Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Interesting Giants News

Cycle Around A Posey

Baseball America reported that our shiny new catcher of the future, Buster Posey, nearly got a cycle in the best way - only needed a single - for our Arizona Instructional League team. Going 3-for-3, he hit his third double, first triple, and first homerun as a professional. In addition, he walked twice, scored three times and drove in three as well. Through 4 games, he's 7-for-16 (!) with a batting line of .438/.500/.938 (which doesn't make sense: 7-for-16 means his batting average is .438, but with two walks, his OBP should be higher than his BA, however, .938 sums the first two numbers unless it is a coincidence that his SLG is the same as his BA plus OBP, in which case his OPS is a Bondsian 1.438; yep, his SLG is .938).

Bullpen Effective in One Key Way

While the bullpen has been bad at times in terms of giving up a lot of runs, one area they have shined in this season is inherited runners. reported that the Giants rank 4th in the NL having stranded 73% (178 of 245) of its inherited baserunners. They probably just hasn't been that good with their own

Pitching Staff Having Nice August

Before yesterday's blowup, the Giants had a 3.99 ERA in August. If they can keep it there or lower, it would be first month this season where they were able to collectively keep it under 4.00. Previously, the prior four monthly ERAs were 4.11 or higher.

Hit Streaks Over

As well as Pablo Sandoval ending a 9 game hitting streak recently (he's only played 11 games!), Emmanuel Burriss also had a career-best 6 game hitting streak end as well in Tuesday's game. Burriss also had hits in 9 of his last 10 games played, a streak where he hit .464/.583/.500/1.083, one of the few times you are ever OK with seeing a player have an OBP higher than his SLG. He had 8 walks versus only 2 strikeouts in 28 AB. That's one good thing about Burriss is he's able to avoid the strikeout, putting more balls into play. And Carney Landsford thinks that he can hit for more power and will be working with him to get that working by next season.

I blame myself for Sandoval's Oh-fer: I added him to my fantasy team that day... In the games he has started for the Giants - obviously skewed since he hit in most of those games - the team has averaged 4.4 runs per game; for the season, the team has averaged 3.8 runs per game where Sandoval didn't start the game. With the August runs allowed of 4.24, that works out to a .519 winning percentage, or roughly a 84 win season. If the pitching can improve - and August was skewed upward by Palmer two poor outings - and get the runs allowed to the 4.0 level, that works out to a 89 win season if they can consistently score 4.4 runs while allowing only 4.0 runs.

Low Runs Allowed in 2009 Possible

Such a low runs allowed is possible in 2009. Lincecum has been, and looks like he's going to be, unstoppable. Cain appears to be consolidating his gains in development and dropping his ERA, most probably, for the second straight season. Any lower, and he's an ace to pair up with Lincecum. Sanchez appears to have had a breakout year and hopefully will consolidate his gains in development in 2009. Correia in his last few starts is starting to show the starter that he was at the end of 2007, and if he can just be consistent, he could get his ERA into the mid 4's or lower.

Lastly, for the rotation, Zito has shown sporadic signs that he might finally be coming out of the abyss that has been his Giants career. We will see. But if he is finally able to "hang loose" and pitch like he used to when he was with the A's - a big "if" - then that would be a huge factor in whether the starting rotation can keep their overall ERA below 4.

For the bullpen, Wilson has been the only consistently solid season-long performer there, though I should give Yabu some props for what he has done. For the rest of the pen, while there are stinkers that boost up the overall poor performance, if Hinshaw and Romo can continue to do well, then the Giants could have their setup men for 2009 set, and the performance should be that much better.

Also, I like Taschner and think he can continue to do well as a LOOGY. He was lights out in May and June, before a mediocre July then a horrible August thus far. His ERA would be under 4 right now if not for the bad August stats. So yes, bullpen has been bad this season, but right now it looks like it will be in much better shape in 2009 with Hinshaw and Romo in there, plus Taschner and Walker being used more strictly as LOOGY and ROOGY.


  1. There is a saying that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. What could possibly make you think that the same guys in the bullpen......who have been just this side of horrible.....are all of a sudden going to be something other than horrible again next year?

    I appreciate your optimism but it just isn't warranted in this case.

  2. And I totally believe in that saying because humanity has repeatedly not learned from history. Lucky for us, we are mostly two steps forward, one step back.

    The same thing happened a few years back. Our better relievers were not in the pen, and Schmidt was out, so we were forced to use guys who were not ready but they were bodies. I broke up the pen into people who would not be there if not for injuries and those who would be, and how the rotation would be without the Schmidt replacement, and predicted that the teams fortunes should change dramatically once both joined the team again, at which point they went on a 10 game win streak and I didn't see much complaining about the bullpen.

    I assumed you have noticed that this is a rebuilding year. Well, with so many people competing for jobs, the Giants are trying out a lot of people they normally wouldn't be calling up if they were actually competing. They will probably continue next year as well, but the failures of this year will probably not get much of a chance next year, and pitchers like Hinshaw and Romo, relievers who did perform well, will get those innings that went to experimentation this year, and one could say that at least 80-90% of the inning pitched this season by the bullpen was experimentation to see who could do it and who couldn't. As I noted, if Hinshaw and Romo could continue - and in Romo's case, he has a good history plus was named the Giants organizational player last season by and in Hinshaw, it's like Sanchez again with strikeouts and walks, only better because his ERA is pretty good as a reliever - that much more of the bullpen's IP will be with players who represent the future of the Giants and less with experimentation.

    The horrible will not get much of a chance to come back up, or have you not noticed that Hennessey, Chulk, and Messenger, who all got significant innings last season, got basically one or less chances to stick in the majors before getting sent down to AAA. They instead stored them in the minors for a season, Threets too, while they gave extended tryouts to the new relievers.

    I think basically because of small sampling sizes where relievers are concerned (too few IP to judge stats separated from chance), means that there is more qualitative evaluation that has to go on up here. I assume there will be a number of players not getting much chance to stick next spring training and that the Giants will try to trade whoever they can and let the next batch of relievers coming up get a chance.

    RP like Brian Anderson, Justin Hedrick, Kelvin Pichardo, Ronnie Ray, maybe Steven Edlefsen, Daniel Otero, Juan Trinidad, Daryl Maday, Waldis Joaquin.

  3. I understand all of this......rebuiding, trying out guys, etc. However you still believe that there should be a spot in the bullpen for the likes of Walker & Taschner who have proven that they can't be relied on. It just doesn't make any sense to hang on to guys like that. If indeed they are committed to rebuilding, get rid of the guys that you know are not part of answer and give someone else a chance.

  4. I don't see how hard it is to understand the use of ROOGY and LOOGY, like Walker and Taschner, respectively.

    Walker against RHH:
    2008: .193/.276/.294/.570

    Taschner against LHH:
    2008: .253/.316/.333/.650

    Teams have been using LOOGY's for a long time now, and a ROOGY isn't that far out there either, as long as you have other good relievers. I think Wilson, Hinshaw, Romo appears to be a good trio for the end game - they have been this season for the small sampling we've seen - and we'll see what happens next season.

  5. I know what a LOOGY is and your use of the term ROOGY.

    However, the main prepmise is that these pitchers can be depended on to come in and get AN OUT in a situational at-bat. Walker & Taschner do not fit that definition. The only thing you can count on from them is to get you in more trouble. Hence, get rid of these bums. It's not that difficult.

  6. Too much emphasis and one too many exclamation points when going on and on about Posey's first 4 games, and you're the one who uses "small sample size" in many of your arguments.
    Agree with Boof re the bullpen.

  7. If you can't enjoy the pleasures of your most recent acquisition doing very well, then I feel sorry for you, Joe. I think part of the greatness of being a fan is enjoying when your guys do well, no matter how small the sample.

    Yes, small samples, I try not to bring that up so much because I assume most readers here know about it by now and just carry a mental caveat on every instance, but if you and others insist, I can put it in every instance I run across. But I think most would find that boring to see.

    Did I say he was the greatest since sliced bread? Did I say that he was assured Hall of Fame-ness? Did I say that he will lead us out of the desert to the promise land?

    No, I was just excited - like a fan - that he is doing well in his start of his Giants career and reported it. This is a Giants blog and I will do this when I see news that I see as interesting. I thought Posey doing so well was interesting and exciting. Yeah, it might not last (small samples) but it's better than an 0-for-24 start to his career.

    And there is not much difference between what Boof said about the bullpen and what I wrote, we both agreed that there was an overall stinker performance this season.

    However, I also thought that it can be OK in 2009 if Hinshaw and Romo can continue doing what they have done in their short major league career (small sample caveat always exist for any reliever's seasonal performance, FYI).

    If you and Boof think that Wilson has not been better than "this side of horrible" then you all haven't been watching much this season or last. Wilson is a keeper.

    He can be the anchor of the bullpen for the next 5 seasons at least. Then we need set-up men, and Hinshaw and Romo have done their job when given the chance, so I don't see either of them as "this side of horrible" either, and if they can keep it up as set-up men, then we are really set. Yabu has also been good. That makes up 4 of the key positions in the bullpen out of 7 total positions, leaving space for a LOOGY (Taschner), ROOGY (Walker), and all-purpose reliever (Hennessey or Correia, depending on who is the #5 starter, Lowry or Correia).

    There is also Sadler who shows the potential to do well on and off, much like Wilson did before, perhaps he can turn it on by next spring training. And while I won't hold my breath, Merkin Valdez could be in the mix and make the bullpen good, like it was generally considered the first month of the season, nobody was complaining back then.

    It is easy to rip Taschner now when he's down, but up to the end of July Taschner had a 2.95 ERA and doing well overall for the Giants, he was not horrible at all at that point. And I didn't see many people calling him horrible then either.



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