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.