Tuesday, June 30, 2015

New Giants Bloggers!

Hey now!  There always needs to be fresh ideas, new perspectives and good energy.

Check out a couple new bloggers, who are like me, commentators on various Giant watering holes who are putting up their own sites.  Good luck!

dream big, dream Giant (carmot)

Wrenzie Blogs Giants (Wrenzie)

I put up links to them on the left.

Back in the day there was a lot of cynical stuff out there.  Things do change.  I remember back 10 years ago it was OGC, lefty malo and whiny Grant Brisbee, who occasionally can get a good laugh.  And then some seriously lunatic fringe guys.

It takes a lot of dedication to put up thoughts every day.  DrB's When the Giants Come To Town does an outstanding job getting posts up with stats, analysis and information.

And it takes a lot of youthful energy, as demonstrated by Cove Chatter's (New) blog.

And I always go back to Raising Matt Cain as the model of what a blog should be: a group of friends who root for the team, respect each other's opinions and have fun.

Thanks all for reading through my ebbs and flows.  I love the Giants.  Its been a wonderful few years, and this summer should be yet another fun time.

Five and Five: The Faceplants and the Zoom-Zooms in the minors so far this year

There is enough of a stat line now to look at some of the kids grinding away for Los Gigantes.

First, the faceplants:

Daniel Carbonell started at Richmond through 200 odd at bats, putting up a wretched stat line of 146/173/194, clearly outmatched by advanced pitching.  He was recently transferred back to San Jose, where he had good success last year, he's already homered.  The Cuban is 24 years young now, the rep with him is a big tools guy who is raw.  Even allowing for adjustment from being a switch hitter and the Big Bad Eastern, this is a very big faceplant on a guy who was looking pretty exciting.

Luis Ysla is a favorite of mine, an older lefty with an attitude.  He went from the Sally to the California league and it hasn't been pretty.  He has been demoted to the pen to try and harness some control, but the stat line just hasn't been good.  He is 23 years young, he had 4 starts before being taken off the bump, he's up to 19 appearances now and hitters are teeing off at a 371 clip BAA.  He has given up 38 runs, 34 earned, for a stinky 8.05 ERA.  If you want a silver lining he has 38 K's in 38 IP.  But he also has 26 walks and 63 hits for a dreadful 2.34 WHIP.  Huge faceplant from a guy who was getting helium.

Skyler Ewing had a great 2014 in S/S S/K.  I expected him to go to SJ and I suspect so did he.  He was instead sent to the Sally and Augusta, and it has not gone well.  He is slowly digging his way out of a hole, but I expected him to be the best bat on the team.  He's got a slash of 232/300/313 currently, if you want bright side he does have 18 2Bs, but he is yet to homer this year.  He had excellent BB/K in 2014, right now he is at 61K/23BB in 272 At-bats.

Ty Horan did get the bump to SJ, and is has been an injury plagued 2015.  You have to allow for that in the stat line, but the line isn't pretty: 219/316/409.  18BB/40K in 137 ABs, 6 HRs.  He does have a very low BABIP, 244, and he does have a strong ISO, so this might be a false reading on the stat line.  I was expecting Horan to be in Richmond, sometimes players get jammed by org depth and who is in front of them.  They have to force the issue.  Horan could do that with a strong second half.

It's almost too obvious, but Kyle Crick is the biggest faceplant of them all.  The Giants have possibly invented an injury (bone bruise) to get him off the bump and hopefully get a re-set.  Crick simply cannot harness his control.  He is repeating the Eastern, and he needs to repeat.  He somehow only has a 3.00 ERA, which shows he does know how to get out of trouble at times.  However, he only has 42IP in 11 starts.  That's the damning statistic right there.  Hitters are only squaring it up to a 219 BAA, so his stuff is hard to hit.  41 K's in 42 sounds good.  And... drumroll... 40 BBs.  Only 2 HRs and 33 hits total, but the problem is strong at this point.

So that's the five faceplants... Honorable mention to Eastern 3B grinder Mitch Delfino, who looked like a zoom-zoom with a ST invite.  He is sitting on a 259/309/302 slash and some iffy fielding this year.  But he does have a low, low K rate, a nice BB rate and a slightly depressed BABIP.  Still not the breakout we wuz looking for.

Now the Zoom-Zooms:

Biggest watch is definitely Hunter Cole.  The Giants have been shifting him around, trying him at 2B and the OF.  They took a shot at him in the 26th round, he is one of those dudes who just didn't quite put together strong college numbers but had a great cape cod after being drafted.  The Giants must have made a good selling point, he signed and look at him since:
Sally: 275/370/425, promoted after 40 At-bats
California: 313/373/493, promoted after 217 At-bats
Big Bad Eastern: rain has stopped him from getting going. 3 hits in 5 At-bats.
Cole is a must follow.  I sense the Giants are trying to find him a defensive position and would love to keep him up the middle.  Raw athlete, he can hit.  The Eastern can be a rough mistress though, and I'd look for more of the line like he put up in 2014 in S/K for the rest of the year and take anything else (he put up 239/311/424)

Austin Slater is in the exact same boat as Cole, except he has higher draft pedigree from back in HS as well as in 2014 out of Stanford.  Definitely get the sense he is a natural hitter who will just rake wherever he goes.  Like Cole, the Giants are playing him all over including SS, where he played in HS.  He is currently listed as a 2B in Richmond after promotion.  His line in San Jose: 292/321/396.  He doesn't walk as much, his 10BB/44K in 250 At-bats is still pretty good contact. 

Mac Williamson's stats don't jump out at you, but there are two factors that are important: he is recovering from TJ surgery and the Giants are bringing him along carefully, and the Eastern and specifically Richmond have conspired some against him as far as HRs.  The power is there, big time.  He is a 5-tool player if you squint a bit, because he is so big.  The slash is 293/373/429 which is good but not breakout.  5 HRs in 259 PAs is light, but remember those two points.  He has managed to keep the K's under control, 53Ks and 25 BBs.  Mac is one of the biggest strollers in the Gigante system actually.  The Giants seriously considered promoting him just now to the show, which tells you a lot, but they want him to get more PAs.  So onto Sacramento, one stop away.  I fully expect him to be there in a couple of months, and he's the best hitting prospect in the Gigante system.

But there is another, and you have to be careful with this one because he's a scrappy scrapper but also repeating the Eastern: Kelby Tomlinson's calling card has always been speed.  He stole 49 last year at Richmond.  Tomlinson is 25 years young now, 37 Ks/25BBs in 253 At-bats at Richmond before getting the bump to Sac-to with Mac.  His slash was 324/387/431 was good for batting champion status, not sure if his PAs will qualify him now.  The knock is going to be power, but there is a good chance Tomlinson can be a "utility guy" - the type of player the Giants LOVE.  His slash last year was 268/340/323 - this can go the way of Brock Bond or a number of other Giants farmhands who put up solid numbers but couldn't break through, but he has quietly grinded along and with 1700 plus PAs in the minors might just surprise. 

And I guess I'll end with the big name: Tyler Beede has been excellent, he earned the promotion to Richmond as well as a spot in the futures game.  Beede is the pitcher whisperer's greatest project, and he has been a great student, unlike Crick.  Pitching to contact, throwing the sinker, getting an insane number of ground balls.  The Ks are still there right?  Right?  He has given up 4 HRs this year, 2 in the California and 2 already in the Eastern.  His GO/AO in the CA was a large 2.54.  His ERA was an excellent 2.24, he earned all-star honors.  50 Ks in 75 innings - is it a stat anaomly because of training or is it a warning sign?  I'm going with training at the moment.  The BB ratio has been excellent, only 9 in the CA league, but already 9 in the Eastern... something to watch.  Beede is now the Giants top overall prospect.

Graduates: I find it hilarious how underrated the Giants system was at the start of the year, with Andrew Susac being the only ranked guy.  Matt Duffy has made fools out of everybody, just as Joe Panik did the year before.  And Brandon Crawford before that.  Any other system graduate a starting catcher and 3B?  I don't think so.

Honorable mention: best name in the system Johneshwy Fargas has done quite well in the Sally.  He is currently hitting 301/364/369 with a system high 34 SBs (and a system high 14 CSs).  He is playing CF and making some highlight plays.  16BBs to 34Ks is great, 249 At-bats.  He is 20 years young.  Very exciting guy to watch.  Mikey Edie and Gustavo Cabrera come to mind as a trio of CFs to watch, as well as the new CFs just drafted.  Can't ever have enough CFs.  Fargas gets some meat on his bones, things could turn out well.  Definite big time follow. 

Obviously Arroyo and Jones are doing quite well in SJ as well.  Especially Jones, who has stayed healthy and kept on putting up stats, including controlling the zone with good BB/K.  Arroyo has been a little less consistent, no walks and some injury stuff.  But these other guys have done a lot more, once you're in the system and you're playing you are just the same as any bonus baby.  Matt Duffy knows this, man! 

Baseball reference is wonky, I'll post up some ratio comments when it comes back on line. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Giants finally take the Rocks at home - Series Rundown #25

About.  Damn.  Time.

June 26-28
Rockies 8, Giants 6
Giants 7, Rockies 5
Giants 6, Rockies 3

The series that reversed the June Swoon... or... How Matt Duffy kicked it into high gear?  Or... How Madison Bumgarner finally got a W?  (Changing his walkup music!)

I hate the Rockies.  There, I said it.  Lousy franchise, with lousy draft history, a lousy star who constantly either gets hurt or dogs it when they are out of contention.  They always manage to play the Gints tough, and it shouldn't be that way.

Dodgers are 1 game up, and we're nearing the halfway point.  77 down, 85 to go, its anybody's ball game.

The Dodgers have the best offense in the league.  The Giants... 2nd best.  Well, if we're counting runs scored, the G's just went up 1 on the Bums with that Bumgarner HR.  Giants are trailing big time in HRs - Dodgers have a league high 97 and the G's are 12th with 59.

Hey, all you suckas who whined for years about the Giants not paying attention to the almighty base on balls... Guess what team leads the league in OBP?  Yes, they are fueled by a larger BA than some, they are 2nd in batting average, which they famously have held strong on.  (And won 3 more titles than that moneyball team).

Giants lead the league in shutouts, with 12.  Their ERA ain't sharp, and most of their stats hover around league average.  I think the weakness is definitely in the pitching this year.  There is too much red ass grit and duct tape, not enough young strikeout pitching.  The defense can do some of this, and its a good one (Gregor Blanco being out there full time sure helps) but the starting pitching might not be up for a deep run.

Timmy might be heading to the pen soon, after a quick stint on the DL.  I'm not psyched at all about a Peavy activation.  Hudson looks like a 5 inning guy, I think Big Head Bruce needs to plan accordingly.  Hudson has had rough 1st innings, then cruised in the 2-4, then gets rough again.  So how they balance all this out should be an interesting dangle of ego's.  It looks like a 1-2-3 playoff rotation of Bumgarner, HESTON and Vogelsong.  I follow the Gints minors with a passion, but there's no way I would have predicted that ever. 

It's also no way to go into playoff baseball, where you need power pitchers.  The Giants might be able to ride the broad shoulders of Bumgarner again, who knows, but I'd say they should stack it a little bit more.

Look at the big beautiful OPS+ scores of our dudes:
Posey 140
Panik 139 (Utility infielder right here Keith Law!  You're a genius!)
Susac 135 in limited action
Crawford 133 (10-15 home run power coming into it, all they have to do now is rest the dude so he's fresh)
Belt and his slumpy shoulders 132
Blanco!  127
Duffy!  126
Aoki 121
(Pence 120)
Pagan has really struggled, to his credit he's out there grinding.  82 right now.
And Maxwell has turned in a Brandon Hicks type performance: great defense, great attitude, and some struggles, he's at 75
Others omitted to avoid pitch forks.  (Hector Sanchez is waaaay down there if you squint)

Offense is pretty good, Pence comes back it'll be fine. 

Starters...
Bumgarner with a surprisingly tame 118 ERA+
You don't want to look at the others much.  How have the Giants been doing this?
Casilla has been strong, and George Kontos has responded well.  The pen... has been shaky.
Bumgarner has given a 73% QS, Vogelstrong is at 63%, Heston/Hudson 53% and Timmy a shaky 33%.

Timmy goes to the pen, maybe he comes back strong, maybe he doesn't.  Giants need something big to step up 2nd half, or they might get into some serious trouble.

Overcoming injury has been the name of the game so far.  Lots of grit.  But pitching is key, and it has been a serious mixed bag.

Giants fly to Miami to take on the dreaded Marlins, sans Giancarlo.  Got to go get these guys, put some pressure on the Bums.  Haren, Latos and... Fernandez?  Wowza.  Its Cain V Fernandez for the close, that should be fun.  Hope Vogelsong and Heston can come correct. 

Then its the Nats on the road during the 4th, the Mets and the Phils at home.  Some salty blogger just might sneak up to that Phils series. 

All-star break after that, hopefully the Royals fans will have their entire 25 on that team by the time it gets played.

Series Rundown Recap: 12 series wins (4 sweeps), 6 series losses (3 sweeps), 7 Splits

Early Trade Ideas Gearing Up To July For Los Gigantes

Knowing the Greybeards, it will be a sideways depth type move, so let's not waste time drooling over shiny young prospects or A-list names.

The Giants don't have the firepower to go after those types, and if they did have juicy prospects with top 25 hype attached they would be holding onto them for dear life.  So it goes...

Martin Prado: 9 year vet, Bats and throws Righty, on the DL for the somewhat contending Marlins, hitting 272/311/370, which is below his career slash of 290/338/425. 
Chance he's done: He's 31, he is who he is - a guy you can plug into multiple positions.  I'd say slight chance he's done, he'd be a good piece for a playoff run.
Cost: he's at a 2/22MM to start the year, but the Yanks pick up 6MM of that.  The notoriously frugal Marlins will look to get some return and save some bucks.  That is a sweet spot of cost, most likely a B-type arm.  He's never cost a lot in trade historically, he's been traded 3 times now in 2 plus years.

Old friend Juan Uribe: 13 year vet, Bats and throws Righty, traded to the Braves recently, he has a 274/330/377 slash currently with a big uptick with Atlanta.  His career slash is 257/302/420.  He goes up to do some damage every at bat.  He is mostly a 3B (and a damn underrated one at that) but can fake SS and 2B. 
Chance he's done: He's 36, he is definitely who he is - a savvy vet who picks his moments.  I'm glad he's not longer a Dodger.  He has been excellent in playoff situations.
Cost: not much at all, either in prospects or in moneys, he is being paid 6.5MM in the last year of his contract.

Geraldo Parra: the Brew Crew ain't goin' nowhere and this is their only asset the Gigantes will be interested in.  5 year vet, great fielder, he can hit, he's currently at 287/316/443 on a career slash line 275/325/398. 
Chance he's done and Cost: 28 year old lefty bat lefty throw is pretty much in his sweet spot of age right now.  He is a FA at the end of the year, and he's in that no-man's land where he wouldn't be a Qualifying Offer most likely. 
Do the Giants have enough of this already: Aoki and Blanco are pretty darn similar.  Well, that's what I said about Aoki already.  Can they double down on another OF Lefty bat?  It seems the Giants need a Righy bat more...

Internal Options: Casey McGehee isn't getting much done except a brutal GIDP to PA ratio.  Joaquin Arias isn't doing much better.  The problem of course for both of them is they haven't had much playing time.  Its hard to be a bat off the bench, its really a very hard skill.  (Which makes Matt Duffy's play last year even more impressive).  You could try Ehire Adrianza, he has the advantage of best glove as well as being a Switch Hitter.  He has trouble keeping his quads healthy though.  If you wanted pure power you could try Adam Duvall, but he can't play 3B, he's really a 1B only option and the Giants have heavy hitters there. 

You really need somebody who can play multiple positions.  The OF and 3B.  The 2B/SS.  Most likely given the Giants big lefty bias, you'd want a righty bat.  (Crawford, Panik, Belt, Blanco, Aoki all being lefties). 

The other thing to think about: Justin Maxwell has shown good spurts, but he's been scuffling a fair amount as well.  Pressed into full time where you can't protect him as much, its been more bad than good, although he has a good attitude and has fielded well.   The OF might be the upgrade, even though there are a lot of guys who have played well when healthy.

Taking the wear and tear off of Crawford, Duffy and Panik (in that order) should be the priority.  So a 3B where you can shift Duffy to Short might be the ticket.  And that's also why Arias, a pretty big whipping boy in Giant fan-dome, is still around - he can handle all 4 infield positions relatively well. 

With Susac getting more time, don't be shocked if Hector Sanchez gets a call up, if he continues to swing.  I'm not really for or against it... the Giants love their catchers.  Its just a very positive development that Susac is playing so well.

The 2011 draft class is shaping up to be among the best...  from the 29th Draft Position, and having an extra shot because Juan Uribe was offended.  That's all turned out Golden for the Greybeards. 

The 2012 draft class, with Duffy already here, Mac Williamson and Steven Okert possibly coming soon, is looking good as well, despite some not so stellar performances at the top. 

The 2015 draft class is looking fun, with Phil Bickford in the stands today to applaud yet another big Matt Duffy hit! 

Duffy's emergence (ahem, predicted here) has given the Giants a lot of options.  I fully expect they expected and hoped for it, but made the contingency plans with McG because you make rooks prove out and you put in placeholders.  Right now I think the move they'll look for is a vet to hold the line, provide some rest and get good pinch hits as needed.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Gints Win More Than They Lose - Series Rundown Makeups #21-24

Dusty in these parts.  The Warriors sure did make some noise eh?  That was fantastic.

Giants have been taking some body blows with injuries, the latest being that Aoki has a fractured fibula.  Hunter Pence hasn't been able to get healthy, and the pitchers continue to take a slow journey through the minors.  In some cases (cough: Jake Peavy) that might not be a bad thing. 

Great news for Mac Williamson - he was considered as a replacement, but the Greybeards ultimately decided he just had too few ABs under his belt.  Instead, he gets the bump to Sacramento, one step away from the show!  Kelby Tomlinson, who has had a excellent Eastern, comes along as well as that salty southpaw Josh Osich. 

San Jose loses its two best hitters as well, Hunter Cole is on the move yet again.  Watch that lad closely.  Austin Slater goes up to Richmond as well.  I am loving that 2014 draft, we have 3 heavy prospects getting big time aggressive promotions.  Its fair to say that Tyler Beede has leapfrogged Kyle Crick as the Giants best overall prospect. 

Split with the lame ass Mariners, at home and then on the road:
Mariners 5, Giants 1
Giants 6, Mariners 2
Mariners 2, Giants 0 (One of the best of the year, King Felix versus MadBum)
Giants 7, Mariners 0

Then a beat down of the Boys in Blue, unfortunately Timmy Linc decided to not show up for a possible sweep, in Doyer Stadium:
Giants 9, Dodgers 5
Giants 6, Dodgers 2
Dodgers 10, Giants 2

And then the Padres go visitin' AT&T, a place that hasn't been good to the French Vanilla this year.
Padres 3, Giants 2 (11) - a wasted Bumgarner gem when Bochy was slow on the hook.
Giants 6, Padres 0
Giants 13, Padres 8 - the ball can carry something fierce in day games at Pac Bell.

Giants get the Rockies now, who have played them tough in the friendly confines.  I'm still a little pissed about that Romo meldown series, I guess you just have to say alls well ends well or something.

Giants are in good position.  They have been struggling with injuries, the OF is as usual a work in progress (Brian Sabean just can't develop Outfielders!  What's wrong with him!?!) but check out and cherish that home grown infield, the only one in the entire Major Leagues.

I am over the moon with how well Matt Duffy has played at 3B.  Joe Panik is the quietest top 5 2B in the show (Kolten Wong who?  Take that experts!).  Buster Posey is all-world.  Brandon Belt just needs to catch a break on injuries and go mash.  Brandon Crawford is an all-world defender who is really coming into his bat.  Its absolutely awesome to watch all of this, a total treasure.

74 games in, Giants are 1 game out of first place.  Great stuff.  The front office is working on their adjustments, and I have to say, much like last year, the meat of the cavalry is going to come from the farm.  Its hard to trade, and especially hard to trade when you don't have flashy shiny toys on the farm.

I just saw a tweet from Kiley McD that the Giants are in on Lucious Fox hard.  That would be some seriously cool stuff.  Not holding my breath though, the Dodgers are in as well.  At some point the Giants will make a splash though, and it might be coming sooner than later. 

Series Rundown Recap: 11 series wins (4 sweeps), 6 series losses (3 sweeps), 7 Splits

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Prospect Watch: Francisco Medina

Francisco Medina was signed in the July 2, 2014 signing period as a 16 year old, meaning it was announced after that deadline.  Skinny, 6'1 150 pounds, righty bat, plays shortstop.  Gints paid $115K for the privilege of taking the kid off of Dominican trainer "Fifo"'s hands. 

Here's a DPL video with some BP footage. 

His B-day is 3/20/1998, so he is now 17 years young. 

In early going he is tearing up the DSL.  Its only 56 PAs, but 4 Home Runs will stand out big time.  308/357/558. 

That's worth watching.  Skinny frame, but he looks like he could put weight on without becoming stiff.  Looks like an intense dude.  Me likey.  Definite watch.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Gints Win, Then Lose - Series Rundown Makeups #19-20

Mets - almost a sweep!
Giants 5, Mets 0 (No-Hitter from Hesto Presto)
Giants 8, Mets 5
Mets 5, Giants 4 (first Walkoff against of the season)

Then they come home, and put on their sucktastic hats:
D-backs 1, Giants 0
D-backs 4, Giants 2
D-backs 4, Giants 0

Ouch.  June Gloom in full effect after a good showing against the NL East.

I hate losing to Arizona.  Especially how the Dodgers have dominated them and Colorado.  This is weak, weak sauce.

Then the Mariners come to town and it continues...

Jalen Miller signed for double his slot!  Giants playing draft games baby!

Speaking of draft games, HOLY SHIT check out the FBI going after the best team in baseball.  It appears that this is a vendetta against the Astros GM, who was with the Cards for a long time.  And the entry was done from a home computer IP address that traces directly to a Cards employee.  All I can say to that is... Dumb ass.

Series Rundown Recap: 9 series wins (4 sweeps), 6 series losses (3 sweeps), 5 Splits

Giants have to play better at home.  Me?  I'm playing well at home.  Hope to get blog going more in the next couple of weeks but its busy, and good.