 5 eligible so the Giants added him to the 40 man roster this offseason to protect him.  He should move up to Sacramento where his GB tendency will be severely tested.

Eduardo Rivera, RHP.  DOB:  9/24/1992.  6'5", 190 lbs.  IFA 2010(Yankees).
SS:  3-2, 1.90, 23.2 IP, 13 BB, 33 K, 6 Saves.  Fireballing RHP who has had struggles with control.  Seemed to solve those in 2017 but at a low level for a guy this old who's been around this long.  Giants took a flyer in the AAA phase of the Rule 5 draft.  He'll be Rule 5 eligible again next year and probably a minor league FA, so the Giants have 1 season to decide if he's good enough and close enough to add to the 40 man next offseason.

Miguel Figueroa, RHP.  DOB:  8/9/1997.  6'2", 165 lbs.  IFA 2915.
R:  0-1, 5.24, 44.2 IP, 13 BB, 38 K, GO/AO= 1.24.  Won't blow you away with his stuff or K rate, but could develop into an innings-eating SP with continued good command and improving his GB rate.  Odds are against it though.

Jeffry Parra, C.  DOB:  1/24/1998.  B-R, T-R.  6'0", 195 lbs.  Drafted 2016 Round 24.
R:  .219/.306/.250, 11.1 BB%, 22.2 K%, 36 PA.  SS:  .173/.232/.250, 6.8 BB%, 15.3 K%, 59 PA.  Later round draft out of HS.  Still overwhelmed at the plate, but the Giants apparently think enough of his D to give him a Promo to Salem-Keizer.  Hard to see him breaking out offensively in Augusta unless the new ballpark is more hitter friendly.  Still has time to develop.

Conner Menez, LHP.  DOB:  5/22/1995.  6'3", 195 lbs.  Drafted 2016 Round 14.
A+:  7-7, 4.41, 114.1 IP, 50 BB, 99 K, GO/AO= 0.97.  Aggressive placement in San Jose for first full pro season.  More than held his own.  Kept his ERA below 4 until August.  Gave up 10 ER in 8.1 IP in 2 late starts but threw 6 shutout innings with 6 K's in his final start.  Should move up to AA in 2018.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Hot Stove Update: Jay Bruce Won't Be A Giant

Jay Bruce has agreed to a 3 year/$39 M contract with the Mets a team he played for last season before he was traded to the Indians.  I don't know what this means for the Mets and don't much care.  Unless all of their SP's come back fully healthy for a full season, they are not going to be a good team.  What I do want to comment on is at one point earlier in the offseason, Bruce and the Giants were rumored to be this close to a deal to bring him to AT&T Park.  I was not a big fan of signing Jay Bruce.  He could play LF in AT&T Park, but probably not RF and the endless ground in Triples Alley.  Almost all of Bruce's offensive value is in hitting HR's and as a LH batter, AT&T likely would have suppressed the dingers signficantly, rendering him a very poor fit indeed.

The Giants continue to need a RH masher and a plus defender for CF, preferably with some offense.  May Bruce is none of those, so we can wish him well with the Mets.

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: Honorable Mention Part IV

We added 3 players to the HM list:  Tyler Herb RHP, Eduardo Rivera RHP, Miguel Figueroa RHP.

Jake Greenwalt, RHP.  DOB:  4/301998.  6'1", 175 lbs.  Drafted 2016 Round 23.
R:  2-6, 6.98, 49 IP, 9 BB, 41 K, GO/AO= 0.98.  Greenwalt's slight build may have caught up with him as his ERA soared over his last 5 appearances.  Hopefully stamina will come with maturity.

Franklin Van Gurp, RHP.  DOB:  10/26/1995.  6'1", 210 lbs.  Drafted 2017 Round 25.
R:  5-1, 0.92, 29.1 IP, 7 BB, 41 K, GO/AO- 0.96, 2 Saves.  Nice numbers from a late round draftee, but rookie league.

Garrett Cave, RHP.  DOB:  7/18/1996.  6'4", 200 lbs.  Drafted 2017 Round 4.
SS:  1-1, 5.85, 20 IP, 12 BB, 29 K, GO/AO= 1.07, 3 Saves.  Hard throwing righty with a nice K rate.  other numbers were much better until he gave up 6 of 13 BB's in his last 3 appearances and 6 ER out of 12 in his last 2 appearances.  Breakout potential.  Could move way up next year's list.

Brandon Van Horn, SS.  DOB:  12/18/1993.  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 175 lbs.  Drafted 2016 Round 19.
A:  .262/.298/.333, 11 2B, 3 HR, 11 SB, 4.9 BB%, 22.3 K%, 305 PA.  Reputation as a defensive wizard at SS.  Offense took a step forward in 2017 though a bit old for the level.  Should get a chance at SJ in 2018.  Sleeper!

Jacob Heyward, OF.  DOB:  8/1/1995.  B-R, T-R.  6'3", 210 lbs.  Drafted 2016 Round 18.
A:  .223/.317/.351, 16 2B, 10 HR, 10.2 BB%, 26.7 K%, 412 PA.  Disappointing first full season even with a conservative placement.  Giants have so many OF's in the organization.  Will Heyward still have a place to play?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: Honorable Mention Part III

Dylan Rheault, RHP.  DOB:  3/21/1992.  6'9", 245 lbs.  Drafted 2013 Round 9(Orioles).  Minor League FA 4/2017.  A+:  2-1, 2.70, 60 IP, 22 BB, 46 K, GO/AO= 0.97, 21 Saves.  The Giants have always been intrigued by big pitchers(although very few seem to ever make it to San Francisco).  Rheault was signed as a FA out of indy ball in April and worked his way into the Closer role in San Jose.  His low K rate and flyball tendency would seem to not bode well for the future, but I did find a quote from his SJ manager that he was working on a split fingered pitch late in the season that could become a swing-and-miss offering.  Expect to see him in Flying Squirrel boxscores in 2018.

Will LaMarche, RHP.  DOB:  8/7/1991.  6'3", 220 lbs.  Drafted 2013 Round 9(Tigers).  Minor league FA 5/2017.  A+:  4-2, 4.46, 42.1 IP, 9 BB, 49 K, GO/AO= 0.73, 2 Saves.  Similar story to Rheault above.  Pitched well enough to see what he can do in AA.

Rodolfo Martinez, RHP.  DOB:  4/4/1994.  6'2", 180 lbs.  IFA 2013.  3 Levels:  2-0, 4.24, 27.1 IP, 6 BB, 19 K's, GO/AO= 0.95.  Hard thrower who was SJ's Closer in 2016.  I saw him pitch that season and came away impressed.  Then he got promoted to AA and completely fell apart.  Whether that was due to injury or not having enough secondary stuff for the higher level, we may never know.  He did not play in 2017 until late in the season and seemed to be a reasonable resemblance of his old self.  2018 would seem to be a key season for him.  He needs to stay healthy and pitch well at the AA level.

Michael Cederoth, RHP.  DOB:  11/25/1992.  6'6", 195 lbs.  Drafted 2014 Round 3(Twins).  Minor league FA 5/2917.  A+:  0-0, 3.20, 25.1 IP, 15 BB, 33 K, GO/AO= 1.28.  Cederoth is a very hard thrower who was kind of a Stephen Strasburg lite for San Diego State.  Looking at his stat lines, it's really unclear why the Twins gave up on him so soon.  The Giants pounced on him and he pitched well for San Jose, albeit with an injury break midseason.  Like the other RP's on this list, he'll need to stay healthy in 2018 and pitch well for Richmond.

Dillon Dobson, 1B/DH.  DOB:  8/21/1993.  B-L, T-R.  6'2", 220 lbs.  Drafted 2015 Round 23.
A+:  .234/.294/.402, 21 2B, 3 3B, 15 HR, 7.4 BB%, 30.9 K%, 472 PA.  Drafted as a 2B out of Appalachian St., Dobson has moved up the ladder and now seems to be a 1B.  Has some serious pop in his LH bat, but a big K rate limits his usable power.  Giants have a talent vacuum in the mid-levels of their system, so he should get a shot Richmond which will be a big test.

Dylan Davis, OF.  DOB:  7/20/1993.  B-R, T-R.  6'0", 205 lbs.   Drafted 2014 Round 3.
AA:  .217/.280/.361, 17 2B, 10 HR, 7.3 BB%, 25.7 K%, 358 PA.  Davis had a breakout season for San Jose in 2016, but failed to build on it in 2017 reverting to his low contact/occasional HR profile.  Tough to see him succeeding at higher levels with this approach.  He's got a strong throwing arm and was a reliever in college.  Maybe he should try pitching?

Monday, January 8, 2018

Hot Stove Update: Blue Jays Trade for Yangervis Solarte

The Blue Jays acquired Yangervis Solarte, a versatile infielder with sneaky power, from the Padres for 2 significant minor league players.  Solarte is a 30 yo switch-hitter who batted .255 with 18 HR's last year while playing multiple IF positions, mostly 3B.  You have to wonder if this trade is a prelude to the BJ's trading Josh Donaldson who is in his final year of arbitration and looks to be paid about $20 M in 2018.  It is also interesting that the BJ's had already traded for IF Aledmys Diaz earlier in the offseason.

The Padres acquire OF/DH Edward Olivares who will be 22. yo in 2018.  Olivares had a power breakout in 2017 in single A Lansing slashing .277/.330/.500, 26 2B, 9 3B, 17 HR, 18 SB in 464 PA, although he scuffled a bit after a late-season promo to A+ level.

Jared Cardiff is a minor league reliever who pitched at 4 levels in 2017:  3-4, 3.86, 63 IP, 15 BB, 51 K's.  

I thought Solarte would be a great, affordable fit for the Giants 3B needs.  I don't know if a Giants trade for Solarte was ever possible.  intra-division trades are pretty rare.  In the end, it seems the Giants were more concerned about the CBT hit for 2018 than the total size of the contract.  Somehow the quirks of how the CBT is calculated gave them more room in 2018 with the Longoria trade than Solarte would have even though Longoria's contract will be a bigger hit in future seasons.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: Honorable Mention Part II

Matt Winn, C.  DOB:  8/5/1992.  B-R, T-R.  6'1", 210 lbs.  Drafted 2015 Round 14.  A+:.215/.288/.303, 17 2B, 6 HR, 8.9 BB%, 34.2 K%, 281 PA.
AA:  .125/.255/.125, 14.9 BB%, 36.2 K%, 47 PA.
AAA:  .333/.350/.667, HR, 5.0 BB%, 38 K%, 20 PA.
I have read that the Giants think highly of Winn's leadership skills.  He also has some pop in his bat.  The K's are a problem.  With Aramis Garcia likely starting the season in Richmond, Winn might find himself back in SJ for 2018.  Coaching or managing might be in his future at some point.

Ronnie Jebavy, OF.  DOB:  5/17/1994.  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 205 lbs.  Drafted 2015 Round 5.
A+:  .251/.291/.362, 14 2B, 4 3B, 4 HR, 15 SB, 3.7 BB%, 29.4 K%, 327 PA.  Jebavy is a human highlight reel in CF and a nice combination of gap power and speed, but struggles to make contact.  I just don't see the bat playing at higher levels without a complete reworking of his approach at the plate.

Gio Brusa, OF.  DOB:  7/26/1993.  B-S, T-R.  6'3", 235 lbs.  Drafted 2016 Round 6.
A+:  .237/. 296/.432, 28 2B, 2 3B, 17 HR, 7.1 BB%, 26.6 K%, 467 PA.  Brusa is a bit of an enigma.  Scouts love his tools but he tends to underperform.  On the other hand, power hitters tend to develop late, and he does have serious power.

Cory Taylor, RHP.  DOB: 12/14/1993.  6'2", 255 lbs.  Drafed 2015 Round 8.
AA:  4-11, 4.30, 127.2 IP, 7.05 K/9, 4.09 BB/9, GO/AO= 1.39.  The numbers are disappointing, especially from a pitching-friendly environment.  He did finish the season strong with a 3.40 ERA over his last 10 appearances and allowed just 5 ER in 19 IP over his final 3 starts.  May get another shot at AA to start 2018.

Sandro Cabrera, LHP.  DOB: 6/22/1995.  6'2", 175 lbs.  IFA 2014.
Low A:  1-2, 4.14, 67.1 IP, 9.62 K/9, 4.81 BB/9, GO/AO- 0.81.  Cabrera was a relatively old 18 yo when he signed as an IFA.  He's made slow but steady progress up the minor league chain starting and relieving.  He's got an interesting K rate but needs to tone down the walks.  He still has time iron that out.  If he has a MLB future, it'll likely be a lefty specialist.  Did he do enough last year to move up to San Jose?

Saturday, January 6, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: Honorable Mention Part I

I am usually so excited by the #1 Giants prospect, I post his profile first and work down.  I'm pretty darn excited about Heliot Ramos, more than any recent #1, but I'll try something different this year and start with the HM's and work up.  How's that?

Chase Johnson, RHP.  DOB:  1/9/1992.  6'3", 190 lbs.  Drafted Round 3, 2013.  AAA:  0-2, 4.35, 10.1 IP, 0 BB, 9 K's, GO/AO= 1.10.  Johnson is a hard throwing former college closer who was a rising star in the Giants organization until 2016 when he started to develop arm problems and was moved to the pen, reportedly to try to preserve it.  He started 2017 well enough, but went on the DL on April 23 and underwent TJ surgery in early May.  The typical timetable would have Johnson back on the mound in games in May or June, but the Giants generally take it slow with TJ returnees.

Roberto Gomez, RHP.  DOB:  8/3/1989.  6'5", 180 lbs.  Minor League FA 2016.  AAA:  3-9, 4.07, 971 IP, 38 BB, 89 K, GO/AO= 1.32.  MLB:  0-0, 8.44, 5.1 IP, 1 BB, 6 K's.  Gomez came up through the Rays system but last pitched for them in 2014.  He was out of affiliated ball until the Giants signed him to a minor league FA contract.  He came on strong late in the minor league season for Sacramento and was given a cup of coffee with the Giants that did not go as well.  He's still on the 40 man roster. If he sticks there, he will likely start the season back in Sacramento waiting for another chance to come along as the season progresses.

Pierce Johnson, RHP.  DOB:  5/10/1991.  6'3', 200 lbs.  Drafted on Compensation A Round 2012(Cubs).  AAA:  3-2, 4.31, 54.1 IP, 27 BB, 74 K, 9 Saves.  MLB:  0-0, 0.00, 1.0 IP, 1 BB, 2 K's.  Pierce Johnson has always had impressive K rates.  Seems like I recall somewhere that he is a very hard thrower too.  He was DFA'd by the Cubs late in 2017 and the Giants picked him off waivers.  If he sticks on the 40 man roster, we'll likely see him in spring training where he is a sleeper candidate for a bullpen job.  More likely he starts the season in Sacramento and vies for a midseason callup.

Matt Gage, LHP.  DOB:  2/11/1993.  6'4", 240 lbs.  Drafted Round 10, 2014.  AA:  4-4, 2.88, 78.0 IP, 20 BB, 55 K, GO/AO= 1.36.  AAA:  2-7, 5.75, 67.1 IP, 20 BB, 40 K, GO/AO= 1.07.  Before you get too excited by Gage's AA numbers, it was his 3'rd season pitching there.  Things did not go as smoothly after a promo to Sacramento.  He's a contact pitcher with a modest GB rate, a combination that might work better in the majors than in the PCL.  The challenge for Gage is convincing the Giants to trust him with a MLB opportunity.

Sam Coonrod, RHP.  DOB:  9/22/1992.  6'2", 225 lbs.  Drafted Round 5, 2014.  AA:  4-11, 4.69, 103.2 IP, 42 BB, 94 K, GO/AO= 1.04.  Coonrod is a hard thrower who puts a lot of effort into his delivery.  That may have caught up with him late in the 2017 season when he went on the DL.  I recall reading somewhere that he underwent TJ surgery, but now I cannot confirm that.  If true, he will likely miss all of 2018, then try to mount a comeback in 2019.  Many analysts saw him as a future reliever even before the injury.

Friday, January 5, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects

I thought the Giants might resolve their offseason needs by the end of this week and we could post a top 50 prospects list that had a reasonable chance of remaining intact until at least midseason.  With reports of no imminent trades and Kuip reportedly saying the process could drag on until March 1, we'll have to go ahead and post the final prospect list and start posting our profiles or we won't be done before the minor league season starts.  If there is a major subtraction of prospects in a trade, we'll just have to revise the list.  Oh well!  With that introduction, here's the list:

1.  Heliot Ramos, OF
2.  Tyler Beede, RHP
3.  Steven Duggar, OF
4.  Bryan Reynolds, OF
5.  Austin Slater, OF
6.  Chris Shaw, OF/1B
7.  Aramis Garcia, C
8.  Andrew Suarez, LHP
9.  Sandro Fabian, OF
10.  Jacob Gonzalez, 3B
11. Shaun Anderson, RHP
12. Gregory Santos, RHP
13.  Alexander Canario, OF
14.  Joan Gregorio, RHP
15.  Miguel Gomez, 2B
16.  Dan Slania, RHP
17.  Garrett Williams, LHP
18.  CJ Hinojosa, IF
19.  Ryan Howard, IF
20.  Ricardo Genoves, C
21.  DJ Snelton, LHP
22.  Reyes Maronta, RHP
23.  Julian Fernandez, RHP
24.  Tyler Rogers, RHP
25.  Sam Wolff, RHP
26.  Heath Quinn, OF
27.  Jonah Arenado, 3B
28.  Raffi Vizcaino, RHP
29.  Melvin Adon, RHP
30.  Patrick Ruotolo, RHP
31.  Jalen Miller, 2B
32.  Kelvin Beltre, 2B
33.  Seth Corry, LHP
34.  Logan Webb, RHP
35.  Jason Bahr, RHP
36.  Stetson Woods, RHP
37.  Carlos Diaz, LHP
38.  Orlando Garcia, 2B
39.  Malique Ziegler, OF
40.  Rob Calabrese, C
41.  Shane Matheny, 3B
42.  Logan Baldwin, OF
43.  Bryce Johnson, OF
44.  Camilo Doval, RHP
45.  John Gavin, LHP
46.  Jose Marte, RHP
47.  Aaron Bond, OF
48.  Diego Rincones, OF
49.  Ismael Munguia, OF
50.  Manuel Geraldo, SS

Honorable Mention:  Tyler Herb, RHP, Eduardo Rivera RHP, Miguel Figueroa RHP, Jeffry Parra C, Conner Menez LHP, Jake Greenwalt RHP, Franklin Van Gurp RHP, Garrett Cave RHP, Brandon Van Horn SS, Jacob Heyward OF, Dylan Rheault RHP, Wil LaMarche RHP, Rodolfo Martinez RHP, Michael Cederoth RHP, Dillon Dobson 1B, Dylan Davis OF, Matt Winn  C, Ronnie Jebavy OF, Gio Brusa OF, Cory Taylor RHP, Sandro Cabrera LHP, Chase Johnson RHP, Roberto Gomez RHP, Pierce Johnson RHP, Matt Gage LHP, Sam Coonrod RHP.

Once again, try to not get too hung up on the exact order here.  The main point of this exercise is to become more familiar with the prospects in the Giants organization.

Hot Stove Update: Dodgers Bolster Pen; Giants Sign 3 To Minors Deals

There was finally a significant trade in the Hot Stove League yesterday, but not involving any speculated names.  The Dodgers upgraded the left side of their bullpen by acquiring LHP Scott Alexander from the KC Royals in a 3-way trade involving the White Sox.  Alexander had 69 IP for the Royals last year with a 2.48 ERA, solid K and BB rates and an extreme groundball rate.  He'll be a lefty specialist who can go for more than 1 or 2 batters at a time for the Dodgers.  The Dodgers also get minor league IF Jake Peter from the ChiSox.

The Royals come away with a solid RHP SP prospect in Trevor Oaks and IF Erick Mejia.  Oaks is 25 yo, 6'3", 200 lbs. who posted a 3.24 ERA in 84 IP and solid K and BB rates for AA Tulsa last year.  The ChiSox end up with 2 bullpen vets, RHP Joakim Soria and LHP Luis Avilan plus $3 M, $1 from KC and $2 M from the Dodgers.

Comment:  Interesting that the Dodgers seem to always be in the middle of 3-way trades while I can't remember the last 3-way the Giants were involved in.


Meanwhile, the Giants bolstered their depth by signing 3 players to minor league deals including former Giants C Hector Sanchez.  This may be a big win for the Giants for no other reason than it prevents Hector from batting against them in 2018.  Other signings include IF Chase D'Arnaud who has kicked around awhile and never found traction to a MLB career and RHP Jose Valdez who is not the Jose Valdez who pitched in the Giants organization a few years ago.  Valdez throws hard, but has never translated that into MLB success.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Fantasy Focus: Breakout Candidate- David Dahl; Impact Rookie- Ryan McMahon

The Colorado Rockies have spent over $100 M on relief pitching this offseason, which does not seem to leave a lot for filling position holes left by the apparent departures of Carlos Gonzalez and Mark Reynolds.  It does open up opportunities for Breakout Candidate,  OF David Dahl and Impact Rookie Candidate, IF Ryan McMahon.

Dahl was the Rockies' first round draft pick in 2012, #10 overall.  He made steady progress through the farm system putting up impressive numbers along the way.  His career minor league slash line is .307/.354/.511.  He got a late season callup on 2016 and slashed .315/.359/.500 with 12 2B, 4 3B, 7 HR, 5 SB, 6.3 BB%, 24.9 K% in 237 PA's.  I wrote up an Impact Rookie profile on him last year and added him to an N/A roster spot on my fantasy baseball team.  The only problem is he did not get 1 MLB PA in 2017 due to a stress reaction in his rib cage or back or somewhere.  Dahl has now finally been cleared to start swinging a bat and barring any further setbacks and any other offseason additions will compete for a starting OF job with the Rockies in 2017.  His health will need to be monitored closely but who does not want a high-ceiling young hitter who will play half his games in Coors Field on their fantasy baseball roster?

Ryan McMahon was the Rockies 2'nd round draft pick, #42 overall, in 2013.  He crushed the lower minors, but then struggled to a .242 BA in AA in 2016.  He was reassigned to AA in 2017 and slashed  .326/.390/.536 with 6 HR and 7 SB in 206 PA's.  That earned him a midseason promo to AAA where he exploded to a .374/411/612 with 14 HR in 314 PA's.  He only had 24 PA's in a September callup and hit just .158.  He should have an opportunity to play regularly for the Rockies in 2018 either in RF or 1B.  Again, you gotta love young hitters in Coors Field.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Fantasy Focus: Third Base Bargains

Third base is a deep position for fantasy baseball managers, deep enough that you might want to roster more than one and use one as a IF or UT player.  There 3B who you would want to draft early or spend big on no matter what position they played.  Nolan Arenado, Jose Ramirez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rendon are names that come to mind.  Don't forget about Joey Gallo and his 41 dingers that came with a .208 BA.  If you are in an OBP league, Gallo suddenly becomes an elite hitter.

One guy who does not get a lot of attention but has been remarkably consistent over his career is Kyle Seager.  He's hit 25-30 HR's for 4 consecutive seasons now.  He's not a breakout player or sleeper but may be a bargain must because of his consistency.  I'd target him if you want to spend your high draft picks or your auction money on other positions or if you are looking for a nice player to roster as an IF or UT player.

Fantasy Focus: Breakout Candidate- Jaimer Candelario

Jaimer Candelario is a 24 year old switch-hitting 3B who came up through the Cubs system but found himself blocked several ways at the Cubs MLB level.  The Tigers liberated him last midseason with a trade that sent Justin Wilson and Alex Avila to the Cubs.  Candelario went on a tear after getting Calle up to Detroit with a .330 BA.  He's unlikely to hit .330 for a full season but he's an excellent hitter with gap+ power and a relatively rare ability to maintain strong walk and contact rates.  Gap+ power does not really do him justice as he is an extra base machine.  Last season he had exactly 600 PA'a over 2 levels with 2 organizations and hit 45 doubles, 4 triples and 18 HR's with 9.2 BB% and 21.1 K%.  Through most of his minor league career, he maintained double digit walk rates while keeping his K rate under 20%.

It looks like the Tigers are willing to move Nick Castellanos off 3B to make room for Candelario which is good for prospective fantasy baseball owners.  He should be the full time starter at 3B. He is better batting RH, but no slouch from the left side of the plate either.  He may have more value in OBP leagues than standard 5X5's.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Scouting the 2018 Draft: Joey Bart

Joey Bart is a college catcher for Georgia Tech.  He's a big one at 6'3", 230 lbs and he B-R, T-R.   He got some attention coming out of HS for his strong throwing arm and power potential and has made nice progress in his first 2 college seasons.  He hit .299 as a freshman but with just 1 HR.  He found his power stroke in his 2'nd college season with 13 dingers to go with his .296 BA.  His record in wood bat leagues is mixed as he slashed .309/.389/.433 in the Cape Cod League in 2016, but struggled to a .176 BA in just 30 AB's in 2017 before joining USA Baseball.  The slash lines consistently come with a relatively low walk rate and a 25% K rate.

Bart has always had a strong throwing arm with good pop times and gunned down 40% of base stealers last year.  There were questions about the rest of his catching game, but he has worked hard to upgrade those and is now generally considered to be a future MLB catcher by most scouts.

Bart offers an intriguing combination of catching tools and skills with power in the bat, and that is probably enough to give him a long MLB career, but it might be a fringy one with a high risk that he's a career backup catcher.  Best case scenario would be something like Mike Zunino.  Personally, I would not spend a first round draft pick on him and probably not a second rounder either.

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).

8.  Matthew Liberatore, LHP, HS
9.  Travis Swaggerty, OF, College(University of South Alabama)
10. Tristan Pompey, OF, College(Kentucky)
11.  Nolan Gorman, 3B, HS
12.  Greyson Jenista, OF/1B, College(Wichita St)
13.  Casey Mize, RHP, College(Auburn)
14.  Nick Madrigal, 2B, College(Oregon St)
15.  Shane McClanahan, LHP, College(University of South Florida)
16.  Jackson Kowar, RHP, College(Florida)
17.  Ryan Rolison, LHP, College(Mississippi)
18.  Griffin Conine, OF, College(Duke)
19.  Brice Turang, SS, HS
20.  Jeremy Eierman, SS, College(Missouri St)
21.  Joey Bart, C, College(Georgia Tech)