Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Gints Sweep the Brew Crew - Series Rundown #15

Think the G's like having this guy back?  Photo: MLB
The Giants played some great b-ball, coming from behind some and generally ruining the Brewers homestand.  Not much to complain about right now, you take a glance at the BA or OPS and there is one after another putting up good, good results.  Its almost like... these guys can hit! 

Games at parks such as Coors, Great American and Miller Field definitely illustrate just how hard it is to hit in SF.  The ball just flies out.  And the Giants muscled up, especially their HOME GROWN infield.

May 25-27
Giants 8, Brewers 4
Giants 6, Brewers 3
Giants 3, Brewers 1

I think its time that the World Champs get acknowledged as being a pretty damn good baseball team.  This does come up from time to time, how they are continually underestimated and put down by the various "experts".  They play good defense, they run the bases pretty well (although the fastest guys are usually the ones with the mistakes: Cough: Aoki Cough: Blanco), they hit pretty well and they pitch pretty well.  That all adds up. 

Right now it looks like the hitting is going great guns, but the pitching and especially the bullpen needs to get acknowledged.  Sergio Romo's ownage of Carlos Gomez is just comical, Gomez was trying to bunt for a hit today. 

Pence getting back, getting a big threat into the lineup just lengthens the hell out of things.  Suddenly all the table setting really starts to get opposing pitchers shaky.  And Belt, he of the mighty bat drop, is taking off at the right time as well. 

Crawford's play last night on the liner was amazing.  Its crazy he won't be considered for all-stars, which has become sort of a gold-gloves type thing of "once you're in..."

Pablo Sandoval is hitting 265/333/401.  That's about 15 points light on the average and 20 points light on the slugging.  But besides that?  Right on track with the regression that has been going on the past 3-4 years. 

A 12 man crew of hitters of Posey, Susac, Belt, Panik, Crawford, Duffy, Arias, Pence, Pagan, Aoki, Blanco and Maxwell can make it work.

Homestand starts with the Braves.  Will newly acquired Juan Uribe get some cheers to go with those jeers now that he's out of Dodger Blue?  Inquiring minds want to know!


Bobbleheads will be given out, hopefully Hesto rights the ship at home. 

Series Rundown Recap: 7 series wins (4 sweeps), 4 series losses (1 sweep), 4 Splits

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Quick Stat Check On The Kids

Who are the big bats?  We want big bats???!!!

Minimum 50 PAs... ISO Leaders:
Duvall 300 - that's silly stats.  An AL team should dangle a hard throwing reliever in front of the Giants noses, they can't resist the allure...
Tyler Horan 272 - hope he gets back on the field soon
Jarrett Parker 228 - the three true outcome king.  I don't think the bat plays at the highest level but would love to be wrong.
Ricky Oropesa 185 - quietly mashing away in his Richmond repeat.
Cristian Paulino 182 - kind of a highlight reel guy, he's old for the Sally.
Devin Harris 182 - old for the Eastern.
Darren Ford 174 - OK, what's going on in them waters?
Jonah Arenado 169 - Big development for the Giants
Aramis Garcia 167 - struggling with contact, but making some big hits
Brett Jackson 165 - his younger brother gonna get drafted in the first 5 rounds by the Greybeards, I can smell it.
Andrew Cain  163 - great comeback story.
Ryan Lollis 156 - just got the call to the Eastern
Hunter Cole 154 - my call for sleeper of the 2014 draft, I mocked him juuuust a few rounds too early
Mac Williamson 148 - cut off was 150, but I expect Williamson to move on up this list as the season grows long.

Thoughts: Giants are always down on "big bats".  This list contains a few of the hold outs to the "Draft light tower power that is contact challenged in the 2-5th rounds" strategy that's been going on since John Barr took the reins.  

Let's look at Williamson in particular, he has a 21.5 K% against a 6.5 BB%, slashing 310/363/458 in the Big Bad Eastern, first try.   He has the third best wOBA in the minors (Buster and the Brandons lead the org, Craw leads with .429, Belt is at .426 and Posey is at .409 - Craw has been the MVP of Los Gigantes in early 2015 action).  Paulino, Lollis and then Williamson at .394, which even beats Duvall's PCL feasting .391, then Cole at 5 with .382).  Williamson and Cole are my picks for the Zoom-Zoom.  Watch what the Giants do.

What about the pitchers?  K/BB for the random stat...
Hunter Strickland
Jose Reyes
Dan Slania
Mike Broadway
Ty Blach
Raymundo Montero
Mark Reyes
Braulio Lara
Nicholas Gonzalez
Jake Smith

Are all 4.00 and above, along with some cat named Bumgarner. 

Keury Mella is sitting at 3.75, very nice.
Tyler Beede, he of the groundball, is at 3.25, very respectful.
Kyle Crick you ask?  1.82.  Hey, he made it to the 7th inning in his last start yesterday!

Beede has faced the 8th most hitters in the org, including the big leaguers.  Get the experience!  Are you worried about the lack of K's?  I have to admit I am half worried.  This is a great experiment, that is being watched closely by a lot of teams in MLB.  The Giants pitcher whispering talents are under the scope, and Beede is a huge project. 

Guy to watch: Its only the Sally, but Mark Reyes has been impressive.  1.71 ERA, 4.80 K/BB, mainly due to avoiding walks completely. 

Dan Slania has a impressive K/9 of 12.81 to go with his K/BB of 5.60.  He's closing games in SJ, 7.78 H/9, given up 2 home runs.   Big Dan is making some noise. 

Crick may be an enigma, but he is still getting K's (11.79) and still not very hittable (6.85).  The achilles is the BB/9, which is almost as high as the hits: 6.46.  Wowza.

Giants as usual have a bevy of Hard Throwers who are getting K/9 #s.  Derek Law should be adding his name to that list soon, and Ray Black is making the rounds. 

Giants Split With The Rocks Amid Rain - Series Rundown #14

I, like most Gigante fans, hate Coors field.

May 22-24
Giants 11, Rockies 8
Giants 10, Rockies 8
Rockies 5, Giants 3
Rockies 11, Giants 2

Series Rundown Recap: 6 series wins (3 sweeps), 4 series losses (1 sweep), 4 Splits

Hey, you split on the road, its a good thing.  The big news is Casey McG was DFA'd, after he couldn't quite score.  Maybe that was the final straw, because Matt Duffy scores easily.  McG was classy about the whole thing, bringing Duffy into Bochy's office to talk to him, he was next in line for Bill Hall (remember him?  The next Pat Burrell... candidate)

The Giants are a better team with Duffy starting, better range in the field, much better baserunning, and the bat will play.  I predicted this for a long time.

The Giants have an entirely home grown infield, something that will get posted up soon.  Buster Posey, 28 years young, 1st rounder.  Brandon Belt, 27, 5th rounder in 2009.  Joe Panik, 24, 1st rounder in 2011 who was sneered at as a utility bat.  Brandon Crawford, 4th rounder in 2008 along with Posey, is now 28 as well.  And Duffy, 18th rounder in 2012, is 24.  That's a young infield.  Home grown.  HOME GROWN.  You gotta like these kids.  The whole stereotype of the Giants not being able to develop bats is crushed.  As is the farm system not being any good.  Its an excellent farm system.

Giants are 2 out at the moment.  They've been hot, and they have a lot of bats hitting .300 and flirting with .800 OPS.  Pitching might be the bigger issue over the grind.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

How Sweet It Is - Giants Sweep The Bums By Shutout - Series Rundown #13

The Franchise (Photo: USA TODAY)
Its been a rough couple of years in the wilderness for Tim "The Franchise" Lincecum.  Dealing with reduced velocity, overthinking things, getting jammed up once runners get on base...  I think the sweetest story so far for the 2015 version of Los Gigantes is how good Lincecum has been.  Is it a tight rope?  You bet you ass it is.  Velocity can take care of a lot of mistakes.  Is he going to have to go prove it again and again?  Yep.  His peripherals are a bit sketch, the lowest K/9 as well as K/BB of his career, but so far he's making it work.  Smoke and mirrors?  Maybe.  But last night we saw Big Time Timmy Jim, including a little "you stay there" action after stranding a leadoff hitter who wandered to 3B with no outs. 

The WAR analysis is sharp, I think its a good thing.  But there are other factors, including keeping your heroes.  Timmy Lince is a bonafide A-number-One hero.  I think the Giants are getting their value on this contract, big time.

And really, it comes down to crunch time.  We'll see what happens this October.  That's when the money is well spent or blown. 

Anyways... How SWEET IT IS!  Sweeping the Dodgers.  Not letting the Dodgers score a run.  Bringing the NL West race into SHARP focus?  Sweet as hell.  These are the fun ones, savor like sweet wine.  The Dodgers will be back, and they will put a hurt on some time this year.  The Dodgers-Giants is one of the most evenly run rivalries in sports.  Its just that the Bums had some success in the 60s while the Giants couldn't quite get there, then the Giants took some time off while Fat Tommy rolled tide and the... we don't need to talk about that.  Just like Dodger fans don't want to talk about the last 5 or 6 years too much! 

May 19-21
Giants 2, Dodgers 0
Giants 4, Dodgers 0
Giants 4, Dodgers 0

Notice how important Buster Posey was this series?  He even scored from 2B on a close throw today.  Can't touch this!  After some shaky shake, the pen was great this series.  Hudson, Lincecum and Bumgarner were special. 

Sorry, I have to go watch Bumgarner's HR again.  I'll be back in a sec. 

It was totally worth the headache of pulling the boy from school, dealing with the wife getting mad at me about the educations, what not.  He whooped like crazy the moment the call went down.  Special.  Really special. 

Are the Giants in the Dodgers heads?  They stumble into real competition, things get a little bit tougher.  The Giants need to work on their efforts against inferior competition, this is always the story - Gigantes play up and they play down.  That's the ropes. 

So glad Belt was OK after getting hit on the hand.  He doesn't need any more bad luck juju on that front.  That was a seriously scary moment, right when we get our guy back and things are gelling. 

Aoki and Arias pulled a perfect relay to gun Alex Guerrero on his ill advised advance to 3B.  That was sweet.  As was Pagan's end around the play at the plate.  Finally: you have to love Donnie Two Times and his challenges.  Most ponderous manager in baseball.  Way to get a lefty to face Crawford Don!  Keep up the good work! 

The Dubs win a thrilla, the Giants are on cloud nine.  Just a good sports day.

I love all the Gigantes.  Hunter Pence is special though.  A informal survey of my close buds kids... He cleans up big time.  Great trade, great retention.  Pence is just a special special dude.  In company with a bunch of special dudes in Posey, Bumgarner and a few more.  These Giants are for real, and they're coming for you, you trolley dodgers. 

Series Rundown Recap: 6 series wins (3 sweeps), 4 series losses (1 sweep), 3 Splits

Now the Rockies.  Have to have good clean games, no let downs.  The Rockies are a disaster.  Whoop up on them.  Gulp.  Here comes Coors field.

Gonna go watch the Bumgarner home run again.

It's Almost Summer Right?

What do you do when the Giants and Dodgers are playing an afternoon game... and it happens to be Kershaw-Bumgarner 3?  A little back story, your 7 year old is of course salty as hell still because you bought tickets a week in advance (terrible idea, what was I thinking?) with Kershaw-Bumgarner 2 anticipated only to get something completely different due to a rain out and a scrapped start...

It's almost summer right? 

Gotta pull the boy.  Go find a joint in Los Angeles that will show this game (hey, not that easy - 70% of LA blacked out still - way to go Dodgers on your past, present and future marketing to die-hard as well as casual fans!)

This is turning out to be a great season.  As they've been since 2009, when the Giants started playing their kids and getting their house in order.

Fangraphs has a couple good articles: first up the Black Swan theory on pitchers... In which the artist known as Big Time Timmy Jim is mentioned...

The Giants offense, half full or half empty?  Not a bad read, even if its a Cards fan writing it.  I love how Belt's Babip is mentioned - does the writer know what it was 2 weeks ago?  His conclusion sucks balls though: "The Giants’ middling record and lack of newness does not make for a great early-season story, but they have the pieces once again to be much more interesting as the season moves along." That is just typical fangraphs mush mush about Los Gigantes.

New mock draft from Kirby, not bad at all: has Los Gigantes going with Donnie Everett (nods approvingly), Chris Betts (wouldn't be too excited but he nails the Giants catcher drafting love very well), and... Kyle Molnar?  Hmmmm....

Alright... now I have to go figure out a bunch of semi-legit and BS excuses to make a series of cut-outs happen smoothly.  Bumgarner-Kershaw 3?  Hells yeah!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Gigante Bats Come Alive - Take Down The Reds - Series Rundown #12

Photo from 2011 LA Times: Brandon Belt's first 4 games are a sign of great things to come
Remember waaaay back in 2011?  When mean Bruce Bochy and the Giants were ruining Brandon Belt?  Here's the link to the story that photo came from.  Giving it up to Doug Mapson.  Propah! Says I!

Belt came correct in Great American Ballpark.  Home runs in 3 straight days, his first 3 of the year.  He's on his way to 20.

Santiago Casilla closed the door in classic fashion, the Immaculate Inning.  Boo yah.

Hunter Pence returned, and the Giants rolled tide.  His immense pool of energy, positive thinking and chugga chugg around the basepaths is absolutely infectious.  His home run yesterday, my boys started doing the yes! yes! yes!  Oh, and thanks to Uncle T-boz for getting the Pence Fence Catch bobblehead.  It is very, very appreciated in the Shankbone household. 

May 14-17
Reds 4, Giants 3
Giants 10, Reds 2
Giants 11, Reds 2
Giants 9, Reds 8

Thursday's game was a carbon copy of the loss to the Marlins, the pen coughing it up (Mr. Affeldt allowed 2 home runs this road trip).  Friday was a surprise bust out that most bay area fans weren't paying a ton of attention to (Warriors!  Come out to play!).  Saturday was more of the same and Sunday was a rain delay, crazy affair where they had to throw everything but the kitchen sink into the game, hang on for dear life as the Reds bats started coming to life.

With those two wins, the Giants are 2 over 500 (and hey!  played exactly .500 ball waiting on Pence).  Check out Raising Matt Cain for the analysis, the Giants reverse mirrored their bad start, and are now among the hot teams in b-ball.  The Bums won yesterday, they are 4.5 up on our heroes.  For those who pay attention to run differential, this onslaught of offense has brought the Giants to exactly 0.  I'm not that keen on that stat personally, the Giants have taken down 3 brass rings while not exactly burning that one up. 

Looks like a pretty big series coming up on Tuesday.  The Dodgers come and sweep, the Giants are 7.5 out.  The Giants sweep, they're 1.5 out.  Six games in the standing is pretty huge. 


That 3rd game is a day game, and it is the third time the aces meet up, it'll be must see for sure.  The Giants have the advantage in pitching the first two, you always worry about a new pitcher facing the French Vanilla though, they always seem to struggle.  Kanley Jansen is back, that will strengthen the Dodgers pen depth a ton.  The Bums took 2 of 3 from the Fish, then split the Rockies series, a big gift to the Giants.  The Giants absolutely have to whip up on the Rockies and Diamondbacks to have a chance at the division, because the Dodgers certainly will. 

The Dodgers best hitters so far have been Adrian Gonzo (no surprise there), Howie Kendrick (always solid, but check out little Dee Gordon!) and... Joc Pederson.  Will the Giants please get a scouting report and game plan to strike that fool out?  10 HRs, he is definitely dangerous, but he has to have some holes to ruthlessly exploit.  Andre Ethier has played well in Puig's extended absence.  The one Dodger who has been ice cold is Jimmy Rollins.  Please keep it that way.  Alex Guerrero and Justin Turner manage to get big hits against for some reason in limited play.  Hey, I wanted to sign Turner back a couple years ago.  He's like Mike Fontenot on steroids with a better Hobbit beard.

Series Rundown Recap: 5 series wins (2 sweeps), 4 series losses (1 sweep), 3 Splits

Friday, May 15, 2015

Gints Split Short Series - Series Rundown #11

Giants wasted a chance to get closer to the Dodgers.  They aren't going to have a lot of chances this year, its looking more and more like the wild card or bust.  Weak sauce says I.

May 12-13
Giants 8, Astros 1
Astros 4, Giants 3

Historic day on Tuesday, Matt Duffy with the 5 ribeyes and 3 hits, Chris Heston with an absolutely dominant complete game 10 K gem. 

Games like that are what makes following the Gigante minors, grinding away blogging and what not a ton of fun.  Its really cool to see a guy like Heston break out in the majors.

I was actually at Dodger stadium watching the scoreboard but not touching the phone so I didn't see the Giants give away a Posey fueled game.  From the box, it appears that Hudson pitched OK, but gave up solo shots, and then Affeldt gave away the game.  3 home runs, that's the big difference.  I am pretty sure I put that in my notes going into the series - prevent home runs, you win. 

Giancarlo Stanton is a beast.  It was fun seeing Dodger stadium get quiet as the Marlins got the bases loaded with no outs, and then Stanton delivered a shot to the outfield to plate 2.  I think Dee Gordon is for real, and the genius stat oriented front office of Los Doyers made a bad call.  The whole knock is his babip, and it is high... but the guy can hit.  I think he is going to be more Ichiro than Juan Pierre.  There was muted applause for Dee as he raked all over the yard.

Series Rundown Recap: 4 series wins (2 sweeps), 4 series losses (1 sweep), 3 Splits

Giants signed a couple of sexy names from a few years ago as reclamation projects: Tommy Hanson and Ricky Romero.  Just remember, for every Vogelsong, there is one that doesn't work: Boof Bonser retired as well.  C'est la guerre.