Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/5/2018: Rangers 5 Giants 4

Ty Blach recorded the longest appearance by a Giants pitcher this spring as the Giants came up short agains the Rangers.  Key Lines:

Austin Jackson CF- 1 for 2, BB.  BA= .500.  Jackson has not appeared much so far this spring but has done fine when he did.  The big question with him is whether his CF defense is any better, or even as good as Denard Span's was last year and whether Steven Duggar would be a better defender.  The problem for us fans is there is a lot we don't know about how to judge that.  By at least one defensive metric, UZR/150, Jackson has been a worse defender in CF over the past 2 seasons than Denard Span, who the Giants dumped in a trade apparently because of his bad defense.

There are other published metrics out there that seem to show Jackson being an upgrade on Span, but still not a plus defender in CF.  On top of all that, the Giants almost certainly have their own proprietary defensive stats that may show something completely different.  Fangraphs writers openly acknowledge that MLB teams have access to way more information than Fangraphs staff.  Then there is Steven Duggar who has drawn rave reviews for his defense, but minor league defensive data is virtually nonexistent.  I would assume and hope the Giants compile their own defensive data that goes beyond the "eye test".

Kyle Jenson PH/DH- 1 for 1, HR(5).  BA= .545.  Yup, Jenson is definitely channeling Randy Elliott this spring.

Chase d'Arnaud 3B- 0 for 1, 2 BB.  BA= .333.  Is d'Arnaud a darkhorse to win a roster spot?  He's playing all over the IF and hitting well while Kelby seems to have disappeared.

Trevor Brown C- 0 for 1, BB, SF.  BA= .091.  Somehow Brown has accumulated enough spring AB's to have a .091 BA.  Who knew?  He had a pretty good game here despite lowering his BA.

Ty Blach LHP- 3.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, GO/AO= 5/0.  Blach gained more ground in his bid for a rotation spot.  His stuff might not have been quite as sharp as his first 2 starts, but he still kept the ball on the ground and listed the damage.

Andrew Suarez LHP- 2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 2 K. ERA= 7.71.  Barring a dramatic turnaround, Blach will win a rotation spot and Suarez will go to Sacramento for more salt.


  1. There is method in the CBT madness for the Giants this year and I think it has everything to do with Bryce Harper.
    The Giants want to "reset" the tax and penalties as repeated offenders, so that they, in the Harpers Bazarre (or Bazaar), can go over next year without the excessive consequences.
    Yet, they want to do well enough this year to attract Harper and the playoffs are a goal but not a requirement. A rebound is necessary like Stanton didn't think SF was "good enough" for Him. 85-90 wins is a threshold, maybe not the Giants, but close. It means with a guy like Harper and the basic team with some young additions will be "in it" to win.
    That said, if the Giants are in contention at the ASG and look to be able to play square with th "big boys" in a short series, they will probably shuck the cap.
    (They were willing to forego this if they had signed Stanton which would have been the game changer to blast the CBT this year and forego the reset.)
    Who knows what lurks in the minds of men (with apologies to The Shadow)?

    1. I don't see the Giants passing the cap unless they acquire someone like a Stanton or Harper, a young long-term asset.

  2. Is Kyle Jensen a casualty of his own success?
    Has he been "too good"?
    Why are "extras" invited to spring training -- just to showcase for a minor league job?
    If Jensen had been just "normally" good would he just put into the system somewhere, AA or AAA?
    OK, he hasn't faced ML level pitching, probably not even AA level, but what would he have had to do? He has never really had a chance above AAA and he has some good power numbers at AAA -- better than Parker's.
    Contributors to this board have expressed satisfaction with a +fielder in center and a .250 BA, how would a 30+ HR guy in LF and a .250 BA be?
    Randy Elliott didn't fail because he "overachieved" in the Spring, he got plunked in his first AB and, because of a trick injury, he never recovered (fully).
    It's pretty clear that Jensen can hit a mistake pitch as hard as anyone, the question is how many ABs will he need between mistake pitches to be effective.
    Jensen may be having an Randy Elliott spring, but he doesn't have a Randy Elliott body, so he should get full credit and consideration for what he's doing in the few ABs he's had.

    1. No, the fact is that most guys who end up hitting so many homers in spring, when they couldn't make the majors before, tend to fizzle out in the majors, once the real games begin. Teams are pretty good at identifying and holding onto talent. Teams pick up guys like Jensen in hopes that he finally figured out what he was doing wrong before, or perhaps with their tinkering, he will figure it out.

      But this early in spring, guys like Jensen will get super-hyped, and usually fall back to Earth at some point. Yes, he's not Randy Elliot, he of bad shoulder, but he is Kyle Jensen, he who hit for power before but no other team was willing to give him a chance when every team wants more power, so he's got the equivalent of Elliot's shoulder in his profile that's been holding him back, whether it's a hole in his swing, poor defense, or whatever.

      And he is getting full credit, hence the interest and hype in him, but the reality is that these hitters tend to fizzle out eventually.

    2. But maybe he's fixed -- or why did the Giants sign him, bring him to camp?
      Really, it's peanuts to SF in ST but they invite him to ST, give him a bat, and say let's see what you can do.
      So, he says watch this.
      Now what do the Giants say? Just kidding?
      Of course he's not going to hit 5 HRs in 11 ABs, because everything is a softball to him right now and he's facing pitchers who will possibly never get to AAA, but he's doing it now.
      So what will the Giants do? That's all I'm asking. That he's never but one brief shot had a chance to show what he can do in the bigs, when Parker gets shot after shot after shot, why did they invite him?
      Maybe they know something we don't.
      Heck, ONE HR in 11 ABs is pretty great!

    3. Anon, you get the deal right? Non-roster invites get a chance to showcase. Barring an injury (or two) Jensen is not making the 25. He knows that. He's a 9-year pro. He knows, better than anyone, why he only has 31 MLB ABs. No team is going to interpret a hot, very early Spring as anything more than a point of interest.

      If Jensen really has fixed something that translates into less strikeouts or a higher BA, he will absolutely crush AAA and be called up soon enough. He's not being wronged by not having any realistic chance to start the season in the Majors.

      I'm rooting for the guy. Who isn't? But, It's March 6th.

    4. Yeah, rooting for him, definitely.

      Maybe he's the next Vogelsong, hope springs eternal in spring training, so teams will give chances to these players who has been around but never got THE chance.

      Or maybe he's the new Torres, a guy who fixed up his swing on his own dime. Or Jose Bautista, who changed into a monster HR hitter!

      Yeah, that's great hitting, the homers he's hitting, I hope and wish he keeps it up, even at 1 in 11 AB!

      But it's March 6th, as Mojo noted. If you read any of the spring training reports this year, it almost seems uniformly true, the starting pitcher would bit hit around the place, but he's okay, says he was working on pitches, or working on getting a particular pitch working, so he'll just throw it over and over again.

      As the saying goes, most pros are really good hitters when they know what pitch is coming, like in batting practice. So we have almost zero idea how Jensen is doing it right now, whether he figured it out and be the next Bautista, or the next Randy Elliott. Still, most turn out to be Randy Elliott's, than Jose Bautista's.

      But, obviously, better to be hitting them than not, like Parker is doing right now.

      The reality is that once the pitchers start pitching instead of throwing, they will start sequencing and using their better pitches, many of these HR hitters turn back into their pumpkins.

      As the saying goes for managers, they would love for a hitter to make the decision tough for the team. If Jensen keeps on hitting really well (and the team likes his approach and results, appreciating hard contact that are caught), the Giants will find a way to get him onto the roster. Like how they fit in Belt, or Duffy, on the opening day roster. But way too early to get that excited about him, you are as excited about Jensen as I was about Elliott when he was hitting great.

  3. Harper is not a fit for a Giant locker room!

    Richard in Winnipeg

    1. Bryce is Barry, was Barry fit for a Giant locker room?

    2. I am going to disagree, Richard. I don't see Harper being a problem in the locker room, but when you have his talent, it hardly matters.

    3. I understand your sentiments, but from reading about him, I think he's just a young guy with a good heart, but, at heart, a young guy, and as the saying goes, guys have a hole in their brain until they get past their 25th birthday, at least, so they are prone to making stupid decisions.

      And as DrB astutely noted, if your teammate has his talent, you will put up with a lot to get him into your lineup. Or as Bryce noted, Barry Bonds is a great example.

  4. Parker may be out of options, but the Giants aren't in the immediate future or long term no matter how Harper plays out:


    Don't think Parker is necessary now or in the future.

  5. Eyeballs & Ears. When you see Duggar rescue a pitcher with a shot that'd have been at least a bases-loaded single with anyone else (fantastic jump and excellent speed) and announcers go crazy (with real excitement) over the play... Yeah, you know he's got chops. And I've seen him in a few cactus league games. He's got range. There is no question, at all, that he's got range. And he takes good routes and gets a good jump. I just have zero concerns over his defense.

    All Duggar needs to do is hit .250 with a handful of HRs and he's my guy for the next five years.

    1. That's been my hope given all I've read, thanks for sharing what you're seeing. With our lineup, I think the Giants can live with a low BA as long as he has good defense, and especially speed, since they got two older guys in the corners.

      Did you cut it off at 5 years because that's roughly when Heliot will be ready? :^)