Friday, January 27, 2012

Filling out the Roster: Giants Sign Henley and The Riot

The Giants in the past two days have signed two more players, Clay Hensley and Ryan "The Riot" Theriot, both to non-guaranteed major league contracts (Baggs: both will go on the 40-man once they pass their physicals, says that there are two openings; obviously, non-guaranteed means they can be DFAed for much less than their contracts; Schulman added that Fontenot's contract is also non-guaranteed, meaning if he's odd man out, he can be let go too without paying the full contract).

So these are basically "pay to play" contracts, if they can perform well enough in spring training to win a job, they get paid for 2012.  And Clay basically needs to show Bochy that he's still close to the same guy who did so well for him in SD and not the guy who did not do well in Florida last season.

Clay Hensley (Hank) is a former Giants farm hand who was traded to the Padres for Matt Herges, probably one of the few trades that has ended up with the Giants net losing, though Herges was very helpful in his time with the Giants when they needed relief help, so there is that.  Bochy loved using him in SD too, he did very well for them.

The right-hander reliever will apparently battle for the final spot in the bullpen that was opened by the trade of Ramirez (and Torres) for Angel Pagan.  He will get $750K for 2012 if he makes the team, plus $300K in incentives and awards (mostly probably based on games pitched in).  It was noted that Mota still hasn't officially signed "pending contract language", so perhaps that is an additional factor for doing this signing, not just the opening of Ramirez.  Mota, once signed, will probably be on a minor league contract so that he won't take up a spot on the 40 man yet and it does still seems like it is a fait accompli and not something that may or may not happen.

Ryan Theriot (Baggs, Hank) won a World Series ring with the Cards last season, which makes up for the one he could have gotten had he been traded to the Giants instead of Mike Fontenot in 2010.  Forgot what got in the way of that one, other than I think the Cubs got more from the D-gers for Theriot than the Giants gave up to get Fontenot, DeWitt is not someone the Giants could have matched, I don't think.

A right-handed hitter who hits better against LHP, but doesn't mash them, makes him a perfect platoon partner with Fontenot, who is an old buddy of his from their Chicago Cubs days, though that is a little surprising as they were essentially competing for the same starting role.  But their ties were forged, from what I understand, in college for LSU so those friendship ties have lasted a long time.  If he makes the team, he gets $1.25M with $750K in potential bonuses, probably mostly based on playing time in terms of PA.

Theriot’s deal is pending a physical and not guaranteed, which means the Giants could cut Theriot by March 18 and pay him $208,333, or $312,500 between March 18 and the start of the season.
For those worrying (crying) more Schulman about The Riot deal:
So here’s the upshot, as it was explained to me. Crawford, entering his second year in the bigs, is going into camp as the starting shortstop, as the Giants said he would. Fontenot, Theriot and Emmanuel Burriss provide the depth in the middle infield and will compete in spring training for reserve roles. Thus, Fontenot and Theriot, old friends from their LSU days and former keystone mates with the Cubs, likely will compete for the same job.
Schulman has been hot lately with his inside info lately, Baggerly had been better in seasons' past, but I would rate them about equal this off-season, at worse.

Giants Thoughts

It is like I thought, Crawford is the incumbent starting shortstop, with Theriot and Fontenot as the probable backups, and not as many feared, that Theriot is here to take the job away.   Barring a huge meltdown on Crawford's part, as long as he's flashing the leather and still taking walks while avoiding strikeouts, the Giants should be relatively patient with him and make him the starter.  He would have to cede the job for Theriot/Fontenot to take over.  More on that later.

Barring some big injury or huge decrease in ability to hit or field, I think they will beat out Burriss for the two MI spots, as he has not really shown much in recent trials in the majors, and if he does lose, we would have to DFA him.  But I would bet we would likely retain him, much like Ishikawa, because he would probably be cut at the end of spring training, at which point other teams would have their 25-man pretty much set and I doubt any team would risk losing that 25th man in order to take a flier on Burriss.  I assume the Giants will try to retain him after he passes through waivers, but the Nats might want to sign him since he's a local guy, they might like the history of that.  Not sure on the rules, but I think that is the right sequence of potential events.  I have to think if the Nats come calling, he will give them a shot and take a fresh start with them.
Schulman:  Theriot (.271/.321/.342 with St. Louis last year) is not going to set the world on fire with his bat, but that’s not why the Giants wanted him. They want to ensure they have a proper alternative to Crawford against left-handed pitching. And, I’m sure, have another shortstop option, period, if Crawford has a really bad spring and the brass feels he should go to Triple-A.
That is one of the things I like about how Sabean has been constructing the roster in the past few years, how he practices risk mitigation in his roster construction.  He generally tries to have a viable backup should plans do not work out the way that they envisioned (and nobody's plans go perfectly).  Unless Brandon Crawford totally sucks in spring training (much like Brian Wilson did his first spring training when he had the job in his pocket to lose and he just didn't do well), he most likely will be the full-time starter.  Bochy will give him a chance to show what he can do against both LHP and RHP.

But should he falter, I can see Bochy basically moving to a platoon situation by mid-to-late May.  Plus, in any case, in key batting situations late in the game, Bochy could substitute for Crawford with Theriot if a LHP is inserted to face Crawford.  I think the Giants will test Crawford periodically still against LHP, depending on the situation, partly because his defense is THAT good, partly because Theriot is THAT bad defensively, partly because Theriot does have problems with certain LHP.

Another reason for keeping Theriot and Fontenot is that they make good platoon buddies, Theriot hits well against LHP, Fontenot hits well against RHP, plus Fontenot was very good defensively at SS last season.  And that works for either SS, should Crawford flame out for any reason, or 2B, should any body part of Freddy Sanchez flame out for any reason.

Lastly, another good reason to keep Theriot is that Burriss has not shown much ability in the majors in recent years.  No walks, no power, his only ability is to avoid the strikeout and that does give him a better batting average, but not enough to make up for few walks and few extra-base hits.  He apparently is the hitter who drove Carney Lansford away, as he reportedly have strong arms, strong forearms, that with improve batting technique, he could start driving balls with authority.  However, he has refused to change, preferring to stick with the "slap the pitch" technique that he was taught to take advantage of his speed.

Burriss is basically around the same stage as Andres Torres was a few years back.  Andres stubbornly stuck to the slap until he realized that unless he changed, he'll never stick in the majors.  That's when he sought out someone to teach him to swing the bat like Pujols.  Basically, he was taught the principles that Ted Williams taught in his book, the Science of Hitting, and you saw what happened in 2009 and 2010 with his change.

Too bad Torres never tried to inspire Burriss to try his way, I think the transformation could be just a stark, and that Burriss could be a starter if he ever learned to hit properly and truly take advantage of his speed, because he has show a good eye all his career, it is just his lack of power that kills his chances of making the majors regularly.  As he probably could bat near .300 each year, and with even a modicum of power, would make a good starting option at 2B.

That changes the dynamics of the bench as well.  One spot is taken by the reserve catcher, Stewart or Hanchez.  Two spots are probably TheRiot and Fontenot.  Schierholtz has the fourth spot, assuming Belt wins the position in spring training.   That would mean that Brett Pill and Burriss would be battling for the last spot on the roster.  And given that Theriot provides some speed, Pill most probably gets that last spot as the only power off the bench (though Schierholtz provides some as well).

Looking at Hensley's stats, I realize that I had a more positive view of his career than warranted.  He did have a nice season starting for the 'Dres in 2006, but he didn't do well at all in 2007, moved to the bullpen in 2008, where he didn't do well either, but that might be because he had some sort of injury (he had injury reports for a strained right shoulder for 68 games in 2009, strained left neck muscle for 20 games in 2010), didn't pitch at all in the majors in 2009, but then did great for Florida in 2010 (perhaps he didn't make the mental transition, Todd Worrell when he was with the Giants said that he didn't start doing well as a reliever until he gave up thoughts of being a starter and accepted being a reliever), before having a bad year in 2011.

However, in 2011, his bad season was due solely to his poor stats as a starter, as the Marlins pushed him back into the rotation.  He had a 6.21 ERA as a starter, but a pretty good 3.51 ERA as a reliever, with 20 K's in 25.2 IP (7.0 K/9) and K/BB of 1.67, which is not great, just OK, and he held hitters down to a .226/.331/.333/.645 batting line as a reliever.  Schulman also noted some arm problems, so that contributed to his down season most probably, as well.  And he had a great 2.16 ERA in 2010 in 68 games, finishing 23 games and saving 7 games.  He kept his walks down and had a great strikeout rate, resulting in a great 2.66 K/BB (good closers have K/BB > 2.4 according to Shandler).

And with a career .279 BABIP and with one season out of 6 (but not all full seasons) of BABIP under .300, that suggest that he is possibly capable of keeping his BABIP down, which mitigates the issue about too many walks and resulting low K/BB.   Bringing up his BABIP to .300 results in 0.56 more H/9, which if you then drop his career BB/9 to 3.44 for a 1.85 K/BB, which is close to being the good 2.0 we want to see from pitchers and much better than the 1.57 mark he has for his career.  And a walk is worth less than the extra hits that would have been given up, which would edge that ratio up even higher.

So it looks like he has accepted the reliever role, but because the Marlins did not use him properly in 2011, many teams passed on checking him out, so the Giants could pick him up on the cheap.  He is also in his second year of arbitration, had the Marlins kept him, so that is another reason for them to drop him.  Should the Giants keep him past this season, he would be arbitration eligible for 2013 before becoming a free agent for the 2014 season.  He will be 32 for the 2012 season and won't reach free agency until he is 34, assuming he can hold a job for the next two seasons (which should not be hard if he pitches like he did as a reliever in 2010 and 2011).

I like the move.  As nicely as Mota has performed for us, he wasn't that good when he pitched for us plus he's very old now, so Hensley could end up replacing Ramirez, while a prospect replaces Mota, taking the long spot.  Heath Hembree was great last season in AA, so he potentially could win a spot in the bullpen.  In addition, Dan Otero has done very well in the minors with one projection saying he could deliver an ERA below 3 in 2012, which would be great.

So most likely Hensley, Mota, Hembree, and Otero are battling for two spots in the rotation, barring any injury to Romo.  Dan Runzler is probably in the mix for one of the two open spots as well, else I would guess that he would go back to AAA and start in order to be an option for the Giants should they need to replace any starter, due to the sparcity of MLB capable starting pitching in AAA.

Both moves were good moves, filling areas of potential weakness for the Giants in terms of depth in 2012, with two major league vets who should win a job in spring training by doing as well as they had done in prior seasons.  They probably cost two minor leaguers a chance at the majors, Burriss most probably, but maybe Pill instead, and one of the right-handers I listed above as battling for a job.  It was much more likely the Giants would have filled Ramirez's position internally had they not signed Hensley.  Good risk mitigation moves on the part of Sabean, on the cheap too, and it keeps the Giants under the $130M cap figure.  I don't envision any other move than a starting pitcher getting a minor league invite to battle for a spot.

I'm not sure if he is still available, but the D-backs non-tendered Micah Owings and he appears to be a free agent.  And while he has been a so-so pitcher, he has been a pretty good hitter.  At 29 YO for the 2012 season, he might be ready to accept a reliever role, heck, he might have already accepted it, as he was mostly a reliever last season and did well in that role.

Furthermore, he has also been OK as a reliever, 4.40 ERA in two home hitter's parks in AZ and Cincy, so he's probably close to 4 overall otherwise.  And he was good relieving last season.  Maybe bring him in as competition with Mota for the long-relief spot, and if he wins it, he also becomes our #1 option in case we need a MLB arm for the rotation, plus he would become a great pinch-hitter option for us off the bench, much like Brooks Kieschnick (Giants prospect Roger Kieschnick's uncle).  That is a much better option than having Mota.  Who knows, maybe he can be competition for the #5 starting spot with Zito as well.

The D-backs apparently non-tendered him in order to not pay him $1M in arbitration.  How cheap of the team, particularly since he did well for them last season.  Much unlike the Arizona of the past:  when a player lost to the team in arbitration, they ripped up the contract and signed him to more money.  The non-tender just to save maybe $250-500K won't sit well with him nor any buddies he may have on the team, it is like a slap in the face given what he did for them in helping them win the pennant last season.  Even any vets have to be perturbed by this strange move.  Hopefully it will place a seed of dissension and unrest in their clubhouse and lead to lesser performances in 2012 for them under Gibson.


  1. "As nicely as Mota has performed for us, he wasn't that good when he pitched for us..."

    There's something reallybrilliant about that sentence.

  2. I think it's a zen koan. OGC ain't no hack.

    I fear Bochy pulling Crawford too soon, but, indeed, "any body part" of Sanchez is too real a possibility. With that in mind, I like having Fontenot/Theriot - better insurance than the usual.

    I like Mota, and I think he's done well in the long reliever role. That said, he's been way better than I would have expected, and one day that's gotta end. So I get the koan, "hey, he held them to one run in three, nice", but has never inspired (in recent years) "hey, you know, he's really good".

    Bochy has shown how good he is at managing a bullpen. I would rather one of the many names mentioned get a shot, you never know.

  3. Sabey Sabes is playing moneyball. I've made a big deal about The Riot, but let's be real: he's a solid vet backup. He's pretty young actually, he has a little upside left in the tank, possibly. If Freddy Sanchez didn't have the injury, and the injury history, maybe this move isn't necessary. Crawford is the obvious story line but Sanchez is the reason I think its a good move. Sabean is getting more and more disciplined about the years on the contract. I think that has to do with filling in with players we want. You go grab Renteria because there is nobody who can possibly play short at the moment. Its an overpay, and a bad contract, and you eek it out. Now there's a guy who might not be half bad. Crawford might not be half bad. He has a very good skill, and if he can fill in around that skill, he's a solid player. If not, adjustments need to be made.

    The most impressive thing for me is Sabey Sabes getting younger players with more upside, slowly and surely. Melky is in his prime. Pagan is 30. The Riot is 32. Sure, they can all fall on their face. 1 year contract. This is the frustrating part for me, he is a bit predictable, but he is also able to go out on his own, damn the torpedoes. I admire that. Critics don't seem to look at that side of it - OK, it doesn't work, they're gone. He does learn from mistakes. I think a couple of the moves this year will pay off though.

    Sabean was quoted in a boston article about Scutaro being traded. He talked about how in this day and age fans had almost as much info as front offices. It comes down to 'the human factor'. This got made fun of a little, ok. But for me, The Riot is that sort of signing. He has some character. He has had to scrap along. All right, I'll admit it. My favorite type of player is the mythical five-tool, no doubt. Love the five-tool player to death, especially in the outfield. But the player I most admire is the scrappy middle infielder who has to claw and scratch to get there and stay there. I have come to be very fond of Freddy Sanchez. At this price, at this point in time, its a good little pickup, Mr Theriot. I'll say it one more time - The Riot is a feisty Cajun!

    Also, much kudos to your theory on the Gints keeping spots open for the players they have identified as future keepers, and for the bringing in competition aspect of that. That has been played out this offseason for sure.

  4. OGC - just re-read the part about Burriss. I feel bad, because I want the guy to succeed. But the "overpowered by high level pitching" tag line has been on him from the beginning. The Torres transformation is fascinating, and Burriss with his speed and defense is intriguing if he could make that jump as well, fo' sho'. But the odds are stacked against him big time. Still, it doesn't make sense with his strength, frame size and arms that he can't hit the ball more than 250 feet. Just straight up frustrating. I have high hopes for him, and will cheer (in the same way you cheer Noonan I think - pragmatic but hopeful) for him in the spring. But its just not looking good.

    I think you are right on with the slip him through waivers scenario. DC could be a draw, but they have their hands full as well, and if he's not setting the world on fire, its tough to keep him on. I thought for sure Ishikawa was going to be claimed. Ooops. Sometimes fans overvalue their prospects.

    Oh, on the back end of the pen - I think the Hensley signing is an indication they are giving Runzler one more chance to start, at AAA. Makes sense with the lack of depth. I think Mota is safe, its a handshake deal. I like your Owings idea, homey can hit.

  5. You and me, both, Shankbone. I really like what Burriss can do with not striking out, that will lead more times than not to a high BA hitter. He just needs to hit for some power and he is a starter, no question, as his defense is nice at second. But after all this time, if he cannot change, he cannot change, and I have started to let go. Meanwhile, I am hopeful about Noonan because he at least is trying to change, he went through that video training system and said he was hitting line drives. Results did not really show until maybe late season, but it did take Torres some time to get everything working all together. I am hoping that this will be a breakout year for him, then we would have the pleasant problem of where to play him, with Crawford and Panik looking like that got the middle. LF?

  6. "Clay Hensley (Hank) is a former Giants farm hand who was traded to the Padres for Matt Herges, probably one of the few trades that has ended up with the Giants net losing, though Herges was very helpful in his time with the Giants when they needed relief help, so there is that."

    Say what? Are you trying to say it was a good trade for the Giants (I think is was) or a bad trade? Are you trying to say that the Giants come out ahead in most their trades? Maybe some punctuation or typos in that sentence, can you rephrase it in normal English?

    1. Honestly, I try to cut down my writing because I usually run long, so sometimes I leave out stuff that might explain things better. But I have no problem with my sentence, it appears to be a net loss, though helpful when we needed it. My problem was having one thought that I wrote to, then changing my opinion later once I saw the data.

      I loved the trade. It was a good trade, Herges helped a lot while early on with us. However, he didn't do well for us that long, and was soon gone, whereas Hensley did well for San Diego, or so I thought, as I tried to clarify down further.

      I thought Hensley did more than he actually did. I remembered his good year with the 'Dres but then he had two bad years. He had that good relief year with Florida too. So maybe if we go look at the WAR, it wasn't as bad as I thought.

      If you would like to contribute your time editing my work, feel free to offer, but otherwise keep in mind that this is not my day job. If my use of language bothers you, hey, and I'm not perfect. I'm not the only Giants blog around, lots of good ones (and not so good ones) are linked to on the side panel, and you would be surprised that there are errors there too, except I don't complain about it there because I know how hard it is to do this and my regular life.

  7. OGC - as we go through the quiet terrible period in sports waiting for spring training... I enjoyed your comments on optioned to fresno. I think reviewing what you put down is an important aspect that gets ignored. I also didn't know that DrB was the guy who said he'd throw himself down the stairs if the Gints drafted MadBum on MCC, I'd read that somebody had said that, but didn't know who it was. Learn something every day.

    Reading through the MadBum draft post you had, I think one thing that's been cemented for sure is Sabean called it big time. Its pretty hard to argue with the talent the Giants hit on. With Jason Heyward, the official story from MLB is the Braves just had the local talent insight hooked up, but its more complex. His interpersonal relationships made that a hugely risky pick for anybody except the braves. Apparently he lost a bunch of weight he put on to get more power, I expect him to provide good roto value assuming he drops a bit. Still, MadBum won the draft for the G's on Oct 31, 2010. Everything else is gravy, and I expect a lot of gravy.

    BTW, I understood what OGC was saying Mr Anon grammar nazi. Look for the ideas behind the words, not the ticky tack says I. hard enough to find time to write, much less be edited.

    1. Thank you. I thought long and hard before commenting.

      Review is an important aspect, and I know I'm as bad as anyone else in reviewing the past, though I would note, in the grand scheme of things, my big picture vision of where the Giants would be today is the closest of anyone except DrB (who I think is equal) who opined on the Giants future back in 2007-8.

      Yes, DrB is the guy, I try to avoid mentioning that because I know I hate getting old stuff thrown at me, but I know that it happens to everyone at some point. I was the start of the meme at MCC about where Jerome Williams is, as I was busy working and forgot and posted something. I can laugh as much as the next person, and I especially love dark humor, but it's the ying-yang that it also stung a little too, back then, mostly because they were right, no matter how mature I may be now, there is still a part of me that yearns to be perfect and not make a mistake.

      Yeah, right about Sabean, he hit the nail on the head with Bumgarner. Two years, almost on the dot.

      Yeah, I expect a lot of gravy from Bumgarner too, we have a makings of a three headed monster rotation with Lincecum-Bumgarner-Cain (given how Bochy likes to go RLR) for at least the next two years (assuming Cain signs as I expect) if not four years (I have to think the Giants extend Lincecum at some point into his free agent years, at least two years if not more).

  8. Hey OGC - check out Sickels site for his Elite pitching review from 03-06... Of the 32 pitchers listed, 5 are Giants. Foppert and Ainsworth. Williams. Liriano. Cain. As you've said, this current big 3 wasn't Sabean's first attempt. Its pretty remarkable, especially with the emphasis on trading farm for vets at the time, that the Giants had 5 of the top 32 guys in that time period. It didn't turn out. But that aspect of the farm system gets glossed over when the criticism of lack of hitting gets brought up.

    1. Thanks for the heads up!

      Yeah, we had a lot of good pitchers. It was not of the same quality, but it reminded me of the Mets and A's 4 Aces that they had in the early 1990's, where they all pretty much failed to do anything, Isringhausen was the best of the Mets and he only made it as a closer, though elite and not with the Mets, and the A's really didn't get much of anything out of their 4 Aces. Shows how hard it is to produce pitching that delivers.

      That is what makes our current period so amazing to me, Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, Bumgarner, plus Wilson could have been made a starter, they were still thinking of having him start just the year before they brought him to spring in the position to lose the job and he proceeded to do so. I think he would have been awesome had they done that.

      Hitting without pitching isn't going to do it, pitching without hitting neither, but when you have great pitching, that reduces the need to have superlative hitting, average hitting would win for you, and you can buy that relatively cheaply on the free agent market.

      Whereas if you had the hitting, you can buy average pitching to win with that, but as I showed with my analysis of PQS in the playoffs, pitchers who can throw a Dominant start of 4 or 5 PQS win the majority of the time. If you want to win in the playoffs, you need great pitching, period.

      So what the Giants did makes total sense to me. They first worked relentlessly in procuring great pitching, always drafting more proportionally than there are on the roster, always spending their first round pick on a pitcher, sometimes also supplemental and other early rounds too.

      Once you got the pitching, THEN you starting drafting the hitters, but that takes time for them to develop. The draft is too little hit, mostly misses, you cannot build an entire team using the draft, by the time you do that, your first generation good players would have long retired by the time you "build" a complete team using the draft. I use the Brewers as an example of that, Jenkins was an early hit, but mostly on his downside by the time the Brewers finally got a nice core going (after much losing).

      It is just the classic limited resource problem of any business.

      You focus on a core competency and in baseball, with the advantage top pitchers give you in the playoffs, you must focus on pitching, pitching, pitching. At best, you can make sure that roughly 5 of your starting players are good, and given that pitching is what wins in the playoffs, why not make sure that 5 is in your pitching?

      And the Giants have gone beyond that. They had four good starters plus Wilson and Romo in the pen, plus Posey and Sandoval, and hopefully Belt, Brown, and Panik soon enough.

      And I know you know that, but I feel the need to repeat myself in case someone new is reading me for the first time, and don't understand our position that the Giants did not do wrong in focusing on pitching first, then hitting.

  9. OGC - in the dead period, I'm re-reading your June draft articles a little bit. One thing that just popped out at me as a fun exercise - the Rays (every Saber fan's darling, I don't have to remind you of that) and the Giants were pretty intertwined in the 2006-08 drafts, and both did very well.

    So there was that article about how TB was set to take Timmy in 06, then Longoria fell in their lap. In 2007 they go with David Price first overall, a very solid pick, and the Giants take MadBum, a pretty debated pick that turned out very well. Then 2008 the Rays let Posey's demands shake em up, they go with the project of Tim Beckham.

    Interesting how that turns out. I say Sabean stepped up big the first 2 years, and then getting the money authorized for the legit bat and leadership was a coup de grace. This is all from a review standpoint though, I wasn't posting anything back then. I loved the Timmy pick, was confused by the MadBum pick, and liked the Posey pick because I thought Smoak was overrated. But I didn't put it down, so I get no credit.

    The Rays meanwhile got a franchise 3B with his famous lock in deal, an ace who they will trade off sooner than later because he didn't sign a team friendly deal and will get insanely expensive soon, and what's looking like one of the biggest busts in recent history, although to be fair he has some more time.

    In the 3 most important drafts for both franchises, Sabean held his own against the Saber darlings. And took some heat for it as well. I look at those decisions as the reason he's still standing.

    1. You are right, the Giants and Rays draft picks are very intertwined there, and it worked out for the best for the Giants, I think, because without Lincecum we don't win the World Series.

      Beckham is having a renaissance of his prospect value this off-season, analysts seem to like what he did last season.

      Eh, I'll give you credit, based on what we've discussed for a while now.

      Yes, without Lincecum, Bumgarner, and Posey, Sabean probably is gone. Still, for some reason, the Naysayers won't give him credit for making those selections, particularly Bumgarner and Posey because many of them didn't want either one, the call was for Mills/Heyward and Smoak, respectively.

    2. Lots of chatter for Mills. I remember Mills a bunch more than Heyward leaning arguments. You realize the only times the Giants have had top 10 picks under Sabean are the year he started (Jason Grilli, 4th overall) and the 06-09 years. That's it. With the 1st and 2nd place finishes, there are a lot of mid-20s starts. The Giants default draft position seems to be the spot they're in right now, 20. Now to be fair, he was scouting director for 3 years before, I have to look up when he started, but I think he was responsible for the 93-96 draft prep, if not the final call necessarily.

      So if you include those years, it stretches the top ten lottery a bit. Back then, nobody had a clue about draft prospects except the seed spitters. No internet, it was Baseball America printouts. And the Giants didn't do so hot.

      They've picked in the 20s 8 different times, not including a couple of compensation picks. Only twice in the teens. Two other early picks while he was scouting director, for a total of 7 top 10 picks.

      That is one thing I have to let go of a little bit with the Tucker/Benetiz draft years. You have a guy who has been doing this for a number of years, he has had a bunch of later picks, he takes a shot at Major League players instead. I don't have a problem really with the strategy, its more about the guys he picked up. And Tucker has the misfortune to be right in the Vladdy year as a direct comparison, which fuels my not being able to let it go easily. Tucker was a 29th pick gimme up (same as the Panik - latest the Gints have ever picked in the modern era btw). 2005 it was the 22nd pick.

      They also had the 33rd pick 2006, 22nd, 29th, 32nd pick 2007. And there was that 1998 draft with all the extras. The load up on the draft years haven't treated the G's well (with the big time exception of MadBum, our comment starter).

      Can't win em all. Baseball is a messy business. You have to move on, and get to the next thing. Sabean is obviously busy looking for ex-Giant pitching projects now.

      I would love for the Giants to look at how Texas is getting their players. Its most likely just taking a shot, but getting Cruz and Hamilton has given them a nice advantage. They finally have to start paying these guys big money or cut em loose, but they got a lot of production on the cheap.

      The latest cheap looks for the G's are the CF reclamation projects. Christian is cut, he'll most likely end up back in AAA, Blanco will get first shot. Speed and defense seem like a slightly easier find than power. Power is very hard to find these days.



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