Saturday, March 12, 2011

Your 2011 Giants: Questions About the Giants

Once upon a time, a reporter innocently asked the crowd if there were any questions that anybody would like answered.  I, in ogc style, had a multi-page reply, which he had to reply to and note that I would not see all of them answered. 

Sigh, I thought that was pretty obvious, but I guess he's got to be sure and assume the lowest common denominator.

Still, that is a good exercise to do, I think, and so I'll just post them here in the ether's equivalent of the message in the bottle, and if any writer out there with access to that type of information could answer, then great, and if not, I am no worse for asking, I still don't have an answer.  If you don't ask, you don't get.

Questions About the Giants
  • What exercises did Lincecum add to his routine vs. the offseason last year, that will help him be better conditioned late in the 2011 season?  Or did he just return to his prior exercise routine?  Does he plan to use his slider and changeup more often in 2011?  Does he feel any worse for wear from all the extra innings?  Is he ready to have a sub-2 ERA season?
  • To what does Cain credit for his leap forward in 2010 vs. prior seasons?  Trust in stuff? Maturity? Pounding the zone?  Is he any worse for wear from all the extra innings?  What is he doing to ensure he can repeat his 2010 performance in 2011?
  • What did Jonathan Sanchez do this off-season in order to hopefully not tire out in the 2011 playoffs?  Working on any new pitches? What was best advice that Randy Johnson gave him?  What does he think enabled him to take step up in 2010?
  • What did Barry Zito do this off-season that is different from prior off-seasons?  Did he do any exercises with Brian Wilson?  What pitches are he working on for 2011? 
  • What did Bumgarner do this off-season to make sure his arm holds up in 2011 and beyond?  How was his arm this off-season, was it any different from previous seasons?  What did he do to try to take another step up in 2011?  Learn a new pitch? Try different approach to batters? In Posey, he trusts?
  • What did Santiago Casilla do this off-season to ensure that 2010 was not a fluke, and revert to prior performance levels?
  • Did Lopez figure out what to tell Bochy to get Boche to use him against RHB as well as LHB?
  • Did Runzler work on any new pitches to help him do better in 2011?
  • What did Posey do this off-season to ensure that he won't be gassed at the end of the 2011 season, as he recently noted he was for the 2010 season?  What key lessons did Posey learn from his first season as major leaguer that he can improve upon or will help him in future seasons?
  • Did Brandon Belt feel gassed at the end of his first season as a professional, particularly in the AFL?  Does he think he would have advanced and learned more had he signed sooner after being drafted in 2009 and got more playing time?  Or does he think there was no effect?
  • Did Huff continue the new exercise routine he used to get in shape for the 2010 season, in order to get in shape for the 2011 season?  What does he think caused him to have such a bad year in 2009 vs. how great he was in 2008 and 2010?  In particular, what went so horribly wrong with Detroit?  Did Giants help position him on defense better than other teams?
  • Now that Freddy Sanchez is older, has he changed his exercise routine for his off-season to prepare for the 2011 season?
  • Why was Miguel Tejada one of the last position players to show up for spring training?  What did he do in the off-season to prepare for the 2011 season that accounts for his age?  Is playing 150+ games every season too wearing for him at his age?  Would playing 130-140 games keep him fresher later in the season?
  • Suggestion for Sandoval, have the Giants travel people arrange for him to get the meals that he normally would get from his personal chef when he is on the road, from the hotels that they are staying at.
  • Did Sandoval do any fielding practices at 3B over the off-season, or was it mainly fitness?  What was Barry Bonds most helpful advice?  How much time did he actually work with Bonds?
  • Did Burrell get more help from Giants coaches and teammates on positioning in LF than he did in Philly?  The advanced fielding stats says he was very good defensively out in LF with the Giants, to what or who would he credit that to, if any?
  • What did Torres do over the off-season in order to minimize his hamstring problems?  What will be the first thing(s) he buys with his new contract?  When he says he is in his best shape ever, can he quantify that in any way?  Qualify that, how so?  
  • What is Schierholtz doing to prevent himself from getting injured so frequently?  I have noticed that he would be killing the ball for a long while, then the nagging injuries come and he isn't that good anymore.  I hate to see him lose his edge, but I fear that is hurting his chances at a starting position and want to see him become a starter someday.
  • What does Cody Ross think is the reason he did not do that well hitting with the Marlins last season?  What did he do during the off-season to ensure that he returns to prior levels of performance for the Giants in 2011?  A big drop was due to less power, does he know why his power dropped?
  • How is Zach Wheeler's fingernail, healthy?  Worked to prevent repeat in 2011?  Did he do anything different to prepare over the winter? Learn anything from fellow Giants pitchers regarding preparing during the offseason for the regular season? Worked on any new pitches over the off-season?  
  • What did Gary Brown do over the off-season to prepare for 2011?  Does he now wish he signed sooner, had he known something that he learned as a pro (if there was something, what was that something)?  What is his philosophy regarding hitting, his approach to each AB?  Did the Giants change his batting stance, which was jittery in on-line videos?  How did he learn to hit like that?  Did coaches try to change him before? What does he see as his value add as a hitter? As a CF?  Will he start out in San Jose or Augusta?
  • Questions for Bruce Bochy or Brian Sabean:  given that many position players also pitched in the high school and college ranks, do you think the game will evolve to where position players are developed into situational relievers who can come in for a pitcher and get someone out, while the pitcher takes over the fielding position and returns to pitching after that batter?  What are your thoughts on a 6-man rotation, could teams move to that strategy late in the season by adding a good arm via trade or promotion, which would rest up the current rotation during the regular season?  Given that AL teams have an advantage over NL teams when playing at home because they have a good DH and the NL team typically don't, do you think that NL teams will evolve to have super-utility players who can help narrow that advantage in the World Series by being used as the DH? 
  • How long is Neukom hoping to manage as owner?  Is he already recruiting a successor owner among the billionaires in the SF Bay Area?  Does he have a successor picked out?  What is his end game now that SF has won a championship? 
I warned you it would be long. :^D


  1. Some really good questions, but in the context of such good questions the second one stands out for being just wrong. 2010 was not a "leap forward" from 2009, if anything 2009 was Cain's leap forward season. There was definitely some improvements in 2010 over 2009 but to characterize it as a leap forward is stretching things badly.

  2. Thank you, TomG, I thought Matt made his jump in PQS in 2010, but you are right, he made his big leap in 2009. His big leap in DOM% and drop in DIS% happened then. Particularly important was the drop of DIS% below the crucial 10% level. Much appreciated.

  3. I read that Pablo spent most of the on the field portion of his off-season taking grounders at 3B, and didn't pick up a bat nearly the entire time. I also heard he worked with Bonds on pitch selection, and learning to better wait for a pitch he could drive, but I'd love more details on both things...keep us posted and keep up the great work.

  4. If Lopez did say anything that convinced Bochy to use him against RHB, I would advise Bruce to have a look at Lopez' stats last year with Pittsburgh (and indeed his career splits), and think again.

  5. you sure have a lot of questions... :-)

    Why DON'T relievers come in for one batter with the pitcher going to say, the opposite field? Because unless you keep two pitchers/position player combos in the game you might tend to burn two players that way?

    Other than as a stunt or in a ridiculously long game I don't recall ever once seeing it. I assume that you don't in the AL because I believe you lose the DH for the rest of the game that way - but have never ever heard of this since... 1910 or something?

  6. I've seen that happen a few times in my life, marc. It is typically an extra innings thing, but it seems like a situation you find every so often. If fact, there was just a game in the last couple of years where a pitcher ended up catching a fly ball in LF to end a game in exactly that kind of double switch. Can't quite put my brain on who that was -- I feel like it was an All Star calibre guy.

    Of course, it always involves Lefty specialists somehow or another -- either they want a LHP to come in for just one batter, or a series of LH hitters is broken up by one RH and they don't want the LHP to either face him or leave the game.

  7. Hey OGC,

    Can't really answer these questions (of course), but I'll do my best to provide information that may or may not be helpful...

    Javier Lopez has always thought of himself as a guy that can face rightys and leftys. He hates the term LOOGY -- because he doesn't like to think of himself as a specialist. As to what he might have said to Bochy, who knows...maybe Bochy just saw him excelling, and knew there wasn't a way to work around Manuel's strategy of sandwiching two leftys around Placido Polanco in the batting order.

    As for Runzler, I don't know that he's been working on any new pitches. I think his focus this offseason was to ameliorate his durability -- in preparation for a sixth starter role. He was planning on going the long relief route, so he could be available as an emergency starter if necessary.

    Hope that helps.



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