Saturday, July 26, 2014

Your 2014 Giants: Things are Getting Uggla and They Just Got Peavy

The Giants brought up Dan Uggla yesterday, as well as Tony Abreu, as both Ehire Adrianza and Marco Scutaro both goes back onto the 15-day DL.  Unfortunately, both players being brought up were not on the 40-man roster, so Nick Noonan was DFAed, as well as off-season pickup, Jose De Paula.

Then they went out and got Jake Peavy for Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree (you were right Shankbone!)

ogc thoughts

As I commented somewhere, I have no problem with the Giants picking up Uggla and giving him a 25-man spot.  People focus on his decline from his very good years, which I understand.  But right now, we don't need him to be like his very good self, because we got Pence, Posey, Sandoval, Morse in the middle.

What we need is someone who can hit better than Hicks, Arias, Adrianza, Panik, and Scutaro can.  And the Uggla of 2012-2013 can do that in spades.  We don't need a top of the lineup hitter, we just need a steady contributor in the 6-7-8 spots, depending on the day and the pitcher.  Uggla, if 2014 is more a reflection of his discontent with his situation and the pressure of living up to his contract and thus he can be like his 2012-13 self would be good for us.

Of course, regular readers know that I still like Adrianza and that I have pointed out that he's been hitting well since June 1st.  But this is his second DL for the hamstring, and he's probably not getting better until he rests this off-season.   And I don't know if he's ready to be a regular, though if the opportunity were there, I would be OK with it.  But Uggla hasn't been that bad in 2012-13, just not very good, and those versions of him would be OK fine for us in 2014.

Alas Poor Noonan

I still believe in Nick Noonan, but sometimes a player needs more time than a team can give him or just need a change of scenery.  Of course, that's assuming that he's not claimed and returns to the Giants.  He is from the San Diego area though and they probably have a better opening in MI than the Giants, so he could end up there as well.

But he's shown good plate discipline in spurts in the minors and has hit well when he's in his groove.  Unfortunately for him, Joe Panik is like a better version of him, showing good plate discipline too, but doing it more and better than Nick.  Neither one is superior defensively either at MI spots, as well.  Good luck Nick, wherever you end up.

Paging Jake Peavy

Wow, there was enough smoke this time.  There were a lot of rumors that the Giants wanted Peavy.  I was a little surprised that Escobar was the one to go, but given his difficulties this season in AAA, I guess the Giants saw enough that convinced them that he's the one to let go.   Shankbone commented that Hembree might be a throw in, and once I read that, it just made sense to me, given how other relievers got the love this spring and he didn't even make the majors once this season.

And, really, the Giants had to be thinking of a two for one trade anyway, with Hector concussed and likely needing to go on the DL, they would need to add a non-roster catcher to the team today, and would need two spots open.  With Sabean's recent statement that everyone is up for grabs in trade (but only if a fair one in his estimation, so it's not a free for all either), meaning that no one is a keeper, may as well look to give up two for one in a deal, and open up a spot.

The rumors was that the Giants, or specifically, Bochy, wanted Peavy, with the thinking that being with his old manager might help Peavy figure things out.  Of course, that was true back when he was with the White Sox and reportedly on the trading block then too, but he ended up with Boston.   Hopefully that is true.  Don't have time to look at stats, but obviously, he's not doing that well for Boston.  But they still got two Top 10 prospects from the Giants, so they will certainly trumpet that in their press.

I like Petit, but he seems off this season vs. last season, which I attribute to him being a bit rusty pitching irregular relief vs. being a starter in the minors last season.  So I'm OK with this pickup as well, we need another starter with Cain up in the air apparently from the news of no improvement and nobody in the minors looking ready yet.

Catching Fire

With many of the moves that Sabean make, they try to catch lightening in the bottle.  So when they call up a catcher, I expect that Susac will be the recipient of the 40-man roster spot.  He's been hitting well and while not great defensively, most reports have been positive that I recall.  May as well give him a chance to play up here and see what he got.  And frankly, Sanchez has been banged up so many times that I don't expect him out for only 7 days, much like how Belt has been out more than 7 days (FYI, turns out that it was Scutaro that threw the ball that hit Belt in the face, and he just got sent back down:  coincidence?).

2013 Redux?

Wow, so many injuries happening and keeping guys out long term.  Seems a lot like 2013 again, when a lot of guys were out for injuries or dealing with recurring pain.  The difference is that our main lineup is still mostly OK, the bullpen seems fine, and the rotation just got a boost, hopefully.  But we will see.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My thoughts on Hembree, BABIP usage in Minors

This was a comment in response to a statement a while back about Hembree's BABIP "regressing to the mean" since it was higher than .300

ogc thoughts

The problem with using BABIP for minor league pitchers is that not all pitchers figure out the skill of hewing to the BABIP mean of .300 in the majors.  This gets especially iffy then for relievers where it is all SSS and BABIP isn't all that accurate.   So Hembree bad BABIP does not necessarily mean that there will be a regression to the mean.

There is a great interview with Mike Fast of the Astros where he talked about learning this while working inside (he was a well known sabermetrician prior to joining the Astros, for those who didn't know).   He noted that DIPS don't quite apply in the minors, that there are pitchers who don't learn the fine art of keeping BABIP to the mean .300 that most MLB pitchers do learn.  Search for interview with Mike Fast of Astros and that should get you the right link.

Not that Hembree hasn't learned, just that you can't just quote a high BABIP and make that assumption.   Checking out his numbers (reminder, this was written a while back), his career BABIP is roughly .327, so perhaps he hasn't learned.  And subtracting his poor numbers this season, his career BABIP previously was still .316, so perhaps this is an issue with Hembree.

Again, SSS, but the Giants must have a reason for keeping him down, I was amazed this off-season that Law got all the love from the Giants FO while Hembree barely got any mention, even though he had a stellar performance for them in his 2013 call-up, I thought he would be at least penciled in for a spot in 2014 opening day, since Sabean said that they needed to improve their bullpen.   But even Dunning got more mention for the bullpen than Hembree, it seemed to me.

And looking at his numbers, as closer, he should not be that messed up by poor relief with his inherited runners, and yet his ERA in AAA has never been all that good.  Yes, it's an offensive league, but there are plenty of pitchers who are better, he was 76th in the league.   And if DIPS don't work in the minors, ERA is all we got.  

He does have great K/BB ratios, and that will probably get him his chance, but if he can't figure out the BABIP issue, his chances to be a major leaguer, let alone a closer, is pretty iffy.   The good thing for him is that he has pretty good command and control, so he can minimize walks, but hits is what hurts, especially for a reliever, particularly for the closer expected to come in sometimes with runners on.  Giving up hits is fine if he's strictly closing when starting the 9th with no outs and no runners, but not so good when coming in a truer save situation. 

He must be grooving in pitches in order to avoid walks, so it seems to me that he needs to learn that walks aren't all that bad to give up if it means that you are giving the hitter good pitches to hit for base hits.   He has a very high K/9, he can afford to walk a few more if that means less hits given up, better to give up one more walk than one more hit, the vast majority of the time.

That said, I agreed with what was said about him.  He's probably coming up by season's end and getting some 7/8th inning action.  He's probably up for the closer role in 2015, but I wouldn't bet on it given the above.  Plus Casilla appears to be the man right now, though if Machi ever rights his ship, he could be considered given his experience closing in Venezuela.   And Affeldt could easily slip into the closer role, I think.  

In any case, Hembree should be out of options by next season, so he's most probably making the 25-man roster next season barring any implosion on his part in the spring 2015.   But even that's not a given, even if Romo leaves (doubtful he stays unless willing to accept reliever money like Affeldt and not closer money like Wilson), I expect Kontos to take a spot in the bullpen after his great comeback this season.  So Hembree's probably battling Kontos, Machi, Gutierrez for three spots in the bullpen, with Casilla, Affeldt, Lopez, and Petit in the other four bullpen spots (that's assuming Petit doesn't take Vogelsong's spot in the rotation, but then maybe Kickham takes that long reliever spot, right now).  And given Romo's difficulties now and ties to the Giants, he might accept an set-up reliever contract like Affeldt, Casilla, Lopez have gotten and be retained, making it only two spots open among the four.

And push come to shove, if it's three spots, probably its him against Gutierrez for the final spot, though I've noticed the Giants have been pushing their relievers to go beyond 1 inning, so Hembree could take the long relief spot by being able to pitch 2 innings to bridge to the middle relievers, who could also go 2 innings as necessary.

Your 2014 Giants: Brandon Crawford vs. LHP

Much has been made in the local media about Crawford's better hitting against LHP than RHP this season, how he has a much higher batting average vs. LHP than RHP.

ogc thoughts

It is easy to forget, but baseball skills don't really reveal themselves over small sample sizes.  For example, BABIP for a hitter is only considered after three years worth of hitting.  This period of proof is made even longer when you split the data up into LHP and RHP.  So quoting what a player is doing vs. arm thrown is pretty useless in-season, other than to note that he is currently better on one than the other, but that does not mean that it would necessarily hold for the season.  So I dug around in his stats to see what could be said about his hitting handedness.

Unfortunately, his minor league splits are not available, but if you look at the full-season ones, he basically has hit equally well against LHP as RHP, on a season by season basis, so LHP don't have the strong negative split for Crawford that LH hitters often has, he has hit both equally well, roughly, though slightly better RHP, natch.

Looking at his MLB splits, it appears that his great 2014 is just making up for a poor 2013 for LHP, and for RHP, it appears that he's having bad luck there, as a counter.

Against RHP, Crawford had roughly .300 BABIP in 2012-2013, but he's only at .248 in 2014.  His contact rate is really low, 74% after 81% in 2012 and 84% in 2013, though his BB/K ratio is about where it was before.  Plus, because he's hitting for a lot more power, his batting line vs. RHP is roughly the same between 2012 and 2014, .661 OPS vs. .650 OPS.

His career contact rate is 82% so he appears to be a little more swing happy in 2014, which could be a result of him trying to hit for more power, resulting his his much higher ISO of 156 in 2014 vs. 125 ISO in 2013 and 112 ISO in 2012.   I would expect him to swing back towards .300 BABIP in 2015 for RHP, while retaining some of that power improvement.

Against LHP, Crawford had .346 BABIP in 2012, .245 BABIP in 2013, and currently has (to July 22nd games) .388 BABIP, which I would attribute to SSS when dealing with LHP, and a regression to mean from his poor 2013 season for BABIP vs. LHP.

His contact rate has actually gone up, from 71% in 2012, to 74% in 2013, and basically 74% in 2014, while his BB/K ratio has gone up with each season, from 0.24 to 0.32 to 0.58 (vs. RHP it has vacillated, from 0.40 in 2012, to 0.52 in 2013, to 0.46 so far in 2014).  And his ISO has exploded (again SSS):  71 in 2012, 89 in 2013, 218 in 2014 (don't expect that to continue, but do expect it to improve on 2012-13, I think).

And lo and behold, here are his numbers for his career:

vs. RHP:  .241/.310/.363/.672, .279 BABIP, 81% contact rate, 0.52 BB/K, 122 ISO
vs. LHP:  .238/.306/.353/.659, .309 BABIP, 72% contact rate, 0.35 BB/K, 125 ISO

And that hews to what he did over several seasons in the minors, he hit LHP roughly as well as he did RHP (though slightly better RHP).

So I think it's safe to say that Crawford is one of those rare LH hitters who can hit LHP almost as well as he does RHP.   He has done it in the majors as well as the minors.  And for some reason, he seems to hit better in terms of impact against LHP than RHP, as he has a higher BABIP there, though, again, SSS says that we should trust this number much less than his RHP numbers, so that is more of a hope than a probably happening.

Still, I think his overall batting line, which has risen steadily from 2012 to 2013 to 2014, most likely will continue to rise again in 2015, his 28 YO season, as he should be reaching his physical peak somewhere around the next season or two.  His RHP #'s should go up and his LHP should go down, but his overall numbers should improve again, I think, as he consolidates his hitting lessons of the past few seasons.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

I Screwed Up: Rotation Order Second Half

I screwed up the games and thus the final ending of the order. For some reason when I printed out the schedule from BB-Ref, it separated out the first three games with a lot of spacing, and I missed it. I wish I could blame it on my lack of good sleep for a while due to my shoulder and arm pain, but I've been dealing with it for a while now and should have been double checking my work, as I've done in work. My apologies and my updated analysis follows below (amazingly, there was not a lot changed, the main change is how the order ends up and thus the meaning for us fans in terms of who is pitching in each scenario).

Rotation Order Second Half

Bochy announced that the rotation would be Bumgarner, Hudson, Lincecum, Vogelsong, Cain, barring any unexpected usage of Hudson in the All Star game, but since he sat, this is the order.  Some were surprised by Cain's placement and signaled concerns over that.

I went through the schedule and counted up the starts.  Bumgarner gets 14 starts and the rest get 13 starts each.  I would note that Hudson, while older, got some rest earlier with his skipped start and he has two less starts than Bumgarner, though because he went deeper, only 8 less IP and more than anyone but Madison in IP.  But because he's so efficient, he has less pitches thrown other than Cain, who missed even more games.  Which some have suggested is why it is odd that he's 5th in the rotation, is there some health issue we are not aware about.

And in the news for the first game of the second half, apparently Cain has been suffering from some arm issues, wearing a sleeve.  When asked how he felt, he said, cryptically, "I'm feeling what I'm feeling."

Going through the assigned starts, here are the breakdowns for each home and away:

Bumgarner:  6 home, 8 away
Hudson:  4 home, 9 away
Lincecum:  7 home, 6 away
Vogelsong:  5 home, 8 away
Cain:  6 home, 7 away

Bumgarner has been the worse at home, but stellar away, plus he's the ace of the staff, it would be a rebuke to his ace status to replace him up top.  So this is for the best, only

Hudson has been good on the road, but also good at home, so that works for him being second.  And a 2.52 ERA on the road don't hurt.  Plus, moreover, he has earned that status.  So this works for him and reduces the overall number of pitches the rotation throws as a whole.

Lincecum has been better at home (2.54 ERA at home), and not as bad as Cain on the road, so he is fine in the third slot but could have been in the last spot as well, and probably better suited based strictly on these numbers.  With his rubber arm, though, and Cain having bone chips in his elbow, it makes sense to ride Lincecum a bit harder than Cain, in terms of starts.

Vogelsong has been better at home than Cain, so he is another who might be better placed in the 5th spot, as he's better at home and worse away relative to Cain and in general.  This is probably the biggest if in the group, the way I see it.

Cain has been good at home and on the road, so this is fine.  And despite not starting as many games because of his injuries, I'm sure he could always use extra rest, as the beats suggest.  Particularly if it helps him be fresher in the playoffs, should we make it.  But given that he has been having some sort of issues with his arm, this is clearly the best thing to do, let him pitch less games.  However, he could still pitch in the #2 spot and pitch the same number of games, so the key benefit of putting him fifth is to give him a max number of days of rest between starts.

One reason to "demote" him, as the way it has been described in the media, is right now, the Giants are in a dog fight for the division title, as well as for a wild card spot (FYI, they would be tied for the second wild card spot right now), and thus you never know if the Giants need to play an extra game or two just to make the main portion of the playoffs (there are some who do not consider the wildcard games as the playoffs, but to me, if you are playing an extra series (even if only one game) to determine who gets to move on in the playoffs, it is a playoff game.

Placing Cain at the end of the second half rotation basically means that he gets to start the next to last game of the season.  Which could be important if we are battling for the division title or a wild card spot at the end of the season.  Out of Lincecum, Vogelsong, and Cain, right now, I would still want to go with Cainer in any sudden-death wildcard game.

And when you come down to it, the top two starters were considered Bumgarner and Cain by Bochy at the beginning of the season.  Who are the starters of the last two games of the season?  Cain followed by Bumgarner.

Then, should the Giants get into the wild card game, Bochy could start Hudson for the win it all game, then probably go with Lincecum/Vogelsong, Cain, Bumgarner, Hudson.   And if the Giants win the Division Title, then we can go with Hudson, Cain, Bumgarner, Lincecum/Vogelsong.  In addition, if we win the division before the end of the season, Bochy can have Petit and (if possible) then probably someone called up (Kickham?  Escobar?) take spot starts, saving Cain and Bumgarner for the first starts of the playoffs:  Bumgarner, Cain, Hudson, Lincecum.

In addition, comparing who each would face, that is also a clue as to why Vogelsong #4.  Each of the other starters get two starts each against LAD, only Vogelsong faces the Dodgers once in the second half with this rotation order.  Only Lincecum gets two starts at home against them, the others gets one at home and one on the road.

So Cain pitching last in the rotation does help his arm since he's having some sort of issue this season.  But it also means that he and Bumgarner get the last starts of the season, that Hudson is the starter if there is a wild card game, and if they win the division before the last games, Cain and Bumgarner's starts can be skipped and start the playoffs at the start.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Your 2014 Giants: 18th Rotational PQS

Sorry, I missed a few rotations while out on vacation.  Covering the 18th and some prior ones in this installment of the series.

Your 2014 GIants: Beede Signed

Tyler Beede was reported to have come to terms with the Giants, agreeing to a bonus of slot for $2,613,200.   That's slightly more than what he turned down three years agoNo official signing reported yet, but it should be a done deal, wrangling out the details, such as getting an additional $36,800 to cover his final year of college tuition, which does not count against the Giants pool.

ogc thoughts

Got some more Beede info.  There was a statement by Joey Amalfitano, right after the pick, where he was speaking for the Giants.  Says the usual things:  quality starter, kid, works hard, like his arm speed and delivery, Giants known for developing pitchers with Tidrow and coaches.  There were a few more interesting points made.  One is that he could move quickly.  Not up there with their call that Bumgarner would make the majors in two years, but still interesting.  Also, they noted that his control had improved, and in any case, can't teach his arm, and he noted that as he matures, his control should get better.

This info is basically repeated in this article about the coming to terms.  Lucky to get him.  Could move quickly.  Can't teach his arm.  His stuff and athleticism is something different.  Also mentions that he could add more muscle to his frame, which would lead to more velocity, of which he's already at 92-94 MPH regularly and up to 97 at times.  They also note his curve and changeup, which is considered excellent.  But basically, it's like they are reading from a script.

This is a nice rundown by MLB Trade Rumors.  Here are some key info:
Beede was drafted in the first round by the Blue Jays back in the 2011 draft but turned down a $2.4MM bonus to attend Vanderbilt ... Mayo and colleague Jim Callis ranked Beede 12th among draft prospects, while he ranked 15th on Baseball America’s Top 500 list and 15th on the Top 100 of ESPN’s Keith Law as well. 
Mayo and Callis note that Beede has three above-average pitches, with a fastball that sits 92-94 mph and touches 97 mph. However, Beede also has had some well-documented command issues in the past and doesn’t always repeat his delivery. BA notes that his changeup is his best secondary pitch, but calls his 80-81 mph curveball a plus pitch as well, noting that Beede throws it harder than most other curveballs in this year’s draft class. Law offers a similar take — excellent stuff with command issues and enough problems with his delivery that some have wondered if he has some structural damage in his shoulder.
That is something to watch for, whether he has structural damage in his shoulder.   The inability to repeat his delivery sounds remarkably similar to Bumgarner's issues.  Madison was not noted for this when he was drafted, probably because he was not walking many while striking out a lot, but in later seasons, he acknowledged that he didn't know how he was successful throwing and sometimes his mechanics would get out of whack, leading to his horrible starts in his first couple of pro seasons.  He learned to do that with the Giants.  Hopefully Tyler can do the same.   And with three good pitches, he should move quickly up the system, though I would note that the same was noted for Stratton and he started out low and has moved slower than expected so far.

For fun, here are a couple of videos from Vanderbilt, first an interview with him from May 25, 2013 and second is a fun video titled "Who is Tyler Beede?"

2014 Draft Pick Signings, or Lack Thereof

He's the first of the top four picks to come to terms on their bonus (This is an incomplete listing of signings, for I would note that any name with a link is already playing, so pay attention to that as well).  It's understandable why he was delayed, he was busy pitching in the College World Series (and unfortunately not doing so well there).  The only reason I could think of for the others was that the Giants are trying to get the others to sign for less than slot, in order to free up money for some of their HS picks in the 30's.

That makes some sense, they currently have $472K free to spend on latter picks (so far most signings are for slot except for the 7th round pick, which freed up $75K).  Logan Webb would be an obvious choice for that, he was ranked to be selected 2-3 rounds later.  Dylan Davis might be another possibility, as he was ranked about 1 round later.  Getting them to sign for ranked area bonus would give the Giants another $200-300K, that could enable the Giants to sign 1-3 latter HS picks who otherwise might have gone to college instead.  Then again, I thought that Mac Williamson might sign for less and he waited them out and signed for slot just before the deadline, if memory serves.  But the deadline is in a couple of weeks, I think, so it should be happening pretty soon, the Giants usually sign all of their top 10 round picks, and most up to the 20th round.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Your 2014 Giants: I'm Not Panicking ... Yet

Some are worried or dismissive of Joe Panik.  He started out nicely, but then hit the skids, but has done better lately.  Sabean recently said that nobody's doing well among the prospects who have come up, though that appears to be before his recent up spurt, I suppose that could have motivated him.  Still, his batting line is nothing to celebrate.  Or is it?

ogc thoughts

One thing I noticed was that his contact rate was superb during this stretch of poor batting line, so I thought I would dig a little deeper into his numbers.  All SSS, so I'm not panicking yet, if anything I'm Paniking, as we'll see here.

He has only had 12 games, so there is nothing to really key on really, not enough sample data points.  That goes for both bad and good, in spite of the poor batting line.  BABIP can go wildly up and down in such small samplings, as we all know, so there is not a lot that can truly be said about his hitting.

For example, what has been masked by the poor hitting that initially followed his nice intro to the majors is that he has been hitting well lately.  In his last 6 games played, he has hit .368/.409/.421/.830, but .350 BABIP.   That is much better than his overall .257/.325/.314/.639 batting line.  Of course, that BABIP is likely not sustainable, but that could be regression to the mean due to his 0-for-12 he put up in his prior 4 games.  Or perhaps he was just lucky good now, and the before was his mean talent level.  Can't really tell right now.

What we can say, and this bodes well for his MLB future if he can continue this, is that in 35 AB, he only has 3 K's but do have 4 BB's.  That's a 91% contact rate as well as more walks than strikeouts, both of which only the best hitters in baseball can do.

According to Baseball Forecaster studies, hitters with above 1.0 BB/K ratios, on average, hit somewhere in the .280-.290 range, with 51% ending up above .300 and only 9% ending up below .250.  And that jives with hitters with contact rate in the 90's, they normally end up hitting .270-.290.  And combining his walk rate (10%) with his contact rate, again, roughly .280 hitter on average.  On top of all that, his pitches per PA is at 3.80, which is on the good side, and hitters in his range tended to have high OBP, .347, which is pretty good.

These all suggest that he should be able to raise his BA up another 20-30 points, roughly, putting him around .340-.350 OBP, which would be pretty good to get in the #2 spot of the batting order.

What this reminds me of was Dustin Pedroia's first month in the majors, in his first full season in 2007.  His batting line was horrible, but his batting peripherals were good, he wasn't striking out much, while walking a lot, much like Panik is in a little less than half a month of results.  And given enough time, he worked things out and has hit very well.

Not that Panik is on Pedroia's level.  Joe's ISO and SLG is not that good, and that is a key difference between the two, and I do not mean to suggest that they are similar level prospects.  Panik is profiling more like Burris than Pedroia, right now, because of the lack of power.  However, what I am trying to show is that quality will usually out when it comes to contact rate and BB/K ratios for hitters.   If Joe can hit for a high average with walks, and thus high OBP, he can be a very valuable hitter for us in the lineup.
However, batting second is not one of those spots, at least at the moment.  The lineup regression data shows that each point of SLG is very important for the #2 hitter (second most important after #4), and while a high BA helps to keep SLG higher, it don't really make up for a very poor ISO hitter.  

Panik would actually be better in the #3 spot, where a high OBP is rewarded, but low SLG/ISO is tolerable, ironic, since most old-time baseball men love to put their best hitters in the #3 spot, wasting their power there.   This is probably why our offense was doing so well when Pence was hitting second even while Sandoval was batting third and not doing that well (and I also noticed that Bochy was batting Posey third when he was struggling, so perhaps Bochy is aware of this anomaly as well).

Or, despite his lack of speed, he could be better batting leadoff than second, for if he is able to hit for average and high OBP, it would be better to bat him first and Pence second because Pence has that much more power than Panik.   However, if Pence is able to beat Panik in both OBP and SLG, it would be better probably to bat him first, it does vary depending on who is better in OBP and SLG, and by how much.

In any case, right now, given how poorly Hicks has been hitting and how poorly Arias has fielded 2B the past few seasons, I would rather give Panik the bulk of the starts there, just to see how long he can continue to show good batting peripherals and to see how good he is defensively there (so far the advanced stats are not liking him there, UZR and Total Zone have him as negative, though DRS has him at average or zero DRS, but it is still very SSS).

However, once or when Adrianza comes back from rehab, the Giants will have to make a choice, either DFA Adrianza or Hicks or send Panik back down to AAA.  Ehire still have a bit of time left on his rehab and the Giants will probably keep him down there as long as possible in order to see Panik as long as possible.

But like Panik, Adrianza had been hitting well before his injury, running up a 5 game hitting streak before his injury.  In June, he had 3 walks and 3 K's in 27 ABs, very good peripherals that showed in his batting line, .333/.419/.407/.827, but unsustainable .375 BABIP.   Still, you drop that to .300 BABIP, and you got around .258/.344/.332/.677, which is basically what we've been getting from Blanco off the bench, some OBP and great defense, but for MI.  And at MLB minimum.  So I would not expect the Giants to DFA Adrianza.

Hard Choices

Right now, it looks like the good vibes of the early Hicks success story is crashing down hard, possibly leading to a DFA when Adrianza is ready to come off the DL (unless he has another injury...).  Hicks in June hit .115/.246/.173/.419, with 23 strikeouts in only 52 AB (only 56% contact rate or horrible 44% strikeout rate) and with no homers.  As good as his defense has been, which is roughly at a 1 WAR seasonal rate, that in no way makes up for poor hitting like that.  It appears that the clock might have struck midnight for this Cinderella story.

Still, we don't know how the Joe Panik story will end up while Adrianza is still on the DL and rehabbing.  His good hitting could stop and the down cycle begins again, in which case, Hicks probably gets a reprieve and Panik gets sent down.  Or he could continue and make a strong case for DFAing Adrianza since Scutaro appears to be working towards joining the team after the ASB as a bench player, or even Arias, despite his new 2 year contract, he has not been hitting at all and he's only a good defensive player at 3B, making him a possible DFA candidate when/if Scutaro returns.   Or maybe Adrianza's injury lingers and reinjure easily.  Or the Giants could decide that one backup outfielder is enough again and send Perez back down since he still has his option for the season.  

The Giants will have to make some hard choices when/if Scutaro returns, and Panik and Adrianza are not the ones who are looking really bad right now, Arias is, as well as Hicks, for the two backup infield spots.   They are the ones on the edge right now, in my estimation.

Lots of options available to the Giants, some already utilized this season, as Perez has been up and down many times already this season, taking the Fresno Shuttle.  It will be interesting times for these Giants players, fortunately and unfortunately, and the Giants most likely will have to make a hard choice and let go of someone they like but must let go of because they have only 25 spots on the MLB roster.


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