Wednesday, March 17, 2010

2010 Spring Training Cuts

Hank Schulman captured the hitters cut yesterday and Andy Baggarly covered the pitchers today.

The hitters:
  • Brett Pill, 1B
  • Ehire Adrianza, SS
  • Wendell Fairley, CF
  • Johnny Monell, C
  • Thomas Neal, OF
  • Nick Noonan, 2B
  • Hector Sanchez, C
  • Jackson Williams, C
The pitchers:
  • Craig Clark
  • Rafael Cova
  • Steve Edlefsen
  • Eric Hacker
  • Osirus Matos
  • Clayton Tanner
  • Dan Turpen
  • Craig Whitaker
Plus, Steven Johnson, our Rule 5 draft pick passed through waivers and was offered back to the Orioles, who presumably will take him back, if not already.

None were surprising to my mind. Schulman noted the following, however, about Pill:
The only mild surprise is Pill, because I was told he would get a long look this spring. But that was before Aubrey Huff's defensive deficiencies became so apparent, prompting the team to give Buster Posey and John Bowker some longer looks at first base. Pill needs to get his work in the minor-league camp.

According to Baseball America, Pill is the best defensive firstbaseman in the Giants farm system, so that makes sense that they would want to look at him longer. However, as nicely as he did in AA last season, he was a 24 YO in a league averaging 24 YO and did not stand out from the crowd offensively. Only the best of the best in the league will move on to the majors and be successful.

For example, in 2008, Pablo Sandoval hit .337/.364/.549/.913, good for 9th in the EL. He was 21 YO. Wieters led the league in OPS and was 22 YO. None of the other "leaders" in the EL in OPS were highly thought of prospects, and age had to do with it. Only Nick Evans of the Mets (22 YO) was in the Top 10 and that young. Casper Wells (23YO) was 4th and is 16th in Detroit's system this season. Luke Hughes (23 YO) was 7th and has already fell off the Twin's prospect list.

It would have been a stretch to see Pill on the major league roster to start the season. And I suppose part of that interest to see him was driven by Ishikawa's injury with no clear take on what would happen until recently when they determined that he won't need surgery and would be ready for the season.

Meanwhile, Buster Posey continues to impress at 1B, which could be another reason Pill was sending packing (see Haft's nice article on Posey). Still, as this and other articles note, the Giants view Posey as a catcher, and Bochy's comments in this post affirm that: "I like the way he's catching. I want to keep him sharp back there." I think it is clear that Posey is the Giants catcher of the future and that the Giants will promote him when that time comes.

However, most probably that time is the second half of this season and I can see the Giants bringing up Posey and basically platoon him between C and 1B, giving Molina rests at 1B, and giving Posey AB's against LHP at 1B in place of Huff. And if they make the playoffs, he'll be a potent bat off the bench or perhaps even starting, depending on how poorly Molina and/or Huff is hitting, plus how tired Posey is, he clearly pooped out at the end of the 2009 season. And should they be lucky enough to make the World Series, he could be starting at either DH or 1B, depending on the situation regarding Huff's defense.

And that's the big news in this news blurb, that Huff's defense is causing a Giants re-think on how 1B is handled. Clearly, they need a strong defensive 1B on the bench now, meaning Posey won't cut it and Ishikawa, as long as he is healthy enough, will be that strong defensive 1B. Prior defensive stats (like UZR and Fielding Bible's Plus/Minus) suggested that Huff might have been OK enough there (about -0.5 wins) to warrant giving up the defense for his bat, but clearly there is some worry there now. And greater need for keeping someone like Ishikawa around all season for 2010, even though he's also a lefty and cannot really play any other position.

2 comments:

  1. Chris Haft had his own update: http://chrishaft.mlblogs.com/archives/2010/03/ishikawa_approaches_return.html

    It added a couple of other names to the cut list: Conor Gillaspie and Roger Kieschnick.

    I think the Giants will get another option on Gillaspie due to the age exception that gives the team four options instead of three, but he really don't seem like he's going to rise one level each year, he barely did anything in San Jose, having a disappointing season, so I expect him to repeat Advanced A this season. Hopefully he figured out something this off-season that will get him going in San Jose in 2010.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would hate to see the Giants sacrifice Posey's development at catcher for the short-term benefit of having him at first base. I don't think he'll ever hit for enough power to be a premium first baseman. He does have the potential to be a Jason Varitek level catcher, if developed properly. I think the Giants are more than one bat away from contending in 2010, and this season is not worth sacrificing Posey's future at catcher.

    ReplyDelete

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