Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Spring Training Update: Opening Day Roster Set?

The Giants Opening Day roster seems set, with 1 exception.  Mark Melancon is currently on the list, but seems likely to be headed to the DL as he is still experiencing discomfort in his surgically repaired right arm.  Here is the rest of the roster:

C   Buster Posey
1B Brandon Belt
2B Joe Panik
3B Even Longoria
SS Brandon Crawford
LF Hunter Pence
CF Austin Jackson
RF Andrew McCutchen

Bench  Nick Hundley, Pablo Sandoval, Kelby Tomlinson, Gregor Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez.

SP  Johnny Cueto, Chris Stratton, Derek Holland, Ty Blach

RP Melancon, Sam Dyson, Tony Watson, Hunter Strickland, Cory Gearrin, Josh Osich, Roberto Gomez, Pierce Johnson.

RP Julian Fernandez, the Rule 5 draft pick, will start the season on the DL with a UCL sprain.  He will reportedly get a second opinion, which may mean someone has already recommended surgery.

Word is Melancon will try to play catch today and then make a decision but a trip to the DL to start the season seems like a strong possibility.  If his arm is not right after this much time to recover from surgery, the troubling question is when will it be?

If Melancon hits the DL, I would think Reyes Maronta or DJ Snelton, who are already on the 40 man roster would be next in line, or maybe Steven Okert who seems to have fallen off the face of the Earth.

I think the biggest disappointment for Giants fans is Steven Duggar not making the team.  Unfortunately, his bat went cold at the wrong time.  Although he continued to play scintillating defense in CF, the Giants were apparently not convinced his D would be enough better then Austin Jackson's to justify the risk that his bat just would not come around while facing MLB pitching.  Their experience last year with several young bats probably influenced that thinking.

What is your take on the Giants Opening Day roster?


  1. I'm not terribly surprised by the starters and most of the pitchers, where I am surprised:

    Sandoval: I am surprised that Sandoval showed some pride and got into condition and worked on his game. I've said for a long time if he was in shape and kept himself there, he could be a GG 3B with good power. Now, even though he out-played him with the bat, he's not going to start over Longoria (or Belt) even though he is looking like 'good Pablo' once again. Of course, with him, the proof is in the season, not Spring Training. Too many times he's lost the weight for ST and then turned into Mr. Roly-Poly by the AS break.

    Hernandez: We'll see if his new found ability to hit the ball (.292) lasts. Because that was a definite surprise to me.

    Melancon: It's looking like he's gone from great reliever to White Whale. What a shame.

    Johnson: Really didn't pay any attention to him until this post since I figured he was just some waiver-wire guy the Giants would try to (unsuccessfully) fix. Book on him has been great velocity (96 MPH), but no movement on his FB, and tends to put it low in the strike zone which makes him a HR-hitter's dream. Hopefully he's figured something out while he was in AAA last year.

    Gomez: He's just like Johnson. High velocity (97 MPH), little movement, throws lower in the zone and has a tendency to rocked by flyball hitters. Hopefully, like Johnson, he's figured something out while in AAA last year. Because, like Johnson, he's got wicked velocity.

    Not surprised:

    Duggar: Dropped below .240 and we're going to face a TON of LH pitching which would mean he'd be riding the pine in any case. I'm expecting he'll be the starting CFer for the Giants next year, possibly this. Right now, I'd rather he be sent down so he can play everyday and work on his hitting.

    1. I'm not too surprised by Sandoval. He was contrite last season, seemed to know it was his last chance. Still, that said, you had to wonder if he would come through. To his credit, he did.

      He knows the deal, he's not the starter and both Longoria and Belt rightly did not have to play for their starting spots in spring. That said, Bochy will switch things up during the season if there is any performance issues, contract or not. So while I'm not wondering about Belt, Longoria has been up and down the past few years. So I can see Bochy "resting" Longoria more and giving Pablo starts there and at 1B, whether Belt is rested or playing in LF. Longoria was hitting well in the middle of last season, but seemed to wear out the last two months, so maybe he needs extra days off.

      Thanks for the info on Pierce, was wondering what was special about him. Judging by his ERA, didn't figure out much, but his 12.6 K/9 there was special, so I'm excited to see what he can do in the majors (his 4.5 BB/9, not so special...).

      Gomez was not as dominant in AAA, but not as wild either. And was okay with the Giants in limited appearances last season, except for all the hits. He eliminate the hits and we got a great reliever.

      Agree about Duggar.

  2. Wow. The bullpen & pitching depth in general seems like a dumpster fire being prepared to be thrown onto the tracks to cause a train wreck. If you don't have reliable starters, at least a strong BP can cushion that impact - but the two combined being on shaky footing? I'm prepared to ignore the pitching lines for a while, pretend it's a cage fight, and see who emerges as a long-term piece. Let''s go Will Smith!

    The Starting Lineup however, looks very strong to me. There's a number of great all-around hitters there, guys who know what to do, including Pablo on the bench with Nick Hundley. Really like the look of that, excited to see the Giants start off hot and establish a reputation.

    1. I'm not too worried about the bullpen. Even if Melancon is iffy, as long as he stays on the DL and not throw badly, we still got Dyson, Watson, Strickland, Gearrin, Osich.

      And my bet is on Strickland for taking care of closing, since Dyson and Watson (really, zero strikeouts in the spring? And there was nothing written about his struggles at all) both had lousy springs while Strickland was dominant. And Smith looks like he'll be back in May sometime, and should be a strong addition as well. And as poor as their spring were, both Dyson and Watson were okay last season, and okay will do, as long as Strickland and Osich can continue to dominate as they have this spring and in prior seasons (Osich his first season though), and Gearrin pitch well too, all that will help cover for Dyson and Watson's ups and downs, I think, with upside if Dyson finally figured out his prior pitching mechanics and can duplicate during the regular season, he was powerful when he was like that.

      On the starting pitching, I think we should be fine as long as the hitters hit like expected. We have a relatively potent lineup, and as long as the pitchers can be average (allowing around 4.5 runs per game), the offense should be good enough to keep us at or slightly above .500 while the Shark and Bumgarner are out. Of course, we need Cueto to be 2016 Cueto. But I think Stratton will surprise a lot of people by continuing to pitch as well as he did at the end of 2017, nobody can fake it or luck into a streak that long of good pitching, the talent is there, and he seems to be harnessing this spring. And Holland, I believe, can be good enough for at least a month or two, long enough until we get Bumgarner. If he just duplicates his 2017 first ten games - 2.37 ERA - that gets us to around the start of June, when Bumgarner comes back. Again, you can't fake it for ten starts - he had 8 quality starts out of 10, per Game Score - so the talent is in there, but his injuries in prior years sapped his strenghth to last long into the season.

    2. Seriously OCG, read back your 1st and 2nd paragraphs. They're literally self-contradictory. I've gotta say, that's a total homer take, which of course you're entitled to.

      That's exactly the point, Osich is the definition of inconsistency over his career - not a reliable arm.
      Dyson, as you stated, will be up and down - not a reliable arm.
      Watson, zero K's on the Spring, struggled mightily last season, aging - not a reliable arm.
      Gearrin may be a decent middle innings reliever, 2017 was a breakout year, can he replicate?
      Will Smith, literally cannot be counted on for anything, coming off of 2 major surgeries, pitched 40 innings in 2016 and 0.0 innings in 2017. Surgeries are NOT guarantees, in fact quite the opposite.

      Sorry, I just need to dig a little on this kind of homer-ish attitude, it shows the bias, which means the analysis will necessarily be skewed, and OGC - You're an Analysis-First poster!!

    3. ogc,

      Do you think just maybe you might be looking at the bullpen through rose, or maybe orange colored glasses?

      My gosh, ogc. I know there are some bad bullpens around the league and the Giants probably don't have the worst one, but they are most definitely bottom half, if not bottom third.

    4. Just looked up Fangraphs Bullpen Power Rankings. Giants are #21. I think that's about right.

    5. I would feel a lot better about the bullpen if Melancon and Will Smith are healthy. If they are healthy, I bet the bullpen ranking would go up to #14 at least.


    6. That's a big IF, but I would certainly agree. FULLY HEALTHY

    7. rainball: I see no contradiction. I'm not too worried. Which means I think that we are in good shape, with some worries here and there. Sure, there was some stuff in spring that wasn't great, but that relates to Strickland vs. the other two as candidates for closer. I then noted that as long as the other two do OK, i.e. what they have already done in their careers, then the bullpen is fine. And I think that they will do okay. And there are other problems too, like with Melancon, but I think we have enough bodies that we are okay.

      Here is what I'm seeing:
      I see a 6 man bullpen through most of the season, with one long reliever for 7 total.
      The six guys should be filled by Strickland, Dyson, Watson, Gearrin, Osich, Smith eventually, and hopefully Melancon will be in the mix, but only if he is healthy and performing, if they do a redux of his 2017 usage when he wasn't ready, then I have a problem with the bullpen too.

      Strickland: Career 2.63 ERA, and now he added a shutdown slider, from all indications. Closer, not too worried, even if he didn't add the slider, his ERA was 2.63, maybe he'll have some Brian Wilson moments, I think it would have been all good.
      Dyson: while his ERA for the Giants was not great last season, if he didn't have those last two blowups, we'll be having a different conversation. The difference for his ERA two games before the end of the season was 2.95 and after the two blowouts, 4.03, so I think his ERA is somewhere inbetween, in the middle, roughly 3.50, which is not bad. The vast majority of his appearances were good, he just had bad ones here and there.
      Watson: last two seasons, which were down seasons for him, 3.22 ERA. I wish all our relievers have down seasons like that. I was only down on him as closer because of his spring, but I think he's a great addition because we haven't had a effective lefty in years, then we got Smith and he went down.
      Gearrin: 3.45 ERA for his career, I would take that, I think that's good.
      Osich: I don't expect him to duplicate his 2015 season, but he has gone back to his 2015 form and repertoire, and had success this spring that reflects that goodness, not the bad that was 2017. He had an ERA of 3.60 over his first two seasons, I would take that from him, especially against LHH, against whom I assume he would do better.
      Smith: 3.24 ERA career as a reliever. Yes, he had TJS, but most come back from it able to do what they did before. It's like hip surgery: sure, some die, but most come out healthy again, so the expectation is health, even if sometimes bad things happen. Else, why do it?

      Even if he should falter, I think that DJ Snelten will be performing well in AAA and making the Giants want to bring him up, so I think we are covered either way in another lefty, and perhaps might have two.

      I was also encouraged by Okert doing better in spring as well, he could be another lefty. And while Law did not do well in spring, he has shown the ability to do well in the majors, on and off, and while that would not be great if he was a setup guy, I think that's fine in the back end of the bullpen.

      You call me a homer, but I think I'm closer to reality than you are with your dumpster fire description. I'm not too worried. It may not be the best bullpen around (I have no idea what others have, honestly), but I like the abilities to perform as I outlined above, that seems good to me, and thus I'm not too worried.

      Sure, more injuries and poor performances could worry me more, but I think we are far from a "dumpster fire" which is your description, which to me was like the bullpens we had after Nen went down for good, and they had to cobble together bullpens with Herges as the closer or Hermanson, now THOSE were dumpster fires, as far as I'm concerned, not our current bullpen. I think this is the closest we have been to the prime Core Four years than we have been for years now.

  3. Melancon is on his way to becoming one of the worst signing ever. If he can't ever stay on the field, its worse than Armando Benitez...

    Hope springs eternal, and I'll remain optimistic for at least one more day! But if things start to head south fast, I think a rebuild needs to start with our front opposed to our front office starting the rebuild. I really don't want Dusty Baker helping with a rebuild, or touching any of our young pitchers...

    1. worst case scenario is bochy and evans are gone and we start talking culture change. the next hire will likely
      have to analytically minded in modern baseball.

    2. With about 28 out of 30 GM's currently in massive groupthink, the time is right for someone who thinks a bit differently to find the new undervalued assets.

    3. I don't know why so many people think that Bochy is not embracing analytics. To me, he blends both old school and saber thinking. Like bunts, he does not do bunts much, which is a saber rule. But he still likes his best hitter batting 3rd, when most analysis says it is better either #2 or #4. He brings up saber concepts from time to time too. I prefer a mix like this over any team that is solely driven by analytics or solely driven by old school baseball. Both have their strengths and benefits, it is better to find as many advantages as you can find.

      And however he is doing this, a study found that among managers in baseball history (and this was around after his first season with the Giants), he is among the leaders in the most added runs produced by hitters joining Bochy teams, over what they produced previously. And it has to have only gone up even more after additions like Torres, Burrell, Huff, and others.

  4. Can we offer Andrew Friedman an ownership stake to leave the dodgers?

    1. The Dodgers current core was put together before Friedman came on board. Let's see how it plays out in the long run.

    2. Yeah, most of the better players are from Sheriff Ned's tour of duty. Even Justin Turner was found under his watch. His draft picks have only started percolating upward, Walker Buehler is from his first draft in 2015, but he seems to be a win right now, as he's ranked about Top 20 overall. But nobody from the last two drafts are ranked, so it could have been luck (or from the help from the people remaining from Sheriff Ned.

      Now, of course, he's responsible for the strategies being implemented since. Like the SP by committee method, and for Dave Roberts as manager. And the good trades, though I think it was more that they took advantage of a newbie San Diego GM, getting Grandal in the deal, while also sticking them with Kemp's whole contract, when Kemp just produced 1.3 bWAR/1.4 fWAR in 2014 in a full season. Grandal had 0.9 bWAR/fWAR starting for the Padres the season before, and clearly his hitting was going to improve as he matured, so basically the Padres traded a similar WAR producing player AND prospects to the Dodgers for a huge contract. And it took Kemp all these years to figure out that he needed to lose weight. Reminds me of Rowand's tired act.

      But they had been losing the Dee Gordon trade so far, though Barnes finally had a nice season in 2017, so their side is finally paying off in a big way. Though Kike has provided value as well. But Hatcher was horrible with them (but oddly great before and after them). Heaney was traded for Kendrick, and then produced more than Hendrick, but faltered after, so about even. But still young, if he can find what he did his first season with Angels, they win that deal over Dodgers.

      Chris Taylor was a great find/trade by Friedmans/Farhan. He was an interesting hitter in AAA, so one could see the inkling that he could do more as a MLB hitter, but not for as much power as he showed last season.

      Alex Wood has been a great find/trade as well. Maeda has been a nice pickup as well. McCarthy, however, was so bad that they dumped him on the Braves in exchange for Kemp. And as nicely as Darvish did in regular season, he lost the World Series for them, if he pitched as expected, they win, and they passed up on Verlander, who they would still have (of course, we have no idea what the Tigers were asking of the Dodgers for him, maybe they wanted Walker; that's a great what if, question, would they have traded Buehler for Verlander if they knew it meant a World Series championship?) I'm sure there's others, but I need to get going.

      But Grandal and Taylor are the only guys in their starting lineup procured by Friedman, that young exciting core of hitters were all Colletti. Though Hill, McCarthy, Wood and Maeda in their starting rotation was from his regime as well. So I would say it's a mixed bag as to whether Friedman is any good, the gains of the past few years were from Colletti's picks of young prospects, mostly.

  5. The Giants made a good decision sending Duggar down to play everyday. He only played in 13 AAA games in 2017. It's cool that Gregar Blanco was the 1st guy who talked to him when he got the news. Duggar will be back. My biggest disapointment is Melancon still not being healthy. It's a shame. Looks like Dyson and Watson have to step up to closeout games.

    Fantasy- someone offered a trade involving Rivero where I get Ryan Zimmerman back. Couldnt turn that down.Problem now I'm weak at closer with Soria, Claudio and the only closer available on waivers was Dyson so I picked him up. I guess,this is a time where someone like Petit might be better?


  6. I'm not sure what gorkys is supposed to provide. They've got 3 Rh of's, and 3 other players who can play cf.
    If Pence gets dinged up, they've got Mac and Slater in AAA. Plus Belt as a possible lf option.

    I'm thinking he's the first to go if they need another arm.

    1. Gorkys is holding Duggar's place in the 25-man and 40-man roster until it is time for Duggar to come up. I don't think they want to deal with his spot until Duggar is ready, as it could domino into losing other players that they want to keep in reserve in AAA.

  7. Just curious what will happen to Rutledge, D'Arnaud, and Parker now?

    1. Parker was released, now free to talk to anyone. Giants could have kept him, but was full up in AAA with Shaw, Duggar, Slater, Williamson in the OF, so they did the nice thing and let him go.

  8. Don't give up on Chase Johnson he's fully recovered from TJ surgery and from what I'm hearing he's pitching better than ever and looks really good throwing BP , FB velo is great and his change up is looking exceptional !

    1. Good to hear. I look forward to seeing his lines in the minor league boxscores again.

  9. Offense, defense, and bench are much improved over last year, pitching has potential to be scary and not in a good way! Best case, Giants stay close until Madbum comes back, Cueto returns to form and Stratton lives up to being a #1 pick, or at least a serviceable #3. I think they will figure out the closer situation but it may get a little messy in the process. Going to see what the team is made of early on I believe.

    Billy Baseball

  10. Curious if there were any Ramos sightings

  11. They should drop hernandez and pick up Trayce thompson whom the dodgers put on waivers

  12. best case scenario is we tread water through the injuries and and the giants find a way to acquire another starter.
    worst case scenario is fire sale, house cleaning, and fire sale. we start looking to bring in analytics people to replace evans and bochy

    1. I agree that a firesafe may be in order if the Giants fall way off the pace in the first half, but I would not want to see Evans replaced. I know I am in the minority, but much like Brian Sabean before 2010, I think his process is sound. He's had a run of very bad luck and has obvious spending constraints from ownership, or else a strategy to keep his powder dry for next year's FA class.

    2. I agree with DrB. I don't know why people are down on Evans so much, other than that there were still people down on Sabean for a long time even after they started winning World Series championships, and there are still people complaining about not developing OF, as if that was the key to winning (for me, it's code for Sabean Naysayers).

      I would say he's not Sabean, but who is? And there are already analytics people in the organization, there has been plenty of reporting that the team has a strong team of analysts who helps guide the team, but Sabean don't like advertising to other teams how good they are, because he likes to keep it secret. Given that the Giants, led by Sabean and Evans over the past 10-15 or so years since Colletti left, won 3 in 5, something that had not been done in the history of NL baseball without a war taking away able bodied players (WW II era, Cards did it), I think it speaks well to how good Sabean, as well as Evans, is in managing the baseball operations for the Giants, both in terms of scouting and player development, as well as analytics.

      I'm not sure why so many people are in love with analytics. The only examples of success with it are the Astros and Cubs. However, they tainted their results they achieved by tanking hard to get the great players teams need to build a championship team, which has been done since Connie Mack ran the A's over 100 years ago, when he would dump a championship team, trade for the building pieces, and then build another championship team.

      More recently, the best example of this was the Braves with Bobby Cox as GM, tanking the Braves hard to finally get Chipper Jones, at which point, he took over as manager. Dombrowski has overseen such tank jobs over and over again at Montreal, Florida, and Detroit; it must have been in his thesis that he wrote on baseball (I would love to read that, if anyone knows where a copy is).

      A lot of people have been wanting Beane over Sabean for decades now, but I think the results speak for themselves on the effectiveness of each method. Friedman is another poster child, but what did he really do with Tampa Bay? He and his prior GM tanked the team for 10-12 years, built up a lot of baseball assets, and still could not seal the deal.

      For all the talk about analytics, the one tried and true method of winning a World Championship is going through a period of very tough baseball results, getting Top 5-10 picks consecutively, and finding the great players you need there.

  13. If there is an award for negativity, this thread wins, all time!