Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Your 2013 Giants: Bochy Talk

Alex Pavlovic kindly transcribed most of a press conference that Bochy held the other day to open up spring training.  Lots of good info there, though a lot of it is just standard manager speak in response.

ogc thoughts

There are a few things I would point out in particular.

First is that with the WBC taking away almost half the 25 man roster, this gives our top young prospects much more playing time than they usually get, giving them the rare opportunity to get more chances to show off what they can do in regular playing time and not getting into a game here and there.

And that led to a discussion of the opportunity that Gary Brown gets this spring.  One cloud in the coffee noted there is that Brown apparently complained about a lack of opportunity last season, saying he wanted to play more than what he did.  That might explain his poor start in 2012, he might have been a little disgruntled and/or sulking, similar to what Frandsen did when the Giants sent him down in favor of Burris.  Sounds like the Giants are giving him that opportunity this year because of the WBC, it will be interesting what he does with this opportunity, if you are going to make waves by complaining, then you will need to walk the talk.

Boch also mentioned seeing both Belt and Pill getting reps in the outfield as well.  The way I see it, Belt will eventually be in the OF at some point, so may as well get him used to it now than later.  Eventually Sandoval will have to move to 1B, he is not a long-term 3B, plus Posey might move to 1B at some point due to his injuries, sure he can handle catching now, he's still young, but he had a devastating injury to his leg, I can't see how that doesn't limit his years as a catcher.

At least Belt is capable out in LF, he used to play that previously and he did OK there defensively, albeit in small sampling.  He definitely got the arm for it.  And it is better than sitting him down, guaranteed, when Posey gets to play 1B when getting a rest from catching.

This also gives Blanco and others playing time in LF, since Belt will mostly play 1B.  The Giants could have gotten a LH-hitting good defensive 1B (which I had advocated for previously) instead to mostly start at 1B, pushing Belt to LF and Blanco to the bench.  I think this is fine for now, because I like Blanco and want to see what he can do with some more regular playing time, plus it would give Torres some playing time as well as whoever wins the 5th starter spot, Peguero, Kieschnick, or whomever.

In addition, this gives the Giants the option of doing just that later in the season.  Instead of being forced to deal only for a LF, with Belt getting prepared to play LF, the Giants could widen the search mid-season, if necessary by Blanco and Torres not doing it, to both LF and 1B.  Sabean loves that type of flexibility, it gives the Giants many more options and not be stuck with one or another option, at which point the other team would leverage the situation to get more out of the Giants.

Nice chat about Zito.  Very true what he noted about Zito's performance.  Looking over Zito's career, I don't really see him carrying his momentum forward.  He has always been very good ... until he's not.  Very roller coaster, and I expect nothing less this season.  Hopefully he can keep the downs to a minimum, that would be better to get out of him.

Interesting that he noted that the lack of a long man out of the pen made him nervous.  Made Giants fans nervous too!  But I don't see that changing this year, and Mota won't even be around, it could be Ramon Ramirez taking the last spot, then we would have a pen full of short relievers only.

Also interesting that he noted that the two championship teams were pretty different.  Sure, the pitchers were mostly the same, but the lineup and roster was very much different, on the position player side.  And sure, it was pretty obvious, especially since he's the manager, but I just thought it interesting that he noted how different the lineups were, and how bringing everyone back was good.

Very interesting on Hembree being called up if not for his injury.  That seemed obvious to Giants fans at the time, but it is good to hear that the Giants felt the same about him.  He's probably not far from making the Giants roster as a reliever, if not this spring, then in the next season or two, as there will be poor performances and sometimes injuries.

Lastly, I found it interesting his recap of how the Giants viewed Romo as a reliever and the need to manage him in order to protect him, signalling the need to go to others to close games as necessary.  Shows how on top the Giants and Bochy are on what makes their pitchers successful and on how they handle them, depending on what they are able to do.

Thanks to Alex for transcribing the press conference for the second year in a row.


Some extra news from Baggarly.

Yusmeiro Petit and Conor Gillaspie are both out of minor league options, so if they don't make the 25-man Opening Day roster, they would have to be DFAed and then clear waivers in order for the Giants to sent them to the minors.  I can see Petit getting a chance from some bottom dwelling team, and Gillaspie maybe an AL team that could DH him.

I believe the other players on the 40 man roster still have an option left, including Runzler, Peguero, and Adrianza.  Though given how many teams have grabbed Sandy Rosario and then let him go through waivers, one would think that he is out of options too, though perhaps those teams really needed a 40-man roster spot and gave up on him despite his option, thinking no other team would grab him.


  1. On the OF competition, its pretty interesting. We have Kieschnick and Peggs, both of whom have had their progress derailed by injuries, and sort of written off by prospect hounds. Personally I like Kieschnick a little more than Peggs due to his demonstrated power. There was talk that Peggs was out of options, but apparently that isn't the case. Peggs may have a narrow advantage because of his baserunning and all-OF positions versatility. Then again, power off the bench is tough to find in these times.

    Gary Brown gets a talking to, obviously. The Giants are sticking by him, but they must be hoping to get through to him on his hitting adjustments and baserunning concentration. There is a good chance that the Fresno OF is Roger K in LF, Peggs in RF and Brown in CF. I think the 5th OF spot might actually go to this Cole Gillaspie character, or Brett Pill as a 1B/LF/PH, because both are RH hitters and the Giants trend a tad to the LH side. (One more advantage for Peggs I guess).

    Interesting there is no mention of Javier Herrera. Maybe the deal fell through. I figured it would include a ST invite. Maybe his previous PED suspension and the latest brewup in Miami caused the Giants to do some more due diligence. Or maybe he has to get into better shape, his weight looks like a far cry from his previous 5-tool status.

    I could see Petit taking the long man roll, but I have to think RamRam has the inside track on that last spot, at least to begin the season. If Hembree demonstrates health and some improvement on his secondary stuff, he'll get the nod. The Giants have a lot of coverage in case of injury, that's for sure.

    The nice thing about filling in one position at a time is you can get pickier and pickier, when you have youth and talent on your side. That's why having the vets with Pagan/Scutaro strikes a nice balance. Posey/Sandoval/Belt/Crawford are comically young. That leaves 2 starting spots, currently LF and RF. I've said this before, but this is looking more and more like the 97-02 vibe, where the IF was relatively set and the OF was in a bit of flux.

    Not sure I agree with you about Sandoval having to move to 1B. I also think Posey will have to be dragged kicking and screaming from the catcher position, and it won't be for another 5 years. Belt is a superior defensive 1B, he might even be the best in the league in a couple of years. Sabean has a history of valuing that highly. Being flexible enough to shift around adds a lot of value, I hope he can hack 40 games in LF. Bochy and Sabean have always valued positional versatility.

    1. I understand the love of Kieschnick for his power. Right now, I'm excited by Peg's speed and defense, but personally, I think Roger has done more in AAA where I think he has the better chance of sticking than Pegs.

      Yeah, have to think Cole or Pill are the most likely to make 5th OF, good point about wanting RHH.

      I agree that RamRam has the inside track, in my head he already has that last open bullpen spot, but yes, he would need to win it first. I expect him to win it.

      Do you know if Rosario has options left? And if so, was he really the 40th guy on the roster so many times that he got moved around all off-season until the Giants grabbed and kept him?

      Posey is already 25. You are saying that he's lasting to age 30. Young catchers start to break down around 30 and those are the healthy ones, not ones who had his ankle ripped apart internally by a maniac.

      He's also one of the Giants best hitters and, more importantly, he's one of those generational players who can lead a team, something that sabermetrics can't measure or slice and dice, he has that intangible "it". The Giants have got to have realized that by now, and should be working hard on getting him to realize that a positional move is in his and the team's best interests, at some point.

      If it were me, I would leave it open for him, since he does love the position, but let him know that is the team's long-term plans. Currently, in my mind, Hector and Susac are racing to take the starting catcher's spot in the next 2-3 years, at which time Posey would move to a position of need for the Giants.

      Of course, I would have already signed him to a long-term contract covering his arbitration years as well as a couple of his free agent years, a nice big extension based on his value as a catcher, but still because of arbitration, lower than market value for whatever position he ends up at.

      Not sure what else Pablo has to do to convince you that weight will continue to be a problem for him. He got the wake-up call in 2010, yet came into camp overweight in 2012 and 2013, needing further time to get into shape. I'm not blaming him, that is just the way his genetics seem to work. If he had come in ready, then I would be convinced. Instead, I'm convinced it is just a matter of time. And he is 26 YO now, he can't blame the hole in the brain in every guy 25 YO and younger. I wish that he wasn't like this, but he'll have to come into 2014 in shape for me to change my mind.

      I understand the love of a great fielding 1B. FYI, Sandoval was a great fielding 1B in the brief time he played it in 2009, if I remember right. I would rather have a tall lefty guy fielding 1B (ode to Stretch) than a short righty, but if Pablo gets fat, that's the only position he's playing. And he's a damn good hitter, hard for me to give him up, unless someone else comes up and can hit similarly. And if Belt could do that, then I could be persuaded that we could let him go via trade (free agent would yield a lousy pick that would take 4-6 years to provide a return - if ever).

      I think Belt would be fine in LF. He has some speed, so he won't be a statue out there, and a great arm to boot, from his pitching days. I think you prepare him right, he'll be a fine plus defensive LF in time as well.

      If it was just a matter of where I want Belt, 1B is great, but I want to keep Pablo and he looks like he's on a collision course for Big Boi Body that won't be able to hack 3B defensively anymore, like in 2010.

    2. That's the thing, I swing my opinion on Pablo. He is a pretty incredible athlete, and he plays a great 3B, 2010 he got way out of shape. 2012 he was large, but still had his cat like reflexes... And that's what 3B is really about, reflexes and a good arm. Pablo has a great first step. It might always be high drama, but I'm not writing him off yet. He's so young, he might hit into some maturity in the next year or two, and that might change things drastically.

      Another way to thing about it, consider that baseball prospect report on the Oregon 1B who Klima thinks can hack 3B. Managers will trade a plus bat with power for average range and arm in a heartbeat. Pablo has a plus arm. I think he can be adequate to plus depending on how serious he gets about conditioning, and that is a wild card, but until he dogs it like in 2010, I say give him the benefit of the doubt.

      I think about Posey like Yogi Berra. Shift him around because his bat is special, but he's a catcher. The Giants are showing they will be creative to get his legs the rest they need.

      Looks like Hembree will challenge all these minor league contract guys something fierce. That is good stuff, he is the future.

    3. I think that Pablo is pretty amazing athlete too, in spite of what his body shape might suggest. Here is how I come to my conclusion: his defense.

      By UZR/150, he was 1.5 in 2010 and 1.0 in 2012, but 17.9 in 2011 when he worked hard to get thin enough. By DRS, he had 1 in 2010, -5 in 2012, vs. 15 in 2011. Even by Rtot, -4 in 2010 and -1 in 2012, vs. 16 in 2011.

      Clearly, he was in much better shape for 2011, but he lapsed in 2012, perhaps not so bad that he didn't get benched (I think the problem is that defensively he would have been acceptable, but he was so fat in 2010 that he couldn't even hit), but enough that the major defensive metrics didn't think much of his performance in 2012, aligning it more with 2010 than 2011.

      And the news so far this spring training is much like 2012: Sandoval needs to lose a bit more.

      I will admit that currently, his defense is fine given his offense, but that is not what this discussion is about: it is about when Sandoval will need to move to 1B. I am glad that he works hard but he knows what's at stake and yet he came into 2012 and 2013 in less than acceptable shape.

      Guys with his shape and lack of discipline in eating tend to get worse with time with their weight issues. I'm talking about his 28-31 age range (3-6 seasons from now), and that's when players start their decline from their physical peak, when things don't work like they used to when they were young, when more discipline is needed to keep the muscle firm and the weight off, discipline that he has not shown since he got his big contract.

      That's why some Giants fans don't think we should even sign him beyond his current contract. I believe in his hitting and that we should sign him long-term because a great bat like that needs to be kept around. But I don't believe he'll be able to keep himself in good enough shape to stay at 3B for the long-term, I think in 3-6 years, he will need to move to 1B.

      I agree that some maturity, with the young male brain solidifying, might help. But I can't give him the benefit of the doubt since he knew how great he was in 2011, but once he got comfortable that he's around for a while, with that contract, he let his conditioning slip for both 2012 and 2013. Things will most probably not get better with him behaviorally, unless he stops hitting and he's not starting.

      I know the Giants are being creative. I'm saying that Posey, unlike Yogi, had career threatening injury to his leg, which is very important to a catcher, and it'll never be better and it will certainly age faster than had he never had the injury. The news have been great about his legs up to now, but the damage was to severe for me to believe that he won't need to move off the position - for the sake of his long-term career - in order to preserve his bat and legs.

      I agree that Hembree should challenge, but with Ramirez around, I think it is more likely that RamRam would need to lose the position than anyone winning the position. That way, we have Hembree in reserve in AAA, working on getting better (he still had walk issues if I remember right) and being a great backup should anyone be injured or non-performing. That's great risk mitigation, it is not like we need Hembree now, and gives us one more year of control over his career. Plus, it is not like he could not use another year of tweaking things in AAA.

    4. Here are some cautionary notes I would also add.

      Brian McCann was a great offensive catcher, yet by age 28 he had issues with his shoulder than made him no longer a plus hitter. Geovanny Soto was great from 25-27, but has been in decline the last two seasons. Joe Mauer had injury plagued seasons at age 24 and 28. He had a great season last year, but already had two seasons affected by injury, and he can DH, which he did a lot of in 2012 to get into so many games (42 DH games), he's been no more than a backup catcher the past two seasons, getting only 47 and 72 starts at catcher in the last two seasons.

      Most of all, as catcher, Posey will never play a full season for us. Most catchers peter out at around 130-140 starts at catcher. We got him into 148 games by starting him in 29 games at 1B, allowing him 111 starts at C and 3 at DH (143 starts, so 5 games as PH). It is nice that we can juggle him around, but this affects Belt at 1B and anyone who might start in LF.

      We saw what happens when one of our best hitters could not play a full season: Bonds. We had to juggle in replacements, and luckily, Hector is not half bad offensively as a catcher, but he's no Posey. If Hector can progress as a hitter, it becomes a decision between Hector starting at C and whoever is starting in LF. If Hector can hit better than Blanco, or whoever wins that starting spot, then it might be better to have Belt start in LF, Posey move to 1B, and have Hector catch. And at that time, you also make the decision about Sandoval at 3B and perhaps have Posey at 3B and Sandoval at 1B.

      And sadly, there is also the possibility that Posey must play 1B and it becomes a choice between Sandoval and Posey, in which case, no choice, we keep Posey and trade Sandoval for a boatload of prospects. I totally believe Posey made 2010 and 2012 possible, we ride on his back as long as we can and if you agree with that too, then you should agree with me that we should move him sooner and not later when we have to, to a position that is easier on his body so that he can lead us in body offensively as well as spirit.

      He's already made clear what he thinks of catching - he would tell his children not to play catcher - and thus his public position of wanting to play catcher I view more as a way to maximize his player value, which maximizes any long term deal he gets from the Giants - he's no dummy, he's an econ major and had a great GPA while playing sports. And I have no problem with that, that's how the game is played. Let's pay him and plan now to move him once somebody is ready to take over at catcher and save his body so that he's still leading us in his late 30's like Jeter, and not broken like Johnny Bench was, at age 33-34, and career over by 35.

  2. More on players out of options for Giants:

    Besides Gillaspie and Petit, three other players are also out of options, though they most likely will make the team: Arias, Blanco, Mijares.

  3. Ever thought about Posey shifting to 2B two or three years from now? He has experience at short, Scutaro will be going or gone, and a Posey move to 2nd would untangle the Belt/Pablo 1B/2B/LF knot a bit.

  4. Yes. You can check my early posts on him, I had envisioned a Biggio type of career. But the we got Panik, who looks like a natural there, still does.

    So I thought, where else could he still be a plus hitter, while fielding OK, plus the Sandoval weight issue, made third base look obvious. And Paniks arm do not profile as third base, so thus I moved to having Posey at third.

    But who knows? Maybe Panik do not make it, or .noonan or Adrianza, then maybe Posey there. But we have a lot of options there for the future, not so much third. Things can and will change but for now third seems to make the most sense to me.

  5. Posey does not have the lateral range for 2B. That will not be happening. I think 3B there is a chance, because of his arm, but you need Panda-quick reaction time. I bet Buster could hack that.

    Its always going to be a little bit of moving pieces methinks. One big factor to see is how Sanchez, Belt and Crawford adjust again. Just read the Crawford piece by Shea in the Chron, I think one factor that Crawford detractors haven't considered is he could still improve with the bat. Personally I think it will always be a struggle, because he doesn't have plus bat speed, but he has a nice frame for power that he has demonstrated in-game, and he is patient and willing to make adjustments. Sure its a couple months, but he was hitting in the 280s to close the season.

    I just go back to the fact the core infield group is young young young. That is the goods. We have time to let it play out. The FA/Arb model of MLB gives us these 6 year windows where players get expensive at different speeds. Its an interesting puzzle.

    The one thing I take away from Scutaro/Pagan signings is that its not about the Giants not liking Panik/Brown, its about winning next year. Sabean has talked publicly about not rushing prospects as much. They had to rush Crawford/Belt because of their MLB placeholders being sub-par in 2011. Basically 2010 was a breakthrough a couple years ahead of the game, and they had to scramble. That's how I see it at least.

    1. I whole-heartedly believe in Crawford's bat. He has been very good at making contact, he just needs to do more with it when he does. His power suggests that once he figures it out, we could get an Aurilia with great defense or a combo Aurilia-LeMaster hybrid, good BA, good power, good fielding.

      I was following his contact rate all season and there was a progression of improvement over the season, with peaks of good hitting that he put out for long stretches. I believe in his bat right now, as long as he continues to develop.

      I think that is a key thing that you have been pointing out, that our infield is very young and relatively cheap, though Pablo will soon be very expensive and Posey probably will get a long expensive contract at some point too, even with arb, he's sure to be the equivalent of Lincecum in terms of record arb awards or contract size. But when you got good stuff, you need to pay for it.

      I agree that the signings are about winning 2013, and I would add 2014 too, as the prospects will still be working on things in 2014 I think. The soonest we can reasonably expect good production is 2015.

      I agree that Crawford/Belt was rushed in 2011, and that we should be able to avoid that in 2013-14, as we have Peguero and Kieschnick in AAA for OF, and Noonan in AAA for 2B.

      I agree with the 2010 breakthrough being a year ahead (as we probably would have won playoff spot in 2011 had Posey not gone down), helped by Burrell, Huff, Franchez, Torres.

    2. Though I would also note that with the pitching that they had, that was ready and thus was a winnable pitching staff, no extra breakthrough there.

      And it wasn't like the Giants didn't earn that championship, to be clear from my end, but that the extra offensive help get them the championship that our pitching deserved.

  6. I agree about Scutaro/Pagan - winning now. They didn't get long contracts, so even if they do end up blocking Panik or Brown/etc, it won't be for long. But I was also thinking that a big part of the Giants' success IS the movable parts. There's no reason, in the next couple of years, to permanently "assign" any position. I completely agree that Posey will have to move off catching every day before 5 years are up. The big issue will be Sandoval, and, if Hector improves, which direction the Giants take with Posey, i.e., you don't want to carry an expensive backup.

    Right now, these are cheap strengths, and I chuckle at the pundits who seem to think the Giants have a LF problem, as for sure Belt should be out there when Hector is catching. Bochy is very very good at this stuff, I have no worries about the lineup.

    I'm more concerned about the rotation, to some degree Timmy, but moreso the lack of immediate depth in the minors. It begs over-optimism to assume everyone being injury-free and effective, and honestly, I place little faith in waiver wire replacements. And, my own little pet theory is maybe Timmy's future could be a Goose Gossage type - which would make the Giants a juggernaut, but you still need that 5th starter.


    1. I think 3-4 year contracts could block a prospect. However, it should not in this year's cases.

      In Brown's case, why it does not is because Pagan should be able to move to LF or RF and make up for his offense there with much improved defense relative to fielders who normally play there. We have no sure thing to take over LF, and we only have Pence signed for 2013.

      In Scutaro's case, he's going to be 40 YO, and most likely a utility guy that season anyway, or at best sharing time with Panik (or Noonan) at 2B. That is why no team was willing to give him 3 years. I think the Giants felt that they would get enough value from Scutaro in the next two seasons to allow them to eat his third year, if necessary, but that he should still be good enough to utility MI. Also, Panik most likely will take at least two years to be ready to challenge for the job anyway, so that fits in.

      I totally agree that moveable parts is a big part of the Giants success in recent years. That has been what I meant by my talk about mitigating risks, that with a player who can play multiple positions at OK offense/defense overall on the bench, the team can survive periods of loss of significant players (like how the Giants won after losing Posey and was still leading when they traded for Beltran).

      While I understand your point about permanently assigning any position to any player, I think that Posey and Sandoval are important enough pieces of our offense that we need to be aware of where the 500 pound gorilla might need to play, and be aware of how that will affect other player's playing time, particularly someone as potentially significant as Brandon Belt.

      I agree with chuckling at the pundits worried about LF.

    2. I understand the worry about the rotation. I think we have to worry every year, a high octane engine like that is rarely fixable at 200 MPH down the track.

      I view Timmy as more of a fixed concern - which it sounds like he did over the off-season, getting himself into good condition for the 2013 season, instead of the crap he did on his own for 2011 and 2012.

      I also like, though fear, his haircut. The haircut shows that he's serious and being more professional about his job, but it is also a sign that Team Timmy is preparing him for free agent bidding, as the long hair would scare off teams. I think that is the point of the glasses and haircut, he know looks like a presentable adult, instead of a long-haired sk8r or a young teenage boy. The glasses gives him some aging, while the haircut gives him respectability.

      But still, to expect that none of our starting pitchers will go through the season again, healthy and performing well, is rubbing the rabbit's foot's fur off, down to the bone.

      However, we have no choice but to do that, as getting an almost ready prospect who we could stash in AAA is very costly and you would have to give up somebody good to do that, when we need all hands on deck for defending the title in 2013.

      I agree with Timmy as super reliever one day, but those types of pitchers don't get the $25M contracts and that is what he is aiming for this coming off-season. I had been hoping that the Giants could sign him to a $22-23M deal for 4-5 seasons, but with no chatter about that, clearly the Giants are worried enough to rather wait for the off-season to deal with Lincecum and/or Team Timmy is shooting for $25M+ per season. Now I think the Giants are going to let him go with qualifying offer then sit around for the market to set Tim's price before coming in with their final offer.

      I'm actually hopeful that should the need arises, that Heston or Kickham will be ready enough to hold the fort until Sabean can trade for someone to take over for the loss of a starting pitcher mid-season. I'm seeing good reports on both starters, and we just need someone to take innings without being an easy loss for a while, I think, to survive such a loss.

      But we will see...

  7. Nice article on Kontos and how he broke out, and, more importantly, how he is unique as a reliever:

    Nice interview with Vogelsong:

    BA has their annual Top 100 out, only Kyle Crick made it this season ,66th:

    Nice article on Crick:

  8. Shankbone: Javier Herrera sighting! He's in minor league camp:

    1. Nice! I missed that blurb first look see. The Giants success will get a few follows I'm sure. I'm thinking about Beane snagging the Aussie off of waivers also.

      Much lamenting about our only guy being Crick. I think this is mainly due to success and draft position, but the other factor is the Giants being contrarians and believing in their evaluations. So you have Panik getting panned as a utility guy, Agosta (as well as Johnson/Marlowe/Okert) as definite pen guys for majority consensus, but the Giants are trying something different, possibly stretching them out as starters if they can develop their secondary offerings. Downtown Gary Brown getting shallacked all over the place.

      Cold hard fact is the Giants have the most interesting rotation in the minors top to bottom at San Jose. Six count em six arms PLUS the questionmarks like Marlowe, Bandilla, possibly Osich. The Giants depth with left handers is an organizational strength. Its quite deliberate too. Yes, they have a plan.

      Saw a bit of Clubhouse Confidential last night on MLB network. Jeff Sullivan of fangraphs was on. The discussion was about the top ten best GMs. From the consensus Sabean was #5, Brian Kenny was trying to discuss it, because he was by far the most controversial. Kenny hinted that Saber types ignored him and scouting types ranked him #1 in most cases... Yup, debate rages. Kenny wanted to discuss him more, but Sullivan punted, said he'd be 10th or 12th and of course... brought up the Zito/Rowand signings. Big thumbs down on that analysis, its lazy but also completely outdated. And yes, it looks like he'll have to win another world series... Actually I don't think it matters, he'd still be called lucky.

    2. Oh yeah, I've noticed that certain teams seem to pounce on the guys the Giant make available, like LAD, Pirates, other teams.

      Crick being our only BA Top 100 is definitely due to draft position (guys are old enough now that success should have come by now - or not).

      What Giants fans up in arms are forgetting is that the experts have not understood the Giants talent well the past 10 years or so. The Dodgers consistently was rated higher than the Giants throughout the early to mid 2000's, particularly in pitching, yet it is the Giants who produced the best pitcher, Matt Cain from that period, whereas all their babies fell to injury or were traded. Lincecum dropped to us and some still felt that he would have dropped more, whereas the Giants pounced on him and was very giddy about picking him, showing how little the experts know the Giants preferences or knowledge. Most thought he was strictly a reliever. Bumgarner was considered a bit of a reach by Giants fans and most wanted a hitter, any hitter, instead of him. He ended up being the highest WAR for first round picks after him, except for Heyward, but he wasn't really available, he played the system to get picked by the Braves (and the scout who had made friends with him in high school). Posey was considered good, but not this good, he was considered a great defensive catcher and good hitter, but without much power, it was thought 15-20 TOPS, once he developed. He beat that right off. Sandoval wasn't even on anyone's Giants Top prospect list (though I did make sure to draft him in my keeper league early) the year he broke out and made the majors with a bang. All in all, the experts have been consistently wrong in judging the potential of the Giants top prospects, whereas the Giants have made the right decisions on who to keep and who not to.

      We have a lot of interesting prospects and one hiccup of a season does not crater that value and talent. That is one thing I've loved about the Barr era, his drafts pick up a lot of guys whose value cratered due to something going wrong in their senior year: the talent don't always go away. Not all of them work and it is still too soon to assess the ultimate impact, but Crawford is the best example of that, he was considered first round, heck, he was a top 10 ranked player when the 2008 season started, a potential Top 10 pick, but he fell to us a few rounds later.

    3. I don't know enough about prospects overall anymore, but still I would basically agree with you that San Jose should have one of the best rotations in the minors. Of course, the Naysayers will say that is mainly because of Crick, but I'm still surprised by how many people don't seem to like what Blackburn has done so far. Not to set expectations too high, but the way I read about his maturity as a pitcher reminds me of what was written about Cain when he was just a prospect.

      Then there is Stratton, who some thought was a valid 10th pick before he fell to us at 20th. I'm really shocked that he is not that highly rated by most of the experts. They think his ceiling is that of a #3 starter. I like that he has good command of 4 pitches, and with our Giants pitching gurus, I expect him to improve in our hands.

      I see why Crick is rated ahead of Blackburn and Stratton, but I feel that they are not that far behind him (most do see Crick as a top of rotation type pitcher, mostly #2 starter). Then you add Mejia and Escobar in there, plus maybe mix in Agosta too (I assume that's the six you are talking about), who I also think is underrated because of his size (much like Lincecum), that's a great rotation, the minor league equivalent to Cain, Bumgarner, Lincecum, Vogelsong, Zito (and I think Lincecum will regain #1 status this season).

      About Osich, if he can just stay healthy, I expect the Giants to move him fast, like they did with Dirty, though not as fast because they really needed Sanchez up in the majors (though TINSTAAPP rules say you don't hold back any pitcher).

      I agree that the Giants appear to be building up a lot of lefties powerarms. I think that is related to the ages of Affeldt and Lopez and the lack of improvement in Runzler, plus the fact that they do love the powerarms, the experts are right about Tidrow (just not about the nuances). They could and probably will go in a couple of years, and it would be great to have their replacements ready when that happens.

      Yes, they do have a plan and they have been playing a great concerto, especially in the Barr era, played to near perfection with two championships in three seasons.

    4. I like Sullivan's work in general, but yeah, the saber experts sucks when it comes to understanding and appreciating Sabean.

      His comment on the signings just goes to prove my point that if you want good analysis of baseball, you need to be the expert on a team. A Giants expert would know that Baggerly has already broke the story that the Zito signing was strictly a marketing ploy on the part of Magowan and that the Rowand signing is also suspected to be a similar one from the position player side.

      And also, to your point, lazy because it's outdated, Rowand isn't even on the roster anymore and Zito was a playoff hero - as you say often, flags fly forever, and how much is a championship worth? His contract is also almost over, as well.

      What I find really ironic is that if the sabers would use research that is already out there - the BP study I always tout, along with the THT study on playoff success - the Giants championships are really easy to understand, and if you follow the breadcrumbs from theory to actions, the Giants under Sabean's guidance has built a team designed to win the World Series more than other teams are: strike throwers, great closers, good defense.

      At this point, I agree, a third championship would not change the minds of the Naysayers. But while they are rubbing their rabbit's foot for luck, we're reveling in the enjoyment that we have a great team, a team for the ages, and that there's more to come. They can continue to think the sky is falling, I've tried long and hard to get them to understand, and I'm more of the "leave no one behind" persuasion but at some point you just have to move on, I refuse to allow them to continue to be a drag on my enjoyment of the Team of the 2010's, I'm finally learning.

    5. zito is the funny one. I just remember me bashing the hell out of him as he was sputtering in spring training. You got that one right, and it really does appear that the marriage and home life DID help him stabilize. Like Yogi says, pitching is 90% mental? Hah.

      I really think they'll pick up the option if he pitches like last year. Half his starts were DOM. He's either good or bad, there really isn't much in between. but in a pressure situation, Bochy has the quick hook.

      I think Timmy is gone. The haircut is the start of it - I'm serious about this you hear, plus always testing the limits of getting the most money. I think that's fine. Let it ride out, bid hard within reason, and let the chips fall where they may.

      Yeah, I have a slightly cruder term on that sky falling, don't tell me its raining is the punch line. I'm completely sick of that aspect of Gints blogdome. Schulman is on fire lately, he dug up some fangraphs research on the pen, lowest velocity in the majors. And yet they get it done. Everybody is all envious about St. Louis' pen, and their farm system. Well, we are going to be locking horns the next few years, lets see how it turns out.

      There are great development comps: both teams bid on Scutaro, the Cards have Kelton Wong, we have Panik picked a few picks later. They have Shelby Miller, we traded Zach Wheeler. They picked Wacha, we snagged Stratton. They have maybe the best hitter in the minors, we busted on RafRod. We have Gary Brown who will make the show most likely, they have Zach Cox. Too many Giants prospect watchers are grass is greener. The Giants done good since 2006, and they fixin' to do good some more.

    6. I think Timmy is gone too, somebody is going to give him a giant Earthmmover full of benjamins and frankly, 50/50 that he replaces Zito on the list of bad contracts if he goes to another team. I think you called it right, bid hard, see where chips fall. Still, maybe 2012 and the reliever profile damps down demand and interest and we can get him at a reasonable (near Cain) price.

      If he returns to the Giants somehow, I think the pressure would not be as much and he can pull out of the dive, as he has 2012 as a lesson learned. If he moves to another team, that's a whole new deal, and especially if he ends up on media capitals, either LA or NY, that's an exponential leap in pressure. Good luck to him if he takes that move.

      $25M+ vs. $22M, not really a whole lot of difference, you'll still be stinking rich either way, whereas in SF you'll be loved and tolerated, able to be and accepted for your goofy self. He'll be expected to be "the Man" elsewhere. I think the curse of "beware what you wish for, as you may get it" will apply with the contract Timmy gets.

      I think the Giants most likely will have to pick up Zito's option (or sign him to a longer term at lesser money) and see what happens with Lincecum in the off-season. I don't see Team Timmy pulling a Boras move to wait into January, at that money level, he needs to keep all the big teams interested, so maybe it lasts to the Winter Meetings. Still, by that point, the Giants would have needed to already determine Zito's option, and Sabean likes to have things settled and covered.

      That would give the Giants Cain, Bumgarner, Vogelsong (probably combo his option into another 2-3 year deal), and Zito for sure, plus a spot for Lincecum if he returns (I don't see the Giants moving on quick unless the money asked is too rich to start, much like with Aurilia) with Surkamp, Heston, Kickham likely contenders, plus MLB retreads who they pick up, like Boof, Petit if he's still around, and others, should Lincecum leave as expected.

      As much as I love our beat writers, I don't think that they totally "get" the Giants and how they win. I also saw an article recently on velocity in the bullpen and the money quote was from Affeldt, when he said that he didn't really become good until he learned that it isn't all about the velocity, it was all about the location.

      I do like the Cards player development, they have had a good pipeline for years, despite regularly winning, so if I had a gun to my head, they would be the one I would say knows how to pick better than randomly in the draft (though I'm getting close to adding the Giants to that list). I have to wonder, though, how the loss to the Astros of their scouting director (Luhnow) affects the pipeline going forward for the Cards. That will be a good test if it is the guy running it or their system. Of course, it will take a while to see if that is true.

      Good comps. I would put up Crick against Shelby, not exactly same as Wheeler, yes, but I think closer enough right now, plus we got Blackburn in a combo with him. Yes, too many Giants fans period are grass is greener, everybody sucks except when they are going good, trade for all these other better players. It is like it is in their DNA from the 70's and 80's, locked into an evolutionary deadend, like the Neanderthals, unwilling (unable?) to change with the times.

      The Giants, to me, have seemed to have taken things up another notch with the addition of John Barr, as they were good on pitching previously with Tidrow, but now with Barr, we got both offense and pitching covered between Barr and Tidrow. As you note, we've been in a golden age since 2006, and I like what the team has done the past few years even without a Top 10 pick overall, picking up players like Belt, Crawford, Brown, Panik, Crick, Blackburn, Stratton, Kieschnick. I agree, they are fixin' to do more good.

    7. The Cards have excellent development. They have consistently overcome draft position and found major league players down in the draft. I think they, more than the free spending Rangers or the manipulating Rays, are the gold standard of baseball. I think the Giants are closer to them than people realize though. Nobody has had better success than us in the past 6 years. Nobody. That needs to be emphasized. Instead its "what have you done lately" and crazy impatience with Brown/Panik. And whining about the Zach Wheeler trade. Gone baby gone. (I just read on a Mets blog that Wheeler warming up stopped all the Mets MLs in their tracks - he's gonna be really, really good).

      I agree, I think Barr has been a great balance, and with the RDF finally realizing their mistake and investing in development, we have something good going. Its a sleeper mode right now, but I predict that will change by next year this time.

  9. FYI, I was searching my archives and I found another reason to love Bochy that I had forgotten:

    Basically, hitters coming to his team improve such that Bochy managed teams have added one win per season. And he was 4th among full-season managers in 2007 (total of 21). This obviously helps him with his great record in 1-run games.

    So was it luck that so many hitters have had good performances for the Giants when joining the team, or was it BochyBall? Looks like the Lucky Strikers strike out on this one, apparently Bochy is a good evaluator of hitters and is able to help them hit even better, to the tune of one extra win per season (which translate into a two win swing in seasonal record, I would remind, so a 81-81 team is now 82-80).

    Go Bochy!
    Go Giants!

  10. Baggs latest, I think it'll strike a chord with you:

    Draft class, bonds. I like Roger K, and I've noticed some rumblings about him, both with BA and some other prospect rags. He stays healthy...

    1. Yeah, I was very enamored with his hitting that he did last season, was very sorry he blew out his shoulder trying to make that catch, as he could have been a nice option in LF over Blanco for some games, and I would have loved to see how he hit.

      I like the Schierholtz comparison, though unfortunately too close for comfort because Nate got injured a lot too. Somehow teams need to teach players that hurting yourself over one play ROBS the team of your production for the rest of the season. And in this case, robbed him of the chance to get a World Series ring, which apparently Culberson got one.

      He's the risk mitigator I see for LF, people complain that the Giants didn't get anyone, but I see Kieschnick as a nice possibility out there if necessary, also Noonan if he continues to hit and look like he could be a major leaguer in AAA this season (long shot to make roster). The Giants, as I've noted before, has been pretty good about leaving a spot open for their young players to get opportunity if they can perform and earn it.

      And if he gets the chance, not that I want others to fail, but I would be excited if he gets called up, just to see what he can do.

  11. And Pav's latest...

    "I went over to the minor league field where Dan Runzler and Heath Hembree both looked good. Hitters who faced Runzler said his command has come a long, long way. Also, Gary Brown had a pretty loud day at the plate."

    Early, its early. Still, I like Runzler/Hembree doing their thing and Gary Brown going nails to the wall.

    1. As you know, I believe in Brown's power coming in at some point, as well as taking walks. I think people worry too much about those things for him, he's demonstrated it before and at a high level for his league, so I think that he'll figure it out eventually. Still, nice to see him blasting some balls.

      Exciting to hear about Runzler. I think the Giants are going to keep Hembree in the minors as backup should the vets fall through. And I can't see the Giants adding a fourth LHP, that would be so out of the box, and yet that would be also something they might do. Still, I see the two of them being placed in AAA as risk mitigation, since they have options, but be the first ones called up should the opening day bullpen falter in any way, or if any injury comes up.

      But very excited about the Runzler news, he had great stuff before but just no control, if he can start to control things, he could be a shutdown type of lefty setup reliever who could maybe close a little too.

  12. Conor G shipped out early, exactly what I thought would happen, AL Central team (I predicted Royals, but White Sox fit as well), Gints get an arm back. Jeff Soptic, 3rd rounder from 2011,

    Good luck to Conor in the AL, I think his bat will play as a utility guy with a bit of DH here and there. I don't think his defense was advanced enough to hang with Los Gigantes. He has good plate discipline, but comes out as a tweener, not really enough bat for the corner, not really enough glove either.

    As we wrap up the 06-08 drafts guys we had high hopes for will get pieced out. Peggs and Adrianza are on their last option before having to be on the 25 or exposed, they'll be in this boat next year.

    How many arms can the Giants have? Never enough, never enough.

    1. Thanks for the news!

      Here is a good rundown of Soptic by Pavlovic:

      Money shot: and according to Baseball America, Soptic had the best fastball out of all White Sox minor leaguers.

      Giants do love their fastballs!

      This is his 22 YO season, and he's probably going to repeat A-ball in Sally League, where he pitched last season and had a 6.0 BB/9 and only 7.5 K/9. However, his H/9 was only 5.4, hitters really can't make contact with his pitches.

      A recent article somewhere, interview with Mike Fast, had Fast noting that one key thing he's learned working for a MLB team is that while in the MLB the ability to avoid hits is pretty uniform (as per DIPS), that is just the end result, that is NOT true down in the minors, particularly way down, so this is actually a pretty good trait that Soptic has.

      the key, as always, is having our pitching gurus try to work their magic on Soptic to get 1) his walk rate cut in half, and 2) if he's inducing such weak contact, lots of infield fly balls, resulting in a 0.89 GB/FB (after all this time you would think the saber-brains would realize that this ratio is more useful if you take out the infield flies), then there should be some way he can use whatever deception he is using to also get more strikeouts.

      Yeah, Conor has always been a tweener, the Giants probably shouldn't have drafted him, but I guess he was BPA, so they hoped he would develop enough that they can trade him for something good. I always hoped he could hit for enough power to be a good bat off the bench for us, but he never progressed that far. Two good prospects drafted right after him, so the Giants aren't all seeing with pitchers, were Lance Lynn of Cards two picks later and Wade Miley of D-backs six picks later. Another nice pick in the following 2nd round, was Robbie Ross of Rangers, looks like a nice LHP reliever.

      Soptic looks good enough, while his ERA was high last season, his FIP was 4.10 (though SIERA is 4.78) vs. 5.44 actual, so he had some bad luck there, which is a common problem with minors relievers, if their runners get driven in by the following relievers. And his WHIP is good, 1.269, despite all the walks because of the hits, so there is good clay here to work with, plus he's only 22 and can still be molded.

      Soptic was #29 on the ChiSox's BA Top 30 prospect list this year. "high risk/high reward" "100MPH" BA thought he would end up in Advanced A, so maybe SJ for him. They noted that ChiSox was thinking of having him start in order to get him more innings, a tactic the Giants have employed with relievers before (Runzler) so that they get more reps practicing certain pitches. they think he is closer material.

      Have to think the Giants are most interested in the "plus slider" that he has trouble getting over for strikes, solve that and he could be flying up the system.

      Looks like win-win type of trade, ChiSox gets something for now who might be able to hit for them, we get a true lottery ticket that Tidrow and gang can work on molding, they probably saw him last season in Sally and made note of their interest. Also, he was picked up a little before the Giants got Oropesa in that draft: Barr likes to keep track of guys he liked in prior drafts, down the line, so maybe Soptic was one of those.

    2. And yes, good luck to Conor, though he got a ring and some MLB experience with the Giants so he probably don't regret getting picked by the Giants or getting them to do that tricky thing to get him more money, by putting him on the 40 man so soon.

      And yes, can never get enough arms.

    3. Wow, read Baggarly's article:

      According to that, the ChiSox released once upon a time hot prospect, Lars Anderson, in order to give Conor a look-see this spring. I think he was the guy out of Boston's farm system, second coming hitter extraordinaire, but I guess he just could never figure it out at the major league level.

      He also mentioned something I thought of, that now there can be no mistaken identity in camp with Cole Gillespie.

    4. Listening to Sabean's latest interview on Mac/Murph KNBR via web - one thing he let slip is teams were asking for Heston last year. Interesting, to go along with Noonan interest. Now onto the Bobby Evans interview!

      You're right on about Lars Anderson. There are so many players like that. its one reason to take the BA top 100 with a grain of salt. Yes, 90% have played in the show or whatever the number is, but the number of busts even within that top 100 is big time.

    5. Yes, that is a great point to bring up, that BA Top 100 prospects are not any sure thing prospect. Lars was #40 for 2008, #17 for 2009, and #87 for 2010. People just don't understand how many top prospects go bust.

      And it is not that BA does not do a good job of identifying the better prospects, as I have found their Top 20 rankings to be good for my keeper drafts and for IDing prospects to scout for the season, it just shows how hard it is to identify good prospects.

      People need to realize that it is very similar to the rubric about how a hitter who fails to hit 70% of the ABs is a star, finding prospects is a similarly low probability event that many people don't seem to get or understand.

      Good to know who are the players other teams are asking for. You know I like Noonan, and I also like Heston too, though not as much as Noonan. But I think both can be good contributors at the major league level, with some further development. Thanks.

  13. OGC - working on getting my blog up. Hung up on a name. I'm thinking about a mid March launch, after I get back from spring training. Any tips? Things you like about other blogs?

    Some IFA coverage from BA, not totally impressed with their coverage, they missed a guy we signed, and kind of hatchet jobbed young Gustavo. Our righty Keury Mella made their top 20 DSL/VSL list though. And it turns out Gary Brown was a near miss on the top 100, Panik was in the 150, and Stratton had a lot of support, up to #50. See what I mean, sleeper system!

    The battle for the back of the roster is going full throttle already! I like the story of Tanaka, he gave up 3MM to have a shot at the last utility and 750K, just to play in the majors, and he'll go happily to Fresno if he doesn't make it. Slap hitter, no power, but I like that story. Bond and Noonan haven't made noise yet. Wilson Valdez might have a shot but you have to think the switch hitting Tony Abreu has to have the inside track, he has sneaky pop, 52 HRs in the minors.

    Cole Gillespie is making noise (I'm so used to spelling Gillaspie its a relief to go back to Gillespie, like Dizzy), as is young Gary Brown. I just though of one thing - Juan Perez, Roger K, Brown AND Peggs are all ticketed to Fresno. Something has to give somewhere. The one thing I'm thinking about is Torres will get gimpy at some point, he's already gimpy. When Pagan/Torres go play the WC, there will be a two week proving zone that should be interesting for future reference. The Giants do pay attention to spring training. Maybe the stats don't count, but its a proving ground. I'm glad Brown is starting correct and hustling.

    1. Definitely test run the blog first to see if the colors you select contrast well (mine didn't, got a lot of comments). But I would also say it's better to get it out sooner than later, I think most of your early readers will be us who know you and can help you get the kinks out fast.

      I think it would be good to have one that allows your readers to RSS your comments, if you can, so that people can easily see comments and return volley. :^)

      Free is good! :^)

      I like the ease of other blogs where they don't require you to input those spam filters, and I hate mine (or rather DrB since I get to comment with no problem since it is my blog), but without it I'm going to get dozens of spam that I would have to delete every day. As it is, I still get about 5-ish every week or so.

      I don't like the Disqus that Lefty has. It don't work for me on IE, so I have to go to Chrome to comment.

      Your name seems obvious: Giants to the Bone :^)

      I like comment trees versus a stream of comments with notice referring to the actual comment you are replying to way above. I also don't like comment apps that throws you to another page where you can't see the original blog post.

      Sorry, that's all I can think of, I'll post more if I can think of any.

    2. I like BA's coverage, but that said, they have gaps like any other service that you can certainly fill.

      I would note that they were not aware of Sandoval or Belt before they made the big splash in the minors, I think Hector was also short shrifted too.

      And in general, nobody thought that Posey would be as awesome was he has been, Belt too before his big breakout, Sandoval as well. And most thought more of all the stream of Dodger starting pitching prospects who went up against Cain as he rose through the minors, as well as the majors, and yet he's the one with a borderline HOF career going.

      Nobody saw how awesome Brandon Webb was going to be either.

      So I think it's good to get into this humble, but understanding that you can bring a lot of value from your observations and analysis. I think you'll be great at this.

      I like Tanaka's story too, also Gillespie's story in Chron:

      Plus, I always cheer for any player who grew up a Giants fan like Cole: Go Giants!

      Well, as the sabers like to say SSS for spring training stats. So the teams that know their stuff about hitting and pitching will know - beyond the results - whether their hitters and pitchers are executing their mechanics properly and take that into account.

      The Giants appear to be one of those teams that know the difference. Whoever let Torres and Arias go probably don't, Blanco and Casilla too. And I read a blurb somewhere about Herrera that he's doing something different too and the Giants caught that, whereas his old team did not.

      Brown I was worried that he might be a little full of himself when he joined the team, but I had no reason to voice that concern so I didn't. But after reading about his ups and downs of the past two seasons, I think that was an apt concern. I also think that perhaps he was already picturing himself as a major leaguer and thus not putting forth the effort necessary to do well.

      So I agree, seeing him hustling is a good sign, though I suspect that is because he can see the carrot of the majors right now, with the huge opportunity to show off in front of him (a lesson learned from him slacking in 2011 AFL that he corrected in 2012 AFL; one trait that I liked of his from college). Still, don't care how we get results, as long as we do. :^)

      Didn't Juan play 2B or infield at some point? I think they might be readying him for utility duty with that logjam.

    3. Oh, Brown was a near miss his first year too, if I remember right, I think he was 101st (that could have been BP's Goldstein, memory foggy).

    4. thanks for the suggestions! I'm buried in work right now, so its good that its dead season for sports.

      I'll take that blog name under suggestion, not a bad idea.

      I think Brown is a cocky goofball for sure, and he needed to get punched in the mouth a bit. We'll see how he adjusts. I agree, you need to put the work in. The big knock is going to be his stance, where his hands are pinned against his body almost. I subscribe to the Ted Williams method (Ted to Yaz: don't change a thing kid, your swing's great) where the only thing that's really important is where is the bat as it is going through the hitting zone. So is this a small adjustment to get him more plate coverage and avoid getting busted inside by right handed heat of the major league variety? Not sure, I think that is the major scout qualm with Brown.

      Spam is a big consideration. I think I have to require a user name at the risk of less comments, the anon stuff at DrB's drives me nuts personally.

    5. Just threw out an idea, was just looking at your name and the song "Bad to the Bone" came up. :^)

      The way I view Brown is that if he had such a crazy and jittery stance in college and was able to adjust enough that he had the best OPS in his league for the prior 7-8 seasons, beating out even Evan Longoria, then he will eventually figure out MLB pitching too, it is just a matter of time for him to figure out each level.

      Given his cockiness, I think it is best that he step up a level at a time and earn his way up, else I would have been of the opinion that once he's ready defensively in the minors, just bring him up and let him start learning in the majors, I just believe in his abilities to adjust that much.

      Spam is HUGE! I don't know if Blogger has that function, though I haven't checked lately. Last I saw, it is either like how I have it now with Anons and some spam, or each user would have to registered by me (there was no way I could see to have users register themselves, but if a Blogger expert knows otherwise, let me know), which means that if someone wanted to comment, they would somehow have to contact me. I don't want my e-mail so easily accessible by putting it in my profile, so I went with this option. Yeah, the anon stuff also drives me a little crazy too.

    6. Oh, when I say 7-8 seasons, I should have also added that this is all the data they had on-line. It was so high that I have no doubt that he had the best OPS for at least the past 10 years if not longer.

      I mean, he beat out Longoria!

      Not that he's going to out hit Longoria in the majors (another guy who were up there in the league was Kirk Suzuki and he hasn't hit as high as Evan), but if Brown hits somewhere between Suzuki and Longoria, along with stellar 2-win defense, he will be more than OK in our lineup.

      But his ceiling is as a deadly leadoff hitter who hits for average, OBP, power/ISOp, steals bases, and scoring a lot of runs, like in the Bugs Bunny cartoon, cha cha-ing into homeplate regularly. And I think he'll be closer to Longoria than Suzuki, who is handicapped by being a catcher, basically around .800 OPS. I think that he can get to .350-.370 OBP and SLG to .430-450, with lots of doubles and particularly triples with our Death Valley in right-CF.

    7. Each year the pitching will be a bit different, but I do agree that what he accomplished at Fullerton was very impressive. I also think that the expectations curve with him has been all out of wack for his professional career. I imagine it'll go zooming up if he does what he is capable of in Fresno's hitting environs.

      Even with the low end ceiling expectation of a 260 hitter, he is still a valuable commodity. Now the Giants decided to ship Wheeler instead of him, and if he doesn't go to the top end of a 800 OPS with death to fly ball and chaos on the basepaths, that could end up being the wrong decision. But nothing is in stone yet, and Wheeler had a strain today, got pulled. You never know in baseball, you take it one game at a time. You can make predictions that make sense at the time, but then things change.

      I'd note he's our best athlete in the system, per BA. That is a pretty easy consensus opinion. Its a matter of honing his craft. And I think too many prospect hounds are way too into the age/level as religion. All things equal, its great to have a young prospect playing against competition 2 years older. Guess what? That's what Brown was doing in the Eastern! Compared against top prospects he might be old, but he's actually doing better than a lot of his draft class. So I think he's held to an unfair standard on that one, but he is also in the organization that gets beat up for the vet-love while they play young guy after young guy. So its a confusing jumble.

    8. Very good points overall. Fans seem to like to go on rollercoaster rides all the time. Almost got whiplash with all the ups and downs, say, of Randy Winn's fan appeal. I too expect Brown to show off in AAA, and get the prospect hounds howling again.

      About Wheeler vs. Brown, I get that there is a right or wrong decision ultimately, but I prefer to focus more on the right or wrong decision at the time the deal was made.

      At that point, we had a great rotation and Wheeler was not doing that well - again - in the minors for the Giants. Meanwhile, we needed a leadoff guy at some point and those, as we know, are very hard to find among prospects, particularly in late first round picks. Also, the Giants had picked up Crick, so technically could have already found Wheeler's replacement (though I don't think he was signed yet at that point; however, I think Blackburn was).

      From what I recall, the Giants didn't like Wheeler's mechanics and made him work on changing it, which was what made his results so poor up to then. The Mets, from what I recall, let him do his thing the way the wanted. So I've been waiting to see if he has any physical issues, so thanks for that mention. That is part of the reason the Giants gave up on Liriano, I think.

      Also, his 2012 profile in BA noted his return to his high school pitching mechanics in July. And they note he has a #2 profile in the last two handbooks, which is what they also say about Crick. And I can see either or both Crick and Blackburn get promoted quickly to AA if they start out SJ hot, meaning they could theoretically be ready to push for a MLB job in 2014 (at least as an option). And with Cain and Bumgarner around long-term, the need for a frontline prospect like Wheeler is minimized.

      Meanwhile, we don't really have any other option other than Brown for leadoff or for CF. Wheeler might have more value ultimately, but relative to the Giants supply and demand, Brown provides the most future upgrade value than Wheeler I think. Plus, there's his whole mechanics thing.

      DrB chides me on that too, the age/level as religion. But I truly believe in that. Looking at Baseball Forecasters MLE's and what they say about prospects vs. what I've seen other MLE's, plus what I feel about physical maturity, I think if you got two prospects who hit the same, but one is much younger, he's going to be better ultimately in the majors, more times than not.

      And I've seen a lot of older guys hit well in the minors and then do squat in the majors.

      Now what you say afterward is what I think: Brown being younger, I have a lower threshold for what I want out of him from the league than others. Isn't that age/level as religion though? Oh, I get it now, you mean in terms of being a top prospect.

      That's the thing, I think we agree that he's not a top prospect, and thus do not have as high an expectation as to his performance, and agree that he's a value starter for us even at a low BA because of his defensive and baserunning values.

      And yet, it's damn if you do and damn if you don't for the Giants regarding youth and vets. I'll let those Giants fans sweat out these things, I've enjoyed the past four seasons greatly, unlike them, who have been "tortured".

  14. Wanted to point out this great interview with Lincecum:

    In it, he basically admitted that he came into last season out of condition and stamina, as DrB has been noting.

    That validates my scenario on Lincecum: start out bad, affected confidence starting spiral down even though he was in condition, cleared out head at ASB, pitched great in second half until stamina runs out, leading to poor starts at end, but with rest and not as much usage in the pen, he was able to pitch well in the playoffs for us, mostly.

    Given that, I would love to get him signed up to a long-term extension this spring, but given his history, probably not going to happen. I could see him pulling a Greinke and going for the place with the most money. I'll just be happy to give him a qualifying offer and get a draft pick for him, he has done so much for us, I won'd begrudge him going for the money, but I think that he will end up regretting that if he does.

    I have to think he wants $25M+ per season, maybe $30M per. I'm hoping the best bid he gets is $25M for 5 years, but the Giants get him for $30M for 2 years plus vested option for $30M he earns by pitching 200 IP in second year. That fits with more money while short years, let the other teams set up long-term deal, then the Giants swoop in with a short-term bigger money deal. The Giants will have to think differently to get him back.

  15. I think Baggs is really upping his game so far. I like the 3 headed beat competition. Schulman did a great job last year, and Alex is coming along as well.

    Pence! I have always liked him, goofy swing and goofy character traits all. Now that he's a Giant I really hope he puts together a good year and helps us threaten for another championship. I think its the right move to be cautious with him, and make him prove out a bit. I also feel that the money will be there to bid on him if he works out. The RDF has earned that respect.

    But check out the Sabean quote - yup, there it is, "“He’s got light tower power and our park in general is geared to a right-handed power hitter,” Sabean said. “Besides, he doesn’t have to hit home runs to be successful. Just have quality at-bats, shore up his on-base percentage, get hits with runners in scoring position."

    Hah! You can teach an old dog new tricks. No reference to the back of his baseball card? What is this on base percentage you speak of Brian?

    1. I like the three headed beat competition too. Haft isn't half bad either, I like his work too, though he's not quite on par with the three above. Each has their good points and bad points, but overall, I think we are very lucky.

      Yeah, loved that Pence article too. I don't think that Pence or the Giants will let it get to free agency. Given his ardor for staying, if he plays well (i.e. as usual) in the first half, I expect an announcement in the second half sometime about a long-term signing for $15M per for 4-5 years.

      Unlike Lincecum, if he does well, he's going free agency for sure. And if he does poorly, then I think the Giants would be first in line to sign him long-term but at a much lower price, as no other team is going to touch him at premium prices, though he'll probably just sign a one year deal, though maybe the Giants could entice him with a multi-year deal with incentives, since he likes that.

      The Giants have talked about OBP before, though mostly Felipe, but given that he talked a lot about it, I assume he had Sabean's blessing else he would have been castigated for doing that. I think Sabean knows the value of OBP, it is just that in his old age (and after two world championships), he probably feels that he can open his kimono a little wider.

      Because, as a GM, I would not want it known to other GMs that I'm a strong saber. I would make a lot of old-school statements so that I can catch the other GMs off guard when pursuing players in trade. Why give away your secrets? That's what happened to Beane, his "secret" got out and now he don't get those cheaper OBP players. Meanwhile, Sabean milked the older players for a long while, and now he's milking the tweeners who were prior top talents who now look ready to break out.

  16. Busy guy, that Baggs. Gints are busy too:


    1. yes, excellent. Though now I wish I had been more diligent looking for a job 20 years ago, maybe I could have gotten an intern job with the Giants then, I was fresh out of MBA and looking for a job.

    2. The best advice I could give to 20 years ago me would be to not worry about money and pursue the opportunities I was most interested in, cashish be damned.

    3. From what I hear, baseball teams pay squat to entry level people so a Giants job would have been an opportunity I would have been interested in, even if I would be paid less now than I am in my current job.

      I just didn't think nor did I run across the opportunity in any of my job searches (pre-internet, had to schlep into career centers on campus to find index cards with jobs on it). I greatly enjoy what I do for a living but if I could be doing similar stuff for the Giants, that would have been great.

      My standard statement I give anybody I am in an interview with (either as interviewer or interviewee) is that the average person spends more time during the work week dealing with your job - getting there, working, lunch, breaks, overtime, getting home - than you do with your loved ones, so you better 1) enjoy your job, 2) enjoy the people you work with there, and 3) enjoy your boss. That has been most important to me, I've always figured that once I'm in a job, I'll work hard and the money will eventually come if I'm good (and so far, so good).

      So I totally agree with your statement. I was a programmer before my MBA and I probably could be making double the money I'm getting now, but I get to do stuff that I enjoy even more everyday, related to business strategy and competitive intelligence, so that is great advice, cashish be damned.

    4. Oh, and thank you for sharing your advice, I greatly appreciate it.

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