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There were two articles on Fangraphs last year that identified his lower release point, and supposedly that allowed him to throw a new slider with a greater vertical break than he had in previous years. For the first half of 2012, and perhaps as far back as late 2011, it looks to have become a legit swing-and-miss pitch for him and a secondary out pitch to his well-placed fastball, but following the perfect game he's lost command of that slider. I'd be interested to know in how many of the homers Cain's served up were on hanging breaking pitches or a location mistake with the fastball. What we're seeing now feels like a continuation of 2012's second half and postseason, where Cain became mysteriously homer-prone after being one of the stingiest flyball pitchers when it came to homers. I think it's fair to say that the early 2013 results is not due to mere bad luck.

1 year, 2 months ago on Pondering Cain’s release point

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@ariess You can blame Scott Cousins for capping Posey's baserunning speed.

1 year, 2 months ago on Buster Posey walks-off against the Dodgers

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Is there any update on Jose Casilla? Is he still with the Giants organization? Also, do the starters in the San Jose rotation resemble any current or past Giants in approach, poise, or pitching style? Finally, who would you peg as a sleeper LHP?

1 year, 2 months ago on Minor League Mailbag submissions

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I wish he would hammer those belt-high fastballs, though!

1 year, 2 months ago on GIFs: The Pablo Sandoval Experience

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Ignoring hype and draft pedigree, is there any significant difference between Gary Brown and Juan Perez? Brown's two years younger and with more steals in the minors, but Perez has the higher power potential. I'm curious if Brown is more valuable as a trade chip given the Giants are probably secure in CF over the next few years. That's a bit painful to suggest given how things turned out from that fateful 2011 trade, but the impact pitching is a few years away and the team is really starved for any pitching depth whatsoever. CF? Technically, there's three on the 25 man right now!

1 year, 3 months ago on Post your questions for the Minor League Mailbag

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@Robert Haymond Lincecum won't be replaced. The Giants don't have the rotation depth to pull it off. If we had a Zack Wheeler instead of a Gary Brown, maybe. But chances are we're better off with Lincecum or Gaudin, volatile as they may be, over the guys in Fresno.

If Lincecum remains poor going into the All-Star Break, I imagine we'll see something like what happened in the playoffs where Lincecum/Gaudin will "piggy back" off one another. One of the theories I've read about Lincecum's struggle is his stamina management: his mechanics are thrown off as a result of trying to conserve power to go deep in the games, leading to poor fastball command and diminished control of his secondary pitches. Setting him at 2-3 innings of work might do a lot of good, where he can go all out and not worry about going 6 innings. After 1+ seasons of struggle I think the fans would be okay with it.

1 year, 3 months ago on GIFs: Dioner Navarro’s bad day at work

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Navarro deserved all that punishment in retribution for the two pinch-hit home runs.

1 year, 3 months ago on GIFs: Dioner Navarro’s bad day at work

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Among the pitchers, I'm most interested in Heston and Runzler. I don't know how the 2013 offseason will shape out for the Giants, but in at least one scenario they'll be swimming in money from freed up payroll. Lincecum, Pence, Zito and Javier Lopez are all candidates for leaving the club. Heston would take some of the pressure off acquiring a free agent starter starters if he does well this year. Runzler, while always a high risk player, would be an inexpensive alternative to Mijares and Lopez should he regain his effectiveness.

I'm most interested in Juan Perez and Tanaka on the position player side. With the success of Norichika Aoki and Yu Darvish, I'm optimistic that Tanaka will eventually find success in MLB, and hopefully with the Giants. Perez reputedly has the best defense of all the OF at Fresno, including Brown, and I can't help but hope he rediscovers his community college power stroke.

What a difference a year makes down on the farm.

1 year, 3 months ago on 2013 Fresno Grizzlies roster preview

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Is it possible for Lincecum to throw his changeup slower to maintain that 9-10 MPH difference?

1 year, 3 months ago on Important things to look for from Tim Linecum tonight

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Wow. This year's San Jose team is beastly.

1 year, 3 months ago on 2013 San Jose Giants roster preview

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It's a very Good Friday, indeed.

1 year, 3 months ago on Buster Posey just made a lot of money (and Giants fans really happy)

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I don't put a lot of stock in the Rule 5 inference...it's possible that teams never really looked into him that deeply, or that they had more attractive options across MLB. Remember that the Giants got Jose Mijares off waivers when LA and Arizona could have blocked him. Scouts can fall to confirmation bias so if there's something they don't like seeing, they might not notice appeal or value in other areas of the game. That said, poor defense is generally a damning negative for any Giants player, bench or not.

 

I'd like to see Bond play with the big club, though. MLB pitching is far tougher than MiLB, but if he can handle it with that skillset he's pretty valuable depth. And if he does hit a home run, I think Kuiper would put a little pepper on the call.

1 year, 4 months ago on On the prospects of a non-prospect

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 @T in Chico Blanco made a tremendous impression during last year's ST and that paid off handsomely. I'm always looking forward to seeing which new guy's fighting for a roster spot and lighting up the competition, except in Emmanuel Burriss' case where his success was obviously ephemeral. That said, I don't know anyone aside from Brett Pill who is making a splash for the Giants right now. The bench bat spot seems like a puzzle that will be solved during the season, and not during ST.

1 year, 4 months ago on Spring training stats that don’t worry me

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The Giants badly want Abreu to succeed and my bet is on him making the club out of ST. Abreu fits into the same toolsy, former prospect mold that Arias and Blanco emerged from, and it would reflect well on the organization to show they have an eye for such players. Tanaka has also offered to go to Fresno if he doesn't make the roster and that is immediately appealing to test his NPB bat against MiLB pitching, and reduces pressure on the Giants to add him to camp. Certainly, Tanaka has made a good impression with his personality and defense, but the smart move is definitely test before trust.

1 year, 4 months ago on Very Important Spring Training Opinions, Part II

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Good luck to him. I hope he wins the AL batting title. I seem to remember something like this happening once before.

1 year, 5 months ago on Godspeed, ye wobbly-armed rogue

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I agree that Ramirez should be the final bullpen piece, and he really should get it by default. However, beyond establishing a depth hierarchy in case of injury, I wouldn't dismiss guys like Proctor or Gaudin whether they have a good ST or not.

 

The general consensus is this final spot is to replace Mota as the long man, but the 2012/2013 bullpen is different from 2010/2011, and that role has shifted. The old Giants bullpen had a defined closer, a set setup man/ROOGY, a LOOGY, a long man, and a bunch of guys who could pitch in the middle through seventh innings. The new bullpen has a closer?, no setup man, two LOOGYs and fewer guys who can pitch the middle innings.

 

I don't see this final spot as a back-end type at all, since the current staff is carrying two LOOGYs and the setup/closing spot might rotate between Affeldt, Casilla and Romo. That leaves Kontos as the only one who we could consider a true middle reliever, and since the Giants are committed to protecting Romo and carrying Mijares, the sought reliever should be expected to pitch in higher leverage (innings 5-7) situations than Mota would have.

 

Ramirez is still ideal, but if Gaudin/Proctor show strikeout stuff and can hold down an inning, I'd seriously consider them since I think the Giants aren't going to try for multiple innings out of one reliever often anymore.

1 year, 5 months ago on Very Important Spring Training Opinions, Part I

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I've been meaning to ask this for a while, but what's Crick's pitching style like? Who on the current or former staff does he most resemble?

1 year, 5 months ago on Bay City Ball’s 2013 Top Prospect List, #5-1

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