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Great post! Totally agree that Zito deserves credit for helping us win in 2012. Let's not forget that he actually pitched very well thru much of 2010 as well, we would not have been in position to finally overtake the Padres if he did not pitch well most of the season, he just petered out right at the end. As the saying goes, it takes a village.
However, I would like to add that Baggarly reported a year or two ago that he found out that Magowan was the driving force to get Zito signed, not Sabean. Hence why he got pushed out while Sabean kept his job.
2 months, 1 week ago on Thank You, #75
Congrats on your baby! Smart move to cut this off now, your time will be needed by your little one, best investment anyone can make in life.
Best advice anyone has given me about taking care of a baby is that a car ride is the best when the little bugger won't go to sleep. Usually, you drive long enough, the baby will drift off to sleep, but at worse, your spouse gets some quiet free time to do whatever is building up on your ToDo list (or, more importantly, catch up on sleep) while you are out there driving. This is particularly good when your baby is crying and you've tried all the things you are suppose to check (eat, burp, poop) and nothing is working. Once on the road, I just sing along with the baby, I usually tried to sing something soothing, like "Baby I'm here, don't you cry" (obviously sing something that's your style) but that's mainly to get past the fact that there's a screaming baby in the back seat. :^)
All the best, I will miss your blog (did notice the dropoff) but totally understand. I would say that I would monitor your RSS just in case, but with iGoogle being shut down soon, I don't know how I'm going to replace that great functionality... (one of the few things I would pay for, but wasn't given that option)
6 months ago on All good things…
There are plenty of Duvall fans around if you look around.
There is nothing seriously wrong with repeating a level, and it depends on each individual situation. It is Kevin Cunningham who has a problem with prospects repeating a level.
Panik has been a very good hitter, that is why anyone cares about him, and he's been clearly the 2B of the future since he was drafted, but there is no reason for the Giants not to play him at shortstop since that is his position as positional flexibility is a nice thing to have with a prospect, as well as that playing him at SS made him a much more valuable trade chip, should it ever had come to that. And clearly Crawford was seen as the SS of the future, when he and Panik were on the same AFL team, it was Crawford who started at SS and Panik who had to move to 2B, that, if anything, was a sign of what the Giants thought of each player's future. And as good as Crawford is defensively, if he didn't develop enough as a hitter in the past year, Panik could have pushed him off the position, so that is another reason why the Giants kept him at SS. Evans' statement that Panik is the 2B of the future was as much a statement about Crawford as it was Panik, to my perspective.
7 months, 1 week ago on Minor League Mailbag: April 25
The sad fact of the matter is that the Giants are the one who discovered and developed Belt, so they do know that he is the best option around, despite what some Giants fans think. If they didn't think that, they would not have kept him up all last season, they would have sent him down at some point to work on things.
But sometimes a player needs a break to clear his head a little, work on his mechanics and batting stroke without the pressure of being in a MLB game. The Giants used that to great effect last season with both Belt and Crawford. This, in fact, has been his pattern: he struggles, then he spirals and then is useless, striking out a high percentage of the time, the Giants sits him down some games and he gets into a groove. It might be small samples, but a .237/.279/.289/.569 with 12 K's in only 38 AB's is pretty bad, and that is starting from his "hot" streak, starting with the 2 hits he had on April 10th, shows how lost he is. And people like to point out small samples, but striking out roughly a third of the time is still a pretty extreme small sample.
Lastly, the commentary from the beat writers have been pretty clear: Belt is a talented guy whose head is getting in the way of his talent. It took him a long time to acknowledge that he needed to change last season, and when he did, he said that he figured it out by watching video, but that was the exact advice that Bochy and gang had been giving him from the start of the season, as reported by the writers. Belt have clearly struggled to be consistent, but the Giants have stuck with him, showing their faith in his talent, but still sitting him down when he's struggling.
Sure, his ZiPS ROS might say that he's the better hitter based on prior performances, but it has no insight into what is in the head of the player on that day, and that is where Bochy and gang comes in and provide their value. A study in THT showed that hitters who came to Bochy boosted their offensive value by roughly 1 win per season, so that demonstrates that Bochy is able to help hitters get better. My study has found that Bochy is a master in winning one-run games, he's one of the rare managers who actually has a statistically significant above .500 record, and he is currently averaging over 4 extra wins per year managing for his career, just due to his performance in one-run games, a stat made more significant by the fact that he just passed .500 as a manager last season. He knows how to manage players to get their peak performances better than most managers.
Belt's a bit like Ishikawa, whose talent didn't show up regularly until he decided that it was all out of his hands and to allow himself to just play. That got him from AA to the majors. Belt's talent was good enough to get him to the majors, but if he can just "let it be", that can get him from the majors to super-stardom on par with Joey Votto, in my opinion (hitting, HR power, SB, defense), though that's a lot to put on him, how about we say that he'll at least be in the conversation.
But having him grind it out doesn't mean that he's going to figure it out if he's doing the same wrong thing mechanically and mentally as he had been doing. That is borne out in real life, how often have you tried and tried and tried to figure out a problem, but then slept on it and had it solved in the morning? Many people experience that, just grinding it out don't make you better if there is no plan, no checks and balances to make sure he's doing things right and not just grinding it out. Bochy is letting him play but then when he senses it is doing more harm than good for Belt, he pulls him back and gives him time to rest his mind and work on his issues.
For those who think that just playing the guy will fix things, look at Gordon Beckham. Or any other failed prospect who got a lot of playing time but never figured it out. People like to point out Dustin Pedroia as an example of how playing the guys brings out his hitting, but they neglect to notice that his K% and K/BB was great while he was hitting poorly, the balls were just not falling in during April, but then the mean regressed and his May and rest of the year reflected his abilities. When Belt is going good, he's not striking out a lot, maybe 15-20%, not over 30% of the time.
7 months, 2 weeks ago on The problem with benching Brandon Belt
great article and topic!
Yeah, just from Giants history - Nen, Romo - there appears to be a connection between sliders and possible future injury to the arm or shoulder.
Chris had Liriano under the now injured part, his comment nailed it, though I would also add that Liriano's repeated patterns of injury was part of the reason why the Giants trade him, I think. He was already suffering from a lot of arm problems when we had him and he was very young, so it was not a surprise per se that he was good, but more a surprise that he stayed healthy long enough to show how good he is/was. I expected him to flame out before reaching the majors but to his and the Twins credit, he made it up here and was good for a little while.
But I think he belongs under the "be careful for what you wish for" category, as he has totally screwed up the Twins plans for years now, as they had had him written in to be the ace of the staff, only to have to DL him or whatever, I would say that his issues were a greater factor in their lack of success in recent years than Morneau's or Mauer's injury problems. It's hard to replace the ace of your staff early in the season or heck, at any point in the season.
9 months ago on Is Madison Bumgarner an injury risk?
I basically agree about Ramirez, I figure he's the favorite to win that last position. But I would note that while Procter is old, apparently the report is that he picked up a new pitch while in Japan so that might rejuvenate his performance, even if he is old, as he is also experienced.
I think Gaudin is just here so that we can put him in AAA in case we need a starter, since we don't know right now what we got with Heston or Kickham in AAA.
9 months, 2 weeks ago on Very Important Spring Training Opinions, Part I
Soptic has reached triple digits and rests in the mid-90's heat and has a plus slider. Scouting reports are that he's closer material but needs to get the walks down. Will he be successful like Brian Wilson or another failure like Threets? Don't know, but Gillaspie was out of options so at least we still have something to show for him instead of just DFAing him at some point for nothing, so good point. And the Giants were able to get Cain and Wilson to lower their walk rates enough, so they have had some success in the past with fireballing wildmen.
9 months, 2 weeks ago on Godspeed, ye wobbly-armed rogue
@TSF I think you are thinking of Bill Mueller.
@FoothillsRyan If you want to cap on any team's draft, you can pretty much pick and chose to find an example: every team has a draft where you could have gotten a couple of better picks instead just after that particular lousy pick. They clearly loved his hit tool and probably thought that they could work with him to teach him to play 3B or even 2B, at the time of the draft. Most of the draft reports I read at that time noted that he was already iffy for 3B and thought that 2B might be a future position for him. Also, some guys can work on it and become good: Mike Schmidt wasn't that great a 3B but he worked hard and became a Gold Glover (which doesn't necessarily means that he became great, but I would think good at least).
Unfortunately, most teams don't know what they got until they get the prospect in and see him up close, personal, and every day. That's when the Giants discovered that he's no 2B. No draft report even noted that he was so bad that he couldn't play 2B.
I would also note that when we drafted Posey, all the reports said that he had no power, that his main value would be his ability to hit and his great defense, yet he wanted a huge bonus (rumor had him asking for $12M and he eventually signed the largest bonus). The experts thought maybe 15-20 homeruns once he reaches his peak, later in his career. Turns out the experts were wrong there.
FYI: the 20-80 scale is the traditional Scouting scale used to rate all prospects in a number of capabilities.
Say, what # was Brown?
1 year, 9 months ago on Keith Law Names One San Francisco Giant In Top 100 Prospect List