Thursday, July 09, 2009

Wowsers! Bowker Comin' Up

As first reported by Hank Schulman of the Chronicle (who got the tip from a writer from the Fresno Bee), and reported as confirmed through sources by NBC's Raj Mathai during the 11PM news, John Bowker is joining the Giants for the start of the San Diego series on Thursday. It was noted that he was pulled after hitting a double in his first AB; some wondered why if they knew he was coming up, but why not get in an AB before taking off, Fresno is not that far away.

The speculation - which makes sense - is that Ryan Sadowski will be optioned back down to AAA to open up space. That works because he just had his last start pre-All Star break and then the rotation will be juggled after the break, and there is a break day for the Giants on Thursday, when most other teams start their second half of the season. Thus the mandatory 10 days would have elapsed by the time his next start, which Schulman thinks would be July 20th in Atlanta, assuming they want him back in the rotation.

Perhaps the New and Better Option

As nice as the young guys have been hitting, and the team been racking up high scoring games, both Schierholtz and Ishikawa has been colder in July, with Schierholtz hitting .192/.241/.231/.472 with no HR in 26 AB since June 30th and Ishikawa hitting .240/.269/.380/.659 with 2 HR in 50 AB since June 23rd.

Obviously, with Schierholtz making a face plant, it looks like Bowker will be taking away ABs in the OF first, though things might open up depending on how affected Rowand was by crashing into the fence to catch a fly ball in Wednesday's game. Rowand might need to miss a game or two (or have Bochy force him to rest). In addition, Ishikawa is still not hitting LHP, and thus the Giants might start Bowker in place of him against any LHP starting for San Diego.

Unlike Frandsen, who was brought up apparently to be MI backup, Bowker has been white-hot in AAA, hitting .345/.446/.609/1.055 with 17 HR in 289 AB, which translates to an MLE of .292/.373/.477/.850, which would be great at any of the corner fielding positions (I would note here that Ishikawa hit for a higher OPS last year in AAA than Bowker, and hit a lot better for HR).

There was no compelling reason to bring him up other than he has been white-hot, so I have to think that Bowker will get to start at least 3 of the 4 games against San Diego, and hopefully all four games, then get to play most of the games after the break until they need Sadowski again, and then will have to make a decision on who to remove off the 25 man roster. Else why bring him up when there was no urgent need to, other than to give us another power bat in the lineup and create competition for Schierholtz, Lewis, and Ishikawa.

I don't see the Giants carrying so many OF, so I have to think that the Giants would designate either Andres Torres or Fred Lewis for assignment, either releasing Torres or trading Lewis for a prospect of some sort. I think trading Lewis would be a mistake, he has shown some goodness while up in the majors, but I don't see how they can carry so many OF on the roster, unless they demote Whiteside to the minors again and make Sandoval the backup catcher again, as Frandsen also has caught a little so that he can be the third catcher.

Thinking more of that option, I can see that happening as Molina would not need a break until near the end of July 2009. Meanwhile, drop Whiteside out, and have Franden ready to catch at any time.

9 comments:

  1. Frandsen as a back-up catcher---now that makes sense.

    No. 2 catchers don't have to hit, just play good D, which my homeboy does well.

    But do you think, based on past decisions, that our Giants will go that route unless their hand is forced?

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  2. No more sense than dropping Holm and having Sandoval as the backup with no third catcher available.

    And that's who (Sandoval) would be the backup, again, anyway, not Frandsen, he would be the third backup, like Feliz was way back when, which is what I wrote, if you would have bothered to read the whole post.

    Well, the Giants hand won't be forced until they need their #5 starter on the 20th. By then, things might fall into place where it is obvious what should happen next. I'm just speculating on what might happen when that time come and there is nothing obvious, like Bowker going 0 for 30 or something.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The obvious guy to go would be Aurilia. Unfortunately, our astute GM doesn't see it that way.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Really, is it best to get rid of a player who has hit .286/.366/.457/.823 with 2 HR in 35 AB since May 31, and can play all the positions in the infield decently?

    And with Uribe starting, we only have two guys backing up MI in Aurilia and Frandsen, getting rid of Aurilia would mean that we only have one backup. That would mean that Frandsen couldn't be used as a PH since they might need to replace an MI in a swap with the pitcher's spot at some point in the game.

    That would make two players who can't be used to PH - him and backup catcher.

    Ideally, we need to have two players who can play MI positions, particularly SS, so that the manager would not be hamstrung in who to PH, etc.

    And I don't like excuses, but he's been dealing with a very emotional issue, his father dying, so he was probably distracted to a certain extent much of this season.

    I think it would be better to drop Torres. He's been OK, but he's taking AB away from Schierholtz, Lewis, and now Bowker, all who could be part of our future starting lineup. I think he would make a really nice 4th OF for us in future years, but right now we need to get AB for our young prospects.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Off-topic once again, but poor Pablo didn't win the final vote competetion. I voted for him the entire final hour. MLB.com was actually lagging right at the end there so I could only get a vote in every 30 seconds or so.
    If I were the Giants I would've rented a bunch of computers and paid some homeless guys $3 an hour to vote continuously.

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  6. You seem to want to cherry pick stats as if 35 ABs tells you something. Aurilia is more than done and should not in any way be taking playing time away from anyone on the roster or anyone who could be on the roster.

    Aurilia has been just this side of horrible this season and he isn't going to get better. His bat speed is just not there anymore and it is obvious to everyone that sees him take an AB. This is not lost on opposing managers & pitching coaches.

    If we've got an excess of OFs, then deal with that issue separately, but that is no excuse for keeping Aurilia on the roster.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Release or trade Lewis, dude can't field, hitting isn't good enough to make up for it.
    Release Aurilia, bring back Downs. Presence of Frandson makes Aurilia redundant. Neither should start, but both can back up 3 positions (maybe 4 w/Frandson)
    Put Ishikawa on a short leash, if continues to scratch-->Pablo at 1B or like you said, Bowker, then start the search for a short term power hitting first baseman.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You nag on me for cherry picking but his performance this season overall is greatly affected by how horribly he hit until May 14, covering 46 AB. Since May 15, he has hit .269/.328/.423/.751, and as I noted above, it has been even better since May 31.

    At least I'm looking at what he has been doing recently, and not so focused on what he was doing early on, when he was possibly affected by his father's deteriorating situation.

    All I know is that when my father was in the process of dying, I found it very hard to focus on what I was doing, so I am cutting Aurilia a break. It was only when the hope drained away that I started feeling any semblance of normalcy.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Look, I feel bad that he's lost his Dad. However, that has nothing to do with making the right baseball decision. Aurilia, as a player, is done. He does not have it anymore. The Giants, as you readily point out many times, are a rebuilding team. Aurilia has no business even taking away one at-bat from a player that may help us in the future. There is no other way to sugar-coat this. Rich was a good Giant....I appreciate what he broght to the field.....but he has no business being on the roster at this point in time.

    ReplyDelete

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