Thursday, June 28, 2012

Your 2012 Giants: Epic Again

Wow, they just keep the epicness coming.  Madison Bumgarner throws a one-hitter shutout to beat the offensive-oriented Reds team that had been averaging 5.0 runs per game in June, not a offensively inept team missing their best hitter in the Dodgers and Matt Kemp.

  • For the first time in Giants franchise history, 130 years, the Giants have shutout the opposition for four straight games.  He faced only two over the minimum.  And we have Perfecto Cain taking the mound tomorrow against the Reds.  This is the 17th time since 1918, last happening in 1995 by the Orioles.
  • Plus this is the most straight innings of shutout innings, 36 innings, beating the San Francisco franchise record of 35 innings set in 1960 (heard this on radio).  
  • I think this will be epic because it should be the first of many:  this was Madison Bumgarner's first complete game in his career, and thus also his first one-hitter.  He had 8 strikeouts.  Most likely the first of many, and maybe a no-hitter in his future too, he had it going into the 6th inning.
  • This is the first month in baseball history (at least Giants history, but I think it was MLB history, I'll try to confirm later, heard it on the radio) where a team got a no-hitter and a one-hitter in the same month (not sure if just June or any month).  And it might be a record, I just realized that the Giants have, this season, one perfect game, one game with only one batter over the minimum (Cain's one-hitter) and one game with only two batters over the minimum (Bumgarner's one-hitter).  Got to at least be something not done in a long time, maybe history.
  • And Bumgarner is 5-0 for the month, first time since Lincecum in September 2010, not epic, but still pretty good.
  • Also, the Giants now have 6 shutouts this month, two of them complete games, that has to be something that hasn't happen for a while too.
On top of that, the Dodgers lost and thus the Giants are now alone in first place by one game.  Unfortunately, the D-backs won and stays 5 games back.  Can't ever let down against them, but their upward surge has stalled the past few games, thank goodness.  

Go Giants! Go Cain!  Couldn't have a better pitcher up to continue such a streak.  This reminds me a little of September 2010 when the Giants pitching staff totally dominated for 18 games (3 or less ER) plus also 23 games (4 or less ER) and each pitcher felt the competitive pressure and camaraderie to continue the streak.  The funny thing is that the pitching staff just came off 5 games of giving up a lot of runs (4 or more), before shutting down the teams for four straight games.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Your 2012 Giants: Epic Season Unfolding

What a season this has been.  This sweep of the Dodgers with all the games being shutouts is just one of many unique occurrences for the Giants.   Lots of once in a blue moon type of events keep on happening:
  • Barry Zito throws his first complete game shutout for the Giants and first since the 2003 season, nearly 9 years apart.  He was only 25 that season.
  • Matt Cain pitches the first perfect no-hitter in Giants franchise history (128 years or 130 years, depending on how you want to look at it).
  • He also tied for the most strikeouts in a perfect game (with Koufax).
  • Gregor Blanco saves the no-hitter with a catch by a right-fielder who normally does not catch any ball in that part of the field, he was the first one over the past three seasons to catch a ball in part of the outfield.  Baseball Info Solutions reported that of the 13 balls hit in AT&T to within 25 feet of that spot and with that approximate hang time, only 2 of them were caught - by the center fielder - and 5 became doubles and 5 became triples.
  • Also, Cain is the first pitcher to have a perfect no-hitter and a near perfect no-hitter (his one-hitter earlier in the season where he faced only one batter above the minimum) during the regular season (Halladay was the first to do it in a season, but his one walk one above minimum no-hitter happened in the playoffs).  
  • On the bad side of the ledger, and not like it's been that long, but Tim Lincecum has never had either a start of a season like this nor as long a stretch of poor performances as his starts up until this start.  I consider the before and after point to be after he gave up runners to the first six batters, after which he struck out the side.  I would also add that despite the Giants ace performing worse than most team's #5 or #6 starter, the Giants not only were over .500 but challenging for the lead.  Had he even been an average pitcher, the Giants would have a huge lead right now, instead of being tied with LA.
  • Not that this was a long time, but Brandon Belt never had a 15 game stretch in his career where his contact rate reached 80% until 7 games ago.  And he almost reached it for a 20 game stretch 5 games ago.
  • And if you want to stretch it, what Ryan Vogelsong has done for us the past two seasons has to be one of the rarest events ever in the history of baseball.  This season, he not only is showing that 2011 was not a fluke, but he's upping his game at the same time.  I hope he's been keeping a lot of notes or maybe a journal/diary, his story would make a great book someday.
  • Another stretcher, but Madison Bumgarner finally hit his first homer in a game, after blasting pitch after pitch out in batting practice.  And despite that happening just recently, he got his first homer of the season before Belt did, who has been a relatively prodigious homerun hitter the previous two seasons.
  • And, of course, the Giants sweep the Dodgers with a trio of shutouts, the first time in the history of their rivalry where the Giants did that, the first time that any San Francisco Giants team did that in a series (last Giants team did it to Phillies in 1954).  
I'm sure that there were other odd-ball facts about this season that I cannot recall (I'm fighting a slight case of the stomach flu right now), so please add any you can think of in the comments section.  Of course, this has no meaning for whether the Giants make the playoffs, let alone win the World Series, but I thought it was an interesting flavor to this season.



Monday, June 25, 2012

Bengie's Thoughts On Timmy

Dan Brown of the Merc has a great interview with Bengie Molina that Alex Pavlovic kindly shared with his blogging audience early, which I've linked here.   This is exactly what I've been saying here and other places, that Tim is fighting himself mentally.  And Bengie provides a lot of good information about pitching, catching, and his thoughts on Timmy (mostly) plus some comments on Buster, and Hector Sanchez, catching in general.  I highly recommend reading the article.  It even noted the Chris Lincecum interview on USA Today, and Molina noted how cruel sports can be.

USA TODAY Out of Line Baiting Papa Lincecum

I would add here, like I added on the original USA Today article interview with Chris Lincecum, that it is the media that is crucifying Tim, specifically USA Today.  Most fans I've seen are concerned, of course, but not "crucifying" Tim.  Of course, there are whack jobs in any group, but the vast majority are still very supportive of Tim.

And they should be.  As Papa Lincecum noted, Tim has given us two Cy Youngs and a Worlds Championship.  We are indebted for life to Tim, is the way I see it.  And his father expressed that rather forcefully in his article.

But it was not the fans bringing up that Tim could be sent to the minors, nor was it Giants management - in fact, just the day before that interview, Sabean was interviewed on CSN regarding Tim and he said, very clearly, that Lincecum is a part of our rotation, that there will be nobody will be coming in to take his spot in the rotation, and if the experts - Bochy, Righetti, and Gardner - think that Tim needs a break, then that will  happen, but at that moment, they saw no need for one.  Said that Tim's record "speaks for itself," that "he's our starting pitcher."  As far as I can tell, it was USA Today who brought up the fact that Lincecum could be sent to the minors, to which, of course, Papa Lincecum exploded when it was brought up.

That's where the media toes the line between reporting news and making news.  True, Timmy could be sent down.  I've certainly been aware of that, so I'm sure others are, including Giants management.  But nobody from the Giants have said that.  And the Giants blogs I've been going to have not suggested that either, not even close.  

What does USA Today think would happen if they brought up that fact to Chris Lincecum?  What would be the logical, common sense reaction?  It would be similar to asking a father what if a terrible thing happened to your child, of course you are going to get a strong negative reaction.  Why put people through such a mental exercise when nobody remotely connected with the team had even intimated that something like that is possible?  What purpose does it serve, other than to sell more newspapers (or in today's world, get more eyeballs reading)?

And I think USA Today generally does a very good job of reporting on baseball, so I'm disappointed in them that they took the low road in baiting Papa Lincecum with that loaded "what-if" scenario.  I expect better from them.  And I hope Tim knows that it was not fans nor Giants management who brought up the minors to his Dad, I hope it does not negatively affect his signing a long term deal with the Giants, as his father intimated.  I'll be very angry with the USA Today if Lincecum leaves us because of their baiting of Tim's father in that interview.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Panda Belt Tim Thoughts

Had three thoughts I wanted to cover on Pablo, Belt, and Lincecum.  Giants win, back to three games back.

Calling the Melk-Man

I never realized this until yesterday, but Bill James Online has content that is free to the public (most are behind the paid wall, but some are free).  I ran across this interesting analysis of spring training stats that could be the sign of a breakout season.  In 2010, it highlighted Jose Bautista's breakout, then in 2011, caught on to Melky Cabrera and Alex Gordon.

When perusing their list of potential breakouts (once I saw that they have a long list, I wasn't as impressed, but still interesting) for 2012, again Melky Cabrera's name came up and, as we all know, he's having another career year, so their 2013 list will undoubtedly bring up Melky as one of their successes.

But I wondered how the others are doing, what other breakouts are there, in terms of career years.  Here are the ones where I thought there was enough separation between 2012 vs. career and/or top season:

  • Cody Ross:  .895 OPS vs. .785 career and .804 high.  However, I would note that he's not playing full-time, and he's never really been a full-time player, more of a platoon.  Plus, he's playing in an good hitter's park.  
  • Carlos Ruiz:  .982 vs. .773 vs. .847.  And at age 33 too.
  • Jonathan Lucroy:  .969 vs. 722 vs. .703, FYI didn't play full-time before
  • Tyler Colvin:  .876 vs. .730 vs. .816, first year in Colorado, though
  • A.J. Pierzitski:  .840 vs. .750 vs. 824 (that high was in 2003!)
  • Melky Cabrera:  .932 vs. .746 vs. .809, looks like he'll be mentioned second year in row
Given the long list, that's not a lot of what I would call breakouts.  And that the problem, they defined breakout as beating their career SLG.  Ooops, gathered the wrong stats.  

Still, beating slugging usually would show up in OPS as well.  I doubt that a lot of them beat their career SLG  if their OPS doesn't beat their career OPS, because it is pretty hard to boost up OBP a lot, but pretty easy if you start hitting for more power.  But I don't got time to do the research again, and you can either accept my logic or not.

In any case, 12 of the 29 players have higher OPS in 2012 than career OPS, for what it's worth.

Ah, what the heck.  I still found the same players to be breakouts, the six above, plus Darwin Barney.  Among the 29 players, I found 13 to have higher SLG in 2012 than their career SLG.  Again, basically the same as the OPS differences, with just one additional guy, young Darwin Barney.

I also compiled ages, just in case it was young guys who predominate, but I didn't find that either.  

Of course, the season isn't over yet, maybe some may rise, but one would think maybe some may fall as well.  The percentage so far this season is roughly 40% vs. the 60% that they had been finding before.  And as I noted, half of those were just minorly over their career numbers, I feel that comparing to career high is a better sign of a breakout year, and by a good margin as well, not just edging out.  For example, Andre Ethier right now would qualify because his SLG of .484 beat out his career SLG of .480, but is significantly lower than his high of .510, over 5% less.  




Thursday, June 21, 2012

2012 Draft: Over Budget After 5 Signings of Top 10 Rounds

Perfect Games and Baseball America have reported 5 signings by the Giants among their Top 10 round selections, after two weeks have passed since the draft ended (roughly).  PG has the bonus figures:

  • #1:  Chris Stratton:  $1,850,000 (slot same)
  • #4:  Steven Okert:  $270,000 (slot $299,900; +$29,900)
  • #5:  Ty Blach:  $224,500 (slot same)
  • #8:  Joseph Kurrasch:  $134,500 (slot same)
  • #9:  Shilo McCall:  $200,000 (slot $125,600; -$74,400)

So where do they stand with their bonus slot budget?  And who are key unsigned draft picks?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Your 2012 Giants: Crawford on the Rise

We all can see that Brandon Belt finally had his epiphany (and great batting mechanics once he changed his stance per the team's instruction; I wrote a little on this at DrB) but it is harder to see changes for other players who are not as gifted offensively as Belt, like with Crawford, so I wanted to point him out today.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Angel on the Field

Baseball America reports that Angel Villalona returns to baseball but in the DSL, not in the U.S., as U.S. immigration continues to delay issuing him a work visa that would allow him to enter the U.S.  But at least he got into his first professional game in three years and he got a knock, going 1 for 4 with a strikeout in the Dominican Summer League.  Now 21 years old, he was recently placed on their 40-man roster so that other teams could not draft him via the Rule 5 draft.

While it might be unlikely that another team would have selected him, as BA noted, I would think that there might be another team willing to take a flier for just, what, $100K, to hold who was once a Top 40 prospect in all of baseball, like a rebuilding team like Houston, who is probably finding it hard to fill their 40 man roster and thus could hold onto Angel's rights for a couple of years, while he tries to get back into the U.S.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Is it Drafty in Here? Looking at the 2012 Draft

I had been in a discussion on MCC regarding the Giants draft strategy, or lack thereof, by many commenting in that thread.  One of the strategies that has been discussed in a number of places (including Baseball America) is the punting of high single digit draft picks by selecting seniors who would sign for low bonuses (I read on BA that one was in the 4 figure range, which is pretty low, I'll admit, and they noted this here; Fangraphs had an article on this with charts showing the disparity).

One of the things I learned in researching for this blog post is that every team can over spend by 5% of their budget before the penalties really kick in (start losing draft picks).  So the Giants over slot for Shilo McCall does not necessarily impact any other selection, as his was only about $75,000 over.  And the biggest one, Stratton, was exactly for slot.  And the BA Draft Pool calculator currently says the Giants appears to have signed all of their 22 draft picks for slot so far, except for Shilo, as his deal represents how much they are over right now.  With a 75% penalty, that adds on $55,800 to the cost of signing Shilo, which would mean that the Giants, if they get everyone else for slot, basically paid the same amount for Shilo as they had offered to McCasland.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Your 2012 Giants: Congrats to Matt Cain for Perfecto!

What an amazing game!  Matt Cain throws the 22nd Perfect Game in MLB History.  14 K's to boot!  First perfect game in Giants history, 128 years of franchise history.  Many great Giants pitchers, Mathewson, Hubbell, Marichal, Perry, Lincecum, but Cain is the first one with a perfect game.  He Cained the Astros.

I tweeted a number of these:

I've been waiting for this since Matt Cain threw a 2-hitter complete game with 8 K's on 9/9/2005.  We've all been waiting for this no-hitter.  YES!  PERFECTO!

Chris Stratton is probably kicking himself right now that he didn't delay signing one day (he was here yesterday but said that he was flying to Phoenix immediately).

What an ice-cold assassin Matt Cain is!  Worth every penny we committed to him!

Giants no-hitters I have listened to:  Halicki, Montefusco, Dirty, and now Cain's Perfecto.

I am feeling verklempt now...

2012 Draft: Giants Select Mac Williamson in the Third Round

With the 115th pick, the Giants selected Jonathan "Mac" Williamson in the third round (slot is $412,300).  Almost every reference to him is by his nickname "Mac", very few by his actual first name.

He is considered a bit of an overdraft, as he was ranked #236 by Baseball America in their Top 500 draft guide.  That is more than 4 rounds ahead and is slotted for $144,300.  That is a difference of $268,000, so one might assume that he will probably sign for under slot, and possibly by a significant amount.

2012 Draft: 22 Signings So Far

Including Stratton, there have been 22 signings in total (CSN Enteen; also has nice video of his first interview discussing his signing and other questions, seems like a very nice guy, good manners, well spoken) out of 40.  Here are the signings:
  • #1:  RHP Chris Stratton ($1.85M, exactly slot)
  • #8:  LHP Joseph Kurrasch
  • #9:  OF Shilo McCall ($200,000, which was slotted for $125.6K; article has nice first person description of how Giants negotiated with him, also from his advisor)
  • #12:  SS Jeremy Sy
  • #13:  2B  Ryan Jones
  • #15:  C Leonardo Rojas
  • #16:  RHP Ian Gardeck
  • #17:  RHP Christopher Johnson
  • #18:  SS Matthew Duffy
  • #19:  LHP Randall Zeigler
  • #21:  C Benjamin Turner
  • #22:  OF Brennan Metzger
  • #23:  LHP Andrew Leenhouts
  • #24:  OF Andrew Cain
  • #25:  C Sam Eberle
  • #26:  LHP Mason McVay
  • #27:  LHP Chris Fern
  • #28:  IF Joey Rapp
  • #29:  OF Shayne Houck
  • #31:  RHP Jason Forjet
  • #32:  LHP Christopher Pickering
  • #33:  RHP Brandon Farley
The Giants are currently overslot by $74.4K and will have to pay somebody(ies) from 2-10 that much less.  Still have picks 2-7 and 10-11 to sign, those are the highest picks left to sign.  14 and 20 are also unsigned as well.  All of 21 to 33 were signed except 30.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

#1 Pick Chris Stratton signs for $1.85M

As reported (Schulman, Baseball America), the Giants #1 round draft pick, Chris Stratton, signed for $1.85M, which is the slot amount (Shankbone called it).  He is in town right now, visiting the park, getting to meet Giants players of the past (Willie Mays) and probably meeting the team after the game.  Hank noted that Chris would report to the Short Season league team, Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.

Alex Pavlovic tweeted that the "Giants have signed 10 of first 20 draft picks.  Stratton (first round) is only one of top seven picks to sign so far."

Friday, June 08, 2012

Your 2012 Giants: Shark Infested McCovey Cove Welcomed

Gregor Blanco has been a great addition to the team.  We were lucky he fell into our laps, the Chronicle had a nice article about that (and how Brian Johnson came to our rescue again).   He is the Vogelsong of the 2012 campaign, who was the Torres of the 2011 campaign, and who was the Uribe of the 2010 campaign.  I had been meaning to write on him and the below I had posted on El Lefty Malo and, of course, tweaked it (a lot) for publishing here, as per usual, as is my wont.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

2012 Draft: Heavy on the Arms... Again

The Giants again went heavy with pitchers again in the draft, as has been their pattern throughout Sabean's tenure as Giants GM.  The difference this year is the predominance of college arms vs. high school arms.

Go to the MLB Draft Tracker on-line, click on Team and select Giants, to see all the players the Giants selected in the 2012 draft.  Players with some additional content are the players with more potential than other, the more content, the higher the potential.  These are the players with Full Scouting Reports:  Chris Stratton and Martin Agosta. There are the players with player comments in the tracker:  Steven Okert and Stephen Johnson.  These are the players with Scouting Video:  Shilo McCall, Matthew Duffy, Nolan Long, and Tyler Ferguson.

The MLB had an article focusing on the Giants focus on college pitchers in this draft.
Of the 40 players the Giants selected, only five of them were high school players -- four of whom were selected in rounds 37-40. The Giants selected more pitchers (21) than position players (19), including 14 on the third and final day of the Draft on Wednesday.
Stratton and several other Giants pitching draftees were noted for their velocity and power pitching, though Giants scouting director John Barr said that was not the team's intention coming into the Draft. 
"We weren't leaning towards that way," Barr said Monday after the Giants selected Stratton. "Are we always mindful of it? I think we're mindful of trying to add value to the organization." 
Of the 21 pitchers selected, 19 were college pitchers, including potential future starters Stratton, St. Mary's Martin Agosta (second round) and Creighton's Ty Blach (fifth), as well as relievers Steven Okert from Oklahoma (third), St. Edwards' Stephen Johnson (sixth) and Miami's Eduardo Encinosa (seventh). 
The lone high school player selected in the first 36 rounds of the Draft was outfielder Shilo McCall (ninth round) out of Piedra Vista High School in New Mexico. McCall is committed to playing college baseball for Arkansas in the fall, but has said he intends to sign with the Giants and turn professional.
Alex Pavlovic of the Merc blogged on the various earlier round draft picks.  Some key tidbits:
STEVEN OKERT, LHP, OKLAHOMA: The 6-foot-3 lefty had five saves and a 2.78 ERA this season. According to the MLB.com scouting report, he “has been lights out (as a closer) and is one of the main reasons Oklahoma has done so well this year. In pro ball, he will definitely come out of the bullpen and could make it to the Majors quickly.” 
TYLER BLACH, LHP, CREIGHTON: Blach, a 6-foot-1 southpaw, was selected 178th overall and is Creighton’s highest draft pick in 13 years. He was 6-6 in 21 starts and had a 2.76 ERA. According to his Creighton profile, Blach had a 4.2 GPA in high school and was a financial analysis major in college. 
STEPHEN JOHNSON, RHP, ST. EDWARD’S UNIVERSITY: The closer was selected 208th. He was a first-team Division II All-American after putting up a 1.45 ERA and compiling 18 saves. In 43 1/3 innings this season, Johnson struck out 74. According to reports, Johnson’s fastball touches TRIPLE digits, but he struggles with command sometimes. 
EDUARDO ENCINOSA, RHP, MIAMI: Went 3-3 with a 2.79 ERA in 24 appearances, all out of them out of the bullpen. He’s listed at 6-5, 242. 
JOSEPH KURRASCH, LHP, PENN STATE: The junior was selected 268th overall. He grew up in San Juan Capistrano and his Penn State profile lists him as a Giants fan, so he’s off to a good start. Also, he lists cholula hot sauce as his favorite food – another plus. On the mound he went 4-2 with a 2.05 ERA in 16 games, 11 of which were starts. 
SHILO MCCALL, CF, PIEDRA VISTA HIGH SCHOOL (NEW MEXICO):McCall is committed to Arkansas but said he plans to turn pro. “The first thing I did was go buy a Giants hat for me and my family,” McCall told The Daily Times in Famington. “Phase one of my dream is complete. Phase two is working like hell to get to the Giants.” 
TREVOR BROWN, C, UCLA: The Giants’ 10th-round pick hit .322 for UCLA this year. He has played third base, second base, first base and catcher in his two seasons at UCLA and has played shortstop in the past. As you know, the Giants have had success with athletic catchers.
BA noted all the Giants players who were ranked in the BA 500 list.  The Giants were near the bottom of the list, but that is not a big surprise:  in a prior study, I looked at where players were selected by the Giants compared to his rank in BA's Top draftees list, and found that the Giants typically drafted players at least a round or more before where BA had ranked him.  Here are the players drafted:
Giants (10): Chris Stratton (18), Stephen Johnson (63), Martin Agosta (106), Steven Okert (152), Ty Blach (194), Ryan Tella (201), Mac Williamson (236), E.J. Encinosa (322), Mason McVay (356), Trevor Brown (475).
These are there overall pick for these players: Chris Stratton (20; 2 picks ahead), Stephen Johnson (208; 145 picks after, or roughly 5 rounds later), Martin Agosta (84; 22 ahead, or roughly 1 round ahead), Steven Okert (148; 4 ahead), Ty Blach (178; 16 ahead), Ryan Tella (358; 157 after, or roughly 5 rounds after), Mac Williamson (115; 121 ahead, or 4 rounds ahead), E.J. Encinosa (238; 84 ahead, or roughly 3 rounds ahead), Mason McVay (808; or 452 after, or roughly 15 rounds after), Trevor Brown (328; 147 ahead, or roughly 5 rounds ahead).

BA notes on other picks, from their draft blog:
The fourth round saw a run on several pitchers who project best in the bullpen, starting with San Jose State righthander Zach Jones (Twins) to Xavier converted righthander Seth Willoughby (Rockies), Oklahoma lefthander Steven Okert (Giants), Utah righthander Tyler Wagner (Brewers) and Faulkner (Ala.) righthander Corey Black (Yankees).
Giants Thoughts

The players to be followed are the ones who had scouting reports of some sort or at least scouting videos.  Also, the players who are among the BA 500.

But frankly, after the first round, the odds are very against any of them ever even making the majors, let alone be useful, let alone be a good player.  The odds of most of these picks being a good player is significantly under 1%.

9th Round Example of Bad Probability

Let's take a look at the 9th round, from 1990-1999.  That's still seems low to most people, plus it was the one where Shilo was selected (nothing against him).  The numbers are bleak.

In those 10 years, there were 285 players drafted.  Unfortunately, I cannot tell who was signed and who wasn't, so I counted all of them; thus there could be some over counting.  Still won't matter.

In those 10 years, only 59 of them even made the majors.  Thats' 20.7%.  I then looked at players who had at least 162 games if position player, 30 games if pitcher, or essentially one year's worth of play.  Only 27 qualified there, 9.5% of picks.  Now lets look at those over 4.5 WAR:  only 9 of them, or 3.2%.  There are only 6 of them with over 9.0 WAR, or 2.1%.  My standard for a good player is 18.0 WAR and there were only 5 of them or 1.8%.

In other words, it will take approximately 57 years of selecting the #9 pick, on average, to find one good player, roughly 32 years to find at least a moderately good player (that's > 4.5 WAR).  It would take 5 years of these picks just to find a player who even makes the majors, 11 years to find a player who plays more than a year of baseball for you.

And it just gets worse with each round after that.

Bad But Not Automatic

Don't mean to be a downer on the draft, nor did I mean to discourage any draft pick that far back in the draft, though I know this might.  I just see so many people throwing themselves off the Golden Gate Bridge right now over the Giants draft, particularly for what they did after the first few rounds.  This, to me, is equivalent to obsessing over the Giants 25th player on the roster and declaring Sabean to be an idiot for his choices there.

The silver lining for the guys who are selected in the later rounds is that they all have talents that made them valuable enough for a baseball team to select them.  The key is that they need to apply themselves to their new profession and find a way to improve themselves despite the odds.  Bend the ear of any coach, at any time, to absorb information about baseball.  Get their advice and counsel.  Be a young man, but don't let it interfere with your prime objective:  making the majors.

And there have been many players drafted later.  Nolan Ryan was selected in the 12th.  And Albert Pujols was selected in the 13th.  And the most famous is Mike Piazza, so bad that he was selected as a favor for Lasorda in the 62nd round.

Giving Your Best

So there is talent back there.  I believe the difference is that some players make the most of their opportunity.  Not all of these players will make it, but as the saying goes, if you gave your all on the field, there is no more that you can ask of yourself, no matter the results.  You did your best.

But some are not being all that they can be.  Some will party out late a lot.  Some will abuse something.  Some will just drift through, not giving their all.  Some will not take advantage of the coaches, or worse, not even listen to the coaches.  Some will not run out every grounder.  Some will be half-hearted sliding into second base on the front end of a double play.

And a lot of them will do all that the right way and still not make it.  Still, if that player did all that he could do and left it all on the field, he will have nothing to be ashamed of.  He gave it his best.  That is all he can ask of himself.  It just wasn't meant to be.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

2012 Draft: Selects RHP Martin Agosta in second round

From the MLB Live Draft Tracker, go to Round 2:
When the year started, scouts may have been more interested in going to St. Mary's to see third baseman Patrick Wisdom. They may have left more intrigued by Agosta, the team's Friday starter. Some of that is because while Wisdom scuffled, Agosta has excelled, using a solid three-pitch mix to succeed. 
He's not the biggest right-hander in the Draft, which will certainly scare off some, but he's shown an ability to run his fastball up to 94 mph while sitting comfortably at 92 mph. Above-average run and sink make it an even better pitch. Agosta's curve and changeup both have the chance to be solid Major League average pitches, and he has a solid idea of how to keep hitters guessing. 
Undersized right-handers always have a tougher time proving themselves, but with the way he's pitched, a team that's willing to buck that conventional wisdom should take a shot within the first few rounds.
There is also a video version of this MLB text.  Mayo ranked him 92nd on his Top 100 list.

From BA roundup:
84. Giants: Martin Agosta, rhp, St. Mary's: Added pitchability this spring, fastball at 92-94 at his best, chance to start?
BA might consider him a bit of an overdraft as he was ranked 106th on their Top 500 draft preview list.

From Sickels Top 100 blog:
91) Martin Agosta, RHP, St. Mary's: Solid low-90s fastball, made big strides with secondary stuff this spring and can remain a starter.
From Haft:
The Giants added another arm to their farm system when they drafted Martin Agosta from St. Mary’s College with the 24th pick in the second round, 84th overall. 
The junior righthander went 9-2 with a 2.18 ERA for St. Mary’s, and has a fast ball that can reach the mid-90′s, as well as a working change up and curveball. Despite having a smaller frame for a pitcher, scouts have been impressed with Agosta’s movement on his fastball and his command of his breaking ball. 
The Northern California native played at Jesuit High School in Carmichael, Calif., and is originally from Sacramento.
From Schulman:
The Giants drafted another college junior pitcher in the second round. They used the 82nd overall pick on St. Mary’s starter Martin Agosta, a Sacramento product who looks a bit like Tim Lincecum in stature, maybe a little taller. 
Agosta was 9-2 with a 2.18 ERA in 14 starts with 27 walks and 95 strikeouts in 103 1/3 innings for the Gaels. In his final start for St. Mary’s he held USF to one earned run in eight innings and outdueled Kyle Zimmer, who was drafted No. 5 overall by Kansas City. 
On Monday, scouting director John Barr insisted the team is not out to stockpile college pitchers but did say the front office was “mindful” that the team’s stock of high-ceiling arms took a hit with Zack Wheeler’s trade last year. 
And here is the ESPN Scouts Inc. writeup on Agosta:
Agosta doesn’t have size but he does have three pitches to profile as a potential starter, with significant promise if he has to move to the pen because of his stature. Agosta will sit 89-93, showing a little better than that but not sitting there, with a hard slurvy breaking ball at 79-81 that he can move around the zone and an above-average changeup that he doesn’t use often enough. 
The fastball has some late tailing life but not enough sink, and his stature means he can’t naturally get downhill plane on the pitch. Agosta cuts himself off slightly and comes a little bit across his body as a result, but he takes a long stride with good extension out front to partially alleviate the drawbacks of his height. The three pitches give him a mid-rotation starter ceiling, while he could be a top-tier reliever if the lack of fastball plane means he can’t start.
Schulman also included a link to Agosta's college profile website.  The school posted a news release on his being selected and noted that he's a life-long Giants fan, so he must be pretty jazzed.

Perfect Game does not release its mock drafts anymore, but since they provide names as part of the article, as labels, apparently they thought enough of him to include him in their third mock draft.  They noted that one could make the case for 50-60 players for the first 30 picks, and Agosta was among those in their conversation.

Here is Perfect Game's player profile:
(4/5/12): Undrafted in 2009 out of a Sacramento high school, Agosta went 3-6, 5.40 as a freshman for St. Mary’s, working primarily as a Sunday starter. He earned all-West Coast Conference honors a year later after assembling a solid but unspectacular 7-6, 2.81 record with 19 walks and 76 strikeouts in 90 innings. 
But it wasn’t until last summer, playing for the Cal Ripken League’s Bethesda Big Train, that Agosta firmly began to establish himself as an elite-level pitching prospect. He worked mostly in relief for the Big Train, mainly because of his heavy workload in the spring as a starter, but dazzled in that role, going 4-0, 0.99 with two saves. In 27 innings, he walked just three while striking out 30. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound righthander was a major contributor as the Big Train swept easily to Ripken League regular-season and playoff titles, and finished the summer as the nation’s No. 1-ranked summer-league team, according to Perfect Game. 
Just as dramatically, Agosta helped his own cause for the 2012 draft as he threw consistent strikes with a five-pitch repertoire, including a fastball that was consistently in the 91-93 mph range. He excelled at mixing all his pitches and throwing them with precision to every area of the striker zone, while also showing unusually good feel for his off-speed stuff. If anything, he got stronger for the Big Train as he pitched deeper into games. 
Inspired by his breakout summer-league success, Agosta has taken his game to another level this spring for the Gaels. His fastball has jumped into the 94-96 mph range, and the tilt and late life he typically gets on the pitch have only added to its effectiveness. He can pound his fastball down in the strike zone with regularity, and even cuts it effectively on occasion at 85-88. His cutter has been a nice complement to his slower, 78-80 mph slider, which he often won’t show hitters until late in a game, adding to its effectiveness. His curve is yet another solid breaking ball. 
The biggest change in Agosta’s development this spring into one of the nation’s premier college pitching prospects, though, has been in the improvement in his changeup. With his increase in fastball velocity, he has only added to the differential on his change, while maintaining the same arm speed on both pitches. He has not been afraid to throw his change in any count, and it has been extremely effective against both lefthanded and righthanded hitters. 
With the general improvement he has shown with his raw stuff, Agosta’s evolution into a top prospect has become somewhat complete as he has always been considered an excellent athlete (he is a scratch golfer), has a quick, loose arm and an extremely-competitive approach. Through his first seven starts this spring, Agosta has posted a 4-1, 1.56 record. In 52 innings, he has allowed 38 hits and 12 walks while striking out 48. He tied his career-high with eight strikeouts in his first outing of the season, and tied that mark twice more before fanning 10 in his latest start—ironically, his first loss, a 2-1 setback to Loyola Marymount. Agosto’s fast start this season helped St. Mary’s assume the national lead in team ERA at 2.03, five weeks into the season. Five straight losses by the Gaels, however, capped by a 14-13 midweek setback to Stanford, sent that mark soaring, but thanks mostly to Agosta, the Gaels are still on line to break the school record of 3.39, set just a year ago.
Giants Thoughts

Obviously, the Giants are not scared away by his slight stature - though his college bio lists him as 6' 1", 178 pounds and Perfect Game has him at 6' 1" and 170 pounds.   They have been fine with Lincecum and Romo.  And perhaps like Tim's athleticism helps him throw harder, maybe Martin's help him as well.

Based on the rankings, Agosta was a very slight overdraft, but this is where the Giants pick (84th) so if they didn't pick him now, he could be gone by their next pick (115th; which they used to pick Jonathan Williamson, who the MLB has no scouting report).  Though it appears that Perfect Games liked Agosta enough that he was in the conversation for the first round in their mock.  Like Stratton, sounds like he was not really on some teams' radar until the past year.  And like many Giants picks, he is considered athletic and competitive (and this is from the Perfect Game profile, not Giants PR).

Also like Stratton, his key abilities appear to be a broad mix of pitches that he can complement with a nice heater that gets regularly in the mid-90's range, keeping the hitters off-balanced.  In particular, his out pitch is his changeup - a favorite of the Giants, the change up was the key strikeout pitch for Jason Schmidt and Tim Lincecum.  His K/BB ratio is not as high but it was 4.0 last season and 3.5 this season, both excellent ratios (though not certain what is the level at which a pitcher is good in college, probably even depends on the league as well), with 2.4 BB/9 and 8.3 K/9.  He appears to be a pitcher, not just a thrower.

As one can see in the descriptions above, it is important to get a broad view of any prospect.  The early descriptions were actually pretty uninteresting and not compelling why the Giants selected him.  The ESPN and especially the Perfect Game rundown sold me how good he is right now as a prospect.

I like the pick.  Agosta appears to be advanced as a pitcher, which is something the Giants seem to go for, from my observations of recent drafts.  Obviously, heat helps, but the Giants appear to go for the combination of good fastball, good stuff, plus out pitches (slider in Stratton's case, changeup in Agosta's; these appear to be the out pitches for today's baseball), all that he can throw for strikes, wrapped up with a competitive player who is a pitcher and not a thrower.  Very nice pick, considering we are all the way out at the 84th pick, where it is very hard to find a good starting player back that far in the draft.  Hopefully he can at least be useful.  And I like picking Giants fans (nothing against other prospects), hope he can make his dreams come true.

Monday, June 04, 2012

2012 Draft: Giants Select RHP Chris Stratton with 20th pick

For information about Chris Stratton's career with the Mississippi State University Bulldogs, go to his webpage there. It has not been updated with his 2012 stats though.  This is Will "the Thrill" Clark's alma mater and Stratton is one of the 30 finalists for the Golden Spike award (won by Will Clark, Tim Lincecum, and Buster Posey previously).

His stats are located here, and he started out as a reliever then because he did well, was made a starter.  in 109.2 IP, he had a 2.38 ERA and gave up 84 hits and only 25 walks (2.05 BB/9) while striking out 127 (10.4 K/9), for a sterling 5.1 K/BB ratio, and he had a very good 0.57 HR/9, with a .211 BAA.   For just SEC conference games, he had a 2.05 ERA in 10 starts, 74.2 IP, with 60 hits and 11 BB (1.3 BB/9), while striking out 88 (10.6 K/9), for an even better 8.0 K/BB ratio, and great 0.24 HR/9, with .216 BAA.  2012 was his first good season, he wasn't that good in 2011.

Mayo in his mock had Stratton #15.  So did BP's Goldstein and BA's Callis.  Strangely, no real comments among them.  Minor League Ball's Garrioch had him #25 (also no comment), while Sickel's had him #13, noting he "has a great balance of upside and refinement."  The only reason he reached us is because a number of teams thought that they needed to draft position players, drafting ones lower in rank (per BA) and passing over better players/pitchers like Stratton.

Sickels ranked him 15th overall, noting "Throws hard, throws strikes, diverse arsenal, and you can make a case to rank him above Wacha and maybe even Stroman."  Sickels ranked Stroman 10th, Wacha 11th.

BA ranked him 18th on their Top 500 draft list (Stroman was ranked 10th; Wacha 8th).  In their Updated Top 50 Draft Prospects list, he was ranked 14th, up four spots.  Giolito was ranked 9th, Heaney 10th, Wacha 11th, Stroman 12th, and McCullers Jr. 13th.  He appears to have been the best ranked college pitcher still available when the Giants had to pick (only McCullers, a high school player, was higher and still available).

Andrew Baggarly tweeted:  "Stratton is a late bloomer who wasn't drafted out of high school but had a 17-K start against LSU. He throws 91-93 and touches 95."  "The Giants must believe that Statton can develop quickly. He was 22 years old as a college junior."

John Manuel tweeted:  "Chris STratton makes too much sense. Somewhat polished, somewhat raw, big stuff. New clay for the Ninja to mold #Giants"

Baseball America in their draft blog:
The Giants have a strong reputation for drafting pitchers in the first round and getting them to the big leagues. Now they hope Mississippi State righthander Chris Stratton can join a recent lineage that includes current San Francisco starters Matt Cain (2002), Tim Lincecum (2006) and Madison Bumgarner (2007). 
Stratton excelled this spring for the Bulldogs and edged out LSU's Kevin Gausman, the No. 4 overall pick tonight, as Southeastern Conference pitcher of the year. His stuff isn't quite as firm, with a fastball that usually sits 92-93 mph but touches the mid-90s. His breaking stuff sets him apart; he throws both a slider and a curveball, and both can be above-average, with the slider getting higher grades. 
While he doesn't have a 70 pitch, Stratton has lots of 55s and 60s as well as a fairly fresh arm. He fits right in for vice president of player personnel Dick Tidrow, who has overseen the Giants' pitcher development for 16 years.
Here is the report by Mayo from the MLB.com coverage of the draft, where Mayo ranked the Top 100:
Starting the year as a reliever, Stratton eventually took over Friday starting duties for Mississippi State. 
His success there has seen him shoot up boards as the Draft approached. Stratton has the chance to have an exciting four-pitch mix, all coming from the kind of ideal pitching frame scouts love. He throws a sneaky fastball, up to 94 mph with ease and with good movement. His slider is the better of his two breaking balls, a strikeout pitch with good rotation and bite. His curve is a notch behind, but it has the chance to be Major League average with a slurvy break to it. His changeup, also a future average offering, has some sink. He has above-average control, throwing all four pitches for strikes and showing an understanding of how to use his stuff well. 
Stratton has been a very consistent performer since moving into the rotation and his combination of size, stuff and pitchability have him moving into first night of the Draft conversations.
This lists him as 6' 3", 190 pounds.  And there is a video of him there, he was ranked 20th in that list.

SBNation has a profile of Stratton which was quoted from ESPN:
Stratton flashes three above-average to plus pitches with a chance for solid-average command and a near ideal, projectable frame. He will work with a 91-94 mph fastball that can get up to 96 and will show occasional life with good command to both sides of the plate.
Found a prospect site that gave a profile of Stratton:
Stratton is a likely first round talent that has thrived at Mississippi State this year as the Friday night starter. His fastball sits in the low-to-mid 90s and a Baseball America report had it sitting 94-95 in the first inning against Florida this year. 
He complements the fastball with a slider in the 82-84 range that, while inconsistent, shows flashes of late life and good break. He also throws a curveball with a similar plane and a change-up, both of which don't grade out as anything more than average. 
Initially used out of the bullpen, Stratton made the move to the rotation early in the year and has thrived. He's sporting a 10-1 record so far this year for the Bulldogs and he has put up great all-around statistics. Stratton has shown great command of his pitches and sports a 115/19 K:BB ratio in 95.2 innings this year. His overall ERA of 2.16 is stellar and opponents are hitting a minuscule .210 off of him. 
While Stratton isn't considered to be in the same tier as fellow college righties Kevin Gausman, Mark Appel and Kyle Zimmer, he is certainly one of the leaders of the second tier of college starters and should hear his name called near the back end of the 1st round. 
MLB Comparison: Zack Greinke 
Projected Draft Position: Late 1st Round
Don't know how good the site is though.

Perfect Games, however, is a well respected site and this is their profile information:
4/19/12: Stratton stamped himself as a legitimate first-round candidate for this year’s draft when he went head-to-head with Louisiana State righthander Kevin Gausman in the opening game of the Southeastern Conference schedule, and actually outpitched one of the three leading candidates to go No. 1 overall. Both pitchers worked 8-2/3 innings in what may have been one of the best pitching duels of the 2012 college season, with Stratton striking out 17 and Gausman countering with 11. Each allowed four hits, with Stratton walking two and Gausman four. Neither pitcher was ultimately involved in the decision as they both exited the game in the ninth with the score deadlocked at 1-1. Mississippi State looked like it might win the tightly-played contest by scoring a run in the top of the 10th on a home run by catcher Mitch Slauter, but LSU rallied with two in the bottom half of the inning against Bulldogs reliever Caleb Reed for a 3-2 victory. The 17 strikeouts recorded by Stratton were the most by a Mississippi State pitcher in 20 years—or since lefthander B.J. Wallace, the third overall pick in the 1992 draft, fanned 19 in an NCAA regional encounter. A large contingent of high-level scouts took in the Stratton-Gausman showdown, in what was Stratton’s first start of the season after four relief appearances, and many came away talking him up as a legitimate first-rounder. 
His fastball was a steady 92-94 mph, peaking at 95, but the difference-maker in his dominant showing was a nasty swing-and-miss slider that Stratton has added to his repertoire and was his primary strikeout pitch. He threw the pitch consistently from 85-87 mph. Stratton has also resorted this spring more to a two-seam fastball vs. a four-seamer, and has responded by going 7-0, 2.98 with 78 strikeouts in 57 innings. He has walked 16 while allowing 45 hits. 
His performance to date has been a significant upgrade from his first two seasons at Mississippi State, when he served as a weekend starter but went only a combined 10-10, 5.25 with 152 strikeouts in 154 innings. As a sophomore, he was an unimpressive 5-7, 5.21—hardly a tipoff that he might become an elite-level prospect for the 2012 draft. Even last summer in the Cape Cod League, pitching for champion Harwich, Stratton was regarded as no better than 10th-best prospect on a very deep Mariners staff after going 1-1, 2.18 with two walks and 16 strikeouts in 21 innings, but he may have provided a sign of things to come in his final outing of the summer when he shut down Cotuit for eight innings on just 85 pitches. His fastball was mostly in the 88-93 range on the summer. 
Stratton has always had a good feel for pitching and adapted well in the fall to changes in his style and approach to his craft. Not only did he add a deadly slider to his mix and resort to getting more movement on his fastball by emphasizing a two-seamer, but he also changed his delivery when working from the stretch. The payoff has been quite dramatic, and has already elevated Stratton from a potential third- to fourth-rounder at the start of the 2012 season to a potential first-rounder. The addition of a slider not only provides him a second dominant pitch, but essentially has solidified his case to be a starter down the road as he now has four solid pitches for the role, including a curve and changeup as his No. 3 and 4 pitches. He uses his changeup, an 83-mph offering, mainly to counteract lefthanded hitters. 
At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Stratton has an ideal pitcher’s frame. He also has a quick arm and a very easy, clean delivery that he repeats consistently. If anything, he just needs to work on the command of his fastball.
Hank Schulman filed this blog post on the new draft pick:
Stratton, 21 and a native of Tupelo, Miss., was 11-2 with a 2.38 ERA in 17 games for the Bulldogs, including 12 starts. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder struck out 127 batters in 109 2/3 innings to win Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year. 
“He has a four-pitch mix,” Barr said. “He can throw breaking balls for strikes. His fastball goes anywhere from 90 to 95. He really competes on the mound.” 
Stratton is a late bloomer who was not drafted out of high school but developed phsyically and on the mound at Mississippi St. He now has a chance to join a rotation stocked with first-rounders Madison Bumgarner, Tim Linceucm and Matt Cain. 
“Those guys are outstanding pitchers,” Stratton said in a conference call. “Just to be on the same team with them is a blessing. This is the kind of organization I want to be a part of, which puts an emphasis on pitching. I hope I’ll be able to learn from those guys.” 
Stratton also looks forward to celebrating with his aunt and uncle, Sharon and Gaines Dobbins, who live in San Francisco. Gaines is a chef who bikes to Giants games. 
Though draft-watchers assumed the Giants would select a college pitcher to replenish the system with another fast-track arm, Barr said that as usual the team drafted the best player available. 
“Our board was mixed,” he said. “We had both high school and college pitchers and position players. Depending on how it went, if (Stratton) had not been there, whether we would have taken a pitcher or not, I’m not so sure.” 
Stratton first caught the Giants’ attention at the Cape Cod summer league last year. How quickly he reaches majors depends on many factors, starting with how quickly the Giants can sign him and how many innings the organization wants him to throw this summer.
Giants seem to like players who do well in the Cape Cod league.  The main reason for that is that this league uses wooden bats, while college players use aluminum (and other composite) bats.  This basically repeats what I heard Barr say on KNBR during his interview.

I would also add that one detail that is missing but important is that Barr noted that one reason the Giants really liked Stratton was because he knew how to pitch with his other pitches when his fastball wasn't working, emphasizing his four-pitch mix as another key, as he could turn to his breaking pitches.  It was also noted that he pitches aggressively against hitters and is athletic.  One of the KNBR hosts (Ray Woodson) also noted that Stratton was born in Elvis' hometown.

Matt Garrioch provided a PDF of his book on-line and he rated Chris a 40 for floor and 60 for ceiling, using scouting grading.  He could be good, though not great, by that grading (80 is best).

Giants Thoughts

From the above research, I like the pick.  Seems like he was the highest ranked player on the board, other than McCullers, but Stratton is a college pitcher and McCullers a high school pitcher, and thus closer to contributing to the major league club.  If he can make the climb to the majors in 3-4 years, that would be great, he would be around 25-26.  Though Baggerly noted that the Giants might be aggressive in moving him upward, since he's already 22 YO, so perhaps as early as 2 years, age 24, though that would be very aggressive.  I think 3-4 years is more realistic, only the best pitchers can climb within 2 years of their draft.  But who knows?

Not that he's on par with Lincecum, but he sort of reminds me of Timmy.  Of course, he's much larger than Tim will ever be.  But like Timmy, he was really searching for the key to pitching until his last college season, when he added a devastating slider as his strikeout pitch, and did so well that he was nominated for the Golden Spike Award.  In both cases, they both learned a pitch that allowed them to dominate college hitters to a great degree.  He did so well that he was named SEC Pitcher of the Year.

While Stratton does not throw with the velocity of Lincecum, he has four pitches that he can throw for a strike.  Two are above average already and the other two look like they will be solid average pitches in the pros.  He has very good command of his pitches, as illustrated by his 5.1 K/BB overall, but especially his 8.0 K/BB when facing SEC competition, particularly as the Friday starter.  He has a good feel of the game, and is able to adjust when one of his pitches, like his fastball, is not working, allowing him to continue to be effective.  So while he can throw in the mid-90's, he sounds like he is already a pitcher already, instead of a thrower.  On top of that, it sounds like he has good stuff, that helps pitchers strike out batters.

His body is considered one of those ideal pitching bodies, you know, the kind that Dick Tidrow loves to drool over.  As many of the Giants prospects seem to be described as, John Barr described him as athletic.  He's old for the league though, so some of his dominance has to be taken with a grain of salt, as he's already 22 YO, though only a college junior.  Still, an 8.0 K/BB against the best competition is still superlative.

Hard to say what he'll be, but I like that he has such strong command of his pitches, that will bodes him well in the pros.  Sounds like he should be at least a middle rotation starter and potentially a #2 starter if he can develop to his potential.  And that will be good enough and timely, as Vogelsong and whoever takes over for Zito after the contract (Surkamp?  Hacker?) might need replacing by then.  And given Lincecum's predilection for short contracts, potentially replacing him too if he decides he wants to leave, but only after another contract into his free agent years.  At minimum, I think that he can be on par with how good Zack Wheeler could be in the majors, and perhaps even arrive not too long after Wheeler, making him a good replacement for Wheeler in the farm system.

2012 Amateur Draft

I was able to find the following mock drafts and Top prospects lists just before the draft:
Giants Thoughts

I will start off with a quote from one source that has put their mocks behind their paid wall, Perfect Games.
Due to the lack of a clear cut No. 1 prospect, many have unfairly labeled the 2012 draft crop as weak. I would contend that the available talent base is sound, but don't be surprised to see teams take players earlier than where they have been projected since you could make an argument for 50-60 different players to be selected among the top 30 picks.  
The biggest wildcard remains Lucas Giolito, who I don't have projected to be selected in the first round. I won't be surprised if he is taken early by a team that has seen enough of him in the past, which will indicate that they are confident in his overall health, but history suggests that players, particularly pitchers, that suffer injuries and subsequently don't pitch in the weeks (or months) leading up to the draft typically fall. In fact, things are so quiet on that front that some have speculated that he may have a deal in place with a team, thus not needing to share medical reports more openly.
And that gels with what I've been reading in other places, that while there is no clear-cut top prospect, there is a deep well of talent that can fall almost anyplace in the first couple of rounds.

Mayo in his latest mock (first and only full first round mock) projects that the Giants are looking at high school arms, and Brian Johnson is his projected Giants pick, because Johnson has pitched well of late and could be quick to the bigs.  (Mayo was the one who turned me on to the possibility that we could draft Lincecum, though he thought we would pass on him and select Daniel Bard, who ended up with Boston later in the first round)

Mayo noted in his prior mock, covering only the top 20, that "the Giants will discuss college hitters and high school pitchers" for this pick.  He noted that Nick Travieso, Lance McCullers, and Walker Weickel should all get a look, but the power of Richie Shaffer, who can play the corner infield positions, might be too intriguing to pass up, and so he projected Shaffer in that mock.

Mayo no longer projects that the Dodgers to select Travieso with the 18th pick (in fact he falls out of the first round), so he could be available by the Giants pick.   He had projected the Rockies to take Piscotty 10th but now have him falling to 30th to the Yankees.

BA's Callis says his best guess (in his 4th and final mock draft) is that the Giants will go with a high school arm, such as Ty Hensley or Nick Travieso, Zach Eflin or Walker Weickel (the last three of whom are RHP from Florida), and he ended up projecting the Giants to select Travieso.  He projected the Giants to select Travieso in all his mocks.  He also noted that if Shaffer or Stephen Piscotty is still available, the Giants could look to upgrade their offense.

Callis, however, projects Shaffer to be selected 16th by the Nationals, Piscotty to be selected 19th by the Cards, leaving only the pitchers.  And he projects Ty Hensley to be selected by the Dodgers 18th.  He had Eflin going 25th, Weicker 30th.

As noted, Callis also projected Nick Travieso in his 3rd mock.  He had the A's selecting McCullers with their 11th pick, Indians selecting Richie Shaffer with their 15th pick, Dodgers selecting Ty Hensley with their 18th pick.  Piscotty was 23rd, Eflin 30th, and Weickel 31st.  This was done just last Friday, June 1st.

BP's Goldstein also projects the Giants to select Ty Hensley.  He also noted Walker Weickel as a possbility.  He sees McCullers selected by Toronto #17.   He has Shaffer picked #23 and Piscotty 30th.  He does not list Travieso, Eflin, or Weickel, so they all would be available to the Giants at their pick, if they want them.

Sicke's just released his mock draft today.  He also has the Giants selecting Travieso, noting that the "sturdy hard-throwing high school arm" seems like a good bet for them.  He also notes that Ty Buttrey, Walker Weickel, Zach Eflin, Shane Watson, and Lucas Sims are all logical here too.  He noted that if they want a bat, "Gallo or Seager would make sense."  He has Shaffer going 11th to A's, McCullers going 9th to Marlins, Hensley to Dodgers.

His partner, Matt Garrioch has the Giants selecting Andrew Heaney, LHP for Oklahoma.  "Could be one of the quicker players to reach the bigs and is a safe bet to be a #3 starter or better."  He has Shaffer going 11th to A's as well ("best college hitter"), McCullers #15 to Indians, Hensley #23 to Cards

Sickels also provided list by talent.  Here are the names noted above in the mocks, plus some other interesting names that might come into play for the Giants:
  • Lucas Giolito, HS RHP, #9, #2 for  him if no injury (reports I have read are that he could fall far due to elbow injury; Mayo do not see him in the Top 20)
  • Lance McCullers, HS RHP, #12
  • Andrew heaney, LHP, Oklahoma State, #17
  • Richie Shaffer, 3B, Clemson, #18
  • Deven Marrero, SS, Arizona State, #20 (Giants pick so I thought I would highlight)
  • D.J. Davis, HS OF, #21 (again, close to Giants pick)
  • Stryker Trahan, HS C-OF, #22 (again, close to Giants pick)
  • Stephen Piscotty, 3B, Stanford, #23
  • Ty Hensley, HS RHP, #24
  • Victor Roache, OF, Georgia Southern, #25 (I've seen his name in Giants draft discussions)
  • Joey Gallo, HS 3B-1B, #27 (For some reason his name pops out to me, I must have read about him at some point; Sickel's mock came out before I wrote this comment)
  • Matt Smoral, HS LHP, #28 (Similarly, plus power lefty, Giants like those)
  • Mitch Brown, HS RHP, #30, Throws hard, throws strikes, diverse arsenal, great makeup, stock rising. I like him better than many of the warmer-weather HS arms with more press.  University of San Diego commitment (Looking at names after 20, this description reads like a checklist of things Giants like to see from their pitchers, so I included him).
  • Nick Travieso, HS RHP, #33 Notes Great fastball/slider combo, and that his command is improving.
  • Walker Weickel, HS RHP, #34
  • Zach Eflin, HS RHP, #35
BA also released the Top 500 listing, here are the names and ranking:
  • Lucas Giolito, #9
  • Lance McCullers Jr., #13
  • Deven Marrero, #14
  • Andrew Heaney, #17
  • D.J. Davis, #20
  • Richie Shaffer, #21
  • Victor Roache, #22
  • Ty Hensley, #23
  • Matt Smoral, #24
  • Stephen Piscotty, #26
  • Stryker Trahan, #27
  • Zach Eflin, #31
  • Joey Gallo, #33
  • Walker Weickel, #37
  • Nick Travieso, #40  (BA must have inside info to have Giants select him in every mock and yet they rank him so far back)
  • Mitch Brown, #44
And, of course, BA provided an updated Top 50 listing today, so here are the rankings for the above, kept in the same name order:
  • Lucas Giolito, #9
  • Lance McCullers Jr., #13
  • Deven Marrero, #15 (fell one)
  • Andrew Heaney, #10 (rose 7 spots)
  • D.J. Davis, #20
  • Richie Shaffer, #22  (fell one)
  • Victor Roache, #24  (fell two)
  • Ty Hensley, #21 (rose two)
  • Matt Smoral, #25  (fell one)
  • Stephen Piscotty, #27  (fell one)
  • Stryker Trahan, #28  (fell one)
  • Zach Eflin, #33 (fell two)
  • Joey Gallo, #23 (quite a jump up, 10 spots)
  • Walker Weickel, #38  (fell one)
  • Nick Travieso, #30  (jumped up 10 spots, but still far from the Giants #20; then again, rankings had Panik in the 40's and beyond)
  • Mitch Brown, #44
Mayo has his top 100 here.
  • Lucas Giolito, #8
  • Lance McCullers Jr., #13
  • Deven Marrero, #14
  • Richie Shaffer, #16 
  • Andrew Heaney, #17
  • Stephen Piscotty, #18 
  • D.J. Davis, #21
  • Zach Eflin, #25
  • Ty Hensley, #26
  • Victor Roache, #27
  • Matt Smoral, #28
  • Stryker Trahan, #29
  • Walker Weickel, #31
  • Nick Travieso, #32
  • Joey Gallo, #33
  • Mitch Brown, #51
There are also some pre-draft buzz, here is one from Mayo, this is the MLB draft news area, Baseball America has a section on the draft, Sickels has a discussion plus will open up a new thread, plus I would recommend reading all the mock drafts, there are usually some discussion about the vagaries of this draft.  And of course there are all the tweets with late minute rumors.  Strongly suggest checking out Twitter and view the show on MLB.com.  

It's Inconceivable!

It is almost impossible to guess who the Giants will pick with a pick this late in the first round, even in the first 20.  Invariably, there will be teams ahead of the Giants who will go off the script that the mock drafts have them picking.  That then dominoes down to the Giants pick.  Who knows who is the Jeter or Lincecum among the Top 20 who may fall into Sabean's lap down that deep (two picks that were expected to be gone by the time it was for Sabean's team to pick).

In addition, the Giants often goes off script from what the prognosticators had them picking.  Daniel Bard was the popular choice for the pick the Giants used to get Lincecum.  Most the pickers had them picking a hitter when they ended up with Bumgarner, like Mills.  And nobody had the Giants picking Brown or Panik, thinking that both were more likely to be picked in the supplemental first round, though I would note that someone had the Giants selecting Brown in one of the early mocks, but he fell when he was injured.  Many had the Giants going for a number of HS starting pitchers for the Panik but they were all selected by the pick, so perhaps Panik was the consolation prize.  One can never tell when a team will go off the script.

That is why I felt I should include Lucas Giolito.  Very high ranked but his injury might push him back, depending on the picker's opinion of how injured he is.  Callis thinks he'll be selected by Blue Jays #17, Goldstein #12.

I've seen a number of these names on DrB's blog in this various discussions regarding the draft.  Hensley is a name I saw a lot in his discussions regarding who the Giants will pick.   Roache too.  He and Shankbone have discussed a lot of the suspects there.  Shankbone also ran the Sickel's mock draft for the Giants, and selected Ty Hensley with his first pick.

So the likely suspects, based on the mocks are Ty Hensley and Nick Travieso, with Zach Eflin and Walker Weicker as other common names noted.  That said, someone higher like Lucas Giolito or Lance McCullers Jr. or Deven Marrero or Andrew Heaney might fall to them, as the Giants, at least under John Barr, appears willing to draft players whose stock had fallen prior to the draft or who might have fallen to the Giants pick and they had rated him higher.

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