Saturday, July 4, 2015

Down on the Farm: 7/3/2015

AAA  Salt Lake City Bees scored 6 runs in the 9'th inning to sting the Sacramento River Cats 7-1:

Xavier Avery(CF)- 2 for 4, 2B, BB.  BA= .500.
Darren Ford(DH)- 2 for 3, BB, SB(19).  BA= .265.
Chris Stratton(RHP)- 8 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K's, GO/AO= 14/3.  ERA= 1.53.
Cody Hall(RHP)- 0.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 4.08.

Giants signed Avery as a minor league FA.  He was once a fairly highly touted prospect who has kicked around the minors a bit.  He's still just 25 years old.   Stratton goes 8 innings for the second game in a row.  Disaster appearance for Hall.

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AA  Harrisburg Senators outlasted the Richmond Flying Squirrels 5-4 in 10 innings:

Myles Schroder(LF)- 1 for 5, HR(3).  BA= .268.
Rando Moreno(SS)- 2 for 5.  BA= .312.
Engel Beltre(CF)- 3 for 4, 3B.  BA= .318.
Eliezer Zambrano(Catcher)- 3 for 4.  BA= .220.
Matt Lujan(LHP- 7.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 4.14.

Lujan took a no-hitter into the 7'th inning allowing just 1 walk in the first inning.  Going back to the 3 perfect innings he pitched in his last start, suspended by rain, he pitched 9 consecutive innings of no-hit ball allowing just the one baserunner.

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High A  Stockton Ports defeated the San Jose Giants 5-2:

Christian Arroyo(SS)- 2 for 5.  BA= .336.
Angel Villalona(1B)- 1 for 4, HR(3).  BA= .276.
Daniel Carbonell(LF)- 1 for 2, 2 BB.  BA= .379.
Brian Ragira(DH)- 1 for 2, 2 BB.  BA= .217.
Martin Agosta(RHP)- 6 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 9 K's.  ERA= 5.55.
Christian Jones(LHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 3.73.

Agosta continues to put up fantastic K/BB's while giving up a lot of runs.

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Low A Game 1  Augusta Greenjackets smothered the Savannah Sand Gnats 3-1:

Johneshwy Fargas(CF)- 1 for 3, BB, 4 SB(38).  BA- .296.
Chris Johnson(RHP)- 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 4.68.
Carlos Diaz(LHP)- 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.73.

Diaz' line over his last 10 appearances:  1-1, 1.23, 14.2 IP, 4 BB, 20 K's.

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Low A  Game 2  Savannah Sand Gnats blanked the Augusta Greenjackets 3-0:

Jared Deacon(Catcher)- 2 for 3, 2B.  BA= .253.
Jake McCasland(RHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.80.

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Short Season:  Salem-Keizer Volcanoes topped the Boise Hawks 7-6:

Miguel Gomez(3B)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .327.
Rayan Hernandez(RHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.25.
Cory Taylor(RHP)- 2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.60.
Ryan Halstead(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.

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Rookie AZL  White Sox outscored the Giants 9-7:

Byron Murray(RF)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .283.
Dillon Dobson(1B)- 1 for 4, 3B.  BA= .265.
Mikey Edie(CF)- 0 for 1, 2 BB, SB(6).  BA= .212.
Cody Brickhouse(PH)- 1 for 1, 2B.  BA= .111.
Stetson Woods(RHP)- 0.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 5.40.

No Bueno start for Woods.

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DSL  Giants pounded the Rockies 11-2:

Sandro Fabian(RF. 17 yo)- 2 for 2, 2 BB.  BA= .273.
Beicker Mendoza(LF, 17 yo)- 2 for 4, SB(3).  BA= .250.
Jose Patino(CF,  17 yo)- 3 for 5, SB(12).  BA= .250.
Prebito Reyes(LHP, 19 yo)- 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 2.12.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Game Wrap 7/3/2015: Nationals 2 Giants 1

The Giants once again fell victim to the longball as their Trail of Tears road trip continues in the Nation's Capital.  Key Lines:

Buster Posey- 1 for 4, HR(14).  BA= .304.  Buster just missed tying this one up with 2 outs in the top of the 9'th inning when he just didn't quite get the ball on the sweet spot on a hanging breaking first pitch from Drew Storen.  This was Buster's 3'rd HR in the last 4 games, all on the road.  He has 57 RBI's at the exact halfway mark of the season.

Jake Peavy- 6.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 6.43.  Although his peripherals were not outstanding, Peavy looked really sharp today with his FB topping out at 92 MPH and excellent movement on all of his pitches.  Giving up the 2-run dinger to Washington's version of Justin Bour was too bad, but I really can't fault Bochy for letting him go into the 7'th inning.  His pitch count was still low and the bullpen has been way overtaxed for awhile now.

Hunter Strickland- 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.45.  Strickland still has the high 90's heater, but also has much better command of his breaking ball and a second FB with 2-seam movement.  I'm going to say I think he will be the closer by the end of the season.  I still wouldn't let him face Bryce Harper in a critical situation, though.

Josh Osich-  1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Another silver lining from a tough loss.  Osich looked really good!  FB that topped out at 96 MPH, a cutter at 90-91 MPH and a nice changeup.  At least one of the 2 BB's was a direct result of him getting squeezed by the home plate ump who, according to Kruk, is well known for giving out the Rookie Treatment.  After the second walk, he just challenged Harper and Robinson and got both to pop up to the shallow OF.

The Loss drops the Giants 3.5 games behind the Dodgers pending the outcome of their game.

Madison Bumgarner tries to put a stop to the Giants losing streak facing Stephen Strasburg in a game that starts at 8:05 AM PDT tomorrow, July 4.

Scouting the International Signees

July 2 marks the beginning of a new international signing period for young baseball players who do not live in the United States, Puerto Rico or Canada and who have turned 16 years old after a certain date.  This year's talent pool was pumped up by several Cuban players older than 16 and by an 18 year old who had attended HS in the U.S., but moved back to the Bahamas to gain eligibility for international signing.

In the last Collective Bargaining Agreement, limits were placed on spending for international players, but the penalties for exceeding those limits were not severe enough to keep up with the tremendous influx of revenue that most MLB teams now have.  A new strategy has emerged for international spending, started by the Yankees a couple of years ago.  Sign as many international player for as much as you have to and just accept the penalties:  1.  A 100% financial penalty for any money spent above the pool limit.  2.  Spending for the next two cycles limited to $300 K per player.  As more teams used this strategy, it became impossible to ever sign a top talent if your team adhered to the spending limits every cycle.  What a mess!  Another caveat to this mess is that most agreements between players and teams occur long before the signings are announced on July 2.  That left teams like the Giants who were on the fence, out of the running for most of the players in the pool who were going to command bonuses of more than $1 M.

That HS player who moved back to the Bahamas?  That would be Lucious Fox, a switch-hitting SS with plus-plus speed.  The Giants saw a chance to sign him away from the Dodgers who seemed to be the team that had a bead on him.  Yesterday, the Giant landed him for $6 M which is approximately $4 M over their bonus pool limit.  When penalties are added in, they will spend approximately $10 M on his bonus and will be limited to players they can sign for $300 K or less for the next 2 seasons, unless the rules change again, which seems like it's about a 50/50 bet.  Even if an international draft is instituted next season, it seems likely that teams who blew past their bonus pools will still be penalized by loss of draft picks.  Personally, I am going to trust that the Giants did their homework on the bonus rules and penalties and did not rush into this position only as a reaction to what the Dodgers and other teams were doing.  Instead, I'll focus on what Fox brings to the organization.

Lucious Fox, like I said earlier, is 18 years old.  He's a switch-hitting HS SS with plus-plus speed.  One scouting report said he might have the best tools in the entire international pool this year.  Scouting reports from early in the draft cycle which placed him in the #30-50 range of prospects may be misleading in that he has grown considerably since those reports were filed.  A year ago, Fox was listed at 6'1", 160 lbs.  Since then he has grown 1" and bulked up by 15 lbs.  Recent video, available over at Fangraphs July 2 Sortable Board, compiled by Kiley McDaniel, shows him to be well muscled across the upper chest and shoulders.  His 60 time is listed as 6.5 or under which is at least 70 speed.  At the plate, he has a relatively simple swing.  I try to concentrate on the front foot and hands.  He takes a 4-6" slide step forward with the front foot. No big leg kick.  There is slight pre-pitch bat waggle, but he keeps his hands very close to hitting position so there is no big load or hand movement as the pitch is being delivered.  The swing is quick with a level to minimally uppercut path to the ball.  Kiley McDaniel seems to think his arm has gotten better with the added strength and thinks he has a chance to stick at SS.  If not, he can almost certainly move to 2B and has the speed to play CF, so he is a legitimate up-the-middle talent.

I am not convinced that he is a rare enough talent to stake 3 years of international signings on, but he is a significant addition to the Giants growing stable of "tools" players which include Johneshwy Fargas, Gustavo Cabrera, Kelvin Beltre, Jalen Miller, Mikey Edie and now Fox.  I think international signing rules prevent him from playing in games this season, unless there are exceptions for players older than 16 years old.

The Giants, as expected, also signed a 16 year old Venezuelan catcher named Ricardo Genoves for 550 K.  He reportedly is already skilled at receiving high velocity pitching.  Beyond that, I have nothing more on him except he seems to have a projectable frame at 6'1", 180 lbs which is consistent with pictures I've seen, unlike Pablo Sandoval who was listed at 5'11", 180 lbs but was obviously way heavier from the get-go.

Down on the Farm: 7/2/2015

AAA  Sacramento River Cats thumped the Salt Lake City Bees 10-4:

Kelby Tomlinson(2B)- 2 for 4, SB(1).  BA= .258.
Mac Williamson(RF)- 4 for 4, 2B, HR(1), BB, Assist(2B).  BA= .321.
Ty Blach(LHP)- 6.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 4.26.
Steven Okert(LHP)- 1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 4.18.

Tomlinson and Williamson got off to slow starts in AA, but Kelby had a solid game here and Mac just went off.  Raised his BA by over 100 points.  Showed off his power and his arm.

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AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels blanked the Harrisburg Senators 2-0:

Rando Moreno(SS)- 2 for 4.  BA= .310.
Kelvin Marte(LHP)- 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.39.
Derek Law(RHP)- 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's, Save(2).  ERA= 1.80.

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High A  San Jose Giants defeated the Stockton Ports 7-3:

Christian Arroyo(SS)- 2 for 4, HR(4), BB.  BA= .333.
Angel Villalona(1B)- 2 for 5, 2 HR(2).  BA= .280.
Ryder Jones(3B)- 2 for 5.  BA= .289.
Daniel Carbonell(LF)- 3 for 5, 2B, 3B, SB(2).  BA= .370.
Ray Black(RHP)- 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 2.35.

Arroyo is 9 for 12 with 2 HR's over his last 3 games.  Could be a candidate for BA's hot sheet?  The Giants are apparently serious about stretching Ray Black out and making him a starter.  Villalona and Carbonell are trying to find some footing to spring back to higher levels from.

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Low A  Augusta Greenjackets vs Savannah Sand Gnats postponed.

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Short Season  Boise Hawks topped the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 6-4:

Ronnie Jebavy(CF)- 4 for 5, SB(3).  BA= .267.
Chris Shaw(1B)- 2 for 5, HR(1).  BA= .250.

Jebavy bounces back from some rough games.   Shaw hits his first professional HR.

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Rookie AZL  Giants edged out the D'Backs 7-6:

Jalen Miller(SS)- 3 for 4, 2B, BB, SB(3).  BA= .440.
Nathanael Javier(3B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .243.
Julio Benitez(RHP)- 2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.25.
Kendry Melo(RHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 4.50.
Tyler Cyr(RHP)- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.
Matthew Pope(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, Save(1).  ERA= 0.00.

Miller might be another Hot Sheet candidate.  What a great start to his pro career he is off to?

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DSL  Giants beat the Rockies 4-0:

Mecky Coronado(LF, 18 yo)- 2 for 3, 2B, SF.  BA= .435.
Jose Patino(CF, 17 yo)- 2 for 4.  BA= .229.
Raffi Vizcaino(RHP, 19 yo)- 6.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 1.15.

Vizcaino had just 2 IP last year after a decent pro debut in 2013 at age 17 so he is apparently coming off an injury?

Game Wrap 7/2/2015: Marlins 5 Giants 4

The number 3 was not good for the Giants in this series:  3 days, 3 games, 3 3-run HR's, 3 losses.  3 very similar games all of which seemed like they were winnable for the Giants.  Instead, they start a tough road trip with 3 losses.  Key Lines:

Gregor Blanco- 2 for 4, HR(2), HBP.  BA= .318.  Blanco has picked up right where Nori Aoki left off and credits Aoki with helping him with his swing.  Blanco continues to put up WAR points at a pace of a little over 3/600 PA's.

Joe Panik- 2 for 4, 2B, BB.  BA= .316.  Coming into today's game, Panik had a 3.2-2.9 lead on Dee Gordon in NL 2B fWAR.  That lead got bigger in this game.  Panik certainly has a case to be the starting NL 2B in the All-Star Game.

Buster Posey- 1 for 3, HR(13), SF.  BA= .304.  Buster played 1B the day after coming out of a game after taking a foul tip off the mask. He showed no signs of a concussion in his offensive line here.

Brandon Belt- 2 for 4, SB(4).  BA= .268.  Belt is obviously working on his speed game as he transitions to becoming an outfielder.

Matt Cain- 5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 2 K's, GO/AO= 8/1.  ERA= 9.00.  Cain's line looked OK after 4 innings but a HR by the opposing pitcher and a 3-run dinger later, things did not look as good.  Hopefully this is something to build on.  His FB reportedly topped out at 91 MPH.

With the Loss, the Giants fell to 3 games behind the idle Dodgers in the NL West and 1.5 games behind the Cubs in the race for the final Wild Card playoff spot.

The Giants now move on to Washington to face the Nationals for the first time since last year's NLDS series.  Think the Nationals might feel like they have something to prove?  Jake Peavy comes off the DL to face Gio Gonzalez in game 1.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Down on the Farm: 7/1/2015

AAA  Sacramento River Cats outlasted the Salt Lake City Bees 4-3 in 15 innings:

Kevin Frandsen(3B)- 3 for 7, 2B, BB.  BA= .313.
Adam Duvall(1B)- 4 for 8, 2B.  BA= .262.
Trevor Brown(Catcher)- 2 for 6.  BA= .283.
Mac Williamson(DH)- 2 for 7.  BA= .208.
Jack Snodgrass(LHP)- 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 3.45.
Brett Bochy(RHP)- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 4.30.
Erik Cordier(RHP)- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 1.61.

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AA  Harrisburg Senators outscored the Richmond Flying Squirrels 6-5 in 13 innings:

Rando Moreno(SS)- 3 for 4, HR(1), BB, Sac, SB(6).  BA= .306.
Hunter Cole(RF)- 2 for 6, 2B.  BA= .467.
Austin Slater(2B)- 3 for 5, 2B, BB.  BA= .250.
Joan Gregorio(RHP)- 3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 4.18.
Kyle Crick(RHP)- 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 3.16.

Moreno seems to be having a breakout season.  More of the same from Crick out of the bullpen.  Very alarming!

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High A  Stockton Ports defeated the San Jose Giants 6-3:

Christian Arroyo(SS)- 2 for 3, 2B, HR(3), BB.  BA= .329.

Arroyo is on fire!

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Low A  Augusta Greenjackets beat the Savannah Sand Gnats 5-2:

Jeremy Sy(SS)- 2 for 4, 2 2B, HBP, SB(11).  BA= .245.
Jonah Arenado(3B)- 2 for 3, Sac.  BA= .269.
DJ Snelton(LHP)- 7 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 11 K's.  ERA= 3.42.

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Short Season  Salem-Keizer Volcanoes topped the Boise Hawks 7-5:

Julio Pena(RF)- 2 for 4, 3B, Sac.  BA= .267.
Ryan Halstead(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.

Halstead is a guy who could move up the closer track fast.

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Rookie AZL  Reds beat the Giants 5-2:

Mark Weist(3B)- 1 for 4, HR(1).  BA= .250.
Ashford Fulmer(RF)- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .231.
Dylan Brooks(RHP)- 4 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 3 K's, GO/AO= 4/0.  ERA= 3.75.
Mac Marshall(LHP)- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.

Weist and Marshall make their pro debuts.

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DSL  Mariners1 downed the Giants 3-2 in 11 innings:

Francisco Medina(3B, 17 yo)- 1 for 3, HR(6), BB.  BA= .264.
Luis Amaya(LHP, 16 yo)- 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 1.10.

I do not recall a 17 yo Giants prospect showing this kind of early power before.  He's not a big body type either.  Very athletic and wiry looking frame.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Game Wrap 7/1/2015: Marlins 6 Giants 5

A walkoff 3 run HR off the bat of Justin Bour snatched away a Win the Giants appeared to have safely tucked away.  Key Lines:

Angel Pagan- 2 for 5.  BA= .266.  Pagan showed some signs of life.

Joe Panik- 2 for 5.  BA= .314.  Panik continued to pepper the field with hits.

Matt Duffy- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .300.  The top 3 batters went 6 for 15 for a BA and OBP of .400.

Buster Posey- 1 for 2.  BA= .304.  Buster took a foul tip square to the jaw area of the face mask.  He initially stayed in game but then came out after things didn't feel quite right.  He reportedly passed his initial concussion tests.

Brandon Belt- 1 for 3, 2B, SF, SB(3).  BA= .265.  Belt getting it going on a consistent basis would be nice.

Brandon Crawford- 1 for 4, HR(11).  BA= .270.  Crawford's dinger was an impressive blast in that the wall where it left the park is approximately 400 ft from home plate and it cleared by a healthy margin.

Gregor Blanco- 3 for 4.  BA= .314.  Blanco reportedly has struck up a friendship with Nori Aoki and credits Aoki with helping him with his swing and approach at the plate.  It appears to be paying off.

Chris Heston- 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 1 K, GO/AO= 11/1.  ERA= 3.78.  Hesto Presto didn't have the strikeout stuff and had a bit of a wild hair, but 4 big GIDP's kept him in this one.

Hunter Strickland- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 2.55.  Strickland seems to be settling in as a reliable MLB reliever.  The way Casilla is going, he may need to move into more of a high stress role.

Santiago Casilla- 0.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 3.03.  It often takes Casilla a batter or two to find his command.  The first two batters got basehits because Casilla could not find the strike zone and had to groove pitches.  That brought up Bour, who is basically good for just one thing, hitting dingers and he did just that for a walk-off 3 run job that was a crusher.

The Loss will likely leave the Giants 2.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West.

Matt Cain makes his long awaited 2015 debut facing an equally long awaited Jose Fernandez in an afternoon contest tomorrow to try to salvage one game out of the series.