Results tagged ‘ Madison Bumgarner ’

Fffffffffff: Madison Bumgarner Named Opening Day Starter

Madison Bumgarner was named the Opening Day starter for the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday, making it the first time since 2008 that a left-hander was tabbed to be the Opening Day starter for the Giants. For a quick refresher of Opening Day Starting Pitcher History, let’s go back to the last time there was a southpaw on the mound:

2013: Matt Cain

2012: Tim Lincecum

2011: Tim Lincecum

2010: Tim Lincecum

2009: Tim Lincecum

2008: Barry Zito

Not that you forgot who could have possibly been the last LHP, but it is amazing the number of consecutive Opening Day starts we got from Timmy and how different he was from then to now. Anyway, this story is about Bumgarner. Born in August of 1989, Madison will be entering his age twenty-four season. That’s right, he won’t even be twenty-five until August. Want to know the names of some guys that are already twenty-five? How about first baseman Brandon Belt, corner infielder prospect Adam Duvall, and once top-prospect Gary Brown. It’s easy to forget how young Bumgarner is since he’s compiled these figures at the MLB level already:

  • 200+ innings pitched in three consecutive seasons, his 614.1 total IP in those seasons ranks him at 15th overall in the MLB
  • An 11.4 fWAR from 2011-2013, fourteenth overall in MLB
  • 3.12 ERA is 10th overall in those years, his FIP was 3.08, which is 8th overall

Statistically speaking, Bumgarner may have had his best season in 2011, but he still posted these in 2013:

  • 3.05 FIP, 11th overall
  • 3.7 fWAR, 26th overall
  • .251 BABIP against, T-4th lowest overall
  • 24.8% K%, 13th overall
  • 3.00 tERA, 5th overall
  • 11.1% Swinging strike %, T-7th with Tim Lincecum

It’s not easy to be the best in the MLB, but to be Top 15 in most of these categories should certainly make you eligible to start an Opening Day on most teams. Bumgarner’s 2013 has forced the issue since no one else was really able to step up for the full course of a season. This is not to say that every ballclub should make the OD decision based on 2013, but Bumgarner has long had the projected talent to be in this spot, and has the numbers over more than just one season to back up Bruce Bochy‘s decision to put him as the #1. According to beat writer Chris Haft’s article, it looks like Matt Cain will be the #2, with Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum next, and Ryan Vogelsong rounding out the starting five.

Congrats to Bumgarner, and we, the fans, are excited for him to show us his fffffffffffff face to start the season.

Southpaw duel on tap as Paul Maholm faces off against Madison Bumgarner

The series between two teams with twenty-one wins continues today at 1PM PST as Paul Maholm and Madison Bumgarner hope to break the series tie with their team taking the win this afternoon. Outside of Maholm’s start against Detroit, he has been pretty good this year, while Bumgarner would like to forget his last start against Philadelphia. Consider this game logs from the year:

Maholm

Date Opp Rslt DR IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA BF Pit
Apr 3 PHI W,9-2 99 5.2 6 0 0 1 6 0 0.00 24 97
Apr 8 @ MIA W,2-0 4 7.0 1 0 0 3 7 0 0.00 26 98
Apr 14 @ WSN W,9-0 5 7.2 4 0 0 1 7 0 0.00 29 113
Apr 20 @ PIT L,1-3 5 6.0 4 3 3 3 5 1 1.03 24 89
Apr 26 @ DET L,0-10 5 3.2 10 8 8 3 3 0 3.30 23 89
May Opp Rslt DR IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA BF Pit
May 1 WSN L,0-2 4 8.0 3 2 2 2 4 1 3.08 29 99
May 6 @ CIN W,7-4 4 5.2 4 2 2 2 6 0 3.09 24 105
43.2 32 15 15 15 38 2 3.09 179
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/11/2013.

Bumgarner

Date Opp Rslt DR IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA BF Pit
Apr 2 @ LAD W,3-0 99 8.0 2 0 0 0 6 0 0.00 26 101
Apr 8 COL W,4-2 5 5.2 5 2 2 5 5 1 1.32 25 104
Apr 13 @ CHC W,3-2 4 6.2 6 2 2 2 6 1 1.77 27 110
Apr 19 SDP W,3-2 5 6.0 4 2 2 0 10 1 2.05 22 99
Apr 24 ARI L,2-3 4 7.1 5 1 1 1 7 0 1.87 28 101
Apr 30 @ ARI W,2-1 5 7.0 3 0 0 1 2 0 1.55 24 102
May Opp Rslt DR IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA BF Pit
May 6 PHI L,2-6 5 6.0 8 5 5 2 7 1 2.31 28 100
46.2 33 12 12 11 43 4 2.31 180
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/11/2013.

Not bad, right? Both of these guys making very decent All Star Game campaigns for themselves thus far.

The lineups for today’s game for the two squads look like this:

Gerald Laird gets the start over Brian McCann today, and thank goodness (I think) because McCann has provided two homers in two games for the Braves in this series thus far.

and for the Champs:

Beat writer Andrew Baggarly saying that Maholm’s been pretty tough on the LHH this year so that’s why you see Brandon Belt getting a day off today.

Screen Shot 2013-05-11 at 11.51.18 AM

And you thought Yu Darvish threw a lot of pitches. Maholm does have the kitchen sink to throw at you, and will do it, while relying on his two-seamer, four-seamer, slider, curve, and changeup the most. You can imagine, if he has most of those pitches working, it’s going to be pretty tough to prepare for an at bat against him.

Screen Shot 2013-05-11 at 11.51.29 AM

We’re used to seeing this out of Bumgarner, the fastball-slider combo, with a touch of the curve, and the changeup also being brought out to RHH. It’s brought him much success before, and look for him to continue doing that today.

Enjoy your Saturday, everybody.

Lineups Posted: Cliff Lee comes back, Delmon Young’s in RF, WS highlights ready to go

Cliff Lee has been a stellar pitcher for many years, and he was the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae that was the “Those pitchers the Giants will face aren’t going to lose to them,” and we all remember what went down. Or do we?

Yes, yes we do. That run really was something else. Lee certainly is more than the 2010 World Series though, and he’ll look to remind the Champs tonight at AT&T.

Anywho, the lineups for today’s Phils-Giants game. Remember when they had those “Four Aces” and people wanted to tab that rotation as something unstoppable? Times sure have changed for the Fightins. The visitors will bring this out:

Delmon Young is playing Right Field tonight, which kind of reminds me of a certain play by him in LF in a certain postseason series…

The Champs, winners of six a row, bring out an Angel Pagan-less lineup:

I’m really not a big fan of the “you’re fast, so you lead off” thing that managers fall in love with, especially for a guy in Andres Torres, whom only has a better OBP than Brandon Belt right now (.306-.283). Not saying you should bat team leader Buster Posey first, but you do have other guys on the roster I’d be better with and have Torres at 7th or 8th in the lineup.

Here’s what Cliff Lee’s pitch usage looks like for the 2013 season:

Screen shot 2013-05-06 at 3.18.41 PM

Fastball-slider-curve to LHH, and then adds the change for the RHH, with a lot of confidence in each of his pitches in nearly any situation but that curveball in batter ahead scenarios. Clifton Phifer Lee has gone at least six innings in all but one of his starts this year, although the offense has already given him two starts of zero run support.

Meanwhile, at the farm:

Screen shot 2013-05-06 at 3.18.31 PM

Madison Bumgarner really likes to establish his dominance with that two-seamer, and hitters have to be ready for the curveball, cutter, or even the change in addition to that fastball when Bumgarner gets ahead. Like Clifton, Madison K. has gone at least six innings in all but one start, but the run support has always been between 2-4 runs for him.

Game time is at 7:15PM PST as the Giants begin their homestand against the Phils, then the Braves of the NL East.

Lineups Posted: #SFGiants look to end skid on Orange Friday

Just-back-from-the-DL Chase Headley and his Padres are fresh off of a day off and a sweep of the other SoCal team that has blue in their logo and will be guests at AT&T Park this weekend. First, a public service announcement from the San Francisco Giants in case you are going to any of this weekend’s games.

So get there early, and be ready to show off the insides of those bags you’re carrying. Onto the lineups for the visiting Padres:

Remember, Carlos Quentin is still serving his eight-game suspension, so he will miss this series with the Giants.

and the orange-topped Giants:

Nothing out of the ordinary there.

Edinson Volquez, tonight’s pitcher for the Padres, has faced the Giants six times in his career, four times at AT&T. You’ll be (not) surprised to hear that in those four starts, he hasn’t allowed a HR to the Giants! Since the Giants and Padres both average less than a homer a game, don’t be surprised to see that streak continue. Here’s a scouting report on how Volquez has pitched to batters this year (warning: smaller sample size than usual for both pitchers considering they’ve only pitched a low number of games):

Screen shot 2013-04-19 at 2.43.14 PM

Looks like a pretty well-spread diverse set of offerings from Volquez, though there is definitely a lower chance of him using a fastball when he’s ahead or in a strikeout situation, and a higher chance of him using that fastball when the batter is ahead. Look for the Giants to sit on that when they get those hitter’s counts every hitter loves. That 51% for curveballs to RHH when he’s ahead is also interesting, but we need to keep in mind also how few pitches he’s thrown thus far.

If there’s any pitcher that’s right for the job of shutting an opposition down right now, it is Madison Bumgarner, who even when not sharp has been able to keep the opposition down. It’s unfortunate that there is some sort of concern with every other pitcher’s performance, but it is also still early in the season. The chart for Bumgarner goes like this:

Screen shot 2013-04-19 at 2.43.23 PM

Unlike Volquez who hasn’t featured his fastball much when he’s ahead, Bumgarner hasn’t been afraid to use it. So far into the season, we’re seeing he’s mainly a fastball-slider-occasional curveball guy to LHH and then he’ll use the changeup more to RHH.

Game time for tonight’s match is 7:15PM PST.

Lineups for Darwin Barney Gold Glove Day; another Cubs closer goes down

Following a pretty good comeback yesterday afternoon by both squads, the Giants and Cubs meet up again for their third game of their four-game series on national television on FOX. All the regulars are in the lineup, and since today’s starter Jeff Samardzija throws with his right hand, Blanco’s in.

Just kidding, Angel Pagan (sore wrist) got scratched. Says he’s fine, but a new lineup gets posted:

Well, at least Blanco has a career .350 OBP. Could be a lot worse, I guess.

Bench players Dave Sappelt, Alberto Gonzalez, get a start while Scott Hairston gets the platoon start while Schierholtz sits today. At least the Cubs will have a couple decent options off their bench for a pinch hitting role. Not sure I’d put a guy like Sappelt who pretty much as a career .300 OBP as your leadoff guy though. Thank you, Dale Sveum.

Also, some injury news for the Cubs:

Carlos Marmol ousted, now Kyuji Fujikawa on the DL. Shawn Camp and James Russell now get closer duties, but that bullpen is losing more effectiveness by the day.

In looking at the different ways you can quickly scout pitchers using Brooks Baseball, I’ve found this way is my favorite. Madison Bumgarner‘s ratios for pitch utilization:

Screen shot 2013-04-13 at 7.51.53 AM

For both sides, he really liked that fastball-slider combination, with the curveball an option except when the batter’s ahead and the changeup sparingly used. Looks like that when the batter gets ahead into fastball counts, it’ll be a coin flip between the fastball and the slider.

And Samardzija’s:

Screen shot 2013-04-13 at 7.52.02 AM

Talk about a “kitchen sink” type of guy, he really likes to use the split-finger fastball for his strikeout pitch, and will look to start the AB usually with either the four-, or two-seamer. There are a lot of patterns to keep in mind here, but these ratios really force hitters to stay honest about being able to recognize the pitch, see if it’s going to be in the strike zone, and then go at it. All in less than a second. And with the average velocity ranging from 83-96, you can see why that could pose a problem for Giants hitters.

Early start, the game is at 10:05AM PST on FOX.

Lineups: #SFGiants hoping #Rockies have a Case of the Mondays

The Giants are at .500 for the first time since April 2nd, so everybody hurry up and panic so we can get that over with and remember that we still have roughly 96% of the season left to go. The Rockies started their season off in Milwaukee, then went home to Colorado for three games against the Padres, whom they swept, and now they’re in San Francisco, so you’ll understand if you hear any Rockies say anything about being a little tired from all the traveling, certainly not an ideal way to start the season, yet there they sit at 5-1.

LHP Jorge De La Rosa takes the mound from the Rockies, and thanks to Brooks Baseball, this chart should give you an idea of what you’ll see him throw at some of the Giants hitters tonight:

Screen shot 2013-04-08 at 3.37.07 PM

He likes that sinker the majority of the time, and that slider when he’s ahead. The split can come anytime, and the curve’s anytime but when the batter is ahead, pretty much. He matched walks and strikeouts with 3 in 4.1 innings last week in Milwaukee, and happened to give up a dinger as well. He will be opposed by LHP Madison Bumgarner tonight. Since I showed you De La Rosa’s pitch usage, maybe I have your curiosity going on Bumgarner.

Screen shot 2013-04-08 at 3.47.25 PM

Keeps the variety coming, using the fastball anytime, less against RHH when he gets ahead or with two strikes. Rare to see the curve with the batter ahead, and rare to see that changeup against the lefties. MadBum threw eight innings of six strikeout, no walk ball against the Dodgers. Giants fans can only hope he’ll continue his dominant start against the Rockies tonight.

Colorado’s lineup for tonight:

“Cuddy” being Michael Cuddyer for those unsure. Although the Rockies have tended to be a cellar-dwelling team, when they have everybody healthy in their lineup like they do right now, those bats can definitely do some damage.

And for the Giants:

All the regulars there, with Andres Torres getting the usual start against the lefty.

Game time is 7:15PM PST.

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.

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.

The Best Individual Seasons of 2012: 81st through 100th

Idea: Rank the best individual seasons of the 2012 MLB regular season (Spring Training, Minor Leagues, and Postseason are not included), while considering offensive and defensive facets of the game.

Consider: Using the individual metrics to measure individual performance; full avoidance of projecting results for shortened seasons, and past years performance to justify or dictate standings.

This is not: “Most Valuable” anything. Rather, this is “best,” like Baseball America does, so there is no confusion as to what I am ranking. It is also not a “this is a ranking of who I want in 2013, or wanted in any other year.”

This is: My opinion, and will be disagreed with by many.

Intro

—————————

100. Lance Lynn (176.0 IP, 9.20 K/9, 4.11 tERA, 2.9 fWAR, 2.0 rWAR) – Beginning the season as a reliever, Lynn did pretty well as a starter, and I don’t think the Cardinals have any plans of moving him back to the bullpen anytime soon.

99. Jose Bautista (27 HR, 14 2B, .378 wOBA, 3.2 fWAR, 3.2 rWAR) – This work by Joey Bats was done in 92 games, which I find to be pretty incredible. Although his defense wasn’t the greatest in the ASG, I have heard to be that bad all the time.

98. B.J. Upton (28 HR, 31 SB, .323 wOBA, 3.3 fWAR, 2.6 rWAR) – The newest Brave entering his age 28 season should be a welcome addition to a team that lost a pretty good CF already.

97. Jered Weaver (188.2 IP, 6.77 K/9, 3.99 tERA, 3.0 fWAR, 3.7 rWAR) – I’m surprised he was this far down the list, but here he is. I expect him to see many pitcher wins for him in the next couple of years. That stat though won’t get him up this list if I do it again.

96. Dan Uggla (19 HR, 29 2B, .325 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.7 rWAR) – Nobody wants his contract, but Uggla is at the very least producing some of the power that is expected of him. Not that it makes his current deal worth it, though.

95. Aroldis Chapman (71.2 IP, 15.32 K/9, 1.66 tERA, 3.3 fWAR, 3.6 rWAR) – The Cuban Missile’s time as a reliever may be done, and if that’s true, can’t wait to see how he does as a starter. It’s been well documented that he’s been lights out as a reliever.

94. Mat Latos (209.1 IP, 7.95 K/9, 4.09 tERA, 3.1 fWAR, 4.2 rWAR) – While I might remember him from his Padres days as being a little evil, but he is still very good at what he does – pitch, that is.

93. Jeff Samardzija (174.2 IP, 9.27 K/9, 4.27 tERA, 3.3 fWAR, 1.6 rWAR) – Perhaps the second-most misspelled name in the majors, Samardzija is making the public know that he is a name worth getting to know.

92. A.J. Pierzynski (27 HR, 18 2B, .351 wOBA, 3.4 fWAR, 2.6 rWAR) – Perhaps he’s becoming one-dimensional, but he should still be able to provide the power Texas is used to out of their catchers.

91. Mike Moustakas (20 HR, 34 2B, .305 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.9 rWAR) – A well-rated defensive 3B that can also hit for power? Yes, please! Good thing they have another powerful bat coming to their lineu—hhh wait. Sorry, too soon?

90. Desmond Jennings (13 HR, 31 SB, .309 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 3.0 rWAR) – The world is waiting for the 26-year old to explode on to the scene, and while what he’s done with the bat hasn’t been all that noteworthy, the game he’s carried with the help of his legs will keep him useful at the very least.

89. Trevor Cahill (200.0 IP, 7.02 K/9, 4.13 tERA, 3.4 fWAR, 2.5 rWAR) – Hard to say he was worth what Arizona gave up for him, but that’s hardly his fault their GM loves giving up pitching prospects. Like one of the guys he was traded to in Parker, Cahill must bring down those walks.

88. Matt Kemp (23 HR, 22 2B, .383 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.3 rWAR) – Beastmode took a back seat to injuries in 2012, and his crashing into the wall in Coors has some wondering how close to 100% he’ll be in 2013 and beyond.

87. Kyle Seager (20 HR, 13 SB, .321 wOBA, 3.6 fWAR, 2.6 rWAR) – Not a bad line for a kid we didn’t hear too much about this year. I gave Seager the nod over Kemp mainly due to Seager being healthy, and his better defense. The Dodgers also drafted Kyle’s kid brother this year.

86. A.J. Burnett (202.1 IP, 8.01 K/9, 3.71 tERA, 3.4 fWAR, 1.9 rWAR) – Often the butt of jokes the last couple years, AJ was able to silence the critics a bit this year in Pittsburgh, despite a line drive to the face early on this past baseball season.

85. Jordan Zimmerman (195.2 IP, 7.04 K/9, 4.21 tERA, 3.5 fWAR, 4.4 rWAR) – When you see the top three SP on a “Best of” list (any, not just this very raw one), you get the feeling that team has the potential to be good. Luckily for Washington, they also have a bunch of bats.

84. Carlos Gomez (19 HR, 37 SB, .329 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.3 rWAR) – Talk about an underrated season, I was shocked looking at these numbers from Gomez, but I do remember and love his “all-or-nothing” swing that he exhibits.

83. Craig Kimbrel (62.2 IP, 16.66 K/9, 0.96 tERA, 3.6 fWAR, 3.2 rWAR) – I struggled with where to start including the high leverage pitchers, or “closers” as they’re often used, but Kimbrel produced elite numbers when he was brought in and couldn’t be put off to the side any longer. As closers are used in roughly a third to a quarter of the innings a SP would put out, I probably give those pitchers that level of respect when it comes to building this list. Would I love a Craig Kimbrel on my team? Absolutely.

82. Danny Espinosa (17 HR, 20 SB, .313 wOBA, 3.8 fWAR, 2.4 rWAR) – The former Long Beach State Dirtbag is an interesting case, what with his very high strikeout numbers, but good pop, speed, and D from a position more known for its defense.

81. Madison Bumgarner (208.1 IP, 8.25 K/9, 3.55 tERA, 3.4 fWAR, 1.8 rWAR) – An early Cy Young candidate, MadBum’s flaw in his pitching motion that was corrected in the postseason very well could have been the result of fatigue, as he struggled at the end of the regular season.

World Series Preview: #Tigers vs. #SFGiants

Will the powerful Tigers be the patty-cake champions in 2012?

The two number three seeds in the Postseason have championed their respective leagues in their own fashion: one used its pitching to outlast a story everybody wanted to see and then swept an imploded opponent, another used elimination games to win six of their seven games on their way to the World Series. Each team does this on the backs of multiple players, and the decisions of their managers can shift the balance of the game, and possibly of the series itself. The drama and excitement begins on Wednesday in San Francisco, and the audience will get to continue to have the opportunity to critique each word spitted by Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. All games are scheduled for 5:00PM PST. Games 2-4 starters for the Giants have not been announced yet, so those listed are my guesses.

Wednesday, Game 1: RHP Justin Verlander vs. LHP Barry Zito

One sentence summary: JV has owned this Postseason, and Good Zito just showed up against the Cardinals, so this has the potential to be the 20+ run game we all expect it to be.

Thursday, Game 2: RHP Doug Fister vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner

One sentence summary: Fister has provided 13 K’s in 13.1 IP, but allowed 10 baserunners in his last outing even though the Yankees were unable to cash in, and if Madison Bumgarner can show he’s cashed in on some extra time off in fixing his delivery, it could make for a very happy flight to Detroit.

Saturday, Game 3: RHP Ryan Vogelsong vs. RHP Anibal Sanchez

One sentence summary: In May, Anibal Sanchez was involved in a 14-7 loss to the Giants while he was with Miami, surrendering 7 hits and striking out 7, while Vogelsong has just come off a career performance of striking out nine.

Sunday, Game 4: RHP Matt Cain vs. RHP Max Scherzer

One sentence summary: 18 K’s in 11 IP for Scherzer is a tribute to his high strikeout ratio while only seeing five hits go by him in his two starts, while Matt Cain will get one day’s extra rest to put it together and hopefully get lucky against the Tigers like he did with the Cardinals by not getting the mistake pitches crushed.

Monday, Game 5*: LHP Barry Zito vs. RHP Justin Verlander

Wednesday, October 31st, Game 6*: RHP Doug Fister vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner

Thursday, November 1st, Game 7*: RHP Anibal Sanchez vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong

*-if necessary

A Possible Difference in Performance

While the Postseason is full of small sample sizes, it’s still interesting to take a look at how players have fared thus far. Take a look at how the Tigers have done in the LCS, and in the Postseason overall:

Pretty good overall hitting, getting on base at a reasonably good tick, and slugged the stuffing out of the Yankees in four games. Now, the Giants:

Getting on base nearly as much as the Tigers have over a few more games, and who’d have thunk it that Pablo Sandoval is slugging the best out of all the starters remaining in the Fall Classic? Really amazing how the Tigers manhandled the Yankees and how the Giants just scraped by the Cardinals, who were rumored to be immortal.

Needless to say, Buster Posey and Hunter Pence need to wake the f up because if you’re relying on Belt, Blanco, and Crawford to drive in your runs, then expect that elimination games streak to be challenged once again. I can only wonder how many more runs this team would have if those two were even hitting at the rate Belt and Blanco have for the postseason.

Power, Production and Speed from the Motor City

Everyone has heard about Miguel Cabrera and his famed Triple Crown. The 44 HR within that and the .417 wOBA for the season are pretty scary, but the 28 double plays he grounded into are certainly exciting. Prince Fielder had another 30 HR season with exactly that round number, a .398 wOBA, and grounded into 19 double plays, which is the same number that Buster Posey grounded into. Delmon Young and Jhonny Peralta also grounded into 20 double plays a piece. However, these two do have double digit HR (Jhonny 13 and Delmon 18), as did Omar Infante with 12, and leadoff man Austin Jackson with 16, and AJ is 3rd on the team with a wOBA of .371. The burners on this club are Quintin Berry (21 SB), Omar Infante (17), and Austin Jackson (12), so these guys can add an extra element to the game if/when they get on base.

Who’s the Designated Hitter for the Giants?

There’s a part of me that is hoping that this Hector Sanchez-Barry Zito/Tim Lincecum experiment really takes a back seat in this series, but we’ve had enough messing around with a free-swinging switcher and watching Belt be benche. However, with the DH, Bochy can have his cake and eat it too. My heart says Bochy and company wise up and keep Hector from catching, but my head says if Lincecum is given a start, we will see Posey DH a game. I like the idea of Pablo DH-ing and Joaquin Arias starting at 3B, maybe even to break up the line of LHH the Giants have going on in that 6-7-8 spot. Hector Sanchez will be an option for a DH, as will Aubrey Huff, but I’m thinking Pablo sees the DH the most of the three possible games he can be there.

Prediction Time: Sticking With What Works

Will this happen again in 2012?

If you’re a reader who’s stopped by often, you know how this part works. I pick the Giants to win a series, and tell you how they do it. It’s not going to be any different here.

Game 1: Giants win (Crazy World Series is crazy)

Game 2: Tigers win (Starting pitching not slid as Tigers continue to hit)

Game 3: Giants win (Vogelsong lights up Detroit)

Game 4: Tigers win (Tigers take advantage of Giants mistakes)

Game 5: Giants win (Giants beat Verlander twice, Kate Upton asks me if I’m available)

Game 6: Giants win (Giants come back against Detroit’s bullpen to seal their 2nd title in 3 years)

I hope this or any variation of the Giants winning in 4-7 games happens. Boy I’d like to attend a parade.

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