Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/27/2017: Giants 14 Reds 2

Madison Bumgarner was in midseason form and the competition for roster spots reached a fever pitch as the Giants dominated the Reds.  Key Lines:

Denard Span CF- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .271.  A healthy, strong season from Span would be a huge plus for the Giants chances of adding another championship banner.

Aaron Hill 3B-2B- 3 for 4, 2B, BB.  BA= .255.  Hill made a statement that he wants a roster spot.

Jae-Gyun Hwang 3B- 2 for 3, HR(5).  BA= .349.  It seems settled that Hwang is going to start the season in Sacramento, but he remains the most intriguing player in the Giants camp.  Is he the Giants 3B of the future or is Christian Arroyo?  And what about Conor Gillaspie?

Gorkys Hernandez LF-RF-CF- 3 for 5, 3 2B.  BA= .204.  Hernandez comes back from getting extra AB's in minor league camp and raps out 3 doubles.  He also played all 3 OF positions, which seems to send some kind of message.

Madison Bumgarner LHP- 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 9 K's, GO/AO= 9/3.  ERA= 2.52.  Madison Bumgarner in midseason form.

Josh Osich LHP- 0.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 5.00.  Not a strongly encouraging line for Osich.

Mark Melancon RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA- 0.00.  Another boring inning for Melancon.  Have I mentioned that boring is good?

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Matt Cain takes the mound for the Giants final Cactus League game facing Jake Arrieta and the Cubs.  This would seem to be a critical start for Cain.

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Griffin Canning; Brewer Hicklen

Griffin Canning, RHP, College, UCLA.  6'2", 180 lbs.

2016:  5-8, 3.70, 109.1 IP, 21 BB, 95 K.
2017:  1-1, 2.72, 39.2 IP, 15 BB, 49 K.

Canning is a classic pitchability college pitcher.  His FB is adequate at best topping out at 94 but usually sitting 89-92 MPH, but he has 4 pitches he can command.  His changeup is his primary secondary offering.  Canning will be popular with teams who value a high floor over a high ceiling on draft day.  For me, he's a round 2 talent at best.

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Brewer Hicklen, OF, College, UAB.  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 208 lbs.

2016:  .289/.413/.408, 7 2B, 4 3B, 3 HR, 22 SB, 38 BB, 41 K, 201 AB.
2017:  .349/.389/.663, 4 2B, 5 3B, 4 HR, 9 SB, 5 BB, 21 K, 83 AB.

Hicklen may be moving up draft boards.  I found out about him on Minor League Ball where some under-the-radar college prospects were profiled.  Hicklen is a tremendous athlete who doubles as a WR on the UAB football team.  He has done a 6.5 60 yd dash and plays CF for the baseball team.  He has shown more speed than power so far but the size and strength would suggest there is power potential there.  With the extreme dearth of good college hitters in this draft, Hicklen may have a chance to move all the way into the first round.  He is a redshirt sophomore and draft eligible.

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Don't have time to update my draft board right now. Will catch that later.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/26/2017: White Sox 4 Giants 3

Neil Ramirez walked the first two batters he faced in the 9'th inning to set up a walk-off win for the ChiSox to spoil a fine start by Ty Blach.  Key Lines:

Jimmy Rollins 2B- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .125.  Is there still a battle between Rollins and Kelby Tomlinson for a reserve MI roster spot?  Rollins looked good on a pair of doubles but got himself thrown out at 3B trying to stretch one into a triple.

Chris Marrero LF- 1 for 3, BB.  BA= .278.  Marrero continues to look good at the plate, but let me tell you, a LF he is not.  Got a look at him running the bases on TV and if he and JT Snow ran a 60 yd dash, I'm not sure Marrero would win!  There was probably nothing he could do with on rocket that went past him to the wall, but then he took a long time finding it after it bounced back.

Conor Gillaspie 3B- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .333.  Gillaspie continued his hot hitting with a ringing double that split the RF-CF gap.  He also made several excellent defensive plays.  Gillaspie was not a good fielder at 3B early in his career, but he's really turned that part of his game around!

Justin Ruggiano CF- 1 for 2, 2 BB.  BA= .243.  While Gorkys Hernandez was down in minor league camp getting extra AB's, Ruggy was starting in CF and continuing his hot hitting.  Advantage Ruggiano in the race for 4'th OF.

Kelby Tomlinson SS- 1 for 3.  BA= .279.  Kelby might not have helped his cause when he muffed what should have been a fairly routine play to set up a 2-run 5'th inning, the only inning Blach allowed runs in.

Ty Blach LHP- 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K, GO/AO= 10/4.  ERA= 4.43.  Blach was given an opportunity and he made the most of it.  The 1 K does not look so impressive, but he kept ChiSox hitters off balance all day with a mixture of locations and speeds.  He really only gave up 1 hard hit ball  which came right after Tomlinson's muff.  Whether he is the 5'th starter or not, Blach probably locked up a roster spot for himself today.

Cory Gearrin RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 7.88.  Gearrin had his slider working to perfection and dominated his inning.

Neil Ramirez RHP- As already mentioned, Ramirez walked the first 2 batters he faced to set up the walk-off win for the ChiSox.  Ramirez and Gearrin are probably battling for the last bullpen spot and Gearrin's stock went up while Ramirez' went down today.

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Madison Bumgarner starts against the Reds tomorrow in Scottsdale for the Giants final home game of the Cactus League season.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/25/2017: Giants 8 Padres 7

The Giants scored at least 1 run in each of the last 5 innings while the bullpen stymied the Padres to overcome a 7-1 deficit for the Win.  Key Lines:

Justin Ruggiano LF- 1 for 1, 2B, BB.  BA= .229.  Ruggy's bat has come to life after his BA hit a nadir of .067 on March 7'th.  He's 7 for 20 over his past 10 games.

Joe Panik 2B- 2 for 4, 3B.  BA= .279.  Panik should not stay in slumps for too long because he makes so much contact.

Buster Posey 1B- 2 for 3, HR(1).  BA= .353.  Buster looks like he's slimmed down a bit, but still has the Popeye arms.  He looks like he's in great shape!

Jae-Gyun Hwang 1B- 1 for 2.  BA= .308.  Hwang drove in the winning run with a bloop hit to RF.  He also won the Barney Nugent Award for best first spring training.  He's reportedly ticketed for Sacramento and is reportedly OK with that.  He plans to work on his fielding and strike zone judgement(apparently the strike zone is different here than in Korea).

Brandon Crawford SS- 1 for 3, HR(1).  BA= .174.  The BA is deceiving as Crawford missed a lot of Cactus League games to play in the WBC and had a great run there.

Nick Hundley C- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .324.  Hundley is definitely looking like an offensive upgrade over Trevor Brown so far.

Gorkys Hernandez CF- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .159.  Gorkys sez, "Hey!  Don't forget about me!"

Chris Stratton RHP- 3 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 1 BB, 3 K.  ERA= 9.00.  If this was an opportunity for Stratton, well, he didn't exactly take advantage of it.  He basically threw batting practice for the Padres for 3 innings.  I guess it's a positive that he completed the 3 innings.

Mark Melancon RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  More boring baseball from Melancon. Boring is good!

George Kontos RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 4.50.  Dominant inning from Kontos whose roster spot seems very safe.  After giving up 3 ER in his second spring appearance on March 1, Kontos has allowed just 2 R over his last 8(1 inning each) for an ERA of 2.25 with 2 BB, and 13 K.

Josh Osich LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 5.40.  Osich needs a strong finish to spring training.  Today's appearance gives him a great start on that.

Cory Gearrin RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 9.00. Gearrin has scuffled so far.  Can he hold off Neil Ramirez for the final bullpen spot?

Neil Ramirez RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 1.93.  Ramirez and Gearrin are probably competing for the final bullpen spot, unless the Giants don't carry a long man.

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Ty Blach gets the start tomorrow agains the ChiSox.  It does seem like the Giants are auditioning a backup plan for Matt Cain.  According to Pavs, Tyler Beede has been tabbed to start next Saturday's game in Oakland for the Bay Bridge Series.

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Also according to Pavs, Michael Morse says he plans to rehab in Sacramento after his hammy heals.  He is aware that if the Giants get off to a good start, they probably won't call him up when the rehab is over in which case it's Happy Trails.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/24/2017: Giants 6 Rockies 5

Brandon Belt's 3-run dinger was the centerpiece of a 5 spot in the 3'rd inning and Jeff Samardzija had his best start of the spring by a wide margin.  The Giants held off a 9'th inning rally by the Rockies against Derek Law for the final margin.  Key Lines:

Denard Span CF- 3 for 4.  BA= .244.  Span is hot.  Let's hope it carries over into the season.

Brandon Belt 1B- 1 for 4, HR(3).  BA= .289.  3-run dingers correlate with wins.

Chris Marrero 1B- 1 for 1, HR(6).  BA= .292.  Pavs thinks Marrero is competing with Kelby Tomlinson for a roster spot which is really too bad because both players are deserving based on their spring performances.

Aaron Hill 3B- 0 for 3.  BA= .225.  The beats seem to think Hill has made the team but his 0 for 3 today drops his BA to .225 and he just has not been impressive over the past several years.  Giants should keep both Kelby and Marrero and release Hill.

Kelby Tomlinson 2B- 1 for 3, 3B, BB.  BA= .282.  Kelby's BA has slipped a bit but he had a strong game here.  Hill may have more occasional HR pop than Kelby but nobody grinds out AB's like Kelby and Kelby is more versatile in he field, IMO.

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 1 for 2, 2B.  BA= .333.  Shark's hit was a double.  He said afterwards he was sitting fastball and happened to run into a slider.  Always fun to see Giants pitchers hit.

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 4 IP, 2 H 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 8.22.  Shark has had rough spring so far, but maybe he's turned a corner at the right time?

Albert Suarez RHP- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 4.35.  Is Suarez still in the running for long relief/swingman?

Steven Okert LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Okert maintains his perfect spring.

Reyes Maronta RHP- 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Maronta struck out the final batter of the game to preserve the Giants win, but after he wild pitched in a runner he inherited from Derek Law.  Don't be shocked if we see Maronta back in the regular season.

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Johnny Cueto will get his innings in a minor league game while Chris Stratton gets called up from minor league camp to face the Padres tomorrow.

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LHP Will Smith will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the 2017 season.  He should be back sometime fairly early in 2018.

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/23/2017: Mariners 9 Giants 2

Matt Moore was shelled and the Giants offense sputtered against Felix Hernandez in a lopsided loss.  Key Lines:

Joe Panik 2B- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .256.  Batting averages can swing hard in small samples.  Seems like just yesterday Panik was hitting .400.

Jarrett Parker RF- 1 for 3, 2B, Assist(2B).  BA= .271.  Parker looks like a lock for starting LF.

Justin Ruggiano PH-CF- 1 for 2.  BA= .212.  Ruggy and Gorkys Hernandez seem to be the only 2 names left in camp who can reasonably be projected to play CF.  Which one do you keep?

Matt Moore LHP- 1.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 5.60.  This line also includes a HBP and WP. When Moore is good, he is really good and when he is bad, he is really bad!

Neil Ramirez RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.16.  Ramirez shows his strikeout stuff and seems to be on track to win a job over Cory Gearrin who gave up 2 runs in an IP earlier.

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Jeff Samardzija tries to get his spring back on track with a start against the Rockies today.

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Will Smith has been advised to have TJ surgery which would put him out all season and likely for the first 2-3 months of 2018.  Giants control his contract through 2019.

Eduardo Nunez received 2 cortisone shots to the shoulder.  Nunez was reportedly able to make strong throws but was experiencing pain.  He still hopes to be ready for Opening Day.

Gordon Beckham requested and received his release and will try to hook on with another team.

Pavs reports that Kelby Tomlinson played 6 innings in the OF in a minor league game but only had one chance on a routine flyball.  Apparently one roster scenario under serious consideration would have just 1 reserve OF with Kelby, Aaron Hill and Conor Gillaspie all making the team.  Kelby and Hill would double as reserve LF's.

I'll take a stab at naming the 7-man Opening Day bullpen:  Melancon, Law, Strickland, Okert, Kontos, Ramirez, Ty Blach, unless Blach is the 5'th starter.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/22/2017: Giants 6 Brewers 4

Denard Span and Jae-Gyun Hwang led the offense with a pair of 2-run dingers as the Giants overcame a poor start by Matt Cain.  Key Lines:

Denard Span CF- 1 for 2, HR(1).  BA= .189.  Span is hitting .333 over his last 6 games and has hit for the cycle with 3 singles, a double, triple and HR in that span.  Eyewitness reports have him looking spry in the OF too.

Aaron Hill 3B- 1 for 3, 2B(4).  BA= .243.  Hill and Chris Marrero may be fighting for the same roster spot depending on how the injury situation plays out.

Jae-Gyun Hwang 3B- 1 for 1, HR(4).  BA= .324.  With Nunez flying back to SF to get a cortisone shot in his shoulder, Hwang could be the Opening Day starter at 3B.  You could make a case that he won that job competitively anyway.

Matt Cain RHP- 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 8.10.  Most of the damage came in the first inning, although one of our commenters reports that Cain was giving up rockets the whole time and was saved from more runs by some excellent defensive plays by Span and Aaron Hill.

Steven Okert LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.  With only one game left, it looks like Okert has wrapped up a scoreless Cactus League.

Roberto Gomez, David Hernandez and Albert Suarez pitched 1 scoreless inning each.

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Matt Moore faces Felix Hernandez in the Giants final night game of the Cactus League schedule.

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As mentioned above, Eduardo Nunez flew to SF to get a cortisone shot in his shoulder and will be shut down for 3 days.  Gotta think he might start the season on the DL which opens the door for Jae-Gyun Hwang, who has had a strong spring, to start at 3B on Opening Day.  Aaron Hill and Conor Gillaspie remain in the mix at 3B also.  Injuries have whittled down the bench options.  One scenario I scribbled down was Hundley, Tomlinson, Gillaspie, Hill and Marrero with Hwang starting at 3B. That leaves CF uncovered unless the Giants think Jarrett Parker could play it.

I they think Nunez will be back quickly, they might send Hwang to Sacramento and start Aaron Hill or Gillaspie at 3B and keep Ruggy or Gorkys as another reserve OF.  Or, Marrero and Hill could be competing for the same roster spot.

I get the feeling the Giants really want to keep Aaron Hill.

Tomlinson has options and Hwang has said he will accept assignment to Sacramento.  Would he still accept it after the spring he has had?