We can talk about the slide the San Francisco Giants are on, or we can look at individual performances that involve sample sizes that are way too small to project anything going forward in this post. I’m going to choose the latter because the former is a tired subject that makes me want to only pay attention to soccer and how the Dodgers are doing. Due to the injuries of Marco Scutaro, Brandon Belt, and the off-and-on-ness of Angel Pagan, the Giants bench has had to do more than its fair share of work. I think the good people of the world have figured out that Juan Perez, Brandon Hicks, Ehire Adrianza, Joaquin Arias, Hector Sanchez, Tyler Colvin, and Gregor Blanco are not meant to be full-time starters, but are better suited for back-up roles when they’re at their best. The best of the bunch is probably Blanco and he can have his stable moments, but big picture, bench player. In June, each has been able to contribute to at least a few games, so while I was playing with some spreadsheets I thought I’d share some of the numbers I found on June’s offensive production for these gentlemen and divide them into good performances, acceptable for a bench player, and being in the region for many fans calling for your demotion. You likely already know about Hicks, and possibly Blanco, but what about the other four?
The Good Bench Performances in June
In eighteen plate appearances, Juan Perez has done enough to stay, collecting two doubles and even hitting a home run (proof below that it happened) that are driving up his wOBA to an acceptable .359. His 38.9% K% is more along the lines of what we’d expect from him, and he also has zero walks in his few chances.
Gregor Blanco has had the lion’s share of starts in Pagan’s absence, and this month, he’s held his own with a .380 OBP, .349 wOBA, and three extra base hits. A wRC+ of 127 is cool, too, but please come back soon, Pagan.
Ehire Adrianza in twenty-seven plate appearances has been decent this month, despite collecting only one extra base hit, his wOBA is at .343, has his OBP is at .407. His ground ball percentage is 28.6% for the month and his K% is 11.1%, so we’ll see which one of those two is less sustainable (not that the other numbers are not sustainable).
The Acceptable Bench Performances in June
Joaquin Arias, who has an overall wRC+ of five this season, Arias has a wRC+ of 94 in June, a .350 OBP, and a .302 wOBA in twenty-plate appearances. There are some good numbers that come up, but for June, I’d say this is about what you would realistically hope to get out of a bench player.
Tyler Colvin I think is on the tail end of “acceptable” here, with a .290 OBP, .282 wOBA, and an 81 wRC+ with a couple extra base hits. If you wanted to say this wasn’t good enough to be in this tier, I wouldn’t blame you. He’s a bench player, and even though he’s making seven figures (an even one million dollars, Dr. Evil), you could do worse.
The June Swooners on the Bench
As long as Andrew Susac is in the minors and Brandon Belt is on the roster, Hector Sanchez will get playing time with Buster Posey getting his occasional time at first base with Tim Lincecum on the mound. Don’t get me wrong, Sanchez is a good back-up, I’d rather have him than other back-ups that the Giants have had in the past. However, June hasn’t been kind for Sanchez in the form of a .233 OBP, .237 wOBA, 50 wRC+ and a 30% K%, along with plenty of foul tips to the mask that are undoubtedly causing concern.
Brandon Hicks. A 38% K%, the .140 AVG in June has your attention, a .226 wOBA and 42 wRC+ also have some people impatiently tapping their foot and crossing their arms waiting for a move to replace Hicks. His April was something unexpected, but then he regressed to the Hicks that teams probably knew all along about. In all likelihood, the lightning has been used up, and especially in the midst of a losing spell, Giants fans don’t want to wait around to see if there’s any more left.
For those interested, I used this chart to help me organize my thoughts. Thank you, Fangraphs.
The Giants continue their series with the Diamondbacks today at 7:10 PM PST.
In news that broke shortly after I left for work, the Giants decided to take care of business and answer all questions about their starting left fielder for 2014 in former Washington National, Seattle Mariner, and Baltimore Oriole Michael Morse. Why couldn’t the Giants have done that yesterday when I was home? Well, the benefit of being late to the party is being able to read the analysis of some of the most read writers in the land for this deal. Namely, the takes of beat writer Alex Pavlovic, Fangraphs writer Jeff Sullivan, and SB Nation’s Grant Brisbee. I think if you’ve read those three, you’ll get an idea for how I will be molding my thinking, but I’m nearly on the fence on this one, but mostly on the side of “does not approve.” Is this one of the contracts you’ll use to point out why you hate Brian Sabean? No, but it could also be one of those ones you look at in 2015 and think, “Man, Morse really Aubrey Huff‘d that one, didn’t he?” You won’t really know what that means until 2015, so stay tuned.
Let’s start with Michael Morse. “The Beast.” The Old Man’s Mark Trumbo. He really has a pretty good downward spiral going on his stats from 2010 through 2013, but that’s deceiving because of the format of this chart:
|162 Game Avg.||162||573||148||28||1||23||34||129||.281||.334||.473||119|
|SEA (5 yrs)||183||644||154||31||1||16||43||145||.264||.326||.403||102|
|WSN (4 yrs)||378||1353||366||68||3||67||77||303||.294||.343||.514||130|
|BAL (1 yr)||12||30||3||0||0||0||1||7||.103||.133||.103||-35|
|AL (5 yrs)||195||674||157||31||1||16||44||152||.257||.318||.389||95|
|NL (4 yrs)||378||1353||366||68||3||67||77||303||.294||.343||.514||130|
If you’ve read the articles on Morse, you know about his wrist problems and that the Giants checked in on that and have been “assured he is healthy,” but no word on if he’s in the Best Shape of His Life. To be fair, let’s say a healthy Michael Morse checks in for the 2014 season and gives the Giants 135 games or so. That’s pretty optimistic already, but here’s what Morse is trying to beat when it comes to the offensive numbers the Giants put up from their LF:
- Five home runs (last in the MLB)
- .337 slugging percentage (last)
- .314 on base percentage (19th-best)
- .257 batting average (16th-best)
- 25 doubles (third fewest)
I think a healthy Morse easily beats two of those — the first two, and comes close on the OBP. The doubles I’m not confident on. The average I’d be willing to place a bet on that he beats it. Here are some marks Morse will have trouble not beating:
- 11 stolen bases (really that’s it? — T-14th most)
- 52 walks (19th-most)
- Any defensive metric, really (how you gon’ beat Gregor Blanco)
He may come close to matching the 135 K’s the Giants LF had in 2013, but even if he puts up numbers at a 2012 ratio, I’m not sure anybody’s going to mind much. Where people will mind is when they watch him play defense.
Gregor Blanco gets his value from his defense, yes, yes, I can hear you mocking me. You know he didn’t become a Top 40 fWAR outfielder by posting a near-average wRC+ or by putting up a .307 wOBA. Gregor Blanco is a not your ideal starter, a good platoon guy, and now becomes a great bench option for the Giants. Fans will be happy to see him replace Morse in the late part of the game, but when I was thinking about the best 4th outfielders in the game, I thought Blanco might be the best one on paper until I thought about the logjam in Los Angeles that is the four-headed Dodgers outfield. Whether it’s Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, or Andre Ethier, most baseball fans would probably take any of them over Blanco, love him as I do. Maybe the Cardinals have a good fourth outfielder because they’re not allowed to have no depth. Same with the Rangers.
I really hope Morse stays healthy. He will be frustrating to watch on defense on any ball he has to chase, but if that man is ready to rake, rake he will. Just imagine a lineup where Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval, and Michael Morse all hit bombs for a living in 2014. Ok now wake up because baseball would never let that happen. This article is going to look so stupid when Morse injures himself in Spring Training.
Monday provided the good times for teams to decide whether they would hold on to players on their 25-man roster, essentially tendering them a one-year deal that could go through the arbitration process, or non-tendering them, making them a free agent. Beat writer Hank Schulman gave a one-tweet rundown of whom you needed to get ready for:
— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) December 3, 2013
So, with that said, let it be known that the Giants decided to tender Brandon Belt, Gregor Blanco, Tony Abreu, Yusmeiro Petit, and Joaquin Arias, while saying ta-ta officially to Sandy Rosario and Francisco Peguero. Some thoughts on the tenders (mmm… tenders…):
Belt: The most divisive first baseman on the planet because some thought he was going to be the second coming of Buster Posey and hasn’t been that (yet). Still, being an above-average MLB 1B with above-average MLB numbers make him a no-brainer to keep around. Plus, there have been rumors going around that the Giants would like to get a multi-year deal done with Belt, presumably to buy out his arbitration years through 2017.
Blanco: A joy to watch in the outfield and has decent enough splits against RHP to warrant him being in the lineup against them. Paying a couple mill to someone that can hit RHP and provide you with speed seems worth the money to me.
Abreu: A journeyman that played with four teams at the MLB level in five seasons. Defense isn’t rated as anything positive, and his offense is good against LHP, so while the Giants have no platoon going on with Marco Scutaro or Pablo Sandoval, Abreu’s bat can give some reason to give one of them a day off. For those that want to argue against Abreu’s ’13, his career numbers don’t suggest the 29-year old can keep it consistent.
Petit: He was one pitch away from a perfect game, but let us not forget he also had six outings of six or more strikeouts. In three outings he offered zero walks. In his eight outings, only one time did he not go five innings, and that was in his last start of the season. I do not mind the Giants taking a gamble on Petit to see how much longer he can mystify hitters, but I will admit, I’m not expecting much.
Arias: His value is with the glove, and his ability to play multiple infield positions, and not with the stick. You expect his .346 BABIP against RHP to stick when it’s been a career .298? Me neither. The Giants would be paying probably a little over a million if they held on to him to be depth on their bench. Pinching pennies, but you can get someone younger to do that for half the price. Looks like the Giants have their middle infield bench set as long as nobody else beats out Arias and Abreu for those spots.
To be frank I thought Sandy Rosario and Francisco Peguero were already gone so that’s why this move came as kind of odd to me. That’s what you get when you don’t go on your phone from 10pm-5pm every week day.
Unless Brian Sabean finds a David Freese–Peter Bourjos-like trade out there where he can get an everyday outfielder for an aging player, or get some shiny Rule 5 pick, the Giants are left to scour free agency for a platoon partner for Gregor Blanco.
— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) November 19, 2013
Gregor is an acceptable option vs. RHP and I haven’t come across many people at all that are Negative Nellies about Blanco’s defense. Blanco should have another productive year in him for the Giants in 2014, even some regressing to a .320-.330 OBP vs. RHP will probably be acceptable as long as his defensive abilities hold. So that leaves the Giants searching all avenues for an outfielder. Since a “new everyday LF is doubtful,” that narrows the field to a lot of names we may not know very well or those that are lower cost players. Take a look at this MLBTR-created list of FA OF going into the off-season, and tell me what works for you. Keep in mind the Giants are looking for a RHH that can play defense.
Andres Torres? They done with him. Reed Johnson? Why not just sign Torres if you’re considering Johnson. Jerry Hairston can’t hurt anybody anymore. The Mariners released Jason Bay in August, so that’s how bad he was. Franklin Gutierrez (31 in February) has gained a fan club in Giants circles, and I can see some people are also thinking about a former Giant that was just playing in Canada in 33 year old Rajai Davis. Jeff Baker (32 years young), I’m going to hope you can play defense for many positions, so I will include you in this conversation. To the spreadsheets!
Players listed in alphabetical order:
Rajai Davis is the fastest, and will also add some swipes to your spreadsheet, so whatever you think of him after looking at these numbers, make sure you add the stolen bases. Gutierrez had 3 SB last year, Davis had 45. This stands to reason that Davis has the speed to cover the ground in LF, but he just needs to make quality routes and then can team up with Gregor Blanco to be an excellent tandem out in left. Jeff Baker and Franklin Gutierrez I’m less confident in to cover LF, much less Gutierrez to stay healthy for a full season, and I think that needs to be considered when you’re waving the flag of the Death to Flying Things camp.
I don’t know, either.
Two players with an OBP higher than 38, that’s pretty attractive, if you ask me. So only one of them has the power to hit dingers on a consistent basis, we don’t even know if Baker can handle a season playing LF. So in the Free Agent pool, I think you can see that my vote goes for Davis, with Baker second, and the unhealthy Gutierrez third. I mean, I love that Roger Kieschnick or Gary Brown would get a chance to play and everything, but I’m not so confident in those back-up options that I’m willing to take that big gamble on Gutierrez. That’s just one fan’s opinion though.
Agree or disagree with me in the comments section below or on the whatever social media I’m on dot com.
Yesterday the counts for the American League were released, and so today the home National League’s vote count is out to the people where you can view here. Some facts and reactions:
NL @allstargame voting leaders:1B: Votto2B: Phillips3B: SandovalSS: TulowitzkiC: PoseyOF: J. Upton OF: Harper OF: Braun
— MLB (@MLB) June 4, 2013
Surprises for me are Pablo Sandoval at third, Bryce Harper gets the celebrity vote, as you could argue Carlos Gomez, Carlos Gonzalez, and Shin-Soo Choo are among those more deserving with the stats, but I’ll let that slide.
Posey leads all NL with 1,275,956 votes, J. Upton is second w/ 1,184,249. Upton leads all OFs. Would be 1st fan selection for 2-time AllStar — David O’Brien (@ajcbraves) June 4, 2013
Buster Posey is the story of the day with the amount of votes he’s getting, but he’s not blowing away the competition.
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) June 4, 2013
Brandon Crawford is about 350,000 votes behind Troy Tulowitzki, Brandon Belt is about 500,000 behind Joey Votto, and Marco Scutaro is 200,000 behind Brandon Phillips. I really feel like Matt Carpenter needs to be getting more of a look, as he’s quietly put up a pretty valuable year.
Giants fans vote a lot. Belt 2nd, Scutaro 2nd, Sandoval 1st, Crawford 2nd, Posey 1st; Pence 6th, Pagan 8th, Blanco 11th in OF
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) June 4, 2013
The challenge for other clubs is can they get their fanbase to vote their one guy (for the Brewers two guys) in to out do what the Giants fans are doing for all their outfielders.
This will be a real test for Giant fans — to see how many unworthy players they can vote into the starting lineup
— Ray Ratto (@RattoCSN) June 4, 2013
Right now, I’d say Posey is the only ASG starter I could argue that the Giants have. Yadier Molina winning that over Buster would not be a problem by me, he’s really good as well. We saw what Giants fans did last year, voting in Melky Cabrera in addition to Panda and Posey, and Matt Cain took the bump for the NL. There were many unhappy within the NL, although the NL would end up winning, with the Giants players providing plenty of production, in a shutout victory over the American League, giving the Giants of all teams home field advantage in the 2012 World Series.
The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, on Tuesday, July 16.
Tim Lincecum took the mound for the Giants on an Orange Friday at the yard, as the tied for first place in the NL West Rockies and Giants squared off for a good old fashioned nine inning baseball game. If you missed the game, let me
mislead tell you about some of the things that happened.
Here’s some evidence of the good pitches that Lincecum threw
Tyler Chatwood was SO unsuccessful on this butcher boy attempt and the runner at first would get doubled off for a double play. Nice try, Colorado!
Yerrrrrrrr out, Toddy!
Nolan Arenado was showing off tonight playing defense. Quite good, this young fella!
But Brandon Crawford is always there to help out with a double play.
Yea! Go Giants!
Every fan has their own strategy for voting for choosing whom they would like to don the All Star patches in New York in July. The strategies I know of are:
- Voting for the statistically best on both leagues (usually that’s pretty subjective though)
- Voting for the best in the league of the team you support, voting for the worst on the other league
- Voting for the players you want to see play
- Voting for only your team in one league, and then a variety of choices for the other league (e.g., just the Astros, nobody, etc.)
Of course, every team wants you to vote for their players, so now for Giants fans that want to justify their all-Giants ballot, how will you do that from a statistical point of view? All stats are within the context of their position within the National League:
- Buster Posey: tied for the NL lead in fWAR (1.8), leads in OBP, wOBA, wRC+. Possibly the easiest vote for the ballot within the Champs’ roster.
- Brandon Belt: According to Fangraphs fielding value, is the very best. Also, number of baby giraffe hats to other headgear of NL 1B very much in favor of Belt.
- Marco Scutaro: Leads in highest BABIP, lowest K%, AVG, Contact% (making contact with the pitch — 95.3), lowest rate of swinging strikes (1.4%)
- Brandon Crawford: Tied for having the highest positional value on Fangraphs. Most handsome.
- Pablo Sandoval: T-most HR (8), leads in RBI (see if you can sneak this one past somebody), AVG, WPA all despite seeing the lowest ratio of pitches in the strike zone.
- Gregor Blanco: Because he makes great catches in the outfield to save the game, that’s why you vote him in. You may also use the fact that he’s been much better than replacement level overall this year
- Angel Pagan: Makes the highest rate of contact on balls outside of the strike zone. Also could have the best hair of all NL center fielders.
- Hunter Pence: T-most SB (8), has seven dingers, and his defense hasn’t been all that bad.
I’m just glad I did this with the Giants and not some really awful team. Pitchers get selected by people that wear the uniform, except for that Final Vote stage. Even if you’re not voting for the Giants, and voting for the best in the NL, they still have some pretty good options to choose from. Maybe I’ll do a blog post on that someday.