Monday, July 02, 2012

Your 2012 Giants: Epic Addendums

There were other epic-worthy feats this season plus additional info on other ones:
  • Epic:  Shame on me for forgetting, but Melky Cabrera set a San Francisco Giants record for fewest plate appearances in a season to reach 100 hits, beating out Willie Mays for the SF franchise mark.  The Melk-man did it in 291 PA, while the Say Hey Kid did it in 295 PA.  Surprisingly, Rich Aurilia is third with 208 PA (From ESPN article on Giants finding the right puzzle pieces)
  • More Mays Epic:  Melky in May 2012 had 51 hits, which beat Willie Mays SF Giants franchise record for May of 49 hits, plus tied for the most hits in any month, which Randy Winn had set in September 2005 (coincidentally, also his second month with the Giants, like Melky).  Found that from Andy Baggarly of CSN.
  • Near Epic:  had Matt Cain been able to put together 2 shutout innings, the Giants would have tied the franchise record of 38 straight shutout innings, set in 1903 and 1933, which undoubtedly had Christy Mathewson and did have Carl Hubbell, two Giants Hall of Famers, contribute a number of those innings. (Alex Pavlovic of Merc at Giants Extra blog, plus the following ones)  Hubbell contributed 18 shutout innings in the first half of a July 2nd double-header (second game was also a shutout).  Unfortunately, no game by game results available for 1903.  But there were only 8 shutouts credited to the 1903 Giants and the Big Six had 3 of them (Iron Joe McGinnity had 3 of the others), so I would say the odds are pretty good that he was a part of that streak.
  • Additional Epicness:  the Giants are the first team in MLB history to shut out four straight opponents where each opponent (Dodgers and Reds) entered the day in first place.  Though as I noted before here at my blog that records like these are really random and smacks of really stretching to find firsts.   But this one I'm OK with, as that is quite a feat, shutting out a first place team, especially in the middle of the season, when games are starting to become significant in the minds of most players and fans (though I have always felt, and I recently saw a player say this in a quote, might have  been Vogelsong, approrpriately enough given his game face, that the games in April are just as important as the ones in September, as a win is a win, it is just that most people place the emphasis on the games late in the season because they are now more aware of the consequences, at least for the playoff contenders.  But clearly they are important, as many teams fall out of it by now, like the Cubs, Padres, Rockies, Astros, Twins, and Mariners.)
  • Additional Giants Epic:  Madison Bumgarner, with his 1-hit shutout at age 22, became just the fourth Giants pitcher 22 or younger in the live ball era (i.e. since 1920 when the MLB changed the ball plus had umpires change fresh balls for damaged balls) to throw a shutout allowing one hit or fewer.  Mike McCormick had two 3-hit shutouts in 1959 when he was 20 YO (he also had 5 no-hit innings shutout in a rain shortened game).  Juan Marichial had a 1-hit shutout in his first game of his career in 1960, at age 22.  And Matt Cain shutout the A's with a 1-hit shutout in 2006, at age 21, and he had just been skipped in the rotation (and had a relief appearance) to help him get over some issues (and how given the results).  And Cain would have had a 2-hit shutout at age 20 the season before had not one of the hits been a homer, most probably.
Giants Thoughts

Some other non-epic thoughts and stats:

  • I've been following Brandon Belt's struggles with strikeouts and he had a sudden peak of strikeouts in recent games, as his 10-game average fell from a high of 84.4% on June 18, to a low of 70.0% on June 28th, when he struck out 3 times, before rebounding to 76.7% currently, with 9 straight PA's without a strikeout.  His 15-game average is now at 75.6%, falling from his peak of 82.2% on June 23rd, and his 7 game streak at 80% and above that last happened on Jun 27th (that 3 K game costed him).  However, his 20-game average finally reached 80% and currently sits at 80.3%.  His high previously was 79.6% on June 23rd.  He had never reached 80% in his 20-game average ever.
  • With this achievement, I thought I would extend my view of his averages to 30 games.  He would start out his seasons in the low 70's (not that good, 85% is the threshold for good hitters), then fell into the 60's range for a long period, last season, the rest of the season, though he improved at the end of that season in his 10-game average, peaking at 76.7%.  This season, he returned to the 70's on June 19th and has slowly risen since then, peaking at his current 76.2%.  As noted before, he started really showing his changed and improved mechanics in his first homer game on June 12th, but had already been showing great improvement in the prior games, reaching a peak of 71.4% for his 10-game average on June 5th.  
  • And while 85% is the goal he should have ultimately, the most important point right now is when he becomes a productive hitter, and he clearly is a much better and productive hitter in the high 70's to low 80's contact rate, than he is when he is under 70%.
  • I had posted about Pablo Sandoval's recovery from his hamate bone surgery and when his power would return.  I would say that he appears to be coming out it, his 2 double game on June 25th could be the start of his return, in the games since, he has hit .292/.357/.583/.940, with 4 doubles and 1 homer, 5 XBH out of 7 hits, .291 OPS.  The fun stat here is that his BABIP is actually low for his career, only .300 during this stretch of 7 games, so he could get even hotter going forward.  
  • Congrats too, to Panda and Buster Posey, Melky Cabrera, and Matt Cain for their All-Star selections.  The three hitters were voted in as starters, which I would note is most probably the first time ever for a Giants starting 3B or C (I did miss the 60's, but from my knowledge of Giants greats, while there may have been All-Stars among them, Bob Brenly comes to mind as a possibility, I don't think we've ever had one voted in as a starter.  Epic :^).
  • Also, lucky for us, but Ryan Vogelsong, who has the 4th best ERA in the National League right now, was not chose to the All-Star game and he vows eternal effort to prove that he belongs, he might just ride that chip on his shoulder onto the Giants Wall of Fame with that attitude and sterling pitching (I think a player can qualify with 5 seasons and at least one All-Star appearance; Ryan made the All-Stars game last season - many viewed it as a Bochy pick not based on merit, hence his chip - and I just realized that they might count the first two seasons he appeared with the Giants, which would give him 4 already out of 5, so maybe I should change that to mean that he can ride that chip to another long-term extension deal after his two year deal ends after next season, maybe even before the 2013 season)
  • Some things to worry about in July.  
  • First off, Gregor Blanco returned to Earth and his April stat line, hitting only .218/.277/.355/.632 in July.  He is like Nate this season, hitting much better against LHP than RHP, with .286/.355/.417/.772 vs. LHP and .228/.327/.359/.686 vs. RHP.   Nate hasn't been Nate the past couple of seasons, hitting better finally against RHP than LHP, but unfortunately, he's been sucking against LHP:  .293/.364/.458/.823 vs. RHP, .103/.152/.207/.358 vs. LHP, in 2012.  I see a smattering of talk of trading Nate, but given this, I actually see more Nate starts coming up regularly.  Particularly given the second factoid that Angel Pagan, after his hot streak, cooled off totally, hitting only .245/.302/.306/.608 in July.  And that is life when you are striking out as much as either have been, their batting average can go from good to bad very quickly.  
  • Not really worrisome but FYI, Joaquin Arias continued to suck as a hitter in June, hitting only .255/.288/.309/.597, despite a very good 89% contact rate and fast feet, his BABIP was only .280 for the month.  Ryan Theriot cooled off but more importantly, continues to get on base, hitting .307/.333/.351/.684 in June.  He also stole 8 bases.  
  • Melky has cooled off to merely good.  He hit .300/.366/.422/.789 in April (.333 BABIP), but a scorching .429/.457/.647/1.104 in May (.475 BABIP), before returning to .304/.343/.441/.784 in June (.329 BABIP).  That is similar to his 2011 season, where his overall BABIP was .332 and his batting line was .305/.339/.470/.809.  His monthly OPS by month in 2011 was .737, .785, .713, .992, .832, and .798.  Still, in today's game, a high 700's OPS is still pretty good.
  • Lastly, Hector Sanchez only hit .222/.216/.250/.466 in June in 10 starts, so this is not a good time to be using him more often in place of Posey.
  • However, Belt has been doing very well, as noted, as well as Buster Posey, hitting .299/.379/.483/.861, plus Sandoval has started heating up as well, earning a move up the lineup.  Our middle offense is still looking good.




15 comments:

  1. Forgot to mention that the Giants are now 29-18 since Cain went Old School on the D-backs (not including his win that day). They were 15-17 before that game on May 12th (see my 2012 Performance box to the side). The Giants offense continues to lead the team, but the pitching has caught up a lot in the past couple of weeks. The Giants offense has scored 4 or more runs now in 46 of 80 games, pitching has allowed 3 runs or less in 42 games. Despite scoring more runs generally, the team is only 2-5 in games where 4 runs are allowed, so they might improve in this area going forward this season, as luck evens out, even last year, when they had a horrible offense, they were 8-8 in games when they allowed 4 runs. In the NL last season, teams were 166-182 when they allowed 4 runs.

    Bochy is 5 games over .500 in one-run games now, which is about what he has averaged over his career (roughly 4), so he should not regress much if any in that department.

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  2. The giants signed GUSTAVO CABRERA!!!!

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    1. Thanks Askmr25!!! Much appreciated!!!

      Wow, Shankbone, what have you got to say about this one? Make you feel any better about the draft now?

      http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120702&content_id=34323954&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

      " The Giants signed two of the top-ranked international prospects on Monday to kick off the international signing period, including MLB.com's No. 1-ranked international prospect Gustavo Cabrera.

      The Giants signed the 16-year-old outfielder Cabrera to a $1.3 million deal, and also inked third baseman Nathanael Javier (No. 11) to a $500,000 deal, according to sources."

      "From Santo Domingo Norte, Dominican Republic, Cabrera's bat speed, raw power and overall athleticism in the field has brought comparisons to Arizona's Justin Upton. In 2011, Cabrera was named the RBI World Series MVP in Minnesota, and also participated in a showcase in Orlando, Fla. He played in Spring Training exhibition games this year as part of the Dominican Prospect League's All-Star travel squad.

      Also from Santo Domingo, the 16-year-old Javier projects as a solid future option at third base. Possessing discipline at the plate, a large body frame and a high baseball IQ, Javier could bypass Chris Dominguez, Conor Gillaspie (Triple-A Fresno) and Adam Duvall (Class A San Jose) as the team's future at third base.

      The new Collective Bargaining Agreement states that the international system now operates with money pools and penalties for teams that exceed its pools. For this year's signing period, teams are allowed to spend $2.9 million without being penalized. This means that the Giants have around $1.1 million available after the Cabrera and Javier signings."

      The Giants used much of their cap on these two top signings. I am very happy too that they got two of the top prospects, with Cabrera the top prospect according to some sources. I generally don't like spending top money, but with this cap, $1.3M is that all that much to spend, and Justin Upton comparisons is pretty rarified territory, worth the expense. Javier sounds very interesting too, particularly since he's viewed now as the best 3B prospect, though part of that is because we don't have great talent there, still, I think Dominguez and Duvall has some good talent there.

      Thanks again Askmr25!

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    2. http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2012/#list=int

      MLB rated Cabrera #1, Javier #11 out of Top 20 International Prospects.

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    3. FYI, on BA's list, Cabrera is #5 and Javier is not on their Top 20 list.

      http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/2012/07/top-20-international-prospects-tracker/

      BA notes that his bat is his "main question mark."

      http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/2012/07/giants-sign-no-5-international-prospect-gustavo-cabrera/

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    4. I should also note that BA has reported both of these signings, so they appear to be confirmed, $1.3M for Cabrera, $475,000 for Javier.

      BA on Javier:

      http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/2012/07/giants-agree-to-sign-natanael-javier-for-475000/

      Javier, 16, is a big-framed third baseman at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds. A righthanded hitter, Javier was named the MVP of the Dominican Prospect League's PG International Series all-tournament game last month when he went 3-for-3 with a double. He trains with Basilio Vizcaino, who is known as "Cachaza."

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    5. I thought I would mention that I feel more comfortable with the Cabrera signing, despite its size and the poor history of top international prospects doing well, because he apparently has played games in some of the top U.S. amateur showcases (http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120702&content_id=34323954&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb)

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    6. Here is what MLB had to say about Cabrea:

      http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2012/#list=int

      Cabrera has dazzled scouts with his bat speed, hitting mechanics and raw power, but he has also opened eyes with his instincts on the bases. In other words, he can run, too. His all-around speed combined with his aggressive style, strong arm and athletic body have brought about comparisons to Arizona outfielder Justin Upton when he was the same age.
      Cabrera’s prior experience in the United States could prove to be an advantage in his development. Last year, he was named the MVP at the 2011 RBI World Series in Minnesota and also participated in a showcase in Orlando with his trainer. This year, he starred in the Dominican Prospect League and was part of the league’s All-Star travel squad that played exhibition games and participated in showcases at big league sites in Arizona and Florida during Spring Training.

      The biggest knock on Cabrera is the notion that he only has one gear: full speed. He is still harnessing his skills and working on the fine art of playing under control.

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    7. Here is what MLB had to say about Javier, who is #11, they place him second in potential to Cabrera, giving the Giants two of the top hitters in this International Free Agent signing period, according to the MLB.com. The Giants also like players with high IQ:

      http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2012/#list=int

      Javier comes from a baseball family. The younger brother of Sony Javier, a prospect with Toronto, and the son of Narciso Tapia, a trainer in the Boca Chica area, baseball is in the young prospect’s blood.

      The big third baseman is considered a solid all-around player and is projected to hit for average and power in the future. He has impressed scouts with his large body frame, lean muscle mass and high baseball IQ. He appears to have the perfect body for third base but might have to move to first base if he gets too big to play the position.

      Some believe Javier is second only to Gustavo Cabrera and Wendell Rijo in terms of upside and overall talent. Javier just might have all the tools Major League scouts look for in a prospect, and he has the potential to be a special bat with plus power.

      Trained by Basilio Vizcaino in Santo Domingo, Javier starred in the Dominican Prospect League and was a member of the league’s All-Star travel squad that at big league camps during Spring Training.

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    8. Hey there OGC -

      I have been drooling over Cabrera for a couple of months now. It is a home run shot, and exactly what I want our team to be doing. Great job.

      He looks to be a fast twitch superior athlete, the kind the Gints stole in the 50s and 60s. I am in prospectin' heaven my friend.

      My favorite part of his game is his baserunning. He is relentless. The fact he took walks during the circuit tour just cracks me up. This is on the par of drafting a Byron Buxton. And lets not forget Javier, a guy I would have been happy to be the big splash (with reduced expectations). If they can snag a MI or a pitcher, on the low profile manner they have been operating, an absolutely smooth manner of operating.

      BTW, the Cards were the name attached to Cabrera. The Gints do a very nice job of under cover moves. So yes, OGC, I'm happy today.

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  3. Also, just noticed that we are at roughly the halfway point (80 games), a good point for reflection.

    We have the second best record in the NL (behind Nats) and fourth best overall (also behind Rangers and Yankees). They are roughly on a 90 win basis, which is within the range I thought they could end up with.

    Things could have been much better had Lincecum pitched like he usually can, as the other pitchers have mostly pitched the way as could be expected, except for Wilson and Vogelsong, where only homers can dream that Vogelsong could repeat. His PQS suggested that he was for real and would at least continue what he did in the second half of 2011, though, still, he's doing even better, so he did mitigate some of the fall-off for Timmy.

    Instead of the team being 4-12 in Tim's starts, if they were .500 like in 2011, the Giants would be 49-31, leading the NL West by 5 games with the second best record in the majors (behind only Rangers). If they were 21-12 as in 2010, the Giants would have been 10-6 in his starts, or 51-29, with the best record in the MLB. Either way, we would have been on pace for roughly 100 wins.

    If Tim is back - and he appears to be - that therefore is the upper bounds for their record in the second half, 50-32, which would give them 95 wins for the season. I think the 90-95 wins I had them pegged for before the season still looks good.

    The key for the team in June has been their defense, and thus going forward. The offense has actually been poor in June (under 4 RS) and the pitching staff's ERA about the same as April and May. However, whereas they only had 4 unearned runs in June, they had 17 in May and 13 in April.

    The team based on Pythagorean should be 42-38. But Bochy's ability to win more than his share of 1-run games added 5 wins, so technically, they have been underperforming their Pythagorean based on their record in 1-run games. If they only had 4 unearned runs in each month, they would have only given up 280 runs and with their scoring, won 44-45 games, basically adding 2-4 wins to their current total.

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    1. While leading LA by 1 game and AZ by 5 games, they now head into a tough stretch here, on the road for 12 games out of the next 15, making the minimum goal to be to win 8 games for an 8-7 record.

      But it will be tough. First up, the surprising Nats, who has the best record in the NL and the best young pitcher and hitter combo in Strasburg and Harper. They played their hand well to lose enough each year to ensure they get each of those players, then shelled out the money to get them.

      Then there are the surprising Pirates, who is currently only 2 games behind us and only 1 game behind in the loss column.

      Then there is the All-Star break, where Cain, Posey, Panda, and Melky will be players for the NL team (and maybe others in replacement of those who can't make it).

      Forgot to mention another epic event: Posey had the most votes in the majors among All-Stars, first since Barry did it, but again, first for any Giants catchers.

      We then get a break with 3 with Asros at home, but even lousy teams are not easily sweeped, but we might need that to come out of the whole stretch OK. Plus, we should have Lincecum, Bumgarner, Cain starting there.

      After that, back on the road for a series against the always tough Braves, only 3 games behind us but 18-20 at home so far, they are better on the road, but should be still tough at home eventually. Zito, Vogelsong, Lincecum. Though I can see Bochy changing things up and have Vogelsong before Zito.

      Lastly, 3 at Phillies' bandbox, who still have tough pitching, if not stellar hitting (though great catcher in Ruiz), and they likewise have been surprisingly bad at home (17-24) than on the road, where they are roughly .500, so they should be tough for us, particularly if Utley or Howard returns (not sure if eminent or not). Bumgarner, Cain, Zito. Given this then the Padres, I think Bochy would want to start Vogelsong ahead of Zito to get Ryan up against the Phillies and Zito against the more powder puff Astros instead.

      If they can survive that 15 game period to still hold the lead, they then play 10 at home in a row, playing Padres (should win), Dodgers (hope to win), and 4 with the Mets (probably split, they have been good too).

      We should come out good. Posey has been steady good. Melky as well, though not as oonsistently good. Pablo is starting to slug and Belt has been slugging for a while too. With that combo 3-4-5-6, we can survive Blanco's and Pagan's off bats in the 1 and 7 positions, and Theriot has been acceptable batting 2nd, getting on base well and stealing bases really well. Average secondbaseman has .320 OBP and 2nd batter in lineup has .334 OBP: he has .333 OBP so far.

      That's pretty much the whole lineup, and Crawford's June batting line of .260/.313/.377/.690 is not that far from average SS of .259/.313/.387/.700 and for #8 hitter, batting line of .244/.307/.377/.684. If Crawford can keep that up, that would be great, getting average offensive contributions while getting great defensive contributions: 6 Defensive Runs Saved per BIS stats in baseball-reference.com. His UZR is 3.9 so far this season. So roughly half a win from his defense so far, on pace for one win from his defense for the season. Add another win for offense and that's 2 wins for the season, making him an average player, but paid the minimum, great value.

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  4. Another epic facet of the Perfecto that I don't think I captured before: the 10 runs scored was the most in a perfect game. Ironic given Cain's history (Giants Extra provided that one: http://blogs.mercurynews.com/giants/2012/06/14/perfect-game-notes-the-first-time-through-the-lineup-i-felt-like-something-could-happen/)

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    Replies
    1. I actually ordered a Matt Cain commerorative t-shirt from MLB.com. Why not, it is an awesome, awesome feat of pitching.

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    2. I plan on getting one from the store when I get the chance. I got one from Dirty's no-hitter too.

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