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User Blog

Spring Stats Matter!


Conclusions: -Spring K% and BB% actually do mean something and may help identify breakout and bust performers for the upcoming season -Good and bad springs carry the same level of significance and they should therefore be treated equally -Spring ERA is completely useless

Giants not convinced Belt is ready for big leagues


Belt is batting .380 with a .429 on-base percentage and three home runs. Only Hector Sanchez and Melky Cabrera have a higher OPS among players. Yet he remains a work in progress with the coaching staff, who are concerned that his setup and swing mechanics will leave him vulnerable against quality major league pitching. "The thing we continue to talk to him about is no matter how good his spring is going numbers wise, we want to see him have good mechanics," Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens told me. "We know how he was pitched last season and the things he struggled with. All we’re doing right now is make sure he’s prepared, if and when he’s back in the big leagues, he no longer goes through those struggles." Meulens said he is trying to get Belt to stand taller and move back in the batter’s box. "He’s way out in front of the batter’s box," Meulens said. "It works for him, but want to make sure he’s getting the bat head out on those pitches middle-in and not just trying to flare it to left-center. We’re on the back field using drills so he can create that feel. When his elbow goes out, the barrel actually flattens and it takes a longer time to get the bat out in front. "He’s had success in this camp, but … the pitching is different here. We all know that. We see a lot of minor league guys pitching in these games. It’s not to take anything away from him, but there’s still some things that we’re trying to refine so he’ll have success at the big league level." Why does Belt stand so far up in the box? Is he trying to hit curveballs before they break? "That's one way to look at it, but I’m just worried about the fastball," Meulens said. "I don’t want the fastball to beat me. He’s a good offspeed hitter. We just want him to get to the fastball so he’s not fouling so many off or getting beat by them. That’s what we’re telling a lot of hitters this spring. Don’t get beat on the fastball. Be ready to hit the fastball. "It’s a comfort thing. He’s always done it. He’s had success with it and there’s no need to change in his mind. We believe that backing off a little more, especially against lefties, will give him a little more time." ------------------------------------------------------------ On the one hand, I want to trust the Giants staff, and Meulens in particular. On the other hand, Meulens didn't do jack with the 2011 Giants, and Belt has a tremendous track record of success. Didn't the Giants bring in another coach to work with hitters this season. Also, didn't Barry say he wanted to coach? Of course, just because he was a legendary hitter himself doesn't mean he can coach it. However, I always found him very articulate about what adjustments he makes himself.

Just how dominating was Romo's 2011?


I didn't see this posted in the archives anywhere, so figured I'd highlight an awesome article from last October. choice quotes: Last year, Romo, backed the league into a corner and slapped it around like E. Honda in Super Street Fighter Turbo 2: In addition to a ludicrous 25 FIP- (which neutralizes for context), he had the third-best FIP in history and the lowest SIERA (which captures his peripherals more effectively than xFIP) in the stat’s young history (which only goes back to 2002). What’s especially flabbergasting, though, is how other signs of regression appear to be rather neutral. For instance, his BABIP was above his career norm and his HR/FB ratio was less than a percent lower than his usual rate. His LOB% (83.3%) was actually down from the previous year (86.3%), though it still seemed a touch high (his career rate is 76.6%, but he seemed to either settle in the 60s or 80s).

Giants need Matt Cain and vice versa


Are there teams who will compete for Cain if he becomes a free agent after this season? Sure. But do those teams play in ballparks suited to Cain’s pitching? If he made half his starts at Yankee Stadium, would his HR/FB ratio stay unnaturally low? Probably not. If he made half his starts in Fenway Park, would his career BABIP rise? Most likely. Cain knows he can pitch and pitch well in AT&T Park and the other National League West parks. He works extremely well with Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti. The Giants need Cain to anchor the rotation, not knowing what will happen with Lincecum. The Giants should pay Cain his fair market value and Cain should take the deal now.


Cable Television and the NL West

This was originally going to be a simple fanshot linking to the Forbes article on Baseball Valuations, but as I linked more content, and read more, I realized that the NL West is about to get a lot...

Awesome ESPN: Timmy vs. Kershaw


The link was posted in the other fanshot with the cover pic, but it was hidden in the comments. This article needs to be highlighted. Absolutely must read story. Here are some choice quotes: "YOU DON'T GO to a question-and-answer session at an MLB town hall seeking insight. The format is cotton candy for the season-ticket holder's soul -- low on intensity and high on idolatry. There is that rare instance, however, when an inane question accidentally becomes incisive. Like this one, lobbed in the direction of Giants catcher and recent father of twins Buster Posey: Would you rather get up in the middle of the night with two screaming twins or hit off Clayton Kershaw? Posey gave the answer you'd expect but for a reason you might not. "Kershaw, I want some of him," he said. "We owe him." His response didn't elicit the customary overlaugh that fuels most fan-player interactions. In fact, nobody laughed. The crowd seemed to sense the seriousness of the tone, accentuated by the set of Posey's jaw and the reaction of Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum, who sat nearby and nodded with a very un-Lincecum-like steeliness." "Brian Wilson, Giants closer: Kershaw would strike out two, Timmy would strike out two. Kershaw wouldn't allow a hit, Timmy wouldn't allow a hit." "Mattingly: Clayton was pissed. Pissed. You could see it on his face: "I can't give up runs." I watched him walk into the dugout and thought, Hmm, that's a little different. They can say they don't approach it differently, but that moment told me something." "Stewart: That many one-run games in a row -- what are the odds? We were winning in the eighth, and that was new. It was 1-0 and Timmy was pitching great. But after we got that run, Kershaw just shut us down. It was so frustrating." "Righetti: If you could have heard me in the dugout, swearing and muttering, you'd know how frustrating it was. Once when it was Timmy's turn to hit that inning, I said, "Find a way to do something." He said: "I know, but what am I going to do? I can't hit that guy either." I said: "I don't know -- half a swing, maybe you get a cheapie. Just do something."" "To this point the rivalry is one-sided, so Lincecum needs a few wins (which means a few runs). He may get his chance on May 8 if the stars align -- if both play their season openers and stick to the five-game rotation. But as Posey will tell you, the preamble has been written. They owe the earnest young lefty. They believe the bill is past due, an accounting is in order. Everybody involved swears it's nothing personal, but there's no denying it's professional. Extremely professional."

BtBS: Julian writes a 2012 preview for the Giants


No one mentioned this, so I figured I'd give him a shout-out. Julian of sfgiantsnirvana blog work, and McCoven member is writing for BtBS now, and wrote a 2012 Giants preview. No wonder you don't post on your own blog anymore!

What do Giancarlo Stanton and Pablo have in common?


Fangraphs ranks Stanton's career through age 22 historically in comparison to other sluggers. Guess who's name appears?

Wilson goes in-depth about rehab/workouts/pitching


Pretty cool interview. "The day I stop playing baseball will be the day that every single major league team doesn’t want me." I love the description of the workout: Standing near second base they would sprint way out into center field to pick up cones and then sprint back. They did this about 10 times each, and did footwork drills on a rope ladder between each sprint. Then they ran to the center field wall, put on restrictive parachutes and sprinted along the warning track to the left field pole. They then crawled all the way back to the infield on all fours before taking turns jumping rope and doing up-downs. They sprinted to center field and then did lunges all the way to the right field pole. Then they picked up medicine balls and threw them about 10 yards at a time until they had reached the left field pole again. Then they turned around and threw the medicine balls again until they had reached second base. After some ‘jumping’ pushups and more drills, they ran back to the left field pole and picked up the chutes. They sprinted all the way from the left field pole to the right field pole on the warning track.


Poll: What's the most you would want the Giants to pay Cain?

Given the news that Cain contracts have stalled, I'm kind of curious as to what the McCoven feel the Giants should pay Cain. So, please answer the poll below!

More on Minor League Walk Rates


A Note on How Walks Have Been Removed from SCOUT For this edition — and, perhaps, for future editions — of the SCOUT batting leaderboard, I’ve removed walk rate. Speaking anecdotally, there seems to be a significant-enough population of hitters who’re able to post high-ish walk rates against minor-league (and, presumably, spring-training) pitching based largely on selectivity, but whose walk rates decline considerably when they face more talented major-league pitchers. Dan Szymborski, proprietor of the ZiPS projection system, has confirmed that high minor-league walk rates do not necessarily beget high major-league ones. A Note on What Might Else Inform Major-League Walk Rates Probably power. Hitters with power definitely walk more than those who lack it (i.e. power). See the graph below, for example. However, in the comments of the article, a reader says the opposite, that minor league BB% correlate best with major league wRC+

Ill Tidings: Cain talks are stalled


Contract discussions between the Giants and pitcher Matt Cain have reportedly reached an impasse following the latest round of negotiations. According to FoxSports.com, Cain's representatives and team officials met Wednesday and were unable to make progress toward a deal. The story cited major league sources and indicated that no new talks were planned. Read more: Report: Contract talks stall with Cain, Giants Tune to SportsNet Central at 6, 10:30 and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area for more on this story


Fangraphs: Newman prospect Chat w/Belt Poll!

Go here and ask questions! http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/mike-newman-prospects-chat-31512/ I'll update with relevant responses as it goes along. Free Belt!


2012 OF Power Rankings

Since I did the IF one last week, I figure I might as well do the OF ones, too. Fangraphs projects the Giants for 8.5 WAR from the OF. Very middle of the pack. I wish we had 2010 Torres back. The...


Fangraphs Position Rankings

Fangraphs has a great series using ZiPs, Fan's Fielding Rating, and their own projected playing time to project out WAR for each position for each team in the majors. I was going to do a summary...

Fangraphs power rankings: Giants starters rank 8th, relievers 13th

Starters: 8. San Francisco Giants Player TM IP BB/9 K/9 HR/9 WAR Tim Lincecum SF 215.0 3.2 9.5 0.6 5.0 Matt Cain SF 210.0 2.6 7.2 0.7 4.0 Madison Bumgarner SF 180.0 2.2 7.4 0.7 3.5 Ryan Vogelsong SF 140.0 3.5 7.0 1.0 1.0 Barry Zito SF 120.0 3.8 6.7 1.1 0.5 Eric Surkamp SF 75.0 3.7 7.3 0.7 1.0 The opposite of the White Sox, their top three stack up with any in the game, but it gets pretty ugly at the back end. ZIPS isn’t buying into Vogelsong’s revival, and you don’t need a fancy projection system to know that Barry Zito is bad. Eric Zurkamp is another soft-tosser that ZIPS likes more than scouts, and another guy where I’ll suggest that betting the under on the projection is a good idea. Still, Lincecum/Cain/Bumgarner make for an excellent trio, and should carry the Giants to run prevention success even if they have inferior teammates. Relievers: 13. San Francisco Giants Role Pitcher Hand ZiPS K/9 ZiPS BB/9 ZiPS HR/9 IP WAR Closer Brian Wilson R 9.9 4.0 0.58 62.2 1.0 Setup Sergio Romo R 11.4 2.0 0.73 49.0 1.5 Setup Santiago Casilla R 8.2 4.4 0.68 53.0 0.5 Setup Jeremy Affeldt L 7.9 3.9 0.85 53.2 0.0 Sergio Romo is pretty amazing. His 2.23 FIP is the lowest projected by ZiPS. He posted a 40.0% strikeout rate last season versus only a 2.9% walk rate — all of which led to a 38 xFIP-. His slider is literally covered with butter. Or, at least, figuratively covered with butter. In any case, it has a buttery quality to it. Unfortunately, it’s also the case that pitchers who throw a slider with Romo’s frequency are more susceptible to injury. One player to watch is Dan Runzler. He’s a hard-throwing left-hander whose 3.66 projected FIP actually places him third among Giants relievers.

Rosters whittled down


After Monday’s game, RHP Seth Rosin, RHP Shawn Sanford, C Andrew Susac and IF Joe Panik were reassigned to minor league camp and IF Ehire Adrianza was optioned to Triple-A. Before the game, OF Francisco Peguero was optioned to Triple-A and C Tommy Joseph, who had two home runs Saturday, was reassigned to minor league camp. Prior to Sunday’s game, RHP Stephen Harrold, RHP Jake Dunning, RHP Austin Fleet and LHP David Quinowski were also assigned to minor league camp.

Hulet: Top 100 prospects - Brown is #49th


The Bottom 3 Teams: 28. San Francisco Giants – 1 prospect 29. Miami Marlins – 1 prospect 30. Chicago White Sox – 0 prospects Oh, and Gary Brown is 8th on his list of OF prospects. pretty low.

Tommy Boy: Bochy loves him


"Wow," Bruce Bochy said after watching Joseph deposit two fastballs over the left-field fence in a split squad win over the Brewers. "He’s making the most of the at-bats he’s getting and what a day for him. A 20-year-old kid that really handles himself well here and he’s getting quality at-bats." "We think a lot of him," Bochy said. "I’ve talked about these young catchers, and he’s certainly one of them, that we think a lot of. I like the way he’s catching too, not just swinging the bat, and it’s good for him to get some at-bats up here and get some confidence."

Giants Minor League System Ranks 23rd.


23. San Francisco Giants Top 2011 Draft Pick: Joe Panik, SS Top 2012 Prospect: Gary Brown, OF Org Strengths: Outfield depth, catchers Org Weaknesses: Starting pitching Top Scout: Ciro Villalobos, responsible for Ehire Adrianza, Hector Sanchez, and Jesus Galindo

Giants set the record straight on territorial rights history


The Giants territorial rights were not granted "subject to" moving to Santa Clara County. Indeed, the A’s fail to mention that MLB’s 1990 territorial rights designation has been explicitly re-affirmed by Major League Baseball on four separate occasions. Most significantly in 1994, Major League Baseball conducted a comprehensive review and re-definition of each club’s territories. These designations explicitly provide that the Giants territory include Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Monterey, Santa Cruz and Marin Counties and the A’s territory included Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. The MLB owners unanimously approved those designated territories and memorialized them in the MLB Constitution. Since then, the MLB Constitution has been re-affirmed by the MLB owners – including by the A’s – on three different occasions (2000, 2005 and 2008), long after the Giants won approval to build AT&T Park. Mr. Wolff and Mr. Fisher agreed to these territorial designations and were fully aware of our territorial rights when they purchased the A’s for just $172 million in 2005.


2012 IF WAR projections

Fangraphs has started a series ranking all 30 teams on their projected WAR per position for the season. It's called Positional Power Rankings. They're running through them pretty quickly. Rather...

Belt makes a statement in spring debut


"I’d rather be overaggressive and have to back off than be passive and have to dial it up," he said. "Once you figure that stuff out, it doesn’t leave you. For the most part, you remember it." Belt remembers everything coming far too easily in 2010, when he hit .352 with a 1.075 OPS while zooming from Single-A San Jose to Double-A Richmond to Triple-A Fresno. But he made a fairly stunning admission about his season-long hot streak that burst him into the elite prospects rankings. "In 2010, even when I was hitting well, I didn’t have any idea what I was doing," he said. "I was just hitting." He never had to dig his way out of a slump. So when that happened at various junctures in the big leagues last season, he didn’t have the experience to know what to do. "I don’t think I took the time to figure out what was going on," he said. "It was all so fast. I didn’t take the time to regroup." He said he did some of that thinking in the 10 days between the end of last season and his first game for Escogido in the Dominican. Asked if he would rather be a bench player in the big leagues or a starter at Triple-A, Belt made another surprising comment. He said he’d rather play. "That’s a tough decision," he said. "We all want to be in the big leagues. But my main goal is to play every day. If I have to start in Fresno, that’s what I’ll do. Then my goal will be to produce enough to get back up here."


Why you should love the second wildcard.

Thinking about the Giants ownership group during the Magowan/Neukom years got me to thinking. Their philosophy has always been to "be in contention." It has never been to win it all, but...

Giants 6th in the majors at limiting days lost to the DL


Although the Giants lost close to 900 days to the DL last year, overall, they've done phenomenal and are 6th out of all 30 teams over the last 10 years. Also, the Nats, BoSox, Dogs, and Florida all lost more days to the DL last year than the Giants, amazingly enough.


Tommy Joseph: Age 19 in the Cal: League Avg. or Mastery?

Tommy Joseph: Age 19 in the Cal: League Avg. or Mastery? Understanding Trendlines & Within-Season Variation for Prospects Tommy Joseph has been the subject of a lot of sample size parsing this...

10th anniversary: Jeff Kent "washes his truck"


10 years ago today, a very special injury occurred. Usually injuries are sad news—doubly so when it’s a prominent player. But what happened on March 1, 2002 inspired a round or two of jokes made at the expense of the injured player. Even now, a decade later, all I have to do is mention the name of the injured play and you can fill in the rest. That player? Jeff Kent.


[UPDATED] Fangraphs: Mike Newman prospect chat

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/mike-newman-prospects-chat-3112/#comment-2298194 He's answered two of my questions: 4:45 Comment From Nivra Which of the three Giants' catchers...

There’s a Big Hole on Right Side of Giants Infield

Wendy Thurm of Fangraphs talks about Franchez: At this point, there may be little more than scotch tape and paper clips holding him together. And yet, the Giants expect Sanchez to play the great majority of innings at second base. We know this because the Giants have touted Sanchez’s return as akin to a new free agent signing, and because the team has little in the way of a backup plan. ... Several months of a Fontenot/Theriot platoon could spell doom for the team’s playoff chances, particularly if Crawford sticks at shortstop with minimal offensive production. A short-term solution? An old friend. Matt Downs.

Spring Training News Quotes

Every so often I'll read an article (Baggarly, Merc, Hank, etc.), and it'll contain a great nugget of news or a quote from a player. I'll get the urge to share it with the McCoven, but then I...

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