Gilroy Garlic Fries. Grab some pine, Meat. Poserrific. The Cove. The Freak. Ross is Boss. Torture. Rally Thongs. Kruk and Kuip. Fear the Beard. Bye Bye Baby. World Champions. Giant s Baseball.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Top 25 Giants Prospects List

KG’s 2011 Midseason Giants Prospect List

(Includes 2011 draft)
As always, feel free to agree or disagree.

1.       Brandon Belt (1B MLB): Age 23 | Although Belt has not lived up to the hype coming into the 2011 season and is now recovering from a fractured wrist, he remains one of the most promising young players in the Giants organization.  If the team continues to play above .500 baseball, Belt may have to wait until next season for another shot to crack into the everyday lineup.  In 167 career Minor League games, he’s hitting .349/.458/1.062 with 27 HR.  Giants fans would sure like to see his bat producing in San Francisco for years to come.  The scouts all seem to be in agreement on this guy; he’s not just another John Bowker or Nate Schierholtz.

2.      Zack Wheeler (SP High-A): Age 21 | Wheeler was drafted out of high school in the first round of the 2009 draft, and if he can sustain his current pace without any major setbacks, he seems to be on the Matt Cain/Madison Bumgarner track to the majors.  Wheeler has good size, throws hard, and can overpower hitters at times.  While he may not be a Tim Lincecum type talent, I’d say most Giants fans would agree that another pitcher in the mold of Cain would be just fine for the future in San Francisco.  I’m excited about this kid, and he seems to be getting better.  Through 33 Minor League games, Wheeler has a 3.91 ERA with 144 K and 73 BB in 124 IP.

3.      Gary Brown (CF High-A): Age 22 | 2010 first round pick Brown excelled in the first half of the 2011 season in San Jose.  He’s since cooled off a bit, but his numbers are still very good, and his future is quite promising.  Could this be the next young, speedy Giants leadoff hitter for years to come?  If his development continues, he’ll be in the big leagues sometime within the next two years.  In his first 83 professional games, Brown is hitting .300/.375/.810 with 6 HR and 35 SB.  Could he become a Drew Stubbs type player, maybe with less pop but a higher contact rate?    

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Minor Thoughts

AAA Fresno | 32-41

Brett Pill (26 y.o.) continues to drive in runs (49) despite hitting only .231 (9-39) in his past 10 games.  While he doesn’t seem to fit anywhere on the current Giants team, you have to be impressed with his numbers against lefties.  In 81 AB, he’s hitting .321/.379/.959 with 5 HR and a 5:3 BB to K ratio.  One thing the Giants could really use is a reserve infielder who can play multiple positions and hit against lefties.  Just a thought.
Speaking of reserve first basemen, Travis Ishikawa has been placed on the 7-day DL.  He’s still only hitting .251, including a 3-30 slump in his last 10 games. 

Some catching notes:
The Giants signed Max Ramirez and assigned him to Fresno.  Ramirez (26) is a veteran who’s had a couple of Short major League stints in his career.  He’s known for his bat, not for his glove, and could potentially be a short term option behind the dish.  Fresno is Ramirez’ third AAA stop of the season.  In 36 games total, he’s hitting .223/.261/.592 with 3 HR and 19 RBI. 

Recent San Jose call-up Hector Sanchez (21) is hitting .286/.342/.771 through 10 games with Fresno.  The young catcher has been the subject of recent rumors regarding a possible call to the big leagues.  While I do believe he should receive some looks in the future, I just can’t see the Giants turning to a kid who spent last season hitting .274 in a part-time role at Low-A Augusta to solve their catching woes.  He’s also not on the team’s 40-man rotation.  But at this point, I guess anything is possible.
Pitcher Dan Otero (26) has earned 3 saves without allowing a run since his promotion from AA Richmond.  Otero has always seemed to be an overlooked player in the organization, as you would assume most relievers would be.  But his numbers are always impressive, and this year has been no different.  In 41 IP between Richmond and Fresno, he’s posted a 1.32 ERA with 44 K and only 5 BB.              

Barry Zito seems to be nearing the end of his rehab stint.  In his most recent start, he fanned 7 hitters in a two-hit shutout of Salt Lake City.  Other players of note in the Fresno rotation include Shane Loux and Andrew Kown.  Both pitchers have sub-4.00 ERA’s despite low strikeout numbers.  It’s unlikely that either will see a big league call-up anytime soon, however.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Giants Brass in a Tough Spot with Offense

Swept by the A’s in Oakland.  Good pitching with little to no run support.  Can’t say we haven’t seen this before.  At some point, you had to expect the magic to fall off a bit.  You can’t just keep losing players at the rate the Giants have and expect things to be the same.  Remember, without Posey and Sanchez, no way do we win the World Series.  However, you also don’t expect to see an entire offense just fall apart at the same time.  Nobody is stepping up at the plate for this squad.  Nobody.  I think I read a tweet from Andrew Baggarly saying the Giants were 0-19 with runners in scoring position against the A’s, and are 0-26 including the final game (a loss) in Arizona. 

I would like to think that Pablo will get his bat established soon, but that’s not a given.  I’d also like to think that Andres Torres would start hitting soon.  Once again, though, not a given.  Torres was not a career journeyman minor leaguer for nothing.  I don’t think we’ll see Aubrey Huff’s batting average over .260 this year (hopefully he proves me wrong on that one), and I don’t think anybody can accurately predict what the Giants’ catching situation will look like in a month or two.  What I do know is this:  the fan base is getting impatient, as is Bruce Bochy.  No matter how solid the pitching staff is, you just can’t sustain a first–place run with this type of offensive struggles.  To me, this Giants season just proves how difficult it is to repeat as champions in baseball.  With such a long season, there are so many twists and turns that can derail a team’s chances.  I’m not saying that I give up on this team, just that the chances of repeating are looking very tough.  Even with a healthy squad, they will still be very tough odds.
I’ve been thinking about all of the recent cries for change from the Giants fanhood, and I cannot help but ask myself, what would I do if I were in charge of this team? 

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Problem with Tim...

Well, that was a bummer.  You try not to get too hung up on individual games this time of year, especially when you're still 8 games over .500.  The A's outplayed us in their home yard.  Our offense was again silent, aside from a Cody Ross solo shot.  Our defense was a bit spotty.  Tim was outpitched by a rookie.  As I've said, it's just a game... a game we would liked to have won, but hey, you try to win them all right?

Tonight's game got me thinking about something that's crossed my mind many times over the past year or so.  It's something that, as a self-proclaimed diehard fan, I'm ashamed to admit.  But it's a question that definitely weighs on my mind from time to time.  Has Tim Lincecum seen his best days?  First off, I must say that I understand how ridiculous it seems to ask such a question of a pitcher who's won consecutive Cy Youngs and a World Series title in his first 3 full seasons at the big league level.  Believe me, I love Timmy as much as the next person.  I root for him every night, and I'm proud to have him on the team.  We most certainly wouldn't have won the title without him.  But after a guy goes nearly two full seasons without missing a beat, then blows up like he did last August, and again as it seems he is right now, you can't help but wonder.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Minor Thoughts

I have followed the Major League Giants for many years, but for the past three or four years I have become very interested in the organization’s minor league teams, prospects, and drafts.  Taking an interest in the world of minor league baseball has brought a whole new level of wonder for me to this great game of baseball.  I really don’t think a person will ever understand just how competitive a sport professional baseball really is unless they have some kind of knowledge of the minor league system and all of its levels.  Although many fans may argue this notion (myself included sometimes), the players on the major league fields truly are the best baseball players out there. 

As my interest in the minor leagues has grown, I have found numerous helpful websites and personal blogs that provide in-depth stats and prospect analysis, daily organizational recaps, and amateur draft previews and selection rundowns.  Blogs like When the Giants Come to Town, Optioned to Fresno, and McCovey Chronicles have impressed me with their diligence and knowledge relating to all things Giants prospects.  I do not want to copy what those sites are already doing very well.  I do not understand most of the advanced stats that scouts and bloggers use to evaluate players now.  I am still of the belief that players who succeed at one level should earn the chance to succeed at the next.  If they continue to contribute, they should eventually receive a MLB shot.  However, that is not always the case in this game. 
That being said, my goal for this section is to provide an organizational minor league overview 2-3 times a month (if not once a week).  Which players’ stocks are rising and which are falling?  Who are the underrated players in the system – those low-round or undrafted players who are proving the experts wrong?  Which names should the fans in San Fran want to keep an eye on for the next couple of years?  Those are the questions that will be addressed in Minor Thoughts.  And I hope they will be addressed adequately.  As always, any feedback, corrections, or additional information is always appreciated. 

Anyway, here goes nothin’…

Monday, June 13, 2011

Return of the Panda

Well folks, this week's series in Zona could tell a lot about the future of the 2011 Orange an Black.  Obviously, it's much too early to be overly worried, and we are still sitting on a good record at 37-29.  However, a series loss or possible sweep to the upstart D Backs could further damage this team's already fragile demeanor. 

Seeing Pablo in there tomorrow will be a refreshing sight, but someone else is going to have to produce in this lineup.  I'm hoping the Panda will get back into a rhythm, possibly making some of the slumping infielders (Tejada, Huff, Whiteside, etc.) wake up.  But if the wrist continues to nag Pablo, it could be another long month for this offense.  I'll tell you this.  I don't think it's going to be a walkover series at all.  And it won't be an easy first game back for Pablo either.  Josh Collmenter (tomorrow's AZ starter) has been very stingy lately, allowing only 4 ER in his last 41 IP.  He doesn't walk many either (only 7 in 48 IP this year).  So the Giants will have to swing the bat and make contact. 

It'll be interesting to see what the lineup looks like with Pablo back.  Will Huff play as much? Where will Tejada play?  It would be nice to have Brandon Belt healthy these days, but I also don't think relying on the youngsters is a good idea for this team right now.  At some point, Huff and the rest of the vets will have to pick it up.  For now, though, let's just keep this pitching staff healthy and rolling, and keep scrapping runs.  Should be an interesting series.... let's cross our fingers for an offensive outburst!  Hum Babe Giants!

Hello from the Treasure State!

Hum Babe Giants fans and friends! My name is KG, and I am a college senior in Montana.  I grew up in northern California and have been an avid sports fan for as long as I can remember.  I spent most of my childhood idolizing Steve Young, Jerry Rice, and Barry Bonds.  I have always had a strong following for the SF 49ers and Cal football team, but at some point along the way, baseball just seemed to bring out a whole new level of interest for me.  I followed the Giants heavily through the early and mid-2000's, but have become somewhat of a junkie during my college years.

About 3 years ago I started to take interest for the first time in the organization's minor league teams.  About this time, a kid named Bumgarner was tearing up the SALLY league in Augusta, Angel Villalona and Tim Alderson were supposed future big league greats, and Buster Posey was the greatest hitter in the collegiate ranks.  Funny how things change.

I have always felt like I took a stronger interest in baseball and the Giants than most typical fans, and I love discussing/hearing other fans' perspectives about the current and future success of the organization.  Through this blog I hope to bring my own unique perspective to the table on all things Giants, both major and minor leagues included.  I hope others who come across my path will find this site entertaining, informative, and refreshing.  I am new to the blog world, so any feedback would be greatly appreciated. 

Once again, hello orange and black, and remember... we're still the champs, until somebody else proves otherwise!