Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Why the Giants should draft a High Schooler

It is a well known fact that the draft is by no means an exact science.  Someone like Albert Pujols is drafted in the 13th round, while people like Matt Bush are drafted first overall.  Now even though you can never be sure of what you're going to get, you can use information to get a pretty accurate guess.

That being said, with a late to mid 20's pick in the draft that the Giants have, I think it would be best for the organization to draft a high upside, high risk high school prospect, rather than a more pollished, low upside college product.  Look at the farm system now, Joe Panik, our first round pick in 2011 out of college, is about to begin AA, while our supplemental first round pick, Kyle Crick, is only one level behind him, has much more upside, and could very likely end up being a front of the rotation starter.  Now, the obvious reason that Panik was drafted earlier is that people felt he had a better chance to make it to the big leagues.

I recently looked at the drafts from 2000-2008 and looked at the 20th overall pick through the end of the supplemental round, and then compiled two lists; one for high school prospects who became notable MLB players, and college prospects who became successful MLB players:

High school 20th overall-supplemental first round:
Adam Wainwright, Kelly Johnson, Noah Lowry, David Wright, Denard Span, Jeff Francoeur, Matt Cain,
Chad Billingsley, Jarrod Saltalamachia, Adam Jones, Phil Hughes, Colby Rasmus, Rick Porcello, Ben Revere, Travis D'Arnaud(not a big league player yet, but has huge potential.)

College 20th overall-supplemental first round:
Bobby Crosby, Jeremy Guthrie, Joe Blanton, Mark Teahen, Chad Cordero, Carlos Quentin, Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Garza, joey Devine, Clay Buchholz, Jed Lowrie, Ian Kennedy, Joba chamberlain, Chris Perez, todd Frazier, JP Arencibia.

The first list has less people but more talent.  The First list has more of the front of the rotation starters, and more of the all star type players.  And lets not forget that THE Mike Trout was drafted in the late first round of his draft.

In the end, it comes down to what the Giants need, and right now, the Giants need more high ceiling guys, and less safe picks.  

Friday, December 14, 2012

International signing idea: Aledmys Diaz has defected

The Giants are known for being active with their international scouting and signings.  When you aren't getting top ten draft picks, this is a wonderful way to keep a farm system stocked with talent.  With that being said, Aledmys Diaz, a 22 year old shortstop from Cuba just defected and became a free agent, I would love to see this guy signed by the Giants.

I haven't been able to see many detailed scouting reports on him, but from what I've heard, he has average speed, or even above average speed, and will be able to hit for both average and power.  He is also said to have a good arm.  I haven't heard much about his defense, but with good speed and a good arm I imagine he can't be too bad but you never know   He will be doing showcases in Mexico soon and has interested many clubs.  The ability to hit for both power and average and play a good shortstop is very rare, and the Giants should jump on this guy.

Under the new collective bargaining agreement, defectors over 23 with less than 3 years of professional play aren't subject to international signing restrictions, so clubs will probably wait until his birthday in January to go after him.  

Offseason discussion: R.A. Dickey

One of the biggest questions of the offseason is what is going to happen with RA Dickey.  Dickey is one of the weirdest trade options in the past few seasons.  He is a 38 year old knuckle baller with incredible control, a great innings eater, and above all won the Cy Young award.  There are a lot of questions surrounding his ability to compete in the coming years given his style and age.   Everyone has been talking about what they think Dickey is worth, but when you really think about it, does it matter what people think he's worth?

Let's be honest, the Mets are not exactly in a rush to trade Dickey.  He is the pure definition of an ace, and Mets fans love to go out and watch him.  Trading Dickey would be a huge sign to New York fans that the Mets don't expect to compete in the next year.  That being said, I thought it was a great job by the Mets to lock up David Wright, giving their fans hope that they will compete soon.  So if the Mets are going to get rid of a player that fans are so excited about, they had better get something equally exciting.

The absolute best course of action for the Mets would be to trade Dickey and get two or three serious pitching prospects to go along with Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler.   People may not feel that Dickey is worth that, but if the Mets can't get at least that, there's no reason to trade him.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Torres is back!

First things first, I apologize that I have not posted in the last few days, I have been really busy with college finals.  That should all be over next week though, and I will be back to posting as much as possible.
Now for the news

The Giants have brought Andres Torres back for 2013 on a 1 year 2 million dollar deal, pending a physical.  I personally love this signing as Torres brings a switch hitting compliment to Gregor Blanco, as well as a competitor for the full time left field spot.  He is also very comfortable with many of the main players in the club house.  Beyond that, he is a great late inning defensive replacement, a great speed option off of the bench, a good pinch hit option, and is a very good versatile outfielder.

Andres Torres was huge for the Giants in 2010, providing both speed and power while also playing a great centerfield.  He was also a great, energetic club presence, and knows what it's like to contribute to a winning team.  Now it would be ridiculous to expect that kind of production in 2013, but that's also not what he's being paid for anyway.

This is also a great signing for Torres.  He was clearly comfortable playing with the Giants, and it might be good for him to get back with his old team.

Overall, it is just a great fit for both parties and I can't wait to see him back in a giants uniform in 2012.

Post questions, opinions, and comments below

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Around the League: Dodgers sign Ryu Hyun-Jin

The Dodgers have officially signed 25 year old left hander Ryu Hyun-Jin, to a 6 year $36 million contract.  This is a great signing, especially for a franchise that has more money than they know what to do with.  In the KBO, he was a 7 time allstar, 5 time strikeout leader, lead the league in ERA twice, and won the MVP award.  Needless to say he was one of the elite Korean pitchers.  Here's what BR said about him:

He throws a fastball around 90 mph (tops out at 95 mph),a decent curveball,a slider, and a deceptive changeup. Scouts say that the changeup is his best pitch and is a legitimate out-pitch at the big league level. As the team's ace he'd had a heavy workload since his rookie season in teen-age.

He definitely isn't as highly regarded as someone like Yu Darvish, but he is a good talent.  The biggest knock that I have heard about him is that some feel like he is just a reliever.  Even so, $6 million dollars is about what Jeremy Affeldt,  the lefty signed by the Giants who also received $6 million a year.  So even if Hyun Ryu-Jin can't make it as a starter, he can still justify his contract as a durable left handed reliever.  It's a little hard to predict how foreign players will do in their transition to the Major Leagues, but I wouldn't be shocked to see him be able to hang in the starting rotation.  

Overall, a good signing by the Dodgers, who again, do not have many monetary restrictions right now.  Seems like a very low risk signing to me.  And as a team who already has a ton of rotation depth, there won't be too much pressure on him to perform.  Only time will tell.

Giants top 25 prospects list

I make my list like most people, a combination of how likely the prospect is to become an MLB regular, Potential, and how close they are to contributing.  Here's the list:

  1. Kyle Crick RHP
  2. Chris Stratton RHP
  3. Gary Brown RHP
  4. Clayton blackburn RHP
  5. Joe Panik SS
  6. Heath Hembree RHP
  7. Martin Agosta RHP
  8. Francisco Peguero OF
  9. Roger Kieschnick OF
  10. Andrew Susac C
  11. Chris Heston RHP
  12. Mike Kickham LHP
  13. Brett Bochy RHP
  14. Conor Gillaspie 3B
  15. Adam Duvall 3B
  16. Ehrie Adrianza SS
  17. Mac Williamson OF
  18. Gustavo Cabrera OF
  19. Edwin Escobar LHP
  20. Angel Villalona 1B
  21. Ricky Oropesa 1B
  22. Shawn Payne OF
  23. Shiloh McCall OF
  24. Josh Osich LHP
  25. Nataniel Javier 3B
You could pretty easily argue a different order.  I am not a huge fan of older prospects like Chris Dominguez, so I didnt even rank him in here, whereas some people might include him in their top ten.  With his arm I'd like to see the Giants convert him to pitching if he doesn't put it together soon   I'm also not a huge fan of top prospects list.  Personally I don't like comparing things like a AAA starter and a Low-A outfielder.  I like looking at prospects by position, which is why I make the Positional Depth Analysis posts.  Feel free to make comments and suggestions.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Great Giants Blogs to Look out for

I have put links to great websites for reference and information on the left of my website.  I also included my 3 favorite giants blogs, being Obsessive Giants Compulsive, When the Giants Come to town, and The Giants Baseball Blog.  They all have different focuses and I would strongly recommend reading all of them.

Positional Depth Analysis: First Base

I am personally a big fan of Brandon Belt.  I get that he has his problems, but he plays the game the right way, and he has a ton of potential that he is slowly growing into.  He has the tools to become a great defensive first baseman, with a career .993 fielding percentage, and he can also draw walks, and has the potential to hit for power and average.  He could be great, but there are definite question marks in his game. He had some issues with striking out, and was very streaky during the season.  He showed glimpses of raw power, hitting a home run in three straight games in June, but he also had a homerun drought to start the season that went all the way until June.  He's very interesting, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him put it together next season.  He was not bad this season by any means, batting .275/.360/.421.  I'd like to see more slugging out of a first baseman, but over time that should get better, and his OBP is definitely something to look at with optimism.

Beyond that, the giants farm system is a little low on first base prospects.  The two biggest being Ricky Oropesa and Angel Villalona.  Both of these guys are like Belt: there is serious potential but there are also big question marks.  personally I would say Villalona is the top prospect, with Oropesa being second, but you could put up an argument for the other way.  I mostly say that because Villalona has a little more potential and is younger.

Angel Villalona was on his way to possibly an incredible career with the Giants as an 18 year old in San Jose, until his career was put on hold following a murder trial in his home country, in which he was a suspect.  After a few years stuck there, the charges were finally dropped, but he then had trouble receiving a visa to come to the United States.  Luckily, he was able to come and play part of 2012 in the Giants farm system in the DSL.  In the DSL, he hit .303/.430/.497 with 7 home runs and 34 RBI's in only 44 games.  That's definitely not bad for a guy who's just getting back into the game.  Even though he spent a few years in jail, he is still young for a prospect, only 20 years old, and he was protected from the rule 5 draft by the Giants when he was added to the 40 man roster earlier in the year.

Before he was arrested, a scout wrote this about him:

A big, strong first baseman with plus, plus raw power from the right side. Has a chance to be an above-average hitter but will have to watch conditioning, which was much improved over the course of his first full season. Made a nice transition from third to first base.

He also said this about his potential:

An All-Star first baseman who hits in the middle of the lineup and hits 30-plus homers and drives in more than 100 runs annually.

So he was definitely highly thought of before his arrest, and at such a young age, he will still be able to tap into that potential.  His bigger question marks are his conditioning and questionable defense, but those can both be improved.  I would expect to see him in San Jose this year, but I would't be surprised if the Giants move him quickly from there.

Ricky Oropesa is another interesting prospect.  Described by some scouts to have "light-tower power", he could potentially be a huge threat in the middle of the Giant's lineup.  He was drafted in the 3rd round by the Giants in 2011 and got his first full season of organized baseball at San Jose last year.  His first full season was a little disappointing, considering he only hit .263/.338/.425 with 16 home runs and 98 RBI's in 134 games.  It  wasnt too bad but I'm sure more people would have wanted to see quite a bit more homeruns, but his RBI's were pretty good.  He could also work on his strikeouts, he had 150 in 518 at bats last season.  Power prospects are also known for developing late, so Oropesa is far from done.  I would expect to see him at AA next season, and I think the fall league was good for him to see some more advanced pitching.

Overall, any one of these three guys could become good, possibly great, major league starters in the next few years.  Belt is pretty much there, but could definitely use some tweaks.  For now Belt will get a great opportunity to start on a championship team, and Villallona and Oropesa will continue to develop.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Brian Wilson Situation

Something that has been on the back of everyone's minds lately is the issue of Brian Wilson, mostly because a lot of Giants fans have realized that even without him as the Giants closer the whole season, they were still able to win the world series, and a lot of people are more concerned with Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro.  Even so, a lot of Giant fans would be disappointed to see him playing for a different team.

A few weeks ago, when people started discussing the fact that Brian Wilson would be a non-tender candidate for the Giants, he openly discussed his frustration with the decision, saying that if the Giants were not going to resign him, he would likely want to go to the Dodgers or Angels because he lives there in the offseason.  This obviously got some attention from Giants fans, because as bad as it would be to see Brian Wilson on another team, it would hurt twice as much to see him in Dodger blue.  It was looking more and more like the Giants were going to have to move on from one of the most recognizable faces in the game of baseball.  Now, this also might have been a try at getting the Giants more interested, but we could never know if that is true or not.

Earlier this week, however, the both the Dodgers and the Angels said that they wouldn't have interest in him, which is a big blow to a once dominant closer, considering how much the Dodgers are spending, and the fact that the Angels said that they are attempting to get some bullpen help at the moment.

At this point, I would say the Giants are his best options at this point.  He is loved at atnt park, and he knows the organization well.

Another thing that helped the Giants were the two recent signings of people that are similar to Brian Wilson.  Both are coming off years where they did not pitch and had tommy john surgery.  lets take a look at the slightly less comparable option, being Ryan Madson.

Ryan Madson was a very good relief pitcher for the Phillies before signing a one year contract with the Reds to be their closer.  Unfortunately, in spring training it was reported that Madson was having arm troubles and would need to have his first TJ surgery, and miss the entire season.   Madson recently signed a one year contract with the Angels worth $3.25 million, that could add an additional $3.5 million based on the number of days that he is on the roster and the number of games finished.  Now he is definitely different than Wilson. He was not nearly as dominant as Wilson was, but Wilson is also on his second TJ surgery, which is where the success rate drops of dramatically, from around 90% to 60%.  That being said I would love for Wilson to get a contract similar to this from the Giants.  It gives him a possibility to earn quite a bit of money, while also allowing him to have some security if his recovery not being successful.  This signing definitely gave the Giants some leverage in signing him to a more realistic contract.  Now the deal that Wilson is probably loving.

Joakim Soria, an absolutely dominant pitcher from 2007-2010, before dropping off slightly in 2011 and then receiving his second TJ in two years in 2012 sounds an awful lot like Brian Wilson, doesn't it?  They are in alarmingly similar situations, with the only difference being that Soria is slightly younger.  Unfortunately for the Giants, Soria just received a two year deal from the Rangers, reportedly worth around $8 million over the life of the contract, with a club option.

This deal isn't actually ALL bad.  It firmly establishes the AAV for someone like him at around $3-4 million per season.  Not only that, but I don't think he would want a two year deal anyway.  He would probably want a one year deal to reestablish his value.  So hopefully these signings help

The ideal contract I see with Wilson is a one year pact at around $3.5 million with incentives that could raise it to around $7 million and either a club or vesting option for 2014.  That would enable to keep Wilson for two years , if healthy, or just drop him of he's not.

We shall see what happens

Monday, December 3, 2012

Giants close to resigning Angel Pagan

I'm not a huge fan of this deal but it looks like it's close to happening.  He's a good player, plays the right way, and was a big piece in our world series team.  I do see the appeal but I wouldn't be shocked to look back on this deal as a mistake.  So far what I've heard is four years, north of 10 million per year.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Positional Depth Analysis: Catcher

Just a year ago, the Giants had 3 legitimate catching prospects, to go along with one of, if not the best catcher in the league starting for them at a fairly young age.  Now, with Hector Sanchez backing up Posey, and Tommy Joseph traded mid-season, the Giants have much less minor league catching depth.  That being said, the Giants still have have legitimate prospect in Andrew Susac.  Not only that, but Hector Sanchez is great off the bench for San Francisco, and Tommy Joseph allowed the Giants to reel in Hunter Pence.  So the Giants are currently gaining the benefits of all of last years catching depth right now.

As I see it, the minor league catching depth looks like this:
Andrew Susac. . . .

Okay that's pretty much it for the intriguing guys at this point, but how much do you really need with Posey and Sanchez doing what they're doing at the major league level.  My top three catchers, in order, for the Giants minor league teams are:

  1. Andrew Susac
  2. Dan Burkhart
  3. Alex Burg
Susac is, like I said earlier, intriguing.  last season, in 100 games, he hit only .244/.351/.380, with 9 homeruns and 52 RBI's. other than the lower batting average, his 100 strikeouts worry me.  Now he's definitely not all bad.  the 16 doubles and 9 homeruns were not bad, and he did get on base pretty well.  Scout.com called him "an improving defensive catcher", and also compared him to Carlos Santana of the Indians.  His season at San Jose was definitely not what most were probably hoping it would be, but I definitely wouldn't write him off just yet.  He will either repeat at San Jose, since there isn't much of a reason to rush him, or he will move up to AA richmond.  He will be fun to watch either way and I would love to see if he can get the strikeouts down and the batting average up.  At this point I really see Susac becoming a back-up, but he could become more

Burkhart is very intersting.  He was a tenth round pick in 2010 who was said to be a "good defensive catcher with a good batting eye and a questionable power ceiling", by baseballdraftreport.com.  This season at San Jose, he hit .298/.362/.439 with 2 homeruns and 19 RBI's in 34 games.  It's a little bit of a small sample size but the bat looks good, and as a good defensive catcher, he doesn't need too much of a bat to be productive, but it's always welcome.  He was also one of the few catchers known for being "one of the few catchers in the college game trusted to call his own pitches".  That kind of maturity is definitely impressive, because you love a catcher that can handle the pitching staff.  He was a little old for A ball at 23 years old, but result are results and you can't be too disappointed what he did.  I think he will be at AA next season, if not because he earned it because he will just be too old for single-A.  I see him projecting as a solid major league backup, maybe more.

Alex Burg's best attribute, in my opinion, is his versatility.  He can play many infield positions, which may be his way to the major leagues.  He hit .252/..341/.429 with 10 homeruns and 43 RBI's in 100 games.  I'm hesitant to think too much of him because he is 25 years old at San Jose, so his days of being thought of as a legitimate prospect are numbered.  Milb.com also has him listed at third so I don't know if he's really thought of as a catcher as much as a utility guy.  He will probably move up next year so hopefully he makes more offensive progress soon.

The Giants catchers are full of question marks and potential, but the Giants aren't exactly in need of catchers at this point.  Other notables would be Trevor Brown out of the tenth round of the 2012 draft and Johnny Monell, although he is getting a little old as well.  I see Monell becoming a back-up some where soon.  thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Angel Pagan and the outfield situation

According to MLBtraderumors, the Phillies seem to be pushing hard for Pagan, while the Giants seem to be short on average annual value.  Pagan will likely go to the team that wants him the most and that seems to be the Phillies at this point.  I wouldn't be shocked to hear Pagan sign somewhere at the winter meetings next week.

If the Giants don't succeed in signing Pagan, I would say the most realistic options on the free agent market are Shane Victorino, Ichiro Suzuki, and Nick swisher.  Nick Swisher and Shane Victorino seem to have plenty of possible suitors so they may be a little more difficult.   Ichiro's agent said today that they are open to talking to other clubs now and that the talks with the Yankees have stalled.


I personally don't see Pagan returning as a Giant next season.  Brian Sabean has been much more reluctant to over pay players these past few seasons, and that is exactly what it would take to sign Pagan.  It was reported recently that the giants extended Pagan a four year offer, and if he doesn't accept that I don't see the Giants offering him much more than that.  He will turn 32 next season, and both his defense and offense depend a lot on his speed.  His main defensive asset is his ability to run down balls, and is really dependent on his speed to run out ground balls in the infield and to steal bases.  Not only that but the Giants have a great centerfield option on the roster in Gregor Blanco.  Lets look at the comparisons

Gregor Blanco: 453 PA, 26 SB, 6 CS, .244 BA, .333 OBP, .344 SLG

Angel Pagan: 659 PA, 29 SB, 7 CS, .288 BA, .338 OBP, .440 SLG

Now there are clearly advantages to having Pagan, mainly his batting average, slugging percentage, and ability to drive in runs, but there are also advantages to Blanco.  Gregor Blanco stole only 3 less bases than pagan in over 200 less plate appearances, had nearly an identical OBP and had an extremely CS numbers.  Now I get that the leadoff hitter will be needed to drive in runs now and again, but OBP and and ability to steal bases is much more important at the top spot in the lineup.  Gregor Blanco is also an elite defender.  Don't get me wrong, Pagan is a better option, but there are 
  1. Gregor Blanco will only make around $1.3 million next season, and will only be a one year commitment, while Angel Pagan could need up to $10 million per season for the next few seasons.  I'm not sure I would pay the extra money and extra years just for a few more RBI's and a higher slugging percentage
  2. Gregor Blanco, with only a one year investment, will leave the door open to putting giants's top prospect Gary Brown to come in and take over soon,  while Pagan on a multi-year deal would possibly block Gary Brown's path to the big leagues.
  3. Giants will soon have to pay players like Buster Posey more money, and you don't want lengthy, expensive contracts stopping the Giants from extending him long-term.
  4. Gregor Blanco could also provide a nice platoon with Gary Brown.  At AA last season, Gary brown played great centerfield while also having a .321 BA, .402 OBP, and .479 SLG against left handed pitching.  Obviously his numbers will probably dip when he gets to the major leagues, but its about time he gets an opportunity to play for the Giants and show what he's got
I just don't see the Angel Pagan deal to be worth the cost.  The Giants could also use the saved money to resign Scutaro and try and get a left fielder.  

New Giants Blog

I have been an avid Giants fan for as long as I can remember.  My main focus for this blog will be prospects, trades, and some other miscellaneous information such as trades, roster moves, and news around the league. Feel free to ask questions or to request topics to be discussed