Monday, February 08, 2016

The Private World of the Negro Ballplayer in 1960

An excellent article that was published by Sports Illustrated 56 years ago. Willie Mays, George Crowe and Vada Pinson come off as some of the real heroes.

 Negro players share with one another. "When you're on the road, you never worry," says a player. "If you need anything, so-and-so will give it to you. And there's no salary jealousy. The best-liked player is Mays. He makes $85,000 a year, and every man is happy to see him with it." Last season, many Negro players automatically headed for Mays's home (since sold) when they reached San Francisco. They had dinner, then helped themselves to records, shirts and whatever else Mays had received from admirers. "A lot of colored guys don't get that, so I give them to them," Mays says.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Johnny Cueto and the 0-2 Count Walks

Fangraphs has a fascinating post explaining why Johnny Cueto is one of the leading pitchers in 0-2 counts that go to walks

It happened 19 times in 2013-15, according to August Fagerstrom. Here's part --

Whereas Bauer, Gonzalez, Jimenez and Wilson may lose their 0-2 counts to walks due largely to shaky command, Cueto’s lost counts may manifest themselves for the opposite reason — because his command is so exceptional. Cueto’s ability to work the outer edges of the plate is matched by few other pitchers in baseball, and so Cueto trusts himself to do so, regardless of the count. Cueto doesn’t blow hitters away; he finesses them. Sometimes, he’s going to narrowly miss those spots and it will lead to an exasperating walk in an at-bat that he appeared to have wrapped up after two pitches. But it’s by design. If you’re a Giants fan getting acclimated to Cueto’s pitching style this year and you find yourself getting frustrated after he loses an 0-2 count to a walk — don’t. Those very pitches that might have led to the walk are part of the reason why he’s so good in the first place.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Kyle Blanks in the Orange and Black?

I'd forgotten that he's on the spring training roster.

Big big dude -- 6-foot-6, 270 pounds. Here's what Chris Haft of says --

What are the chances of someone like Ricky Romero or Kyle Blanks making the Opening Day roster? Also, is there any rookie who might be a surprise to open the season with the Giants?
-- Mike V., Tucson, Ariz.

Blanks conceivably could be this year's Justin Maxwell. He might not be as proficient of a defensive outfielder as Maxwell, but his ability to play first base makes him more versatile. Romero or any other starting pitcher will struggle to make the season-opening rotation, unless somebody in San Francisco's projected five-man contingent (Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Matt Cain and Jake Peavy) sustains an injury that sends him to the disabled list.
Outfield candidates Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker are rookies; at this point, Williamson's presence on the Opening Day roster would be more of a surprise than Parker's, given all those home runs the latter hit last September. However, either one will have to force his way into a bench role by excelling almost nonstop during Cactus League play.

My taken: not impressed. He's racked up a 4.0 WAR since 2009 -- 33 HRs in 943 plate appearances.  

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Susac's future

Chris Haft of says Andrew Susac is heading for the reserve role on the 25-man roster. 

SAN FRANCISCO -- On paper, a scramble for the Giants' backup catcher's job appears imminent. In reality, Andrew Susac should reclaim the role with minimal fuss.
Settling on a stand-in for Buster Posey, San Francisco's three-time All-Star, shouldn't be a consuming issue after pitchers and catchers report to Major League camp on Feb. 17 in Scottsdale, Ariz. General manager Bobby Evans reported that Susac, last year's reserve until arthroscopic right wrist surgery ended his season in early September, seems healed.
"Everything sounds good," Evans said on Wednesday. "I don't think there are any concerns going in [to Spring Training]. ... I think if Susac is healthy and performs well, he's the most likely choice to be our backup."
Common sense requires the Giants to stockpile alternatives to Susac, who hit .218 with three home runs and 14 RBIs in 52 games last year:
Trevor Brown, who looked polished during a late-season, 13-game stint with the Giants and will participate in his first Major League camp.
• Miguel Olivo, a 13-year big league veteran who agreed to a Minor League deal with San Francisco earlier this week. Evans said that Olivo was not invited to big league camp and will likely open the season with Double-A Richmond.
Consider the lesson derived from this event: As the Mets made ex-Giant Hobie Landrith their first selection in the expansion draft before their inaugural 1962 season, manager Casey Stengel explained the wisdom of the move.
"If you don't have a catcher, you're likely to have a lot of passed balls," the "Ol' Perfessor" observed.

Susac was pretty decent in 2014 with a 1.0 WAR. 

Monday, February 01, 2016

Osich = Affeldt?

That's what Chris Haft of believes. 

With Jeremy Affeldt's retirement, can the Giants pick up another reliever of his caliber and impact? I sense a hole in the 'pen.
-- Robert P., Omaha, Neb.

Affeldt's departure spurred the Giants' interest in free-agent right-hander Joakim Soria early in the offseason. The two-time All-Star has limited left- and right-handed hitters to batting averages of .215 and .210, respectively, during his nine-year Major League career. But Kansas City signed Soria. Nevertheless, the Giants may have another Affeldt in left-hander Josh Osich, who finished 2-0 with a 2.20 ERA in 35 appearances as a rookie last season. Righties hit only .213 off Osich. Left-handers posted a .222 batting average off him. Assuming Osich stays healthy and makes the necessary adjustments against hitters who have devoured his scouting reports and scrutinized him on videos, he could strengthen San Francisco's bullpen for a long time.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Christian Arroyo in the Orange and Black?

Chris Haft of reports that he's listed as the 82nd best MLB prospect.

He's only 20. Here's part ...

San Francisco's No. 1 selection (25th overall) in the 2013 MLB Draft, Arroyo already has demonstrated the potential to hit capably. Consistency has been the 20-year-old's hallmark. He batted .304 for San Jose last year and owns a .303 lifetime Minor League average. Those numbers are comparable with the .308 figure Arroyo posted this offseason for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League, which named him to its All-Prospect Team.
Nava said that Arroyo feels comfortable with his burgeoning skill.
"The swagger is impressive," Nava said. "He's not afraid of anything. He knows he's good."
As Nava related, Arroyo expects to excel. Arroyo took a .322 batting average into last August, but he hit .272 for the remainder of the season while striving to contribute to San Jose's postseason bid.
"I think he was trying to carry the team on his shoulders," Nava said. "He started putting pressure on himself a lot. So we had a conversation to get him back in 'relax' mode, let things happen and focus on the things in front of you."
The Giants are focused on Arroyo's potential.
"The better pitchers he faces, [the more he] raises the bar for himself," Nava said. "He's starting to know his swing better. He's starting to recognize his hitting flaws, like right away. So he's able to make the adjustment needed."

Monday, January 25, 2016

Giants are the 6th most improved

That's what the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo says. He also says the Bosox are the most improved.

 6. GIANTS — They are coming off one of their usual down seasons in an odd-numbered year. They have won the last three World Series in even-numbered years, and added Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto to the rotation and Denard Span to the lineup. They could use another power bat, but the Giants are already seen as the team to beat in the tough National League West.

Also, the Dodgers are the second in the list for teams taking a step back ----

 2. DODGERS — Signing Kenta Maeda and Scott Kazmir to free agent deals can’t make up for losing Greinke to the rival Diamondbacks. The Dodgers still have an unsettled outfield situation, and re-signing an aging Chase Utley wasn’t impressive.