Um…yeah. When did this team become so downright awful at home?
That being said, thanks for making the fans feel like we’re in this slump together…
Um…yeah. When did this team become so downright awful at home?
That being said, thanks for making the fans feel like we’re in this slump together…
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.
It’s that horrible time of year again. That time where the injuries are bigger than the wins. The injuries that threaten to derail what was otherwise looking like a great season for your team. Now you have to wonder what those injuries are going to do to your team.
Sometimes the injuries are obvious. In 2011, Buster Posey went down with a serious injury. Sure, he wasn’t the only one. Freddy Sanchez’s career also ended a month later, and it’s kind of a shame that people don’t remember something like that, but it did as well. Combined, missing those two sunk a chance to win back-to-back championships. In 2013, it was more subtle. Angel Pagan went down winning a game, and didn’t think he was even injured at the time. There was a rash of balls hitting hands on bats. Marco Scutaro was only off the field for a short time, but he was not the same the rest of the year. Ryan Vogelsong missed months. The odd thing was, the rotation did well without him, as Chad Gaudin stepped in very well. But then, the bullpen fell down like a bunch of dominoes without him, a long-man who had been signed to a minor league deal that offseason. You never know which injury will hurt the team the most.
So how do you judge which injury is the killer? Do you go onto www.baseball-reference.com and try to figure out WAR? Do you jump between twitter.com and McCovey Chronicles see what the groupthink believes? Or do you jump onto MyTopSportsbooks.com and see how far the oddsmakers have marked down the team’s chances to win the World Series?
Nah, sometimes you just need to wait for the MRI results.
Damn, I hate this time of year.
First of all, if you haven’t read it, check this story out by the Chronicle’s Susan Slusser.
Bottom line, sources with both the A’s and the River Cats have told the Chronicle that the River Cats are up for changing affiliations, and going to the Giants.
Let’s start by saying what this isn’t: this isn’t the Giants trying to give the A’s a little “Screw You” by taking their Triple-A affiliate. Teams aren’t allowed to talk with other affiliates by major league rules; doing so would be tampering. And the Giants don’t want to get into any trouble with the league while waiting (and waiting) for that blue ribbon commission to make a decision. That, and add in that Slusser specifically says the sources are with the River Cats and Athletics, and toss out that idea.
Personally, I wouldn’t put much stock in this…except that, if this change were to happen, maybe this is the year.
The River Cats team has played in Sacramento since 2000 (previous to that, they were the Vancouver Canadiens). The franchise has been affiliated with the Athletics since 1999, though it was originally an Athletic affiliate when the franchise started in 1978.
The River Cats and the A’s have been a successful team. Raley Field in West Sacramento is one of the best stadiums in the minors, and Sacramento provides the River Cats with consistently some of the highest attendance figures. Forbes ranked the River Cats as the most valuable franchise in the minors.
By comparison, the current Giants affiliate is the Fresno Grizzlies. The Giants have been affiliated with the Grizzlies since they moved to Fresno in 1998. (Before that, they were the Tucson Toros). The Grizzlies play in Chukchansi Park, which is also a very nice stadium just outside of downtown Fresno…which isn’t a great downtown. Fresno provides a solid attendance for the Grizzlies, and their average attendance is usually middle-of-the-pack. Forbes ranked the Grizzlies as the 11th most valuable franchise in the minors, not bad when that is out of 240 teams.
The Giants and Grizzlies have been a successful partnership, though they have had rumors of separations in the past. In those cases, it was always about the Grizzlies’ interest in others, never another team specifically seeking the Giants. But particularly since the mid-2000′s, the Grizzlies and Giants have been serious partners. In 2008, the Grizzlies rebranded themselves in the Giants’ black and orange, and the Giants have tied the Grizzlies in on major promotions. The World Series trophies make promotional trips down there (as they do to all Giants’ affiliates), and the Grizzlies do some of the same promotional items (such as recently giving away the 1952 World Series Ring Replicas that were an AT&T Park giveaway in April).
The location has been a plus as well. Having Fresno being so close makes it an easy trip for rehabbing veterans, roving coaches and call ups to get to and from the two cities. Of course, Sacramento is the one Triple-A team closer to the Bay Area than Fresno, and the A’s have benefitted from a similar geographic relationship.
The Giants have invested a lot in their relationship with the Grizzlies. Would saving a couple of hours in bus time and being associated with a better-valued franchise be worth dumping that investment?
Well…all is not rosy in Fresno. The Grizzlies as a team are losing money. It was reported in April that the team owes $1.5 million in rent payments to the city, and lost $1.3 million. The ownership group has been listening to offers to sell the team. Forbes Magazine has ranked the team as the 11th most valuable in the minors, but that doesn’t help cash-flow in the short term.
The Grizzlies aren’t far from profitability. The team estimates they need to increase attendance by an average of 1,000 per game to reach that level. That’s not impossible in a city with just over half a million people. But if they can’t, it’s not impossible that they could be sold, and possibly even moved, despite having a sweet stadium deal and solid roots.
One of the big things that can cause affiliation changes? New owners and new locations.
That threat of new ownership might be enough to make the Giants a little shy about sticking around, but there is always another possibility: the Giants might just do what they did in San Jose: buy a controlling interest in the team. And then, all questions would be rendered moot.
Which brings us back to Sacramento, and the weird timing of this. This very well could just be a bargaining ploy by River Cats CEO Susan Savage. As one of the Minor Leagues crown jewels, they might be trying to get the best they can get out of any deal…but may have no intention of leaving the A’s…yet.
But if she’s going to net the Giants, she’s going to need to cast quite a net.
At the very least, though, this should make the twitter feud between the Grizzlies and the River Cats even more interesting.
I’m getting really tired of these broken fingers and hands.
The Giants have the best record in the National League. But 2013 was starting off alright, until a key injury. 2011 looked good at first until a key injury. And Brandon Belt just got majorly hurt.
It’s too early to start debating how long he’ll be out, but he’ll be out. Everyone else is talking about the options to replace Belt, but let’s go a little deeper. There are so many ways the Giants could play this that it’s worth a moment to look at all the options.
Start with this: if Travis Ishikawa were healthy, this would be a short discussion. Ishikawa would get the first shot, though he wasn’t playing well to start with down in Fresno. If he didn’t hit well, then we’d have this discussion closer to Memorial Day.
Also, there’s not a lot of roster issues. Obviously, players on the 40-man roster are easy to bring up, but the Giants could move Marco Scutaro to the 60-Day DL to make room for a player that’s not on it.
Okay, so let’s dig in:
The Morse-To-First options: Tyler Colvin or Gary Brown.
Putting Michael Morse at first base makes a lot of sense. Morse has quite a bit of experience at first base. He’s not going to be a defensive whiz there, but he’s not one in left field either. Morse at first would also probably help him stay in games longer, because you’re less likely to have defensive replacements there.
But then, who plays left field?
Gary Brown (AAA stats): .273/.333/.392, 2 HR,14 BB, 27 SO, 5 steals in 9 attempts.
Brown is finally starting to find his hitting stroke at AAA. He hit .231 last season in Fresno, but now has a respectable .273 average. Brown still needs to maximize his tools in terms of taking walks and being a more efficient base stealer. Brown would benefit from batting everyday, but it’s not like Gregor Blanco (batting .105) or Juan Perez (batting .059) are putting up an argument to start. Brown couldn’t do much worse.
Defensively, Brown over Morse would be about as good as it gets. The only possible downside is that Brown hasn’t played much left field. He has played 9 games in left field over four seasons, but a player of his defensive caliber could do well.
Chances: Decent. The Giants may eventually need to see what they have in Brown. They probably aren’t ready yet, but this would be a creative move. But could it set Brown back in his slow development?
Tyler Colvin (AAA stats): .269/.318/.412, 2 HR, 9 BB, 24 SO, 1 steal in 1 attempt.
Colvin was one of the offseason reclamation projects, and while his two home runs in 33 at-bats during Spring Training were eye-catching, Colvin hasn’t found a way to make consistent contact yet. His numbers in Fresno are about what one would normally expect, though his walks are down. The former first round pick has been a borderline major leaguer for a while, and that’s pretty much where he is now. Could the Giants really stand seeing two of these guys (alongside Brandon Hicks) at the back of the order?
At least defensively, Colvin would be solid. He’d be better than Morse out in left field, but he would be lesser than Blanco, Perez or Brown. He might also be brought up to be the bench player while giving good soldiers like Blanco or Perez chances to start.
Chances: Decent. Really, this move makes more sense by getting Morse out of left field, and being perhaps the best choice to play first base. Colvin won’t be a difference maker, but he’d fill the spot.
Adam Duvall (AAA stats): .258/.324/.523, 10 HR, 12 BB, 29 SO, 2 steals in 2 attempts.
Duvall is one of the more intriguing prospects in the system. He’s never made great contact, but clearly has good power. He had 30 home runs in San Jose a couple of years ago, and is on a similar pace this season. Duvall is a high power sort of prospect, with a low average. He’s kind of like Morse or Adam Dunn that way.
Defensively, though, he’s not a strong player. He’s struggled at third base, working hard to improve there. He’s played more first base this season, netting 15 games there out of 37. His stats in the small sample size aren’t terrible, but he’s likely to be a huge drop off from Belt defensively.
There’s a lot of upside to Duvall, but a lot of downside, too. Duvall could be a big strikeout guy as well.
Chances: Good. Duvall would be the most straightforward promotion the Giants could make, and the chances go up because he was one of the names mentioned early on by Giants management.
The Catcher Shuffle Andrew Susac or Guillermo Quiroz
There’s a lot of moving parts to this one. This comes off of the initial setup of either Buster Posey or Hector Sanchez moving to first.
Out of anyone defensively, Posey would be the most ideal player at first base, and he’s going to play regularly somewhere. But moving him away from catcher would cause a defensive hole at catcher. Sanchez, meanwhile, is a catcher. He’s never played first base in the majors, and has only played 46 games there in the minors (and only 1 since 2008). Sanchez did get a game at first base in spring training, and Bochy said he looked comfortable there. We’ll see.
However that works out, then there comes the replacement at catcher. So…
Andrew Susac (AAA Stats): .310/.412/.483, 2 HR, 8 BB, 12 SO
Susac is the best hitter in Fresno right now. He missed a couple of weeks with a concussion, but has come right back and started hitting right away as he came back. He’s batting well above his career average, and is showing excellent plate discipline as well. Susac has decent power, but would likely hit at a decent clip in the majors.
He’s a bit of a defensive work in progress, although he’s improved significantly. Susac has a very good arm, and is catching 63% of would-be base stealers. Both Posey and Sanchez are catching about 28% of baserunners.
The thing about Susac is that he’s a serious prospect. If he’s going to come up, he should play every day. That would mean Sanchez would remain a backup, and while he’s hit only .240 this season, Sanchez has certainly earned some respect with clutching hitting and RBI. Bringing up Susac to play everyday might be a little rough on Sanchez.
Guillermo Quiroz (AAA Stats): .277/.324/.323, 0 HR, 4 BB, 16 SO
Well, Quiroz is a former major league Giant. He hit .186 in 43 games last season. Meanwhile, he’s hitting decently in Fresno. He’s not showing the power he has in the past at those levels. Defensively, he’s okay. He won’t excite anyone, but he won’t be starting every day. You know what you’re getting with Quiroz. He’s a backup.
Chances of Susac: Small. Susac needs to play everyday, and he probably won’t get that chance in the majors.
Chances of Quiroz: Strong. Quiroz would be a backup, but it would let the Giants put their best current hitters in the lineup.
The Ultimate Gamble
Angel Villalona (AA Stats): .257/.325/.413, 3 HR, 9 BB, 33 SO
Villalona would be the ultimate gamble. Pretty soon, the Giants will need to know what they have with him. He made it to AA in the middle of last season, batting a disappointing .235 in 52 games, with just 8 home runs. He’s back there, and showing improvement. The 23-year old has prodigious power, but a lot of other questions.
Other than already being on the 40-man roster, the other convenient part of taking a chance on Villalona is that he is a first baseman, so he could fit right into the hole left on the team. Villalona’s been solid defensively since he’s concentrated on the position since 2008 (minus murder times).
Of any player on this list, Villalona is the most pressing for the Giants to figure out. The Giants could essentially lose him for nothing next season. There will be no better chance for the Giants to give Villalona a shot to prove himself.
Chances: Tiny…but it’d be gutsy to try.