Friday, December 7, 2018

State of the Giants: The Giants Are Becoming the A's

Farhan Zaidi is proving that even though he was the Dodgers GM for the past 4 seasons, his heart was still in Oakland, with the A's.  His first front office hiring as President of Baseball Operations for the Giants was JP Ricciardi, a founding member of Billy Beane's original Moneyball gang.  Late today, Andy Baggerly reports that Scouting Director John Barr is being replaced by Mike Holmes, the A's Assistant Scouting Director and a member of the A's front office since 2005 where he worked with Zaidi.  Holmes will be in charge of amateur scouting and the draft.  At the same time, Baggs is reporting that Zack Minasian will be the new Director of Pro Scouting. Minasian grew up with the game of baseball as his father was the clubhouse manager for the Rangers when he was a kid.  His brother works in the Braves front office.  Minasian comes over from the Brewers.

As you recall, I did an exhaustive analysis of the Giants drafts under John Barr.  Although the yield from his first round picks has been less than stellar, in most cases the next several picks taken by other teams did not pan out any better so it does not seem likely another scouting director or scouting team would have done better.  On the other hand, scouting and the draft is an area I said the Zaidi needed to take a hard look at.  Well, it seems like he did take a hard look and decided to make a change.  We'll see if getting the old (A's) gang back together will be a winning team for the Giants.


  1. Your analysis is a great read.

    Drafting is hard as hell.

    Barr kick started the Giants amazing runs - 2010-12-14.

    Posey is the biggest piece - bonus demands et al. Crawford is huge. Belt. Panik.

    He was brought in to get hitters - remember the rep with Tidrow and Sabean was pitchers all the time.

    He did a great job. And it's hard as hell.

    He didn't take chances with athletes, and he liked a certain profile I'll call Christian White Boy. Its hard to criticize picks in the teens or 20s. And I'm a big fan of a couple of them (especially Gary Brown). Bickford was a weird one, but Beede also was a bit strange.

    I started questioning, with a lot of forgiveness due to championships, in 2012. I'd rather have Stroman (shrug), Touki (grit teeth), don't see anybody I'd rather have than Smokin' Phil but am still rather amuzed/dazed on that one.... Loved the pick of Ramos though, and maybe that was more Sabean than Barr, according to rumors.

    It takes some luck along with all the skill, I hope the Oakland gang diversifies a little more, gets a little lucky, etc. its not easy picking in the teens/20s. They could also be more creative later in the draft, its often a miss, but if you try sometimes it works out well. Betts was a fine overslot pick, and something the Giants have disdained. Yes, that's one example with a bunch of failure counters ready to go, definitely hard.

    I'm very glad he made the change. G's have got stale, they need to shake it up.

    1. This indeed may be about philosophical differences over what types of player profile to draft. Gary Brown, Joe Panik, Christian Arroyo and even Buster Posey were all pretty much cut out of the same cloth. Crawford and Belt too. Ramos and Bart seem to represent a different approach in the past 2 drafts.

      Zaidi seems to be a bit more of a "hands on" GM in the draft room and maybe Barr wasn't down with that so much? Since Zaidi knows Holmes from their Oakland days, they may already have an understanding of more collaborative effort to scouting and drafting?

    2. Shankbone, great to see you post again. Enjoyed yours and Doc's takes on the draft in the past. Agreed drafting is a crapshoot but Barr has drafted good players in the past, but not surprised Zaidi let him go, maybe he just wants his own person in that job. Interesting that the A's drafted Kyler Murray last year, so maybe the Giants will take a chance on more athletic prospects in the future. Barr's last 2 drafts have a chance to be good if Ramos and Bart develop into all stars (lot to ask) like Sabean predicted, and a couple of pitchers like Sean Hjellie develop into good pitchers. Is director of pro scouting a newly created position?

  2. I know in my heart that Harper is not worth the Goliath contract he wants. But Zaidi is very calculting, a real numbers guy. Sometimes numbers extend outside of just playing baseball. I read an article where it said Bryce Harper added 600k people in the seats annually and almost tripled their television viewing. Giants have been known in recent years to sellout so it would probably increase ticket prices, add to their tv viewing and merchandising would go out of control. Tons of other avenues to make money outside of the stadium with marketing. So, I think it is very possible to recoup a large portion of his contract from him just being here and exciting the fan base. Obviously the salary cap is a major concern bringing in a monster contract like this. For me, I would be happy if the Giants got the guy they wanted. So many years of being runner up to the Stantons, Greinkes and the list goes on. Now the only thing left is to think of what a young talent like this would do on an aging squad. Harper and a few other pickups like Kikuchi, resign Holland, possibly Adam Jones on a 1-2 year deal and I think we would at least be close to playoff contention. Thats assuming Belt doesnt have his weird injuries and Buster comes back healthy. I think Longoria can only do better this year. He was pretty decent down the stretch. I just hope the Giants make good calculated moves and try to get us back in playoff contention within 2 years.

    1. I was all in on Bryce Harper until I looked up his spray chart on Fangraphs. There is a significant cluster of HR's right about where the 421 ft sign sits in AT&T Park. Are most of those hit hard enough to clear that? Could he become more of a pull hitter? Could he direct his hard-hits more to Left-center and straight-away center?

      I'm not sure I want to invest $350 M or whatever it's going to be to find out.

  3. Speaking about the A’s, their 2018 1st round pick Kyler Murray won the Heisman Trophy. What do you think the odds he ever plays in the MLB? He is probably guaranteed to make way more initially in the NFL. If he chose baseball his big payday could be never or several years away. I am guessing that first round pick will be a waste and Kyler will choose football for the quick $$$.