February 2013

Brett Pill has a .929 SLG%

Brett Pill has done pretty well in Fresno, so it should come as no surprise that he’s doing well in Spring Training (albeit a small sample size), where much minor league talent is showcased. It’s also Spring Training. If you are using Spring Training stats as your basis for why someone should be on a major league roster, and maybe overtake should-be-starting 1B Brandon Belt, well, get ready from those looks you give the crazy people.

If I may, I’m going to show you some stats from previous Spring Trainings. 2012:

Screen shot 2013-02-27 at 7.43.18 PM

I don’t know who Hague is, Boesch had a 77 OPS+, Duncan played in 81 G, Raburn just gets the three letter “LOL” from Tigers fans. Don’t worry, I see you looking at Jesus Guzman‘s name. I know what you’re thinking. Stop that.

2011:

Screen shot 2013-02-27 at 7.46.14 PM

A backup catcher, someone whose team couldn’t wait to ship him off to Seattle, a journeyman, a guy whose career is pretty much over (and wouldn’t have a good year) were amongst the leaders in Spring Training HR.

2010:

Screen shot 2013-02-27 at 7.49.33 PM

Giants fans should see one name on this list and say to themselves, “OK, convinced.” Also, I don’t want to keep doing this because they’re Spring Training stats, filled with pitchers and defenders that may not ever see a Major League stadium as a player. This same lesson applies for pitchers.

Is it possible that Pill has a breakout star-powered season? Sure, I guess. But based off of all the scouting reports done by people who’ve seen the kid, I’ll take their opinions over minor league stats and Spring Training stats 999,999 times out of 1,000,000. It’d also be a really bad idea to make a prediction based off of 14 AB. That’s like saying you’re going to get an “A” in a class because you got a 100% on a quiz that was open-note, open-conversation, and open-internet when you know the teacher is only trying to ease you into the term.

Not that I’ve seen anybody go gaga over Pill this spring, but just in case. Open this article every time you think Brett Pill should be the starting 1B.

Three Angles for an Angel: Luis Jimenez with the Slide of the Day

Maybe slide of the week. Possibly slide of Spring Training, but with so much time left, and so many baseball games left, maybe Luis Jimenez won’t be placed in 2013 Spring Training glory forever. The play came on a Jose Mijares pitch, drilled into RF where Roger Kiecschnick came up with a throw to Andrew Susac who tried to get him with the tag.

The original clip

If I were to imagine the ideal slide into home, I can’t say putting my face into home plate would be high on my priority list. P.S.: Nice backing up the catcher there, Mijares.

From the 3B side

He starts off thinking right, sliding and making a slight reach for home, just too much momentum forward with his upper body leaning directly into home plate

From the 1B dugout

This results in said faceplant, which actually could have been saved from raspberry-territory by Susac’s glove.

Thanks to Fox Sports for having every possible angle of this slide available, which really wasn’t necessary, but I appreciate their enthusiasm for providing every angle that might be reasonable for a regular season game.

Happy Birthday, J.T.! Love, GIFs

So, a little birdie told me that it was someone’s birthday today:

Sure, he was with the Yankees and Angels beforehand, but everybody that matters remembers him as a Giant. Using the link in the tweet above, and some of the other videos MLB has made available, I present to you moments in J.T. Snow history that will never stop:

Snowing in the Cove

That blast made him the third Giant in stadium history with a Splash Hit

J.T. saves the day!

How can you not love Daddy Snow?

The much hyped-homer from 2000 against the Mets

The measuring

The landing

The running

The Armando Benitez

Now who loves this moment?

Yea, Barry Bonds does. How about you, Dusty Baker?

Take a bow, J.T.!

Love that guy. Good Giant. Happy birthday, Jack Thomas!

GIF Post for Toosdee

Yesterday I did a post using some animated shorts looping over and over and over and over and over and hopefully you loved it loved it loved it. This post is more than just an encore, it’s the continuing of a beginning of me making GIFs until I find something else to do, like write words. I could write about the Giants and Dodgers tying at 8 today, but nah. And now, to the shorts!

Domonic Brown hits a baseball a long way

How long?

How about above the batter’s eye in CF.

Tommy Joseph joins the dinger party, pulling one

to a hut out in the LF fan area

Ichiro Suzuki is still Ichiroing

Brett Pill ties it up with a HR thru a sideways angle

Bill Hall with the “oh yea, I got it” stare down + walk

hits wall in LF

That last pair of GIFs is probably my favorite for today’s action. Would’ve had more from today’s Giants-Dodgers match if I’d known the live feed was up earlier in the day. Oh wells!

 

Some of February 25th’s Action in GIFs

Baseball has started early as teams get ready for losing some of their system to the World Baseball Classic. All the seats may not be filled at the stadium, but some of the action is still worthy of many eyes being on it. Only some of the games right now are being televised, so there is a limit to what can be GIF’d at the moment. With that, here’s some of today’s good stuff:

Cliff Lee‘s cutter is working

Can’t wait to see the Giants face him, should greeeeeat

Alex Castellanos punishes a Jonathan Papelbon pitch to RCF

Catcher wanted low, ends up being up and away

Miguel Cabrera turns on a mistake from Pap

Catcher wanted it low, pitch thrown up and in, estimated distance was 440-450 feet.

Orioles turn a double play!*

*shouldn’t have been a double play

Juan Uribe shows you what a real double play looks like

Uribe just helping the slow Spring Training games move along a little faster

Marlon Byrd with the bat flip of the day

Love how you can see the bat flip when the camera from behind the plate goes on

Ross Ohlendorf with a sweet barehanded play

I’m just mad he did this after I posted the original article. Way to consider others, Ross.

One of three quotes of the day, this one from Zack Greinke:

The other ones from the Giants starting pitchers Matt Cain on how his knee is feeling:

…and Madison Bumgarner on his pitching motion:

Cue that “I think I’m turning Japanese” song our parents grew up on.

Baseball and the wait for Opening Day begin for #SFGiants

Lineup for today’s games are starting to be posted all around the league, which is a very exciting thing because that means baseball is really back. However, for the people that will be at games today, you hope that they’re there for the love of the game or to check out minor league competition because some of these lineups either a) will make you want your money back if you came to see MLB talent or b) most of the regulars will only play a couple innings to begin the spring session. For example, the Angels lineup for today:

How many of those names do you know? Yea, me, too. (You may also notice the absence of a certain former Marlin.) The Angels are playing a split squad today, but none of those “big three” stars in their other lineup, as many teams will want to ease their regulars back into the swing of things. You have a month to do it, and then a 162 game schedule, what’s the rush? For those curious, what the Giants will throw out there first:

With the Giants sending so many guys to the WBC, they have consistently made commitments to wanting the guys they send off being in competition shape. Ryan Vogelsong, as you may have heard, is the pitcher today. It’s a long Spring Training, so take it easy on the lineup construction and the playing time as well.

The Rotation Appears to be Set

Bochy yesterday talked about his rotation, and here’s what he threw out as the tentative starting five:

1. RHP Matt Cain

2. LHP Madison Bumgarner

3. RHP Tim Lincecum

4. LHP Barry Zito

5. RHP Ryan Vogelsong

This of course means that Lincecum would pitch in the opening series in Los Angeles, and Zito would pitch the home opener against the Cardinals. I’d much rather have Vogey as the 3, Timmy 4, Zito 5, but the rotation doesn’t have to be set in stone, and if Lincecum is back and Zito is better, Vogelsong is going to be one helluva #5.

If You’re Fat, Can You be Good?

Pablo Sandoval and Hector Sanchez have reported to camp at a weight that management has deemed as too high for their likings, and they’re being put through extra conditioning, but with Sandoval getting good reports from his batting sessions, I wonder when the Giants will just throw up their hands and take what he gives them. I am personally more in favor of him being in shape, as past odd numbered years were evidence of some of the things he could do when slimmer.

The Week Ahead (All Games at 12:05PM PST)

Today: Angels

Sunday: Cubs

Monday: White Sox

Tuesday: Dodgers

Wednesday: Angels

Thursday: Mariners

Friday: A’s

Next Saturday: Cubs, Royals

Lots of Future in MLB settling in, but for #SFGiants, their “Future” is very much now

With Spring Training happening now, prospect lists are coming out, from Baseball America and MLB most notably, fans start to compare farm systems and search within themselves how much that farm system matters to how they feel about their team. If you’re the Cardinals, you take pride in knowing the club you have at the major league level is of very good quality, and your farm provides plenty of promise. If you’re the Padres, you hold out hope for the future, because your farm has been good for some time while fans in San Diego have been left with a 2010 rush but not much else recently. If you’re a fan of the Giants, you’ve been given proof in postseasons and parades that the team at the major league level is worthy of being taken seriously, while the system may not be as top-heavy as it has been in the past, so you wonder how long the current MLB club can hold on until you will need reinforcements from the farm, not just on journeymen AAAA players.

While many of the Top 10 prospects of national lists have an estimated time of arrival in 2013, the MLB should expect to see plenty of new, highly-touted arms and bats before the end of the season, we’re not sure who from the Top 10 lists (or really any list) of San Francisco Giants minor leaguers that haven’t had their shot will crack the 2013 rosters AND be a useful piece.

The Outfield

Sure, Francisco Peguero could be useful here and there if one of the corner outfielders find the disabled list, but I haven’t seen a recent report that suggests he has the profile for an everyday spot. Gary Brown, the former number one prospect of the Giants could be that guy, especially with his strong second half he put up in Double-A Richmond. Roger Kieschnick‘s name got whispered last year by some fans, and he’s on the 40-man.

The Infield

Conor Gillaspie has 48 PA across three different seasons, and you just hope he’ll be a good backup when the time comes, and you hope the same for the featured Fanfest kid Nick Noonan. All we’ve heard about Kensuke Tanaka is from Marty and his “Japanese feet.” Brock Bond has a cool name. That’s pretty much it when it comes to Giants prospects and who makes their living on the dirt.

The Rotation

The big names are all years away, although Chris Heston could be of use if one of the five go down. If he’s no good, then the Giants will probably draw from the AAA well, none of the others being prospects, mmmmaybe before checking in on Michael Kickham. Eric Surkamp is the wild card in all this, who says he’ll start resuming activities in July. Keep all this in mind as you consider whose contracts and service time with the Champs could be coming to a close after 2013.

The Bullpen

If there’s anything we’ve seen with Sabean in the last few years, it’s that he’s got this, and this year he may not have to even trade any fringe major leaguers to shore up the ‘pen. Prospect Heath Hembree, still thought by Jonathan Mayo to be a potential closer, could start the year in Fresno and then force the issue after the first month of the season if someone in the bullpen goes down or gets consistently lit up. Perhaps Bochy sees that the front office calls up son Bret Bochy. Jason Martinez of MLBDepthCharts (who also wrote a “window of opportunity” article for ESPN that you should read) also has minor leaguers Jake Dunning and Fabio Castillo as other names to watch that haven’t had a taste of the Major League coffee yet.

Whose Swan Song Might 2013 Be

The Giants have about $70MM of their nearly $140MM budget committed to their rotation this year, but this could be the last year San Francisco pays to have two guys in Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito on their roster. Unless Ryan Vogelsong magically disappears this year, his $6.5MM option will be picked up, and the Giants will still be left wondering who to fill in to the 4th and 5th spots of the rotation with Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner still leading a formidable 1-2 punch out of the gates. Do they commit the money that comes off the books to pitching? Posey? (<–the right answer. your argument is invalid.) Other offense?

The Giants got Hunter Pence for his bat, but his price tag is also very high, but one wonders how much it goes down if he continues what he did as a Giant in the regular season in 2013. If it doesn’t, though, do the Giants put out? Andres Torres, Javier Lopez, and Jose Mijares might also be tipping their caps to SF when the last game ends.

The Future is, and has been, now

Since the Giants have had a stable of young arms (plus Zito), people wondered what would happen if a team drew San Francisco in a best-of-series. 2010 was pretty much what some thought could happen, even if it did with a group of misfits. 2012 was a different set of happenings because the Giants went from three guys they could rely on with Jonathan Sanchez either walking everyone or finding his release point in ’10 to now in three guys and omg what about Lincecum and Zito? Still though, if you have a good to great rotation, and a strong top three for the playoffs, life might not be so bad for you (part of the reason why teams like the Nationals and Tigers should scare you). After this year, the questions arise: Who will be that #4? #5? Who will pick up the offense for an aging Marco Scutaro? (I’m pretty certain he isn’t going to be hitting what he did from acquisition & playoffs throughout his contract time.) Can Gary Brown be an answer?

This doesn’t mean that this is the very last year the Giants will compete in forever, but I believe if Lincecum is let go (which could be the right move in the long-term), and another offensive piece is not found/brought on, 2014 will be a difficult year with some of the top prospects starting to knock on the door for 2015. Therefore, if any big injuries happen to the rotation, or to the offense in 2013, Giants fans could find themselves grumbling for a couple of years before they can realistically start dreaming of parades again. Hopefully, health will be on their side, and everyone’s side, for that matter.

Long, Drawn Out Online Contests, Won’t You Go Away?

Throughout the year, individuals and companies alike will pose a question to the general public put things to a vote, or will try to get people to accumulate entries (like a raffle drawing) to gather a community to pay as much attention to them as possible, and become so invested in their product that the people will become invested in the company. Being a mostly baseball-focused guy, I will only see the contests that happen for professional baseball, so I can’t even imagine the things that the NFL, NBA, NHL, and NCAA do for their fanbase, which are probably all just as horrible as what I see throughout the year.

Right now, the current taking-too-long-contest looks like this:

Or his opponent:

It doesn’t always look like this, but imagine this times everyday in three weeks, especially if you hang out on social media like I do sometimes all the time, so you can imagine how eye-roll-inducing this can get. These contests don’t always necessary come out with the “right” answer.

Exhibit A gives you ESPN’s “Battle of the Ballparks” where #24 seed Miller Park beat out #3 see AT&T Park for the fan-voted “Best Ballpark” when a horde of Brewers fans put their keyboards to work, and they did it in large, successful numbers. It is unfair of me to say I know Miller Park isn’t the best park out there when I haven’t been there, but you’re telling me it’s going to be better than two extraordinary parks I have been to in AT&T and Fenway? I haven’t even been to PNC!

Exhibit B of “possible wrong answer” is admittedly the All Star Game when fans are able to vote from mid-April for their favorite players to represent their league. Fan participation is so key when voting for a player, especially if you’re set in a pretty big market like New York and…

Pablo did end up being the right answer for the Giants and the National League, but I remember knowing in my heart David should have got the starting nod (interesting to think how the All Star Game might have been different). Remember that Matt Cain was not decided by the fans, but by Tony La Russa and his influencers. Admittedly, fans will get plenty of answers “right” when it comes to All Star voting.

These voting contests are painful to watch because hardly are they ever fun, and after a couple days of rooting and rooting, I can’t speak for everybody, but my enthusiasm certainly takes a Frank Thomas-sized hit. You’re just waiting for it to end. Hoping it ends soon, just missing the way things were, even if it was nothing. When it ends, you breathe a sigh of relief, take a month off to enjoy the little things in life, and you forget these contests ever existed.

“The Ring” Starring Melky Cabrera

Melky Cabrera spoke today with the Blue Jays about his 2012 season and how he’s going to stay quiet about the drug use that happened, but at the same time he did acknowledge his mistake in trying to break the rules while he was on the squad that would eventually win the 2012 World Series. We also probably won’t know for a while if and for how long in 2011 while Melky was in Kansas City that he was doing some un-allowed activities that led KC to try and trade high for him. For most that have read my stuff over the course of time it’s been around, you know my stance will not only be that he should get a ring, but even like Melky has said, he deserves one. Did he break the rules set out by both MLB and the MLBPA? Yes. Do we know anything about how much PEDs aid performance? Ehhhhhhh, all we know about PEDs is MUSCLES and how it’s so unnatural and then slippery slope from there about what’s “natural.” So I understand if the general sentiment is something like this:

And:

Which is fine, they’re entitled to their opinion (probably the majority opinion, also), but I very much disagree. In any case, there’s also this:

Melky already got his full share from the Giants, so what makes anyone think he’s not getting a ring? While there would be a sizable number of pitchfork and torch holding fans eager to cheer on the organization not to give the trophy to Melky, drug-aided or not, he helped the Giants get to where they ended up going. (Don’t worry, I can hear you’re “yea, but he cheated” responses.) It would also set up a nightmare precedent for discussion of taking away World Series rings from proven PED users, which would lead into discussion of erasing stats, and even from the first suggestion, to me it’d be nauseatingly dumb and unnecessary. Debate is fine and cool and everything, but as to advancing the sport, I fail to see how this would do that.

Twitter Pictures: #SFGiants Baseball is Back

People all around the nation are tweeting pictures of baseball being back, and it is exciting stuff. Some people have great views, others have upper view level in left field views. Here are some of the ones we’re seeing today:

 

 

No doubt there will be tons of other pictures that will be posted throughout the day, but I’ll let someone else liveblog that stuff.

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