Friday, August 28, 2015

Giants highlights: MadBum's acrobatic play and Tomlinson's grand slam

Note to Giants announcers: In the future, please do not use the term pirouette to describe anything that Madison Bumgarner does EVER again. Thank you.
MadBum's acrobatic play
CHC@SF: MadBum gets out at first with a pirouette

The mental image of MadBum in a tu-tu due to the use of the said term "pirouette" combined with seeing my life, as personified by the Giants season, flash before my eyes as I imagined Bumgarner coming down in a crumpled heap as Duffy did a night or two ago, produced a mental cluster-bomb of epic proportions. I literally threw up in my mouth watching that. We'll have no more of that, thank you very much.

Also, Note to Brandon Belt: Make a better throw for Pete's sake. Lead him to the bag. Throw where he's going to be, not where he is. You looked like one of those Little League kids on that throw. Kudos on the snag though.

Sure looks like this Tomlinson kid is making it easier on the Giants to activate Joe Panik as planned on September 1st and then promptly designate him for assignment, He probably has options left. 
Tomlinson's grand slam

CHC@SF: Tomlinson hits grand slam for first ML homer

Giants starting rotation - a revolving door attached to a M.A.S.H. unit

Image result for revolving door

Given that the Giants starting rotation -- save Bumgarner -- has become a revolving door of ineptitude, inefficiency, inconsistency and injury, it's amazing the Giants are still in contention. It's a revolving door attached to a MASH unit.

Where's Timmy? Or Tim for that matter? Heston is gassed and sent down to AAA to recharge his batteries I guess. Leake has hardly contributed and now Vogie is back to being bad Vogie. Peavy wavers back and forth like a weather-vane. And Matt Cain. What to do about Matt Cain?

I don't envy Bochy and the staff if the Giants continue to stay in contention and it appears likely the Dodgers are going to see to it that they do until the end of September at least. Failing that, I would have like to have seen what a Clayton Blackburn can do against major league hitters. I guess there is always spring training for that.

For now, there is a division pennant that nobody seems to want hanging out there. The walking wounded that the Giants are becoming might as well be the ones to snatch it.

from MLB Daily Dish:
Bruce Bochy has a difficult decision looming - MLB Daily Dish:
As of today, their rotation consists of Madison Bumgarner, Chris Heston, Jake Peavy, Ryan Vogelsong, and Matt Cain; however Mike Leake is set to come off the DL in the next few days, and he'll undoubtedly be slotted back in. Unfortunately that means that someone will be pushed to the bullpen, or demoted to the minor leagues to make room.
Madison Bumgarner25.112.40.360.000.710.461.481.7
Ryan Vogelsong15.011.43.600.602.402.643.170.4
Jake Peavy16.28.643.240.544.323.053.950.3
Chris Heston19.25.035.951.374.586.116.01-0.3
Matt Cain19.25.493.662.297.327.025.08-0.5
In Bochy's tenure as manager of the Giants, he's largely stuck with the hot hand when it comes to making decisions on playing time; and if that holds true, then it would seem likely that Heston or Cain is on the hot seat. Neither has performed well in August, and ultimately, the deciding factor could be how Heston pitches in his next start.
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Where to look for future Giants IF prospects

Squirrels Baseball (@GoSquirrels)
Your Squirrels starting lineup! Richmond takes on Harrisburg and #2 @MiLB prospect Lucas Giolito.#GoSquirrels #GoNuts

I guess judging by the recent success of Panik, Duffy and now the grand-slamming, .340 hitting, Kelby Tomlinson, it appears that Richmond is the place to start looking at future Giants prospects in general and future MIF prospects specifically.

From the lineup shown above, perhaps more prospect love and attention should be given to 2B Austin Slater and RF Hunter Cole.

What are the Giants going to do with all these IF'ers and only three IF positions? I wish they would crank out starting pitching prospects as prolifically.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

To the Unheralded Ones - NL Rookie of the Year No Longer a Two-Horse Race | FanGraphs

Both the catch by Juan Perez, making a spot start in CF just up from AAA, and the FanGraphs article below, speculating on the chances of Matt Duffy and perhaps Chris Heston in the Rookie of the Year chase, demonstrate why the Giants have won three rings in the last five years. They get big-time contributions from a seemingly endless parade of  what were heretofore nondescript, unheralded players.

A bunch of "Meh" Guys. The Unheralded Ones.

from fangraphs:

Heading into the season, Kris Bryant enjoyed favored status when it came to predicting a National League Rookie of the Year. When FanGraphs writers were polled before the season, 20 of 36 votes went to the Chicago Cubs’ third baseman; seven went Joc Pederson; six were cast for Jorge SolerNoah Syndergaard,Jung Ho Kang and Raisel Iglesias each got one. A couple months into the season, Pederson inserted himself into the race with 13 home runs by the end of May. As the year has moved on, Bryant and Pederson have come back to the pack a bit while Matt Duffy, Kang and Syndergaard have moved into the conversation for the NL’s top rookie. The award is no longer a two-horse battle, and all the players who have risen up are sure to see plenty of exposure since each of them is in the middle of a pennant race.
The chart below shows each rookie’s current WAR and the rest of the season projection from the FanGraphs Depth Charts. The third column adds the first two, showing the expected WAR at the end of the season.

Kris Bryant3.41.65.0
Matt Duffy3.10.83.9
Joc Pederson2.71.13.8
Noah Syndergaard2.51.23.7
Jung-Ho Kang2.70.83.5
Randal Grichuk2.70.63.3
Chris Heston2.30.93.2
Maikel Franco1.30.72.0
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  • Matt Duffy didn't appear on too many Top 10 prospects list, certainly not mine, but was a cult favorite among Giants watchers.
  • Joe Panik was met with mostly yawns and generally panned as a first rounder. 
  • Chris Heston was not a Top Ten Prospect, yet makes a solid contribution as a starter.
  • Add in the bench mob, guys like Juan Perez and Gregor Blanco, who would be a starter and a solid contributor on quite a few teams.  

So yeah, it would be nice to dream of Matt Duffy winning the ROY award this year. But let's face it, Kris Bryant was the pre-season Heralded One by the prognosticators ( see FanGraphs reference) and they have a vested interest in confirming their predictions ( see, I was right!! Yippee!! ). Matt Duffy was heralded by NOBODY. Therefore, just like in boxing. Duffy is the challenger and has to either knock-out or decisively win by decision or acclamation. If both guys are standing at the end of the year and it's close statistically, the decision will go to Bryant. Having said that, (or really having written that) I do give Duffy a punchers chance to win because he is such a fighter and has overcome long odds his entire professional career just to get to this spot.

So, MATT DUFFY for ROOKIE OF THE YEAR!! Or just break the odd year even year thingy. Whatever. A little more help from some of the more heralded ones not named Bumgarner or Posey or Crawford would be of great help in that regard.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


These 30 pitch first innings are becoming de-rigeur for the Giants staff and that has to stop, but other than that......Vogel-strong. He's positioning himself ahead of the Walking Wounded - Peavy, Hudson, Lincecum and now Mike Leake.

Leake needs to come back strong and Cain needs to have a start where he announces his presence with authority. Right now, Cain would likely be out of any post-season starting rotation and that is unfortunate.. The stuff looks OK, the command is just not there. It comes and goes and when it goes the ball flies.  Given that he is pitching with a "new" elbow, that makes sense, but it simply has to come around soon.

from CSN Bay Area:
Rewind: Vogelsong embraces pressure, leads way for Giants | CSN Bay Area:
Bochy had the right man ready when Mike Leake's hamstring couldn't answer the bell Tuesday. Vogelsong pitched six shutout innings, allowing just two hits. He shook off a slow start -- a 30-pitch first inning -- and thoroughly dominated with a fastball that was so lively that Bochy wondered if he was even going to use his secondary pitches. Vogelsong retired 16 of the final 17 Cardinals he faced, striking out the side in the third inning and setting the Cardinals down with ease in his final frame.

"He's a warrior," Bochy said. "This guy will give you all he has, and that's all you can ask. He's well-prepared and he has a great focus. That was a long first inning and that's kind of been his niche, but he responded."
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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Blach deals, Williamson rakes - Good news for the future

Good news for the Giants out of Sacramento!! From Blach or Blackburn or Crick, or whoever steps forward and pulls a Chris Heston, will come the bottom half of the Giants starting rotation of the future. It appears that Hudson, Lincecum, and perhaps Vogelsong and Peavy are on their last legs as Giants, If the Giants fall off the pace, maybe we see a start or two from one of the future starters late-September, but don't expect that to happen. One of these guys will have to come into spring training with guns blazing and grab a spot ( or two, if Mike Leake is not retained ).

Not bad to see Williamson hitting at this level as well. He is one of the few potential impact bats the Giants have, assuming that Kelby Tomlinson doesn't disappear into a phone booth and morph into......Matt Duffy 2.0. I bet you thought I was going to say Superman, right? We'll settle for a Duff-Man sidekick for now. The kid looks good in thew batters box but perhaps a little lost in the field for right now. You can see how important chemistry is between SS and 2B men recently since Panik has been on the shelf. Crawford looks like he's trying to do too much and at times Tomlinosn looks like he's either in the way or lost..

Blach deals, Williamson rakes for River Cats

Giants' No. 20 prospect goes distance; roommate mashes grand slam

By Tyler Maun /

Sacramento's Ty Blach silenced hitters on the mound and his roommate wrecked Round Rock pitching at the plate.
The Giants' No. 20 prospect tossed the first nine-inning complete game of his career, scattering three hits and two walks while striking out six as the Triple-A River Cats crushed the visiting Express, 11-0, at Raley Field.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

10 Degrees: Buster Posey headlines baseball's best seasons no one is noticing - Yahoo Sports


Buster Posey (right) has developed into one of baseball's best defensive catchers. (Getty Images)

Buster Posey (right) has developed into one of baseball's best defensive catchers. (Getty Images)

I'm not sure you'll get the buy-in from the St. Louis precincts, especially regarding the best defensive catcher part, but other than that, all true. Hitting, handling a staff, framing pitches, throwing out runners and quiet leadership. Posey checks off all the boxes as they say.

from Yahoo Sports:
10 Degrees: Buster Posey headlines baseball's best seasons no one is noticing - Yahoo Sports:

1. Buster Posey to be two-thirds of the way to one of the greatest seasons ever from a catcher with barely a mention of just how great it's been is almost as incredible as what he has done.
First consider Posey's offensive line: .327/.385/.495. In history, only 11 other catchers who played 75 percent of their games behind the plate put up such a line. Posey was the last to do it in his 2012 MVP season. Mauer did it twice, as did Bubbles Hargrave and Hall of Famers Gabby Hartnett, Bill Dickey and Mickey Cochrane. Only Mike Piazza reached the thresholds three times.
While his bat is as good as ever, Posey's ability to stifle runners is newfound and damn near unfair. In 2012, runners stole a major league-high 87 bases off him and were caught 30.4 percent of the time. This season, in 44 attempts, Posey has thrown out 20 runners – a big league-best 45.5 percent caught stealing. Combine that with his annually tremendous framing skills – Posey has saved an estimated 16 runs turning balls into strikes at a higher rate than all but three other regular catchers, according to – and not only is he the top offensive catcher in baseball, one could argue he's the preeminent on defense, too.

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Friday, August 07, 2015 2015 Prospect Watch | #27 Luis Ysla

All good until this line:
 "His delivery leads to questions about durability and makes it tough to repeatedly stay on top of his pitches," 

When you see that you worry not only about durability but health long-term. Ysla is still young so not too late to turn things around, but it's hard to change mechanics too much at 23. This may explain in part the #27 ranking. You can't give up too easily on hard throwing left handed pitchers though.

Not a former Cape Cod League performer, so bummer there, but on the other hand they have had good fortune prospecting in Venezuela in the past, so there is that.
Luis Ysla | Rank: 27 (Preseason: 10)
Team: San Jose Giants (A Adv)ETA: 2017Position: LHPAge: 23 DOB: 04/27/1992Bats: L Throws: LHeight: 6' 1" Weight: 185 lb.
Signed: Sept. 11, 2012 - SF
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 40 | Overall: 45
Ysla was old enough to turn pro in 2008, yet no one signed him out of Venezuela until the Giants handed him a meager $7,500 bonus at the relatively advanced age of 20 four years later. He has earned league all-star recognition in each of his two pro seasons and led the low Class A South Atlantic League with a 2.45 ERA when he made his full-season debut in 2014. His transition to high Class A this year has not gone well, however.
Ysla slings the ball with a lot of effort from a low slot, which doesn't look pretty but generates plenty of velocity. He works at 91-94 mph and can hit 97 with his fastball. Both of his secondary pitches show solid-or-better potential, with his changeup more reliable than his slider at this point.
His delivery leads to questions about durability and makes it tough to repeatedly stay on top of his pitches, costing Ysla some control and command. San Francisco has used him as both a starter and reliever in 2015, and the latter role could be his future. He could be a devastating specialist because his power and arm slot make him tough on lefties.


Giants Top Minor League Prospects

  • 1. Tyler Beede 6-4, 215 RHP from Vanderbilt projects as top of the rotation starter when he works out his command/control issues. When he misses, he misses by a bunch.
  • 2. 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.
  • 3. Christian Arroyo 6-1, 180 SS very efficient with the bat, good hitting approach, test will be how he handles advanced pitching
  • 4. 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.
  • 5. 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.
  • 6. Ty Blach 6-1, 210 LHP Glavine comps will give him a chance to rise fast.
  • 7. Steven Okert 6-3, 210 LHP Oklahoma product, another power lefty prospect.
  • 8. Mac Williamson 6-4, 240 OF Wake Forest grad with five-tool potential if he hits advanced pitching.
  • 9. 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
  • _10. 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.
  • _11. Luis Ysla 6-1, 185 LHP from Venezeula cruises at 92-94MPH snd touches 97 on occasion, max effort delivery concerns, iffy slider, projects as reliever.
  • _12. Daniel Carbonell 6-2, 215 Cuban signee, speedy, switch-hitting CF with power potential. Could be a five-tool player if he hits.
  • _13. Ryder Jones 6-2, 200 3B polished bat with some pop. Good athleticism for the corner IF
  • _14. Joan Gregorio 6-7, 180 RHP potential closer material
  • _15. Chase Johnson 6-3, 185 RHP from Cal State SLO, strong arm, projects as mnid to low rotation starter or middle relief bullpen arm
  • _16. Derek Law 6-2, 210 RHP power arm with some deceptiveness in his delivery, could be a dark horse to contribute in 2014
  • _17. Martin Agosta 6-1, 180 RHP FB up to 94 mph with some sink. Plus secondary stuff, shows ability to mix pitches.
  • _18. Gustavo Cabrera 6-0, 190 OF INTL signee, 16 year-old compared to Justin Upton. Injuries slowed his progress in 2014
  • _19. Dylan Davis 6-0,215 OF Good size and speed package from Oregon State. Has a good arm so may challenge in RF down the road.
  • _20. Sam Coonrod 6-3, 215 RHP Hard-thrower got off to a good start in rookie ball, impressed with high K/BB ratio. Needs to keep ball in the yard.
  • _2015.Draft: Phil Bickford 6-5, 205 RHP | Chris Shaw 6-3, 230 1B | Andrew Suarez 6-2,185 LHP | Jalen Miller 5-10, 175 SS | Mac Marshall 6-0, 180 LHP | Steven Duggar 6-1, 170 CF | Jose Vizcaino 6-3, 200 3B | C.J. Hinojosa 5-11, 175 SS | Lucius Fox 6-2, 170 SS

2016 Top MLB College Draft Prospects

  • 1. Alec Hansen 6-7, 235 RHP Oklahoma
  • 2. Robert Tyler 6-4, 215 RHP Georgia
  • 3. A.J. Puk 6-7, 225 LHP Florida
  • 4. Connor Jones 6-3, 200 RHP Virginia
  • 5. Nick Banks 6-0, 200 OF Texas A&M

2016 MLB Draft - Top National HS Players

  • 1. Riley Pint 6-4, 195 RHP St. Thomas Aquinas HS (HS)
  • 2. Blake Rutherford 6-3, 190 OF Chaminade College Prep HS (CA)
  • 3. Austin Bergner 6-4, 195 RHP Windermere Prep (FL)
  • 4. Jason Groome 6-6, 180 LHP IMG Academy (FL)
  • 5. Jeff Belge 6-4, 235 LHP Henninger HS (NY)

2016 Top Tampa Bay Area High School Baseball Players

  • 1. Jordan Butler 6-1, 180 LHP Alonso HS (FL) heavy FB and above avg. slider. Florida commit (JR)
  • 2. Conor Grady 6-2, 185 RHP Tampa Catholic HS (FL) sinking 88-90 FB, workable CB and change (JR)

2016 Top MLB HS Draft Prospects (NW Suburban Chicago Area)

  • Anthony Holubecki 6-4, 195 RHP Kaneland HS/IMG Academy(FL) Notre Dame commit easy 93 MPH FB. Another top of the draft talent.
  • Brady Huffman 6-2, 165 RHP Genoa-Kingston HS Illinois State commit. Lanky frame, cruises 85-88 with FB, CB has some depth, efficient delivery and arm action.
  • Brenden Heiss 6-1, 200 RHP Jacobs HS Arkansas commit, can reach 95 MPH on FB, workable CB and CH. Power arm, but struggles with control at times.
  • Joe Dittmar 6-2, 205 RHP/3B Richmond-Burton HS Wichita State commit. Good two-way prospect can hit and has soft hands in IF. cruises late 80's with FB can goose it up to 92. Power arm/power bat.
  • Nick Derr 5-11, 160 SS Geneva HS/IMG Academy (FL) Florida State commit, top of the draft talent, athletic three-sport standout, with sub 7.0 - 60 yd dash speed and arm strength to play QB