Sunday, March 31, 2013

The line-drive Orange and Black

You have to be a true fan to know that the Giants have a line-drive rate of 22%, second highest in the majors...

I read the expanded Sports Illustrated preview just now. The mag hasn't changed its 91-71 prediction nor its forecast that the Giants will lose to the Reds in the NLDS. But there were some interesting passages to explain the lack of HR power for the team Here's the relevants part of Joe Lemire's article (boldface is mine) -- 

"Our goal isn't global," Sabean said. "We're not trying to defend being champs. We're trying to win the division again, and I think that's humbling and that's good because you know how hard it is to do. But what we've also seen is that, if you're able to do it or get into the playoffs, because of the division that we play in, the type of roster and the window that we're in, we're kind of built for playoff baseball."
The traits of successful playoff teams are great pitching -- which the Giants obviously have and will have in abundance if Lincecum bounces back -- and a lineup that puts the ball in play, increasing their chances of timely, run-scoring hits.
The Giants do hit a ton of line drives (22.1 percent of balls in play, according to, which was the second-best rate in the majors last year. That plays well in the wide gaps of the NL West ballparks where even the two hitter-friendly parks (Arizona and Colorado) are huge. No one exemplified this better than Scutaro, who batted .362 in his 61 games and made contact on 99.3 percent of his swing on pitches in the strike zone after the Giants received him in a trade.
"With hitting, it's all timing and harmony," Pence said. "Home runs just happen, and gappers happen. Just competing, being strong, being fast, having your mind ready -- the focus isn't on do this or do that and that's how you
For the architect of the team, however, there is a deliberate emphasis on constructing a lineup with a certain skillset.
"We found more and more that our ballpark is built for gap hitters and what we call line drive-down," Sabean said. "You can survive hitting singles, doubles and triples. If you're a team that puts the ball in play, doesn't strike out -- it's better as the season goes on, which we did last year with runners in scoring position."
Ultimately, the offense's production will dictate the Giants' fortunes. Last year was their first season exceeding 700 runs since 2006, while they've averaged allowing only 605 runs the past four years.

Orange and Black technology

There's an odd USA Today story posted about the Giants using technology in how they sell tickets and use social media to promote the team. The Build a Bear Workshop at ATT Park has been replaced by a Social Media cafe. 

There's also some insight into use of new tech on the baseball side of operations and player performance--

The Giants are more circumspect about their use on tech on the baseball side, where teams are fiercely secretive to gain a competitive edge. Assistant General Manager Bobby Evansoffers that the team contracts more than 10 firms — among them, Inside Edge and Sportvision — for the best available data, video and technology. The team was the first to use FieldF/X, a system within ballparks that captures defensive data.
Within the organization, there are three programmers who maintain the baseball information systems and two analytics experts.
"The baseball side is different," Evans says. "You can use technology in a unique way to market a team in San Francisco, but you don't want to openly share what you do on the field against 29 other teams. We don't know how other teams are using technology, so it would be presumptuous for us to say what we do is unique."
Before games, coaches, players and staff pore over video and charts to analyze the performance of pitchers and hitters. The team's proximity to Silicon Valley has afforded it the ability to get an early look at services that assiduously use reams of data to study hitting mechanics, based on video; fielding range, through the use of charts; a breakdown of every pitch thrown during a game; and players' effectiveness when hurt.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Quiroz in the Orange and Black

Buster Posey = Will Clark

Chris Quick at Bay City Ball has a very astute analysis of the still stunning deal for Buster Posey. Here's one excellent point about Buster being the face of the franchise -- 

Growing up, I still fondly remember Will Clark — my all-time favorite Giant — as the face of the team. To me, Clark embodied everything about the Giants: his tough approach to playing the game, his amazing production, the gorgeous swing, the eye black, everything that Clark did seemed to echo “Giants.” So you can imagine how tough it was to watch Clark walk away from the team in 1993 when a contract couldn’t be reached. It’s a different situation with Clark and Posey — for one, Posey is coming off a nearly historic year — but I think the bigger point stands: it sucks to watch your favorite players change uniforms. I still followed Clark’s career, but my goodness was it bizarre/weird/strange to see him wearing Texas, Baltimore, and St. Louis uniforms after playing for the Giants.
Thankfully, I won’t have to go through the same weirdness with Posey.

As someone who was around in 1993, it was a strange year to be a Giants fan. Peter Magowan had prevented the team from being moved to Tampa-St. Petersberg; the Giants caught fire and won 103 games but because the stupid Padres essentially gave away Fred McGriff to the Braves, the Braves won 104 games to take the NL West title; what the hell was an Atlanta team doing in the NL West in the first place; and the whole season had the overhanging question that the Giants would probably keep either Matt Williams or Will Clark bit not both...

Well, it looks like we have had a better ending. Here's Chris Quick again ...

The Giants’ willingness to lock up important players to competitive deals is a very welcome sight. In the war of escalating payrolls, the Giants have shown a commitment to retain players the team deems key. The jokes of the ‘Rainy Day Fund’ can probably go away for awhile now.
So, today’s a very good day if you’re a Giants fan. Let it wash over you. Let the idea of Posey playing for the Giants until he’s in his mid-30s calm your nerves. There’s always risks to be found in any long-term contract that involves millions and millions of dollars, but that’s for another day.
Today is a very good day. Today is a very, very good day.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Eight years of Buster!!!!!!!!!!!

Buster is going to be the face of the franchise for a long time for $167 mil. Eight years is a long time in life and even longer in baseball. I like this deal a lot. CSN Bay Area has a pretty good explanation -- 

No one in the history of baseball has begun their career as Posey has. In four MLB seasons, the 26-year old has already tied distinguished personal accolades with world championships two times. Posey hit .305 with 18 home runs in 108 games in 2010, earning Rookie of the Year honors and ushering the Giants to their first World Series title since moving west to San Francisco.

Two years later, in his first truly full season in the majors, Posey led the league batting at a .336 clip. His 24 home runs and 103 RBI earned him NL MVP honors and his Game 4 home run in Detroit helped the Giants sweep the Tigers for their second World Series title in three years.

What makes his first four professional years even more impressive occurred on May 25, 2011. Marlins outfielder Scott Cousins initiated a homeplate collision that pinned Posey's left leg under him, fracturing his fibula and tearing his ankle ligaments. Without Posey, the Giants failed to reach the playoffs

Amidst speculation that he was better off at first base, Posey returned to play 112 of his career-high 148 games in 2012 at the catcher position.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"The glory days of the franchise are now"

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The new schedules are here!

A great post by one of my fave posters, MC O'Conner at Raising (Matt) Cain. Here's part -- 

I'm a pocket schedule kind of guy. Gotta have one in the wallet and one in the car. One for work, too. My lovely bride has one on the fridge. And a half dozen other places as well. After all, much of our lives from April to October are determined by the baseball schedule, so they ought to be scattered around for easy access. "So, hey, you guys going to the such-and-such social event?" That's the sort of thing I get all the goddamn time, and I have an easy answer: "Uh, lemme check the schedule."

Jonathan Sanchez makes Pirate rotation

Here's what's up with the other half of the Melky Cabrera trade, says. 

The Giants won't see the Pirates until June 11 so the Pirates may have had quite enough of Sanchez by then.  

Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk is not impressed  --

I want the Pirates to break the string of sub-.500 seasons because people in Pittsburgh are nice people and good baseball fans and it would mean a lot and be great story and all of that. But man, if Jonathan Sanchez makes your rotation, and if he’s not even the fifth starter, which he likely isn’t here, you have a pretty precipitous falloff afoot.
I feel like that no-hitter a few years ago is keeping him in the league way longer than he would have been otherwise. I also feel like the Pirates are gonna be shuffling around the back end of that rotation before the calendar hits May.

Sports Illustrated tells the Giants what to do

The new issue predicts the Orange and Black will finish in first at 91-71 -- just like in 2010 -- and be a game ahead of the stupid dodgers. SI also proposes that the club sign Tim Lincecum to a longterm deal now that he's at a low value and use him as fulltime multi-innings reliever.

I think this is a bit unrealistic but I've been wrong before. I'm the second to admit it.

Happy birthday, Buster

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gaudin in the Orange and Black

Giants win, Dodgers lose

One of my favorite headlines. Brandon Belt is on fire and helped the good guys to a 4-2 vic...

Belt went 3-for-4, including a seventh-inning RBI single, to lift his Cactus League batting average to .453. In his last six games, Belt is hitting .619 (13-for-21) with nine RBIs.

The dodgers are now 11-18. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Nick Noonan = Ryan Theriot

Nathan McCurley at Third Street Kings figures that 1. Nick Noonan is likely to make the team when the real games start next week only because he's the best option available but 2. he's adequate, just as Ryan Theriot was last year

Not exactly a ringing endorsement 

Here are the last 2 paragraphs -- There’s really no reason to feel particularly strongly about the possibility of Noonan making the Opening Day roster. Last year, Ryan Theriot stayed on the 25-man roster the whole year while hitting .270/.316/.321. Theriot’s line is a reasonable benchmark; I think that’s about what Noonan would hit if he were kept around all year. Two key differences exist, however: Noonan likely wouldn’t get 384 PA, like Theriot got last year, and Noonan would be about $750,000 cheaper than Theriot was last year.
There really isn’t a huge downside to keeping Noonan when the team moves north, especially if it’s only going to be for as long as Abreu needs to recover from his lingering quad injury. Noonan is what he is; a utility infielder who’s probably somewhere around replacement level. If the team needs to carry him for a couple weeks while Abreu and Sandoval get healthy, it’s not the end of the world. Otherwise, he’ll spend much of the season in Fresno. But this is likely who he is – a utility infielder who can play multiple positions but isn’t going to amount to much and likely won’t push anyone for a starting job.

SF 9, CHI 3

Man, that felt good to write. The Giants whomped the Cubbies today.'s Carrie Muskat, who should know better, called Ryan Vogelsong the "fifth starter" for the Giants. He is anything but that.

As Alvin Dark said in "A Flag for San Francisco": "Anytime you lose to Cubs is a disgrace"

Here are the first 2 paragraphs --  Andres Torres and Joaquin Arias each hit two-run doubles and Buster Posey had three hits, including an RBI double, to back Ryan Vogelsong and lift the Giants to a 9-3 victory Monday over the Cubs in front of 13,374, the third-highest attendance in HoHoKam Stadium history.
Vogelsong, the Giants' fifth starter, scattered six hits over six innings, walked two and struck out three while allowing three runs.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Chad Gaudin = Guillermo Mota

Renteria retires

Edgar Renteria decided a few days ago to retire, according to this story on

Renteria had not played since 2011; he racked up a WAR of 28.9 over his 16-year career. 

He finished 15th in the MVP voting in 2003 with a WAR of 5.3 

Although he's best celebrated for the 3-run HR in Game 5 of the 2010 World Series, I can still see him hitting it out at the 2010 home owner in the 9th to tie the game at 4 off Bill Wagner.  

I checked the box score of Game 5 of the World Series -- there are 3 guys who played in that game who are on the current roster: Posey, Lincecum and Andres Torres. 

Andres Torres RF 4 0 1 0 0 1

Freddy Sanchez 2B 4 0 1 0 0 0

Buster Posey C 4 0 2 0 0 0

Cody Ross LF 4 1 1 0 0 1

Juan Uribe 3B 4 1 1 0 0 2

Aubrey Huff 1B 3 0 0 0 0 0

Pat Burrell DH 4 0 0 0 0 3

Edgar Renteria SS 3 1 1 3 0 0

Aaron Rowand CF 

Go away, Scott Cousins

The Angels have just sent Scott Cousins down to Triple A. I hope the psycho never plays again in the MLB so players don't have to worry about having their careers ended.

He's been released by both the Jays and Mariners since last season ended after racking up a negative 1.0 WAR in 2012. 

Lincecum dinged for 5 runs

Yeah, that was the headline on the Giants official site after yesterday's 12-5 buttkick by Oakland. Here are the gory details --

Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum endured his third rough outing in four starts, surrendering five runs and six hits in three-plus innings.
After walking Coco Crisp to open the game, Lincecum struck out the next two batters, which brought up Cespedes. He crushed an 0-1 pitch deep into the left-field picnic area for his third spring homer in his last 11 games. Since beginning the Cactus League season 0-for-11, Cespedes has hit .333 (11-for-33).
"It was just a spinning slider. It didn't break," Lincecum said of the delivery that Cespedes mashed.

I'm hoping that this doesn't devolve into another series of thrashings like the first half of last year. I like to thnk back to the Giants' 3-0 shutout of the dodgers on June 26 as to when Tim began to get a little better -- he had 7 shutout innings that day to lift his record to 3-8. 

Tim went 7-7 the rest of the way to end up at 10-15 and delivered some pretty good postseason pitching in relief. Looking at Baseball Reference, I realize that he also led the NL in total earned runs with 107 -- the first Giant to do so since Mark Davis in 1984. Hoo boy. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Runs -middle of the pack for the Orange and Black

David Pinto at Baseball Musings projects that the Giants will score 4.37 runs with the probable lineup for 2013. That's pretty close to what they did last season at 4.43 runs, which was 6th in the NL and 12th overall.Here's some of it -- 

This offense looks a bit better than I thought. While no one but Posey posts a great OBP, only Brandon Crawford projects to be an out machine. Bochy can pretty much move the players around Posey and Sandoval any way he wants and still come up with a pretty good batting order. As long as Buster stays healthy, the team should score enough runs to win with the excellent pitching staff on the mound.

Marlins officially desperate

They just signed Wilson Valdez.

Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald tweeted that the Marlins signed him to a minor league deal, a day after the Giants let him go.  

Meanwhile, Nick Noonan looks like he may make the team. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Tanaka cut from the Orange and Black

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Theriot staying at home

Pitchers ahead of the hitters

Man, it looks like Ryan Vogelsong is ready! Six shutout innings -- against the Brew Crew, who can really hit. Well, Vogey can really pitch. Here's from Chris Haf's story -

Vogelsong, making his initial appearance for the Giants since ending his World Baseball Classic stint with Team USA, became San Francisco's first pitcher to last six innings this spring. The right-hander surrendered three hits while issuing one walk and striking out seven.
"I wasn't trying to reinvent the wheel," said Vogelsong, who threw 60 strikes in 82 pitches and went to only one three-ball count. "I was just trying to throw quality strikes and pound the zone."
Vogelsong, who sustained a perfect game for 3 2/3 innings before Martin Maldonado beat out an infield single, encountered trouble in the fifth. Caleb Gindl doubled with one out, and Sean Halton drew a two-out walk. Vogelsong responded by striking out Narveson.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Number 27 in Left Field for the Giants

Confusing headline? Yes!

Fangraphs is ranking the Giants leftfielders as 27th out of 30 with Blanco and Torres bringing the most value on defense. Fortunately, the Dodgers are 28th, followed by the Mets and the Marlins, who have the extremeley over-rated Juan Pierre in left.   

Here's the verbiage --  Gregor Blanco can play some mean defense, and if he couldn’t, he’d be well under replacement level. In 2012, he hit .244/.333/.344 but his 10.1 fielding rating elevated his WAR to 2.4. As the left handed complement to the left field platoon, Blanco is likely to get the lion’s share of plate appearances in left field and even if the projection thinks his defense regresses a bit, he’s better than league average due to his defense. Torres is almost a mirror image bat from the right side, with perhaps a dose of extra power. His defense is known to be anywhere from good to great, and it’s likely that he’ll roam all over the outfield when the need presents itself. For the Giants, it’s an all defense, little offense proposition in left field, but they’ve got other guys that can carry that load.

Well, maybe Torres can hit like he did in 2010. It was only 3 years ago ....

The Crawford verbiage is a treat for Giants fans -- There’s a growing “I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it” contingent growing relative to Carl Crawford’s debut as a Dodger.  A superstar with the Rays, Crawford has been derailed by substandard production and injuries since 2010. Part of the great salary dump of 2012, Crawford was the presumed left field starter until his elbow started to give him trouble in the Spring, and now it’s anyone’s guess if he’ll be ready for opening day. The projection isn’t particularly tickled with his offensive prospects for 2013, although a positive fielding rating would be his first in three years. It’s really anyone’s guess what kind or how much of Carl Crawford the Dodgers get in 2012, but 1.4 WAR would probably be considered a huge victory at this stage.

Wilson Valdez?

Valdez, the most marginal of big leaguers is still in the Giants lineup with less that 2 weeks before opening day. He made an out tonight in the 9th against the Mariners, who won their 6th straight. 

Not to be harsh, but I'd be concerned if he's on the opening day roster.

Baseball Prospectus says he's an anemic hitter at best. "Last year with the Reds, he was not at his best, posting the lowest slugging percentage of any big league hitter who amassed at least 200 plate appearances."


Monday, March 18, 2013

Todd Linden?

He's back in the Orange and Black. The guy who racked up a -2.1 WAR in five seasons in the MLB hasn't been in the bigs since 2007. 

Holy cow, as Harry Caray used to say. Nice story in the SF Chronicle by Henry Schulman talks about Todd Linden being in the Giants camp again at the tender age of 32.This is the best thing about spring training.

"I don't feel like I'm going through the motions," Linden said. "I know I can be very productive. I love the game. I know what I can do. I know I'm in good shape, and I know I've got a lot left in the tank. Why would I sell myself short?"

He had a decent year in Fresno last year.

11 seconds in October

The SF Chronicle's Scott Ostler has nice column about the throw in Game 2 of the World Series that cut down Prince Fielder. He makes the very good point that putting in the practice in March is what made it possible. 

I maintain that the Pablo Sandoval homers in Game 1 set the tone for the rest of the series but this play was a close second.

One insight -- Mike Krukow thinks Fielder would have been safe had he not opted for the psycho Scott Cousins approach on the play --


Mike Krukow told me he's positive the 275-pound Fielder rhino-charged the plate with the intention of blowing up Posey, to score the run and maybe put the Giants' MVP out of commission. But Posey, harking back to the lesson he learned from Professor Scott Cousins a season earlier, didn't block the plate and give Fielder that opportunity.
Krukow: "If Fielder swings wide (to his right) with a hand tag (of the plate), he's safe. ... He took a (blow-up-the-catcher) angle, making him reachable" by Posey.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sandoval is No. 8

Fangraphs ranks the Giants as being 8th best in MLB at the position this year. They say the number would be higher except for questions about Pablo's durability -- 

There is little concern about Sandoval producing in the batter’s box. Through age 25, only 15 third basemen since 1947 have a better wRC+ than Panda’s 126 mark. That’s a mark that places Sandoval ahead of where Scott Rolen, George Brett, Ron Santo and Paul Molitor were through that point in their careers, to name just a few. But will he stay on the field? He has failed to make it to 500 plate appearances in each of the past two seasons, and the Giants don’t really have any depth at the position — Arias and Abreu are borderline major leaguers. If Sandoval can stay on the field all year, San Francisco probably winds up in the top five here, but there’s no guarantee that he will — even our projection of his playing time could be seen as optimistic given the past two seasons.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Brandon Belt = veteran

He's been hitting like he was during the last 2 months of last season. And he sounds like a veteran in this interview with Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle

Baseball Prospectus had this to say --  He's comparable to John Olerud, John Mayberry and Ike Davis. It noted that first basemen don't necessarily have to be lumbering sluggers.

Olerud had a 53.7 cumulative WAR over a 17-year career, including two seasons (1993 with the Jays and 1999 with the Mets) over 7.0  

In the AL, Kevin Appier had a WAR of 9.0 in 1993, followed by Griffey Jr. with 8.5 and Olerud at 7.3. 

Bochy cuts Bochy

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A bad shortstop will drive you crazy

Chris Haft of notes that Kensuke Tanaka has made 7 of the 15 errors that the entire Giants team has made so far this spring.. The guy is a good second baseman but is apparently is having a problem playing at shortstop. The Giants need him to be a utility player...

Having a bad shortstop will drive you nuts.I remember listening to the Giants in 1959 and 1960 when Andre Rodgers was sometimes the shortstop. He made 22 errors in 1959 in 578 innings and had a .930 fielding percentage. He didn't hit very well either and the Giants finally unloaded him at the end of 1960 on the Cubs in exchange for their new manager Alvin Dark.  

The Giants had a perfectly good shortstop then named Eddie Bressoud. I read somewhere that Rodgers was a particular fave of owner Horace Stoneham but I could never  understand why. Rodgers was a bad fielder who didn't hit well. Even at age 8, I couldn't understand it.

Gaudin looks likely for the 25-man roster

What happens 95% of the time in MLB?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Heston, Kickham, Gaudin?

It sounds as if these guys are going to make it. 

Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle says these 3 pitchers have good chances of making the club -- prospect starters Chris Heston, Michael Kickham and veteran reliever Chad Gaudin -- at some point in 2013.  

Heston throws a low-90s fastball and has four pitches that always seem to be around the plate. He led the Double-A Eastern League with a 2.24 ERA last year and struck out 135 in 148 2/3 innings with only 40 walks. The 24-year-old right-hander, taken in the 12th round of the 2009 draft out of East Carolina, could be the next Giants prospect to reach the majors as a starter.
Or it could be left-hander Michael Kickham, another 24-year-old. After Heston threw three shutout innings against Arizona in the "B" game, Kickham allowed one run in two innings.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cole Gillespie as the 25th guy

Chris Haft has a story about him on the Giants web site, which is a good indication to me that he's got a decent shot at making the team. 

He played in 50 games as a Dback in 2010 and 2011.  

Here's part of Haft's story -- 
He has more Major League experience than Francisco Peguero, another leading right-handed-swinging outfield candidate. Gillespie also can play all three outfield positions, which would be a struggle for Peguero or Brett Pill, the first baseman who might be tested in left field. Manager Bruce Bochy has demonstrated that he values versatile reserves.
But as a non-roster invitee who's new to the organization, Gillespie knows that nothing's guaranteed him. Though he has spent more time playing outfield in the Majors than Peguero or Pill -- 50 games with the D-backs in 2010-11 -- both are outhitting him. Peguero ranks among the Cactus League's top hitters with a .550 average; Pill's batting .273.
Returning to Triple-A would accomplish little for Gillespie, 28, who owns a .292 career average in Triple-A. He has mastered the tasks the Giants want him to perform, at least at that level. He hit .361 (35-for-97) with a .448 on-base percentage against left-handed pitchers last year, and he won a Rawlings Minor League Gold Glove Award for defensive excellence in 2011 with Reno.

Belt belts No. 4

Thursday, March 07, 2013

"Opening day is always going to be exciting"

That's Barry Bonds, talking to the Malibu Times about attending the Little League opener for his godson and throwing out the first pitch. He had the charm turned on full blast.

Retirement seems to suit Bonds very well. Here's the quote -- 

“I haven’t seen [an opening day] in a while. I’m here for my little godson. It’s nice to come here in this beautiful weather,” Bonds said. “Opening Day is always going to be exciting. When I go back and think about it, that’s the one day I looked forward to. It’s the first day with everyone getting together. You have your first game; you get your first hit. It’s great. For the kids it’s awesome.”

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

"Don't sleep on that fastball"

That's Sergio Romo, of course. He ended the World Series with a fastball down the middle to Miguel Cabrera after setting him with sliders. Eno Saris Fangraphs has a nice long post comparing Romo to Greg Maddux -- who Romo idolized as a kid. 

The 2013 Baseball Prospectus says this -- "His fastball doesn't have enough velocity to blow past hitters but Romo knows how to effectively mix it in."

Just ask Miguel Cabrera.  

Brian Wilson -- not in a hurry

CBS Sports is reporting that Brian Wilson won't try out for a team until he's fully recovered from surgery -- which evidently means that he won't be in anyone's uni on opening day. -- 

Wilson, coming back from a second Tommy John ligament transfer surgery, prefers not to audition for clubs until he is 100 percent, according to a source with knowledge of the pitcher's situation.
Wilson, who is throwing bullpen sessions, is said to be at about “80 to 85 percent.”
He did throw for the Mets in January, was underwhelming and, shortly afterward, apparently decided his best bet was to make sure his arm strength was all the way back before submitting to another audition.

My guess is that what's been underwheming is the offers he's getting.  

Brandon Belting

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Eat it, dodger fans -- Kershaw hammered

Monday, March 04, 2013

Pennant hopes in San Francisco

Man, does this take me back!

That 1962 team was something else. Five Hall of Famers. Won the pennant with a 4-run rally in the 9th of the 165th game of the year. Lost the World Series with runners at 2nd and 3rd in the 9th inning of a 1-0 seventh game.Mays, Cepeda, McCovey, Marichal, Perry, Haller, Davenport, Felipe and Matty, Billy Pierce, Stu Miller, Harvey Kuenn, Billy O'Dell, Jose Pagan, Ed Bailey, Jack Sanford, Chuck Hiller, McCormick, Bolin...a great team.

All the bad luck from 1962, 1971, 1987, 1989, 1997, 2000, 2002 and 2003 finally went away in 2010 and 2012.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Brett Pill in the Orange and Black?

Third Street Kings thinks his odds of making the opening day roster aren't that good, that Cole Gillespie is the guy who will get that 25th slot. The post is dated Feb. 27, the day after Brett had homered twice against the Dodgers.The post is well-written -- here's most of it -- 

He’s a righty, and over the last two years at Triple-A (843 PA) he’s hit better against lefties by a significant margin (.945 OPS v. LHP, .864 OPS v. RHP). Now, Brandon Belt hasn’t thus far in his career showed a platoon split (indeed, he’s actually hit significantly better against LHP) but either Belt or Pill could conceivably move to LF against an LHP.
Pill comes with his negatives, however. For one, he has awful plate discipline. He has a reputation for swinging at some, ah, bad pitches. In his last two years in Triple-A, his walk rate is 4.5%, which would have been the second-lowest among regular contributors last year. (Only Arias, at 3.8%, was worse.) Also, Pill is old. He turned 28 at the end of last season, and – get this – he’s actually a little less than a month older than Matt Cain. Hitters generally peak in their age 26-28 seasons, give or take, so there’s a decent chance this is as good as he will ever be. Also, he has limited defensive value. He can acquit himself well enough at first, but he can’t be counted on in the outfield. Think of his outfield defense as somewhat similar to Pat Burrell’s efforts out there in 2010. He’s not a very good baserunner. He also has (best I can tell) one more minor league option left, so he can be sent to Fresno without being exposed to waivers.
As it stands, there are five infield spots and four outfield spots essentially secure on the 25-man roster right now, which means there’s at most two more spots available on the bench. Bochy has broke camp with 13 pitchers in the recent past, but for the sake of argument, let’s say there are two spots left. One of those will certainly be a backup infielder, I believe it will be Tony Abreu.
The last spot could go to a guy like Francisco Peguero or Cole Gillespie – they offer some defensive and baserunning value, as well as some upside with the bat. Peguero, like Pill, has one option year left, and he is somewhat of a prospect still, so Sabean and Bochy may prefer to send him to Fresno to get everyday playing time. Gillespie is an interesting case. He’s probably a slightly better hitter than Pill – he’s got an .885 OPS at Triple-A* over the last two years, while Pill’s OPS over the same time frame is .860 – and he also adds value on the basepaths and on defense, something Pill cannot boast.
*Late add: I should have mentioned that Gillespie’s home ballpark was Reno the last two years, and Reno’s hitting environment is similar to hitting on the moon. His OPS at home was .960, while his road OPS was only .817. Still pretty good, but it bears mentioning.
Bruce Bochy loves to have the platoon advantage. Last year, Giants batters had the platoon advantage in 68% of their plate appearances, which is far above the league average of 55%. With the number of left-handed hitters on the team, he certainly should be looking to add a righty to the stable of bench bats. Unfortunately for Pill, he doesn’t offer enough value, with his bat, glove, or legs, to beat out Cole Gillespie for that role.

It's never enough, is it?

Hey, kids -- remember Melky Cabrera? That strange guy who played so well for the Orange and Black and then got busted for PEDs? He got suspended for 50 games and had no part of the Giants postseason -- which is what players play for, if their comments to sportswriters are to be believed.

Now Brainless Bud Selig wants to increase the penalties. Here's the deal -- the same hysterics who have decided to make the Hall of Fame irrelevant are NEVER ever going to be satisfied, even if the offending players wind up going to prison. John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters has a sensible response -- 

Players are being harmed by the suspensions, teams are being harmed. Melky was essentially an outcast in SF after his suspension, banned from the postseason, and from an eventual championship. What more do you want? Shoot them? It’s a game, people. Someone cheats, they get suspended. Three strikes and you’re out. That’s enough. The Players Association should resist any further calls for tougher penalties. They have no incentive, and they are not required to.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Trout renewed for $510,000

Friday, March 01, 2013

Proctor = Vogelsong?

The SF Chronicle has an interesting post on Scott Proctor, who went to South Korea to get his act together. He's in the Giants camp, just like Vogelsong was 2 years ago. 

He pitched 83 games and 102 innings in 2006 with a 2.4 WAR for the Yankees for his best season by far. 

Scott also has gotten over a drinking problem.-- 

The popular narrative of Proctor’s downfall as a pitcher held that his arm blew out because Yankees manager Joe Torre overused him in 2006 and 2007. He pitched in 83 games both year, including 31 for the Dodgers after a midseason trade in 2007.
Proctor tells a different story.
“I think some things that happened and some poor choices on how I lived my life led to it more than anything,” he said.
Part of that was not eating right or sleeping enough, the basics of being a good athlete, but that was not the killer. He said he had a “serious drinking problem,” a binge drinker who stopped when he ran out of booze or passed out.
His teammates saw it. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was not shy about telling Proctor he needed to stop. In 2009, he said, he did stop while rehabbing after Tommy John surgery.

Thome in the Orange and Black?

Jim Thome has 612 HRs and a WAR of 67 so he's probably a Hall of Famer. 

He's looking for work and he's in Arizona, according to Hardball Talk. Were this a few years ago, I would have thought the Giants would have given him a try but it looks like the Orange and Black has realized the value of guys who are under 40 -- 

We haven’t heard much about Jim Thome since the Indians stopped pursuing him a few weeks ago, but Ken Rosenthal of talked to the future Hall of Famer and has an update.
Basically he’d like to play this season but doesn’t have any interested teams right now, so the 42-year-old is heading to Arizona to work out and be prepared.
The SF Chronicle's Bruce Jenkins has his usual idiotic take -- whining about how teams now carry so many pitchers that there's no room for guys like Thome. As I've said before, Bruce wants starters to pitch 300 innings a year and apparently won't be satisfied until the whole rotation blows out their arms.

"We've got to get these kids ready"

Noah Lowry?

Can it be that he hasn't pitched in the bigs since 2007 ... and is only 32? 

Noah got interviewed by Andrew Baggarly for CSNBay Area and says the injuries and 4 surgeries have left him unable to play. He sounds like he's moved on--

Lowry was a fan favorite in San Francisco right out of the gate. He began his Giants tenure by going 7-0 and owns a career record of 40-31 with a 4.03 ERA. He was the only member of the Giants' 2005 starting rotation not to miss a start, leading the team that year in wins, innings, ERA and strikeouts. Lowry led the team in wins again in 2007, but it marked his final year playing professional ball, and there won't be a comeback attempt any time soon..