Thursday, March 13, 2014

Searching for Impact Talent

Got your impact right here.  Photo credit:

Impact talent is one of the most misunderstood concepts in prospecting.  How much there is, the distribution of it and how it is acquired.  Most teams are carefully nurturing yoots you can count on one hand. 

A common refrain about the Giants is they are lacking "impact".  They've gone back to their ninja ways, they're all hopped up on pitchers.  There are two things here: tinstaap, and the fact that even though fans and analysts should know better by now, hitting still rules a lot of discussions.  Mainly its all about draft position.  All about draft position, all the time.

But there is a new guy on the block, his name is Tony Blengino, the guy who was apparently the guy behind the curtain in Jack Z's land of Oz up there in Seattle.  He don't have a gig, so he's writing for the stats nerds crowd over at fangraphs.  Here is his #16-30 farm rankings based on "Impact Talent"

He gets it.  This is a great ranking.  You have teams that are way too overhyped in saber circles getting dinged for not getting their talent lined up.  You have the Giants at #18 and the entire 2013 SJ staff is mentioned.  A shout-out to Clayton Blackburn and a warning about Chris Stratton. 

If you want to see just how few "impact talent" guys there are in the minors... just read the series, look at the guys in all-caps.  The Giants are grinding along just fine.  They take their shots, just like every other team in the majors.  And they're actually doing quite well.  To have a former MLB executive recognize that is a good indication of some of the things I've been blathering about on yougottalikethesekids! 


  1. The ironic thing: this is a team whose "impact talent" is still under 30 years old... the best two players on the team are 27 and 24, and they ain't goin' anywhere. Can Crick get the command down? If he does, there's your next impact starter. Blach, Esky, Mejia, Blackburn, Flores, Agosta, Stratton, Mella, Ysla, Gregorio, Chase Johnson, Snelten, NVT... that's 13 pitchers, and there HAS to be one impact starter hidden in there somewhere. Has to be. If Susac keeps progressing, he'll be a contributor. Impact? Maybe... but for a team that doesn't get much farm system love, I think the system is in great shape. When pick 14 rolls around this summer, it should be in even better shape. Just too many high-upside players this year to not grab a stud in that spot.

    1. This is the reason why the Giants are bright for the future. There is a chance that the 2nd wave of Mella and Ysla turn out to be even better than the Richmond guys.

      The young core, especially the homegrown hitters, that is very solid stuff. It boggles my mind that "analysts" can't see what Sabean & the Greybeards are doing - they are filling in their core patiently, one at a time. Can't find a good OF to develop, you trade and sign Pence. Pablo will be a big story this year obviously. He's 27 years old. That is crazy young, and he will be very much in demand. His ups and downs are so frustrating... but we're in an upswing again, so lets ride that train!

      And Buster Posey, for some strange reason, is still discounted. Huge stud anchor for Los Gigantes. He is frickin' awesome, and as long as he's there, the Giants have a chance. Last year the players were just burned out, especially the pitchers. They appear to be going at it this spring with laser focus.

    2. You are spot on about the Giants, in the article and here in the comments, Shank.

      And great point CC, about our two best players being only 27 and 24, that is something missed by a lot of people, that's a good reminder. Plus Belt and Crawford, and hopefully Sandoval long term soon (him and Belt both this spring, make it happen Sabes!).

      And not just an impact starter somewhere, but impact relievers are just as important because our bullpen is actually pretty old right now, and could use a yute infusion, starting with Hembree and Law, of course, plus Osich and Strickland at some point.

      And Susac, if he can at least be an average catcher (average offensively and plus defensively), he would be an impact player for us because that would free up Posey to move to a less dangerous position to play and be able to start 150+ games instead of 130-140 games.

      Yeah, Posey is discounted, I think partly because he's not flashy, partly because I think his 2011 injury knocked him down in some people's minds. I agree, as long as he's here, the Giants have a chance.

      Burnout is what it was, both for the short off-season due to the playoffs, plus then the WBC. We know what happened to most of the Giants WBC participants, I wonder if there is an easy way to check on WBC participants from World Series teams the prior season, and see how many were affected by injury and/or decline in performance.

      And I love the laser focus, I'm smelling blood in the water and I'm getting hungry. I still like my stance that this team could be up there with the 2003 Giants, barring another barrage of injuries.

    3. The more things change the more they stay the same OGC. Draft study. And as we can see, the Giants ownership is OK with spending now, they aren't punting their pick into a weak FA market. So some things DO change.

      I also think Posey gets discounted because he's a "20 HR guy" and a catcher, not the sexiest of positions. If we had an OF that would get a lot more attention? Maybe. I'm still bummed the Pirates locked up McCutch, I thought that guy would have been huge in Orange and Black.

    4. Hmm, yeah, maybe that's it. The Giants brand forever has been the homerun ball, Mel Ott, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Bobby Bonds, Dave Kingman, George Foster, Jack Clark, Will Clark, Barry Bonds. And those were mostly OF and 1B, and definitely not catcher, I have to think that Posey is probably the best catcher in franchise history already in terms of homers and RBIs, as well as OPS, nobody lasted long or were that memorable from history.

      Though one common thread among them was that they were either flashy or distinctive or both, whereas Posey is definitely neither (though not sure about Ott, though his batting stance was definitely distinctive).

      And speaking of Ott, who I think was our last player/manager, can you see Posey taking over for Bochy as player/manager near the end of his career?

  2. Speaking of impact talent: Hacman is going to be a Giants Community Ambassador going forward! About time! Seemed like there was some animosity between Magowan and that late Lurie period of success, took forever for Will the Thrill to return, and now Hacman (Krukow don't count because he was too established already as announcer by the time Magowan, from what I recall).

    He was already in spokesperson form this afternoon, he was on KNBR and Tom Tolbert asked him directly if he felt that it was about time the Giants did something with players from that era, and he went into this long spiel about how great the Giants are in the majors in terms of bringing back alumni and all sort of good stuff about the team. It was like they trained him already for the company line and prepped him for questions like this, his facts seemed like some pre-prepared stuff for questions like this.

  3. Wasn't sure where to post this, this seems good:

    Thought you would want to see this article, h/t to crazy crabbers, but it talks about how the Red Sox does all this innovative stuff and it struck me that the Giants do a lot of that stuff too but never get written up on it. Which fits right in with your Monks meme and Sabean always wanting to keep his kimono closed, but still, seems like they do a lot of what the Red Sox is being lauded for.

    It's by the same guy who lauded the Rays for their 5% improvement, so of course they were mentioned, and I think he's a former BP, so of course the A's got mentioned. Their bias against the Giants is going to make them look really foolish at some point, much like Grant and MCC has been shown up by the two championships so far.