Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Your 2018 Giants: Holding Strong 2018 Draft Pick Position

As I wrote about last month, the Giants are headed for a high draft pick position overall in 2018, and they have continued to keep the pace.  And not only held serve, but gained some, falling beneath the White Sox to hold the #2 position now by 1.5 games over the ChiSox, losing a road series to their depleted (after trading off a bunch of their top players) team.  The Phillies hold the first pick, a game ahead of the Giants.  (this was mostly written before today's game)

ogc thoughts

Since my last post on this, the Giants have "gained" two games by losing more than the Phillies or White Sox since then.  They accomplished this by playing at a major's near worse of 6-14 in their last 20 games.  Only the Dodgers have played worse in that stretch, at 4-16.  All the other teams that were close that I covered in the last post won at least 8 games (only Tigers kept "pace" by going 7-13).  And the Phillies, Reds and Mets went 9-11, and the A's and Padres went .500, 10-10.

They are 5.5 games ahead of the 4th place Tigers, 6.5 games ahead of the Reds, 8 games ahead of the A's and Mets.  With 17 games left to play, at 56-89, they would need to play "hot" while these other teams play colder, for any of them to overtake the Giants position.
  1. The Phillies has 19 games left, and tied with the Giants with 89 losses, and is ahead by one game.  Their strength of schedule (SoS) per Baseball-Reference.com is -0.1 runs below average (Giants are at 0.0), so the Giants could conceivably catch up, since the Phillies are playing weaker than average opponents and perhaps do better.  And they went 9-11 in their last 20 games.
  2. The Giants are second with 17 games left.  Looking ahead and behind, it looks like a three team race to be first in the draft, with the Phillies possibly falling back to the Giants, and the White Sox catching up.  Though, frankly, not sure how SoS came up with 0.0 for the Giants.  They face the Dodgers 6 games and the D-backs 6 games, plus 2 games against the Rockies, and 3 last games against the Padres, which are at home.  Perhaps because they have 11 games at home and only 6 on the road, that evened things out.  But the Giants are 32-38 at home for the season, and only the Phillies are worse at home.
  3. The White Sox has 20 games left, and tied with the Giants at 56 wins.  They will have to lose their 3 extra games and match the Giants otherwise to catch up.  They have a 0.2 runs above average SoS, as they are facing the Astros and Indians.  If they are still close at the last series, they catch up most likely because they face the Indians.  If the Giants go 8-9, the White Sox has to go 8-12, which is roughly the .393 winning percentage that they are at right now.  So this looks doable for White Sox to catch up with the Giants, but they really need to play poorer to ensure that.
  4. The Tigers has 20 games left, and are 5.5 games behind, with a 0.2 SoS.  If the Giants go 8-9, the Tigers would have to go 4-16 to tie.  If the Giants play worse, they basically would have to lose every game (heck, at 4-16, that is basically losing every game to most people).
And obviously, it is even worse for the teams behind the Tigers (Reds would need to go 2-16 to catch 8-9 Giants), so I won't cover them.  Basically, barring a historical stretch of losing (hello, Dodgers), none of these other teams are going to catch the Giants.  

Top 3 Pick Looks Assured

It pretty much looks like the Giants got a Top 3 pick locked down, barring any sudden hot streak.

What if they get hot?  Their best streak was 9-3, if they do that plus play normal .400 ball, that's 11-6 over their last games, putting them at 67-95.  The Tigers would still need to lose big to tie, going 7-13 in their last games, which is not impossible, but a .350 winning percentage vs. .422 seasonal winning percentage; still, they were 7-13 in their last 20 games, a .350 winning percentage, so it is not like they haven't lost badly over such a stretch of games, making it look possible.

But the Giants have not been able to put together any long streak of winning.  Their best run this season over 20 games was 11-9.  And the Giants face the Dodgers and D-backs six more games each (Giants are 6-7 and 5-8 against them, respectively).  And 5-12 against the Rockies, 5-11 against the Padres, they somehow played LA strong, but rolled over against the rest of the NL West.  If the Giants played to those records against these teams, they end up either 6-11 or 7-10, which would ensure that the Tigers don't catch them.

So barring the Giants getting hot AND the Tigers getting cold, they should stay in the Top 3 picks.  And the Giants have not gotten above .500 very often over such a stretch of games, once most probably.  The Tigers do play a stronger set of teams, per SoS, but they will have to play down a lot in order to catch the Giants, and the odds are low that the Giants can even maintain a .500 winning percentage (though, this is probably as good the chance as it'll be, with Bumgarner, Cueto, Samardzija, Moore, and Stratton in the starting rotation, and mostly doing well over the last month or so, except in latest starts).  A top 3 draft spot should be a lock.

Which Pick?

As I noted above, the teams are pretty much in a dead heat, particularly looking at SoS.   Too hard to say which pick the Giants will end up with, it really depends greatly on who gets hot, relatively, and who gets cold, relatively, and that could swing the rank around willy-nilly, day to day, really, as it was during this last series that the Giants had with the White Sox, falling behind when they won the first games of the series, then losing the next two.

2 comments:

  1. The way the Giants are going, I'm not sure anyone is going to 'catch' us, as it were. I mean, things could get better or some other team could really fall apart and lose-out. But the Giants are playing so badly now it's embarrassing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. As I tried to show with the math above, it would take a huge hot streak on the Giants part and huge loss streak on the part of someone behind for the Giants to get pushed out of the Top 3 picks for next season.

      Yes, it is very embarrassing. Yet, it seems like if we could sign a great defensive CF who could be OK offensively, it would make a huge difference to our pitching, which has had to deal with a lot of dink hits and misplayed catches.

      Of course, it means that our guys mostly need to revert to past hitting performances, which is not a guarantee, and yet, after a poor two month start, the team has hit .258/.319/.394/.712 since the start of June, averaging 4.29 RS per game, which is still below average, but if, say, an average starting 3B, Belt playing the full season, and Posey slugging his normal ISO instead of below 100, our offense would be average. We can win with average offense, if we can be good with pitching.

      And, assuming it really is blisters hurting Cueto's performance, then with Bumgarner and Cueto being co-aces again in 2018, I think we can handle the ups and downs of the other three starters, like we did for most of 2016.

      And with hopefully Smith and Melancon coming back, and Dyson, Strickland, and Crick being solid enough set-up guys, our bullpen is looking pretty good as well.

      So as much as the Merc and Chronicle sees the sky falling, I think that there is a scenario where we can come out of this playoff competitive in 2018, while also getting a top 3 prospect overall. I see a little bit of a 1985 bad year with a rebound in the next season, and soon after that, hopefully a boost from whomever we get in the 2018 draft, in 2020-21.

      Lots of unknowns, but that's sports (except for the Warriors, maybe), and I like the Giants chances in 2018, assuming some rebound by our core players. But it could be a tipping point downward, so we will see.

      In any case, I'm heartened by the fact that we get a Top 3 pick, and if we have another bad season, another top pick in 2019. That could set us up for a great final run with the core guys in 2020-2025

      Delete

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