Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Rays' Archer: 'Never saw Hank Aaron flip his bat' - Yahoo News

Invoking Aaron is nice. I'm not sure Archer was around when Aaron played, but OK. Nice.

from Yahoo News:
Rays' Archer: 'Never saw Hank Aaron flip his bat' - Yahoo News:
Rays manager Joe Maddon had a thought on the Ortiz show. "The simple answer is, what if it had happened in the '60s when (Bob) Gibson was pitching, or (Don) Drysdale was pitching?" Maddon said. "That answers the question." The Red Sox and Rays will meet again for the start of a four-game series Aug. 29 at Tampa Bay. "I'm proud that our guys have said what they feel," Maddon said. "I dig that a lot, actually. We'll see how it all plays out."
'via Blog this'

I think what your manager is trying to say discreetly is he never saw Gibson or Drysdale pimp their complaints to the media either. Business was handled between the lines where it belonged, not in front of cameras or microphones. He's heard the war of words between Ortiz and Price and now Ortiz and Archer and like many of us, he's waiting for some action.

All talk and no action. You've heard of that phrase haven't you Mr. Archer? Now take care of business.

Are Giants desperate or arrogant?

A pretty fair compare and contrast by Ann Killion, even though she is getting ripped in the comments section of the article by Giants fans for using the word "desperate". I worry more that the operative word is "complacent", but other than that, a pretty fair assessment.

The farm system is still not able to replenish the big club when injuries hit and we've seen that throughout the years with the Giants. They live very hand to mouth and it does seem as if the roster is top heavy with the emphasis on the first 25 men on the roster rather than a more solid 40 man roster. The bottom 15 is generally not major league ready. The complacency that I refer to is demonstrated in some of the Giants fans comments that revolve around the "we've got two rings in the past four year, what do you have?" mentality. Extending this type of hubris to the upper levels of Giants management and you can see why some other Giants fans are frustrated with the predicament the G-men find themselves in. AGAIN.

The two titles bought them some time to deal with this issue and yet, here we go again, same old story.

from SFGate:
The Giants, in contrast, are a team built on predictability. The Giants want to trot out the same eight position players every day and pay their players accordingly and, by doing that, don't carry much depth. When injuries happen, like right now, it's a huge problem. The Giants can't overcome the loss of players they were counting on, like Marco Scutaro andAngel Pagan. Throw in the unfortunate Brandon Belt and Hector Sanchez concussions and the team is hanging on by its fingernails. There is no depth on the roster and a huge lag in the farm system, where the best prospects aren't major-league ready.
The Giants' recent troubles have led to accusations that the team is too old, just like in the Barry Bonds days. That's not a completely accurate assessment: In the Bonds days, the Giants let their farm system wither deliberately. They traded draft picks for aging veterans, had no homegrown position players and created a team of older players who could coexist with Bonds.
The current Giants are reliant on homegrown players such as Buster Posey, Brandon CrawfordPablo Sandoval and Belt. Those players, along with homegrown pitchers Matt CainTim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner, helped create a winning era that have meant lower draft picks. Over the years, the Giants have missed on some picks - most notablyGary Brown, who was expected to be in the AT&T outfield by now. The pipeline between the farm system and the major-league club operates in scattered bursts rather than a steady flow, the way it does for the A's.
 There are other ways to build a club besides a farm system. Money is not the issue with the Giants, and the fans know it. That's why they will be loudly frustrated if Brian Sabean's only moves are adding Dan Uggla and Jake Peavy. Yes, Utley would be expensive. But the Giants can handle the cost.
What the Giants need most right now is for the players they've been counting on - Posey, Sandoval, Hunter Pence and Michael Morse - to produce. That hasn't happened much in recent weeks.
'via Blog this'

Rewind: Bochy, Giants 'buffaloed' by home woes | CSN Bay Area


These things we once relied on: Home field advantage, fan support, pitching and defense, team chemistry all grinding to a halt for want of a solid lead-off hitter. I get that correlation does not imply causation but once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is a pattern. We've been down this road before.

Priority 1: Get Pagan back in the lineup or get a viable replacement for him.
Priority 2: Get Belt back in the lineup.

The Giants problems right now lie in the training room. The prognosis sounds better for Pagan and Belt than Scutaro and Cain at this point. Sanchez is getting beaten like a pinata back there and making the case everyday for moving Posey out of the catchers box and into the infield.

6Ehire Adrianza DL152BBR246-1170Guarenas, Venezuela$500,500
9Brandon Belt DL71BLL266-5219Nacogdoches, TX$2,900,000
18Matt Cain DL15SPRR296-3230Dothan, AL$20,833,333
16Angel Pagan DL15CFBR336-2202Rio Piedras, PUERTO RICO$10,250,000
29Hector Sanchez DL7CBR246-0234Maracay, Venezuela$512,000
19Marco Scutaro DL152BRR385-10185San Felipe, Venezuela$6,666,667

from CSN Bay Area:
Rewind: Bochy, Giants 'buffaloed' by home woes | CSN Bay Area:
Cause and effect isn’t usually as simple as it sounds, but the Giants’ inability to compete at home correlates neatly with losing Angel Pagan to a lower back injury. The more you see them play without him, the more clear it becomes that this offense just doesn’t work in AT&T Park’s big spaces without him atop the order – especially when they aren’t hitting home runs. (Michael Morse hit four in his first 19 home games. He has zero in his last 38, dating to May 15.)

The Giants tried to change it up. Bochy tweaked the lineup. They even threw the baby out with the electrolytes, swapping out the blue sports drink that has filled the dugout jugs for several years with a reddish one.
'via Blog this'

Contextual influences on baseball ball-strike d... [J Sports Sci. 2008] - PubMed - NCBI

I could have told them that umpires sometimes act in the interest of speeding up the game and saved them some time.....Just ask any umpire. The Quiet Eye Gaze is interesting and has application to expert hitters as well. 

Contextual influences on baseball ball-strike decisions in umpires, players, and controls.


School of Human Movement, Recreation and Performance, and the Centre for Aging, Rehabilitation, Exercise and Sport, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. clare.macmahon@vu.edu.au

Contextual influences on baseball ball-strike d... [J Sports Sci. 2008] - PubMed - NCBI:

Baseball umpires, players, and control participants with no baseball experience were asked to call balls and strikes for video clips. In a basic judgement task, umpires and players were significantly better at calling pitches than controls. In a direct information task, borderline pitches were presented following clips of definite balls and definite strikes. Participants called target pitches closer to the strike end of the scale when viewed after definite balls than when they followed definite strikes. Similarly, when borderline pitches were shown in different pitch counts, participants called pitches more towards the strike end of the scale when there were three balls in the count (3-0, 3-2). These findings indicate that the standard for evaluation changes based on the context in which stimuli are processed. Moreover, the strength of the contextual factors is illustrated in that the effects were shown in observers with and without experience in the task. Overall, however, umpires had a greater tendency to call strikes, indicating that they may use a norm of "hastening the game".

'via Blog this'


Quiet eye gaze behavior of expert, and near-expert, baseball plate umpires.


Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, University of Minnesota Duluth, 1216 Ordean Court, Duluth, MN 55812, USA. dmillsla@d.umn.edu
Quiet eye gaze behavior of expert, and ne... [Percept Mot Skills. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI:


The quiet eye gaze behavior of 4 near-expert and 4 expert baseball umpires who called balls and strikes in simulated pitch-hit situations was assessed with a mobile eye cornea tracker system. Statistical analyses of the umpires' gaze behavior (fixation/pursuit tracking, saccades, and blinks)--onset, duration, offset, and frequency--were performed between and within 4 stages (pitcher's preparation, pitcher's delivery, ball in flight, and umpire call) by umpire's skill level. The results indicated that the quiet eye of expert umpires at onset of the pitcher's release point occurred earlier and was longer in duration than near-expert umpires. Expert expert umpires. The area outside the pitcher's ball release point may be the key environment cue for the behind-the-plate umpire.

'via Blog this'

Science of Sports| gaze and peak performance, part I

Stadion Publishing Company | No-Nonsense Sports Traini...
Wed, 18 Jun 2014 11:52 by Thomas Kurz How athletes control their gaze affects their performance–because the control of gaze is the control of attention. F...
Preview by Yahoo

New article titled "Gaze and Peak Performance, Part I" is posted at

Here is an excerpt from the article:

"How athletes control their gaze affects their performance–because the
control of gaze is the control of attention. Focusing your eyes means
focusing your mind. Yes, your attention is where your gaze is, and as the
gaze focuses, so does your attention. When your eyes wander, so does your
mind. A steady gaze ("quiet eye") on your target means a quiet,
undistracted mind, and the quiet mind can direct the body to do the right
thing. Different sports actions have different targets and ways of
focusing on them that consistently produce peak performance. Knowing what
to focus the eyes on and when is a major factor in consistent high
performance--sports mastery...."

Visit http://www.stadion.com for best info on training for sports and
martial arts.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Predicting Baseball: Demystifying Bayes' Theorem

Predicting Baseball: Demystifying Bayes' Theorem
Source: Predicting Baseball: Demystifying Bayes' Theorem

Uggla ugly for Peavy, Giants MASH'ed by Dodgers

Right now, this is not a good team. Mainly due to the walking wounded who simply cannot get back in the lineup fast enough.

from ESPN:
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants - Recap - July 27, 2014 - ESPN:
Second baseman Dan Uggla committed two errors, including one that helped tie it early after he scored the game's first run in the bottom of the third. Uggla's fielding error leading off the top of the fourth allowed Ramirez to reach and Uribe later singled in the tying run. The Giants lost for the 19th time in their past 25 home games. 
"It's going to be important to put it behind us," Bochy said. "We have to regroup."
'via Blog this'

  • Pagan is sorely missed at the top of the lineup even with Blanco finally starting to hit. 
  • Uggla is a sieve at 2B right now, so Scutaro and/or Panik have to grab this thing by the throat or you trade two/three more prospects to chase Zobrist/Utley/Rollins and maybe Ben Revere for top of the lineup spark pending Pagan's return. We knew Uggla forgot to hit, that's why the Braves released him, we didn't know he forgot to field. Bochy can give him the "we rushed him up" defense all he wants, but he pulled the gate up on a routine grounder. The Braves don't give up on guys with production left in the tank. I think that will be confirmed with Uggla. 
  • Belt has to come back quickly..

I have no problem with the trade for Peavy. Hembree may still be future closer type material, but he slipped a bit this year in velocity and if you're going to be a one-pitch closer, that one pitch better be HOT and Hembree's fastball  is more NOT right now.  Escobar IMO slipped a lot. From a shade below Crick at the top of the list to production more like DePaula who was recently DFA'd (dismissed). So yes we traded two prospects who have scattered support across Giants nation but from recent performance perhaps only one of the two will pan out in a meaningful way and perhaps neither will. Sabean is gambling here that the success rate falls closer to NEITHER than BOTH.  Right now, I'd say that is a safe bet but of course I reserve the right as a fan and blogger to employ the benefits of hindsight to second guess the decision in the future while limiting Sabean and the organization to make decisions with foresight. Fair enough?? OK.

Let's be fair and not set up unrealistic expectations here. Peavy is a band-aid replacing a disappointing Cain. And perhaps now we know the reason why the arm-slot was dropping, the sliders were hanging and the fly-balls were flying farther versus Cain the last year or so. He may need a 100,000 mile (slider?) tune-up on that elbow. If we see him back to form next year I would be happy. I am afraid this story line is leading up to a 2015 shutdown/clean up of the elbow and a 2016 return to form for Cainer.

So for two prospects we stabilized the staff. But at best we currently have only three reliable starters working in Bummer, Hudson and Timmy. Peavy and Vogie are the same guy, a 5th starter type who will grind out starts and eat up innings, but you better score runs for them to win. And the Giants don't score runs very well recently with a third of the starting lineup in the MASH unit.

It was interesting to watch Puig work Timmy in this series. It's hard to say for certain without putting myself in Puig's head (and who wants to do that?) but it seems like he played a little possum with Timmy during those AB's. He looked like he was "hitting backwards" in the same sense that you hear of pitchers "pitching backwards" ie: using the curveball to set up the fastball rather than vice versa.

Puig appeared to be spitting on (taking) FB's instead of jumping on them like a junkyard dog jumps a steak sandwich. He was signalling that he was laying on the CB. The bench or Posey should have recognized and made the adjustment. If he was employing this as his hitting approach, it worked like a charm with a 4-5 night and three triples. He may have felt like Timmy wasn't going to give him a FB in a spot he liked, so why not wait on the breaking ball, harder to spot, and just drill it wherever he puts it in the strike zone.

This approach roughly rhymes with the old saw that pops up when a catcher sets up in a certain spot (generally outside corner) and the pitcher delivers the pitch right to that spot, the umpire strikes it (even if it's a little off the plate) with "He sits there, he gets there". Don't laugh, Greg Maddux is in the Hall of Fame with a similar approach. Well, Puig might just be advancing to superstar status with a hitting philosophy of "He sits on it, he gits on it". At least he seemed to execute it versus Timmy and the Giants.

It was awesome to see except for the whole evil Dodger bludgeoning our poor little Timmy thing. The Giants may need to scout opponents better or make better on field adjustments if we're going to seriously get back in this thing. Or maybe all the injuries have slowed down the team's mental faculties as well.

Judson's Ryan Perez shines in Cape Cod League All-Star Game


No, this isn’t camera trickery with a mirror. High school pitcher Ryan Perez is ambidextrous and can hit 90 mph on the radar gun pitching with both his right and left hand. (Credit: CBS)

As if being a "switch-pitcher" (try saying that three times fast) was not enough to garner attention, Judson's Ryan Perez stands out in the prestigious Cape Cod League All-Star Game. I umpired a game on the bases where he pitched in HS once and I initially thought it was a different guy when he switched between innings. Didn't pick up that it was same name / same number pitching. I though it was a lefty-righty brother act, which would have been unique on its own merit if it was true.

Getting props on the Cape will not hurt his draft stock one bit.

from College Baseball Daily:
2014 Cape Cod All-Star Game Recap | College Baseball Daily:
Hyannis’ Ryan Perez (Judson) was even more impressive for the West in the top of the third, as the “switch pitcher” struck out the side in order. It was a performance that earned him West All-Star MVP honors. After 2 1/2 innings, it was a scoreless tie with only four total hits vs. six strikeouts.
'via Blog this'

Friday, July 25, 2014

Giants ready to renew rivalry with Dodgers - Yahoo Sports

Giants - Dodgers running neck and neck for the divisional title face-off this weekend with both teams looking to avoid the wild card, do or die game.

from Yahoo Sports:
Giants ready to renew rivalry with Dodgers - Yahoo Sports:
PHILADELPHIA -- The San Francisco Giants hit the road after the All-Star break and took care of BUSINESS.
Now the fun begins.
 After a 5-2 trip away from the Bay Area, the first-place Giants (57-45) welcome the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers (56-47) to AT&T Park for a three-game weekend series that has must-see entertainment written all over it.
'via Blog this'

In the NL, it looks as if the Nationals are the top team in the league over the Giants and Dodgers, but not by much. All three are low 90's win teams. The Nats advantage is that they seem to have distanced themselves from the Braves, who are positioned as the second wild card team, with the first wild card being the Dodgers - Giants consolation prize.

The Central Division is developing into a mud wrestling match between the Brewers, Pirates and Cardinals all struggling at the 85-86 win pace and  the Reds drifting towards an 81 win,  .500 type finish. The Cardinals could really make a move here if they can pry David Price from the Rays.

Let the tussling begin.

My NL Power Ranking as of today:
** Nationals - 92 Wins
** Giants - 91 Wins
** Dodgers - 90 Wins
** Braves - 88 Wins
** Cardinals - 88 Wins
Brewers - 87 Wins 
Pirates - 85 Wins 
Reds - 81 Wins
** - Playoff Teams

In the American League, things are a bit clearer at the top with a competitive race for the Wild Card spots shaping up as well. 

The A's and Angels will battle it out for the division with the loser facing the wild-card death match. Both teams seem to be hovering around the 95 win pace. The Tigers seem to have the Central in hand with a low 90's win season. 

For now, the Orioles appear to be the class of the AL East, but appear destined for an 86-88 win season.

The Mariners and Blue Jays appear to be the class of the wild-card contenders, both headed for an 85 win finish. The Yankees, Indians, Royals and Rays seem destined for the 80-82 win mark which will leave them short of the mark. 

The Rays will signal their organizational confidence level in a playoff finish by either dealing Price/Zobrist or keeping them both and mounting a challenge. The Royals have already signaled their lack of confidence.  

My AL Power Ranking as of today:
** Angels - 96 Wins
** A's - 94 Wins
** Tigers - 92 Wins
** Orioles - 87 Wins
** Mariners - 85 Wins
Blue Jays - 85 Wins
Indians - 83 Wins
Yankees - 83 Wins
Rays - 81 Wins
Royals - 81 Wins
** - Playoff Teams

P.S. - If the Giants do get involved in the Price / Zobrist sweepstakes,

I would favor any deal that includes:
RHP Chris Stratton
RHP Martin Agosta
LHP Edwin Escobar
LHP Steven Okert (has potential as a closer or worse-case, a LOOGY)

I will lose my lunch over any deal that includes:
LHP Ty Blach
RHP Clayton Blackburn
RHP Derek Law (injured)
RHP Kendry Flores
RHP Keury Mella
LHP Adalberto Mejia (OK, maybe I could live with this one)
RHP Kyle Crick (although maybe after a good nights sleep, I could live with this one as well)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Giants Have Interest in Price and Zobrist, Rays Asking for a Lot in Return

Rays asking for a lot, or too much?

from Bay Area Sports Guy:
Giants Have Interest in Price and Zobrist, Rays Asking for a Lot in Return:
The Giants remain in contact with the Rays about two well-known trade targets, David Price and Ben Zobrist. According to a source with knowledge of the discussions, the Rays are looking for quite the haul. In return for either Price or Zobrist, the Rays want four of the Giants’ top prospects, headlined by Kyle Crick and Andrew Susac.
'via Blog this'

  • I would let them know that for Price, the discussion ENDS at Crick and Susac. It does not START there.
  • I would let them know that for Zobrist, they would be fortunate to get Crick OR Susac straight up for Zobrist, NOT BOTH or either one in combination with other prospects. 
You're welcome Brian!!!

P.S. - Post #1,700 all-time.

DAVID PRICE UPDATE: Jayson Stark ranks the teams most likely to land Price: Dodgers, Mariners, Cardinals, Giants, Blue Jays. [ESPN]

C.S. -  Dodgers and Cardinals have the most pieces to entice the Rays. The Mariners and Giants would benefit the most from landing Price but would appear to fall short in the prospect inventory category. I don't see the Rays dealing Price within the division.  

Giants Top Minor League Prospects

  • 1. Kyle Crick 6-4,220 RHP Power pitcher in the Matt Cain mold. High K-rate comes with High BB-rate. Low 90's FB with sink. Can be a top of the rotation starter once command/control issues ironed out. Mechanics are sound.
  • 2. Joe Panik SS/2B Has shown well with the bat and can play SS if Crawford wilts or 2B if Sanchez stays on the DL too long.
  • 3. Clayton Blackburn 6-3, 220 RHP Good low 90's FB with sink, excellent command of stuff, good secondary pitches. His 8.64 K/BB ratio is off the charts efficient.
  • 4. Ty Blach LHP Glavine comps will give him a chance to rise fast.
  • 5. Andrew Susac 6-2, 210 C 2011 2nd rounder good eye, K-rate is a bit high. Has decent power and solid glove.
  • 6. Chris Stratton 6-3, 185 RHP Mississippi State Decent four-pitch mix, solid pitching frame. Can run FB to 94 MPH with movement. Throws SL/CB, with the slider the better of the two.
  • 7. Mac Williamson 6-4, 240 OF Wake Forest grad with five-tool potential if he hits advanced pitching.
  • 8. Derek Law RHP power arm with some deceptiveness in his delivery, copuld be a dark horse to contribute in 2014
  • 9. Adalberto Mejia 6-3,195 LHP Throws strikes and mixes pitches well. Good secondary stuff, projects as middle rotation guy. Keeps ball down and gets outs.
  • _10. Kendry Flores RHP very efficient pitcher, could also move fast
  • _11. Daniel Carbonell 6-2, 215 Cuban signee, speedy, switch-hitting CF with power potential. Could be a five-tool player if he hits.
  • _12. Steven Okert 6-3, 210 LHP Oklahoma product, another power lefty prospect.
  • _13. Keury Mella RHP Dominican signee is really opening eyes with a nice power arm
  • _14. Joan Gregorio 6-7, 180 RHP potential closer material
  • _15. Ryder Jones 3B polished bat with some pop. Good athleticism for the corner IF
  • _16. Christian Arroyo SS very efficient with the bat, good hitting approach, test will be how he handles advanced pitching
  • _17. Gustavo Cabrera 6-0, 190 OF INTL signee, 16 year-old compared to Justin Upton.
  • _18. Martin Agosta 6-1, 180 RHP FB up to 94 mph with some sink. Plus secondary stuff, shows ability to mix pitches.
  • _19. Tyler Beede 6-4, 215 RHP from Vanderbilt projects as top of the rotation starter
  • _20. Aramis Garcia 6-2, 220 C from Florida INTL projects as a good bat behind the dish with enough defensive skill to play there long-term
  • _21. Luis Ysla LHP from Venezeula cruises at 92-94MPH snd touches 97 on occasion, max effort delivery concerns, iffy slider, projects as reliever.
  • _22. Matt Duffy SS from Long Beach State is turning heads with quick bat, good command of strike zone, gap power hitter at best, good base runner with average speed.

2014 Top MLB College Draft Prospects

  • 1. Michael Matuella 6-6, 225 RHP Duke Nice four pitch mix, mid 90's FB and 12-6 CB. Potential top of first rounder.
  • 2. Nathan Kirby LHP Virginia Dominant starter, 92-93 MPH FB and power curve ball. Added an effective change-up.
  • 3. Carson Fullmer 6-0 RHP Vanderbilt Mid 90's FB compliments effective breaking ball and change-up for effective three pitch mix.
  • 4. Riley Ferrell 6-1, 200 RHP TCU closer for TCU upper 90's FB touches 98-99. Nasty high 80's slider makes him virtually unhittable as closer, can transition to starter
  • 5. Alex Bregman SS LSU BS Freshman of Year in 2013 has all the tools, instinctive player.
  • 6. Kyle Funkhouser 6-3, 205 RHP Louisville FB cruises at 92-94 and touches 97.
  • 7. Walker Buehler 6-1, 170 RHP Vanderbilt Low 90's FB and competitive streak, will compliment Fullmer at top of rotation for defending champs.

2014 MLB Draft - Top National HS Players

  • Brendan Rogers SS Lake Mary HS (FL) Good spped and power, amooth, athletic IF. Florida State commit.
  • Daz Cameron OF Eagles Landing HS (GA) Athletic and toolsy player with power and speed. Son of Mike Cameron.
  • Justin Hooper LHP De La Salle HS (CA) 6-6 athletic lefty with mid-90's FB.
  • Kyle Tucker HF Plant HS (FL) Solid CF who can hit. Florida commit.
  • Ryan Johnson OF College Station HS (TX) Good bat speed and power bat. TCU commit.

2015 Top Tampa Bay Area High School Baseball Players

  • Jake Woodford RHP Plant HS Florida commit.
  • Kyke Tucker 6-3, 175 OF Plant HS Good pure hitter and defensive OF. Solid skills across the board. Florida commit.

2015 Top MLB HS Draft Prospects (NW Suburban Chicago Area)

  • Bradley Parchute RHP Marengo HS
  • Brandon Krennrich C Johnsburg HS Kentucky commit.
  • Jake Esp RHP Marmion Academy