Indescribable. You had to be there.
I hope you were there, somewhere.
Indescribable. You had to be there.
I hope you were there, somewhere.
Connie Mack Award (Manager):
This isn’t a homer pick. Really, it’s not. Being a manager is about getting the most out of your players in the face of adversity. Every team had injuries, but the Giants lost a top pitcher, two starting outfielders and a first baseman for much of the year, on top of missing a second baseman all year, and having to demote two prideful pitchers. He managed a team through a super slump that another team in a similar position (the Brewers) miss the playoffs. Bochy did a truly amazing job.
Mattingly gets his vote for the regular season job he did. There is no doubt his team has an amazing amount of talent, but they do not get the most out of their talent at all times. Mattingly did a fine job of taking what could have been a bunch of problem children and got them to the playoffs and a division title. Hurdle’s job in Pittsburgh was also strong, as he’s developed a team around McCutchen. I nearly put Matt Williams up here as well, but the Nationals pretty much did what they were expected to do.
Willie Mays Award (Rookie):
Frankly, it was a weak year for rookies in the National League. Jacob DeGrom was the best all-around rookie who played most of the year. He’s not a name that you’ll expect to overwhelm you, but he was consistently good, although he seemed to hit a wall in August. There were a smattering of hitters, but the biggest names had problems. I came close to putting Billy Hamilton on this list, but he was too one-dimensional. David Peralta was one of the league’s most balance hitters, posting the highest OPS among rookies with significant at-bats. Panik came on late in the season, but few rookies had an amazing impact on a playoff team.
Goose Gossage Award (Reliever):
It wasn’t exactly a surprising year among closers. Kimbrel was the clear leader in almost all categories, across the board, and even if his team didn’t make it into the postseason, Kimbrel’s contributions couldn’t be ignored. Melancon wasn’t a closer full-time, so his 33 saves were only 8th in the league, but throw in his 14 holds and he was one of the best across the board. There were a few options for the third spot, but Aroldis Chapman was the most dominating, judging strikeouts versus walks.
Walter Johnson Award (Pitcher)
Yeah…like you expected anything different at the top of this list.
I doubt any of the top three need any sort of justification, and if they aren’t the consensus top 3 in that order, I think some voters may have just gotten bored. There were a lot of effective pitchers in the NL, with 13 with ERAs under 3, but Greinke and Bumgarner got the last two based on their dominance in strikeouts, durability and, yes, games won by their team that they started.
Stan Musial Award (MVP)
It’s still hard for me to put a pitcher at the top of an MVP list, considering how rarely they go. Kershaw’s early injury was what really put that nail in the coffin, even if he still ranked highly. WAR tells me that Jonathan Lucroy was the best player in the NL, but…no. All stats and talent considered, McCutchen still ranks the tops in his overall skills, though Stanton is very, very close. McCutchen’s ability to lead a team into the playoffs was the biggest tiebreaker here. Posey wasn’t his MVP form that he was in 2012, but he was still one of the best all-around hitters in baseball and a steady player on a streaky team that had ups and downs.
As far as the rest of the list goes, Rizzo is a great player stuck on an awful team. Puig is the most talented player in baseball, but he’s a stupid player who is a distraction to his own team. Werth, Lucroy, Rendon and Harrison all had fine seasons, but not truly great seasons.
(Editors Note- Almost all the writing you see here is from Kevin, the writer of The Lunatic Fringe, but there is another 50% of the comic, my buddy Rog. Here’s a quick message from him.)
Hi everyone! Kevin is usually the mouthpiece for the comic and I’m the silent partner hunkered down over a computer drawing until all hours of the night. But in this instance, I feel the need to give a little info about something that’s been going on with me. Without going into too much detail, late last year my doctor found something in my body that is, shall we say, “not good” and I’ve had ongoing doctors visits, medication and bodily scans for almost a year now. I’ll be undergoing surgery this week and hopefully this problem should finally be resolved. Once I’m out of the hospital I’ll be recovering for about 6-8 weeks afterwards. But “The Lunatic Fringe” will still go on! Kevin and I have arranged to have pre-drawn comics running while I’m unavailable and I’ll be drawing the comic once again when I’m back from my hospital stay.
I’d like to thank Kevin for being so flexible with my schedule during doctors visits and the occasions where I’ve struggled to draw due to not feeling well. This last year has been trying at times and Kevin has been very understanding with my situation. And of course, I’d like thank each and every one of you for reading the comic and supporting us all these years. Our little web comic had grown so much and it’s because of every single one of you. Keep on reading and….GO GIANTS!!!
I’ve heard a lot of huffing from people who aren’t Hawk Harrelson to say this:
Rule 7.13 (2) was applied correctly yesterday in San Francisco.
From the start, Tyler Flowers was in front of the plate. Watch the play. His left foot never leaves foul ground in the entire play. The momentum of the throw didn’t take him into the path of the the runner. He was always there.
The rule says:
If, in the judgment of the Umpire, the catcher without possession of the ball blocks the pathway of the runner, the Umpire shall call or signal the runner safe.
I honestly do not understand why many educated writers don’t get that part of it. Here’s one, who compares the play in San Francisco to one in Washington the same day. After a long comparison (which doesn’t include any visual aids other than Bud Selig throwing his hands up at the All-Star tie), he asks “So why was Blanco called safe?”
The bigger debate is whether there should be a rule at all.
Avila looks okay at the end of that, but he left the game and had problems the rest of that series. Which the World was watching. You know, because it was the World Series.
That latter collision caused one writer at the same website to write that there needed to be a new rule. And he wrote: “This is what the new rule should be: Home plate is the same as any other base. The catcher is the same as any other fielder. The runner must slide. The catcher cannot block the plate. The runner cannot slam into the catcher.”
That’s the new rule, in essence, without the sliding. The rule’s full, unedited text (with my own emphasis added, to express the points of the rule):
1. A runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate). If, in the judgment of the Umpire, a runner attempting to score initiates contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate) in such a manner, the Umpire shall declare the runner out (even if the player covering home plate loses possession of the ball). In such circumstances, the Umpire shall call the ball dead, and all other base runners shall return to the last base touched at the time of the collision.
2. Unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score. If, in the judgment of the Umpire, the catcher without possession of the ball blocks the pathway of the runner, the Umpire shall call or signal the runner safe. Notwithstanding the above, it shall not be considered a violation of this Rule 7.13 if the catcher blocks the pathway of the runner in order to field a throw, and the Umpire determines that the catcher could not have fielded the ball without blocking the pathway of the runner and that contact with the runner was unavoidable.
So what’s the problem?
If, in the judgment of the Umpire…
Isn’t the whole problem that caused replay to be implemented is that the “judgement” of umpires not great? That the judgement of umpires cause rules to be implemented differently at different times and places?
And this rule expressly uses the term “If, in the judgement of the Umpire” twice! (And even references it a third time) That’s the problem! Judgement calls cause inequality in rules being applied.
If only we had a clear line with which we could determine where a catcher can be and can’t be. A line that will make it obvious both in live action to the players and to fans and umpires in replay. A line that would create a right side and a wrong side. One where the catcher would be playing fair, or where he was committing a foul.
If only we had a clear, visually obvious line.
If only we had one…
So…the draft happened.
The way the Giants are playing, it’s unlikely they’ll have another high draft pick. So, while every draft matters, I don’t think anyone disagreed that, with the 14th pick this year, they had to hit.
I think they did.
Let’s take a look at recent Giants first round picks:
It’s hard to hit home runs with picks in the 20’s, but there are some talented players. Panik looks like he could be in the majors soon. Brown might find a role, but he doesn’t look like a starter anymore. Stratton has a lot of talent, but he hasn’t been able to put it together. The extenuating circumstance of getting hit will haunt him, but it is disconcerting considering the top Giants pick this year.
Tyler Beede is a very talented pitcher. There’s no doubt about that. He has some control problems, no doubting that either. Most people seem to think the Giants can fix them.
What was of interest to me is that the Giants took a player who generally was a good value at their pick level. Particularly Arroyo and Panik were players that a lot of people thought were over-drafted, although there was a wide range of opinions about Stratton as well. Beede has issues, but it’s pretty universally thought that he’s a high-upside guy that was going to be taken somewhere in the 10-20 range. And it followed with later picks that the Giants got guys that were among the higher-rated players available.
Now, projected value is good for little more than public perception, and it’s no proof of future success. But there is something reassuring about the Giants picking players other think were good, and it does mean, hopefully, that we don’t have to hear too much complaining in the next few years.
So, let’s look at some other things from the 2014 draft for the San Francisco Giants:
Where does Beede fit?
Beede quickly becomes a Top 5 prospect, Top 10 at the furthest, and joins a talented, if underperforming, group of pitching prospects.
That, of course, might mean the Giants will view some other pitching prospects as trade bait in waiting. With another pennant run pretty obviously in the future this year, Beede adds some depth and flexibility. Beede also helps push the line of promotions with another high-expectation guy that can be expected in about three years.
Expect Beede to join the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes for the time being.
Who is the most exciting of the other picks?
I really like Dylan Davis, the third round pick. Davis is a power hitter with quite the pedigree, coming out of Oregon State. He didn’t always perform with Oregon State, though a good year in the Cape Cod League (the premier wood-bat amateur league) helped. Davis also has a strong arm, but he could be a player that would be a left fielder of the future for this team if he can translate his raw power into game power.
What was the theme of the draft?
The Cape Cod League. The Giants picked a lot of players with strong Cape Cod seasons, highlighted by Davis, who won the 2012 CCL Home Run Derby. The scouting department seems to have good ties with someone who scouts the CCL, or trusts the performance, and it became a running joke in the first ten rounds among observers.
What position was picked the most?
Well, other than pitching…Catcher was an interesting spot. The Giants picked up Aramis Garcia in the second round, generally considered one of the top college catchers as a good all-around hitter. But the Giants took four players listed at catcher in six rounds late in the draft, three of whom were high schoolers and each had interesting notes: Tim Susnara from St. Francis High in Mountain View, Zach Taylor from Horizon HS in Scottsdale, where the Giants took Tim Alderson and Tommy Joseph from), and Benito Santiago (Yes, son of THAT Benito Santiago) from Coral Springs Christian Academy in Florida. The Giants probably won’t sign all three, though.
And that’s not all! 6th round pick Skyler Ewing was listed as a first baseman with power, but the Rice University player has experience at catching. Some expect him to move to catcher long-term, but that’s not assured.
What was the best name?
I’m sad to admit, I always want to see interesting names picked for no reason other than amusement. But the Giants didn’t disappoint.
Sam Coonrod, a pitcher drafted in the fifth round, has a great name, and might be a guy who develops as well. Coonrod has a mid-nineties fastball but also some delivery issues. He might be a future reliever.
But two others had names that made me smile. 9th rounder Stetson Woods, a high school pitcher from Madera, CA, has a great cowboy-style name along the lines of current prospect Clayton Blackburn. And there’s something that sounds like a fake, 1950’s movie starfish about 30th round first baseman Cliff Covington.
Bottom Line: Was this a good draft?
Well, the true review won’t be for years. And this draft doesn’t have a Buster Posey-level star that we can see. But Beede does look like he has the upside of being a star, and the rest of the top 10 have a lot of role-player types of candidates to keep an eye on. I like what I’ve seen.