Thursday, July 24, 2014

Down on the Farm: 7/23/2014

AAA  Albuquerque Isotopes edged out the Fresno Grizzlies 8-7:

Gary Brown(CF)- 2 for 4, SB(19).  BA= .273.
Travis Ishikawa(1B)- 1 for 4, HR(10).  BA= .261.
Chris Dominguez(SS)- 3 for 4, 2B.  BA= .269.

Dan Uggla makes his debut in the Giants organization and goes 1 for 4.  I still get a kick out of seeing SS next to Chris Dominguez' name in the boxscore.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels blanked the Akron Rubber Ducks 2-0:

Angel Villalona(1B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .249.
Austin Fleet(RHP)- 8 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.78.
Phil McCormick(LHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, Save(1).  ERA= 4.25.

McCormick's ERA over his last 10 appearances is 1.54.  Fleet's ERA is 2.20 over his last 10 starts.

High A  San Jose Giants were idle.

Low A  Savannah Sand Gnats swarmed over the Augusta Greenjackets 7-2:

Chris Lofton(CF)- 2 for 4, 2B, HR(1).  BA= .262.
Craig Massoni(1B)- 2 for 3, 2B.  BA= .268.
Joan Gregorio(RHP)- 7 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 8 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.66.

Strange and wild line for Gregorio.

Short Season  Salem-Keizer Volcanoes topped the Spokane Indians 5-2:

Shilo McCall(RF)- 2 for 3, 2B,  HR(2).  BA= .213.
Jason Forjet(RHP)- 6.2 IP, 5 H 2 R, 0 BB, 11 K's.  ERA= 3.63.
Eury Sanchez(RHP)- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's, Save(5).  ERA= 2.66.

I think this is, statistically, Forjet's best pro start.

Rookie AZL  Giants defeated the Padres 7-4:

Richard Amion(LF)- 2 for 4, 3B, SB(3).  BA= .309.
Rodney Price(1B)- 2 for 4, 2B.  ERA= .300.
Austin Slater(CF)- 2 for 4, 3B.  BA= .500.
Mitchell Boggs(RHP)- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.
Dylan Brooks(RHP)- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 6.14.
Rodolfo Martinez(RHP)- 4.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 9.22.

Austin Slater makes his pro debut a successful one.  Mitchell Boggs. who was briefly the Cardinals' closer, is trying for a comeback with the Giants.

DSL  Orioles2 outlasted the Giants 6-5 in 10 innings:

Jean Angomas(CF, 19 yo)- 3 for 5.  BA= .313.
Mecky Coronado(DH, 18 yo)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .372.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Game Wrap 7/23/2014: Giants 3 Phillies 1

Madison Bumgarner shut down the Phillies for 8 innings including coming back after a rain delay after the 3'rd inning and a drenching rain in the middle innings, and Hunter Pence drove in all 2 runs with a bloop double in the top of the 9'th inning as the Giants clinched a series win over the Phillies in Philadelphia.  Key Lines:

Madison Bumgarner- 8 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 3.19.  Bummy pitched this one in extreme conditions including a rain and lightning delay after 3 innings and a steady downpour in the middle innings after the game resumed.  He came through like the champ he is outpitching a pretty darn good pitcher in AJ Burnett in the process.  He saved the bullpen in the process after they had pitched a total of 15 innings in the last 2 games.

Jonathan Papelbon(Phillies)- 1 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 2 K's, HBP.  ERA= 1.96.  Papelbon has asked to be traded out of Philly.  He's not making a case for other teams to want him as he blew the Save last night and took the loss tonight.  He started the inning hitting Michael Morse.  Blanco came in to pinch run.  Pabelbon struck out the next two batter but Blanco stole 2B.  He then walked Brandon Crawford intentionally, possibly remembering Crawford's game winning hit the night before.  That brought up Hector Sanchez, of all people, to pinch hit for Bumgarner.  Now, you could make a case for Bummy being a better bet in that situation than Sanchez, but Sanchez managed to draw a walk setting up Pence's bloop double down the RF line to clear the bases.  Casilla made it hold up for the Save.

A very gutsy win for the Giants and it's pretty easy to see why the Phillie fans are booing.  That team has NO HEART!  Least of all the guy who wants out of there.  If Brian Sabean was looking for evidence that this team deserves reinforcements at the trade deadline, I would say this series has provided it and 3 times over!

The Win extended the Giants lead in the NL West to 2 games over the Dodgers who lost to the Pirates 6-1.

Tim Hudson tries for the 4 game series sweep against Cole Hamels in a day game tomorrow.

Down on the Farm: 7/22/2014

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies eked out a rain-shortened win over the Albuquerque Isotopes 1-0 in 5.5 innings:

Chris Dominguez(SS)- 2 for 3, 2 2B.  BA= .264.
Jason Berken(RHP)- 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 4.10.

I always get a kick out of seeing SS next to Chris Dominguez' name in the box score.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels drowned the Akron Rubber Ducks 8-2:

Jarrett Parker(RF)- 4 for 5, HR(10).  BA= .266.
Ricky Oropesa(DH)- 1 for 5, HR(4).  BA= .242.
Myles Schroder(3B)- 2 for 4, HR(3).  BA= .246.
Clayton Blackburn(RHP)- 3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.93.

Blackburn was probably on a pitch limit in his first game back from a 7 day DL stint.

High A  San Jose Giants quieted the Lake Elsinore Storm 8-3:

Chuckie Jones(RF)- 1 for 4, BB, SB(11).  BA= .266.
Mitch Delfino(3B)- 2 for 4, SB(4).  BA= .278.
Elliott Blair(LF)- 2 for 3, 2 2B, BB.  BA= .317.
Pat Young(RHP)- 6 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 5.51.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets were idle.

Short Season  Salem-Keizer Volcanoes buried the Spokane Indians 10-4:

Johnshwy Fargas(LF)- 1 for 3, 2 BB.  BA= .223.
Seth Harrison(CF)- 2 for 5.  BA= .256.
Christian Arroyo(SS)- 3 for 5.  BA= .319.
Ethan Miller(RHP)- 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 5.22.

Rookie AZL  Giants were idle.

DSL  Giants pounded the Cardinals 11-7:

Mecky Coronado(DH, 18 yo)- 2 for 5, 3B.  BA= .368.
Manuel Geraldo(SS, 17 yo)- 2 for 5, 3B.  BA= .213.
Deiyerbert Bolivar(LHP, 18 yo)- 5 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 11 K's.  ERA= 1.82.

Game Wrap 7/22/2014: Giants 9 Phillies 6

Buster Posey hit a game tying HR in the top of the 9'th inning, Brandon Crawford hit a 3 run double to break the game open in the top of the 14'th and Tim Lincecum earned his first Save in the bottom of the 14'th to give the Giants a very satisfying win in front of a handful of loudly booing fans in Philadelphia.  Key Lines:

Hunter Pence- 3 for 8, HR(13).  BA= .305.  Pence's dinger went over 450 ft and he is one of 4 players this year with more than 1 longer than 450.  The others are Giancarlo, Justin Upton and Michael Morse.  Oh, and he also beat out an grounder to SS in the 14'th inning when the Giants already had a 4 run lead.

Ehire Adrianza- 2 for 7, 2B.  BA= .236.  Adrianza entered the game in the second inning after Joe Panik twisted his ankle.  Can we please see more of this kid, especially if Panik is out for awhile?

Buster Posey- 4 for 7, 2 2B, HR(11).  BA= .286.  Posey is on a tear and it's on a tough road trip to boot.  Maybe he read those comments a few days ago criticizing his position in the lineup?

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 6, 2B, BB.  BA= .279.  Prior to this game, Pabs was hitting .335/.370/.533 since May 13.

Gregor Blanco- 1 for 5, 2 BB, SB(9).  BA= .233.  Blanco scored 2 runs in this game.  He is thriving down in the lineup and is hitting .303 over his last 10 games.

Brandon Crawford- 2 for 6, 2B, BB.  BA= .239.  Crawford has had some big hits in his career and he and another one in this game with a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double to break open the game in the top of the 14'th inning.  He also came home with an extra insurance run on Hector's single.

Hector Sanchez- 2 for 6, BB.  BA= .198.  Hector has been struggling at the plate.  Kruk and Kuip were saying he's developed a severe uppercut swing.  Just sparing Posey the 14 innings behind the plate in this one was well worth his roster spot, though.  Hector's legs were cramping up after every pitch in the 14'th.

Yusmeiro Petit- 5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 4.24.  This was not due to BABIP luck as Petit walked 2 and gave up a 2-run dinger.

Bullpen- 9 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 7 BB's, 5 K's.   The bullpen has now pitched 15 innings in the last 2 games allowing just 1 run.  That K/BB sure is ugly, though.  Kontos gave 2.1 IP the night after going 2 innings.  Tim Lincecum got the first Save of his career.  Bummy is going to have to go deep tonight, though.

The Win coupled with the Dodgers 12-7 loss to the Pirates enabled the Giants to increase their NL West lead to 1 game.

Madison Bumgarner tries to clinch a 4 game series win tonight facing AJ Burnett.

Mike Krukow told the Chronicle that he has Inclusion Body Myositis, a progressive muscle weakening disorder.  I have had a couple of patients with this disease and it can become extremely disabling.  Kruk is a warrior, but he needs to do whatever he needs to do to avoid falls which can be deadly, especially when you are as tall as Kruk!

Around the League:

The Padres traded Chase Headley out of the NL to the Yankees.  They got a nice return in prospects, but probably could have gotten more a year or two ago.

Tulo is back on the DL.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Down on the Farm: 7/21/2014

Sorry for the late post, team.  Sometimes life gets in the way.

AAA  Albuquerque Isotopes burned the Fresno Grizzlies 5-4:

Juan Perez(RF)- 2 for 5, 2B, HR(1).  BA= .340.
Mark Minicozzi(LF)- 2 for 3, HR(6), BB.  BA= 296.
Edwin Escobar(LHP)- 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 5.11.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels whitewashed the Akron Rubber Ducks 2-0:

Ricky Oropesa(3B)- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .242.
Myles Schroder(Catcher)- 3 for 4, 2B, 3B.   BA= .242.
Jack Snodgrass(LHP)- 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 2.99.
Hunter Strickland(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, Save(5).  ERA= 2.99.

High A  Lake Elsinore Storm defeated the San Jose Giants 8-1:

Mitch Delfino(3B)p- 3 for 4.  BA= .276.
Brandon Bednar(2B)- 1 for 4, HR(2).  BA= .297.
Jesus Galindo(CF)- 1 for 3, 2B, BB, SB(28).  BA= .277.

Low A  Charleston River Dogs beat the Augusta Greenjackets 8-5:

Tyler Horan(RF)- 3 for 4, 2B.  BA= .273.
Ray Black(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.00.

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

Johnshwy Fargas(CF)- 3 for 5, HR(2), SB(7).  BA= .220.
Christian Arroyo(SS)- 3 for 5.  BA= .307.
Nick Gonzalez(LHP)- 5 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.37.

This was Fargas' best game in quite some time.

Rookie AZL  White Sox outslugged the Giants 14-6:

Richard Amion(CF)- 2 for 3, HR(2), 2 BB.  BA= .297.
Kevin Rivera(2B)- 2 for 5, 3B.  BA= .192.

DSL  Giants edged the Cardinals 3-2:

Mikey Edie(CF, 17 yo)- 1 for 1.  BA= .307.
Carlos Valdez(RF-LF, 19 yo)- 3 for 4.  BA= .287.
Mecky Coronado(DH, 18 yo)- 2 for 3, 2 HBP.  BA= .374.
Prebito Reyes(LHP, 18 yo)- 5 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 5.03.

Game Wrap 7/21/2014: Giants 7 Phillies 4

Ryan Vogelsong lasted just 3 innings while battling both a respiratory infection and the Phillies lineup, but the Giants hitters got to an obviously not quite right Cliff Lee and the bullpen shut it down for 6 innings for the Win.  Key Lines:

Hunter Pence- 3 for 5, 3B, SB(9).  BA= .303.  Pence has been terrific in the leadoff role.  Tonight was no exception.

Ehire Adrianza- 1 for 1, BB.  BA= .233.  Adrianza replaced Scutaro whose back tightened up.  Can we please see more of this kid?

Michael Morse- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .277.  Morse was the trailing runner after Sandoval scored on a Gregor Blanco single in the 2'nd inning.  The ball arrived before Morse who tried to hurdle Carlos Ruiz.  The problem is he hurdled the plate too.  Ruiz came back and tagged him out.  The Giants appealed, claiming Ruiz illegally blocked the plate, but the new rules only apply if the catcher does not have the ball and the ball clearly arrived well before Morse did.  On the other hand, it was questionable whether Ruiz had control of the ball and he turned his back on Morse, clearly not attempting to tag him.    In any event, the out call by the ump was upheld on replay.  I would like to see the whole explanation on that one just for educational purposes, not that I necessarily think the call was wrong.

Adam Duvall- 2 for 5, HR(2).  BA= .217.  Duvall homered in his first game after his first callup too.  Maybe they should send him down and call him up every other game!  I don't think that's allowed.  Anyway, I hope they keep running Duvall out there and see what happens.  He's hit dingers at every level so far.

Gregor Blanco- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .233.  Blanco also made a great catch in CF.  He's hitting .281 over his last 10 games and is 9 for 25 over his last 8.

Ryan Vogelsong- 3 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.99.  Vogey was battling a cold and the BABIP gods.  He lasted just 3 innings after throwing 82 pitches.  Fortunately, Cliff Lee was worse in his first game back from an extended DL stay.

Bullpen- 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.   George Kontos was key with 2 shutout innings and 3 K's.  Casilla got his 6'th Save.

The Win kept the Giants in first place in the NL West by a percentage point over the Dodgers who defeated the Pirates 5-2.

Yusmeiro Petit stands in the gap again for Matt Cain in game 2 facing Roberto Hernandez previously known as Fausto Carmona.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Thoughts on Hitting Prospects

The Giants have taken a lot of heat over the years for their supposed inability to transition hitting prospects to the major leagues and their mishandling of them when they get there.  A lot of that has to do with the failure of players like Lance Niekro, Brett Pill, John Bowker and Fred Lewis, hitters who had their ups and downs in the minors but became fan favorites for one reason or another.  The reality is they probably never had a chance and did not do any better in other organizations.  The Giants have also been criticized heavily for their handling of Brandon Belt who has improved noticeably at the plate under their guidance, current injuries notwithstanding.

I have long believed that while pitching prospects are always suspect, it is mainly due to injuries, but a healthy pitching prospect generally has an easier time translating their AAA numbers to the majors than do hitting prospects.  It kind of goes along with the theory that if a hitter and pitcher have never faced each other before, the advantage belongs to the pitcher.  It also very much goes along with the notion that if a hitter has a hole in his swing, MLB advance scouts will sniff it out almost immediately and even average MLB pitchers are good enough to wear it out.  Those holes often go undetected in the minors.

I came across a note in Rotoworld today about the struggles of Gregory Polanco, a highly touted hitting prospect for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who is being held out of today's lineup due to his recent hitting struggles.  Polanco has an overall OPS of .655 since his callup, which is not terrible, but he just went 0 for 5 with 2 K's yesterday and is hitting just .194 with a .533 OPS in July.  Seems that those darn advance scouts have found that hole in his swing!

That got me to thinking.  What of the other highly touted hitting prospects to come up this season?  It seems to me most, if not all of them have struggled in similar fashion to Polanco.  Let's take a look at some who come to mind off the top of my head:

Here's a good one!  Just a couple of weeks ago, Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox was the latest greatest thing since sliced bread.  He just got send back down after hitting .235/.278/.382 in just 34 AB.  Here's what Rotoworld had to say about it:  "It's a shame the Red Sox didn't get Mookie Betts more of a chance.  In fact, if that is all they were going to with him, they should never have brought  him up in the first place."  Wow!  Does that sound familiar, Giants fans?  I don't think Brandon Belt's initial numbers were nearly as good as Mookie Betts and they got fried for sending him back down to work on some specific things.  After reading that, I can't help but think that the Red Sox must have seen something they want Betts to work on back down in the minors that will make him a better hitter next time.  Does that have a ring of familiarity too?

The Red Sox did not mind losing Jacoby Ellsbury in free agency because they had Jackie Bradley ready to take over in CF.  How has that gone?  .231/.309/.313 and a big part of why the Red Sox have struggled this season.

Oscar Tavaras of the Cardinals, the organization which does everything right?  He's started just 2 of the Cardinals last 6 games and Rotoworld is not thrilled about that either, saying Mike Matheny apparently prefers that boring veteran, Allen Craig who is not doing too well himself.  Oh yeah, Tavaras is hitting .190/.226/.266 and has not hit another HR since his first game against the Giants.  Remember that?

Another guy who was going to set the world on fire in that wonderful organization in Boston was Xander Bogaerts.  He's the guy who made Stephen Drew expendable.  He's hitting just .234/.310/.353 and another reason why the Sox are struggling.

George Springer is a success story, right?  He hit .294 with 10 HR's in May but has seen his numbers slip to .227 in June and .160 in July.

The next time you are tempted to criticize the Giants for their handling of hitting prospects, remember their successes with Posey, Sandoval, Belt and Crawford and lesser success with Hector Sanchez.  Think also about the above-mentioned prospects from other organizations with much better reputations for developing hitters.  Graduating a hitting prospect is just darn hard, that's all!