Friday, March 2, 2018

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/1/2018: Angels 11 Giants 4

The Giants had a pretty good game going through 6 innings before the wheels fell off in scrub time.  Key Lines:

Gorkys Hernandez PR-RF- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .333.  Hernandez is a bette defender than Austin Jackson and not a lock to be a worse hitter.

Mac Williamson PH/DH- 1 for 1, 2B.  BA= .357.  If Mac is suddenly a 30 HR guy, everybody in baseball is going to pay a visit to Justin Turner's hitting coach.

Gregor Blanco CF- 2 for 2.  BA= .556.  I could see Duggar starting the season in Sacramento and Blanco being the strong end of a CF platoon.  The short side will likely be Austin Jackson, but Gorkys might be a better choice.

Chris Shaw LF- 2 for 2.  BA= .357.  After a slow start, Shaw is on fire.

Jonah Arenado 3B- 1 for 2.  BA= .500.  Arenado had been hitting, but committed his 2'nd error of the spring at 3B.

Chris Stratton RHP- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's, GO/AO= 4/0.  ERA= 0.00.  The big news of the day. Second spring starts can be perilous, but Stratton and Blach were both sensational.  To me, those two are the keys to the season.  If they can fill out the rotation and deliver average to good results, the Giants should be in good shape.

Josh Osich LHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, GO/AO= 2/0.  ERA= 0.00.  Osich has had good stretches in the past.  He has to find a way to keep it going.

Cory Gearrin RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Gearrin should be a lock for a bullpen slot.

Julian Fernandez RHP- 0.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 216.00.  Ouch!  Another shellacking for the kid.  He's got to start getting outs or the Giants will have to offer him back to the Rockies.


Ryder Jones will miss at least 10 more days with a sore hammy.

Hector Sanchez will miss 2 weeks with a sore hammy.

Buster Posey will be held out until next Tuesday with a sore ankle.


  1. Jones: Ah, so that's what happened to Jones. I was wondering. That hamstring really puts him behind the 8-ball.

    Arenado: I was reading John Sickles yesterday. HIs take is that the younger Arenado just isn't anywhere near older Arenado, especially with the glove.

    Shaw & Mac: Duking it out for LF/4th OFer with perhaps both transitioning into full-time starters with Mac in RF and Shaw in LF. The OF looks to go from 'distressing' and 'unrealized potential' to (hopefully/possibly) really good.

  2. Another solid start for Stratton - maybe Shark demoted to 5th starter?

    1. Don't think it really matters who pitches where in the rotation. I'd be happy with a 1. Bum. 2. Cueto and three 3's.

    2. I'd be pretty happy with Cueto back to a solid 2. And super happy if he was a 1b.

    3. One, it doesn't actually matter. Though I'm kind of incredulous at the demotion of someone who performed so well, despite the lousy defense.

      Two, his FIP was 3.61 (#13 in all of baseball (qualified starters)) though his ERA wasn't a nice as he got hurt multiple times by lousy OF defense never mind his occasional 'dinger lapses.' And, FWIW, his FIP was better than Bumgarner's FIP of 3.95 and the best on the team.

      Three, he had 20 Quality Starts which tied him for 10th in the Majors last year. Samardzija, who had as many, or more, quality starts than the ACE of 25 teams a #5 stater would be at least a #3 on most every team in National League (except the Nationals) and a #1 or #2 on somewhere around half... These are the five teams that had, at year's end, a starter with a pitcher that had one (or more) QS leaders ahead of Samardzija at season's end:

      Nationals (3 - that's why there is only team where he wouldn't be the #3 starter)
      Astros (1 - Verlander whom they traded for)
      Red Sox (1 - Sale whom they traded for)
      Indians (1)
      Mets (1)

      The guy has earned some respect. He's earned that #3 spot. And, if we go by last year, the #2 spot.

    4. I've been surprised by how many people want to dump Samardzija off the Giants, so this comment does not surprise me. That seems to be a national thing too, I just read an article where the beat writer suggested the Cubs dumping Hayward's bad contract on us for Samardzija and Melancon, I was gobsmacked by that one.

      As for me, I figured that the Shark was a 1-2 year project for the Giants to "fix" by getting him consistently throwing well, a la his best season, which aligned with Cueto opting out after two years, so that Cueto would leave, but Samardzija would be ready to be the 1b starter option. If he pitches like he did in the final third or so of the season, he's easily 1c behind Bumgarner and Cueto, but he's been up and down so much, we'll see.

      And Melancon, his contract is dead if he does not come back from this surgery, but if he's fine, then no reason to trade. Only way I would see the Hayward trade, where Hayward is proven to be a bad contract, is if by mid-season, both Samardzija and Melancon are both doing poorly, at which point, sure, maybe I would entertain that, depends on how long his contract is, and what we would do with him since we already have Pence and McCutchen in there.

  3. If Hernandez is a better defender than Jackson, Jackson must be awful.
    Gorkys "projects" to .251/.321/.372 but he's a marginal leadoff hitter and a negative fielder. He really brings none value to SF for 2018.
    If SF opens with Hernandez/Jackson in CF (assuming Jackson is worse defensively), the Giants are no better than last year when the outfield was the Salvation Army for hitters.
    Is McCutchen worse?
    Giants spend $200,000,000 and have an outfield that's no better than last year's bad outfield!
    (Hernandez went in as a pinch runner yesterday and promptly got picked off 1st. Tropeano has a good move, but really, doesn't Hernandez know that?)

    1. Salvation Army for hitters. That was a definite LOL moment.

      As for Hernandez, he's high on my list of guys I'd like to see replaced. He might even be the highest on my list now that I think about it...

  4. Gorkeys Hernandez is a LOCK to be a worse hitter than Austen Jackson, but with that guy I guess hope springs eternal. He is a very bad offensive player by every measure except for "potential", that's why Austen Jackson has a long ML career and he's an MiL journeyman....

  5. What is this love for Gorkeys? We say that act last year, Im all for trying something different even if it is Austin Jackson.

    1. What is all this hate for Gorkys? His UZR/150 for CF last year was +7.5 and +1.9 overall. Jackson was -19.5 for CR and -13.8 overall. Gorky is a better fielder and it is not particularly close.

    2. Denard Span was actually a better defensive OF than Austin Jackson last year by UZR/150.

    3. It depends on which fielding stat you like to use.

      I like UZR/150, but it only has to do with whether the fielder got the balls in the zones, it has nothing at all about the whole act of fielding: how he fielded it, his arm, his accuracy, whether he threw out a runner. DRS does include all those factors, including whether he got to the ball.

      By DRS seasonal value, here are the players in question for CF, which is the key position for the four:

      Gorkys -11
      Span -31
      Jackson 4
      Blanco -19

      And I don't know what's up with Gorkys, but his UZR/150 for the past two seasons in CF: -14.8 and -18.1..

      So that's another thing I'm not happy about fielding metrics, including DRS, you get wild swings up and down, season to season. It is basically like BABIP right now, it is generally in a range, but there are wild swings up and down, season to season, and thus looking at the numbers over a few seasons is a better measure, I believe. And by that, Jackson just happened to have a good year in 2017, as he was negative the three years before.

      I think the most definitive thing one can say is that it appears that Jackson is the best fielder, in all three OF positions, of the four, but that none of them are all that good defensive in CF. That frees up CF for Duggar to claim if his bat is playable, as long as his defense is plus.

    4. I'm not sure what UZR you are looking at, ogc, but Gorkys was +7.5 in CF last year. Maybe you meant Austin Jackson?

    5. ogc, I just went back and reviewed UZR and DRS in the Glossary section of Fangraphs. I don't think your comparison is accurate as UZR does evaluate more than just whether a player got to a ball and made a play on it or not. The differences are subtle and the 2 systems agree much more often than disagree. The major difference is DRS is reported in terms of runs saved as apposed to out vs safe or holding a runner vs allowing an extra base, but that has nothing to do with how the raw data is collected and analyzed. It's like reporting a unit of measure in metric vs English unites.

    6. Any response to the DRS argument? Gorkeys just does not pass the eye test, at bat or in the field. Jackson is a far more well rounded player and I don't think it's even close. I just can't tolerate having another season of multiple black holes in the lineup.

    7. Sorry for relyin g on my memory, I should have read up on UZR before posting. But from what I understand, UZR is also represented in runs saved format, using linear weights, in a similar format as DRS, the main difference being the methodology to reach their conclusions/valuations.

      What I was trying to say was that Gorkys had UZR/150 of -14.8 and -18.1 in the two prior seasons in CF, then 7.5 this season. So was 2017 the regression to the mean? That's the wild swings I was referring to, I was lamenting how poorly even the best metrics are at measuring fielding.

      Overall, his UZR/150 is -6.6, so for his career, he's been a poor fielder in CF, unless you think he can become almost 2 wins better in one year and that's his new talent level.

    8. FYI, I found this post to concur with your conclusion that they are more similar than different, again, my apologies:

      "DRS is comparable to UZR in terms of methodology (e.g. the use of “zones” for evaluating defensive success rates) and results. There are some slight differences between the two systems (see below), so DRS and UZR will occasionally disagree on how to rate certain players, but they agree more often than they disagree. The differences between the two systems are smaller than they seem at first glance:

      Both systems have the same goal- estimate a player’s defensive worth in units of “runs”, and both rely on hit location and type data from Baseball Info Solutions. The differences lie in the various adjustments and calculations that are made.

      For example, Defensive Runs Saved uses a rolling one-year basis for the Plus/Minus system, while UZR uses several years of data to determine each play’s difficulty level. Defensive Runs Saved also includes components to measure pitcher and catcher defense. (The Fielding Bible)"

    9. I would say at least Gorkys was good in CF last year while Jackson has been bad out in the wide open spaces for the last 2 years.

      One word of caution in comparing defensive stats: You have to make sure you are comparing the same thing. Sometimes they are expressed as cumulative or "counting" stats and sometimes they are normalized to an equal denominator which is what how they would compare with equal playing time. It's basically the same as comparing Hits vs Batting Average or comparing Total Bases vs Slugging Percentage.

      The reason I like UZR/150 is that it compares Runs Save between two players if they both played 150 games vs if one plays 150 games and the other plays say 50.

    10. Here is an illustration(we'll assume that UZR and DRS are the same):

      Player A has a UZR/DRS of -7.

      Player B has a UZR/DRS of -14.

      So, Player A is a better defender than Player B because he cost his team more runs on defense, right? What if I now tell you Player A played 50 games while Player B played 150? Player B is actually the better defender because if Player A played in 150 games like Player B, his UZR/DRS would be -21.

    11. That is why I like to compare UZR 150's rather than total UZR's or DRS's.

    12. I totally agree! Baseball Reference has a seasonal projection of DRS that I used above in my comparison of the CF candidates and last season (I noted that, if you'll re-read).

      I also agree that Jackson is probably in the same defensive ballpark as Gorkys. My main point was that Gorkys is not that much better defensively, that the defensive metrics are not aligned. I was rushing, but I had also collected the RTOT metric from, and in that stat, Gorkys was even worse in CF in 2017: RTOT -22 runs; DRS -11 runs; UZR/150 7.5 runs (all seasonal rates). And Jackson was similarly bad too: RTOT -11; DRS 4; UZR/150 -19.5 (again, all seasonal). It looks even worse looking at prior seasons for both. My only consolation is that the Giants somehow got good defensive years out of Burrell in LF, so maybe they can do that magic with A-Jax.

      I still would have preferred to have signed Dyson because he was clearly that much better defensively than Jackson in the field, and is good at platooning as well, but I guess the Giants valued getting a RHH vs. a LHH, maybe because they wanted to give Duggar that option in his battle for the 25-man roster. But Dyson could have been brought in late in games as a defensive upgrade over Pence or McCutchen, whereas I would not throw Jackson out there over them, at least not until we see how good or bad Cutch is in RF. Plus, Dyson could have coached Duggar and the rest of our young OF on how to be better defensively, since he is good at all 3, and by a great margin. But, spilled milk...

  6. Having all these NRIs and minor leaguers on the field makes a lot of sense in that if they are playing then the regulars aren't. And they don't need to play in February.
    The regulars aren't pulling hammies or getting beaned.
    They can relax in the AZ sun and stretch and jog and play catch. If there are issues, like a blister or a sore foot, they're in the right place to be attended to.
    And a few from Williamson, Parker, Slater, Calixte, Hernandez, G Blanco, Gomez, and Hanson might make the team that goes to LA. Might even beat out Sandoval or Tomlinson.
    Duggar gets a long look and will, eventually, see some real major league, in shape pitchers -- and, who knows what will happen. He has to play everyday either with the Giants or the River Cats, he won't be brought up to sit on the bench. Nor should Williamson or Slater.
    It's fun to watch Jensen pound the ball -- did he spend some time with Turner's hitting coach also?
    It's BASEBALL!
    Play ball, so much better than the endless Winter.

  7. I had read that Mac had changed his batting mechanics, but didn't catch that it was Turner's coach. I would have thought that Torre's online batting coach would have gotten more business and press after he had that great season, but I haven't heard about the coach since. Perhaps since Torres was mostly a one year thing, whereas Turner has had multiple years.

    Heck, hire Turner's coach to work with the Giants farm system, and teach everybody!

    And yeah, what's up with Jensen!

    1. Its good to see that Mac seeked help from the batting coach to change his batting stroke to improve his chances for a better MLB career. I bet it's not easy for some pro players to change their batting mechanics, thinking back to former Giants of Gary Brown. Bruce Bochy was impressed. It tells me that Mac really wants to succeed, so he's now a player that I'm rooting for!


    2. Yeah, I would love the inside story on that! Belt's difficulties were chronicled in the media. Duggar willingly changed for the Giants, but Mac had to go outside.