Wednesday, November 7, 2018

It's Official

One way to improve your club is to poach talent from another club, in this case your long-time rivals. The Giants hired Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi to be their President of Baseball Operations.


“We set out to find one of the best minds in baseball and Farhan’s many accomplishments and expertise exceeded our expectations,” said Baer. “Farhan is widely viewed as one of the top executives in our industry and we are thrilled to have him lead the next chapter of Giants Baseball.”
Here's Mr. Z:
“I am delighted to return to the Bay Area and to join one of the most storied franchises in the game,” said Zaidi. “I have watched the Giants from afar and I have great respect for the organization’s culture and many accomplishments. I am excited about this new opportunity and I’m looking forward to getting right to work.”
Zaidi has a PhD from Cal and worked for the Athletics before going to LA. By all accounts he is a very smart and accomplished fellow so I am happy the Giants landed him. He has a five-year contract. Here's Baggs' take (this is before the announcement):
But the mere fact that Zaidi is their first choice should tell you something: they are no longer interested in a caretaker to prop up a fading roster. They are ready to do a 180 from a highly accomplished but flawed front office whose insular methods of roster creation have allowed them to fall behind their contemporaries.
The off-season just got very interesting!

--M.C.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

RIP Willie Mac

Willie McCovey passed away on Wednesday. Giants fans of my age group (I was born in 1959) got to see him at his best when we were young and impressionable. His greatest seasons were 1968-1970 and ballplayers seemed like mythical beings when we were that age. He really was something on the field and he came back to the Giants and flashed a little of the old magic for a few years before retiring in 1980. He was much beloved by fans, teammates, and the organization.

--M.C.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Been there, done that

Much was made of the how well the 2018 Boston Red Sox hit with runners in scoring position and two outs in the World Series. Seems like we know a team that did just about the same thing not long ago:

The chart is from Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs.

Yes, that 2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants team is special for a lot of reasons. Slugging .895 with two outs and runners in scoring position is just another on the list!

--M.C.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Finis

The Boston Red Sox complete their remarkable 108-win season with a remarkable 3-loss post-season. They played three really good teams--the Yankees, the Astros, and the Dodgers--and lost only one game to each. That's, like I said, remarkable.

No more baseball in 2018, unless of course you are fans of the Japan Series. The Mystic Zo reports that the Carp have notched the first win of the best-of-seven finals. The Hiroshima Toyo Carp is the NPB team-of-choice here at RMC.

The Giants have tantalized us with talk of a new brain trust for 2019. I'm expecting they'll have to have people in place by the Winter Meetings. That means the month of November ought to be interesting.

Only 115 days until the first Spring Training game!

--M.C.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

114

The 114th version of the World Series is upon us. Game One is at Fenway on Tuesday. The 2018 AL champion Red Sox beat two 100-win teams, including last year's champs, to get to the Fall Classic. Early odds have Boston at -125. The LA Dodgers return as NL champions winning on the road in Milwaukee in the seventh game of the LCS. Naturally we here at RMC were rooting for the Brewers, but such is life. I have a lot of friends who are Dodgers fans so I know they'll be happy. The Red Sox are my mom's team and I know my east coast family members are happy.

Giants fans will have to wait until next year, of course. Perhaps we'll get some exciting changes this off-season. In the meantime, enjoy the ballgames.

--M.C.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

LCS set

It seems fitting that the two best teams in the American League, the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros, will meet to decide the pennant. The two best teams in the National League, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Los Angeles Dodgers, meet to decide the pennant as well. The playoffs worked, mostly, as seeded. The number-one team will open their best-of-seven series at home. The NLCS starts Friday and the ALCS starts Saturday. Eduardo Nuñez is the only former Giants player I'm aware of on an LCS roster, if you are looking for a rooting interest. Obviously it is "Beat LA" around here, not to mention that it is very hard to root against a team named for beer-makers. I not only like beer, I make it, too. So "Go Crew!"

--M.C.

Friday, October 5, 2018

How Much Do Injuries Matter?

I throw out the question because, with respect to the 2018 Giants, I honestly don't know.   Here is a list of the Giants' position players who have spent time on the disabled list this season:

Buster Posey
Brandon Belt
Evan Longoria
Joe Panik
Hunter Pence
Alen Hanson
Steve Duggar
Mac Williamson
Pablo Sandoval

That's our entire infield including a couple of the back-ups.  It's easier to make a list of players that weren't on the DL: Kelby Tomlinson, Brandon Crawford, Gregor Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez, Nick Hundley (thank god for that), Austin Slater and the FNG's called up in September.  I see 2 guys there who are legit full time major leaguers (maybe 3 if Slater develops further).  And Andrew McCutcheon, who gave us 5/6 of a season before he was traded.  Of course, that doesn't include the pitchers: Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Mark Melancon, Will Smith, Hunter Strickland.  The Giants fortunately got exceptional performances out of their young pitchers, otherwise, it would have been a long view up at San Diego.

But just what toll did the injuries take?  There have been some statements to this already.  Ron said, "Every team has plenty of injuries every season."  Nomisnala said, "Injuries hurt this team severely."  I read a quote from the Giants trainer that said he had never even heard of a team with this many injuries.  Of course, that is a bit of a self-serving line for the Giants to put out.  But I wonder, just how much better would the Giants have been had they gotten decent seasons out of most of their players?  Clearly injuries played some part, and clearly every team has them throughout the year.  Also, the injuries have an effect that is longer than the length of the DL stay - a player has to rehab, and then get back to major league play.  It doesn't seem like that happens easily.  Madison said his mechanics were at their best right before he got hurt - not late in the season after he had rehabbed in the major leagues for 4 months.

So what do you think?  10 games?  That would make a big difference.  1 game?  It's clear that the Giants need to make some moves to muscle up the team, yet it is also clear that the Giants are still going to be built around pitching (finishing, after that historically horrendous September with a 5th-best team ERA).  I've said that I thought the Giants improvement (which was ultimately only 9 wins) was the result of pitching.  But how better could they have been without the injuries?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Thus Spoke Bossman



This was the tail end of a longer piece from LarryB on the website. You can read it here.

A sampling:
You’d think with all the ups and downs of the game I’d have learned how to accept them as simply part of the life cycle of a team. I don’t. We don’t. The expectation of the San Francisco Giants every single year is to contend for the postseason. Falling short any year is a disappointment.
I like to take a guy at his word until he proves I ought not to. Like I said before, it should be an interesting November!

--M.C.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

9th inning: 5-13

1st inning: 7-11
2nd inning: 12-6
3rd inning: 6-12
4th inning: 10-8
5th inning: 11-7
6th inning: 8-10
7th inning: 8-10
8th inning: 6-12
9th inning: 5-13

Today was a sad day to be a Giants fan. Some team in Giants uniforms showed up to play, but they delivered a listless, desultory performance that had some in attendance--with good reason--streaming for the exits in the early innings despite Fan Appreciation Day giveaways. If Dodgers fans won most of the prizes, good on them. Today was an embarrassment and it capped a month of the worst baseball we've seen in a long time, perhaps ever. The Giants go 6-21 5-21 for September: a .222  .192 win percentage. I don't want to know where that rates in the History of the Franchise, but I'm sure someone will tweet it before the end of the day.

Should be interesting this November!

--M.C.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Madison Bumgarner's 2018 Numbers, or Bum's Nums

In 2018, Madison Bumgarner started the season with a broken hand, suffered at the end of spring training.  Madison's record this year is 6 wins against 7 losses.  That was after a 2017 that featured his dirt biking accident that kept him sidelined for about half a season.  Neither season was notable, except for how poorly the Giants did in 2017, and they will finish as a sub-.500 club in 2018 as well.  Their improvement is only notable because it came from such a low baseline.  Madison Bumgarner is the ace of our staff, without question.  There is more energy when he is on the mound, although he usually (not always, though) is fairly non-emotive as he pitches.  Here is a comparison of the last couple of years:

2014   217 IP,  9.07 K/9,  0.87 HR/9,  1.09 WHIP,  21 HR,  8.04 H/9,  3.36 R/9
2015   218 IP,  9.65 K/9,  0.87 HR/9,  1.01 WHIP,  21 HR,  7.46 H/9,  3.01 R/9
2016   226 IP,  9.97 K/9,  1.03 HR/9,  1.02 WHIP,  26 HR,  7.07 H/9,  3.14 R/9
2017   110 IP,  8.19 K/9,  1.38 HR/9,  1.09 WHIP,  17 HR,  8.19 H/9,  3.36 R/9
2018   130 IP,  7.57 K/9,  0.97 HR/9,  1.24 WHIP,  14 HR,  7.46 H/9,  3.54 R/9*

* Innings pitched, Strikeouts per 9 innings, Home Runs per 9, Walks + Hits per Inning Pitched, Home Runs, and Runs per 9.

So, without applying statistical analysis to any of these figures (most of which I have forgotten anyway), I would say that Madison's WHIP and runs/9 innings have gone up a little bit.  If his WHIP is up, it has to be because his walks are up, because his hits/9 is actually down from last year, and more consistent with his best years of 2014 - 2016.  In fact, the number of walks he issued matches the number in 2014 (43) in nearly 100 fewer innings.  In comparison, in 2017, he issued only 20 walks.   Why is that?   Have right-handed batters learned to lay off those pitches that tail away from the strike zone?  Also, in spite of the fact that the number of hits he has given up has fallen to a number consistent with his 2014 - 2016 totals, the runs he has given up has increased.  I don't know if the difference is significant, but it is interesting to me to see these numbers all in the 3's.  That means you need 4 runs to win, which at least right now, seems a stretch for the Giants.  Here is how it breaks out in terms of runs allowed per game:

2014 - 2.45; 2015 - 2.28; 2016 - 2.32; 2017 - 2.41; 2018 - 2.71

I'm just going to say that I think 2.71 is significant.  It means more than 5 runs in 2 games whereas in his prior years, he allowed less than 5 runs in 2.  That means something on a team that struggles to score any.

John Shea wrote a column the other day that stated that the new GM, whomever he or she may be, could trade Madbum.  Of course, that is predicated on the fact that he, unlike Buster Posey or Brandon Crawford, does not have a no-trade clause.  It's also a recognition of the potential value to a trade partner.  Those clauses can always be broken, though with the player's consent.  But he's really not saying anything.  The same is true for any player without a no-trade clause and is equally true for Bobby Evans as it is for a new face.  Bruce Jenkins, taking a brief pause from his "you kids and your statistics get off my lawn" rants, opines that the Giants should keep Madbum because the rest of the pitchers are too young and inexperienced.  Personally, I want to see him stick around.  I love hearing his thick drawl on the commercials, and I want him on my team should the Giants get back to playoff baseball.  He has more than earned it.  And I am not convinced that he can't get back on track, should he be able to remain injury-free.  A broken hand seems to be a tough thing to come back from.  I don't think his skill set is deteriorating, he's only 29.   The way he is built, he has the potential to be pitching when he is 40.  That's potentially a lot of valuable left handed starts from someone who has 3 World Series rings and has been instrumental in winning all of them.  I'll say this, though.  If Madbum is to be traded, it better damn well be for a monster.  No middle infielders with "potential", we've got those guys up the ass.  Aaron Judge.  Ronald Acuna.  A real force.