Saturday, February 21, 2015

Your 2015 Giants: Bummer Dude!

I commented on Bumgarner's situation and wanted to share it here.  Plus, it did not survive moderation, for some reason, the website is now moderating, and yet a clearly spammy comment was allowed to be posted publicly, as well as a variety of stupid types of comment.  If there is a size limit, then they should just do that.  And there is nothing below that is about any other comment, it is my own thoughts.

ogc thoughts

I understand the worry about Bumgarner. And what else can he say other than everything is fine, he's raring to go. The proof will come once he's on the field and we see how he performs.

But I'm not that worried about Bumgarner, other than that he is a pitcher and pitchers eventually have injuries. When Madison came up, he marveled at how little MLB pitchers threw between starts. He said then that he would cut back on his throwing in order to save strength for the actual games, but from what I've seen of him in public, I would bet that he still throws a lot more pitches than any other MLB pitcher around.

So if there is any pitcher who can throw nearly 300 IP today (remember, there were many pitchers in the past who threw 300 IP regularly, in the regular season only, and never had any issues, because their arms were prepared for it), it's Bumgarner.  And while threw over 4,000 pitches, Lincecum threw even more pitches in 2010 and was OK in 2011 (though, it should be noted, not OK since 2012, though apparently that's because he hasn't been working with his dad since 2009 season).

At least that's the theory that the Braves former pitching coach, Mazzone, learned from an old pitcher, and which he used with his pitchers under his charge. He taught that pitchers need to throw a lot more, in-between starts, to build up the muscles to handle the overall strain of pitching in games and thus suffer less injuries.

And I believe that. Muscles need to be built up to handle the workload. A slovenly guy like me can't just join an MLB team and throw a full season's worth of pitches, I would need to build up to that (that and somehow having the ability to throw 90+ MPH). That was Bill James very public rebuttal in his book on pitching to the PAP nonsense that BP was pushing, about 10 years ago.

The CYA pitchcount culture has done a lot of damage to our game by encouraging pitchers to not build up their muscles throwing. They treat every throw as the same thing. But I just read an article that showed that it was MLB pitches that affect player's injury history, not minor league pitches, Will Carroll found no connection, there is something about pitching in the majors that start to wear on arms. But the pitchcount mantra makes it seem like if you force your kid to throw more often, it would be abuse.

But there is no way to really prove things either way, and it makes some sense that throwing less saves your arm, so the pitchcount hegemony will undoubtedly take over all of baseball. So the scare tactics of PAP and pitchcounts will continue even though there is no evidence that there was any linkage between the two. Hopefully our game will be able to survive this.

What would be great would be to hear what Dick Tidrow has to think about pitchcounts, how to build up pitcher's arms properly, and things like that related to pitching. If I hear that he's for pitch counts, then I would reconsider my opinions and stance.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Your 2015 Giants: Why I Want the Giants to Keep Adrianza

I posted this on another site, so I thought I would put it here too.  Of course, I added a lot post-comment, as I am wont to do.  Give me enough time, I'll find something else to add.  :^)

Also, sometimes my comments end up getting removed (like for some reason, I get blocked a lot by MLBTR, and I see a lot worse comments than what I've tried to put in which subsequently got removed) and I hate when that happen.

I hate to see my work wasted like that, it is not very friendly nor is it being very honest.  Other people have other opinions, sticking your head in the sand by deleting comments is a huge cop out to me.   People invest their time in putting up a comment, if it is a phrase that is objectionable, then post the comment but modify the offending word or phrase, it is not like the whole comment is bad, generally.  That is the only post I've ever deleted, and then I reposted with the offending phrase replaced by a kid-friendly term.  Not that I'm against cussing, but kids do read sometimes and certain words I will replace.

And if it is an idea you don't agree with, explain why you don't.  Hopefully, if you are correct, people will see the truth in the matter.  And if you are being the ostrich, then hopefully the truth will come to you.

At least, that is what I hope for myself when I blog, I don't know or see all, but I do have an opinion that I will stick to until someone convinces me otherwise.  And I'm very open to change, once I see enough evidence that I am wrong.  I am just in search of the truth, I have no bias towards anything other than facts, logic, and eventually reaching the truth, good or bad.  Fiat Lux!

So back to this post, it seems like a lot of fans either didn't like Adrianza, or, amazingly, didn't like Crawford, so I decided to comment on why I want the Giants to keep Adrianza (as well as Crawford)

ogc thoughts

I still like Adrianza.  People point to his poor batting lines but neglect to account for the fact that he's very young relative to the competition in most cases.  They point to AAA being an offensive boost without pointing to AA as being tough on hitters sometimes.  People forget that SS have much lower defensive thresholds, and, more importantly, not every lineup position will have a good hitter even on good offensive teams.  

The key things, to me, to remember about Adrianza is that despite being very young against the competition, he didn't strike out that much, sometimes posting a very good contact rate, while also walking a lot, and coupling that with great defense at SS.  That suggests the potential that when he catches up in age, and perhaps fill out more on his skinny frame, he can do more with the bat and get more hits.

Hitters who can make contact, even when overmatched by the older competition, has a skill that can translate as he rises and gains more experience.  And SS has a low bar for offense, so if he can at least be replacement level, which his good contact rate and walk rate suggests that he can (a high contact hitter who can walk should be at least replacement level offensively, I would think), his defense should be enough to make him a 1-3 WAR player (I find that defense stats vary a lot), should he ever play a full season.

I agree with the thought that Adrianza just missed out on winning 2B in 2014.  Adrianza was on the brink of grabbing the 2B role when he got injured, as he was on a pretty good hot streak before being shut down by the injury.  I think that 3B could be his chance in 2015 should McGehee return to his poorer performing seasons (as suggested by his very high BABIP and lack of power last season).

At worse, I view Adrianza as next in the line of players like Blanco and Arias, hence another reason he's not traded, as the Giants like these types of players.  Both were good contact hitters (so was Stewart) who the Giants picked up to be good backup guys with good defense and OK offense off the bench.  We have seen how injuries affect players and seasons.  Crawford admitted to returning too fast in 2013, Adrianza should be at the point now that the Giants would be comfortable throwing Crawford on the DL for 15 days instead of letting him play on, and letting Ehire start most of the games (Arias will probably get in there too against tough LHP).

Crawford is Pretty Good Too

I don't know why people are so down on Crawford.  His contact rate can get really good sometimes, and when he's on a streak, he's got good power.  Plus his very good defense (if he didn't fail on the easy plays too often, I'm sure he would win a Gold Glove one day).   Plus, it is not like it is easy to find a good SS on the scrap heap or in the draft.  You find a good SS, you hang on to him until he starts declining to zero value.  It is not like every SS can be a Tulo or Jeter, you need to appreciate players like him as well as the Posey and Bumgarners.

In addition, I think Crawford's ready to break out, any time now, just like Belt.  People forget, but he was one of our offensive leaders early in 2014, it certainly wasn't Pablo, who was all out of whack (I think he was following Miggy's advice to be a superstar and get more walks).  He's been a good enough hitter, especially considering that he's had to man the hellish #8 spot mostly, where it is tough to hit.  I've been hoping he would get to bat 7th in order to see what he can do, but with Aoki there, he probably is not going to get much time there.

Adrianza is Very Valuable Off the Bench for Giants

And you never know, should Crawford go down for any reason (see Scutaro/Holliday for example), what would we do if we didn't have Adrianza in reserve?  And as much as I think Panik is a slam dunk, he's in as much danger at 2B as well, plus maybe teams figure out a weakness and he has a sophomore slump, at which point, maybe Adrianza gets his closeup chance again.  And 3B is no sure thing either with McGehee, Ehire being a switch-hitter, could steal some starts there if McGehee struggles too much at any point.

We have a lot of reasons why the Giants would want to keep Adrianza around without considering that he has the creds in the minors that he might still break out.  And the Giants like having reserves like this, like Blanco, Arias, Petit, now Vogelsong, who can come in off the bench and give a good enough performance generally, much better than most bench players.  You don't just trade that away, and potentially for nothing much.

And the Giants are very much a bird in the hand type of organization (only willing to trade when the bird in the hand isn't worth that much in their eyes;  remember, they have a Do Not Trade list).

People also forget that Ehire's still only 25 years old.  Hasn't reached his physical peak, and maybe that is all he needs to translate that good contact and walk rate into good MLB performance.  Many players don't figure it out until later, not everyone is like Cain, Lincecum, Posey, Bumgarner.   And at worse, he's a great backup.

I Still Want Brown Around

Which is what I hope for from Brown still, again, another position with low offensive threshold but where he can provide a lot of value defensively.  I view Brown as Blanco's successor, should Gregor leave in free agency, or perhaps they will be a great R/L pair off the bench, should Gregor decide that staying here is better than alternatives (though I have to assume that if anyone offers him a starting job, he's gone;  but he loves the place, the team, so we'll see).

Brown I see being in the same mode that Adrianza is in now:  he has shown enough offensively in the minors that he might still develop, but at worse, if he can be replacement level offensively, he can still add a lot of value defensively and produce 1-3 WAR, varying with the defense, on a full season basis.   Players like that are getting free agent contracts every year to fill in like that.

And I still think that he can do something with the bat.  People need to remember that he had held onto a lot of his bad mechanics until mid-last season, when he started to let the Giants coaches change him around some (being with Boras, he probably thought he got all the coaching he needed from Boras' team of experts and held onto their training).  Hopefully with an off-season working on his new mechanics, it will be old hat for him in 2015 (i.e. muscle memory, instead of learning mode) and he'll be ready to hit better.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

2014 Giants: September PQS and Final Stats

(Apologies for the delay, had most of the post done before we won the championship, except for the ending comments, but then forgot about it.  I normally go over other stuff in my comments afterward, but seems like a good place and time to discuss the 2015 rotation, and gather up all my thoughts that I've been putting out in comments across other places)

This post has the Giants Pure Quality Start scores for the month of September 2014, plus the final stats for the season, with PQS as defined in Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster annual book and they published the details here (unfortunately, they removed the article; this link gets you at least to the PQS definition, read down to middle for details). I wrote on this first in 2006 and have compiled their stats on a regular basis, so I'm continuing it this season for continuity and historical comparison (there is the "PQS" label that you can click to see the old posts on this). Regular readers can skip to the next section.

This is the Quality Start with a sabermetric DIPS twist, and it gets really easy to calculate once you get used to it. I don't think it's the end all or be all, but then nothing really is that. It is, as I like to say, another piece of the puzzle. A dominating start is scored a 4 or 5 and a disaster start is scored a 0 or 1. DOM% is the percentage of starts that are dominating, DIS% is the percentage of starts that are disasters (any start under 5.0 IP is automatically a 0, or disaster).

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