Thursday, February 18, 2010

2010 Spring Training: Brings Fresh News

Here are some good articles by Baggarly, Schulman, Ostler, and Haft. And Baggarly again. Here are the news and thoughts, in no particular order:

  • Wellemeyer, as I and others suspected, will be battling Bumgarner for the #5 starting spot, as well as Pucetas and Martinez. I don't know how fair that will be, as Bumgarner should be able to pitch circles around them, but hopefully the Giants will not be judging by who is better, but whether Bumgarner is ready or not for the starting rotation. No use bringing him up until he's ready. I'm hoping that Bumgarner gets to pitch in AAA most of the 2010 season, only coming up in August or September to give the rotation a boost.
  • Posey is only getting reps at 1B, and only to get starts when he is not catching. And that is long-term, not just for 2010. He is the future starting catcher, make no mistake about that, they are not trying to convert him to another position. They just want the option of starting him at 1B and keeping his bat in the lineup when he gets a rest from catching. That would make a good platoon situation with Ishikawa at 1B.
  • Travis Ishikawa fell down some stairs and gave himself an extreme turf toe, damaging ligaments. He should be well soon, but if no healing since, he'll need surgery and be out 3 months. Too bad, he really needs the time in the majors and that would cost him big time. That could be as costly as Clint Barmes infamous fall down the stairs carrying up the deer meat that Todd Helton shot.
  • Rowand worked out this off-season to get himself in better shape for 2010. Now why couldn't he have done that when we signed him to a $60M contract, I don't know. What a gamer... NOT! Damn straight he should be doing cardio. Hopefully, though, this is the key to him hitting well all season and not petering out, maybe he'll finally be worth the money paid him.
  • DeRosa is the new hot-head, replacing Carney Lansford. He's going into players' faces if they don't do well executing as a hitter, which will have more impact than a coach like Carney doing it. Unfortunately, none of our other vets were that type last season.
  • Freddy Sanchez is a week ahead of his rehab schedule but hesistant to say that he will be ready to start the season. He is probably being cautious because he thought he was ready in December but his first swing told him he still had more problems.
  • Frandsen is getting a new uniform number in hopes of getting a fresh start as he battles for a utility position. I am rooting for him and still believe in his bat, but with Noonan, Burriss, and Crawford coming up relatively soon, I see very little chance of him winning a starting spot ever with us.
  • I've been encouraged by all the news about Bam Bam Meulens work with our players, and the news regarding Pablo Sandoval and Nate Schierholtz. They are two key hitters for our long-term prospects, and if both can deliver (or continue to deliver in Panda's case), then our future is looking good.
Jonathan Sanchez Breakout

Also, here is something I wrote regarding Sanchez breaking out as a comment elsewhere:

Here is why I think Sanchez is due for a breakout in 2010: he was due for it in 2009 but then the WBC happened, then the no-hitter happened.

He had a great first half of 2008 (ERA below 4) but then tired in the second half. He prepared over the winter and was ready (as shown by his great second half). However, in the WBC, he decided to copy Johan Santana's mechanics, because he admires Johan.

However, Johan is not as tall as Sanchez and thus while the mechanics work for a shorter man, it did not work for Sanchez. And it screwed him up during the season until he finally gave up on it and throw the way he did before, at which point he threw the no-hitter, which I think is the other reason why he will break out in 2010.

His problem has never been with the physical, he has been a bit of a headcase for his career, exemplified by his Johan-move last season. But I think the no-hitter for him is equivalent to the Wizard giving the diploma to Scarecrow, he always had it in him, but he just needed something to convince his head that he's really that good.

And any pitcher who can strike out over a batter an inning in the majors is that good, hence why Sabean kept him while many fans were clamoring for him to trade Sanchez for offense. I think he made the right move, which I doubt any of the people who called to trade Sanchez would ever admit that they got wrong.

That he worked again this off-season shows his maturity as well as his realization that he still tired out in September (his ERA rose a lot that month), and so he worked again at becoming stronger and more capable of going strong deeper into the season. I would say that this would pay off not only in September but also October, should the Giants make it to the playoffs (I think they have put themselves in good position for that).

I also think that being the 4th starter will help him win more too. With a sub-4 ERA, as he appears ready to do, he should mop up in the 4th spot, much like Zito did last season, and get a lot of wins. Despite having a poor September, Zito got a bunch of wins, while Lincecum and Cain, while pitching well, did not pick up as many wins. I think Sanchez can greatly prop up the back end of the rotation and pick up a lot of wins, I would not be surprised to see him get 15 or more wins.

3 comments:

  1. Agreed. Sanchez is primed for a breakout. To me, it's all going to come down to throwing strikes. Throwing balls leads to walks, to longer, stressful innings, shorter outings, etc. Tough to break through if you can't get out of the 5th innings.

    By the way, love the blog. Have you ever thought about joining the Yardbarker Blogger Network? I think you'd be a really good fit. If you're interested in hearing more, hit me up at jeff@yardbarker.com

    Sorry to do this in the comments, but I couldn't find a contact form.

    Jeff

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jeff, no problem, this is the way to reach me. I will check out Yardbarker, but I got an offer to join a much bigger site before and I'm OK with being Don Quixote doing my thing here. Joining a site would bring pressure to produce something at regular intervals. That's been fine so far, as I have a lot to say, but I don't know that I'll continue to do this indefinitely, for if it stops being fun, I would stop it. But not until the season is over, I would finish what I start.

    Walks are OK for pitchers who can fool hitters enough to strike out over 9 K/9, because they strike out so many that their ERA is actually better, generally, than pitchers who walk and strikeout less hitters. It would be great if he can last longer into the games, but I don't think that we need him to do that if we got other pitchers who can do that regularly.

    But if he can reduce his walks to under 3.0, though, the Giants would have an embarrassment of riches in the rotation that would only get better once Bumgarner establishes himself in the majors.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Move over Timmy, Madison Bumgarner is going to be Rookie of the year, and possibly the Cy Young award winner. He may even garner some votes for MVP. I just hope Timmy does not mind becoming number 2. Assuming no injury, Madison is the real deal. No need to consider anyone else for a spot in the rotation unless injuries ensue. This kid can pitch.

    ReplyDelete

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