Monday, July 12, 2010

Columnist Show Lack of Savvy

A local columnist wrote a column denigrating the Giants (as well as the A's, but I don't care about the A's), saying that the Rangers and Padres show savvy that the Giants lack.  But she showed her lack of understand long-term business management, nor of the baseball product lifecycle (I would link except it's only available in the newspaper version right now).

Strategies Are Different

She praised the Rangers' acquisition of Cliff Lee, but she ignored the consequences of such actions.  They lost a lot of their future in those trades.  She made it seem like they didn't give up much in trade, noting, "so they gambled some of their future..."  Smoak is not just some of their future, he is a highly accomplished and regarded hitter, who has struggled in his time in the majors, but has been starting to figure things out recently, blasting homers and driving in a bunch of runs.

She points out how low their payroll is, but then ignore the fact that if it is that low, then they most probably would not be able to re-sign Lee when he goes free agent on them after this season, at which point they will get draft picks for him that won't pay off for another 5-7 years, if ever.  But she lays out hope for the Rangers' fans by writing that they "possibly [have] a chance of paying Lee to stick around."  There is a reason why their payroll is low right now.  Nobody is showing up at the turnstiles, and without that revenue, they won't be able to afford Lee for the huge contract demands that caused the Phillies to let him go to the Mariners in the first place.

True, they have other young talents in the farm system, but many of them have been in the majors already and struggled mightily to become valuable players.  They may never do it.  But they traded off their one most likely to succeed candidate in Smoak.  They also lost upside potential by giving up  those pitchers to the Giants for Molina.

They are going for it all this season.  The Giants are trying to build for the next 5+ seasons, something she ignored, yet she claims the Rangers are "savvy" for doing this move.  Well, the equivalent move would have been the Giants trading Posey.  I don't think Giants fans would be happy with that move right now, just a guess on my part.

She also claims that they got what they needed, implying that the Giants didn't.  Last I checked, Posey hit 6 homers on this road trip.  Just what the offense ordered.  Bumgarner has been outstanding in the rotation.  Just what the rotation ordered.  Chris Ray has stabilized the set-up man role.  Just what the bullpen ordered.  The Giants got a lot of new pieces in the last month and a half, and they are starting to gel together, there is a lot of season left.

Season Not Over

And no wonder some fans are ready to give up on the season, when the media is the lead lemming, heading over the cliff.  She wrote that the "Padres have ... robbed the Bay Area of midsummer hope."  Last I checked there is still 74 games to be played (75 when she wrote her column).  And the Giants were only 4 games back at that time (still only 4 games back).

Has she ever seen and followed a baseball season?  As a newspaper writer, she presumably has.  But 4 games behind is nothing at the All-Star Break.  The Jeopardy game show familiar tune has not even started to play yet.  No wonder some fans want to commit hari-kari on the Giants season, when the newspaper media is feeding this lunacy to them, one tree at a time.

Ranger's At Different Point of Life-Cycle Than Giants

In addition, the Rangers is in a different part of the baseball product life-cycle, that is, in rebuilding a pennant contender.  The Giants may have a lot of older players, but most of their key players for the future are still young, Jonathan Sanchez at 27 and Brian Wilson at 28, are the oldest.  Lincecum is 26, Matt Cain 25, Bumgarner is only 20, Posey is only 23, so is Pablo, and, while not key yet, but potentially so, Schierholtz, Bowker, and Ishikwaka are all 26.

The older guys help greatly but are not key to our future success.  With the offense, they are not key, except for maybe Huff and Uribe, but Uribe is 30, old for our group, but he would, as you will see, fit right in with the Rangers.  Zito is 32, but anything he contributes will be additional to what the core young players contribute. Most of our key players are very young, we are starting our upward arc.

For while the Rangers do have some young players blended in, their key players are all near, at or past their prime.  Ian Kinsler is 28, Mike Young is 33, Josh Hamilton is 29, Nelson Cruz is 29, Vlad Guerrero is 35, David Murphy is 28, even their hot young pitcher, Colby Lewis is already 30, closer CJ Wilson is 29, and  Cliff Lee is 31.   If they don't win now, who knows if they will ever have a chance again, particularly with the lead they have now.

They have a lot of question marks over their future. All of their stars and players they are counting on this season could either start declining or leave as a free agent within the next couple of years. Lewis could just be having a fluke season, Kinsler has been injury prone his whole career, Young is not young anymore, Hamilton is a loose cannon, Vlad is having a nice season but it is his first in a number of seasons.   There are a lot of question marks.

If they don't win this year, another chance might not come. The Angels have a lot of money and will usually be dominating the division. The Oakland A's are up and comers. Even Seattle has a nice core of young players with King Felix leading the way and now Smoak on their team. The Rangers saw that even if they had Smoak, he probably would not be enough - given how poorly all their other young prospects have done - to lead the Rangers in the future to success, so they sold him now in hopes that Cliff Lee can help them win it all this season, but for them, it is all or nothing this season.

Meanwhile, the Giants are young and have a lot to look forward to.  The cost of selling off some of that youth in order to win this season could jeopardize the Giants chances of having a dynasty over the next 5-10 seasons.  We have a lot of good young players, but we still need Posey and Bumgarner, Sanchez and Cain.  Trading them now to fix a hole in the lineup would only put holes elsewhere.  Better the angel you know than the devil you don't know.  

Missing the Point

She is also mis-analyzing the 'Dres success.  They did not slap together "an ark" of an offense.  They improved their runs scored from 3.96 to 4.22, which is an increase of 0.26 runs.  The Giants improved their runs scored from 4.06 to 4.43, which is an increase of 0.37, which is greater than what the 'Dres did, whether by number of runs or percentage increase.  Either way, the Giants did better than the 'Dres in increasing their run scoring.

She talks about their running on the bases to do all that they can to score and win games.  But, as you can see from the number above, their offense is even worse than our offense, the Giants are averaging 4.43 runs per game, which is above average for the NL, while 'Dres are averaging 4.22 runs per game, which is 0.18 runs per game less than average.  How is running a lot that much better when the Giants are outscoring them?

The key to San Diego's success has been a rotation that has been just as superb as the Giants, only better as we had to suffer with Wellemeyer as our 5th starter and their worse starter is a whole half run better than Wellemeyer is.  Their bullpen has also been better as well, which helps their rotation be better as well.

The Giants recently added a 5th starter who not only equalizes things but put us above them, in my opinion:  you may have heard of Madison Bumgarner.  You know, pretty fair hurler of the white ball with red stitching, great ERA so far, who has shut down some pretty good offensive teams so far.

Getting Molina Was Not Mistake

She also made the point that getting Molina was a mistake.  It was not a mistake.  Posey struggled, relatively, to hit in AAA in April.  His MLE was in the low 700's.  Molina's OPS until he took the foul tip off his arm in mid-May was in the high 800 OPS, which is very good for any hitter, let alone the catcher.  He was a good offensive contributor up to then.  And while he wasn't that good anymore after that, the Giants were able to flip him for a good reliever with closer experience to solidify our set-up man situation plus pick up a very nice prospect with potential.

We would not have been able to buy either one from another team at this point of the season, nor would we have won as many games as we did in April and May had we had Posey behind the plate instead of Molina, just based on offense.  Who knows if Posey would have continued to struggle, much like Matt Weiters has struggled, without the Giants being able to ease him into the job, first in AAA, then at 1B in the majors, before promoting him to starting catcher.  We do know that he struggled in April to hit AAA pitchers, let alone MLB pitchers, based on his MLE.  And we basically bought another good prospect with a lot of potential in Main, they like pitchers like him who throw hard.  Molina was a good investment, the only thing that went wrong was the foul tip that ruined his hitting stroke after mid-May, but otherwise, we got good production early on then picked up two good pitchers for him/money.

Faulty Analysis

That is the problem I have with most baseball analysis:  they look at the season or situation as a single point in time and the implicit assumption is that what has gone on before will continue to go on in the future.  Just as the Rangers' season is now different because they acquired both Molina and Lee, the Giants season is now different because Posey and then Bumgarner joined the team, and again once Posey became the starting catcher, as Molina is now gone and other players are starting at 1B or other positions because Molina is gone.

Of course, the error with assessment of the 'Dres success is another problem.  Their success is built on the success of their young starters plus the addition of Jon Garland.  They have done a great job with that.  As I noted in the other post, their young pitching will be headed into unknown territory in terms of inning pitched, because they have never reached that level ever before.  To expect all three of them to not experience any bumps in the road in terms of performance before the end of the year is unrealistic.  Yet, that is what has driven a lot of their success so far.

San Diego's Rotation Projection: Worst Second Half Performance

Digging deeper into the pitchers, other potential problems crop up that suggest that they will have a tougher second half of the season, much worse in some cases, but still worse for most of them.  And I have to assume that there is no accounting for potential worsening due to fatigue, analysis has not gotten that far yet.  This is just based on how they have done so far this season and their history of performing.

Clayton Richard's season's success is built up by his abnormal HR/FB rate of 7.5% (most pitcher's regress to 10%, though he should regress lower due to pitching in San Diego's pitcher's park).  ZiPS has him at 4.03 FIP for the rest of the season and that is what xFIP has his performance for the first part of the 2010 season, which, while still good, is not as good as his 3.33 ERA thus far this season.

Mat Latos has been pitching well as well, but he's also been benefiting from a low HR/FB rate of 8.1%.  He has an ERA of 2.45, which ZiPS forecasts increasing to 3.53 in the second half, with a FIP of 3.45.  His FIP is 3.20, xFIP is 3.52.  Any way you slice it, he has not performed at an elite level of performance, though still certainly good, as he has benefited from a lot of good luck in his performances so far, and his BABIP appears to be lucky as well, with a .246 average this season, better than his .257 from last season, and better than his whole minor league career, though it is entirely possible he is a pitcher who can achieve that, we just won't know for certain for another 6 seasons of additional performance.  For now, clearly, he's been lucky in his HR/FB rate and BABIP, resulting in an ERA a whole run better than his peripherals would suggest.

Wade LeBlanc is forecasted for the biggest fall of all the starters and he currently has a great ERA of 3.30.  However, his FIP is 4.60 and his xFIP is 4.69, even his tERA is 4.35, all indications that he has been extremely lucky with his overall ERA thus far.  His strikeout rate is very low, but he has a relatively high walk rate.  He has been unlucky with his HR/9 rate, but his BABIP is right on target at .302.  He doesn't even get a lot of groundballs, he is actually a flyball pitcher the past couple of seasons.  His performance so far is that of a middle rotation starter, somewhere in the mid-4's, than the good pitcher his 3.30 ERA would suggest.  He has the furthest to fall of these three young starters.

And while I'm at it, Jon Garland is also benefiting from extended good luck.  3.56 ERA so far, 4.51 FIP, 4.49 xFIP, 4.38 tERA, projected 4.15 ERA for the rest of the season, BABIP of .279 when his career is .290, his HR/FB is right at his career rate, so that appears to be on target, but somehow he has elevated his groundball rate to 50.0%, much higher than his 44.8% career rate.  He is also projected to suffer a decline in performance level in the second half.

The only good news for SD is that Kevin Correia is not projected to be as bad in the second half.  He is expected to be much improved in the second half as he has had some bad luck even though his peripherals have been OK.  He has been the one hard luck starter in the rotation in 2010, but who should be much improved in the second half.

All in all, they look to suffer from a big fall in starting pitching in the second half.  The pitching look poised to suffer a worse second half.  It might have already began, they are 5-5 in July while they won a number of games more than they lost in April, May, and June.  They have been extremely lucky in one run games this season, going 19-12 so far, and most teams regress to .500 (though not necessarily in the same season, so this could persist for the rest of the season).  Their hitting has improved in July, but their pitching has regressed a lot already in July, 4.45 ERA vs. 3.00 in April, 3.08 in May, 3.30 in June.

And there is no one performing well among position players in their upper minors who look like they can jump to the majors and help boost up their offense, certainly no Buster Posey level pospect, but not even anyone hitting as well as John Bowker has done, who we could still bring up (though Jedd Gyorko has been hitting up a storm in A-ball, could possibly get a late season call-up, but not anytime soon).  And their top pitching prospects are already up here, they have been up in previous seasons and appear to be starting to put things together, but their farm system is depleted, their top pitching prospect was only 6th on Baseball America's Top 30 list for 2010 season, and only one, Cory Luebke, is doing well this season, and he's in AA.  Nice K/BB, but very low K/9.

The Giants, on the other hand, has not had any pitcher over performing.  Each has shown the capability to do what they have been doing, and Lincecum could be even better.  They are all experienced, except for Bumgarner, but he's the #1 pitching prospect in all of baseball, none of the San Diego starters have that pedigree, they have all been nice prospects, but only Latos was expected to do so well in the majors, both Richard and LeBlanc were considered, at best, back of rotation starters, not top line starters, as their current ERA would suggest, and none of them made BA's Top 100 prospect lists.

Misunderstanding Bill James and Baseball In General

The writer also shows her lack of understanding of baseball and sabermetrics by claiming that Bill James' "bible" states that "A walk is as good as a hit."  I think even little kids in Little League knows that is not true.  A hit is clearly better than a walk as you can drive in runs with a hit.  Shouldn't her editor have caught that one?  Or does no one at her newspaper understand baseball?

Huh?

She also analyzed San Diego's situation incorrectly as well, opining that the 'Dres pitchers "don't have to cope with the deflating experience of routinely throwing great games, only to see a slovenly offense burp up a loss."  As I shown above, the Giants are actually scoring MORE runs per game on average than San Diego, which of course means that the 'Dres have been routinely not scoring a lot of runs, which puts just as much pressure on their pitchers, if not more so.  And they were forced to run, because none of their hitters were hitting, it was their last hope, I was following their team then because I had a number of their players on my fantasy team briefly.

In addition, she also spent about a quarter of her column bemoaning Jonathan Sanchez's 1-hitter loss, 1-0, to San Diego, talking about how they "undoubtedly got a lot out of that win."  Yes, so much that 3 days later, their pitchers threw a combined 3-hitter and lost 1-0 to the D-gers.

In fact, since that "fateful" game where they beat us 1-0, they have been 29-27 since then, while the Giants were 29-26.  They sure showed us, didn't they?  They got so much out of that win, clearly, so much that they were only 2 games above .500 since then.  With inspiration like that, the Giants won't need to do much  in the remaining part of the season to catch up with and pass them.

Giants Thoughts

Comparing the Giants with the Rangers and 'Dres is foolhardy.  Texas is at the end of their product life-cycle and this could be their last good chance to win it all.  Their strategic imperative is different from the Giants, who are still in the early stages of their life-cycle and is much younger than the Rangers in terms of their key personnel.  San Diego's performance is an illusion because their peripherals do not support them being so good, they should be headed to a regression as their overall ERA catches up with what their true talent level is, and, in any case, is not the result of them converting their "running" into wins.

Of course, in baseball, teams do overperform over an entire season.  The 'Dres might be able to keep it up all season.  However, the key thing for them is to keep their success going against the Giants all season.

They may be 14 games above .500, but 6 of those games is a result of them being 7-1 against the Giants.  If the Giants could have split the games and were 4-4 against them, then they would be tied with D-Rox atop the NL West at 49-38, 1 game ahead of LA and 2 ahead of SD.

At 44-36 against the rest of the league, assuming they continue that, that would mean that they would finish 35-29 in those remaining 64 games, making them 86-66 overall.  With 10 games left against the Giants, 4 at home and 6 on the road (2 3-game series), they will need to go 4-6 against us to finish at 90 wins, which looks to be the minimum necessary to win the NL West.

Different Giants Now

But the Giants are a different team now.  They have added Posey and Burrell since then, and Huff started hitting great, since they swept us in three games twice.  And we will have Bumgarner in the rotation, not Wellemeyer.  And Ray in the bullpen.

They most probably will be different too.  Their pitching is probably going to be worse and could be tired out by then.  That is what happened to Jonathan Sanchez in his first full season as a starter, he was great for the first half of the season, but then pooped out in the second half, his performances started varying wildly and his ERA began to climb up, as he stopped throwing consecutive DOM starts and started throwing many more DIS starts as well as less DOM starts.

Their offense is perking up in July, but their pitching has regressed to where their FIP suggest that they should be, around low-to-mid 4 ERA.  And they are only 5-5 for the month, showing that their pitching regressed much more than their offense has improved.  And, again, they have no young prospect who look ready to come up and give the team a charge, either on offense or on their pitching staff.

The Giants have already added Posey and Bumgarner, and while they don't have anyone ready to make the jump yet (though Belt might be ready by September, the way he just keeps on hitting at every level), they did acquire Michael Main in the Molina trade, and he could be traded like Alderson was, for a major league hitter who might contribute to the team this season and next season.

And, in any case, we don't know how well the Giants will play overall going forward, now that Posey and Bumgarner are both performing to their potential.  So the Giants play before?  While pertinent for overall season standing, this is a new Giants team, which should lead to better results if Posey and Bumgarner continue to play as well as they have so far.  And we are not that far behind.

And if Sandoval ever figures out how to hit, even like he did before he started hitting homers when he first came up, we would have quite a formidable middle of lineup in Posey, Huff, Sandoval.  In any case, Posey and Huff is pretty good for now.  By mixing and matching in the lineup, Bochy has been able to cobble together a consistent enough offense that should get us to 90 wins, which should put us in the thick of things when the season ends.

7 comments:

  1. I really like your blog. I like your optimism in your posts as well as your reasoning. Everything that I have read from you always sounds very well thought out and most importantly makes sense.

    The 2010 Padres are almost a carbon copy of the 2009 Giants, albeit with more speed. They're full of young guys which may come to bite them later on as the season progresses. How will they handle consecutive failures? How long will they last before the length of the season takes its grind on their pitchers? Our guys (outside of Madbum) have been through all of that stuff for the most part, last year. I feel that they will come just short like we did last year.

    It's amazing (magical even) how the team looks now as opposed to the first game. I gotta say though, I love one thing that Bochy did, he gave Andres a chance. He was really struggling early on and I remember seeing all of these other bloggers complaining about Bochy giving him a chance (I think he started the season 0 for 10 or something like that). And look at what happened. He's been the leadoff hitter that we've been searching for, the only real threat on the basepaths, the 2nd best outfielder defensively (according to UZR), and one of the best centerfielders according to WAR.

    Though I must say, one thing that has really made our offense bad are the double plays. Those must have cost us a win or few. However, Pablo hasn't them like he had early on. Currently, we've had 4 hitters being good for us: Andres, Aubrey, Pat (ze Bat), and Buster! That's more than last year.

    Overall, great post. Though it's not the Padres who scare me, not even the Rockies, it's the Dodgers. You should make a post about them that can make me feel better like you did here with the Padres.

    Keep up the good work. Go Giants!

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  2. Thanks. I try to do that, though I'm not always successful. But that's the goal, to be well thought out and makes sense.

    The 2010 Padres are almost a carbon copy of the 2009 Giants except for one very key difference: our starters have the pedigree to be the ace of any rotation they go to. Their performance so far in 2010 is ace level, yes, but only Latos is expected to do as well as any of our starters. And Latos is actually viewed more as a #2 starter, which ultimately means he'll be as good as Zito has been in his career. Good results, yes, but he's not suppose to be like Lincecum.

    Of course, that doesn't mean that he doesn't figure it out eventually. Brandon Webb did and he was not a very highly regarded prospect. Still, the odds are against it given the lack of pedigree for his talent level. He will have to prove that he can do this, whereas Bumgarner will have to prove that he can't.

    If there is any team who should pursue a trade, it's SD, because their guys are not suppose to be this good and they will need an infusion to do that. Unfortunately for them (good for us), their closest best prospects are all up here now and not doing all that well, so they would be forced to sell the potential of Ackley or Tate if they are to trade, which would reduce their future greatly, I think, because they are top talents in potential.

    Yeah, I was pretty impressed too that Bochy gave Torres a chance. Too bad he wasn't young so that the people saying that he don't give young guys a chance would have a counter-example, but really he is because he's not a starter and has now been installed as the starter because of his consistency in his offense.

    And I will admit that I'm one of those bloggers who did not think much of Torres. The odds did not favor it, but that story of him learning how to bat convinced me that he's the real deal now versus the horribleness that he was before. I totally believe in Ted Williams Science of Hitting.

    Yeah, the D-gers do scare me too, mainly because they have had all these guys underperform, like Loney, Martin, their pitchers, and yet like that guy in Halloween, they keep on rising up.

    I'll try to do that for you but I have done it before and somehow they got it done before too, despite the negatives I pointed out. Manny out, somehow magically Pierre and then Hudson starts hitting like they are Manny. How do you beat that? Joe Torre seems to work some sort of magic, I didn't believe it before when he was with the Yankees, but I'm starting to believe now.

    But I fear Colorado as well. Unlike LA, I think they have the talent to do well, they just have to unlock the key, like they have in recent seasons, and then they start winning. As I noted in my other post, almost all of their goodness now is because of Ubaldo's dominance. As he regresses in his performance, that will bring them down as well, but they now have Street and de la Rosa back, so that would be a boost to make up for that. And if Dexter Fowler starts clicking, then they will be that much more stronger.

    However, a key part of their offense right now is Miguel Olivo, he of .925 OPS but lifetime .720 OPS. Of course, a lot of that is Coors. But for him to hit almost double the OPS at home than on the road? Shouldn't continue.

    Still, the scary thing is that there has been no letup, he has hit really well each month he has played for them. He's making me wish Torrealba did not overplay his hand with them and re-signed with them instead of SD.

    I'll try to tackle LA in another post, but no guarantees about allaying your fears about them the way I did with SD. Sometimes there's no good answer.

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  3. Really, outside of Posey, I'd rather have San Diego's starting 8 than what the Giants trot out there.
    The also don't have the equivalent of a Zito or Rowand contract hampering the team.

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  4. They may not have a Zito or Rowand contract, but they also don't have the money either. That balances out.

    Well, you took out Posey, so I will counter with this: what if you took out Adrian Gonzalez from SD's lineup? Still want to trade?

    Hundley's been OK, .758 OPS, but his BABIP is higher than years past, suggesting a drop is probable. Plus, he's never put in a full season's PA's before, he could tire out and his OPS would drop.

    Eckstein over Sanchez? Eckstein is 35 and only hitting .279/.328/.354/.682.

    Hairston is only hitting .248/.294/.353/.647, even Renteria is better than that and we have Uribe who is even better.

    Sandoval hasn't been hitting, but neither has Chase Headley (.269/.319/.367/.686), and Sandoval at least has a history of hitting well. Headley is sinking each season and he started out subpar to begin with.

    Hairston in LF vs. Huff. 'Nuff said. Burrell is better too.

    Tony Gwynn, .221/.319/.311/.630, even Rowand is better than him and Torres is our starter now.

    Venable in RF, .238/.314/.416/.730. I'll admit that he's hitting better than Schierholtz right now, but I would prefer having Nate, I think he can do better than that, and we have been playing Huff a lot here, and he's clearly better, even Bowker I would prefer over Venable in RF.

    Perhaps you are thinking of Aaron Cunningham's great hitting so far. Well, he's going to stop hitting at some point. His numbers in the minors look great but that is the problem with the minors, it is not the majors. His MLE - I don't even have to check - are pretty low, and he did them at age appropriate levels, meaning that there is no need to adjust them higher due to the fact that he was younger than the league. If anything, he's been a little old coming up the chain.

    Hundley's the only guy that looks good on the 'Dres team, other than, obviously, A-Gon. You can have their lineup, I would much prefer having the Giants.

    And you can't pick and chose, FYI, when comparing teams, you can't say "outside of Posey" because there is no outside of Posey, just like there is no outside of A-Gon.

    In any case, we have Posey and Huff, they have A-Gon. Most of our other hitters hit much better than any other hitter in San Diego's lineup right now. Seems like a pretty simple equation regarding which lineup is better.

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  5. Honestly, I did not think that Andres would look as good as he did last year in his limited playing time either. I've come to notice that good things happen when you least expect them to. I remember when Nate was very hot for a while, a lot of those hits were bloops, infield, hustled just enough to make it to first, etc. I really haven't seen much of that with Andres. He's really hitting. And his speed helps everything (leads the team in doubles, triples, and steals).

    The Dodgers are scary as a lot of their guys have really been under performing so far. However, they have somehow got the worst outfield (defensively) in all of baseball so I don't expect their pitchers' ERA to go as low as their FIP would suggest. I'm still not that scared of the Rockies though. They have their closer back, and a starter, but I don't know. They had a really successful home stand but I'd like to see how good they do on the road and as their ace regresses as well as their studly catcher.

    If we could just be a wee bit better in our division, then I think we're good. I still would not trade anything that we have. I think that our pitching and fielding is among the best and that our hitting is vastly improved over last year as well. Perhaps by next year, we'll have a new stud at first in Belt. I'll miss Ishi though <8(. I hope that Neal is real so that we'll actually have 2 players in the works.

    This season has been exciting. I really like how a lot of the good players out of it will be here for a long time as you said. The team can only get better if they stay the course. No need to risk it all this year. I think that there are plenty of fans who will be patient even if this isn't our year. I don't want to jinx anything, but, we've already got perhaps the best 1-5 rotation in baseball and an elite fielding team. We're very good at preventing runs and in time perhaps we'll be among the elite in scoring runs. I say let's just enjoy the ride.

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  6. I guess I'm a bit late to the party here, but I just want to say I agree with your excellent analysis. Whatever happened to the Texas Rangers' farm system that was supposed to be, by head and shoulders, the best in baseball? Neftali Feliz? Justin Smoak? Chris Davis? Michael Main? Blake Beavan? All those catchers, Salty, Teagarden, Ramirez? It's melting away before our very eyes! Just contrast that with the all the players the Giants have SUCCESSFULLY graduated in the last 3-4 years!

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  7. Never too late for great comments, DrB!

    That's right, forgot to point that out. They were suppose to have such a big crop of top prospect talent, but they have all been fizzling, except for maybe that guy they traded to the Reds for Hamilton.

    Meanwhile, the Giants, who most experts did not rate well until we got Posey, has done a lot with their roster in terms of youth grown via the draft and amateur free agents.

    That's something that bothered me over the past 5-8 years or so, the D-backs with their Baby-backs, then the D-gers with all their "great" pitchers always being rated better than the Giants, yet Cain is better than anyone they developed during that time, until Kershaw came up.

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