Thursday, February 26, 2015

Our Heroes Who Slot In

Sometimes you gotta change it up a bit.  I'm home with my eldest boy today after a cracked molar operation for him, with my dental issues I was very thankful for our dentist taking a long careful time getting it fixed up, she watched for that nerve like a hawk.  What are we doing?  Watching the 2012 film.  That's what's up.

So we were sitting in the dentist's office, he starts asking me who scored the winning run.  Who drove him in?  What was the sequence?  I remember when I was young, I took great pride on remembering these things.  For kids, its important.  As you age, some things get a bit murky.  But I managed to dust it off.  Ryan Theriot singled.  Crawford bunted him over.  Pagan struck out.  Scutaro went oppo field.  Theriot scored.

That got me thinking... The Giants have these heroes who come almost out of nowhere, contribute hugely in key moments, and then they depart. 

The ultimate winning run in each world series.  While this might not matter for us hard hearted analytic types, for 7 year old boys dreaming of playing, its all that matters at times: 

2010: Edgar Renteria homers, Cody Ross and Juan Uribe score.  Only Ross was back the next year.
2012: Marco Scutaro singles in Ryan Theriot.  Scutaro was back, with a hurt back and a mallet finger to boot.
2014: Michael Morse singles, Sandoval scores, Pence to 2nd.  Morse has departed, as has long time Gigante Sandoval. 

What does this add up to?  A collection of players that are worth more than what their stats might show?  Nothing much?  There are a few players there who were signed for depth, and they provided some excellent play in the French Vanilla.  Especially Ryan Theriot - who did exactly what I said he would when he was signed: provide a scrappy at bat in a key moment. 

Keep your boys dreaming!  Moments count huge in baseball.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Yet Another Rebuff

In case you missed it: James Shields rejected a Greybeard offer of 4/80MM, back in December.

Lester.

Panda.

A boatload of Cubans. 

Shields?

Do players not want to play for Los Gigantes?  Are they being cheapskates?  What's the world COMING to?

My thoughts:

Love the Sabean style.  Make your best offer, and then move on.  Shields and his agent were looking to squeeze that extra year out.  Giants have been very good with discipline on years on contracts, it just gets overlooked amid whining about Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand's deals. 

However, this also represents a bullet dodged.  In the juju department, Shields famously credited his cousin, one Aaron Rowand, with "teaching him how to work out like a major league ballplayer".  Giants fans will recall Rowand's riding his mountain bike attitiude...  Shields is 33, the contract would take him through age 37.  While he's a great innings eater, the "Big Game" moniker has been mocked plenty, and he's given plenty of ammunition to that mocking with dreadful performance. 

Sabean style: get small incremental pieces, not big names.  His success lies in the small stuff, and when he goes big it hasn't been rosy a ton.  The biggest success was the Hunter Pence trade (Schierholtz, Joseph and Rosin).  But most of the moves, such as signing Juan Uribe on the cheap for 2009 and again in 2010.  Signing a bunch of pen arms to longer contracts that most sabermetric oriented guys held their nose in disdain. 

Giants alternative move looks great to me: Jake Peavy on a 2 year deal.  Peavy is also 33, he has had marginal big game performances, but also eats innings.  This gives a leapfrog effect with Hudson and Lincecum coming up to the end of their contracts, and gives a couple more years for the farm to bring up arms. 

The rub: the 2016 class is currently loaded.  There will be some attrition as players are re-upped by their clubs, but names like Zimmermann, Price, Porcello, Latos, Samardzija, Leake, Kennedy, Fister...

The list is deep.  The only question I have is... Will more FAs rebuff the Greybeards? 

We'll see who gets Yoan Moncada soon.  Despite the richest owner in ball, the Giants are longshots.  Its a tough call, but I would point out the incremental moves to supplement the core battery of Bumgarner and Posey have been the right calls 3 of 5.  So it goes...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tracking the Minor League Shuffle Admidst the Start of Spring Training

Pitchers and catchers!  About time!  You can only read so much about the various top prospect lists and various projections.  Fangraphs has something interesting up based off Kiley McD's top 200 a interesting but flawed valuation system.  If you're looking for Gigantes there are a couple buried here and there, Susac at 86, Beede at 134, Crick at 140 and Arroyo as a HM.  Mella has injury concerns.  Williamson was injured, and he's old in the scheme of prospectin', so he's off the radar.  Blach and Blackburn don't have enough scouting fizzle?

The old joke of Blank doesn't like my Blank favorite team is pretty worn out at this time.  But just looking over the 40-45+ region, you run into one of my bugaboos.  While there are 20 or so consensus top prospects (the guys who score 60-70 on the scouting scale), you get down to 40-45+ and it gets a bit more dicey, and more objective.  There are some of the usual suspects with big numbers: the Rays have 5 guys listed in 40-45+, the Red Sox have 4.  The Brew Crew actually makes an appearance, which is a nice change of pace.  Let's look at the 14 guys listed real quick:

Garin Cecchini, Matt Barnes, Deven Marrero, Michael Chavis, Corey Knebel, Clint Coulter, Tyrone Taylor, Monte Harrison, Gilbert Lara, Alex Colome, Blake Snell, Taylor Guerrieri, Andrew Velazquez, Brent Honeywell

I don't see a lot to get excited about here.  The Red Sox just signed up Sando to play Cecchini's position, of course they most likely want Sando to DH soon (and wowza! that pic of him at ST makes it pretty easy to say bullet dodged, have fun partying with Hanley and Ortiz Pablo).  Marrero's best possible outcome?  I don't know, Joe Panik?  Chavis might have 6th tool issues, Guerrieri definitely does.  Monte Harrison is a great look.  A lot of people like Alex Colome - but more than some others?  This gets pretty objective.

One thing that I noticed though is Kiley hasn't given up on the 2011 draft class, they're all over this list.  Let me go through and show you some notable exceptions though:
2nd/Seattle: Danny Hultzen - I have always called that pick the sucker in the room, and got some enraged heat about it on message boards for my effort.  Hultzen is missing entirely from the 200. 
5th/KC: Bubba Starling - be careful with drafting pure athletes?
12th/MIL: Taylor Jungmann followed by 15th/MIL: Jed Bradley
16th/LAD: Chris Reed - makes a Gary Brown or Chris Stratton a bit more understanding?
25th/SD: Joe Ross
And by the time you get to Joe Panik, every other player is on the list or played in the show.
After Panik the following are INCLUDED:
36/BOS: Henry Owens
49th/SF: Kyle Crick
52nd/TB: Blake Snell

Hmm... Maybe Giants fans should be happy Kyle Crick is one of the few supp first round picks still getting some buzz.

Per BA's tracker, here are the Gigantes BACK IN BLACK:
Mike Broadway, Jose Casilla, Juan Gutierrez, Javier Herrera, Brandon Hicks, Guillermo Quiroz, Elizier Zambrano.

Here are the departed: Mitchell Boggs (BOS), Tyler Colvin (Marlins, and forever linked to Yes!  Yes!  Yes!), Jose De Paula (NYY), Nick Noonan (NYY), Mario Lisson (WAS), Mark Minicozzi (WAS - so rooting for him to get some at bats in the show).

Unsigned, according to BA: Tony Abreu, Jason Berken, Jorge Bucardo Andrew Carignan, Tyler Graham, Tyler LaTorre, Shane Loux, Jesus Navarro, Edwin Quirarte, Adam Reifer, Sandy Rosario, Skyler Stromsmoe.

Pretty sure Travis Blackley signed with the Giants.  

New Arrivals!  Braulia Lara, 26 year old lefty from the Rays - control issues!  Justin Maxwell, 31 year old CF from the Royals - contact issues!  Javier Solano, 24 year old righty from the Bums - 2 years in the Mexican league on his belt now.  Carlos Triunfel, 24 year old SS from the Bums via the Mariners - former top prospect even hitting the back end of the BA 100, best arm in the system multiple times for the Mariners.  He did not tear up the PCL last year however, 223/256/330 is pretty ugly stuff.  Nik Turley, 25 year old lefty from the Yanks.  Best control in the Yanks system one year, made it to BA's #14 prospect in 2012.  And Cory Gearrin, 29 year old Righty who was with the Braves, had a TJ.  Curtis Partch a 28 year old righty from the Reds (BA missed the last two and Brandon Hicks)

I think all of those new arrivals bring something interesting to the table.  Longshots all of course.

Giants let Chris Dominguez go, he has signed a minor league deal with the Reds.  That might be a good spot for him, they could use his easy power in that band box.  They have a good 3B blocking him though, but always seem to have OF issues.

Marco Scutaro has been released and is off the 40-man roster.  The Giants would bring him back if he has a miracle recovery.

Invites to camp (40 man):
Outfielders: Mac Williamson, Justin Maxwell (Aoki, Blanco, Brown, Carbonell, Ishikawa, Pagan, Parker, Pence, Perez)

Infielders: Christian Arroyo, Mitch Delfino (Pay attention to this one), Brandon Hicks, Kelby Tomlinson, Carlos Triunfel (Adrianza, Arias, Belt, Crawford, Duffy, Duvall, McGehee, Panik)

Catchers: Aramis Garcia, Guillermo Quiroz, Ty Ross (A Shank favorite sleeper, no doubt) (Posey, Sanchez, Susac)

Lefties: Ty Blach, Braulio Lara, Adalberto Mejia, Steven Okert, Nik Turley (Affeldt, Bumgarner, Lopez) - as you can tell, the Giants are very short on lefties.  This is good news for the new signees and Okert.  And of course Blach.

Righties: Clayton Blackburn, Brett Bochy, Kyle Crick, Cory Gearrin, Juan Gutierrez, Curtis Partch and Chris Stratton (Black, Cain, Casilla, Cordier, Gregorio, Hall, Heston, Hudson, Kontos, Law, Lincecum, Machi, Peavy, Petit, Romo, Strickland, Vogelsong)

The one guy to watch for is George Kontos being out of options.  The Giants could try to sneak him through, but he might be able to declare FA, he's getting up there in years.  Kontos has a good curve when he's on, and good control.  He might be a victim of numbers though, the Giants are swimming in righties, and they have flamethrowers lined up: Cordier, Hall, Black, as well as Strickland).

Derek Law and Mac Williamson both are coming back from TJ.  Good luck to them, they are obviously highly thought of by the Giants to get invites right away.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Checking in on a mock draft and a shadow draft

Cut and paste from a post of mine on Sickels site:

In the John Sickels 2014 Mock Draft the Giants "drafted" the following:
14) Grant Holmes, RHP, South Carolina HS
52) Jack Flaherty, 3B-RHP, California HS
87) Dylan Davis, OF, Oregon State University
118) James Norwood, RHP, St. Louis University
SUMMARY: Holmes is just a really good pitching prospect all-around and seems to fit the Giants organization well. Flaherty is a two-way guy who is a top prospect as both a hitter and pitcher. I’d probably try him as a hitter first and you can always switch him to the mound later if that doesn’t work. Davis gets press for his strong bat but he would be a prospect as a pitcher, too, given his arm strength. I see him as good value in the third. Norwood is a New York kid who went to college in the Midwest and has developed a mid-90s fastball. I like the balance in this class, with Flaherty’s signability away from North Carolina being the main caution flag.

In real life the Giants drafted the following:
14) Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
52) Aramis Garcia, C, Florida International
87) Dylan Davis, OF, OSU
118) Logan Webb, RHP, CA HS

Beede versus Holmes:
Beede: 15.1 IP, 16H, 5ER, 7BB, 18K - very limited action due to Vandy going deep and winning the CWS.
Holmes was drafted by the Hated Dodgers (22nd overall, a pretty big steal in my opinion): 48.1 IP, 39H, 21R/20ER, 13BB, 58K, 3HR - very solid debut for sure.
Garcia versus Flaherty: (With a big note that Flaherty was drafted by the Cards for $2MM (overslot) 34th overall, blowing up the "mock" pretty well, as the Giants didn't have that kind of financial firepower)
Garcia: hit 225/301/343 with 10BB/25K in 114 PAs, 2 Jacks, over rookie ball and short season, mainly short season. Catchers generally have terrible starts as they get the book thrown at them in pro ball learning the defensive side.
Flaherty: 22.2IP, 18H, 9R/4ER, 4BB, 28K - pretty solid in short sample
Davis Versus Davis: Hit 230/291/385 with 10BB/35K in 134 PAs, 4 Jacks over rookie ball and short season, mainly short season. Not very impressive, I personally think they are giving him a shot with the bat before they convert him to try and take advantage of his 95 MPH fastball.
Webb versus Norwood:
Webb: one of the youngest players in the draft, 4IP, 3H, 2R/1ER, 3BB, 5K
Norwood: drafted by the Cubs in the 7th round (199th overall) 20IP over Rookie/Short season with 20H, 17R/17ER, 8BB, 20K. It appears his stuff was pretty hittable in early returns.

Conclusion: Giants got sneaky going overslot with Webb, who was a "pop up" guy with big velocity who didn't make a lot of ranking lists (214 on the BA500, 41 in CA for BA). The mock draft crew doesn't have access to players and "Advisors" demands, we blew it with the Flaherty bonus, which is twice the slot there and impossible to fill without having an additional supplemental pick (of note the Cards and Red Sox have the best track record at making efforts to secure said supplemental pick, the Cards get this one courtesy of letting Don Carlos Beltran walk). Tyler Beede versus Grant Holmes will be a great Giant-Dodger discussion. Of note, the D-backs took Touki Touissant in real life, and the Rockies took Aaron Nola Kyle Freeland. So two hyped yoots, and two hyped SEC college pitchers all in the NL West to go sort out what's what. Too early to really see what is going on with Beede, but Grant Holmes looks to be a horse.

 And... the Shadow.  Here's what I have to say on this: drafting is hard as hell.  

Also cut and paste:
    The "Night Train" Gigantes:
    1/14 Touki Touissant RHP FL HS (Real Pick Tyler Beede RHP Vanderbilt) Slot: $2,613,200
    2/52 TiQuan Forbes SS/CF MS HS (Real Pick Aramis Garcia C FL International) Slot: $1,066,900 (Forbes Signed for 1.2MM)
    3/87 Adam Ravenelle RHP Vanderbilt (Real Pick Dylan Davis RF/RHP OSU) Slot: $622,300
    4/118 James Norwood RHP St. Louis (Real Pick Logan Webb RHP CA HS) Slot: $440,600
    5/148 Brandon Downes CF UVA (Real Pick Samuel Coonrod RHP Southern Illinois University Carbondale (IL)) Slot: $330,000
    6/178 Deen Deetz RHP Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (Real Pick Skyler Ewing 1B/C Rice) Slot: $247,000
    7/208 Harrison Musgrave LHP West Virginia (Real Pick Seth Harrison CF University of Louisiana - Lafayette (LA)) Slot: $185,200
    8/238 Ben Smith LHP Coastal Carolina (Real Pick Austin Slater CF Stanford) Slot: $158,400
    9/268 Richard Prigitano 1B Long Beach State (Real Pick Stetson Woods RHP CA HS) Slot: $148,000
    10/298 Tanner English CF USC (Real Pick Matthew Gage LHP Siena College (NY)) Slot: $138,200
    11/328 Sam Hilliard LHP Crowder College (MO) (Real PIck Greg Brody RHP Belmont University (TN))
    12/358 Luke Eubanks RHP Oxnard CC (CA) (Real Pick Jameson Henning SS Western Illinois (IL))
    13/388 Hunter Cole CF Georgia (Real Pick Luis Lacen CF Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy (Puerto Rico))
    14/418 Garrett Boulware C Clemson (Real Pick Kevin Rivera 2B Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy (Puerto Rico))
    15/448 Guilberto Rodriguez C PR Baseball Academy (Real Pick Benton Moss RHP UNC)
    16/478 Tim Susnara, C St. Francis HS (CA) (Real Pick Kevin Ginkel RHP Southwestern College (CA) JC)
    17/508 Mitch Morales, SS Florida Atlantic (Real Pick Caleb Smith LHP USC Aiken (SC))
    18/538 Justin Kamplain LHP Alabama (Real Pick Edrick Agosto RHP International Baseball Academy (Puerto Rico))
    19/568 Mitch Gunsolus, 3B Gonzaga(Real Pick Richard Amion CF Alabama State)
    20/598 Boo Vasquez LF Pitt (Real Pick Bret Underwood CF NW ST (LA))
    Of note: the Giants went big on the 21st pick: Matt Crownover LHP from Clemson, interesting to see if they can sign him.
    Now: where did they go in real life:
    1st: Touki Touissant RHP FL HS 1/16 - D-backs
    2nd: Ti’Quan Forbes SS/CF MS HS 2/59 - Rangers
    3rd: Adam Ravenelle RHP Vanderbilt 4/130 - Tigers
    4th: James Norwood RHP St. Louis 7/199 - Cubs
    5th: Brandon Downes CF UVA 7/213 - Royals
    6th: Deen Deetz RHP Northeastern Oklahoma A&M - 11/316 - Astros
    7th: Harrison Musgrave LHP West Virginia 8/233 - Rockies
    8th: Ben Smith LHP Coastal Carolina 17/496 - Astros
    9th: Richard Prigitano 1B Long Beach State 11/323 - Rockies
    10th: Tanner English CF USC - 11/320 - Twins
    11th: Sam Hilliard LHP Crowder College (MO) 31/920 - Twins
    12th: Luke Eubanks RHP Oxnard CC (CA) 15/458 - Cubs
    13th: Hunter Cole CF Georgia - 26/778 - Giants
    14th: Garrett Boulware C Clemson - 16/485 - Reds
    15th: Guilberto Rodriguez C PR Baseball Academy - UNDRAFTED
    16th: Tim Susnara, C St. Francis HS (CA) - 34/1018 - Giants
    17th: Mitch Morales, SS Florida Atlantic - 29/867 - Padres
    18th: Justin Kamplain LHP Alabama - 18/542 - Yankees
    19th: Mitch Gunsolus, 3B Gonzaga - UNDRAFTED
    20th: Boo Vasquez LF Pitt - UNDRAFTED

    Looking like a big disaster for the Night Trains. 3 Undrafted in the back end. 3 Guys picked at the start of Day 3 in the 11th round, which might mean big bonus demands. And 4 guys drop to the late 20s/early 30s where signing is unlikely. That's half the draft. And it gets better: Is there enough moneys to sign Touki and Ti'Quan? Forbes has a 1.2MM bonus, denting the overslot by 200K.
    I did have a couple fun ones though, I did pick Susnara with the intent of overslot, so we'll see if that can happen. Hunter Cole gets picked to the same team! I'm just 13 rounds early... doh. And I reached heavy for Norwood because I like him that much, he may require a overslot that the Cubs had the bank to pay. We'll see, that might work out OK for me.
    I'm bummed I didn't go snag Jace Conrad - he went in the 13th. I liked that guy a lot as a sleeper.
    I avoided HS guys for the most part, tried to play straight as a contrarian play. But it looks like I stumbled into 3 guys who might have those big demands. Deetz, Prigitano and English - I may only get one. If I can get them all, then I picked some pockets and did OK for myself.
    It was a fun exercise. Drafting is hard as hell.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Braggin' Rights

With these 3 titles in 5 years, the Giants have changed the historical standings.  My son was shocked to know that the Giants hadn't won a world series in ages back to the New York City days before 2010.  He was also shocked to know the G's have 8 titles to their name.  Its easy to rattle off the bad beats - 2002, 1989 and 1962 are pretty easily recalled even if you weren't alive for McCovey's line drive to Richardson.  But there are also wins back in the day (and a helluva lot of losses to those damn Yankees).  1954.  1933.  1922.  1921.  And 1905, the 2nd World Series ever played.

The Yankees dominated for huge swaths of history, fueled by Ruth & Gehrig.  Joe D.  The Mick.  Whitey and the boys.  They had their 70s glory with Reggie Jackson.  And then their recent success with Jeter & co.  It is going to take a long, long time to get anywhere near those bragging rights.  But lets look a little closer, you'll see the Giants have moved towards the top of the pyramid on the back of Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner.

The original NL teams, by year of founding, # of appearances, wins (year of last win/appearance):
Reds, 1869, 9 appearances, 5 wins (1990)
Cubs, 1871, 10 appearances, 2 wins (1908/1945)
Braves, 1871, 9 appearances, 3 wins (1995/1999)
Cards, 1882, 19 appearances, 11 wins (2011/2013)
Pirates, 1882, 7 appearances, 5 wins (1979)
Giants, 1883, 20 appearances, 8 wins (2014)
Dodgers, 1883, 18 appearances, 6 wins (1988)
Phillies, 1883, 7 appearances, 2 wins (2008/2009)

The Giants have the most appearances now in the NL, they are down 3 wins to the Cards.  They are 2 up on the Bums, who haven't been to the Fall Classic since 1988.  Maybe the Cards are their primary rival?  Naw...

The original AL teams, by year of founding, # of appearances, wins (year of last win/appearance):
Orioles, 1894, 7 appearances, 3 wins (1983)
Yankees, 1901, 40 appearances, 27 wins (2009)
Athletics, 1901, 14 appearances, 9 wins (1989/1990)
Red Sox, 1901, 12 appearances, 8 wins (2013)
Tigers, 1901, 11 appearances, 4 wins (1984/2012)
Twins, 1901, 6 appearances, 3 wins (1991)
White Sox, 1901, 5 appearances, 3 wins (2005)
Indians, 1901, 5 appearances, 2 wins (1948/1997)

The expansion teams, beginning in 1961, have made it harder to win, but they haven't had a huge amount of success either.  The Mets, Jays and Marlins have 2 wins each.  The Mets lead with 4 show-ups, followed by the Royals with 3.  No other expansion team has more than 2 chances.  In terms of history, the big powerhouses from the big cities still dominate.

Giants can move into a tie with the A's for overall wins with a back-to-back performance.  They would move past their current tie with the Red Sox.  The Dodgers will want to even the score, no doubt.  And the Cards will be back again, unless the NL Central can rise up.  The Pirates might be that team.  But the Cards, the Red Sox and Los Gigantes have loomed large in recent, as well as ancient history.

Braggin' Rights baby!

Padres Win The Shields-Myers Trade; Draft Order Set; The Bird In The Hand Strategy

So them crazy Padres with their gunslinging GM end up with James Shields.  They have already acquired Wil Myers earlier in the offseason, one of the most memorable in franchise history.  The new look Padres should be a bigger challenge in the NL West, although there are definitely defensive issues all over the joint.  Interesting look on the Shields negotiations from Passan here. 

Those Greybeards were in on it at 4/80MM.  And here comes Sabean's bird in the hand strategy, which used to drive me nuts back when I was an impatient lunatic fringer.  But things have changed a lot - the Giants have incredible disclipline on the number of years on contracts since the Zito and Rowand ownership dictated acquisitions.  Shields apparently had dreams of six year deals at the time, so he passed, and instead of worrying about it, the Giants moved to plan B: getting the red ass duct tape brigade back together, signing Peavy and then Vogey. 

Sabean has always been like this - he doesn't want to be the guy without a chair.  And while it doesn't always net "premium" free agents (premium in quotes because all premium free agents don't exist, they are locked up early and often), he does find some creative ways to fill in with his core in place (and that core is super special - Posey and Pence, Belt and Crawford, Panik back for the sophomore season, some dude named Angel Pagan rehabbing).  A Casey McG is perfectly acceptable for a year, it leaves room for sideways moves, moves from below with the kids, and the chance to get something else. 

Draft order is set.  MLBTR link, based off of BA.  Giants have the 10th best pool in baseball.  If you tier it out, you have the Astros with the most money ever due to botching the Brady Aiken negotiations, then two NL West basement dwelling stalwarts the Rockies and D-backs with 14MM budgets.  The second tier is the Rangers, Braves, Yanks, Reds, Brewers, O's and Giants.  Not bad at all for the defending world champions.  All it took was losing Pablo Sandoval. 

The Pads moves have been very interesting, capping it off by losing the pick, which now gets them the 41st (a comp pick) and a 4th lowest 5.39MM draft budget.  The hated Dodgers pick 24th and 35th, have a 7.24MM budget.  So the NL West has some serious juice in the upcoming draft.

But if you just back up a little, look how comical these amounts are next to what teams pay on the 25: the difference between 5 and 8MM?  A spread from Houston to the Nats (who cheerfully gave away another 1st rounder) is 17.98MM to 3.70MM.  14.28MM is about the same as the one year QO.

Padres gave up a lot for one year of Justin Upton.  Max Fried, Jace Peterson, Dustin Peterson and Mallex Smith.  That's not quite a Hersh Walker type deal, but Fried might be special.

The Kemp deal looks a lot better.  Giving up Grandal, Joe Wieland and Zach Eflin while getting salary relief for Kemp as well as Federowicz is a pretty easy trade to make.  The Dodgers return looks very underwhelming to me.  Now watch Grandal become a Giant killer or something.

I'm not that big a Wil Myers fan, I view that one as pretty costly.  Joe Ross isn't quite his brother... yet.  And Trea Turner has some questions with his bat but if he figures it out he's almost as quick as Billy Hamilton playing a premium position.  That's a lot to give up. 

I don't think it was a grand plan, it was more reacting and counterreacting, and this AJ Preller guy has a appetite for going big.  Its fun to watch.  I've been hearing about how great the Rangers farm system is for many years though, mainly a result of Preller going big, and it hasn't really helped them on  the field of play that counts.  Maybe that was in the back of his head as he cleaned out the closet of his predecessor.  However, he did keep the best trio of prospects, and that is a big win (if you believe in them).  Hunter Renfroe and Matt Wisler look real.  Not sold on Austin Hedges, but that's the theroy that makes letting Grandal go pretty easy.  They also held onto draft lottery ticket Michael Gettys. 

Padres were pretty pesky last year, they should hit better and field worse.  They might get enough fans out to stop the Pac Bell South vibe.  That'd be good for their franchise. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Sleeper System - Will It Strike Again?

Apologies for the lack of posts.  Its deadsville season, but I'm also dealing with getting my wisdom teeth pulled, there was a ugly finder, and it found a nerve: me lower left jaw and teeth are numb and in pain where a impacted and deeply dug in tooth once lived.  Hey, its basically like recovering from a broken jaw.  Sweet.  It does distract a lot, and I haven't felt like writing much.

So its list making season, the latest to come out is MLB's.  The odd part for me is they yanked Andrew Susac from the list entirely, but did sneak in the sometimes maligned Kyle Crick.  Here is the link: MLB Top 100.  Here's another interface that displays all at the same time.  So let's check out how many catchers there are real quick, and their names:

Catchers in MLB (Callis/Mayo) top 100: Blake Swihart (18), Jorge Alfaro (45), Kyle Schwarber (49), Austin Hedges (51), Justin O'Connor (61), Kevin Plawecki (63), Reese McGuire (64), JT Realmuto (70), Christian Bethancourt (93)

9 catchers in the top 100, including a couple surprises in O'Connor and Realmuto.  And no Susac.  That's crazy to me, but if you read last year, you'd know I thought he was criminally underrated and all he did was come up, play solid, rake a couple oppo field bombs and win a ring.

That's the very definition of a sleeper system.  And I haven't even got into the elephant in the room for the prospect rankers: one young man from New York named Joe Panik.

I'm gonna keep adding to this post, I think I have to do it in small bursts.  Thanks for reading, and thanks for commenting.

EDIT: Wanted to see how many shortstops are listed, in edition to the murderer's row of the guys at the top: Correa, Lindor, Russell, Seager, Crawford, Gordon, Mondesi, Turner, Robertson, Anderson, Adames, Barreto, Arcia, Hanson.  14 of the 100 are SS's.  Crawford and Panik never cracked any lists, and both had some of their true talent masked by injury plagued seasons in the Eastern to boot.  But I will definitely admit that the Giants have a weakness at shortstop in the system.  However, its hard to get ahold of one of these flashy prospects.  Most were picked before Los Gigantes went on the board.

EDIT: Lefties, sure do love them lefties: Julio Urias (8, lookout!), Carlos Rodon (14, Astros looking silly for passing already?), Daniel Norris (17, a payoff from an aggressive drafting of HS pitchers for the Jays?), Henry Owens (19, would you rather have Joe Panik and a title or the 19th ranked prospect in the fair land?), Andrew Heaney (25, traded twice this offseason), Sean Manaea (56, one of the reasons I think the Royals system is so good), Kyle Freeland (60, drafted high in 2014), Steven Matz (66, Mets fans are rabid about this guy), Sean Newcomb (67, and yes, the Giants passed on him to get Beede), Brandon Finnegan (75, passed as well, had an electric post season but to quote Reggie Jackson for a sec, "we got him"), Eduardo Rodriguez (89, Red Sox got him for Andrew Miller from the O's, they executed the tank, something Sabean don't do).

That's 11 guys, and it includes some prospects the Giants could have had.  So in the grand scheme of things... Tyler Beede looms a bit large.  The best lefty in the Giants system is either Adalberto Mejia or Ty Blach.  Mejia has conditioning issues that might have contributed to his suspension, but he is young.  Blach is a control artist who does have some velocity.  Lower down there is Luis Ysla, and higher up but a pen arm is Steven Okert.  I do think the lefties making the top 100 list are elite for the most part, and if I had one request from the Giants I'd like a big time win on the IFA pitcher front, the way the Doyers appear to have going with Urias.  I would caution a tad about everybody's obsession with shiny youth, but he is doing some impressive work very young for level.

EDIT: I enjoy working off of MLB.com, there are obviously other lists, the one that I am waiting for is Kiley McD's.  I enjoy BA's as well, and you can't avoid Mr. Keith Law as well.  As everybody knows, he ranked the G's 29th.  Let's go back to 2010 for the hell of it, here are his top 5 that year: 1.  Texas, 2.  Boston, 3.  Tampa Bay scrreeeeetch.  Stop right there: that is a horrible call.  Horrible.  Moving on, 4.  Cleveland.  5.  Atlanta.  6.  O's.  7.  Cubs.  8.  Rockies.  9.  Royals.  10.  Reds.  Where were the G's, back when they had Posey and Bumgarner?  20th.  This was the blurb: "A number of promising prospects here had disappointing seasons, so it's a system that could bounce back in 2010 even without a major infusion of talent. The Giants still have two to four very high-ceiling guys, but the supporting cast is thinner than it looked a year ago."

What can you take away from that?  The obvious joke is that he hates your favorite team.  That's all funny and such, but I generally like to go into a bit of depth.  How many teams "ranked" have moved their prospects into the battle and been effective?  The Dodgers by the way were ranked 19th.  Here is a blog that gets into the ranking, http://www.captainsblog.info/2012/02/10/a-further-look-at-keith-laws-organizational-rankings/13074/ and you can see the G's go from 9th, to 20th, to 23rd to 26th.  And now 29th.  I have a simple question: who the hell has ruled the NL West and Baseball in general in the past 5?  This ties into the sleeper system, one that highlight reel chasing for the shiniest bestest prospect ever will miss... frequently.  Also, seriously poor analysis of the Rays, who have been miserable and yet highly ranked every year.

EDIT: I'll go into righties in a bit, but seriously good post on Kyle Crick over here: http://www.bayareasportsguy.com/san-francisco-giants-top-prospects-2015-kyle-crick/

Crick might surprise a lot this year.  And Tyler Beede.  And if he can stay healthy, Mella.

EDIT: There are 36 RHPs in the MLB list.  Including a couple that I would have prefer'd the Giants draft (Lucas Sims over Chris Stratton, Touki over Beede, Grant Holmes lingering there).  Crick is ranked 79th, the 26th best righty in the minors according to the list.  Couple things here: he is frickin' young for his level, something that seems to dictate the hype the most.  And... he strikes out a lot of dudes.  The walks are the issue.

Any Giant prospect hound worth her salt knows the 3 best fastballs are Crick, Beede and Mella.  2 of those will be in SJ most likely, and Crick is going to be opening up Sac-town for the Giants.  Only one step from 3rd and King.  Which brings me to the issue of system depth: the Giants have a number of prospects who will be right at the door.  Which ones come in a la Panik, Susac and Duffy next year...

EDIT: Cove Chatter did a podcast, following Mac Williamson.  Here's a link at his blog.   Mac talks about consistency, and taking the field every day, two things that get undervalued.  I really like how humble Mac is, and how he talks about baseball.  So now its time to look at the OFs, often a source of frustration for Giants prospect followers.

MLB list:
Byron Buxton: oft injured, oft hyped, #1 on a lot of lists, including theirs.
Joc Pederson: 13th, and in my opinion way overhyped, can't wait for Bumgarner to school him.
Jorge Soler: 22nd, the 2nd wave of the Cubs #1 system.  Giants keep striking out on Cubanos...
Jesse Winker: 26th, the rep with him is he can hit, the fielding isn't stellar, but solid prospect.
Alex Jackson: 28th, I've seen a lot of aggressive ranking on Jackson, I would like to see more before buying into that.
Josh Bell: 34th, Pirates are thinking of moving him to 1B. 
Michael Taylor: 42nd, a athletic guy with good size, tore up the Eastern pretty good.
Dalton Pompey: 43rd, speedster who is getting lots of love, I'm not sold.
Austin Meadows: 46th, part of the hyped HS duo of 2013 draft class.
Hunter Renfroe: 48th, stud.  Wish he fell to the Giants, but he didn't.
Kyle Schwarber: 49th, I think he was a big overdraft by the Cubs at a premium part of the draft, but he saved them money for bonus baby pitchers.  B-list bonus baby pitchers.
Clint Frazier: 53rd, everybodys favorite redhead.
Nomar Mazara: 54th.  The Rangers spend more than anybody on IFA until the Yanks got silly last year.
Albert Almora: 57th.  Had a rough year, but he's pretty slick.  He sort of has to stick in CF to be valuable because of power not being huge.
David Dahl: 59th.  Had a not very impressive sojurn into the California league.
Aaron Judge: 68th.  Big time power, Yanks took him early, he's 6'7 which to me is a big issue to overcome. 
Domingo Santana: 71st.  Will Hunter Pence trades continue to haunt the Phils?
Brandon Nimmo: 72nd.  I think this dude is legit, and underranked here.  I actually think he's sort of a Hunter Pence type actually.
Michael Conforto: 82nd.  Another Met, this one I think was a overdraft and I don't buy the hype.  A lot of "most polished bat in class" but I think that's Pentecost personally.
Stephen Piscotty: 90th.  I'm not so sure about him, you would have thought the Cards would have bumped him up, but he played AAA last year.
Manuel Margot: 99th.  Why put him in as one of the last?  Well, some old fashioned Red Sox hype, as well as being young.  Personally I'd rather see a prospect who has grinded through a few levels, but the whole game is to try and be 'early' on a guy and see if they pop.
Steven Moya: 100th.  Hit 35 (thirty-five) Hrs in the Big Bad Eastern.  Wowza.

Which brings me to the Giants OF for Richmond.  Most likely Mac Williamson, Daniel Carbonell and Tyler Horan.  Not going to make top 100 lists.  Mac Williamson is going to be the next Gigante to make top 100 lists silly.  There, I said it.  You want the easiest call in the world, no slide rule required?  That's it.  Oh, and Carbonell and Williamson are the only non-roster invitees to spring training.  Tea leaves baby.

I'd take Williamson over practically every OF listed above.  Healthy, in the Eastern, we don't know what he might have done.  He has to limit K's, control the zone, what not.  And this is going to be a huge test for him, no doubt.  I think he's the Giant who ends the drought of homegrowns.  That's how strong I'm going!  And it might even be this August/September if things break right.