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rweiler
451 comments | 360 total rating | 0.80 average rating
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Baseball Prospectus http://bbp.cx/i/21660
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

Kind of ironic that this year <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=45374">Melvin Upton</a></span> has been the better Upton, at least until the Jays gave up something of value for him.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 1

I'd put Bumgarner in LF on his off days so he would get enough <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=PA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('PA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">PA</span></a>'s to get better at pitch recognition. Even hitting every 5th day he is maintaining a rate of close to 1HR/30PA which would have him among the team leaders.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 4

I thought it was a heads up play. With her hands occupied, she had no chance to bare hand the ball so she accurately gauged the balls height, velocity, and trajectory then calculated the damping effect of displaced beer as a total loss shock absorber added in the elasticity of the cardboard food container and adroitly positioned it. It looks like she misjudged the wind slightly so instead of hitting dead center on the beer, it was slightly off otherwise she would have made the play. It's a game of inches, you know.

Jul 11, 2016 9:45 AM on And Then It Got Weird
 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 2

On the what to watch front supposedly <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=19258">Bruce Bochy</a></span> is going to let <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=57743">Madison Bumgarner</a></span> bat for himself in an AL park today. With a LHP for the A's and RHB Pence, Duffy, and Tomlinson on the DL, it's probably not the worst idea though realistically, Parker or Williamson are statistically better options.

Jun 30, 2016 9:49 AM on Baltimore Bombs
 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

The amazing thing is that after all these years a number of baseball writers still haven't gotten the idea that Coors isn't remotely a 'normal' ballpark and that the Rockies hitters aren't nearly as good as their numbers and the pitchers aren't nearly as bad.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 1

Also <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=19258">Bruce Bochy</a></span> made modern baseball history by pulling his 'closer' in the 9th in a save situation and playing L/R matchups instead. Granted, his closer hasn't been very effective but you still have to give Bochy credit for actually trying something different instead of following the herd.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 2

I suspect that at least part of the reason for the reduction in <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=SLG" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('SLG'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">SLG</span></a>% is due to having played an awful lot of games to date at home, SD, and LA none of which are great hitters parks. After this weekend the pitching will probably look worse and the offense look somewhat better.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

Also curious what you think about <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70340">C.J. Hinojosa</a></span> 4/5 w/BB yesterday and is near the Cal League leaders in <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OBP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OBP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OBP</span></a>, <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=SLG" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('SLG'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">SLG</span></a>, and <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OPS" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OPS'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OPS</span></a>. Apparently nobody considers him to be much of a prospect (11th round pick) but he hit last year in short season and seems to have picked up where he left off. Of course, it is the Cal league, so the SLG probably isn't for real, and 350 professional <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=PA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('PA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">PA</span></a>'s is still a really small sample size.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 1

It's worth pointing out that most of Belt's injury problems have been due to getting hit with baseballs and, in one case, ramming his head into somebody's knee. With the exception of the last one, that's not the sort of injury history that would lead one to suspect he will breakdown before the contract is up.

Apr 13, 2016 3:40 PM on The Ghosts of Bros Past
 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 1

The Giants seem to have decided that super athleticism just isn't as good a predictor of future baseball success as players with good fundamental baseball skills on a frame that will fill out. For the same reason, they don't end up with a lot of players with monster power potential except for taking the odd flier on college guys like <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=106897">Chris Shaw</a></span>. Maybe the sagas of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=56937">Angel Villalona</a></span> and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=66557">Tommy Joseph</a></span> cured them of lusting after raw power. Or maybe they just got lucky.

Mar 29, 2016 11:25 AM on San Diego Padres
 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

That's the plan, the rotation is Bumgarner, Cueto, Samardija, Peavey, Cain unless one of them can't go and then Heston gets the 5th spot. For fantasy purposes, I'm not sure any of them are a good choice other than Bumgarner. The only battles for the Giants are for the 5th outfielder and 5th infielder spots, and again, for fantasy purposes, those battles are meaningless as you are looking at a couple of hundred PAs.

Mar 22, 2016 10:12 AM on National League West
 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

I think the wild card is <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31476">Matt Cain</a></span>. If he is anything like the 2012 version, it's a close race, if he really is bad enough to be replaced by <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=59332">Chris Heston</a></span> or <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70546">Clayton Blackburn</a></span>, the Giants are probably out of it. Of course if Kershaw or Bumgarner went down early with a season ending injury, the Dbacks odds would improve considerably.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

As much as i like <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=57758">Brandon Crawford</a></span>, I'd be pretty surprised if he hits 20 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a> again. The Phone Company Park is still a terrible place for LHB to hit HR and in fact Crawford only hit 8 there as opposed to 13 on the road.. Crawford only needs to be a faction late on his swing to turn those 8 HR into doubles, triples, or outs.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

Aside from the back injury, Panik doesn't steal bases and he is playing in just about the worst park in the majors for a line drive hitter to hit <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a>. As long as he is playing 1/2 his games at The Phone Company park, Panik will always be a better 'real life' baseball player than he is a fantasy player.

Jan 31, 2016 10:01 AM on Top 50 Second Basemen
 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

What do you think of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31476">Matt Cain</a></span>'s potential for a bounce back? maybe it is foolish optimism, but he couldn't possibly be as bad as he was last year, could he? His velocity hasn't dropped all that much from a couple of years ago, but the results sure have.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 1

When it gets to playoff time though and 1 run might matter, I suspect that some, maybe most, managers do at least try to use their best arm in a high leverage situation. That's how Bumgarner got a 5 inning save.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

I'm not sure that the 2016 Giants will be all that mound heavy. Posey, Pence, Belt, Crawford, Panik, Duffy, Blanco is a pretty decent core to an offense assuming they are all healthy, and maybe Pagan isn't completely done, and maybe Jarret Parker can hit enough bombs to compensate for 200 Ks as an every day LF as it appears that the job will be his by default. It's not Murderer's Row by any means, but it's not the 62 Mets either.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

Now that the dust has mostly cleared, I'm not sure the Giants didn't end up in the best pitching situation. At the end of 2014, you would have said a Bumgarner, Cueto, Samardzija, Healthy <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31476">Matt Cain</a></span>, Jake Peavey was a pretty good one. For 3 of those 5, their stock went way down because they either weren't as good in 2015 or, in Cain's case, really couldn't pitch at all. Assuming they rebound, the staff is much better and all it cost was the number 18 pick in the draft and less money for fewer years than Greinke or Price. Of course, if 2015 is the new normal, it is a disaster.

Dec 15, 2015 11:28 AM on Cueto Two Years From Now
 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 2

Given Cricks ongoing command and control problems, at a lower level, I think it's hard to put him above Blackburn at this point. He has no age advantage and I don't think he could even survive as a middle reliever in mlb with a 1-1 K/BB rate. I suspect the Giants would now gladly include him as a part of a trade for a corner outfielder and I also suspect that most GMs would now turn that deal down.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: -5

Which is a little odd given the criticism for hard throwing right handers with poor command and control because Blackburn is the antithesis of that. I suspect it's part of the increasing influence of 'fantasy sports' (ie gambling) that has resulted in BP putting a lot more emphasis on the attributes that produce good fantasy results at the expense of 'real baseball' results.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

It cost the Giants their 1st round pick as well, but I sill to like this deal better than the Grinke deal as it leaves the Giants $10m/year to sign a LF where they also have a big hole unless Parker and/or Williamson are for real. And even if they are, it's an awfully big assumption that Pagan, Pence, and Blanco will be healthy all year.

Dec 06, 2015 8:18 AM on Shark Who Goes There
 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 1

All of the Mets starters also have plus secondary pitches to go with the heat and they used them frequently against the Cubs.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 1

The Mets have 4 starters that can throw between 95-100 with plus secondary pitches and a much better offense than they had up to the trading deadline. In a fight, I always bet on the guy with the 100mph fastball.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

I wondered about brining Famillia in early. Syndergaard had no problem at all getting 3 guys out, 2 of them on K's, and he had only thrown 17 pitches. If he goes out to pitch the 8th and his turn to bat comes up in the top of the 9th, they would pinch hit for him anyway and Familia would pitch the 9th. It all worked out as Familia got his 6 outs, but there was a lot more hard contact off him then there was on Syndergaard.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

Down and in is a bad location for fastballs as it allows the batter to fully extend his arms and still get the ball on the sweet spot of the bat. For all the grief that <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=25735">Tim McCarver</a></span> used to get, he was right about this. For some reason 'up and in' and 'down and away' seem to have been discarded pitching 'rules' in modern baseball.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

Pretty remarkable that no team including the Phillies managed to lose 100 games, and the Cardinals were the only team that managed 100 wins. Taht probably means something.

Oct 05, 2015 1:00 PM on October 5. 2015
 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

I think the projection systems just have a problem with pitchers in general. Pitchers improve, decline, or break in ways that are just too difficult to predict based on past performance.

Sep 28, 2015 1:25 PM on September 28, 2015
 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

They are both in the playoffs and have been for a few days. I suppose the Pirates still have a chance to win the division if they sweep, but today's game is Lynn vs Happ which isn't exactly a marquee matchup even though Lynn has been pitching well.

Sep 28, 2015 9:52 AM on September 28, 2015
 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 1

Any day now I expect the Giants to announce that they have put the entire 40 man roster on the 7 day concussion DL. you have to wonder how often in the past players were playing with concussions without anybody realizing it.

Sep 24, 2015 10:34 AM on Wednesday, September 23
 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

Worth mentioning that the one time that Bumgarner didn't swing and miss, he just missed clobbering a fastball by a millimeter and ended up fouling it off.

Sep 16, 2015 9:37 AM on September 16, 2015
 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=71291">Mac Williamson</a></span>, apparently fully recovered from his thumb injury, 5 for 5 with a <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HBP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HBP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HBP</span></a>, 2 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=BB" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('BB'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">BB</span></a>, a 2B and a grand slam.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

Bumgarner is not doing such a great job selling trucks though. His brand is still number one, but is running behind last year's sales. Maybe it's time to go to a relief pitcher.

Jul 24, 2015 9:41 AM on July 24, 2015
 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

The thing that I notice is that as of late, the good teams seem to be the ones with the slightly higher average ages, but no team is particularly old. For example, your 3 time WS champion Giants only now have the oldest average age of 30.6, and no team has an average age less than 27.2. That suggests to me that 'wily veterans' are less valuable that having a lot of talented guys at their peak of 27-29.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

Still thinking that the number of D's in a team's name somehow factors into the adjusted hit list computation.

Jun 29, 2015 10:02 AM on June 29, 2015
 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: -2

Both budget and politics. Wisconsin passed a big tax cut, This in turn resulted in a $280M deficit when the projected 'extra' growth failed to materialize. The governor closed about 1/3rd of that by deferring some debt repayment, which just makes it the next guy's problem. The governor, as you may have heard, is running for President, and needs to be seen kicking poor people to the curb in order to win his party's nomination. Of course, it takes a lot of money to run for President, and one would imagine that wealthy sports team owners that get massive public subsidies would be happy to show their gratitude. The interesting this is that, as I understand it, the city of Green Bay, also in Wisconsin, has a majority ownership stake in the Packers, so the idea of a public stake in the local franchise isn't exactly unheard of, but it's certainly one of those things that sports team owners would rather nobody talked about.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: -1

Meanwhile Wisconsin hasn't extended Medicaid even though the Federal government is picking up most of the tab and it would save the state money, and has cut TANF benefits. Welfare and tax cuts are plenty good for wealthy sports team owners, it's only fair that the poor should make some sacrifices in order to enjoy sports events (that they can't afford to attend).

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

The <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=65767">Brandon Belt</a></span> gif highlights the one thing that I really hate about Belt; he *always* stops his swing early instead of following through all the way. My impression is that he has to be giving up some power. I wonder if there is some gory physics and mathematics to back that up or if it just isn't aesthetically pleasing.

Jun 11, 2015 2:00 PM on June 11, 2015
 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

Well, in fairness, Heston will probably never pitch another no hitter and while BP missed him the Giants put him on waivers 2 years ago and every other MLB team passed. I thought that was kind of odd at the time as he had performed pretty well up to his first try at AAA, but RHP that rarely break 90mph don't get no respect, no respect at all I tell ya.

Jun 10, 2015 3:34 PM on June 10, 2015
 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

The power seems to have largely disappeared since Owings left the California League and the PCL, something that happens to a lot of guys. I'll grant you the <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=SB" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('SB'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">SB</span></a>'s, and the lack of an open middle infield position on the Giants.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

I'm not sure how <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=60931">Chris Owings</a></span> makes this list but <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100736">Matt Duffy</a></span> does not given that to date, Duffy has been the better player. Does 10 months of age make big a difference or does being a late round draft choice carry a life long taint? Neither one of them is a defensive wiz at SS. I don't think Duffy is a potential superstar, but actual performance ought to count for something.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

Is it possible that the Giants were more concerned with signability and staying within their slot bonus pool than they were with raw talent? You would think that wouldn't be a consideration for a team that has won 3 of the last 5 WS and sells out every game, but they didn't make any big plays for international FAs either which makes one think that profitability is the primary concern.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 3

Sorry, but the weirdest game of all time is still Mets vs Braves 7/4/85 game when <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=19925">Rick Camp</a></span> hit his one and only <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a> to prolong the game.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 3

If I were a NL GM or manager, I wouldn't worry about whether or not the MLB pitcher was hitting 8th or 8th, but I would insist that my minor league affiliates bat the starting pitcher even in leagues that have the DH, and they should be working on their hitting on their off days. It would seem to me that having all of your starters be able to put up even a 200/225/225 triple slash line would result in a lot more runs than futzing around with the batting order. It also makes the agonizing decisions somewhat less agonizing.

Apr 14, 2015 11:55 AM on Hit the Pitcher Eighth?
 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 1

<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=65767">Brandon Belt</a></span> will endure a season of freak injuries limiting his value for fantasy purposes.

Apr 08, 2015 4:00 PM on Five Bold Predictions
 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 5

There is an excellent objective reason to not use the DH; pitchers that can hit a little bit help their team win more than pitchers that can't. Why should guys like <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=57743">Madison Bumgarner</a></span> be penalized because their brethren are simply too lazy or too incompetent to become acceptable hitters?

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 1

A good deal of the Giants success has been not just getting lucky with their top picks, but drafting well in general. Panik wasn't thought to be a first round pick but, as pointed out on BP, the Giants recognize that while he might not be flashy and an elite athlete, he had baseball skills. Crawford was a 4th round choice because many people didn't think he could hit well enough to be a starter. Nobody thought Brandon Belt was a potential starter, so he fell to the 5th round. The Giants apparently liked his swing. Romo was a 28th round pick because he was small and doesn't break 90 with his fastball. The Giants saw some value in a guy with a wipeout slider.Brian Wilson fell to the 24th round because he was damaged goods. Luck certainly plays a part, but one of the keys to the Giants success is they scouted well for the non blue chip prospects and took some risks that panned out.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

It's worth pointing out though that Morneau only wins the NL batting title by playing 1/2 his games in Coors field and his road OPS+ was 96. Being traded to the Rockies has mysteriously revived the careers of a lot of hitters.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 1

Before I read the article, I assumed that Clayton Kershaw had bought BP.

Mar 09, 2015 1:00 PM on BP's New Owners
 
rweiler
(21660)
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I think White has a point though. A guy that can throw in the mid-nineties with good control in high school probably isn't going to throw any harder after 3 or 4 years of college. If you believe that your pitching coaches in the minors are better than the typical college pitching coach, and they should be given the amount of dollars at stake, then where is the advantage in taking the college guy. If for no other reason than the high school pitcher has pitched fewer innings he should be the 'safer' choice, particularly in an organization that has keeping valuable pitchers healthy as a number one priority. White may be wrong about his own organization being better than average at that, but it doesn't mean that it isn't possible. For example, The Giants picked Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Alderson, Zach Wheeler, and Kyle Crick out of high school. Cain and Bumgarner turned out to be pretty good, Wheeler still might be, and the jury is out on Crick. Alderson flamed out. They don't seem to have done particularly better with college arms like Chris Stratton, though Lincecum certainly worked out.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 1

Also at this point in their respective careers, it isn't obvious that Either is a better hitter than Travis Ishikawa and may not even be a better fielder. Most defensive metrics were not kind to Ethier last year.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

Not sure how you get to Burdi having better command. Law walked 12 guys in 66 innings in 2013 at the same levels that Burdi walked 10 in 20 innings in 2014. Law did walk 14 in 28 in 2014 in AA, but then again given that he finished the year with tommy john surgery. You don't have to go out on much of a limb to conclude that stretched elbow ligaments might have affected his command. Given that there is no such thing as a pitching prospect, and both of these guys are relievers at that, it's against the odds that either one of them has much on a future impact in MLB.

 
rweiler
(21660)
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Romo supposedly has a sore shoulder which may be nothing, or may foretell a lost season. It's supposed to be minor but he hasn't pitched yet this spring.

 
rweiler
(21660)
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Wouldn't a lot of the year to year variation be explained by injuries?

Mar 03, 2015 12:40 PM on The Thirty-Run Manager
 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: -1

The problem I see is that Bruce Bochy is only a fair to middling manager at best by both metrics, and yet his team has won 3 of the last 5 WS, and it's not like the Giants were far and away the most talented team in MLB. They certainly weren't the most talented in 2014, limping into the playoffs with one stud starter their #2 starter on the DL, and 3 older guys that used to be good. I'd say that luck still plays a bigger role than managerial skill.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

Goes to show you though that there is some merit in making sure every kid gets a trophy. Sure it may be irrational to be happy about a last place finish, but you won something and there is always next year.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

I keep wishing that Brandon Belt would learn to complete his swing as Williams does in these gifs, but I don't think he ever will. FWIW, I think Barry Bonds swing was even better than Williams.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 1

Belt did hit 23 HR in 2010 in the minors, 9 of them at Richmond in AA in 200 PA which is by all accounts a tough place to hit HR. He also hit 9 in 2011 in 200 PA in the majors. Overall in his MLB career Belt has hit 45 HR in 1321 PA for a rate of 1 every 29 PA and Duda has hit 74 in 1878 PA for a rate of 1 every 25 PA. Project that out to 600 PA and it works out to 20/year for Belt and 24 for Duda. RBI's ? Runs ? Who knows? Depends on who is hitting around them. Like I said I could see a reasonable person preferring Duda because so far he has been more durable and at least for 1 year, his HR rate improved considerably, but I could also see taking Belt on the hope that as a 27 year old , he improves his HR rate slightly (as most players, including Duda do) and stays healthy for an entire season. I wouldn't over pay for either one.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 0

Brandon Belt, 2013: 289/360/481 OPS: 841, OPS+ 139, WAR: 4.3 Lucas Duda, 2011: 292/370/482 OPS: 852, OPS+ 137, WAR 0.8 2014: 253/349/481 OPS: 830, OPS+ 137, WAR 3.7 There 2 players are a lot more similar than they are different though they get there via different routes. I don't see anything all that wild about concluding a player with an OPS+ of 139 is about as valuable as a player with ant OPS+ of 137.

 
rweiler
(21660)
Comment rating: 1

In 2013 he hit 17 HR in 570 PA. His excuse for not hitting 25 HR is that he was 25 years old with a little over 1 full year in MLB before that. In 2012, he was returning from a broken wrist. For some of his 2014 plate appearances, he was playing with a concussion. The fact is that Belt's best year so far is about as good as Duda's best year, and his worst years so far have been quite a bit better than Duda's worst. Finally, Belt is 2 years younger so he should be entering his peak years. That said, Belt plays 1/2 his games in a park that isn't well suited to left handed line drive hitters, and while the accidents do seem sort freakish, he does seem to be prone to them. I could see going with Duda just on the assumption that he is more likely to be on the field.

 
rweiler
(21660)
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I'm not convinced that Belt doesn't have at least average power at 1st in the post steroid era. If he could manage to avoid being hit by thrown baseballs and get 600 PA and hit HR at his 2014 rate, he would have 30 HR which would have put him 5th in HR for the position in 2014. In addition, he should be at his peak over the next 3 years.

Jan 14, 2015 12:08 PM on First Basemen
 
rweiler
(21660)
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'official' video which is better. http://m.mlb.com/video/topic/6479266/v36820411/nlcs-gm5-jay-doubles-home-cruz-for-early-10-lead

 
rweiler
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Travis Ishikawa playing left field in the World Series? And he looked like a first baseman playing LF too in the NLCs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJ7m1uPYLfE

 
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Susac's name keeps coming up as a potential trade chip for a true left fielder since the Giants don't have much to bargain with, so I wouldn't be terribly surprised to see Susac be a starter for somebody in 2015. Or maybe the Giants will use him in LF eliminating his value as a catcher. Sure, he can't run a lick, but how much worse could he be than Travis Ishikawa or Mike Morse?

 
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Duvall is already 26 and a defensive liability anyplace except 1st base or, better yet, DH where is projected offense isn't all that special. His defense at 3rd was apparently bad enough that the Giants didn't even consider handing him the job when Sandoval left. At this point, Duvall looks like he might make the team as a right handed pinch hitter and backup at 1st and 3rd assuming that he has a good spring.

 
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My preference is for an all stars lineup. Let's say you own the Dodgers or the Yankees and hence, due to your local TV deal, have nearly unlimited amounts of money. There's no problem fielding a team where all 8 regulars average $20M/year with about $90m left over for 3 stud starters before you hit $250m. Of course, the key is getting guys that are going to be stars, and not spending a lot of money on guys that used to be stars. The new management in LA seems to appreciate that.

 
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I'd be really surprised if Romo started the season as the closer. He is death on RHB, but can't really throw a fastball for a strike to anybody unless the batter is looking slider (which, in fairness, they probably should be). He is the perfect guy to bring i with a string of RHB coming up though. Casilla's splits aren't nearly as extreme as Romo's.

Dec 18, 2014 11:35 AM on San Francisco Giants
 
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It's beyond reasonable to speculate, at least the Royals got Shields, the Rays got a bunch of guys who, at first glance at the stats remind me of a Casey Stengel quote: 'Player A is a good X year old player that in a year has a chance to be X+1 years old'. i don't get it.

Dec 17, 2014 5:39 PM on Padres Add Myers
 
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You misunderstand the American implementation of the 'free market' concept. A 'good' free market lowers wages. A 'bad' free market lowers profits. Team owners quite naturally prefer the good implementation to the bad implementation. Seriously though, as long as established teams can prevent competition in their regional market, you are going to need some sort of compensation system to maintain competitive balance. Personally, I would prefer to see 5 teams in the NYC, Chicago, and Los Angeles markets and no draft at all. It ain't happening.

 
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You also have to wonder if the depth of the upcoming draft might enter into the calculation. If you have a mid 1st round pick in a deep draft, you could be giving up a future cost controlled superstar. If it is an extremely shallow draft class, it might not matter much. For instance, in 2005 draft, there were 8 future all stars in the first 12 picks. If you were sitting around pick 15 and thought one of those guys might fall to you, then it would make sense to value the pick higher.

 
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Nothing could turn Sandoval into a disciplined hitter. It's just not in his nature. In any event, one of the more entertaining things in baseball is watching Sandoval rope balls off his shoe tops or up around his eyes.

 
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My theory is that Boston has a diabolical plan to also sign Headley thus cornering the market for free agent 3rd basemen. It's not clear to me how this helps them win games though. that's why it's diabolical.

 
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Rule 7.13 wasn't intended just to reduce catcher concussions, it was intended to reduce catcher (and runner) injuries of all types. Buster Posey suffered a broken fibula and torn ligaments from a pointless collision at home plate. To imply that the rule hasn't been successful because there were the same number of concussions year over year is silly aside from the ludicrous sample size.

Nov 10, 2014 12:29 PM on November 3-9, 2014
 
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I'd rate Daniel Carbonell a bigger disappointment than Bichette Jr since he got about twice the signing bonus, is 2 years older, is using up a 40 man roster spot, and looked like he actually might be able to hit a little at high A. By OPS Bichette is out hitting him by 0.604 to 0.521 Carbonell does have 1 HR to Bichette's 0 though, so there is that.

 
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Holding him up was the right play. Perez had a BA of 0.226 against LHP for the season, Bumgarner was obviously not as sharp as he had been starting, and Perez already had the only true XBH that Bumgarner had allowed in the series. You figure that Perez has at least a 25% chance of driving in the run. If Gordon had been running at top speed right out of the box anticipating that the Giants would make 3 errors on a routine line drive, then sure, send him. Gordon didn't anticipate that, and there was not reason that he should have, and wasn't running at full speed, and Crawford is plenty accurate enough to make that throw.

 
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Also, the one you chose happened 46 years ago. If you have to go back that far to find a comparable performance, that would suggest they are kind of rare, no?

Oct 31, 2014 10:34 AM on Bum Deal
 
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I'd suggest that if you can only find a couple of counter examples, then Bumgarner's performance is indeed one of the greatest post season performances of all time.

Oct 31, 2014 10:32 AM on Bum Deal
 
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Every team that ever won the World Series got lucky somewhere along the line starting with draft picks that turned out to be above average major league [layers and pitchers that didn't blow out their elbows or shoulder, key injuries tath don't happen to them but do happen to the other guys, to balls bouncing 'the right way' to blown balls and strike calls in key situations. If it wasn't so, PECOTA would almost always predict the winners. The thing that's remarkable about the 2014 Giants is that they had their fair share of bad luck with Cain, Pagan, Scutaro, Morse, and Belt all missing good chunks of the season and Lincecum getting prematurely old. Then the lucked into Panik being better than expected and 1/2 dozen quality starts from Peavey, a 1/2 dozen good Lincecum starts, and some bad defensive plays by the opposing team.

Oct 31, 2014 6:39 AM on Those Lucky Red Sox
 
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Well, he did allow Lincecum to throw 144 pitches in his first no hitter, but it never resulted in an injury, at least not one that we know about. Cain' issues apparent;y go back before Bochy was ever the manager, and Bochy rarely let's his starters got more than 115 or so pitches so I do think the comparison to Baker is misguided. That said, Bochy has always had pretty good late innings guys to use in Romo, Afeldt, Lopez, Casilla and, in the past, Wilson, so there wasn't much incentive to leave the starters in.

Oct 30, 2014 1:18 PM on Bum Deal
 
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It was at least conceivable that Hudson would have had as good a start as he had in game 3 when he went 5.2 innings. If that had happened, Bumgarner might have only worked 2 innings. Although it worked out, I don't agree with the decision to let Bumgarner finish the game. Bochy still had Casilla, Romo, and Lopez fully rested and could have gone to Petit and Lincecum if the Royals had tied it. However, it did work out so Bochy can probably count on his ticket to the hall whenever he finally decides to hang it up.

Oct 30, 2014 10:31 AM on Bum Deal
 
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Does it really matter much? PECOTA has had a brutal post season this year for pretty much every game not pitched by Madison Bumgarner. That's the great attraction of baseball, past performance tells you very little about what will happen in any particular game.

 
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Sure, but Dyson, as would be the case with any fielder, has no way to know in advance how far the batter is going to hit the ball. Playing Petit deep is certainly silly, but really the odds were against him even making contact. If you have more confidence on your ability to come in on a ball then in your ability to go back, playing somewhat deeper makes sense, especially in a big ballpark like AT&T where there is a ton of ground to cover in right center. People forget that in earlier games, Royals CF's ran down balls in the gap that almost surely would have gone for extra bases if they had been playing shallow.

Oct 27, 2014 1:36 PM on Mad Cool
 
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Given that Perez's hit in the 8th went about 400 feet, I'm not sure you can blame Dyson all that much for playing normal outfield depth. Almost any position player can hit one into the gap from time to time, and it's better to have to dive once in a while for a short ball then turn singles into doubles as Ishikawa did in LF.

Oct 27, 2014 12:19 PM on Mad Cool
 
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Without seeing all the random samples, I'd suspect that this post season might just have an unusual number of pitchers like Bumgarner that throw high fastballs.

 
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Looks that way to me too as Bumgarner's arm action seems to be noticeably slower on that pitch. If hitters saw it often enough, they would recognize it. At some point, you would think that Bumgarner is going to have to throw more 'true' change ups with the same arm action that he has or his fastball. Despite the score, the Royals had pretty good swings on the fastball, but all of them except the double and the HR found a glove.

 
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The one thing that I notice about Ventura is that he walked an awful lot of guys in August and Sept, by my count, 30 in 61 innings. His BB/9 was 3.4 for the season but in the last 2 months, it was closer to 4.4. It could just be fatigue and it might not hurt him against the Giants as they aren't particularly selective.

 
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One of the odd thing Bochy did was to play Ishikawa in left and Belt at 1st. Belt runs better, has the better arm, and had actually played a few games there even if he didn't particularly enjoy it. They are both pretty good defensive first basemen. But odd things just seem to work for Bochy although it looked doubtful when Ishikawa horribly misplayed John Jays line drive.

 
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Lincecum's velocity is down in the high 80's and his command is nonexistent. As near as i can figure the only reason he is on the roster is out of respdct for past accomplishments. The odd thing is that Petit has similar velocity and makes his fair share of location mistakes but somehow gets away with it.

 
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Agree that the mistake wasn't made by Baker, it was made by Rodriguez throwing a fastball down and in where Spiezio could fully extend his arms and golf it out. Remarkably enough, Buster Posey continues the tradition to this day calling for Hunter Strickland to set balls up on a low inside tee for Bryce Harper for example. There's a reason for hard stuff down and away or up and in on the hands other than tradition.

 
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I can't see blaming Williams. The fundamental problem for the Nationals is that their hitters didn't hit against pitchers that over the course of the regular season were very hitable. Short of picking up a bat himself, there wasn't much that he could do about that.

 
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According to the pitch tracker, the Panik walk was legit, though some of those pitches had been called strikes earlier. I think part of the reason that Williams pulled Zimmermann was that the one pitch everybody agrees was a strike, Panik clobbered foul down the right field line. When a slap hitting infielder pulls a ball with authority, it plants the seeds in a manager's mind that his pitcher is done, even if the hitter just happen to get lucky.

 
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It's worth pointing out that if Bochy puts in Juan Perez or Matt Duffy, as a pinch runner for Posey, the game might have been over in the 9th, so while the managerial mistakes didn't exactly cancel, Williams was probably the poorer decision as he fell victim to 'Must Use Closer Syndrome', both contributed to extending the game.

 
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Yep, I think even Giants fans would agree with this. Without Matt Cain and with Tim Hudson looking like a 38 year old pitcher of late, the only chance that the Giants really have of advancing past today's game is 'Peavey and Bumgarner and pray for {something that rhymes with Bumgarner and is a synonym for precipitation}. And that's assuming that the 'real' Peavey is the pitcher that has been with the Giants and not the one that pitched for the Red Sox.

 
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Pablo Sandoval pretty routinely hits balls nearly in the dirt or at shoulder level, so it is possible even if it isn't usually a good idea to try. I'd postulate that most MLB hitters can do it as long as they know those pitches are always going to be called strikes.

Sep 10, 2014 5:26 PM on Wednesday, September 10
 
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Panik had 3 hits yesterday so at least for the moment, he isn't a huge downgrade from Roberts. That might suggest a platoon however in ludicrously small sample size of 10 PA's, Panik has crushed LHP and struggled against RHP.

 
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Bumgarner also had a double and is now the Giants OPS leader by a considerable margin. At this point, I'd rather see Bumgarner pinch hit against LHP than Joaquin Arias. The only reason i can see not to do it is tradition and fear of injury.

 
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I thought Jim Bouton documented 'The Yankees Way' pretty thoroughly though I don't recall that there was much about winning.

 
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Every team has injuries, the Padres have a lower margin for error in than the other teams due to payroll, but even given that they have under performed. They were a long shot to make the playoffs even if everybody was healthy. If they are to have any chance at competing, they are going to have to go full Astros mode and stockpile enough talent that they can replace key injuries from within. Fortunately, they do have a lot more bargaining chips than the Astros started out with. Smith, Cashner, Ross, and Kennedy should all bring back something in return, and even somebody like Stauffer or Thayer has some value. They aren't particularly young, and the Padres can finish out of they money without them.

 
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The Flying Squirrel that I'd be more interested in hearing about than Crick or Villalona who, at this point are pretty much known quantities, is Matt Duffy. He was an 18th round draft pick, and he appears to have 30 grade power so I don't imagine he has every been considered a much of a prospect but on the other hand, he has gotten on base at a high rate at every level so far including Richmond in what is supposed to be a pitchers league. Also he seems to be able to steal bases at a pretty fair rate and he is not particularly old for his level. Is there something there, or is this just the case of a guy that has a low ceiling which he has already reached? Brandon Crawford isn't going anywhere until 2018, so it is Duffy or Joe Panik, who is also having a good year at Fresno, as Giants '2nd basemen of the future' which do you pick?

Jun 09, 2014 2:03 PM on June 9, 2014
 
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I was beginning to think that part of the adjusted hit list formula is the number of D's in the team name. Actually, I still kind of suspect it.

Jun 02, 2014 9:40 AM on Monday, June 2
 
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At age 21, Gooden was already in decline after being the best pitcher in baseball at age 19 and 20. Let's hope the same thing doesn't happen to Fernandez.

 
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The Padres would probably not be that unhappy if Mike Trout's career ended tomorrow as it would show that they were right to draft Donovan Tate 22 picks earlier. The Mariners ended up with an above replacement players, so they might still be sad. Then again, Trout is in their division which would no doubt make it bearable.

 
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You would think with all the money teams have invested in players, they could hire somebody for minimum wage to keep them away from sharp objects. At least, it sure seems like the Giants ought to.

Apr 30, 2014 8:56 AM on Wednesday, April 30
 
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Bumgarner ended up with 5 RBI's as he previously had a fly ball to the wall for a sacrifice fly so De La Rosa really should have known better. There are quite a few position players that have worse batting mechanics than Bumgarner. The same can't be said for his pitch recognition skills.

Apr 14, 2014 3:06 PM on Weekend Wrap-Up, 4/14
 
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If any team was lucky enough to have a rotation full of guys that could pitch complete games on a fairly regular basis, they could get by with fewer relief pitchers and thus be able to add an extra bat or two to come off the bench. That might add a win per year. Of course any team that had 5 guys pitching a lot of complete games would probably be winning most of them anyway.

 
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I still think that 'command' would be better defined as the ability to throw each pitch with consistent action and control being defined as the ability to have the ball end up where you want it to end up, which doesn't necessarily mean throwing a strike.

 
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I'm surprised that Pablo Sandoval didn't even earn an honorable mention for least selective. I suppose it is because those swings at balls above his neck or at his ankles tend to be more memorable than routinely swinging at balls that are only marginally out of the strike zone.

 
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Betancourt hit a grand slam last year against the Giants (no really! you can look it up) last year so I would be pretty happy to see him playing in some other country because you never know, he might do it again.How is it even possible for a guy to hit 13 dingers in 2/3rds of a season and still end up with a SLG% of 0.355? I mean, at least for somebody not playing 1/2 their games at Coors field.

 
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Pablo should get credit for not having anymore hamate bones to break as well. On the other hand, his walk rate isn't likely to improve with or without broken bones.

Feb 11, 2014 4:46 PM on Third Basemen
 
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Bonds was a HoF lock, black, a PED user, and wasn't cooperative with reporters, and it's the lack of cooperation in creating an 'image' that causes the extra dislike for Bonds. Anybody that things that race isn't a factor has their head in the sand.

Feb 11, 2014 9:31 AM on Interpreting the Polls
 
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One way to evaluate chemistry would be to look at the records of teams that have largely the same players and coaches year to year such as the 2012, 2013 Giants or the 2010, 2011 Giants. In both instances, pretty much the same team, one year they win the WS, the next year they were struggling to achieve mediocrity. I'd suggest that injuries, age, and just plain old luck beat chemistry every time. Or to paraphrase a quote from Anna Karenina that Krugman is fond of: Happy teams are all alike, every unhappy team is unhappy in its own way.

 
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It's widely believed that Kent's injury was from a motorcycle accident which would have been a violation of his contract, hence the 'fell of the truck' version. But that's Kent's story and, as far as I know, he is sticking to it.

 
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I suspect that as more and more teams become adept at working the numbers, the argument that money buys championships should get stronger. There are always going to be the personal preferences of the players such that they won't always go to the Yankees, Red Sox, or Dodgers as free agents, and players are always going to get injured, and sometimes a lower payroll team will just get lucky, but on the balance the better capitalized teams are going to have a much better shot at winning. Going back to the 1994 strike, you don't see many low payroll teams in the winners column, and I suspect you will see even fewer in the future.

 
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Belt could hit .300 and steal low double digits if he tried often enough. It is probably true that he won't hit 25HR playing 1/2 his games at The Phone Company park, but he will get to play a fair number of games at Coors and Chase field (but also at Petco and Chavez ravine, so who knows?). The problem is the expectations. He could well hit 300/400/500 and steal 10 bases and it would be considered a disappointment.

Jan 24, 2014 10:05 AM on First Basemen
 
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Yep, that's what I was going to say. Bonds got walked several times in large part because whoever was hitting behind Bonds wasn't as likely to blast a ball a long way as Bonds was. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.

 
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One reason that there might not be any complaints is that if all teams were trying to maximize winning *right now*, then it wold drive up salaries for everybody as there would be increased competition for above replacement level talent. For example, the Yankees only had to be worried about outbidding a handful of teams for Tanaka. If teams have to spend money, it drives up salaries for everybody.

 
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Realistically, what choice did they have? We don't know how many 10's of millions they had to throw at Kevin Goldstein to lure him away from BP. That said, I don't have a problem with the Astros blowing up the team. It was a bad team before, and it's still a bad team, but at least with more hope of getting better fairly quickly. This happens all the time in the NBA and nobody complains about it. There teams that don't do it end up like the Golden State Warriors and LA Clippers used to be; perpetually just one piece away from mediocrity.

 
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They had a little more than that, they had the cell phone records. Why does A-Rod have anything whatsoever to do with an anti-aging clinic?

 
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Rodriguez is signed through 2017 so even if the suspension holds, the Yankees are on the hook for $60m. There's no incentive for A-Rod to negotiate any kind of settlement.

 
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It strikes me that the person that A-Rod should really be suing is Bosch for slander. The fact that he hasn't done that strengthen's Bosch's claims.

 
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Let's all just hope that Sam never collaborates on anything with Grant Brisbee or an entire generation of baseball fans could be wiped out. The unfortunate thing is that whatever results could never be a viable weapon for the US given the preponderance of baseball fans here as opposed to those in would be adversarial countries. Carefully translated so that no one translator saw both the entire gif and text, it could however used to finally topple Castro.

 
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You left out my favorite of all time, Hall of Famer Bob Gibson pitching primatene, now on baseball's banned substance list. http://www.retrojunk.com/commercial/show/7175/primatene-with-bob-gibson

 
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I followed the Michael Morse link and discovered that he started playing in 1871. That being the case, I think you have to expect a few stretches on the disabled list, and hitting 31 HR as a 140 yro is pretty impressive accomplishment. He probably still has at least one good year left.

Dec 13, 2013 12:00 PM on Inspecting Morse
 
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Votto has been a considerably better hitter than Cano over the years. It is the ability to play 2nd and hit better than the average 1st baseman that makes Cano more valuable.

Dec 06, 2013 1:35 PM on A Need Cano Basis
 
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I'll bet Barnes, who I know nothing about, 'surprises' people with his new found ability to hit for power next year. After all this time, there are still a fair number of people that still don't get just how much of an outlier Coors Field is even with all of the newer, more hitter friendly, ballparks.

 
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I would say the Giants and Cardinals are textbook examples of the value of scouting. For the Giants, Posey, Cain, Lincecum, Bumgarner, Romo, Wilson, Sandoval, Belt, and Crawford all came up through the minor league system and were relatively cheap players on World Series winning clubs. The Cards have an even longer list of home grown talent, Wainwright, Wacha, Adams, Carpenter, Kelley, Miller, etc. You also have to give scouting departments credit for being able to trade major league players and lessor prospects for better prospects.

 
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I'm not convinced that Ellsbury actually solves a problem for the Giants. The problem with shifting Pagan to left is you get a left fielder that hits like a center fielder. Granted, that's better than having left fielders that hit like fifth outfielders but it isn't going to be enough to allow the Giants to compete with the Dodgers. Unfortunately for the Giants, there doesn't appear to be anybody available that would. I still think the better solution is moving Belt to left field and trying to fill the hole at 1st where there are more options available.

Nov 07, 2013 12:30 PM on National League West
 
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Baseball would be far, far better off if they just put more teams in densely populated areas like NYC. Of course, that isn't going to happen.

 
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In fairness to Baker, if Johnny Cueto doesn't injure himself in the first game of last season's divisional series, maybe he pitches game 5 and they go on to league championship series. And if Felix Rodriguez doesn't throw a not very good low inside fastball to Scott Spezio maybe his team wins the 2002 WS as well.

 
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I stand corrected, BP did analyze the Jeff Francoeur transaction, but probably shouldn't have bothered.

 
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I don't think that BP has done a single transaction analysis for the Giants the entire season. Granted, none of them made any difference, but you would have thought a 5 year/$90M contract would be worth more than a mention.

 
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The Giants pitcher that surprised me is Martin Agosta who put up much better numbers at Augusta than Chris Stratton and Stratton is both a year older and was drafted ahead of Agosta. The walks make me wonder if Agosta won't end up being a right handed Jonathan Sanchez, but then again, I haven't actually seen him pitch except on youtube.

 
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Francoeur threw out a runner at the plate for the Giants, pretty much his one remaining baseball skill.

Aug 21, 2013 10:05 AM on Wednesday, August 21
 
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FWIW, Lincecum's next start against the Reds was horrible, but his 2nd start after the no hitter against the Cubs was pretty good, so maybe the rule based on miniscule sample size should be 'pull your pitcher unless his next start is against the Cubs'. On the other hand, Lincecum lost both games, so he might be seething anyway.

Jul 30, 2013 1:34 PM on Leave Me In, Coach!
 
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I remember watching the Brave-Mets game on TV, but I have to admit that I went to bed long before the Rick Camp HR. IIRC, I gave up after the Harper HR having concluded that the game would go on forever.

 
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I wouldn't have a problem with ejecting pitchers that consistently throw at the batter, however I also think batters that make little effort to get out of the way or, worse yet, actively try to get part of their uniform hit, should not be awarded first base.

 
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If your can't draw any conclusions from the last 2 months of last season, I don't think you can draw any conclusions from the first 2 months of this season either. Crawford is actually outperforming his career numbers at the moment and that seems unlikely to continue. Gonzalez is having a pretty typical Gonzalez year. The think I notice for both of them is that their BB and K rates are way down. They are both on the wrong side of 30. As with most trades, it is too early to tell who 'won' this trade. Ultimately if the Dodgers don't win a WS or 2 in that time fans are going to consider the trade to be a mistake.

 
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Granted that in the era of Photoshop a picture isn't as convincing evidence as it used to be, but sfgate ran a picture of a shirtless Sandoval on an exercise bike proving that it is indeed all him under that uniform. I still have mental scars from that photo.

May 07, 2013 9:23 AM on Tuesday, May 7
 
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I haven't been to the Colesium in a while, but I never thought it was that bad, much better than Candlestick, though Mt. Davis certainly made it worse. I do think the A's current ownership actively tries to keep fans from attending because if people showed up, they would lose their argument that they need to move to San Jose to be profitable. The A's will be getting some taxpayer help even if they don't move with the BART extension to San Jose which is scheduled for completion in 2015. When that happens, the A's ownership will start bad mouthing BART as well as the Colesium.

 
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I think it is almost entirely catching technique. It seems fairly obvious to me that you are going to get more calls if you set your target slightly outside the strike zone and move your glove into the zone (from any direction) than you will if you set up in the strike zone and move your glove out. The umpire is going to perceive that movement into the strike zone as evidence that the pitch is more closely centered in the zone than it really is. From the GIFS, Sanchez works almost entirely the other way. His glove is always moving away from the strike zone when he catches the ball, and that creates the converse impression that the ball was farther outside the zone than it really was. Notice also that the glove doesn't hit a brick wall and stop when the ball hits it due to momentum, so by the time Sanchez's glove finally stops moving, he is 6 inches outside the strike zone. If his glove was going the other way he would be centered.

 
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At the time he was called up, Sanchez was the best available option offensively. The Giants were well aware that he wasn't much of a catcher. The problem now is that catching every 5th day he isn't going to get any better at catching and it is going to set back his development as a hitter as well. Given the spring that Johnny Monell had and the fact that at 26 he isn't much of a prospect, they probably would be better served by giving the job to Monell. However he apparently isn't a very good catcher either.

 
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Since he wasn't mentioned, I'm going to assume that Brandon Belt *will* hit .453/.478/.906 this season.

 
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It's obvious that Zito isn't a better than average pitcher but rather that he is a much better hitter than his career -31 OPS+ would suggest. How else can you explain all those extra 7 to 9 run games? I'll bet that in games that Zito gets 1 or more hits, the Giants win some of them. :-) Having never looked at it before, I'm impressed with Zito's consistency at the plate as a Giant; 0.113 BA his first year, and then 3 years in a row at 0.118. In 2008 and 2009 he had the exact same stat line. What are the odds of that?

 
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The problem is that we do see considerable year to year stability in pitching and hitting metrics, though pitching metrics are substantially more variable due to injuries. That doesn't seem to be the case with fielding metrics.

 
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You could order the players at each position by UZR and FRAA, weight by rank order and use the sum of the weighted scores or something like that. My big problem with any of the defensive metrics is that they jump around so much season to season. That might just be due to nagging injuries, or it could be that they are just fundamentally flawed.

 
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The difference is in baseball, when the models don't predict the real world data, the model gets changed. In economics, when that happens, they keep the model and throw out the data.

Mar 11, 2013 12:41 PM on Maybe I'm Wrong
 
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Even if Kickham can only manage to throw a 91mph fastball, that's still 6mph faster than Zito's average fastball.

Mar 08, 2013 11:44 AM on Four Growing Giants
 
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I could actually see somebody signing Sanchez to a minor league deal because 'he was an NL batting camp once'.

 
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I'm guessing Rosengren doesn't focus much on Greenberg as emblematic Jewish ballplayer is due to the fact that Jews were at least well enough assimilated into American life that they were allowed to play major league baseball as opposed to black players, who were not. So there isn't the kind of tectonic shift when Greenberg reaches the majors as there is when Jackie Robinson does.

Feb 28, 2013 8:57 AM on Enamorin' Hank
 
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The one thing that the mainstream sports writers seem to gloss over is that even if you take steroids, you still have to put in the work in the gym. It's not like you can take a handful of pills, sit in the living room playing video games and eating potato chips over the off season and then go out and hit 60 HR.

 
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As much as it made the fans happy, 3 years and $20m for Marco Scutaro after a career 1/2 season probably wasn't the smartest move in the world either. It only looks somewhat smarter if your other options are bringing back Emmanuel Burris or Ryan Theriot.

 
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Maybe so, but it doesn't hate the Dodgers. Amazing what a $200m+ payroll can do to sooth a vicious monster.

 
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I don't think it really costs all that much more to have a good farm system than a bad one. There is a lot of information out there these days about just about every player. As was pointed out quite some time ago on BP, general managers need to know where they are on the 'success cycle'. The Giants with most of their impact players locked up for the next 3 years at reasonable cost and looking at big pay days after that need to be in 'win now' mode. If they traded Gary Brown and another prospect at the trade deadline for say, Josh Willingham, that would be defensible. If the Astros did it, it wouldn't be. The Astros current problem stems from the fact that they weren't just 'one player away' from winning the WS, but their one near success fooled them into thinking they were.

 
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Preaching to the choir but the entire Romo as closer strikes me the wrong way. Would you rather have Romo pitch in the 7th in a close game with runners on base and a couple of tough right handed hitters due up, or pitching in the 9th with nobody on base and the bottom of the order coming up?

 
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Always keep in mind that Frank McCourt bought the Dodgers for $421m, the team 'lost money', primarily due to multimillion dollar payouts to various McCourts, and then was ultimately sold for $2B, a nifty profit of $1.6B. I think all of us would gladly 'lose' as much money as Frank McCourt.

 
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You can always tell when a sports team owner is lying about the teams profitability; his lips are moving. It's always struck me as odd that people can simultaneously believe that people are rational, profit maximizing robots and at the same time believe that successful businessmen are willing to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for a money losing business with, according to them, no hope of ever turning a profit.

 
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Nice article. It's worth pointing out that the Giants have won 2 of the last 3 WS primarily with products of the farm system, but I think they probably only had one of the better systems for maybe 1 year. IMO farm system rankings are problematic because TNSTAAPP and even for hitters, you expect that the really exceptional talents aren't going to spend much time on down on the farm.

 
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Prince Fielder was perfect in stolen base attempts last year. He just knows when to pick his spot. Miguel Cabrera had a 80% success rate. The big guys don't get a lot of triples though and that makes you wonder about their ability to score from 2nd on a single compared the average player.

 
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At least for the last pitch, Rolen was probably guessing slider (not that hard a guess) and got one. He swung at the spot the ball should have been if it had broken down and away like it was supposed to. If it had, he would have clobbered it. Instead it broke down and in and he missed by a mile.

 
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I think it makes more sense to have the WBC during the MLB playoffs. Obviously you won't get the top players from the 8 remaining teams, but that still leaves a substantial talent pool and it can't be much of an additional hardship since if they had made the playoffs, they would still be playing anyway.

Jan 31, 2013 4:15 PM on The Unclean Game
 
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I wouldn't be surprised to see Buster Posey regress some despite the fact that he will only be 26. He put up one of the best offensive seasons ever for a catcher; better than the best year of Berra, Bench, or Carter and on a par with Piazza's best. Given the beating that catchers take, and particularly the beating that Tim Lincecum's catcher takes, I wouldn't be surprised if he regressed though as a Giants fan, I'd prefer that he didn't.

 
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Great stuff, though I'd still argue that the craziest 1/2 inning in Mets history was against Atlanta when Rick Camp's 18th inning, 2 out HR kept the game going for another inning. It was the only HR in Camp's professional career. No way Holmes predicts that.

 
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Terrific article. It all makes sense now. That said, you should have asked Reynolds to comment. If Lance Armstrong can man up and admit to Oprah that he is a life long doper, Mark Reynolds can come clean to Sam Miller about his life long blindness. It's not like he has done anything wrong and it can be a source of inspiration to kids all over the world. The funny thing is that in 2013, baseball players still have to conceal their handicap in order to be allowed to play. Fans have known since the beginning that the umpires are blind but that never prevented them from getting a job in baseball.

 
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I'm kind of surprised that Tanana never got more consideration than he did as he was a pretty dominant pitcher before he got hurt, and afterward he was a league average inning eater or a long time. I guess the voters remember the later phase but not the first 5 years of his career.

Jan 15, 2013 9:05 AM on Zeroes and Ones
 
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My guess is that if the pitcher isn't good at keeping the runner close and getting the ball to the plate quickly, a pitch out doesn't help much.

 
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Sorry to say that everybody, great, good, and not so good, in the steroid era is under suspicion. That's not fair to the players that never used anything stronger than caffeine, but that's reality. We don't know who used and who didn't and unless the Federal government and MLB wants to offer blanket immunity to anybody willing to testify fully and truthfully under oath, we never will. Hopefully the BBWAA haven't gotten their symbolic gesture out of the way and will vote Bonds, Clemens, and Piazza in next year.

Jan 10, 2013 11:08 AM on The Voting Travesty
 
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Corrections, on checking the records of Hall of Famers from the post draft era, I find one, Tom Seaver. I couldn't find any position players in the Hall that were draft eligible and not drafted and most Hall of Fame position players were drafted in the first 4 rounds. There is ample reason to be just as suspicious of Piazza. FWIW, Jose Canseco never failed a drug test either. IMHO, Bonds, Clemens and Piazza all belong in the Hall.

Jan 10, 2013 11:02 AM on The Voting Travesty
 
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There was more to the line of thinking than that. It's pretty easy to believe that a 5th or 6th round pick turns out to be a quality major leaguer, Brandon Belt for example. But you can count the number of undrafted (and that's essentially what Piazza was) first ballot hall of famers on the fingers of one foot.

Jan 10, 2013 10:42 AM on The Voting Travesty
 
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In defence of Emmanuel Burriss aside from baseball skills, he apparently speaks Spanish pretty well and acted as the Giants team translator when he wasn't on the DL or visiting Fresno. That ought to count for something.

 
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Nice article. The idea that a team would trade it's best young player for a handful of magic beans has an enduring quality. There was a day when something like that might happen, but Dave Littlefield isn't a GM any more.

 
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I'd expect the Giants to have a little more pop in 2013 then they did in 2012 even with a Blanco/Torres platoon in left. They will have Hunter Pence for a full year and Posey, Sandoval, and Belt will all just be entering their prime years. Brandon Crawford also showed occasional power and he will be 26 starting the season so you would expect him to improve somewhat as well. If they are a few games out going into the trading deadline, they still have Hector Sanchez and/or Gary Brown that they can try to deal for a full time left fielder with some power. On the other hand, Marco Scutaro will almost certainly come back down to earth again.

 
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The interesting thing is that Pablo Sandoval has his shtick as well, and that seems to bother nobody. Wilson's act does seem a little forced by contrast.

 
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If only they had a new tax payer funded stadium they would be able to compete ... oh, wait.

 
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Panik had a pretty terrible AFL triple stat line and Nick Noonan wasn't a lot better at Fresno, so the Giants were pretty limited for in house options other than Scutaro. The guy I might have considered giving a shot would have been Brock Bond but he got hit in the head a couple of years ago and took a long time to recover. He managed a 332/422/398 line at Fresno last year and has been a 400 OBP guy his entire career in the minors and while he is old for AAA at age 27, that still makes him 10 years younger than Scutaro.

 
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It would seem like Hartford, Connecticut would be an option as well as while the city population is only 125K or so, the county has 850K and proximity to NYC. Presumably the Yankees, Mets, and Red Sox would fight tooth and nail to prevent that from happening. That said, the best possible solution to MLB's supposed parity problem would to locate one new team in northern NJ, one in Hartford.

 
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FWIW, after a very slow start Brown is putting up pretty decent numbers in the AFL over the last week or so and is now up to 333/383/389. You would certainly like to see a little more power as pretty much all the hits are singles. For a speed guy, he hasn't been a very successful base stealer either.

Nov 08, 2012 12:20 PM on Gary Brown
 
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That's a good question though I suspect that the combination of Theriot/Scutaro probably contributed similar WARP to what the Giants would have gotten from Sanchez. If you look at it that way, the cost was Charlie Culberson.

 
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Sabean has in fact gotten better over time and one of the big changes is a new found appreciation for the draft and emphasis on scouting. Maybe that's mostly due to Dick Tidrow, but Sabean hired him. It's had to knock him for the Beltran deal as at the time it was made, the Giants still had a chance to make the post season, Beltran was the best player available, there were no empty slots in the rotation and Wheeler was a couple of years away. It didn't work out. The thing that Sabean has gotten really good at (or just plain lucky) is dumpster diving for talent to plug holes; Blanco, Torres, Arias, Ross, Mijares and Burrell were all guys that nobody had any use for and they all helped the Giants at minimal cost. Most other teams didn't have any use for Scutaro, Henlsey, Kontos, or Theriot, but on the Giants, they all filled a need at minimal cost. The question going forward is whether he has put the days of paying top dollar for marginal talent like Zito, Rowand, Huff, DeRosa and Freddie Sanchez behind him. This winter should be interesting with both Pagan and Scutaro being a) Extremely popular b) Coming off career years c) On the wrong side of 30 d) Not likely to be as good in future years. Sabean is also going to have to make a tough call on Pence and maybe even a tougher one on Lincecum. He isn't going to have much time in the off season to enjoy winning the series.

Oct 31, 2012 5:21 PM on Brian Science
 
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You are fortunate to live in an area with no team thus you can watch any game you want. MLB, in their infinite wisdom, won't allow people to pay to watch their local team if the game is also broadcast and these days, most are. That would be fine if your local TV provider would stream the games but, of course, they don't thus opening up business opportunities for companies like slingbox.

 
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I never minded McCarver before, but during this series one more than one occasion he wasn't aware of how many outs there were. I can see how that could be a problem for the viewers what with Fox constantly ignoring the game in favor of interviews, but the announcers really ought to be able to keep track of the number of outs.

 
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If baseball is to become all about TV money, and I have no doubt that like the NFL it eventually will be, then it will have got through a total realignment. You would like to make sure that you never have a 'subway series' because only the people in that city care. That suggests that what you really want are 3 league; East, Central, and West with North/South divisions in each. That in turn would get you divisional series like LA vs SF, Yankees vs Braves, Cubs vs Rangers, etc. and would make it more likely you would get a Dodgers/Yankees or Giants/Yankees World series and also allow for World Series like Angels/Red Sox, Giants/Mets, Dodgers/Mets, etc. which aren't possible with the current format. The traditionalists would be offended but they wouldn't stop watching games. Of course it also allows for the possibility of something like a Cubs/Mets or Cubs/Dodgers World Series but I'm afraid no amount of realignment will make that likely.

 
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It seems like people are forgetting that most major league teams don't own their minor league affiliates outright and many of the players, particularly at the lower levels, aren't under contract to the MLB team and are just roster filler. I supposed you could insist that the affiliates institute some sort of nutritional programs and pick up the tab for better food, but at the end of the day you are going to feed a lot of guys that are never going to make it to MLB. Given the billions in revenue that still might be penny wise, pound foolish, but I can understand why it doesn't happen.

 
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The way it turned out you wonder if Romo hasn't been throwing 70% sliders to right handers for the last 5 years just so he could throw a fat fastball down the middle of the plate to the reigning AL batting champion in the WS and have him strike looking. That said, I'm guessing Romo intended that pitch to be on the outside corner instead of where it ended up.

 
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Aside from getting hit in the head, Fister had thrown 114 pitches and seemed to be losing his command so I think the decision to pull him was justifiable with the lefties coming up. The Tigers only have 2 left handed relievers so it was either Smyly or Coke and Coke is now 'the ninth inning guy'. Smyly was somewhat more effective against left handed hitters than Benoit this year, so he got the call. I would have gone to Benoit instead of Dotel though.

 
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He had a huge drop in velocity at the beginning of his rookie season as well and it came back.We'll find out in the spring.

 
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It's also worth pointing out that for the last months or so, Madison Bumgarner has been terrible. If Bumgarner really has fixed his mechanical issues, it is a much more competitive series. If he hasn't, the Tiger's prospects improve considerably.

 
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I don't know anything about Young's past issues, though I concede that he had no idea where the ball was.

 
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The weird double play was a heads up play by Posey and a brain freeze by Young. Young assumed the ball was foul and didn't bother to run. Posey did not. I was hoping for the super slo mo replay on that one because seeing it in regular speed I couldn't tell for sure what happened though there isn't any doubt that Posey fielded the ball in fair territory.

 
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When he is 'in shape', which is relative, Sandoval even looks like an elite defender. He has a quick first step and a cannon arm. However in end of season form, where I'd guess Sandoval is well upwards of 260, he isn't quite so agile. Blanco is very good, Pence looks really awkward but seems to get to a decent number of balls. If it were me, I'd probably swap Blanco and Pence given the much greater area in right center to cover and it's not like the extra height is going to enable Pence to leap above the right field fence at the The Phone Company Park to rob somebody of a homer whereas he might be able to in left. But I gather that he prefers to play right, and Blanco doesn't care where he plays.

 
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I think the preference for Anibal Sanchez is due to the Giants having a heavily left handed lineup and Pagan and Sandoval though they are switch hitters, both hit better left handed.

 
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It also occurs to me that the play illustrates what's wrong with Pence's swing; he isn't accelerating the bat head enough to get around on an inside pitch, hence, getting the ball near the handle instead of the bat head. If so, perhaps he should try a lighter bat for the series.

 
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I don't think there is any mystery about what happened to Kozma. Even playing left field in softball my first reaction would be to the location of the pitch and the timing of the batter's swing. On an inside pitch with an early swing, the batter is going to pull the ball. That's almost certainly what Kozma was reacting to and, if the bat hadn't broken, he would have been right.

 
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The Phone Company Park is only really only exceptionally large out in right center. The high wall in right turns a lot of line drives in that direction from home runs into doubles but the Cards rarely hit any that way. Molina has the right sort of line drive swing for the park, and he did well.

 
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I don't put a lot of stock in PECOTA's prediction of a single game outcome no matter who is pitching, and I suspect Rathman doesn't either. One pitch over the fat part of the plate can be all it takes to dramatically change the number of runs scored. Or, as the Cards have discovered, one ball that isn't fielded cleanly. If the Giants play the Cards 100 games with Cain and Lohse as the starting pitchers, the Giants probably do win 60% of the time. Fortunately, that tells us almost nothing about tonight's game so we'll just have to watch.

 
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More terrible than the headlines is listening Buck and McCarver talk about the importance of having a closer and how Romo has become one due to his supposedly new found confidence that he can do the job as opposed to, say, being assigned to do the job by his manager. Anybody that has heard Romo interviewed over the last couple of years could have told them that he has never lacked 'confidence' that he can get people out. The only thing that has really changed is that in the absence of Wilson, and after a couple of Casilla 9th inning meltdowns, Bochy has designated Romo the 9th inning guy

 
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Zito has been at his flakiest this season for the Giants. On average he has been, well, average. But he has had some huge games for the Giants starting with the complete game shutout at Coors to end a 3 game losing streak at the beginning of the season and ending, as of now, with last night's performance. And then he has had those games like in the NLDS where he doesn't make it into the 5th. Go figure.

 
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According to sfgate Beltran is out today due to injury and Belt is on the bench. I agree with PECOTA that that's a step down, but Sanchez never has to worry about getting in Bochy's dog house because he stuck out looking on a ball out of the strike zone. Pence gets moved down a slot to 6th, Posey up a slot to 3rd.

 
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MLB ought to really make some effort to get all umpires to call a rule book strike zone. That is their job after all.

 
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Yep, according to the scoreboard radar gun, he threw one pitch at 91, and then everything else was 87-90 and that's been the case for the last month. The same thing happened at the beginning of 2010 where he lost about 4 mph on his fastball except that time he retained his control. Hard to tell what is going on but he isn't the same pitcher he was i n the first 2/3rds of the season.

 
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If Baker was going to bring anybody in to replace Latos in that situation, it should have been Chapman, but Baker subscribes to the theory that your best relief pitcher should be saved for the 9th inning. You would think that the success of the 2012 Giants and A's would help put a nail in the coffin of the dedicated 'closer' since neither team had a relief pitcher with 30 saves, but it won't make a dent. Dollars to donuts that if Brian Wilson comes back next year 'good as new' he will be pitching almost exclusively in the 9th inning.

 
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Or, more likely, traded, because if they stay and the A's keep winning, people will show up at the Colosseum and the A's owners ownership won't be able to whine about how essential it is that the get a new taxpayer funded stadium in San Jose in order to be competitive and draw fans.

 
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In years past, Romo didn't have the sinker that breaks down and slightly away from lefties. Developing that pitch and a little bit of a changeup with similar motion has made him much more effective against left handed hitters.

 
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One more thing; the Giants did get some excellent pitching from one of their starters besides Vogelsong except the it came from Lincecum pitching in relief. I have to agree that the Giants starting rotation has been underwhelming to say the least, and that's been true for the last couple of weeks.

 
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FWIW, judging from the pitch quadrant shown on gameday, the balls and strike calling was atrocious in this series. A few years back, MLB gave lip service to trying to get the umpires to call a rule book strike zone. I'd suggest some remedial instruction is in order.

 
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Romo is really teeny compared to most pitchers. He is listed as 5'11", 191 and I think both numbers are optimistic.

 
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I don't think Bailey could have or should have tried to get Blanco at third especially given how many K's he was recording. I do think Rolen could have thrown out Posey at the plate if he had looked that way as Posey was expecting the play to be made and was looking back over his shoulder and not running very hard until after Rolen bobbled the ball.

 
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I don't know how unexpected the Bumgarner home run was. It was Coors field after all and Bumgarner is an excellent athlete with a beautiful swing. Given the PAs, he could probably hit well enough to be an everyday player.

Sep 12, 2012 8:43 AM on Wednesday, September 12
 
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I wonder if the Giants couldn't upgrade at 2nd by just promoting Brock Bond. He has never been seen as much of a prospect but all the guy has done is get on base at every level in the minors, even in the Eastern league where most Giants 'prospects' have struggled. With a career minor league OBP of .408 and .418 at Fresno this year, could he really be that much worse than Theriot? On the other hand, he hasn't been playing much 2nd base since getting smacked in the head by a line drive and losing most of a year to a concussion, so maybe that is the issue.

Jul 26, 2012 9:42 AM on Upgrading From Nothing
 
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The Dodgers were the beneficiaries of a really easy schedule to start the season, as the Giants were to a lessor extent. That, combined with a healthy Matt Kemp, was enough to win games. When Kemp got injured and the competition got better, they stopped winning. The Giants R/RA differential vs their actual results is largely the result of blowups by Lincecum and Zito. When they lose, they lose big. When they win, it is usually by 1 or 2 runs. As for Belt, he should probably be leading off on the 2012 Giants at least until he starts hitting for power on a regular basis. However Bochy doesn't put much stock in having high OBP hitters at the top of the line up.

 
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I'd kind of like to see somebody give Barry Bonds a shot. He claims to be doing a lot of bicycling so his knees must be holding up and he still looks like he could play. Odds are the eye sight isn't what it used to be, but isn't that why they invented LASIK?

 
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The trouble with dealing Roger Kieschnick is that his break out season was prematurely terminated by a collision with an outfield wall which resulted in a fractured shoulder. Combine that with his past back problems and he is unlikely to generate much interest in trade.

Jun 27, 2012 9:20 AM on NL West
 
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More proof, as if more were needed, that you can always tell when sports team owners are lying about how much money they are losing; their lips are moving.

 
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I know you can't trade draft picks, but what is to prevent the Pirates from signing Appel for slot and then turning around and trading him shortly thereafter? The acquiring team could then just decide TNSTAAPP, put Appel on the 25 man and then negotiate a deal through his free agency years for much beyond draft slot bonuses. It's not like Appel is ever going to throw much harder than the mid-90s .Tim Lincecum and Stephen Strasburg were pretty much just killing time during their minor league careers, such as they were, is there any reason to think Appel will be much different?

Jun 05, 2012 3:32 PM on First Round Recap
 
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I've complained as much as anybody about Bruce Bochy's love for putting low OBP hitter's a the top of the lineup, but it appears that this year, the hitters have outfoxed him has Blanco has an OBP near .400 and Ryan Theriot has been barely adequate over the last week or so. Apparently there is a new baseball phrase, 'lengthening the lineup' which has been coined in the last few years to put a positive spin on the theory that loading the top of the lineup with low OBP hitters increases run production. Mathematically, it makes no sense at all.

Jun 05, 2012 11:10 AM on Tuesday, June 5
 
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Pagan, Cabrera, and Blanco will regress to their respective means, but not until after Sabean rewards them with 5 year contracts. That said, at least part of the Giants recent success can be attributed not only to the fact that the outfielders are hitting better than expected, but also because they can all cover a lot of ground which has helped the pitchers suppress opposing team's offense. Blanco in particular has been excellent in right field.

Jun 05, 2012 8:56 AM on Tres CompaƱeros
 
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I don't see any controversy. Runge called it a swing and miss, it's a strike, end of story. We also have no way of knowing that every call was flawless before Don Larsen's perfect game, and with the limited camera angles available prior to the 1990s, it would be a stretch to say we were certain that the home plate umpire got every call right for those games. Even with all those camera angles, we can never tell for sure on what is essentially a judgement call. FWIW, I did see Jonathan Sanchez's no hitter, and Runge was giving him a wide plate, particularly on the last pitch. But it's his call, not mine, that matters.

Apr 23, 2012 10:00 AM on Monday, April 23
 
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I'd be astonished if the Giants traded Belt for a 'closer'. They've got Santiago Castilla who throws as hard as Wilson did, and if that isn't enough, they've got Heath Hembree at Fresno who might throw even harder. If they don't care about the entertainment value of high velocity and are content to just get batters out, they have Sergio Romo and Javy Lopez. As with last year, the Giants primary problem is scoring runs, not with failing to close games out, and Aubrey Huff is a prime offender. It would be fool hardy to trade your best hitting prospect to replace him in order to solve a problem that you don't have. That said, I think I just convinced myself that that's exactly what Brian Sabean will do. Maybe all Giants fans need to go to the ballpark and chanting 'Armando Benitez! Armando Benitez!' or something to remind Sabean of closers past.

Apr 19, 2012 3:54 PM on Freese Frame
 
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The Dodgers have been the beneficiary of an extraordinarily easy schedule with 7 games against the Padres and 3 against the Pirates to start the season and all of those games were either at home, or a couple of hours down the freeway. We'll see how good they really are after July when they have a bunch of games against the Diamondbacks, Phillies, Cardinals, Cincinnati and the Giants.

Apr 19, 2012 1:32 PM on Sizzling Starts
 
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The Giants reportedly wanted to extend Lincecum but he wasn't interested in signing a Matt Cain like deal. I don't see a lot of risk to the Giants in the Bumgarner deal. Bumgarner is a seriously good athlete who looks like he could learn to hit well enough to be an everyday player even if he couldn't pitch.

Apr 18, 2012 9:55 AM on Giants Extend Bumgarner
 
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It's also not like Lincecum lacks the ability to get anybody out except by strikeout. His primary problem hasn't been fastball velocity, it has been fastball location; he has been throwing a lot of very hittable pitches so far this year. I suspect the reduced velocity is a result of Lincecum trying to improve his control by backing off a little. So far, it hasn't been working, but it has only been 2 games, both in hitter's parks.

 
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I tend to define the words a little differently. To me 'command' is the ability to throw a particular pitch with repeatable and desired 'action'. In other words, if I throw a curveball, I can throw it every time with the same horizontal and vertical movement every time. I would define 'control' as being able to have that pitch end up in where the catcher expects it. Of course, I'm not a pitcher, professional or otherwise, so what do I know?

Apr 11, 2012 12:43 PM on Finding the Zone
 
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Agreed, and it is one of the reason that the Giants awarded Matt Cain with a 5 year deal despite the fact that he doesn't have the 'stuff' that Johnson has. An extra 3 mph on the fastball isn't worth much if you are physically unable to take the field.

 
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I wish they would enforce the rule that you need to at least attempt to get out of the way of the pitch. At least Sandoval tried to get out of the way, and certainly wouldn't have been trying to take a pitch near the elbow. Some guys have made a career out of maneuvering loose clothing into the path of the ball.

 
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Yep. Not only that, but but apparently Bochy read my comment posted on KG's minor league player of the year column stating that Hector Sanchez was a legitimate candidate for 'player of the year' because he would toil in the PCL in deference to 'proven great defensive catcher' (Eli Whiteside | Chris Stewart). Well, Stewart is going to be impressing Yankee fans with his defensive prowess, and Whiteside, much to everybody's surprise, including his own, I'm sure, turns out to still have a minor league option at age 32. I hereby predict that Whiteside will not be a candidate for 'minor league player of the year'. If I'm wrong about that, it will be the last time I predict anything. That said, being wrong about Sanchez doesn't grate as much as my prediction that Apple was overpriced at $80/share.

 
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One more thought; the other way to address the market efficiency issue and still make it possible for the 'small market' teams to stay competitive in a world where every player is a free agent would be to increase the number of teams in 'large markets' so that the pool of disposable income in every team's market is roughly equal. NYC might well have 5 teams, for example. You can imagine how enthusiastic the Steinbrenners and Wilpons would be about that solution.

Apr 04, 2012 11:49 AM on Tragedy of the Commons
 
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Tragedy of the commons doesn't occur with public ownership of resources either. What matters is the ability to restrict access to the common resource so it can't be depleted through over use, not who has that power. In any event, I don't believe that salaries in baseball fit a 'tragedy of the commons' model. The problem isn't 'over grazing' of the free agent pool, the problem, if there is one, is that there are very few people that have the skills that Matt Cain and Joey Votto have, and that there is a lot of money to be made by having exclusive rights to those abilities. Changing the size of the free agent pool wouldn't create more players with those abilities, though it should increase market efficiency. In fact, it's entirely likely that the salaries of the Matt Cain's and Joey Votto's of the world would be even higher if every player was signed to a one year contract because the owner would be protected against the possibility of a career ending injury before the end of the contract, and the player would have to secure a bigger payday for one year as insurance against that same possibility. FWIW, the 'steroid era' was the result of a individual players trying to address that scarcity by increasing the size of the pool of exceptional athletes. Of course, if they are available to everybody, and raises every users abilities to the same degree, nothing has really changed. Finally, MLB doesn't really want an efficient market. If the market was truly efficient, the large market teams would have all the exceptional players due to increased ability to pay. 1/2 the teams in MLB would be relegated to the minor leagues. That might well be the efficient, profit maximizing arrangement, but it wouldn't make fans of the Pirates, Twins, Royals, and 1/2 dozen other teams very happy.

Apr 04, 2012 11:42 AM on Tragedy of the Commons
 
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Most likely because it doesn't fit into Libertarian ideology, thus it can't be true.

Apr 04, 2012 9:02 AM on Tragedy of the Commons
 
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Matt Cain would have been a free agent at the end of the 2012 season, so he wasn't years away from free agency. The Giants signed him to a 5 year deal because whatever talent they had in the minors is either in the big leagues now, or will be in a year or 2. They have a window of about 4 years where Bumgarner, Posey, Sandoval, Belt, and Gary Brown won't be free agent eligible, and where 4 big contracts, Zito, Rowand, Huff, and Freddy Sanchez, will be coming off the books. They don't currently have anybody in the minors that could replace Matt Cain. Given that situation, it makes sense to give some of the money they are saving by paying below market salaries to Posey, Sandoval, Belt, and Bumgarner to Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum in order to field a playoff contending team for the next 4 years.

Apr 04, 2012 9:00 AM on Tragedy of the Commons
 
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The Giants don't really need to worry about Bumgarner for another 4 years. Bumgarner got enough starts in 2010 to be a 'super 2' player, but that still means that he has 4 arbitration eligible years, including 2012, ahead of him before he can go anyplace. I think they will try to extend Lincecum for a couple of more years if possible as Cain, Bumgarner, Posey, Sandoval, Brandon Belt, ad Brandon Crawford are all locked up. Assuming that Gary Brown, Hector Sanchez, and Joe Panik make it to the majors within the next year or two, the Giants have a 4 year window to try to win another World Series before the depletion in the farm system and free agency catches up with them. By the last year of Cain's contract, the Giants will be in rebuilding mode.

Apr 03, 2012 5:25 PM on 12 Years For Joey Votto
 
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I think the biggest factor in the Cain signing is that while it isn't very scientific, he has a very smooth motions and never looks like he is working all that hard when he is pitching. Whether or not that translates in to an ability to avoid serious injury remains to be seen.

Apr 03, 2012 8:36 AM on 12 Years For Joey Votto
 
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It's a really small sample size, but I saw most of Sanchez's MLB AB's last year and, yes, given that he is a catcher, I could see him being the minor league player of the year. He just looks like he has a really good idea what he is trying to do at the plate, and his defensive skills seem pretty decent as well. When you consider that he is blocked as long as Posey is healthy and thus consigned to the PCL until September, I think he has an excellent chance to put up monster numbers. His biggest challenge will probably be staying in the minors if Posey can't catch every day and (Chris Stewart | Eli Whiteside) ends up with a lot of playing time and hist like (Chris Stewart | Eli Whiteside).

 
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Don't forget that he also paid virtually no taxes and his gain on the sale will be taxed at 15% (at most). Still, McCourt doesn't show nearly the business acumen of George Steinbrenner who managed to transfer the even more valuable New York Yankees franchise to his heirs when the estate tax was 0%. You had to get up pretty early in the morning to get one by old George.

 
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I'd be inclined to pick Hector Sanchez as the Giant to watch instead of Gary Brown on the strength of a monster off season in the Venezuelan winter league and an equally impressive performance in spring training. In addition, Sanchez will start the year in the PCL where it should be easier to put up big numbers. It should be interesting to see what effect the Eastern league has on Tommy Josephs numbers as well.

 
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The only thing I don't get is how one could write about the Giants and not mention Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumganer and while relievers may be more or less fungible, Romo and Wilson, when healthy, are less fungible than most. It's kind of hard to see how one can overlook Pablo Sandoval as well. We all know that if the Giants are going to contend, it won't be because of the contributions from Pagan, Cabrera, or Zito.

 
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It's hard to compare Zimmerman with Sandoval; Zimmerman is clearly better than the over weight Sandoval, but probably not quite as good as the 'in shape' Sandoval.

Feb 28, 2012 2:55 PM on Nats Extend Zimm
 
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Reason 3 just occurred to me: Nobody wanted to give Bonds a chance to hit another 40 or 50 HR thus leaving the way open for the supposedly clean Alex Rodriguez to eventually pass him as the all time HR leader and thus remove the tainted record from the record books. Despite his recent decline, that could still happen and I suppose everybody will feel good about it because unlike Bonds, Rodriguez is reasonably well liked and he confessed.

 
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It is highly unlikely that Bonds would have settled for $500K, but it is more than a little odd that he apparently didn't get any inquiries at all. I don't buy that it was a prospective jail sentence that kept bidders away as anybody familiar with the US justice system had to know that a conviction, let alone jail time, was years away.

 
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The thing that strikes me as really odd is that Beane will take a chance on Manny whereas Bonds, coming off a 270/480/565 season apparently never even got a phone call from anybody. Aside from being widely disliked, Bonds seems to be the appointed martyr sacrificed on the alter of baseball to cleanse other PED users of their sins.

 
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Vogelsong is already out for 2 weeks with a back injury and pitchers and catchers just reported. On the plus side, Wilson reports no pain in his elbow after his first bull pen session, and there are encouraging early reports that Freddy Sanchez is breathing and that Pablo Sandoval is only 10 to 15 lbs over weight instead of 30 lbs. IMO, the 2012 offense will be significantly better than 2011 as long as Posey and Sandoval are healthy for the entire season. Huff will either return to form or be replaced with a Belt/Pill platoon but either way, the Giants will get more offense from the 1st base slot, and I tend to agree with KG that Crawford looks like he ought to hit more than the does, but he just doesn't. Hopefully he will figure it out this year.

 
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Nice to see a 'Vortices of Suck' column without any Giants getting even an honorable mention. It's kind of hard to believe that's even possible.

 
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I'm kind of surprised to see Tommy Joseph ranked above Hector Sanchez as Sanchez is only a couple of years older, has already had a handful of MLB ABs, had a terrific off season which you previously noted, and actually seems to be able to play catcher at an MLB level. Granted Sanchez will never have the power that Joseph has now, but it seems like he does everything else that you would want a catcher to do better.

Feb 03, 2012 11:14 AM on Giants Top 11 Prospects
 
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It is, and I don't think even the Giants believe it or they wouldn't have offerred both Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot a contracts. Personally, I'd like to see the Giants give Brett Pill a chance in spring training to prove that he can't play 2nd base.

 
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It's not really true that Sabean has done nothing to upgrade the offense. Assuming they are healthy, Posey and Freddie Sanchez are huge upgrades over their replacements in 2011, as is Pablo Sandoval who gave up 130 or so PA's to lessor hitters. Pagan should be better than the 2011 Andres Torres (granted, its a low bar), and Cabrera should be better than any corner outfielder the Giants had in 2011 with the exception of the 179 PA's they got from Beltran. It's also hard to believe that a Belt/Pill tandem won't out hit the 2011 Huff, also a very low bar. It isn't going to be a good offense, but it shouldn't be a historically bad one either, again, assuming all the starters are healthy for the entire season.

 
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It looks like Ned Colletti is following the Brian Sabean model; draft pitchers, keep a few, trade the rest for established major league hitters. Or maybe it was really Sabean following the Colletti model as the Giants seem to be more amenable to drafting position players now that Colletti is gone.

 
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You answered your own question - market failures happen. Unfortunately, Milton Friedman appears to have nailed it when he said government failures happen more frequently than market failures, and that's more or less what's happening now; a market failure followed by a government failure.

 
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I'd personally vote for a Willie Mays/Mickey Mantle ticket as they are already immortalized both in song and in the Hall of Fame. Granted, Mantle is dead, but that isn't really much of a liability for a VP candidate. Duke Snider, with a prior conviction for tax evasion, would be a natural for Treasury Secretary, but during an economic downturn, you probably want somebody in that position that is still animate.

 
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The Giants have a log jam at 1st with Huff, Belt, and Brett Pill all potentially playing there, and a shortage of MLB ready catchers (I don't think Sanchez is MLB ready) so I'd be really surprised if Posey gets much playing time there. I could see him potentially playing some 3rd. Either way, according to the Giants if he is healthy he will spend most of his starts at catcher.

 
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I don't think very many people make the argument that 'anybody can close'. Many have made the argument that the 9th inning isn't particularly different than 6th, 7th, or 8th inning in a close game, and if you really have a pitcher with the 'closer mentality', surely, you want him pitching with runners on base and the game on the line and not in the 9th inning with nobody on base and a 3 run lead.

 
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The problem there is you don't want a 22 year old as a backup catcher, you want him to be someplace he can play 5 days a week, but it's nice insurance policy to have in case Posey can't continue to play catcher.

 
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Nice to see Hector Sanchez getting some props for a breakout year. It's worth noting that even though it is a really small sample size, Sanchez's MLB stats weren't much worse than his AAA stats; 258/324/323 which isn't bad at all for a 21 year old catcher. He also tossed out almost 30% of the runners attempting to steal, though the sample size there is even smaller. All in all, the Giants could do worse at catcher and last year, they did.

 
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Yeah, hard to believe nobody mentioned 'Bingo Long' which not only had James Earl Jones, Richard Pryor, and Billy Dee Williams at the absolute top of their game, but also addressed a serious issue in American history while keeping people entertained and laughing. That's a long shot trifecta if there ever was one.

 
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FWIW, this is more or less the 'Brian Sabean' mantra which has driven Giants fans and stats geeks crazy for years, although the part the really drives people crazy is that Sabean tends to over value experience and under value actual performance leading to big contracts for players that can't be reasonably expected to earn them.

 
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BTW, shouldn't LASIK count as 'performance enhancement'? I don't think anybody would argue the proposition that having above average eyesight is a plus for hitting a baseball, yet LASIK is considered 'playing by the rules', but steroids are not.

Jan 12, 2012 12:05 PM on Off-Brand Bargains
 
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I believe that what most people refer to as a 'closer mentality' is actually the ability to throw 20 to 30 hard strikes with either a fastball or a slider. Pitchers that can do that expect to get a save, pitchers that can't don't get the opportunity.

Jan 12, 2012 12:00 PM on Off-Brand Bargains
 
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Is it worth pointing out that the 2007 Giants finished last with Barry Bonds and were just as bad and would have finished last in 2008 without him were it not for the even more pathetic 2008 San Deigo Padres? Probably not.

 
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I would have thought that Brandon Belt would have made the list given the hype at the start of the season although he was a bit better than his BA would suggest.

Jan 04, 2012 9:44 AM on Prospect Resolutions
 
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Well, I'm assuming that Santana will be fully recovered in 2012. If not, it is going to be a long season for Mets fans, and David Wright will probably be gone by the trading deadline.

 
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I can think of 2 reasons to go to CitiField: Johan Santana and David Wright. After that, it gets harder to come up with a reason unless you are a big fan of knuckleballers.

 
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Frank Francisco is certainly a better option at closer for the Mets than Generalissimo Francisco Franco who, at last report, was still dead, but are the 2012 Mets really going to have all that many games to save? The offense without Reyes and Beltran is pretty much Ike Davi[s|d] Wright and ???, and the starting pitching doesn't figure to be very good either. I guess they need to do something with the money, but I just don't see the Mets being ahead in the 9th all that often. Then again, I haven't followed the team much since moving to the left coast. On the Giants side, Pagan looks to be a minor upgrade, and I'm not sure that they are totally out of the running for Beltran. They have $10m coming off the books after 2012 when Rowand's contract goes away, and $18m coming off after 2013 when Zito's contract is mercifully coming to an end. You would think they could afford Beltran with a backend loaded 3 year deal and still keep within their $130m budget if he would go for it

 
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The number the Giants have been touting is a payroll of $130m for 2012, but I guess if you take Zito's largely wasted $18m off, you get a 'real' payroll of $112m.

 
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It seemed to me that the change in free agent compensation could be called the 'Billy Beane Rule'. It more or less precludes getting compensation by essentially encouraging start free agents to walk.

Nov 23, 2011 10:20 AM on What Price Labor Peace?
 
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Scheirholtz hit 276/326/410. Beltran hit is roughly 300/360/500 for his career. That's a pretty significant difference and signing Beltran won't cost a draft pick. Of course, it isn't as big as the difference between Brandon Crawford and Jose Reyes.

Sep 27, 2011 8:17 AM on San Francisco Giants
 
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My guess is the differential is due to the Giants huge reliance on starting pitching. If a couple of starters go down for an extended period of time, they have no chance. I'd rather see the Giants go hard after Beltran than Reyes if for no other reason than to save a draft pick which they need with their depleted farm system. They should have the money if they can weight it toward the back end as they have a lot of salary coming off the books in the next 2 years; DeRosa, Freddie Sanchez, Rowand, Ztio, and Huff.

Sep 27, 2011 8:13 AM on San Francisco Giants
 
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No, the intended point was that Mariano Rivera is a great pitcher who stayed great long enough to be trusted to get the last 3 outs of a game usually with nobody on base at the start of the inning. He could have gotten 3 outs in the 7th inning with the tying runs on base which would have been an even greater feat as far as contributing to the team's win, but he would have 0 saves. Now we have the 'hold' for that, and almost equally meaningless stat. 'Closers' ought to be judge like any other relief pitcher; WHIP, BAA, K/BB, HR allowed, maybe with inherited runners allowed to score thrown in to break ties (though that's largely an artifact of K/BB and BAA anyway).

 
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The one thing that the 2011 SF Giants have proven is that you can't win a division championship with one above average hitter no matter how good your starting pitching is. Than again, I don't think that proposition was ever in serious doubt.

 
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One more thought; the thing that gives me some hope that Pill might be a more effective right handed bat than either Rowand or Tejada is that he has a pretty decent season at Connecticut 2 years ago in a pitcher's park in a pitcher's league. Given that, you would have expected him to perform a little better at Fresno than he did. It's hard to believe that he could hit much worse than Huff against left handers, but oddly enough, Huff has hit lefties slightly better than righties this year.

 
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It's hard to imagine that any playoff contenders will be looking to add a right handed 'bat' that produces the 235/280/350 numbers that Rowand and Tejada have managed. At least Rowand can still play a little defense. I still think Rowand could be a replacement level player if you would just stand in the batters box in position to hit the ball instead of making a last second position change. He should sue the batting coach that taught him that for destroying his career prematurely.

 
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Lincecum is still has one more arbitration year.

Sep 01, 2011 11:23 AM on Free Agent Frenzy
 
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That was my first thought as well. Rollins is exactly the sort of player Sabean would go after.

Aug 31, 2011 12:55 PM on Free Agent Frenzy
 
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Given the production, if one can call it that, that the Giants have gotten from Aaron Rowand over the last couple of years, and Andres Torres this year, I'd be thrilled to see Peguero play center everyday once the rosters expand. Realistically, how much worse could he be than 233/274/348 or 229/314/343 even if he never took a walk? Even 300/300/400 is a step up, and Peguero is putting up his current numbers in what is supposed to be a pitcher's league.

 
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And a follow; in general, for a guy like Duvall that is pretty old, wouldn't it make sense for him to just skip the California league next year, where you assume that he would put up big numbers, and just go straight to AA next year which seems like it would be a better test? If he flails away, you can always send him back down a level.

 
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Adam Duvall was putting up good numbers at Augusta before he got injured, but he was 22 for most of the year and an 11th round pick. Is that just a case of a guy too old for his league, or does he have some real skills that somehow went unnoticed?

 
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I went back to baseball-reference and checked Gillaspie's numbers vs Bill Mueller at the same age, and they really aren't that different, and it's hard to believe that Phoenix was a significantly worse place to hit than Fresno. Unless Gillaspie is a complete butcher on defense and can't handle 2nd at all, I don't see why he can't be a utility guy and, in any event, the remains of Freddy Sanchez are signed through next year.

 
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I don't think it is fair to call Conor Gillaspie stalled. He has progressed through the minors one level per year and has put up slightly better numbers at every level, and he just turned 24, so it isn't like he is really old for AAA. It doesn't look like he will ever be a star or hit well enough to be a regular at 3rd, but he could be the utility infielder for the next couple of years. I'm more interested in Adam Duvall who was putting up great numbers at Augusta before he got injured, but was pretty old for the league. One would imagine that he will put up even better numbers at San Jose next year given that the California league is a hitters league. But, having never seen him play, I have no idea if he is for real.

 
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If I were the Giants, I'd be making Brandon Belt a full time left fielder. That would enable either Posey or Joseph to move to 1st, or possibly Posey could go to 3rd, Sandoval to first, and Joseph and Hector Sanchez could be the catching combo. Posey, Belt, and Sandoval are all nice hitters, but none of them showed the kind of power that Joseph has at age 20 (and he just turned 20). Posey had 18 HR for San Jose at age 22, and Sandoval had 20 between A+ and AA at age 21. Belt comes closest at 23 HR across 3 leagues at age 22. Of the 4, Belt is the only one that I can see having adequate speed to play the outfield. In any event, a 2013 Giants lineup of Brown, Panik, Belt, Posey, Sandoval, Joseph, Schierholtz would almost certainly put more runs on the board than the current crew even with a Brandon Crawford or Ehire Adrianza at the bottom of the order.

 
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Shouldn't Tommy Joseph get an honorable mention? Granted he was only 1/5 yesterday, but over the 3 games prior, he was 11/15 with 5 HR which brought his triple slash line up to 269/311/457. Or is Lancaster just a really good place to hit?

 
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Madison Bumgarner lost his head in a minor league game and got suspended. It seems to have been an isolated incident for him and maybe even prepared him to deal with the lack of offensive support he has gotten this year.

 
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I'd guess that if 'regression to the mean' holds true, the Giants will hold on to the division lead. I mean, Aubrey Huff can't hit 245/300/367 for an entire season, can he? Though, at this point, I'm convinced that Aaron Rowan can hit 245/289/380 for an entire season if somebody is silly enough to give him 500 PA's.

Aug 09, 2011 9:27 AM on Firm Pudding
 
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I loved it too, but having watched Romo play in the majors over the last 3 years, you really do wonder how he does it. He essentially has one pitch, a slider that breaks a lot horizontally, but not so much vertically. The opposing manager knows he is going to throw that slider. The batter knows it. The umpire knows it. The bat boys know it. Your grandmother that doesn't watch baseball except when you come to visit knows it. And yet,he somehow manages to get right handed batters to either swing and miss at pitches way out of the strike zone away, or watch it tail back over the inside corner for a called strike. It can't be the beard because he was throwing the same pitch before he had the beard. My guess is that he uses psychic powers to control the batter's mind.

 
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Hard to see how that makes it a bad deal for both teams. If it works out as you say, each team gave up nothing, and got back nothing.

Jul 28, 2011 8:33 AM on Beltran by the Bay
 
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Probably because it didn't happen.

 
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Ryan Vogelsond/Armando Rios for Jason Schmidt/John Vanderwall has to be in there somewhere, especially since Vogelsong is temporarily the league ERA leader. Most people focus on Schmidt as the key player in that deal, as he did as much as anybody not named Barry Bonds to make the Giants relevant at the beginning of the century, but Vanderwall hit 252/370/374 for the Giants in 2001 and scored 139 runs in 49 games as the Giants came up a couple of games short. Vogelsong essentially disappeared until his butterfly like re-emergence this year, and Armando Rios meanwhile had 6 PA's for the Pirates in 2001 and, unfortunately for the Pirates, 226 in 2002.

 
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I don't think there is any mystery with the Giants, and I don't think it has much to do with Bochy. The Giants pitchers don't allow a lot of runs, and the Giants hitters don't produce a lot, but the pitchers are slightly better at preventing runs than the hitters are at producing them. That's a formula for winning a lot of one run games.

 
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The Giants have already made one move trading Henry Sosa and Jason Stoffel for Jeff Keppinger. Both Sosa and Stoffel have been disappointing, and Keppinger fills a need as Freddie Sanchez is probably done for the year, Mark DeRosa is probably done for his career, as is Bill Hall, and Emmanuel Burris hasn't done anything to earn the job. It should be a marginal upgrade that didn't cost the Giants anything they really needed.

 
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Any thoughts on Adam Duvall? Is this just a guy that is too old for his level, or is there some real ability there? MiLB has him at .579/.646/1.026 for his last 10 games and even for a 23 year old in low-A that seems like a pretty impressive stat line in a league that isn't particularly friendly to hitters. It seems like he is at least ready for a promotion to San Jose.

 
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My guess is that the improved walk rate in Fresno is indeed a fluke of small sample size. I doubt Sanchez would fare any better against MLB pitching than Eli Whiteside who has been the Giants offensive 'star' in 2 games against the Twins. That really tells you all you need to know about the Giants offense.

 
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At present, the Giants best internal catching option appears to be Hector Sanchez who jumped over Monell from the California league to the Pacific Coast league. He hasn't done anything outstanding, but he hasn't done anything to embarrass himself either. It would help if Bochy recognized that Rowand hasn't hit right handed pitchers at all this year, and Torres hasn't hit lefties, but apparently it has escaped his notice.

 
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I don't think it's that hard to enforce. Fielder's can't block the runner in the base path except with the ball (the actual ball in or out of the glove, not just their body because they have the ball), runners have to aim for the base, not the fielder. My guess is that 99% of the time, the umpires will make the right call just as they do on every other play that relies on their judgement.

 
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Jay Jaffe's still frames don't support you. Yes, Posey had his foot briefly on the foul line, but Cousins could have gotten around him to home plate with a hook slide easily. or, since he was obviously willing to go in head first, slide in head first and reach out with his left hand as he got near the plate. The freeze frames make it pretty clear that Cousins was making no attempt at all to get to home plate, he was attempting to clobber Posey while he was fielding the throw. I don't think anybody would have had a problem with the play if Cousins had slid into Posey's extended leg. The result might well have been the same, but he would have clearly been going for the plate, and not the fielder.

May 26, 2011 5:18 PM on Buster Posey Busted
 
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I'm guessing that the thinking is that unlike every other position player and the base runner,the catcher is wearing protective gear, so a base runner hits the catcher at their own risk. It that is the reasoning it is flawed because catchers gear is not designed for that, and as we saw with Posey, the catcher isn't likely to be in a position to defend themselves at the moment of the collision. Personally, I wouldn't mind a rule change that says you have to head for the plate and not for the catcher. I can't see how it hurts the game and it would avoid some of these types of injuries.

May 26, 2011 2:24 PM on Buster Posey Busted
 
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I'm convinced that Aaron Rowand's idiotic batting stance is one of the things that has contributed to his decline. He got away with it when he was younger, but with age, he can no longer afford the fraction of a second that it takes him to get in position to hit. You would think that baseball players would look around and see somebody with similar physical ability getting much better results with a conventional stance, say, Andres Torres for example, and try to work on mimicking that approach. Apparently old bad habits are really hard to lose when you have had a good deal of success in the past.

 
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My wife did break her kneecap last September, and after a 'successful' surgery and months of PT, it still isn't 100%. Apparently the Mafia knew what they were doing when they chose to break kneecaps as opposed to, say, femurs. You should count your blessings.

May 09, 2011 1:06 PM on No-Hit Hangover?
 
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Uribe supposedly had a bruised forearm from being hit by a Lincecum fastball on opening day.

 
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Congrats. The TA and Kevin Goldstein's minor league reports have always been my favorite features of BP.

Apr 01, 2011 1:41 PM on A New Delivery
 
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I'd really like to see Bochy go against the 'conventional wisdom' and not designate a replacement 'closer' for Wilson while he is out. I can't see any more reason to give up a lefty/righty split advantage in the 9th inning than there is for giving it up in the 7th inning. One of the things that is going to work against the Giants this year is that there is no Madison Bumgarner waiting in Fresno for one of the starters to go down with an injury.

Mar 25, 2011 10:42 AM on Scrutinizing Sabean
 
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Great piece. It's rare to find a sports writer that can produce a thousand or so pithy words on the San Francisco Giants and Brian Sabean without once mentioning Barry Zito's contract. While I've been as critical as Sabean as anybody over the years, I do think he has a very under appreciated skill and did manage to find a market inefficiency to exploit. Sabean's great skill seems to be an appreciation that pitchers are more prone than other players to get seriously injured. A lot more. Thus one should tend to stockpile pitchers in the draft and as NRI's both as insurance against the almost inevitable break down and to improve one's position to trade. His big failing in the eyes of the fans has been the perception that he squanders his advantage by over paying for guys like Gullien, Freddie Sanchez, and A.J Pierzynski. Whatever, they won the WS in 2011 which is better than 29 other teams did.

Mar 25, 2011 9:38 AM on Scrutinizing Sabean
 
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There's something a little ironic about Frum Forum publishing drivel since Frumm himself was drummed out of the AEI for refusing to produce drivel.

 
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Orosoco is an interesting case because when he started out his career, he did get a fair number of saves. Then he was considered to be a 'middle reliever' and while he pitched effectively, he almost never got a save though he did get a fair number of wins, and in his 40's, he was pretty much a LOOGY. However, when you add it all up, his WARP wasn't all that different from Sutter. You could as easily say that closers are pitchers whose abilities are so limited that managers never trust them except to pitch one inning when nobody is on base. A LOOGY is a guy that you bring in because the outcome game is in doubt and you need to get Barry Bonds (or Ryan Howard, or Adrian Gonzales, or ...) out.

Mar 04, 2011 3:13 PM on The Undecider
 
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LOOGY's get no respect. You could make a pretty good case that Jesse Orosco was at least as good a relief pitcher as Rollie Fingers or Bruce Sutter having piled up similar average stats while exceeding both in counting stats, but by spending the last decade of his career piling up appearances in the middle of games getting out the best left handed hitter on the opposing team instead of recording the last out, nobody would even seriously consider voting for him. Maybe LOOGY's need their own stat. '% of dangerous left handed hitters retired'.

Mar 03, 2011 3:11 PM on The Undecider
 
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FWIW, Madison Bumgarner pitched much, much better on the road than he did at home. At home, his WHIP/BAA was 1.53/.303 and on the road it was 1.15/.250. Much of the difference is due to one start against Cincinnati at home where he got shelled, but not all of it. One would expect that over the course of an entire season, the splits wouldn't be so extreme.

 
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Hard to see how this list could be complete without Billy Beane. Drafted in the first round out of high school, had a couple of good years in the minors at age 22 and 23, and then an epic failure in MLB.

 
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Granted the Giants didn't do much to improve during the off season, but this ignores the fact that they improved substantially over the course of last season. Torres replaced Rowand in center, Posey replaced Molina behind the dish, Pat Burrell replaced Torres in left, and Ross replaced Schierholtz in right, and a healthy Freddy Sanchez replaced an injured Freddy Sanchez at 2nd. They had a lot of players arbitration eligible or FAs that were worth resigning, and except for Uribe, they resigned them. Between that and the money owed to Rowand and Zito, there wasn't much more they could do. The one quibble that one might have is that J.J. Hardy was apparently available for almost nothing and he would have been a better choice at SS than Tejada.

 
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I don't think anything happened to Fairly except that the Giants scouts seriously over estimated his ability, just as every team apparently under estimated Brandon Belt's potential. It's not an exact science.

 
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For all the hand wringing about Pablo Sandoval last year, at 268/323/409 his performance was better than the 250/290/425 performance the Giants had been getting from Pedro Feliz. Pablo easily gave up the difference in defense and poor base running decisions in 2010, but the lost weight will hopefully improve both. The somewhat slimmer 2009 edition actually looked like a pretty respectable fielder.

 
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Kroon might beat out Dan Runzler if the Giants are serious about trying to turn Runzler into a starter. He won't be able to do that at the major league level in 2011, and Runzler throws hard enough and is young enough that the Giants may want to limit his service time so that he is still under control when Lincecum and/or Cain decide they want to play for the Yankees, Mets, or Red Sox.

Jan 27, 2011 8:32 AM on I Want Wandy
 
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The Coliseum isn't really that bad a place to watch a baseball game, and since there is no move imminent, the A's ownership would benefit if they stopped bad mouthing the place every chance they get. Granted, I've been to The Phone Company park much more often, but isn't because of the ballpark, it's primarily because I live and work in SF. The A's might find it cheaper to pay the Raiders enough to get them to move back to LA, and then spend their money to tear down Mt. Davis and refurbish the existing park as a baseball only facility. That would solve two problems.

 
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It's worth pointing out though that the opportunities for lucrative endorsement deals is probably much greater playing for the Yankees or Red Sox than, say, the Rays, so a player choosing to play for the Rays in order to minimize his tax exposure is probably losing money on the deal.

Jan 26, 2011 10:20 AM on Withholding Aplenty
 
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"He needs to work on his defense and pitch calling - yeah, that's the ticket - he needs to work on his pitch calling." Not that any real GM would make a decision like that.

Jan 20, 2011 1:17 PM on The BGMAT
 
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You are preaching to the converted. It seems like managers would do better if they always brought in the best pitcher available for a particular situation.

 
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Pure stats - and age. How much value does a 27 yro minor league reliever with an injury history and control issues really have? Because that's 1/2 of the package that the Twins got for Hardy. Granted, he did strike out a lot of guys in the minors, but strikeouts aren't everything (see: Hinshaw, Alex) http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=hoey--001jam

Dec 22, 2010 3:27 PM on Giants Among Men?
 
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I complained about this is another thread; Sabean allowed Joe Paterson to get away via the rule 5 draft, and Paterson was at least as good as either of the guys that the Twins got for Hardy. Toss in a guy like Jason Stoffel or Steve Edliefsen, and that's a much better package than what the Twins got, and the Giants wouldn't have missed them in 2011.

Dec 22, 2010 9:47 AM on Giants Among Men?
 
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Sabean has the luxury of having Brandon Belt waiting in the wings as a mid-lineup upgrade if one is needed - assuming of course that last year wasn't a fluke and that he can hit major league breaking balls. And just having Sandoval revert to 2009 form would be an offensive upgrade.

Dec 21, 2010 10:49 AM on Giants Among Men?
 
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I think you need to look at the guys the Twins actually got: http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=jacobs001bre http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=hoey--001jam Plus the Twins tossed in another player and 500K. Would you really rather have these two guys instead of http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=paters002jos http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=stoffe001jas

Dec 13, 2010 10:11 PM on Monday Ten-Pack
 
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Given how little the Twins were apparently asking for J. J Hardy, and how much the Giants needed a shortstop, I'm kind of surprised that Sabean let Joe Patterson go via the rule 5 draft instead of using him to get Hardy. Patterson maybe somebody like Jason Stoffel would have been a better package than what the Twins got, and the Giants wouldn't have missed them all that much. As it is, they got nothing for Patterson.

Dec 13, 2010 9:14 AM on Monday Ten-Pack
 
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And paying 0% in taxes, the Republican party still thinks Frank is paying too much in taxes. We live in a funny world.

Dec 09, 2010 9:18 AM on McCourting Disaster
 
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Given that the current team did in fact win the World Series, and the 2nd half additions were the primary reason, I'd be pretty reluctant to make major changes. They do need to find a way to resign Uribe as the Giants options at short stop are pretty limited. The primary task should be to try to find somebody willing to take on 1/2 of Rowand's remaining contract. They certainly won't find anybody willing to take on all of it. The savings from that, and from allowing Renteria to move on should allow the Giants to resign Uribe, Ross, Huff, and possibly Burrell and still stay under $110m. If Burrell doesn't have anything left, then hopefully Brandon Belt is ready.

Nov 19, 2010 9:06 AM on San Francisco Giants
 
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I don't know if it is really that big a problem for Cashman as every other general manager should be just as aware of Jeter's limitations, and they also are aware of his age. He doesn't have nearly the 'marquee value' for any other team. Also Jeter, whatever is limitations on defense, is a type-A free agent. Any competitor that signs him is going to have to give up a draft pick for an aging shortstop. Given that, I just don't see Jeter getting a big 3 year contract from anybody.

 
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Dontrelle Willis? The Giants signed him to a minor league deal at the end of 2010, and while nothing came of it, odds are somebody else will in 2011.

 
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Buster Posey became a very good defensive catcher as the season went on and did an excellent job of nailing would be base stealers when you consider how poorly Giants pitchers did as a group keeping runners close. Uribe, when playing 3rd, is a pretty decent defender. Freddy Sanchez is reliable on balls that he can get to even if he doesn't have great range. Even though they were part timers, Schierholtz and Ishikawa are excellent on defense, and on many occasions, Rowand was in center, Torres was in right.

Nov 05, 2010 11:27 AM on San Francisco Giants
 
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One of the things that should be mentioned that 'went right' is that as best as I can remember, none of the Giants starters except Wellenmeyer missed a start in 2010 due to injury. The bullpen wasn't nearly so healthy, but Romo and Wilson at least were available all summer.

Nov 05, 2010 8:48 AM on San Francisco Giants
 
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I don't know why not. You can throw out the California league numbers, but even with that he had 9 HR and 26 xBH in 175 AB for Richmond in the Eastern league, and that's supposed to be a pitcher's league. Odds are that he won't hit a lot of HR at The Phone Company park, but it looks like he could get a far number of doubles and triples with the amount of room in the right field alley. That said, I suspect the Giants will try to bring Huff back for a couple of years if it can be done at a reasonable price. If so, Belt probably ends up in LF or RF as a mid season call up (assuming he does well at Fresno).

 
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Eli Whiteside would be a really bad choice as DH against Lee. For some reason, he has horrible reverse splits. I could see using Burrell as DH, Rowand in center, Torres in right, Ross in left, particularly given how well the ball seems to carry to right field at Texas stadium. It's not like Burrell has been crushing the ball when he has been in the game on defense.

Nov 01, 2010 9:50 AM on Game Four Report
 
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The Giants also benefited from a couple of double play calls that probably weren't, but given the inability of the Rangers to get an extra base hit, it's hard to say that those calls changed the outcome of the game. Bumgarner and Posey also deserve credit for nailing Josh Hamilton attempting to steal eliminating one potential runner in scoring position and getting one out closer to the end of the game. That's a tough combination to steal a base on.

Nov 01, 2010 8:24 AM on Game Four Analysis
 
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Whatever happened to the screwball anyway? Did Tug McGraw take the secret to his grave or something?

 
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In the Giants case, it is partly building a team to fit your ballpark. The Phone Company Park is a really good place to pitch for right handed power pitchers because it is very hard for left handed power hitters not named 'Barry Bonds' to hit HR. The Giants have 2 of them. Of course, if your park has a 440Ft right field power alley, it helps to have a center fielders and right fielders that can get there. And the Giants have them as well in Torres, Rowand, Ross, and Schierholtz. Since it's easier for right handed power hitters to hit balls out, your lefties should be able to make right handed batter swing and miss, and Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner can both do that, though Bumgarner not quite as well which is probably why he didn't fair so well at home. Conversely, picking up a couple of right handed hitters with pop like Uribe, Burrell and Ross has to help.

Oct 26, 2010 1:46 PM on Lessons from the Flags
 
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Culberson's is a nice upside surprise for Giants fans, but what the heck has happened to Conor Gillaspie? He is currently hitting 120/170/160 and that's *after* his first multi-hit game in the AFL. Even stranger, he has managed to put up a 330 OPS without a strikeout in 25 ABs. That almost wouldn't seem possible.

Oct 25, 2010 11:53 AM on Monday Ten Pack
 
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Whatever Guillen gives you with his bat, he more than takes away with his glove.

Oct 25, 2010 11:15 AM on NLCS Game Six Recap
 
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I think he means he is a rookie so the sample size is small. In one respect Bumgarner is a bit like Jonathan Sanchez; his performance his largely predicated on how good his control of his fastball is. Unlike Sanchez, when Bumgarner misses, he doesn't miss outside the strike zone, he tends to miss high and in the strike zone and that's a bad combination against a team like the Phillies. I'd be surprised if PECOTA could predict this one, especially since the sample size of 4pm games at The Phone Company Park is *really* small.

 
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I'm still not in Brian Sabean's camp. Burrell pretty much fell into his lap. I'm still not convinced that they couldn't have found a better option than Edgar Renteria/Freddy Sanchez at $15m/year for the middle infield, and of course, there is the Zito contract which has limited what they can do.Posey could have and should have been the opening day catcher. If they could get Chris Ray for Molina during the season, they probably could have gotten him in the off season. It's not like he was lights out. Bumgarner pitched so poorly in the pre-season that Wellemeyer was needed, so you can credit Sabean for that. Lopez and Ramirez were good mid season acquisitions. Guillen not so much. Is Mike Fontenot really better than Matt Downs or Manny Burress? I kind of think not. DeRosa was a poor choice for left field even if he was healthy. Sabean does deserve a lot of credit for putting together the pitching staff. The position players were slotted in more out of necessity than due to any kind of well thought out plan.

Oct 19, 2010 5:05 PM on They Must be Giants
 
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If he signs a 15 year deal with the Yankees once his current deal expires with the Giants, Matt Cain might do it. He seems pretty durable and his win totals have been seriously deflated by having spent most of his career so far pitching for relatively punch less Giants teams. And for the most part, the team provided less punch when Cain was on the mound than they did for any other pitcher. If you figure he maintains a SNWL percentage of 55% with 34 starts a year for 14 years, that's 261 wins. Added to the 57 he already has and that gets him to 318. That's a lot of ifs, but with a decent offense behind him, he would have had 90 wins already.

Oct 14, 2010 11:01 AM on The Glavine Line
 
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Whoops - make that 56 games, 24 PA. Still, a 20 year old hitting 333/333/533 at triple A with limited professional PA's is pretty remarkable.

Oct 11, 2010 2:13 PM on Monday LDS Projection
 
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It's worth mentioning that Madison Bumgarner put up very good numbers at the plate in the minors, admittedly in an extremely limited number of PA's. His career triple slash numbers were 364/.391/.636 in 5 PA. He managed something like a 170/220/220 line in the majors. With 2 teams that have been as offensively challenged as the Giants and the Braves, it might make a difference.

Oct 11, 2010 2:11 PM on Monday LDS Projection
 
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It also looked to me that Conrad got screened by the 2nd base umpire on Posey's ball. On TV, it looked like the umpire was completely between Conrad and the ball before stepping out of the way. If so, Conrad only had a fraction of a second to pick up the the ball again before it reached him.

Oct 11, 2010 9:22 AM on LDS Day Five Roundup
 
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I'm not convinced that this is really an argument against computer calling of balls and strikes. For one thing, even if the system isn't perfectly calibrated, it would presumably be more likely to call pitches consistently than a human umpire. Pretty much every player, pitchers and hitters alike, say that they don't care all that much if the umpire isn't calling a 'rule book' strike zone as much as they care that he calls a consistent strike zone. A second factor is that given a commitment to a computerized system, camera's could quite likely be positioned so that calibration errors are less likely to occur.

 
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It took a while, but Thomas Neal and Conor Gillaspie are starting to put up respectable AA numbers. Neal is now at 296/363/442 and Gillaspie is at 293/345/424. Not great, but still in the upper half of AA hitters. Gilllaspie in particular has dramatically improved his numbers in the last couple of weeks.

 
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I think the real mistake is trading quality for quantity, and also the act that 'there is no such thing as a pitching prospect'. If you are going to trade a Tom Seaver, you better be darn sure you have 3 or 4 of 'the next Tom Seavers' in your system because only one of them is going to turn out nearly as good. Trading for position players isn't as much of a crap shoot, but if you are going to trade an elite starter to the Phillies, you better get Domonic Brown back in return, and not 5 guys that, if they are luck, are replacement level.

Jul 30, 2010 1:59 PM on The Futility of Selling
 
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Whoops! 2 players; I insulted Bill Terry.

Jul 27, 2010 12:57 PM on If July Were April
 
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Well, for one thing he is a catcher and catchers tend to get more dinged up than other players over the course of a season. For another, hitting .400 for a full season has proven to be darn near impossible for just about any player in the modern era. Since 1925, exactly one player has hit .400.

Jul 27, 2010 12:56 PM on If July Were April
 
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Him meaning 'Brandon Belt'.

 
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FWIW, baseball-reference has him at a .991 fielding percentage with a 10.0 RF/G. How that compares with other Cal league 1st basemen, I have no idea. One thing I read is that he used to pitch some, so apparently he has a decent arm, and apparently he at least owns an outfielders glove. He was 18/7 in SB attempts which suggests he has at least average speed. That suggests to me that he could play an outfield corner for a few years if there isn't room at first base.

 
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It's worth mentioning that Brandon Belt's 2 hits were the only hits that Richmond managed in the game.

 
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According to minor league baseball official stats, it was his second HR in the Eastern League; he went 4 for 5 with an HR the day before.

 
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I wish the Orioles would have stuck with Atkins another couple of months as he was anchoring (in a manner of speaking) my hacking mass team. It's not like they really have much better alternatives.

Jun 30, 2010 8:30 AM on Disorderly Conduct
 
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I don't know what the consensus is, but I'd guess is it is a combination of warmer weather, adjustment, and the fact that some of the better pitchers have been promoted out of AA. Neal is getting better results in the same environment as Crawford, Kieschnick, and Gillaspie, all of whom were more highly touted, so at least some of the improvement has to be adjustments that he has made that the others have not.

 
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I guess that's what I'm asking; when one player is out performing another at the same level, at a similar age, what makes the player that is performing less well scout out better? Holes in the swing (or lack thereof)? footwork? Staying in the hitting zone, even if it isn't currently getting better results? Pure bat speed? Pure foot speed? Overall size and fitness? There has got to be something that scouts see that doesn't currently translate into current minor league numbers, but that you believe will translate into a better major league player. Inability to play defense anywhere on a baseball field certainly has to factor in as it relegates some players to being DH only. A poor fielding SS could turn out to be adequate at 3rd or 2nd. Anyway, I'd be interested in seeing more in depth articles focusing on two minor league players with similar numbers/experience with scouts reasons for why they think one guy is a major league player, and the other one is not.

 
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Sure, but isn't that to be expected for a guy coming out of high school as opposed to a player coming out of major college baseball program as a junior? The fact is that at the same level, Culberson is currently putting up similar or better numbers at a younger age, and he is a higher percentage base stealer as well. I can buy the defense argument, Culberson has made errors by the bushel full, but according to KG, Green's defense hasn't been anything special either.

 
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I've asked before, but why is Grant Green at 324/374/477 considered notable, but Charlie Culberson at 317/357/533 not, especially considering that Culberson is more that 1.5 years younger? Is it just because Green is a poor SS whereas Culberson is a poor 2b? Green's marginally better (but still poor) walk rate? Park effects?

 
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Presumably a guy that is primarily a line drive hitter doesn't have his stats affected as much by park effects.

 
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I was thinking (hoping?) John Olerud.

 
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Thomas Neal has started to come around hitting 471/526/706 in his last 10 games which brings him up to 284/345/404 for the season. In the Eastern league, that's actually not a bad stat line. Gillaspie, Crawford, and Kieshnick have disappointed.

 
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Is it possible that the SF Giants are allowing Belt to waste time at San Jose to allow them to clinch the meaningless first half California League championship, possibly making a couple of extra dollars in the process? It isn't much of a reason, but it is a reason. It's even more surprising as Luke Anders is hitting well enough at Augusta that he should probably move up as well.

 
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Is Charlie Culberson now doing enough to justify his draft position, or is it a California League mirage?

 
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In one still picture (of 3) that I saw, it appeared if Strasburg uses pretty extreme scapular loading to generate power. Isn't that some cause for concern?

Jun 09, 2010 4:22 PM on Wednesday Update
 
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After a rough start, Madison Bumgarner hasn't given up an earned run in the last 3 starts, and while his peripherals aren't nearly as good as Teheran, he is a 20 year old pitching in AAA in a hitter's park in a hitter's league. He may not be better than Teheran in the long run, but there is a pretty good chance he is better than Todd Wellemeyer in the short run.

 
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If the Mets had a good option at AAA, you would just release him, but Pat Misch and R.A Dickey aren't likely to be improvements. Dave Littlefield isn't a GM anymore, so I doubt Minaya can find a trading partner.

 
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The concern that everybody has is that he used to throw in the mid 90s, apparently without much effort, and was missing a lot more bats. Of course, that was in low-A and advance-A ball. It's really easy to forget that Bumgarrner is only 20.

 
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FWIW, Surkamp's progression looks a similar to Scott Barnes, and Barnes has struggled since being traded to Cleveland and moving to AA.

May 17, 2010 1:49 PM on Monday Ten Pack
 
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Never mind - it looks like they fixed the box score.

 
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I see that today, the Richmond Flying Squirrels played a game where *everybody* except the pitcher played out of position. Nick Noonan, a 2nd baseman up to now, caught, holding the opposition to 2 runs and throwing out an attempted base stealer. It really makes you wonder how much 'savy' one needs to catch - or play any other position really since apparently there were no errors. http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=milb&t=g_box&gid=2010_05_13_altaax_ricaax_1

 
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That's the standard line - that he isn't ready to call a major league game. Also, he had some problems with passed balls early on this year. The first seems like BS to me. My contention is that much of the reason that Zito has underperformed during his Giants career is that Molina would *never* call for a fastball up and in to a right handed batter where Zito is surprisingly effective. Everything was down and away where Zito would either miss, or batters would hang out over the plate and mash. Zito's career turned around when Sandoval started catching him as he was unafraid to call for pitches up and in apparently not 'knowing better'. Honestly, is it that hard to call for fastballs in on the hands, and breaking balls down and away?

 
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In fairness to Sabean, Molina is hitting 345/420/460 at the major league level at the moment. Amazingly enough, Molina seems to have learned the value of a walk at age 36 and is on track to obliterate his previous season high. Posey would mostly be riding the pine until Molina tails off.

 
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And the day that KG gives Brandon Belt a shout out, he goes 0 for 4 with 3 Ks. Go figure.

May 11, 2010 9:42 AM on Monday Ten Pack
 
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FWIW, Rohlinger was a shortstop in high school, and while it is a far cry from pro ball, he has played the position before. He certainly has hit like a shortstop during his couple of cups of coffee on the ML roster. He is almost certainly a better option than the Giant's other 'insurance policy' - Angel Berroa. I'd personally be kind of surprised if Freddy Sanchez outhits Matt Downs if and when he comes back. Downs hit pretty well coming through the minors as well, and Sanchez was never as great as his 2006 season made it appear. He is looking like another of Brian Sabean's proven veteran mistakes.

May 10, 2010 4:00 PM on Senior Shuffling
 
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Why doesn't Brock Bond get any love? All the guy has done in the minors is get on base though, granted, he has shown no power. Is there no longer room for a Wally Backman type in the modern game?

May 10, 2010 12:18 PM on Monday Ten Pack
 
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Is it possible that Brandon Belt could move to the outfield? I see he has 8 stolen bases in 12 attempts so while he may not be a burner, it seems like he can run well enough to play the outfield. In any event, Brandon Belt is a great name for a ball player.

May 10, 2010 10:08 AM on Monday Ten Pack
 
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Of course, there is always doctoring the ball. Livan wouldn't be the first pitcher to have lost his stuff and then found creative ways to induce some extra movement on his pitches. that said, my best guess is that so far, he has been lucky.

May 07, 2010 9:42 AM on Livan La Vida Loca
 
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Liam Hendricks story reminds me a little of the scoreless streak that Mike Loree had at low A a couple of years ago. Loree had a pretty similar scouting report as well. As near as I can tell, he is now playing semi-pro ball for the Newark Bears of the Atlantic League.

 
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FWIW, Madison Bumgarner had a poor spring, and a couple of horrible starts at AAA that had a lot of people, including KG and me wondering WTF? And since then, he has made 3 decent starts in a hitters league and the only thing you can really complain about is that his control hasn't been great. It's pretty easy to forget with all the hype that we are talking about guys that are 20-22 years old. It really looks like the Mariners started Ackley at too high a level. Maybe advanced-A would have been more appropriate.

 
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In all seriousness though, why shouldn't the Giants give Borchard a shot? He isn't likely to perform worse than Eugenio Velez or Bowker, and Bowker supposedly has an option. Even if Velez didn't, I find it hard to believe anybody is desperate enough to claim him. 190/277/381 corner outfielders just aren't that hard to come by and, FWIW, Velez isn't all that much younger than Borchard.

 
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I know it is a BP pet peeve, but you do sort of wonder when managers are going to get over this 'closer' thing. Everybody knows about right/left splits, and in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings the logic is generally 'I'm going to stick the guy out there that is going to get me the best chance of minimizing runs in this situation'. EXCEPT in the ninth inning where the thought is 'I'm going to send this guy out because I always do.'

Apr 29, 2010 2:32 PM on Big Boppers
 
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Actually what helped the Phillies halt a 3 game slide was idiotic 'by the book' management by Bochy who brought in Brian Wilson in the 9th to face Utley and Howard thus giving up a huge split advantage, particularly in the case of Howard, because Wilson is the designated 'closer'.

Apr 29, 2010 1:48 PM on Big Boppers
 
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Is Jackson Williams for real, or is it just small sample size (34 AB)? He didn't do much last year, but has apparently had one or more hits in each of his last 10 games, and 6 BB to go with them to get to 412/524/676. He was a sandwich round pick, so the Giants must have seen something wen they drafted him.

 
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I remember Barry Bonds commenting when Lincecum first came up that his fastball was pretty straight. It looks like Lincecum has made some adjustments since then. I haven't looked at the pitch/fx numbers, but it seems like aside from extra movement on his fastball, Lincecum is throwing a lot more changeups than he used to.

 
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Torres did mash lefties in limited AB's last year, admittedly in a small sample, so I can see that you can make the case for him. I'm continually amazed that Giants fans prefer Velez to Lewis as they strike me as roughly the same player, except Velez doesn't get on base as often. Presumably Bowker will get sent down when Sanchez is healthy as he does have options. I'm not really convinced that Sanchez will out hit Juan Uribe even if he is healthy.

Apr 16, 2010 4:15 PM on North of the Border
 
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I don't think Jermaine Dye has much to complain about, but I also think that being black didn't help Barry Bonds find a job after the Giants cut him lose. It isn't like he was the only guy in MLB that was taking PED's, and even at age 42, he was a better hitter than most of them.

 
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Bumgarner looks like a good candidate to get traded from your column to Will Carroll's.

 
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In any event, Molina had a big night last night raising his OPS to over 1000. Sure, it won't last, but right at the moment, he isn't hurting the team. Also, Posey is putting up his numbers in the PCL which, as KG knows, is extremely kind to hitters. Ishikawa crushed PCL pitching. He hasn't done much in MLB.

Apr 13, 2010 5:43 AM on Monday Ten Pack
 
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Matt Cain got married in the off season, so he may have been looking to guarantee his future against injury.

Mar 30, 2010 12:01 PM on We Three Giants
 
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You can never have too many good prospects. For one thing, pitching prospects breakdown all the time (there is no such thing as a pitching prospect, and all that). For another, if you've got a player that is ready, but blocked, you can flip the guy that is blocking him for prospects that are farther off from being MLB ready. Finally, the Rays are in the toughest division in baseball and can't compete with the Yankees and Red Sox by signing whatever 1st tier free agents are available every year. They are always going to need a good fraction of the 25 man roster to be playing at or near the MLB minimum in order to be competitive.

 
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The question I really want answered is how was Madison Bumgarner's velocity today?

Mar 03, 2010 8:09 PM on Top 101 Prospects
 
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Sergio Romo throws several different pitches for a lot of different arm angles, and manages to get them into the strike zone. He looks 'different' enough that guys don't have time to figure him out when he only goes through the lineup one time (or less). He has had a couple of minor injuries which is the primary reason he hasn't pitched much. I love watching Romo pitch, but he is kind of risky bet because he doesn't throw that hard and needs to hit his spots more than most guys to be effective.

Mar 02, 2010 10:26 AM on Best Non-Closers
 
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The Giants best option is probably a Lewis/Torres platoon in left. It's a small sample size, but Torres crushed lefties last year, and did nothing against right handed pitchers. Eugenio Velez is a poor hitter that can play several positions poorly as well. Maybe you could trade him for future middle reliever, maybe not. Guys that hit 265/300/400 just aren't all that rare, and despite Velez's speed, he isn't a particularly good base runner. He gets caught about 1/3rd of the time.

Mar 02, 2010 10:16 AM on NL West
 
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Fred Lewis is an adequate or better defensive left fielder. He had a couple of very memorable dropped fly balls last year, and he can also look really bad on balls that he does catch, but he gets to his share. I'd certainly rather keep Lewis and deal Velez, on the other hand Lewis actually has some value in trade, and Velez probably does not. The ugly possibility for the Giants is that both Bowker and Ishikawa will outperform Huff in spring training, and Uribe will outplay Renteria, however, the Giants will be reluctant to eat $14m in salaries and opt to put an inferior team on the field instead.

Mar 01, 2010 9:46 AM on NL West
 
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Kieschnick is 6 months younger and you have to give him some bonus points for hitting as well as he did in his first season in a professional league. Statistically, they did have pretty similar years. I guess we will find out in AA which one is the real deal.

Feb 26, 2010 5:25 PM on Giants Top 11 Prospects
 
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I'm not sure you can call Thomas Neal a slow runner. He has never stolen many bases in the minors, but I believe he stole 11 in the AZL only being caught a couple of times.

Feb 26, 2010 5:24 PM on Giants Top 11 Prospects
 
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Do scouts believe the fatigue theory for Bumgarner's loss of velocity, or are we talking shoulder injury? He is scheduled to pitch in the Giants spring training opener so I guess we will find out soon enough.

Feb 26, 2010 10:51 AM on Giants Top 11 Prospects
 
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You really think Atkins is only a bit overstated? He hasn't come real close to that projection for the last 2 years, he will be 30, and he won't be playing 1/2 his games in Coors field next year.

Feb 25, 2010 11:43 AM on Third Base Rankings
 
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This is what I was thinking. Collisions at the plate are not a good thing for any player, and the runner isn't wearing any protective gear. Risking injury to an essential player that results in his losing playing time or under performing outweighs the upside of creating an extra run in one game.

 
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SF Giants: Signed Tim Lincecum to a 2 year, $23m deal avoiding arbitration.

Feb 12, 2010 4:40 PM on Unglovely Additions
 
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Jonathan Sanchez problems aren't hitter or workload related. For the most part, they are strike zone related. His BAA last year was .221, but giving up 88 walks in 163 innings is a good way to get an early hook.

Feb 11, 2010 1:58 PM on They Were Expendable
 
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I kinda doubt that the Rays will be moving to Anchorage any time soon since there are fewer people living in the entire state than there are in the Tampa/St. Pete area - and a whole lot less if you include Orlando as part of the Rays territory. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_of_United_States_Metropolitan_Statistical_Areas Which of course, isn't to say an MLB executive wouldn't threaten such a move. It does have the attraction of not requiring lights for night games for much of the season, which is something a cost conscious owner could appreciate.

Feb 08, 2010 3:26 PM on North by Leftwest
 
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It would be great if we had data like W% of pitchers that do X have injury Y within Z years. Until we have that, I think predictions on which pitchers will have specific injuries are kind of suspect. I think it is pretty much a given that every pitchers will have some sort of injury that will cause them to miss starts at some point. Greg Maddux is about the only guy I can think of that was completely healthy for a long career. That being the case, were there obvious 'flaws' in Maddux's delivery? The one thing I really remember about him that stands out was that he was *always* ready to field the ball at the end of his delivery.

Feb 08, 2010 2:17 PM on Washington Nationals
 
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Question 389 also maintains that Lincecum is due for a UCL blow out because of his motion, but the guy has thrown a ton of pitches for 6 or 7 years counting his time at the U of W, without apparent ill effect. My own take from watching him is that it seems far more likely to have back problems than arm problems, but golfers put similar torque to their backs and manage to play competitively into their 40's and 50's, so who knows?

Feb 08, 2010 11:17 AM on Washington Nationals
 
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You really need to look at what happens after a GM has been in place for 5 years before you can really judge their performance. That's when the prospects that they drafted or traded for will be reaching the majors, and the contracts that were signed before their tenure will be expiring.

 
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Sabean wouldn't come out so well if you consider 2005 to 2010. Part of that is the hangover from gutting the farm system in order to surround Bonds with veterans to 'win now'. But a huge chunk of it is overpaying for free agents that weren't going to help much, and neglecting the draft and Latin America. It's hard to justify the contracts given to Zito, Renteria, Rowand, and Freddy Sanchez.

 
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The only even half way plausible argument the Giants could make is that Lincecum's numbers are largely due to pitching 1/2 his games in The Phone Company Park. All 10 HR he gave up last year were on the road and his road ERA last year was 3.21 as opposed to 1.88 at home. The problem with that argument is that the park didn't help the rest of their pitchers all that much, and over his career, his home/road splits aren't so extreme. And even on the road he was pretty as good as Johan Santana.

 
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I think the Giants screwed themselves by coming in too low. If there offer was $10.5m, or slightly more than Howard got, their number would probably seem closer to being the true value. Given how much money guys like Sabathia, Santana, and the Giants own Barry Zito are making, $13.5 million seems pretty cheap for Lincecum. Also, the Giants gave $8m to Randy Johnson last year for 2/3rds season of league average work. It's hard for them to claim that they don't expect anymore from a 25 year old Lincecum than they expected from a 46 year old Johnson. On the other hand, part of Johnson's attraction was the marketability of the 300th win.

 
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As you said starting out, the proposition that statheads think that chemistry or veteran leadership play no part in success is a strawman anyway. I suspect what most people think is that to the extent that these things matter, you should see it in the stats. If a 'great teammate' and 'veteran presence' gets added to a roster of scrubs, you'd expect the scrubs to improve their statistics, and as near as anybody can tell, that doesn't happen. Nor does it seem to work in reverse. The Giants notably didn't start hitting any better once they parted company with 'clubhouse cancer' Barry Bonds.

 
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The disappointing part is that in the very few opportunities he has been given, Steve Holm put up decent OBP's, though he throws out virtually no runners attempting to steal. It's not clear to me that the Giants couldn't have gotten by with Holm for 1/2 year leaving $4m free. Also, Freddy Sanchez will apparently start the year on the DL which doesn't bode well for him being comeback player of the year.

 
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The Giants also reportedly signed Bengie Molina to a one year deal for $4.5m almost guaranteeing that Buster Posey spends 2010 at Fresno. I'm not sure that Valdez was really worth much more than your imagined conversation. Despite throwing in the high 90s, he isn't particularly good at getting hitters out. Still, you would have thought that the Giants could have found somebody to exchange a single A player of some sort for Valdez before they signed Huff.

Jan 21, 2010 4:49 PM on Signing and Selling
 
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Fred Lewis dropped 2 or 3 balls he should have caught last year, and he doesn't always look good on the balls he gets to. Giants 'fans' are perfectly willing to ignore the fact that he seems to produce as many outs on balls hit his way as the average left fielder and want to run him out of town on a rail, 348 OBP and all. I'd guess that it also has something to do with the fact that the guy he replaced in left field put up somewhat better numbers over the previous 10 years. Ideally, the Giants would start 2010 with a Lewis/Torres platoon but he 'fans' seem to prefer Eugenio Velez and his .305 OBP.

 
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My guess is there is a significant negative correlation between grounding into double plays and revenue, but that the variance in GDP isn't large enough to have much effect. One of the statisticians should check it out.

 
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Apparently Lincecum's agent isn't interested in doing that, he would rather take his chances with arbitration.

Jan 14, 2010 11:16 AM on Freakonomics
 
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The only even mildly serious injury was the elbow problem as it kept Sandoval from playing either third or catcher for a couple of weeks. I hope the conditioning program works because the guy has amazing contact skills, and the only thing that should keep him from having a long career is hauling around 25 to 30 lbs of extra weight.

Jan 13, 2010 9:46 AM on Getting Short-y
 
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You left out Dan Runzler and Waldis Joaquin who both performed well in late season call ups, and both have serious heat. The Giants won't be giving up a lot of runs next year, and they should be scoring a few more. I don't think you can be too critical of the Huff deal as it is only for one year. By 2011, Thomas Neal, Posey, and maybe Kieschnick will be bona fide major leaguers, and perhaps one or more of Brock Bond, Brett Pill, Brandon Crawford, and Burriss will hit enough to be useful. I would say that is when you go shopping for impact free agents.

Jan 13, 2010 9:39 AM on Getting Short-y
 
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There is also a relationship between weight and speed, the more you weigh, the more leg muscle you need to get the same acceleration, and training for speed is different than training for power. At least in the case of Bonds, his speed vanished the more he bulked up.

Jan 12, 2010 2:04 PM on Heading Out
 
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Bonds was a first ballot Hall of famer before he ever took steroids. In his last year with the Pirates, which presumably was before he hooked up with Balco, he hit 311/456/624, and that wasn't far off his 'natural progression' up to that point. His performance was pretty consistent up to 2000 when at age 35, he suddenly became Babe Ruth. While steroids certainly gave him more power, you wonder if the extra weight didn't rob him of speed, and also put extra strain on his knees. He stole 37 bases in 1997, and his totals went way down from there, though his success rate improved. Bonds probably would have been close to 600 HR and 600 SB even without steroids. He only sets the HR career and single season records with them.

Jan 12, 2010 1:55 PM on Heading Out
 
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AP is reporting that Matt Holliday has signed a 7 year, $120m dollar deal, so Jason Bay for 4 years at $63m doesn't look like a half bad deal to me.

 
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Sandoval was less of a liability on defense at third than one would expect. It seems to me like the real virtue in signing DeRosa is that they can use him in a left/right platoon with Ishikawa at first, or possibly with {Lewis|Bowker} in left, and also as insurance against Sanchez. Given that the Giants have also signed Juan Uribe, you can't help but wonder if Sandoval might end up starting the season behind the dish if Buster Posey doesn't look good in spring training.

Jan 05, 2010 3:46 PM on Going West
 
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I think you have to make exceptions for super stars. Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez were both great free agent signings, and when Hanley Ramirez's current contract is up, I doubt the winner of the bidding will be disappointed. Of course, given that he plays for the Marlins, Ramirezwill probably be dealt the year before that and will have his contract extended. For the acquiring team that isn't all that different than signing him as a free agent. You lose some prospects instead of draft picks.

 
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It kind of looks like the Giants have written off the 2010 season, and I'm not sure that isn't for the best. Thomas Neal and Buster Posey seem like locks to be productive regulars in 2011, and there is a decent chance that Emmanual Burriss will hit well enough to replace Edgar Renteria. It's a pretty low bar. At that point, he probably makes sense to troll for a top tier free agent corner infielder and outfielder.

 
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I wish you had asked him why he thinks Edgar Renteria is a good #2 hitter at this point in his career. Granted, the Giants don't have a lot to work with in the OBP department, but there were at least 4 or 5 guys on last years team with higher OBP than Renteria.

Dec 14, 2009 9:30 AM on Bruce Bochy
 
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So I guess that means he can expect to get an offer of 4 years at $10m/year from Brian Sabean. Nature abhors a vacuum and the Giants have a bad contract vacuum in RF now that Randy Winn's contract is up.

Dec 03, 2009 11:39 AM on Prettiest at the Prom
 
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I'm not sure I wouldn't take a flyer on Gary Sheffield, indifferent defense and all. At 41, he can't be expecting anything more than a 1 year deal, and 275/370/450 is still above average production, if no longer superstar material. Sheffield's pride may not allow him to take home the low 7 figure deal that his numbers warrant.

 
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Actually, while it almost certainly isn't intentional, I believe that Barry Zito has been maximizing his BABIP in exactly this fashion since he signed with the Giants. My impression is that his 2nd half improvement largely came from not trying to be on the outside corner with every pitch, but I don't have any data to back that up.

Nov 23, 2009 11:24 AM on Zack Greinke and FIP
 
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Taking away points because pitcher A appears to be more hittable than pitcher B when in fact pitcher B was in fact significantly more hittable in real life strikes me as pretty specious. The fact is that Wainwright's BBA was .240 and Lincecum's was .206. I suppose you could argue that the hitter's were better in the Central division, but given that 2 playoff teams came out of the West, and 2 NL West team's play in hitter's parks, that line of reasoning seems pretty suspect. Also, the league MVP was on Wainright's team, so he never had to pitch to him. It's pretty much a given that whoever Lincecum pitched against had a better hitting team than the Giants. Lincecum HR count certainly benefited from pitching in The Phone Company Park as all of the HR he gaave up were on the road, but it didn't seem to have helped Matt Cain or Barry Zito much.

Nov 19, 2009 3:50 PM on NL Cy Young
 
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I'm not sure you need velocity coming off the bat to complete the study. HR rate is probably a pretty decent proxy for velocity because balls that aren't hit hard don't get out of the park (seel, everyplace except Coors field). Luis Castillo hits very, very few HR which suggests that when he does hit a ball fair, it isn't hit all that hard. Of course, swing angle and park effects have something to do with that. Given his inability to get the ball out of the park when he does swing, I'd say that Castillo was probably right to leave the bat on his shoulder.

 
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Posey, Gillaspie, Villalona, Kieschnick, Crawford, Alderson, Bumgarner, Nick Noonan and Thomas Neal. But Alderson got traded for the remains of Freddy Sanchez, Gillaspie hit for decent OBP but no power, and Villalona is currently trying to beat a murder rap. The Giants also gave up Scott Barnes, who put up decent numbers at San Jose for Ryan Garko who promptly forgot how to hit. Still, Neal, Crawford, and Kieschnick all did a bit better than expected so I guess it all evens out.

Nov 11, 2009 8:57 PM on April 16-17, 2002
 
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I think smoke and mirrors guys are underrated in general because unlike MPH, the reason they get people out is hard to measure, at least given the tools available at minor league parks. Sergio Romo is probably the poster boy for the smoke and mirrors crowd. He was striking out batters in the minors at over 10/9, and in 68 innings in the majors, he has done the pretty much the same thing. There is no reason not to give Story the same opportunity in spring to show it isn't a fluke.

Nov 10, 2009 12:35 PM on November 10
 
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Josh Judy ended up with Espinosa's blurb from Nov. 6.

Nov 10, 2009 9:19 AM on November 10
 
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Do you think it would be overly unkind to Brian Sabean to point out that Bobby Scales gave the Cubs more offense in his limited stay than the Giants got out of the new $6 million dollar man, Freddy Sanchez?

 
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While I agree that The Giants overpaid for Freddy Sanchez, both in talent and dollars, by Sabean's standards, it isn't a horrible deal. It isn't $9m/year for Randy Winn, for example, who had a roughly equivalent EQA playing an outfield corner position. It also isn't like the Giants have a lot of really good options at 2nd. That said, I probably would have trotted Burriss or Matt Downs out there next year and saved the money for a down payment on Jason Bay or Matt Holliday.

 
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When can we start asking "What's wrong with Buster Posey?" Granted, it is still early, but so far, he is near the bottom in just about every offensive category. What seems really odd is that his former teammates at San Jose, Thomas Neal and Brandan Crawford, are putting up adequate numbers roughly in line from what you would expect from their minor league season.

Oct 27, 2009 3:55 PM on October 28
 
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Mariano Rivera isn't a a typical pitcher since he relies so much on a 'cut fastball' that is very effective against left handed batters. I'd let Rivera pitch against Howard even if Pill Hughes was available. Hughes is also right handed and not nearly as effective against left handed batters.

Oct 13, 2009 12:25 PM on Completion
 
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Do you have any insight into how teams decide which players should be playing in the AFL? For xample, I was kind of surprised to see Brandon Crawford playing instead of, say, Brock Bond, as Bond put up considerably better numbers at AA.

Oct 08, 2009 1:00 PM on AFL Preview, Part Two
 
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Interesting article. One of the things that I think I noticed (though without any data, it's hard to know for sure) is that part of Barry Zito's return to average seems to be from an increased willingness to throw up and in to right handed batters. Molina *never* seemed to call this during Zito's first couple of seasons, but Pablo Sandoval did, and so did Eli Whiteside, and maybe eventually, Molina caught on. Prior to that, it just seemed like everything he threw to right handers was either on the outside corner, and it not only looked slower to batters, but they appeared to be handing over the plate waiting for it. Or it missed outside for a walk. Given his velocity, or lack thereof, you wouldn't think Zito could get away with pitching up and in to right handed batters, but perhaps perceived velocity is the reason why.

Oct 05, 2009 1:53 PM on Location and Perception
 
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The Giants didn't go after Dunn because they had $20m committed to Barry Zito, $10m for Rowand, $8m for Renteria, $9m for Randy Winn, $6m for Molina, $8m for Randy Johnson, and $6m for Dave Roberts, and $5m in deferred compensation for Barry Bonds. That's about $70m right there, and the Giants management has determined that they maximize profit with a payroll right around $90m. 2.8m showed up at the ball park this year to watch a marginal team, so it is hard to argue they were wrong from a purely business point of view, although it is easy to argue about how they went about spending $90m.

Oct 02, 2009 3:16 PM on San Francisco Giants
 
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The point is that 6.1% is a heck of a lot better than 2.5%, and he is only 23 so you figure he has some some for improvement. Watching him over the course of the season, he was much more selective by the end of the season than he was at the beginning.

Oct 02, 2009 11:25 AM on San Francisco Giants
 
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whhops, should have been 600PA, not 500PA. Still, it is a huge improvement.

Oct 02, 2009 11:11 AM on San Francisco Giants
 
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I don't know why Sandoval shouldn't repeat his performance. He made incredible strides in plate discipline this year over his rookie year drawing 50 BB in 500PA as opposed to 4 BB in 150 PA last year. Having seen absolutely crush some balls, there is reason to believe that the power increase is for real as well. The only question mark with Sandoval is whether or not he can keep his weight down to a level that will allow him to stay at 3rd.

Oct 02, 2009 11:10 AM on San Francisco Giants
 
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The Giants traded Tim Alderson for Freddy Sanchez, not Bumgarner. Either way, it was a poor idea even if Sanchez wasn't damaged goods. Juan Uribe was providing just about as much offense as Sanchez, and there was some reason to believe that Velez, the subject of this piece, might have as well. On defense, not so much, but a player that can take the field is always going to play defense better than a player that can't. Alderson for Sanchez isn't likely to go down as one of Brian Sabean's better ideas.

Sep 25, 2009 1:25 PM on Eugenio Velez
 
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One guy I'd really like to see the data broken down for is Jonathan Sanchez. According to the radar gun, he is throwing in the low nineties, 91-93 depending on the gun. He gets an awful lot of swing throughs, especially for a guy that has difficulty with command on his breaking ball. On TV at least, his 91 looks a lot harder then other guys that throw the same speed on the gun.

Sep 24, 2009 4:43 PM on Perceived Velocity
 
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Lewis hit very poorly with RISP in the limited chances that he had, right around .200, however he only had runners on base in front of him in 114 of his 284 ABs, which isn't a very large sample size. Over his career, his numbers with RISP are just about the same as his overall numbers. Either pitchers figured him out this year, or it is small sample size.

Sep 22, 2009 3:16 PM on The Missing Man
 
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One more quibble - Pablo Sandoval is faster than you might think. He has 5 SB, though he has been caught 5 times as well, and he scored from 2nd on a ball hit to short center last night. That isn't to say that he is in a class with Ricky Henderson, but he shouldn't be lumped with Bengie Molina either.

Sep 22, 2009 1:49 PM on The Missing Man
 
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The Giants handling of Posey is beyond ridiculous. He could have been getting AB's in the minor league playoffs either with Connecticut or San Jose, and instead he has spent that time hanging out in the dugout. If the Giants needed a 3rd cathcer, they could have brought up Steve Holm who in extremely limited MLB at bats has at least shown that he can get on base at a reasonable clip (career 364 OBP). I don't know why the Giants management hate OBP so much.

Sep 22, 2009 1:44 PM on The Missing Man
 
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I completely agree with you, but as I said, the perception created by those couple of dropped balls and the fact that Lewis often makes routine fly balls into an adventure out weighs the reality that shows that Lewis is at least an average defender. Whether Bochy caught it from the fans, or decided to bench Lewis on his own, I can't say. If there is any defense to be made, Lewis has done extremely well as a pinch hitter, but of course, he could have been doing that 4 times a game instead of 1 time every couple of games.

Sep 22, 2009 1:38 PM on The Missing Man
 
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I think Bochy actually let the fans make this call for him. There is, and has been, a torrent of abuse for Lewis because aside from the lack of RBI, he strikes out a lot, and he dropped and/or misplayed a couple of routine fly balls. In most fans minds, those couple of dropped balls completely overshadow Lewis' demonstrated ability to get on base, and also the face that even with some memorable flubs, Lewis gets to about as many balls as most left fielders. Bochy's transgression is amplified by the fact that for most of the season, he insisted on putting Edgar Renteria and is .300 OBP in the #2 spot. One can only imagine that he was making out his lineup with the Edgar Renteria that he remembered from a few years back instead of the Edgar Renteria that he actually has playing for him now.

Sep 22, 2009 1:16 PM on The Missing Man
 
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I know he is kind of old, and a reliever to boot, but Dan Runzler deserves some sort of honorable mention for staring at sally league, and going through every stop on the way in one season to the majors. He pitched in both of the Giants last 2 games and was regularly hitting the high 90's on the stadium gun. If he had control of his breaking ball, he would be pretty much unhitable. But, of course, he doesn't.

Sep 17, 2009 11:08 AM on Great Leaps Forward, NL
 
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I second the motion that age, or better yet, birthday, be included in the synopsis. For example, Craig Clark's numbers aren't all that much worse than Christian Friedrich, but Clark is 25 and Friedrich is 22, and that makes all the difference in the world in their upside.

Sep 11, 2009 3:16 PM on September 11
 
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The Giants have starting pitching whereas most of the Orioles future stars haven't reached the majors yet, and the Giants don't share a division with the Yankees, Red Sox and Devil Rays. Put Markakis, Reimold, and Jones on the Giants in place of the Winn, Lewis, and Rowand and the Giants are contending for the division title instead of nursing a rapidly fading wild card shot.

 
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In his extremely limited MLB plate appearances this year, Bowker's new found appreciation of the strike zone doesn't appear to have carried over to the major leagues. Are MLB breaking pitches that much better than AAA? That said, I think you need to evaluate talent in perspective. The Giants have been contending this year with Fred Lewis, Randy Winn, and Eugenio Velez as corner outfielders. It's hard to see how Bowker wouldn't be an upgrade over a full season of at bats. He might not be a prospect for a team like the Orioles, but for the Giants, he could be the difference between making the playoffs or not next year assuming his translations are for real.

 
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Supposedly Madison Bumgarner is making is major league debut tonight because Tim Linecum has an vaguely defined 'back injury' requiring anti-inflammatory drugs. That could mean a couple of aspirin and a recheck tomorrow morning or ???. The Giants aren't being totally forthcoming, at least, not according to SF gate.

Sep 08, 2009 5:11 PM on Down and Out
 
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Is it time to re-evaluate the depth of the Giants farm system? With the emergence of Darrin Ford, the San Jose Giants have just run away from the rest of the California league in the second half, and that's after losing Alderson, Bumgarner, Posey, Barnes, and Brandon Crawford.

Sep 04, 2009 10:26 AM on September 4
 
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Well, there was Randy Jones, so there is at least *some* evidence that you can get people out, at least for a couple of years, without throwing all that hard. Jones might have managed it for a few more years without the 300 inning work load. Granted Jones is an anomaly, but is that because guys that only throw in the low 80s can't get hitters out, or because guys that throw in the low 80s never get drafted and/or promoted?

Sep 03, 2009 10:28 AM on Throw Hard or Go Home
 
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I guess it missed the deadline, but Dan Runzler blasted all the way from Sally league to the majors in one year without ever getting noticed by anyone. I have doubts that he will stick as his walk rate is troubling, but he is apparently pretty good at missing bats.

Sep 02, 2009 5:48 PM on September 2
 
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Why doesn't Brock Bond get any love? I know the guy was like a 24th round draft pick or something, but he has led the Eastern League in OBP and BA pretty much all season even after a bad week, and he has put up OBP's near 400 at every level. Granted, he doesn't seem to have more than doubles power, and I've never seen him play, but you would think that on a team like the Giants where 330 is a good OBP for anybody not named Pablo Sandoval, he could be an impact player. At this point, it is hard to believe the .400 OBP is a fluke.

Aug 17, 2009 12:23 PM on Monday Ten Pack
 
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I don't know how you could vote Jim Rice into the hall of fame and not vote for Vlad Guerrero even if Vlad retired tomorrow, and Vlad's performance over the last couple of weeks leads one to believe that he isn't quite done yet. He may not be 'the most feared hitter in baseball', whatever that means, but during his prime he was definitely a guy that most pitchers would rather not face with the game on the line.

 
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The problem that I have with the Alderson for Sanchez deal is that Sanchez only gives the Giants a .020 improvement in OBP and a .011 improvement in SLG over the immortal Juan Uribe. Maybe that extra base runner every 10 games is enough to put the Giants just over the top in the wild card race, in which case, it was an OK deal. But I kind of doubt it.

Jul 30, 2009 5:08 PM on Major Moves Roundup
 
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It isn't gonna happen in the modern game, but if you are going to put a guy like Joba in the pen, why not let him come in in the 7th and finish the game every 3 days or so, especially if a couple of your starters are 6 inning guys, or need to be handled carefully due to injury history? That would give him about 150 innings a year during which he is likely more effective than the starter, and there is a pretty good chance your 'closer' would get the day off. It seems like it makes even more sense if you have a guy that as a starter, couldn't make it through the batting order more than twice.

Jun 02, 2009 10:45 PM on The Debate Continues
 
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I think the Giants should trade Rowand and Winn and replace them with Torres, Schierholtz and Bowker not due to the desire to field an historically bad hitting team, but because Rowand and Winn should still have value to a contender and net a couple of B level prospects (or better with some throwins) that will complement Cain, Lincecum, Bumgarner, Alderson, Posey, Gillaspie, Crawford, Thomas Neal, Angel Villalona, and Nick Noonan when they are ready in 2011 or so. They clearly aren't going to catch the Dodgers this year. On the other hand, if they did acquire a legitimate bat and sneak into the playoffs, you can't discount the possibility of a team with Lincecum and Cain as startesr winning a short series or two. Still, I'd stick with the rebuilding program. Molina should be on the block too.

May 26, 2009 9:48 AM on Bad Offense Recital
 
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What do you make of Noah Lwry having a rib removed? That seems pretty drastic to me. Have any players had that surgery and come back? I've more or less concluded that Lowry will never pitch again in the big leagues, but I don't know anything about this injury.

May 26, 2009 9:29 AM on Rays of Gloom?
 
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Well, if you want real silliness, you have Bruce Bochy. In yesterday's game, Bobby Howry pitched to 5 batters in the 8th, struck out 3 of them using a total of 18 pitches. His spot doesn't come up in the Giants 1/2, and the first batter in the 9th is left handed. Howry is pulled for Alex Hinshaw, another lefty, who promptly walks the lead off hitter. Why on earth waste a pitching change for no reason at all when they guy you have out there is pitching well and has barely thrown enough pitches to get warmed up?