Thursday, September 06, 2012

Your 2012 Giants Are 77-60: Beat LA!

The Giants have been up and down lately, but so has the D-gers, unable to lift off the ground, as they had expected, when they made the blockbuster trade with Boston, k.  The Giants are 6-5 since the Boston-LA blockbuster trade, LA has been 5-7.  The key thing, however, is that the Giants are 13-7 since the Melk-down, while LA went 9-12, as they were tied when the Melk hit the fan and now the Giants are 4.5 games ahead of the D-gers.
Game 1:  Beckett vs. Lincecum
Josh Beckett: Beckett may not be the pitcher he was a few years ago, but he proved in his last start that he was no throw-in to the blockbuster trade with the Red Sox. He struck out nine in 6 2/3 innings while allowing just one run against Arizona. 
Tim Lincecum: Lincecum has been more consistent in the second half and has been effective against the Dodgers this season. He is 5-4 with a 3.26 ERA since the All-Star break, and also has a 2-1 record with a 2.55 ERA in three starts this season vs. the Dodgers.
This is the marquee game of the series.  Two former Cy Young-caliber pitchers with something to prove after a disappointing season thus far for both of them.  Both have something to prove in this start, and this being the first game of the series, is pivotal for winning the series.  Particularly for the Giants since Zito is facing Kershaw in the third game.

Beckett has a 2.70 ERA in 3 starts in SF, but that was a baseball generation ago, when he was with Florida, from 2002 to 2005.  He had a 3.98 ERA at his home back then too.  It has been 7 years since he faced the Giants.  Huff, Scutaro, Pence, Arias, and Pagan are the only ones to have a history, and most from the past most likely:  Huff .695 OPS in 40 PA, one homer; Scutaro 1.007 OPS in 13 PA; Pence .909 OPS (5 singles in 11 AB) in 11 PA; Arias .650 OPS in 5 PA/4 AB; Pagan .000 in 4 AB.  And he is a RHP, against which the Giants have not had much success this season.

Lincecum has a 2.05 ERA against the D-gers in AT&T and a 4-1 record there in 8 starts.   62 K's vs. 17 walks for a stellar 3.65 ratio (want at last 2.4) and 9.8 K/9.  He has owned most of them, but Ethier (.300/.378/.525/.903 in 45 PA/40 AB), Rivera (.444/.474/.500/.974 in 19 PA/18 AB), and Hanley (.273/.273/.636/.909 in 11 PA/AB) have owned him.

Of course, much of that was before, when he was two-time Cy Young winner Big Time Timmy Jim, not 2012 Tim with a 5.21 ERA.  He does have two straight DOM starts, so there is some hope.  Beckett also had a DOM start in his last outing (first was in Colorado and wasn't that bad considering).  Can't really call this game either way, other than as a coin flip.  You can make an argument for either side.

The most pertinent stat is probably this:  LA has hit .269/.323/.413/.735 in their last 28 days, with Hanley, Cruz, Ethier, and Kennedy hot (Kemp has not been hitting that well, neither has A-Gon, Rivera, or Victorino), while the Giants have hit .279/.337/.405/.742 in their last 28 days, with Nady, Arias, Belt, Posey, Pagan, Crawford, Pence, and Scutaro as their hot to OK hitters.  Both teams have been pretty much even, but while the Giants have had contributions from a lot of players, LA has been dependent on a few players.  So I think that plus playing at home gives the Giants a slight edge here, but not one to bet on, as both pitchers are still enigmas, so both teams seem very even for this game.

But as we'll see, we need Lincecum to make a statement start here and win the game for us, to start the series on a good note, plus because we need this win if we are to have any hope of winning this series.

Game on!  Go Giants!  Beat LA!

Game 2:  Capuano vs. Cain
Chris Capuano: Capuano's numbers have considerably decreased since starting the season 7-1 with a 2.14 ERA. The lefty wants to end the season on a high note with better execution and limited mistakes like the two homers he gave up in his last start. 
Matt Cain: The Giants pulled off 7-5 comeback against the Cubs after Cain allowed five runs in five innings last Sunday. It was just the fourth time this season Cain failed to go at least six innings, with three of those starts coming in the past five weeks.
The Giants have mostly had their way with him in AT&T during this career, though he had a nice DOM start in 2011.  5.32 ERA in 5 games/3 starts, but .296 BABIP (he doesn't strike out that many, plus gave up a lot of homers, so maybe that is where he is unlucky).  Lots of Giants hitters have done well against him:  Nady .735 OPS, Huff 1.303 (maybe his first start? though it sounds unlikely from what I've read, they said his role is PHing), Scutaro 1.181, Sandoval 1.405, Posey 1.250, and Arias has a homer against him (Scutaro and after had less than 10 PA).

Cain has a 3.83 ERA against LA in 11 starts in AT&T.  But he has done a whole lot better against them in recent seasons, with a 2.50 ERA overall from 2010 to 2012, and 41 K/8 BB (5.1 K/BB), in 8 starts.  Cain had pretty much owned LA hitters but they just acquired one of the guys who own Matt:  A-Gon.  He has a .321/.391/.643/1.033 batting line in 64 PA/56 AB and 4 HRs.  Ethier also owns Matt, with a .472/.492/.566/1.058 batting line in 59 PA/53 AB.  And while they haven't hit well, both Kemp (.654 OPS) and Hanley (.762 OPS) can be dangerous (Kemp has 5 XBH in 10 career hits).  Ellis the Catcher has also done well in limited AB (6), .500/.500/.667/1.167.

Cain should do well and give the Giants a good chance to win this game.  This is probably our best bet for a win, given this matchup.  Cain will need to minimize damage by getting keeping the bases empty before reaching their middle lineup.  The one good news is that A-Gon has not hit that well with LA, especially after his nice start in his first two games, .244/.304/.317/.621 since, but however, in his last four games, 7 for 17 with 3 doubles, so it looks like he's starting to break out.  Because he's the wild card here, I am not as certain the Giants will win, but still, this is probably our highest probability game here, solely because of Capuano.

Game 3:  Kershaw vs. Zito
Clayton Kershaw: Kershaw continues to pitch as well as the Dodgers expect him to, but he keeps coming away empty-handed. On Tuesday, he left with a no-decision despite throwing seven innings of one-run ball with nine strikeouts against the Padres. 
Barry Zito: The Giants have now won the past six starts Zito has taken the mound, though he has just factored in the decision just twice in that stretch. Zito pitched into the fifth against Arizona his last time out, getting charged with four runs.
Talk about David vs. Goliath.  Or sending a pea-shooter up against an Uzi.  Lincecum was unable to take down Kershaw last season, so what hope does a Zito who is pretty much at the low point of his season after that last start?

No need to cover Kershaw, he has owned the Giants during this career, no wonder they skipped Blanton in the rotation in order to have Clayton face us.  But just for completeness, he has a 0.66 ERA in 7 starts (8 games), 8.7 K/9 plus 4.42 K/BB, dominance.  I was hoping that maybe Pence could be a wild card, but no:  1 for 21, .095 OPS.  Ah, our only hope:  Marco Scutaro, .571/.571/.571/1.143 in 8 PA/7 AB, 4 singles, no strikeouts.  Also, Pagan .300/.300/.350/.650 in 20 PA/AB.  Only Pill and Nady have a homer against him among the Giants.

Zito has been horrible for about a month now.  He's always good for such a stretch, just as he's good for a stellar stretch as well, and bundled together, you have a roughly average, sometimes better than average, pitcher.

He has a roughly 3.90 ERA whether at home or road against the D-gers in his career.  That alone says that we don't have much of a chance.  He doesn't even own A-Gon, who has a .317/.440/.415/.855 batting line against him, which is at least not stellar, that's a consolation but not much of one.  Kemp owns Zito (.462/.533/.692/1.226 in 60 PA) but Zito owns Ethier (.158/.327/.184/.511).  Nobody else on the team has hit him though, so that's the silver lining, he needs to keep the bases empty for the big boys.  Ellis the catcher has also done well, as well as Cruz, in limited ABs, so there is that too.  And while he has kept down Victorino, Shane has a .385 OBP against Zito.

How for the love of God can we win this one?  Basically Bochy would have a short leash again and take him out before too much damage can be done.  But even by then, it's probably too late, I mean, Kershaw has a 0.66 ERA!

ogc Thoughts

It will be very hard for the Giants to win this series.  They basically need to win the first two games, as the third game looks as likely as General Custer winning in a military simulation.  Or Zito would have to complain about some physical ailment that would conveniently push him back a start or a day, thus allowing Vogelsong, who has battled Kershaw well previously, from what I recall, to start on Sunday.

Cain looks likely to win the second game (not as lopsided as game 3, but looks good in setup), so the first game is the pivotal game at the moment.  Which Beckett will show up?  Which Lincecum?  It's anybody's guess.  My guess is that both will have relatively good games, maybe even a DOM start.  Not a lot of runs should score, but this season, anything goes for both, so someone could have a DIS start.  I'm feeling better about Lincecum, so I'm very hopeful of a DOM start, but Hanley is a wild card in this one, A-Gon too.  It will be an interesting game (as in that old Chinese proverb, well, curse really:  may you have interesting times).  The Timmy of old relished challenge games like this, but the 2012 Tim loses it when runners get on base.

The key probably is how our pitchers handle their big guns - Kemp, A-Gon, Hanley, Ethier - and just as importantly, the guys ahead of them (I know, pretty obvious).  Kemp has been in an awful slump since banging his shoulder against the wall and sitting out a game or two.  He has batted .120/.185/.240/.425 since then.  We need to keep that slump going.  Because A-Gon is heating up - only a matter of time before his power kicks in, plus he has a .297/.371/.462/.832 batting line in SF, with 6 HR in 182 AB.  Hanley has done well for LA since joining, particularly once he took over SS again, hitting .291/.345/.559/.904 since taking over the starting SS role, with 9 HR in 127 AB, and 29 RBI in 32 games.  And Ethier has been hot, hitting .333/.385/.708/1.093 in the past week.  The key is that nobody else has been hitting this past week, other than Ethier, Hanley, and Cruz, and the Giants pitchers just need to keep the bases empty for the big boys.

Time is Running Out for LA

Also, the Giants need to realize that we really only need to win one game of the three.  So hopefully they are loose and relaxed. If we can win one game, we leave the series still 3.5 games ahead of the D-gers.  LA desperately needs to sweep us because that would put them only 1.5 games behind and set the stage nicely for them for the rest of the season, as they then have 3 at home with us to end the season.  So the pressure is all on them, they need to win each and every game to get back squarely into the NL West Division Title race.

One Giants win and they are 3.5 games back with 21 games left to play.  If the Giants finish just 11-11, the D-gers need to go 14-7 against D-backs, St. Louis, Washington, Cincinnati, San Diego, Colorado and SF, and 11 of those 21 are on the road (AZ.  WSN, CIN, SD) and they have a four game series against St. Louis in LA.  Though I should note that they actually have winning records overall against NL East and Central, they are just failing against NL West teams, D-backs and Giants in particularly, but Colorado has played them tough as well.

Obviously, it would be that much worse for LA if the Giants won the series, that would shut the coffin on their hopes for the division title pretty tightly.  Winning just one game leaves them 5.5 games behind and winning none leaves them 7.5 games behind.  The Giants winning the series pretty much gives them a deathgrip on the division title, SF would have to have a classic collapse then for LA to win.

Not that that isn't impossible, we can't have the starting pitchers continue this horrible streak of performances for much longer without suffering great consequences.  Losing teams or not, each team wants to knock the Giants out and hurt our chances of making the playoffs.  Our starters need to get themselves straightened out, starting with Lincecum in his start on Friday.

At least win one, Giants.  The second game looks good for that, plus Capuano is a LHP and the Giants are 30-14 against LHP.   And it is not out of the question for game one too, it is just that it is too hard to call right now because both pitchers have had uncharacteristic seasons.  Just be relax and play your game and we should come out with at least one win in this series, if not more.

Go Giants!  Beat LA!


  1. Beat LA! OGC you don't paint too optimistic a picture for sunday night baseball. The gints sometimes do not play well on national tv - I am worried about saturdays fox game for that bad juju.

    Its on the pitchers now, they need to step up.

    1. Yeah, but really, Kershaw vs. Zito? While Zito is in a downward spiral? Like boys against men.

      I'm always afraid of bad juju, as national TV could take away some mojo, but hopefully we get deja vu since the Giants did pretty well in the nationally televised playoffs in 2010. :^) Capice?

      Yes, we need the starters to step up like they did when we swept them earlier, shutting down their offense stone cold. Not that they have to throw three shutouts, but at least keep us in each game so that the offense could maybe break out. It seems like when one guy gets a hit, the hitters start smelling blood and the hit parade starts.

  2. Wow, the splash tweeted that Belt is playing LF today, with Posey at 1B and Hanchez catching. Makes sense, Belt and Posey are two of the Giants hottest hitters, and with Nady out, we don't have any LF who is hitting well right now.

    Pagan CF, Scutaro 2B, Sandoval 3B, Posey 1B, Pence RF, Belt LF, Sanchez C, Crawford SS and Lincecum RHP

    I wish I can comment on DrB's site as easy as I can on my own. If I'm logged into my gmail account, it shouldn't matter which blogspot I comment on, it should be smart enough to detect that if I'm cleared for entering comments on my own blog, it should be OK on other ones.

    Of course, this wouldn't matter as much if I weren't of a certain age where I have a HECK of a time trying to read those dang (OK, I'm not THAT old :^) boxes with the blurry address numbers and text.


    1. I feel pretty good with this lineup, particularly Scutaro, Sandoval, Posey, Pence, Belt in a row like that. Plus Sanchez has been pretty aces when RISP, driving in a lot of runs, he had been among the leaders in RBI his first few months until he got DLed.

  3. Big Time Timmy Jim!!!

    Giants beat LA, 5-2 behind Lincecum's mostly fine pitching, great bullpen relief and timely hitting from the lineup, driven again by a productive Angel Pagan, who got on base 4 times.

    Pagan, then Pence, tied the game, then Scutaro put the team ahead for good, with a insurance run from Belt and Arias to make Romo's save that much easier (another 1+ IP save from our closer-by-committee).

    Lincecum had a good start overall. Lots of walks but a 4 PQS start still, so a DOM start for him. They key was not that many hits given up and a lot of strikeouts.

    Crawford was also key, getting on base twice and scoring both times.

    But it was mostly offense by committee once again by the Giants. They just kept the pressure on, scoring more and more runs as the game went on. It almost seems like once one hitter gets a nice knock, the following hitters smells the blood in the water and a rally begins.

    Speaking of committees, Romo was the closer du jour today, going 1.1 IP for the save. Casilla and Affedlt also added 0.2 IP.

    How exciting it was, you could feel the tension listening to the radio, and the crowd seemed to be really into it good the whole game, it seemed (I was in and out during the game).

    Most importantly, the Giants are now 5.5 games ahead of the D-gers, and 10.5 games ahead of the D-backs, who lost too. The D-gers, even with their new additions and 7 walks from Lincecum, could not muster up any key hits when it mattered. Lincecum kept hitters 2-6 collectively zero-for-20. Even though they led the game twice, the Giants showed who wanted it more in the end.

    Now the Giants have accomplished what they needed to do at minimum, which is win one game in this series to keep a chokehold on the division lead. Now for the whip cream on top tomorrow, with Cain up against Capuano, a win would push LA to the brink of falling too far out of the race for the division title.

    The D-backs are falling so far back that they are now only 3 games ahead of the 'Dres. The way both teams are playing, it would not surprise me if San Diego passes up the D-backs within the division. At some point, I will want them to win more games so that their draft pick isn't that good.

    1. It was fun beating Beckett! Donnie Baseball left him in against Scutaro for us, a huge mistake. The Doyers post game was all over that one. (Yes, I take a perverse pleasure in watching Steve Lyons cry in his milk following Doyer loses to the Gints).

      Tennessee Stud needs to come up big and the Gints need to expose Capuano as the 5th starter he is and beat him up a bit.

      I am enjoying Scutaro and Pagan immensely. They are getting attention at fangraphs - I know you saw Sullivans piece on Scoots cuz you commented, and Cameron called Pagan the most underrated player in MLB, something that I sort of agree with, although he can be so darned streaky...

    2. Nothing perverse about a Giants fan enjoying seeing a Bridegroom crying over a loss to the Giants. To me, that's more like the universe is the way it is suppose to be.

      I feel pretty good about the offense, I think that it can take on Capuano, I don't think the Brewers would let him get away if he had big game balls. Still, even the worse guy can step up and have a great game.

      Still, as we have seen in their time together, the pairing of Pagan and Scutaro atop our lineup is a real firestarter. I wonder if Scutaro's ability to put the bat on ball successfully is part of that, maybe Pagan sees a different combo of pitches because pitchers are thinking ahead (i.e. dreading) facing Scutaro next? No matter what happens, I would be surprised if Sabean and the Giants don't sign both up for 2013 before the free agency period opens (and I would be surprised if they don't sign).

      In Scutaro's case, I wonder if the Venezuela West situation gave him a lift (see Blanco's blog post on that on that ignited him again. I mean, he's in Colorado hitting like he's in AT&T, and now he's in SF hitting like it's Coors Field. Could playing with so many countrymen give him a mental and/or emotional and/or physical boost? And there are a lot, Sandoval, Blanco, Sanchez, plus Mijares and now Machi (OT: amazing that they have 36 on their roster now, 37 once Hensley comes off the DL; the Giants called up Petit - he had a nice season for us and deserved a reward - but had to drop Edlefson to make space on the 40 man). But when you make such good contact on the ball and don't strike out much, such streaks are regular.

      Pagan, I don't think, is the most underrated player in the game. If anything, I think Posey, despite how good he is, is more underrated, I think people have to see him day in, day out, to really appreciate what he brings to a team beyond his great hitting and catching. Pagan's streakiness is what causes him to be as lowly rated, if he could just do this all the time (see Belt's recent comments about not knowing what he was doing when things are going good), he would be a superstar leadoff guy making top money.

      And I hope he finds that with us. :^)

      Yeah, I see your name around too Shankbone. :^) Yeah, I couldn't let the Pence comment go without comment on the Scutaro piece.

      OT, but I regret not commenting more on MCC this season, because I suddenly want to adopt Martin Agosta (for obvious reasons :^), and there is no way I'll be high enough to get him. I feel like just going in and dropping in more snide comments, but who has the time? Maybe if the Giants makes the playoffs...

      Speaking of which, looking better with that loss yesterday, but still a lot of games left and we have to respect that lineup of their's. If that ever ignites all together, it would make the Giants recent blast of offensive goodness look like a matchlight compared to the sun.

    3. Oh, here is Blanco's post:

  4. Kemp out for the rest of the series, Kennedy goes out for the year. I root hard against the Doyers, I dislike a lot of their players immensely, but I have utmost respect for Kershaw and Kemp. Kemp being a huge Niner fan plus being amazing is hard to dislike. He reminds me of Gary Sheffield in his prime, always waving the bat menacingly and ready to do damage. That is a big blow for the Bums, even if he was slumping (most likely due to that shoulder injury from the fence). For the sake of the game, I hope he gets better quick.

    Now Doyers I really really dislike... Ethier, Victorino (born Doyer!), Pajama Boy Billingsley, Lazy Hanley. And I will learn to dislike Adrian Gonzo pretty quick. Josh Beckett for sure.

    1. Eh, I prefer that he just takes it easy and come back next season, start the slate clean. :^D

      Never wish other teams ill, but I'll take this, and hope we can clinch sooner and can start to rest our starters more.

  5. Today's game: Oxy/Herk/Kobe/Giraffe a combined 0-15 with 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2K, 1 SAC, and 4 FPOM...really awful. Panda with a 1-4 where he saw FOUR total pitches. Awful again. Timmy battled, but 7 walks was too much. Affeldt faced three batters: triple, double, walk -- awful.

    That said, a 3-2 loss in a game where the last out was a liner to third that would've tied it is acceptable. I hope we get good Zeets amd not bad Zeets tomorrow night.

    Affeldt has to be better, Panda has to be better. Herk looks completely unable to break out of his slump. I dunno...

  6. Giants lose a tough game, 3-2, but all offenses have their bad days. And sometimes at the worse time: how about 2000's great offense shut down by a journeyman Mets starter; it happens.

    Giants fans seem to act as if this is the same offense of the past few impotent years, but since Scutaro joined the lineup, the Giants have averaged 5.2 runs per game. And since Pence joined the lineup, the Giants have averaged 5.5 runs per game. This is not the lame offense of 2011, nor the lame overall ones since Bonds left us.

    And I've written about this in my blog: the starting pitching failed us in August and continued that into September, it was our OFFENSE which allowed us to compile a 22-14 record since August 1st.

    These two games against LA are a nice start, but the starters need to be doing this consistently if we are to have a shot at the World Series this season. It is starting pitching that wins World Series, the offense is just a supporting crew. Obviously, it helps greatly if the offense can average 5+ runs per game, but no offense can do that every game (see 2002), you need shutdown pitching to reliably get into the World Series in any particular playoff season, and to have greater hope of winning the World Series (people don't realize that it was pitching let down in game 2 that eventually led to the loss in 2002, not just in the 6th game. Keep the Angels to 9 runs instead and the Giants win in 5 games, no need for a 6th game)

  7. Wow, what a break, Kershaw injures his "manly region" (I assume groin) and to keep him OK for the rest of the season, he was scratched (he was PISSED according to media) with Blanton taking his regular turn after all.

    Blanton vs. Zito is a fair fight, and with Kemp sitting out, that should favor the Giants, who currently lead 2-0 after 4 innings. Zito is having a very good start so far, hopefully he can continue it, after all, he was part of the great pitching in 2010 when they had all those games keeping the opponents at 3 runs or less.

    Pence is the hitting hero so far, doubled in 2 runs in the first.

  8. Beat LA!!! Giants win 4-0 behind Zito's sterling start! He went 6.1 IP with only 4 hits and 3 walks, though with 4 K's, just short of a DOM start (needed one more K or 1 less walk). Posey had another MVP level game, 2 for 4, solo HR for a run and RBI and the 4th run, which pretty much put the game away. Pence had the 2 run double to give Zito a cushion so that he would not be thinking so much about making perfect pitches and more about staying within himself. Also, Posey starting at catcher push down thoughts that Zito can't pitch well with Posey catching.

    I thought for sure that Zito was shooting himself in the foot/mouth with his backhanded comments about Posey's pitch calling (he blamed himself for not waving off Posey's call for a pitch), but he raised his performance in this game.

    And Zito won once again, he has some amazing record when given at least 4 runs of support.

    With this win, the Giants now lead the D-gers by 5.5 games with only 22 games left, and leading LA by 6 games in the loss column (which means LA has an extra game to win relative to the Giants). D-backs also lost, falling to 10.5 games behind.

    If the Giants only went 11-l1 for the rest of their games, for a 90-72 record, LA would have to go 16-5 and D-backs would have to win every game (one Giants win or D-backs loss means the D-backs are eliminated). The magic number is 17 right now for the division title, though, so with 43 games for both teams right now, there is still time for LA to catch up. But a lot will have to go well for LA and poorly for the Giants to not win the division title.

    However, as last September's Boston and Atlanta collapses showed, even the best teams hit a bad patch at the wrong time.

    Up next: Colorado. Go Vogie! Continuing the Giants starting pitching string of good starts. It's September!

  9. OGC, I agree with your premise that pitching wins World Series and hitting is just a supporting element. We will go as far as our SP take us, and with 34% of the payroll committed to 20% of the players (the SP) we are built correctly to perennially contend as long as that expensive SP does its job. We got three nice starts from Freak, Horse and Zeets -- heres to continued SP success in Denver and Phoenix. Los doyers have 2 at Chase before returning home for four against the Turdinals. If we go 4-2 and the doyers go 3-3, the magic number drops to 10 right before we start a 10 game homestand, putting us in position to clinch at AT&T and make that last road trip to Petco and Chavez Latrine an exhibition trip.

    A lot of "ifs" there, but it'd be nice to clinch at home and rest some guys before the playoffs.

    1. McBagger I like your nicknames you rock.

      Next year it becomes 50% of payroll for the SP if the RDF deems to dive into the 140MM pool (69MM for the SPs). That is the reason why Belt and Crawford are so important to the continued success, cheap controllable labor.

    2. Nice analysis, Jewy, makes a lot of sense, thanks. Yeah, looks like we could legitimately clinch before that last road trip without us doing that extraordinary, just make sure we get out healthy and with enough wins.

      Yes, rest, plus set up the rotation for the playoffs.

      We are headed into the final stretch and it is looking good! As long as we don't trip over ourselves, we should be fine. But as we saw last few seasons, teams have tripped.

      But somehow, with Buster Posey as our leader, I fear not.

    3. Yep Shankbone, Belt, Crawford, Panik/Noonan at 2B, Blanco or Kieschnick in the OF, probably one of our young pitchers coming up in 2014 to take over Zito's spot (DrB's logic on resigning Zito is extremely sound, but I have to think that at least a couple of starters would be ready to get their shot at starting by that point). All cheap, young, and controllable.

    4. Thanks Shank -- I'm usually pretty good at acronyms, but RDF?

      I'd expect payroll to go to about $140 next year and $150 in 2014 as well. At which time we'll have to decide about His Freakness and Zeets will be off the books. Cain/Tron/Bum should be fine with an addition of at least one of Crick/Stratton/Blackburn/Heston in the mix -- two of those guys if we let Timmah trundle on to the Mariners.

      More interesting is the Weez Conundrum. I believe the least we can offer him in arb is $6.8MM and I can't see that as a wise move. So, I'd expect that we won't offer him arb and he'll become a FA. The question then becomes: does he come back for less. I doubt any other team is going to offer him more than $5MM coming off his second TJ.

      I'd agree that cheap, young players are critical to keeping expensive players in their prime (and we should NEVER be keeping expensive older players on multiyear deals). Thus Bum, Pick Machine, Fish, and to an extent His Busterness are critical. I wouldn't expect Noonan to make it as a legit major leaguer, but I've been wrong about these things before.

      Panik and Brown seem to be good bets to make it, and I'm pulling for Susac as well. Peggs/Kieshnick could make it as reserve OFs too. My guess for 2014:
      CF: Brown
      2B: Panik
      3B: Panda
      C: MVP
      1B: Pick Machine
      RF: Herky
      LF: Oxy
      SS: Fish
      SP: Horse/Bum/Tron/Crick/Heston
      RP: Hembree/Baby Boch/KCYa/Romo/LOOGY/Otero/Runz
      Bench: Chez3/Duvall/Kobe/Peggs/Kiesh

      That's a TON of homegrown, cheap talent. And unlikely it all works out.

    5. RDF = Rainy Day Fund

      That is Shankbone's way of referring to ownership, at least the portion of it so devoted to the RDF and thus so devoted to keeping profits up (versus the owners who are willing to spend to keep the Giants competitive and willing to accept lower profits, say, to keep our top young players).

      I used to refer to it as Maddux Money, because the RDF existence was exposed when the Giants suddenly had $7M to spend on Greg Maddux when it was crying poor regarding Vlad, and the team in general.

      Bweez seems too tied to the team to just leave for a deal elsewhere that he would get here, that is, no team will offer him big money, so I expect the Giants to offer one of their low base plus appearances bonuses contracts, like they have done before, probably $1-3M range, then bonuses for reaching something like 40, 50, 60, 70 appearances.

      With the history of recovery from second TJS daunting (at least Wilson hinted at it in his last public interview after the surgery, when he said something about researching it and he's going to be positive and returning as good as ever, which, reading between the lines, means not very good results typically), I can't really see any other team offering him a lot of money, other than maybe LA, since they have money to burn and a love for free agents who were former Giants.

    6. I've been wrong before (Feliz, but that was when we thought he was many years younger; Burriss, sigh...), but I think I've been getting better in the last few years. I was behind the young position starters early on (Sandoval, Hanchez) before the hype, Posey when he was drafted (but who wasn't?), Belt once he was doing well in A-ball (but who wasn't). I'm being Brown and Panik now, plus Noonan.

      Noonan I'll explain here. First off, I follow Shandler's methodologies, and one key thing his book says (he and other writers do that) is that once a player shows a skill, he owns it, but then it becomes a matter of him figuring out how to do it consistently. Noonan, at a young age, had a great second half in San Jose, where he dropped his strikeout rate considerably while keeping his walk rate high, which worked out to a good contact rate above 85% and a walk:K ratio of roughly 1.0, which only the best hitters do, and he was young for the league. Obviously, he hasn't done much since, but he has also been young for each level as well, so the pitchers have a lot of experience on him.

      He's now catching up in age, but still young for the league (only 23) and I see now that I probably should have taken into account that I didn't think that he would be a star, else he would rise faster, but that I thought he was starter material and thus would take more time figuring things out as his age caught up.

      He hit .296/.347/.416/.763 OPS (23 YO) and the league average was .278/.345/.430/.775 OPS with average age of 26.7 for hitters and pitchers. Average contact rate for the league was 79.7% and he had an 82.9% contact rate, plus 0.48 BB/K ratio where the league was at 0.47 (and really, less than 0.0025 difference, so he'a average).

      So he's a roughly average hitter even though most players have 3-4 years of age on him, and he's slightly above average - more importantly for him since he's a top of order hitter, not middle - at OBP.

      Unfortunately, with little power, he's profiling like a Burriss with lesser defense. But I'm hoping that his one key difference over Burriss - which is that he went through the same video training system that Belt did and felt that it helped him start hitting line drives - will make a difference as he catches up in age to the majors and be better able to hit off the pitchers for more power. But as you noted for yourself, I've been wrong before, so we will see.

      And I do like Panik more than Noonan, but I think Nick has it in him too and he's closer to the majors than Panik.

      Nice 2014 list, though I'm having trouble figuring out some of the names. Herky I'm thinking Pence. Oxy? Fish must be Crawford. No love for Blackburn? I mean, since you already included Crick. And Blackburn seems more advanced than Crick at the moment. Though I think both are more likely for 2015. KCYa must be Mijares. Chez3 = Hanchez. Kobe? No Blanco? No Arias? I think we control them still at that point. And unless Duvall can play 2B, I don't see how two bench spots aren't MI, like Noonan and Ehire.

      Unlikely, and yet, probably not far off from reality either, I don't think, which is amazing and scary good for us.

      Giants: Team of the 2010 Decade

  10. Sorry, let me explain the nics:
    Oxy = Pagan (oxymoron)
    Moped = Scutaro
    Herk = Pence
    Pick or Pick Machine or Baby G = Belt
    Fish or Stamos = Crawford
    Kobe = Arias
    K,CYa = Casilla
    Chez3 = Hector (Chez = Jonathan, Chez2 = Freddy)

    Blackburn could very well make it -- Crick and Heston were simply guesses. Adrianza may make it over Duvall...



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