There are a lot of tumbleweeds rolling around the Giants news stream these days, so this is just aimed to get you caught up:
- Ben Badler of Baseball America wrote about the Top 10 teams to sign Masahiro Tanaka, and the Giants didn’t make the list (shocker, I know). While we would all love the Giants to take advantage of Tanaka being 25 years old (just a year older than Madison Bumgarner), their pitching rotation is set and their signing Tanaka would be a huge upset. Badler lists the top four favorites as (in order): Mariners, Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs.
- CSN Bay Area beat writer Andrew Baggarly wrote about Angel Villalona in an article that got published this morning. While you know about Villalona’s history of a murder charge that was eventually dropped, maybe some new info for us would be how much Steve Decker believes in the 23 year old. There are a couple of good quotes from Decker, now the Giants hitting coordinator, and I’ll share this one:
“When you break down his swing mechanics at 7 in the morning, this kid shows you the ability,” Decker said. “The breakdown is that when it’s game time, it becomes, ‘I’ll show everyone around here I’m the best power hitter in this organization.’ You can’t let the brain or the ego get in the way of what will make you successful major league hitter.”
- Team beat writer Chris Haft just had an inbox, with a good question on prospect on Edwin Escobar, but an interesting comment on now KIA Tiger Brett Pill. Haft pointed out earlier this year that Jeff Francoeur had taken AB from Pill as the Giants tried to go all Pat Burrell on the LF situation, but since that went as it did, there are some left wondering what the 29-year old could have produced. The quote that Haft gives, “But the sense here is that the Giants jettisoned Pill without fully discovering what they had in him,” is interesting just because my bias is that Pill probably would not have offered much, but was it worth a gamble to try Francoeur over Pill? Looking back and knowing how the season went, it’s easy to say Pill should have just got the AB, and who’s to say Pill couldn’t have gone on a hot streak then? Not being condescending, but I really don’t know what to think on the whole Pill vs. Francoeur battle, but my gut agrees that Pill should probably have got the time in what would become Pill’s last year with the Giants.
Until then, keep up with the news on the MiLB ballpark fire in Michigan, home of the Tigers’ Class A affiliate. As of the time this post was published, this is the live stream. Thoughts going out to everyone out there.
Supported by fans of his Minor League numbers, Brett Pill was one of the names of sports radio and social media that was seen as someone that “never got his chance” to post numbers at the big league level. His numbers in the Minor Leagues, to be fair to Pill, were good:
|A- (1 season)||A-||60||250||223||49||16||0||5||3||22||39||.220||.296||.359|
|A (1 season)||A||137||589||536||144||47||1||10||4||38||81||.269||.321||.416|
|A+ (1 season)||A+||131||508||458||122||32||0||9||5||33||85||.266||.321||.395|
|AA (1 season)||AA||139||581||527||157||37||1||19||6||37||72||.298||.348||.480|
|AAA (4 seasons)||AAA||401||1709||1578||475||109||6||70||14||83||195||.301||.340||.511|
Double digit home runs for five consecutive seasons, and even lighting it up with 18 HR and 21 2B in 298 AB and a .379 OBP, that’s pretty impressive. But, the Pacific Coast League is a hitter’s league, and Brett Pill’s 29 now, never could get a good walk-rate going. While he didn’t put up a worse K% than Brandon Belt in 2013, his OBP being almost 90 points less than Belt for 2013, and 70 points lower career vs. career just may be telling that Brett Pill perhaps was his best in AAA.
There were rumors flying around that Pill would be off to Korea earlier this week, and Dan of MyKBO confirmed the signing on Friday night, United States time:
There was talk yesterday of Brett Pill deciding whether or not to sign, but MyKBO has learned that Pill has accepted and signed with KIA.
— Dan (@MyKBO) December 21, 2013
KIA Tigers: Brett Pill will be joining Jairo Asencio and one more foreign player in Gwangju as they help open KIA’s new stadium in 2014.
— Dan (@MyKBO) December 21, 2013
Pill becomes a full-time first baseman for the KIA Tigers of the Korean Baseball Organization, from a league that just graduated Hyun-jin Ryu, but we haven’t seen that kind of higher level talent come out of the KBO for a long time. (For a list of South Korean-born players, check out this list.) The MLB Trade Rumors article on the Pill signing was a little interesting before they edited it, realizing they may have been a little off in their analysis. A couple of tweets reacting to the original text:
“Pill’s apparent inability to land a big league opportunity is tied not to questions about his bat…” Uhhhh
— Dave (@gggiants) December 21, 2013
@mlbtraderumors Pill never able to put up numbers in the majors like he did in the minors. That’s why he’s off to Korea. Defense irrelevant
— Wendy Thurm (@hangingsliders) December 21, 2013
Probably better for their brand that the article was edited. The Giants are speculated to get money from KIA in exchange for the rights to Brett Pill’s contract. How much remains to be seen. Of course, as much as we would rag on Pill as he compared to Brandon Belt, I know we as Giants fans wish him all the best in Korea, and hope he becomes a superstar there because I think a star in AAA can become a star in the KBO.
After a 12-8 drubbing last night, the Giants decided it was time for some moves!
Shakeup today. Ramirez DFA’d, Pill optioned. RHP Dunning, H Sanchez coming up from Fresno #sfgiants.
— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) June 13, 2013
Not only was Pill not playing, but with H.Sanchez back, Posey is an option to start at 1B again.
— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) June 13, 2013
Odd that after all this time Pill is going back down, didn’t play to the narrative we hoped we’d never see. In 19 games, Hector put up a .320/.370/.460 slash line in the hitter’s league that is the Pacific Coast League.
Newbies land at 6:30
— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) June 13, 2013
That would be a little less than an hour before game time.
Dunning is a converted SS from Indiana U. He’s got a 1.75 ERA at Fresno and was on the 40-man. His first call-up.
— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) June 13, 2013
No doubt his 20.3 K% and 6.5 BB% in Fresno will be a point of discussion when he finally takes the mound for the Giants.
Tonight’s #SFGiants lineup: Blanco CF, Crawford SS, Posey C, Pence RF, Belt 1B, Torres LF, Arias 3B, Noonan 2B, Cain RHP
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) June 13, 2013
You’ve probably heard today’s the anniversary of Matt Cain‘s perfect game. Where was I? At a graduation for most of the game, came home (drove safely, of course), then ran to my residence where my wife had the game on, and there was much happiness.
A little over an hour ago we got the news, and I’m sure that Brett Pill couldn’t be happier:
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) May 13, 2013
Pill gets the call up, and Francisco Peguero gets sent down, which makes everybody wonder less about who might be the DH as the Giants head to an American League park for a two-game series. This season, Pill was 6th in wOBA in the Pacific Coast League with the Fresno Grizzlies at .445 with a tied for league leading 9 HR.
For those that are getting super excited about those stats, I do want you to stay calm as other wOBA leaders for the PCL include Scott Van Slyke, Brian Bogusevic, and Kila Ka’aihue. This is not to say Pill will be a huge fail for the Giants, but that your expectations of his performance shouldn’t be as league leading as they were in AAA.
Brett Pill has done pretty well in Fresno, so it should come as no surprise that he’s doing well in Spring Training (albeit a small sample size), where much minor league talent is showcased. It’s also Spring Training. If you are using Spring Training stats as your basis for why someone should be on a major league roster, and maybe overtake should-be-starting 1B Brandon Belt, well, get ready from those looks you give the crazy people.
If I may, I’m going to show you some stats from previous Spring Trainings. 2012:
I don’t know who Hague is, Boesch had a 77 OPS+, Duncan played in 81 G, Raburn just gets the three letter “LOL” from Tigers fans. Don’t worry, I see you looking at Jesus Guzman‘s name. I know what you’re thinking. Stop that.
A backup catcher, someone whose team couldn’t wait to ship him off to Seattle, a journeyman, a guy whose career is pretty much over (and wouldn’t have a good year) were amongst the leaders in Spring Training HR.
Giants fans should see one name on this list and say to themselves, “OK, convinced.” Also, I don’t want to keep doing this because they’re Spring Training stats, filled with pitchers and defenders that may not ever see a Major League stadium as a player. This same lesson applies for pitchers.
Is it possible that Pill has a breakout star-powered season? Sure, I guess. But based off of all the scouting reports done by people who’ve seen the kid, I’ll take their opinions over minor league stats and Spring Training stats 999,999 times out of 1,000,000. It’d also be a really bad idea to make a prediction based off of 14 AB. That’s like saying you’re going to get an “A” in a class because you got a 100% on a quiz that was open-note, open-conversation, and open-internet when you know the teacher is only trying to ease you into the term.
Not that I’ve seen anybody go gaga over Pill this spring, but just in case. Open this article every time you think Brett Pill should be the starting 1B.
Yesterday I did a post using some animated shorts looping over and over and over and over and over and hopefully you loved it loved it loved it. This post is more than just an encore, it’s the continuing of a beginning of me making GIFs until I find something else to do, like write words. I could write about the Giants and Dodgers tying at 8 today, but nah. And now, to the shorts!
Domonic Brown hits a baseball a long way
How about above the batter’s eye in CF.
Tommy Joseph joins the dinger party, pulling one
to a hut out in the LF fan area
Ichiro Suzuki is still Ichiroing
Brett Pill ties it up with a HR thru a sideways angle
Bill Hall with the “oh yea, I got it” stare down + walk
hits wall in LF
That last pair of GIFs is probably my favorite for today’s action. Would’ve had more from today’s Giants-Dodgers match if I’d known the live feed was up earlier in the day. Oh wells!
It’s easy to forget sometimes that there are other teams in the NL West besides the Dodgers, Giants, and Diamondbacks, but just because they’re at the bottom doesn’t mean they can’t derail your postseason plans. The Padres had an 8-2 stretch from Aug 3-13 before losing 3 to the Braves in Atlanta, so it’s not like they’re just lying down waiting for you to beat them. We all know the Giants will be missing their #3 hitter that’s played in 113 G this season, but with the Giants playing the Padres and the Dodgers traveling to Atlanta to play a good Braves team, there has to be a feeling that the Giants and Dodgers could still be within a game of one another when they meet up on Monday.
Friday, August 17th: RHP Matt Cain vs. RHP Ross Ohlendorf
One sentence summary: Four straight starts have seen Matt Cain watch at least seven hits get put on his record while Ohlendorf has seen 6 ER boost his ERA in two of his last three starts.
Saturday, August 18th: LHP Barry Zito vs. LHP Eric Stults
One sentence summary: Barry Zito hasn’t faced the Padres in 2012 and hasn’t had a streak of 0 HR games since May (0 HR in last start); Stults has been solid in his last two outings since being tabbed a SP again going 13 IP, 10 H, 1 ER, 2 BB and 8 K.
Sunday, August 19th: RHP Ryan Vogelsong vs. LHP Clayton Richard
One sentence summary: The big story last start was how Ryan Vogelsong stopped being new Ryan Vogelsong while Clayton Richard hopes to improve from his last start against the Giants when he got lit up at AT&T nearly a month ago.
Offense in the Pet Box
Buster Posey is having a great 2nd half to which you have been made aware on every night Buster Posey is in the batter’s box (.403 wOBA, 19 HR overall). Brandon Belt has been hot recently (.362 OBP, .339 wOBA overall). *By the way, a friendly reminder that if you are a Giants fan and actively root against Brandon Belt or Brett Pill, you need to re-evaluate yourself as a fan of the team.* Brandon Crawford with his PH-2-R bomb and getting on base hasn’t been too bad himself (.276 wOBA, 71 wRC+ overall). However, in the smallest of sample sizes at 13 PA in the last 7, Joaquin Arias has also been productive (.431 wOBA L7, .279 wOBA overall). If Angel Pagan (.247 wOBA L7) is going to be at the top, Hunter Pence in the thick of things in the lineup (.252 wOBA L7) and want to give the boys a chance to get over the Melky hangover, they’re going to need to turn up the production.
I look at the Padres and I feel kind of bad for how many people I’m seeing on their DL list. Guys that can do damage against opposing teams like Yasmani Grandal who’s on rehab, Huston Street, who can still put down batters, and other starting pitchers that have been shelved. As for the guys who are playing, Logan Forsythe (.524 wOBA L7, .323 wOBA overall) has been doing well at the top of the order lately, what we thought was an obvious trade chip in Chase Headley (.406 wOBA L7, .360 wOBA overall) has 4 HR in his last 7 (and 19 for the season), and more importantly is still with the Padres. Those two guys are really the only ones putting up big numbers within the past week, but remember this team has Carlos Quentin (12 HR), who has hits in 4 of the 5 games he’s played against the Giants, including his unforgettable 2-HR game. Their catchers Nick Hundley and John Baker have been ice cold and rather unproductive for the Padres in Grandal’s absence, with neither having a positive wRC+.
I’m going to go predictable here only because it just seems too obvious to me. This means my predictions should be wrong.
Friday: Giants win (Cain > Ohlendorf; Giants hitters rejoice)
Saturday: Padres win (Stults > Zito; Padres hitters rejoice)
Sunday: Giants win (Vogey shows it was just a blip)
All the while only gaining one full game on the Dodgers. Should be a decent weekend.