Monday, November 26, 2018

Brandon Belt's 475-foot homer

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

This story on the Giants site explains why it's been a pleasure to root for Hunter Pence for the past seven seasons

SAN FRANCISCO -- The season of giving and gratitude that begins with Thanksgiving will be highlighted Dec. 4, when the Wender Weis Foundation for Children (WWFC) will take over AT&T Park for its ninth annual Holiday Heroes party for underserved children and their families.
Hunter Pence, who became one of the San Francisco Bay Area's most popular athletes during his 2012-18 tenure in the Giants' outfield, will be on hand with his wife, Alexis, to receive WWFC's Inspiration Award. The honor is bestowed upon an athlete who has used his or her sports platform to offer philanthropic support to Bay Area youngsters.
The Pences have been heavily involved in the No Kid Hungry Foundation, their efforts including designing a spatula that's being sold at a local Williams-Sonoma store to benefit the foundation.
"Alexis and I have felt truly fortunate for the opportunity to give back to youth in the Bay Area," said Pence, who's a free agent. "Holiday Heroes is an amazing event, and we're excited for all the children who will benefit from it."

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Eovaldi in the Orange and Black?

That's what MLB.Com's David Adler thinks. He lists the Giants as one of five teams where Eovaldi might go

Nathan Eovaldi's velocity makes him stand out from nearly all starting pitchers -- but especially from the others in this free-agent class.
That seems strange to say. MLB pitchers are throwing harder than ever before. But among the headliners in free agency this offseason, Eovaldi's velocity is at the head of the class. Patrick Corbin's fastball averaged 90.8 mph last season; Dallas Keuchel's averaged 89.3 mph; J.A. Happ's averaged 91.9 mph. All were below league average for starting pitchers, 92.3 mph.
Eovaldi's fastball, meanwhile, averaged 97.1 mph -- third-fastest among regular starters, behind only Luis Severino and Noah Syndergaard. He hit 100-plus 10 times, the most of any regular starter. And that doesn't even count the postseason showcase he put on for the Red Sox during their World Series run.
Highest average fastball velocity by starting pitchers in 2018
Minimum 500 4-seamers/2-seamers/sinkers thrown
1. Luis Severino: 97.6 mph
2. Noah Syndergaard: 97.4 mph
3. Nathan Eovaldi: 97.1 mph
4 (tie). Gerrit Cole: 96.5 mph
4 (tie). Tyler Glasnow: 96.5 mph
Plenty of teams need starting pitching and will target rotation upgrades this offseason. But here are five that don't just need any starter -- they need a starter with Eovaldi's elite velocity.

2. San Francisco Giants
Avg. FB velo by team SP: 91.2 mph (7th-lowest in MLB)
Percent of FBs thrown 95+ mph: 0.4% (lowest in MLB)
With the analytically minded Farhan Zaidi taking over baseball operations in San Francisco and looking to build the Giants back up into a contender, Eovaldi would be an attractive option for a lot of reasons beyond pure velocity. But velocity is a big part of the package, and it would give the Giants' rotation something it doesn't have.
The Giants didn't have a single starting pitcher this season with even a league-average fastball velocity. Their hardest-throwing regular starters, Jeff Samardzija and Andrew Suarez, averaged 92.1 mph. Derek Holland sat at 91.5, Dereck Rodriguez at 91.2, Chris Stratton at 91.0, Madison Bumgarner at 90.8, and Ty Blach and Johnny Cueto at 89.7. Perhaps most shockingly, San Francisco's starting rotation as a team threw just 30 fastballs 95 mph or harder all year. That was by far the fewest in MLB -- Eovaldi alone threw more than 20 times as many.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Poaching from the Dodgers

The Giants decided to pay the Dodgers GM enough money to leave the Evildoers

Here's Chris Haft's story on the team site --

SAN FRANCISCO -- Farhan Zaidi has accepted the Giants' offer to be their president of baseball operations. Formerly the Dodgers' general manager, Zaidi reported to Andrew Friedman, who runs baseball operations. With the Giants, Zaidi will be the baseball czar, answering only to club president and chief executive officer Larry Baer.
"We set out to find one of the best minds in baseball, and Farhan's many accomplishments and expertise exceeded our expectations," Baer said in a statement. "Farhan is widely viewed as one of the top executives in our industry, and we are thrilled to have him lead the next chapter of Giants Baseball."
Since the final month of the 1985 season, the Giants have employed four managers (Roger Craig, Dusty Baker, Felipe Alou and Bruce Bochy), four general managers (Al Rosen, Bob Quinn, Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans) and four managing general partners (Bob Lurie, Peter Magowan, William Neukom and Baer). Theirs is a legacy of success, highlighted by the transition to AT&T Park and three World Series titles in a five-year span.
But the Giants own a 167-229 record since the 2016 All-Star break. Only the Orioles (160-239), White Sox (162-236) and Padres (167-230) have lower winning percentages in that span. Zaidi's background suggests that he at least stands a chance of reversing San Francisco's fortunes.
The Giants' "Next Gen" GM, as Baer defined the yet-to-be-hired executive at the end of the regular season, was expected to have command of modern baseball analytics. Zaidi fulfills that requirement.
"He's definitely an analytical-type guy who will use his computer skills to create a model for the Major League club and the Draft," said a National League official.
Zaidi isn't merely a statistical geek who relies on computer printouts for wisdom, though. He received a bachelor's degree in economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1998 and earned a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 2011. But people who have worked alongside him attest to his ability to embrace traditional "baseball men" such as scouts. That quality could come in handy with the Giants, where Sabean and senior vice president of player personnel Dick Tidrow, who have attained almost legendary status within the organization, are expected to retain some sort of role.
"I am delighted to return to the Bay Area and to join one of the most storied franchises in the game," Zaidi said. "I have watched the Giants from afar and I have great respect for the organization's culture and many accomplishments. I am excited about this new opportunity and I'm looking forward to getting right to work."
Zaidi has been known to prescribe a lineup or two, usurping the manager's responsibilities. That raises a potential problem with the Giants, where Bochy has complete autonomy. A compromise likely will be reached, unless the Giants wish to see the front door to Bochy's office cordoned off by yellow police tape every day.
Zaidi possesses an eye for talent. He's reputed to have urged the A's, for whom he worked from 2005-15, to sign Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes.
As for Los Angeles, the National League West standings reflect the Dodgers' superior rosters. They have won six division titles in a row, including four under Zaidi's watch.
Meanwhile, the Giants have struggled to draft and develop key performers. Selecting three consecutive highly skilled first-rounders -- right-hander Tim Lincecum (2006), left-hander Madison Bumgarner (2007) and catcher Buster Posey (2008) -- prompted their World Series binge. But neither the Draft nor the trade market has yielded much for the Giants in recent years. It would be up to Zaidi to change all that.
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

Thursday, November 01, 2018


A sad day for all Giants fan as Willie McCovey passes away

Here's the top of the story

Willie McCovey, one of the great left-handed power hitters of all time, a first-ballot inductee into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986 and a beloved member of the San Francisco Giants family, passed away peacefully Wednesday after a battle with health issues. He was 80 years old.
Nicknamed "Stretch" for the long arms and legs attached to his 6-foot-4 frame, McCovey and fellow Hall of Famer and Alabama native Willie Mays comprised the core of San Francisco Giants teams that gave opposing pitchers The Willies. McCovey's pull power was so prodigious that the China Basin that sits beyond the right-field wall at AT&T Park is affectionately referred to as "McCovey Cove," though McCovey never played there.
A statue of McCovey sits at the mouth of the Cove, which would have made for a fine target in his playing days.
McCovey's legacy: 'Mr. San Francisco Giant'
"He could hit a ball farther than anyone I ever played with," Mays once said of McCovey.
In the course of a career that spanned 22 seasons from 1959 to 1980 and included three teams -- the Giants, Padres and A's -- McCovey compiled 2,211 hits, 521 home runs, 353 doubles, 1,345 walks and 1,555 RBIs. He was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1959, the Most Valuable Player in 1969 and a six-time All-Star, winning All-Star MVP honors, also in '69.