Sunday, September 25, 2016

Game Wrap 9/24/2016: Giants 9 Padres 6

The Giants offense picked up Madison Bumgarner, who uncharacteristically gave up 5 runs on 3 dingers, to win in extra innings.  Key Lines:

Denard Span- 1 for 5, HR, BB.  BA= .261.  Span has been struggling, but hit one into the short porch down the RF line plating 2 insurance runs in the 10'th.  He now has 11 HR's on the season, 3 more than his previous career high of 8 in 2009.

Eduardo Nunez- 2 for 5, SB(39).  BA= .286.  The Giants may have found a new emotional leader.  In addition to the offensive line, he sprinted in from 3B without a second's hesitation to make a running catch of a foul pop that Buster Posey completely lost in the twilight.  If the pure joy and enthusiasm of that play isn't enough to convince you, add in the emotional response to getting called out by the 2B ump on a steal attempt in the 9'th and the subsequent overturning of the call on replay.  Yeah, Nunez is fired up and it's starting to fire up his teammates too!

Angel Pagan- 3 for 5, SB(14).  BA= .273.  Pagan has been struggling out of the #2 slot in the batting order.  He moves down for this game and responds with a 3-hit night including a leadoff single in the 10'th that led to the go-ahead run.

Madison Bumgarner- 2 for 3, 2 2B.  BA= .171.  On a rough night on the mound, Bumgarner helped himself again at the plate.

Kelby Tomlinson- 1 for 1. BA= .299.  Kelby is 10 for 23, .435, with RISP.  This one drove in the go-ahead run after Pagan led off the 10'th with a single and took 2B on Adrianza's Sac Bunt.

Madison Bumgarner- 6 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 2.71.  There is an offshore flow going in SoCal and the ball was jumping out of Petco Park.

Hunter Strickland- 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.15.  Strickland overcame his recent struggles to hold the line for 5 batters in dominant fashion.

Sergio Romo- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, Save(3).  ERA= 2.93.  Romo's 3 Save in as many tries.  He seems to have stabilized the Closer role, at least for the time being.

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The Win put the Giants into a tie with the Mets, who lost, for the 2 Wild Card playoff spots.  The Cardinals won and still trail by 0.5 games.

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Ty Blach gets the call for his first MLB start today facing lefty Clayton Richard.  If you think Petco was a live yard last night…..Day Game, hot, dry, offshore flow…...

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Down on the Farm: 2016 San Jose Giants Season Review Part 1

2016 was a season of comings and goings for the San Jose Giants with only 2 position players accumulating more than 300 AB's.  The rest either played the first half and were promoted to AA or else were promoted from lower levels midseason or else missed a lot of time due to injury.  Here's how it broke down:

Full Season Starters:

Ronnie Jebavy OF.  DOB:  5/17/1994.  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 205 lbs.  Drafted in Round 5, 2015.  .247/.305/.385, 28 2B, 5 3B, 12 HR, 24 SB, 34 BB, 153 K, 535 AB.  The tools look good.  Extra base power.  Speed to steal bases.  Played CF on D.  The glaring thing is the K's.  He'll have to cut down on those.

Jonah Arenado 1B.  DOB:  2/3/1995.  B-R, T-R.  6'4", 230 lbs.  Drafted in Round 16, 2013.  .254/.286/.422, 36 2B, 17 HR, 18 BB, 110 K, 516 AB.  Exciting power.  The walk rate is so low, but he kept the K rate at barely over 20% which is pretty good for a young power hitter.  He's got time.  Tremendous potential here.

Missed Time With Injuries:

Jose Vizcaino Jr. 3B.  DOB:  4/5/19914.  B-R, T-R.  6'3", 220 lbs.  Drafted in Round 7, 2015.  .261/.342/.424, 17 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 29 BB, 69 K's, 295 AB.  Hit .417 over his last 10 games before going down with an ankle injury on 7/21 which caused him to miss the rest of the season.

Aramis Garcia C.  DOB:  1/12/1993.  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 220 lbs.  Drafted in Round 2, 2014.  .257/.323/.340, 6 2B, 2 HR, 14 BB, 47 K, 144 AB.  So-so start to the season which was cut short by a HBP to the face.  He got back for a few games at the end of the season and will try to make up for the lost AB's in the AFL.

Movin' On Up to the Eastside:  The Giants gave aggressive placements to no less than 5 2015 position player draftees.  These 3 stayed healthy and performed well enough to get even more aggressive midseason promotions to AA Richmond in the fearsome Eastern League.

Chris Shaw 1B.  DOB:  10/20/1993.  B-L, T-R.  6'4", 235 lbs.  Drafted in Round 1S, 2015.  .285/.357/.544, 22 2B, 16 HR, 28 BB, 70 K, 270 AB.  Maybe a few too many K's, but a tremendous display of power.  Enough to convince the Giants brass that he needed a bigger challenge in AA, where there was some adjustment.

Steven Duggar OF.  DOB:  11/4/1993.  B-L, T-R.  6'2", 195 lbs.  Drafted in Round 6, 2015.  .284/.386/.462, 12 2B, 4 3B, 9 HR, 44 BB, 66 K, 264 AB.  Duggar also earned himself a mid-season promo to AA where he just turned it up a notch.

CJ Hinojosa SS.  DOB:  7/15/1994.  B-R, T-R.  5'10", 175 lbs.  Drafted in Round 11, 2015.  .296/.378/.442, 14 SB, 3 3B, 6 HR, 36 BB, 46 K, 260 AB.  Another aggressive placement for a 2015 draftee who made that decision look good.  Another mid-season promo to AA where he had some adjustments.

Movin' On Up From the Eastside:  2 callups from Augusta and a midseason placement of an Indy League signee.

Dylan Davis OF.  DOB:  7/6/1993.  B-R, T-R.  6'0", 205 lbs.  Drafted in Round 3, 2014.  .278/.344/.544, 10 2B, 18 HR, 22 BB, 61 K, 248 AB.  You may not think a K rate of 20+% is all that great, but it's down from around 30% when he first turned pro.  Hit a total of 26 HR's between Augusta and SJ. Might have made the biggest progress in his game of all Giants prospects in 2016.

Miguel Gomez, 3B.  DOB:  12/17/1992.  B-S, T-R.  5'10", 185 lbs.  .267/.302/.500, 9 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 8 BB, 28 K, 172 AB.  After kicking around short season ball for seemingly forever, Gomez torched the SAL in the first half.  He kicked the power up a notch after a promo to SJ while suffering a drop in BA for the first time in his career.  The BA recovered late as he hit .324 over his last 10 games.  This guy can obviously hit.  Giants have a decision to make as he has 5 years of pro service and is eligible for the Rule 5 draft unless the Giants put him on the 40 man roster.

TJ Bennett, 2B.  DOB:  7/22/1992.  B-L, T-R.  6'3", 215 lbs.  .284/.357/.482, 15 2B, 9 HR, 20 BB, 67 K, 222 AB.  Older indy league signee.  IDK if he can stick at 2B, but has tremendous size for the position.  Showed impressive power in a half season with SJ.  Definitely worth a look at higher levels.  Sleeper alert!

Disappointment:

Johneshwy Fargas OF.  DOB:  12/15/1994.  B-R, T-R.  6'1", 170 lbs.  Drafted Round 11, 2013.  .172/.255/.216, 3 3B, 9 SB, 12 BB, 40 K, 134 AB.  You can't steal first base and Fargas just didn't get there often enough to use his speed.  Back down to Augusta where at least he got his feet back under him and did well.  Big challenge to stick in SJ next season!

Game Wrap 9/23/2016: Padres 7 Giants 2

The Giants fell behind early on a 3-run dinger by Wil Myers and a potential comeback win was blown up by another bullpen meltdown, this time by Matt Reynolds in the 5'th inning.  Key Lines:

Buster Posey- 1 for 4, 2B.  BA= .289.  Buster doesn't seem to see Edwin Jackson very well. He was something like 0 for 14 before he tomahawked a ball that was up around his shoulders off the left-CF wall for a 2-run double in the 5'th inning to briefly close the gap to 3-2.

Albert Suarez- 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 4.29.  After the first inning dinger, Suarez settled down to pitch scoreless innings 2-4.  Boch lifted him for a PH after 69 pitches even though he had doubled earlier.  Probably not a terrible idea since Suarez historically starts giving up a lot of hits the second and third times through the batting order.

Matt Reynolds- 0.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 7.50.  Reynolds has had his moments, but it's this type of appearance that led Arizona to give up on him.  He just had no command which led to grooved pitches….just awful!  The rest of the bullpen pitched 4 innings of perfect baseball the rest of the way.

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The Mets won and the Cardinals lost to the Cubs so the loss dropped the Giants 1 game behind the Mets for the first Wild Card playoff spot while they remained 0.5 games up on the Cardinals for the final Wild Card spot.

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Madison Bumgarner tries to get back on the winning side of the ledger tonight facing Jared Cosart.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Down on the Farm: 2016 Augusta Greenjackets Season Review Part 2

The Greenjackets started the 2016 season with 3 age-appropriate pitchers in their rotation: Phil Bickford, Logan Webb and Michael Santos.  Bickford was promoted to SJ, then traded.  Webb and Santos were shut down early with injuries.  The Greenjackets ended up being a place where a large number of older pitchers found some traction on careers that had been drifting.

Michael Connolly RHP.  DOB:  10/31/2994.  6'2', 205 lbs.  Drafted in Round 27, 2013.  11-7, 3.05, 135.2 IP, 31 BB, 107 K, GO/AO= 1.35.  Connolly's IP almost doubled from his prior high.  He had a 2.39 ERA on August 14 but faded in his last 3 starts, probably from fatigue.

Jake McCasland RHP.  DOB:  9/13/1991.  6'2", 215 lbs.  Drafted in Round 26, 2013.  8-5, 1.65, 109.1 IP, 24 BB, 107 K, GO/AO= 1.18.  McCasland is a guy the Giants drafted twice.  He kicked around the lower minors for 3 years.  He finally moved into the Augusta rotation midseason and really found a groove.  Like Connolly, he will have to prove it at higher levels.

Cory Taylor RHP.  DOB:  12/14/1993.  6'2", 255 lbs.  Drafted in Round 8, 2015.  9-5, 2.58, 97.2 IP, 25 BB, 100 K, GO/AO= 1.78.  Jumbo righty.  Dominated the SAL in his first full pro season.  Held his own in a late season promo to SJ.

Conner Kaden RHP.  DOB:  10/27/1992.  6'4", 200 lbs.  Drafted in Round 27, 2014.  6-3, 3.71, 87.1 IP, 26 BB, 80 K, GO/AO= 2.80, 3 Saves.  Love the size!  Kaden shined in a long relief role. Should get a chance to move that up to SJ next year.

Dominic Mazza LHP.  DOB:  7/29/1994.  6'1", 195 lbs.  Drafted in Round 22, 2015.  8-3, 3.93, 84.2 IP, 16 BB, 29 K, GO/AO= 1.21.  Drafted out of UCSB where he was overshadowed by Dillon Tate.  Had some dominant starts this year, but some inconsistency.  Will have to prove it at higher levels.

Grant Watson LHP.  DOB:  7/2/1993.  6'0", 185 lbs.  Drafted in Round 16, 2015.  3-7, 4.62, 78 IP, 18 BB, 68 K.  The definition of a polished college lefty.  Those guys have to do better than this in low A ball.

Ryan Koziol RHP.  DOB:  10/4/1993.  6'3", 185 lbs.  Apparently signed as an undrafted FA in 2015.  4-3, 3.01, 68.2 IP, 13 BB, 59 K, GO/AO= 2.89, 9 Saves.  Another tall righty who shined out of the bullpen. Started long relief.  Ended up as the Closer.

Phil Bickford RHP.  DOB:  7/10/1995. 6'4", 200 lbs.  Drafted in Round 1, 2015.  3-4, 2.70, 60 IP, 15 BB, 69 K's.  The first rounder didn't hang around long after putting up dominant numbers.  Also pitched well for San Jose but was traded to the Brewers for Will Smith at the trade deadline.

Michael Santos RHP.  DOB:  5/29/1995.  6'4", 170 lbs.  4-2, 2.91, 58.2 IP, 5 BB, 44 K, GO/AO= 1.54.  I had forgotten how good Santos' numbers were before he disappeared from the boxscores after 6/3/2016.

Ryan Halstead, RHP.  DOB:  5/13/1992.  6'5 ", 220 lbs.  Drafted in Round 21, 2015.  4-3, 3.83, 54 IP, 9 BB, 62 K, 4 Saves.  Former college closer for Indiana.  Did not give up an earned run in his last 16 appearances for Augusta after July 8.  Made 2 appearances in the Cal League playoffs.

Tyler Cyr RHP.  DOB:  5/5/1993.  6'3", 200 lbs.  Drafted in Round 10, 2015.  3-3, 2.31, 50.2 IP, 16 BB, 65 K's, GO/AO= 1.41.  No scouting report, but appears to be a hard throwing righty.  ERA of 2.38 after a midseason promo to SJ.

Heath Slatton RHP.  DOB:  9/17/2013.  6'3", 200 lbs.  Drafted in Round 18, 2015.  2-4, 2.37, 49.1 IP, 23 BB, 44 K's, 4 Saves.   The big news here is Slatton got 3 starts at the end of the season and allowed just 1 ER in 15 IP with 3 BB, and 12 K's.  Sleeper/Breakout watch!

Caleb Smith RHP.  DOB:  10/4/1992.  6'2", 205 lbs.  Drafted in Round 17, 2014.  1-2, 2.35, 38.1 IP, 22 BB, 54 K's, 6 Saves.  Don't know much about him, but nice numbers.

Game Wrap 9/22/2016: Giants 2 Padres 1

The Giants got a dominant start from Jeff Samardzija, the offense pushed across 2 runs in the 8'th inning and the bullpen hung on for the Win.  Key Lines:

Kelby Tomlinson- 1 for 1.  BA= .295.  Tomlinson pinch-hit for Samardzija after Joe Panik led off the inning with a ground rule double to CF.  Tomlinson hooked a bunt foul then swung and missed for 0-2.  Mike Krukow started talking about his 2-strike approach and how he shortens up his swing to make himself one of the toughest outs on the team.  Sure enough!  On cue, Kelby punched one through the left side to advance Panik to 3B and set up the 2-run inning that was eventually capped by Hunter Pence's 114 MPH line drive double down the LF line to drive in the insurance run.

Jeff Samardzija- 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K's, GO/AO= 7/2.  ERA= 3.83.  Shark was totally dominant thanks largely to a rapidly improving spike curveball that he learned on the fly midseason when he had on offspeed pitch and his hard stuff was getting pummeled.  Krukow explained that Shark had a curveball before but couldn't make the conventional grip work.  He started digging his index finger into the ball about midseason and it's been getting more deadly with each game.

Will Smith- 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 3.58.  Speaking of curveballs…..right now, Smith's is as good as I can remember seeing from any pitcher, ever!  He should be the 8'th inning man if not the closer.  Let someone else be the lefty specialist.

Sergio Romo- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, Save(2).  ERA= 3.04.  Another relatively drama free Save for Romo whose running 2-seam FB(AKA Shuto) is noticeably better against LH batters.  He can also combine it with a decent fading changeup with the occasional backdoor or back foot slider.

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The Dodgers beat the Rockies 7-4 so the Giants remain 6 games behind the Bad Guys in the NL West. The Mets won a see-saw extra-inning game agains the Phillies 9-8 on Asdrubal Cabrera's walk-off 3-run dinger.  The Cardinals were idle.  The Giants and Mets are both 0.5 games up on the Cardinals for the 2 Wild Card playoff spots.

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Albert Suarez takes the mound tonight facing Edwin Jackson.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Game Wrap 9/21/2016: Dodgers 9 Giants 3

Matt Moore returned to the site of his near no-hitter from just a few weeks ago and got shelled.  Key Lines:

Denard Span- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .263.  Span's walk to open the game led to an early run for the Giants. He advanced to 2B on a PB and then came home on a single by Pagan.

Ehire Adrianza- 2 for 4, HR(2).  BA= .314.  Adrianza seems  to hit HR's against the Dodgers.  For the second night in a row, he was back on his heels on a groundball that kind of ate him up.  ESPN announcers pointed it out both times.

Matt Moore- 1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 4.34.  Moore did not seem to have much of a curveball.  He threw his FB hard, but it didn't seem to have much movement.  Dodgers took batting practice.

Matt Cain- 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 5.64.  Cain had turned in a couple of very good looking 1-inning stints out of the bullpen.  He couldn't stop the Dodgers onslaught this time.

Josh Osich- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 4.46.  Osich has been scuffling in 1 batter roles.  Hopefully this nice inning in a low pressure situation will settle him down.

Jake Peavy- 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 0 K's.  ERA= 5.54.  The only reason I post this line is there is an open rotation spot coming up this weekend where Johnny Cueto was supposed to pitch.  It's not a given that Cueto will miss it, but that looks like a strong possibility.  Does Bochy give the ball to Matt Cain, Jake Peavy or……

Ty Blach- 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Blach hadn't pitched since Sept 5, but acted like it was a regular turn in the rotation.  He's now pitched 3 innings in Coors Field and 3 in Dodger Stadium and has not come close to allowing a run.  He did not even allow a baserunner in this one.  Of course, those 2 mop-up stints are a far cry from starting a game in a pennant(or Wild Card) race, but hey, when you look at what Cain and Peavy have done lately, do you go with one of them or do you role the dice and give the rook his big opportunity?

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The Giants loss dropped them back to a 6-game deficit behind the Dodgers in the NL West.  The Mets and Cardinals both lost so they remain in a 3-way tie for 2 Wild Card playoff spots.

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The Giants move on to San Diego for a 4 game series with Jeff Samardzija facing Christian Friedrich in Game 1 tonight.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Game Wrap 9/20/2016: Giants 2 Dodgers 0

For the second night in a row, the Giants took a 1-0 lead into the 9'th inning.  This time, they got an insurance HR from Brandon Belt and a shutdown Save from Sergio Romo for the Win.  Key Lines:

Eduardo Nunez- 2 for 5, HR(4).  BA= .290.  On Monday night, Nunez created a run with his speed.  In this game he did it the old fashioned way with a solo HR to LF.  The ball initially appeared to bounce off the top of the LF wall back into the field of play for a triple, but a replay clearly showed is hitting a camera mount behind the wall, so maybe it wasn't the old fashioned way?  Nunez is hitting .276 since coming to the Giants vs .296 with Minnesota, but he has a higher OPS, .777 vs .764 with the Giants.  Very nice combination of average, power and speed.  Giants control his contract for 1 more season.  He might be an extension candidate this offseason.

Brandon Belt- 2 for 4, HR(16).  BA= .271.  Belt homered in the top of the 9'th to give whoever the Giants Closer was going to be a 2 run cushion to work with.  Belt seems to be back on track offensively with a .283/421/.478 slash line over his last 15 games.

Brandon Crawford- 1 for 1.  BA= .268.  Crawford had to come out after dislocating his left 5'th finger on a slide into 3B.  Joe Panik missed just 1 game with the same injury a couple of years ago.

Johnny Cueto- 5.1 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 2.79.  Cueto was magical again until he pulled up with a groin strain after delivering a pitch in the 6'th inning.  Hopefully he won't miss too much time, but it did not look good.  Giants can obviously ill afford to lose Cueto for either the ROS or the postseason.

Steven Okert- 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.86.  Okert shook off his last disaster appearance, with a scintillating 1.2 innings of work.  There was a mixup after Cueto's injury and George Kontos initially ran out to the mound.  Bochy sent him back while frantically tapping his left arm and Okert appeared out of the bullpen.  His first batter was Yasiel Puig PH for the left-handed hitting Joc Pederson.  Okert struck him out.  He stayed in for the 7'th inning and ended up with 3 K's. Very nice work by Okert who seems to be auditioning for a job for next year.

Will Smith- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.65.  Smith is on fire with a 0.79 ERA over his last 15 appearances with 17 K's in 11.1 IP.  The curveball was amazing.  My choice for the 9'th inning was to send Smith back out there, but Bochy went with Romo.

Sergio Romo- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, Save(1).  ERA= 3.16.  Bochy made his choice.  He did hedge his bet by having Javier Lopez and Derek Law warming up in the bullpen.  Romo took ownership of the inning, though, Striking out Puig then making it look easy against 2 LH batters with a very nice sinking shuto that was much improved on anytime I can remember in the past.  My guess is Romo at least earned the call for the next Save opportunity that arises.

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The Win cut the Dodgers lead over the Giants in the NL West to 4 games.  The Mets lost while the Cardinals won to create a 3-way tie for the 2 Wild Card playoff spots.

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Matt Moore goes for a series win tonight against Kenta Maeda.