Sunday, October 24, 2010

Drafting a championship

Californians are partial to homegrown, and the San Francisco Giants are no exception. Local boy (San Jose) Dave Righetti is the first link in our chain as he took over duties as pitching coach just prior to the 2000 season. In 2002, the Giants drafted 17-year old Matt Cain in the 1st round and sent him to Arizona. Fresno product and former Giants pitcher Mark Gardner made his coaching debut--working the same bullpen job he has now--in 2003. That same year, Brian Wilson was picked in the 24th round. Jonathan Sanchez was taken in the 27th round in 2004. In 2005 Sergio Romo was taken in the 28th round. In 2006 Tim Lincecum was the 10th overall pick. Ditto for Madison Bumgarner in 2007. The ├╝ber-battery was completed in 2008 with the 5th overall pick, catcher Buster Posey. Travis Ishikawa (21st round, 2002) and Nate Schierholtz (2nd round, 2003) were also Giants draft picks.

Matt Cain, Brian Wilson, Sergio Romo, Jonathan Sanchez, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Nate Schierholtz, and Travis Ishikawa. That's quite a haul. Throw in the 2003 amateur free agent signing of a 17-year old from Venezuela (Pablo Sandoval), and there's the homegrown nucleus of a championship club. John Bowker, drafted in the 3rd round in 2004, was traded with 2005 12th round pick Joe Martinez for the invaluable Javier Lopez. Freddy Sanchez was acquired by trading 2007 1st rounder (no. 22 overall) Tim Alderson. Righty Daniel Turpen was drafted in the 8th round that same year, he was traded for Ramon Ramirez. The 9th round of the 2009 draft brought OF Evan Crawford, he was traded for Mike Fontenot. It should also be noted that Buster Posey's coach in Fresno--Steve Decker--was drafted by the Giants in the 21st round in 1988.

Andres Torres, Aaron Rowand, Pat Burrell, Juan Uribe, Edgar Renteria, Aubrey Huff, Eli Whiteside, Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, and Guillermo Mota were all signed as free agents. NLCS MVP Cody Ross was claimed off waivers. That's the 25 guys on the post-season roster.

I want to work something up on the Front Office and the behind-the-scenes types, perhaps tomorrow. Today the baseball gods command you to bask in the glory of the National League Pennant. By the way, that line-out double-play in the 8th (Wilson to Ruiz to Huff to Renteria) ought to convince you that such gods exist. Gracious me, but the Giants are the Champions of the National League.

Fuck Yeah!!!



Ron said...

Using information from my post about the Spanish language Fox Deportes broadcasts a few days ago:

'Casi olvide a mencionar que, a partir de anoche, Ryan Howard empezo tragando chocolate para unos 6 meses.'


'I almost forgot to mention that, starting last night, Ryan Howard began about 6 months of grabbing pine (meat!)'

M.C. O'Connor said...


Howard was their best hitter. He should have gotten an RBI on that double to left-center off MadBum in the 5th with Rollins on first. The carom bounced perfectly to Torres and they held the runner. I'm still surprised he didn't take a whack at Wilson's 3-2 pitch. He's the goat, but a bit unfairly. Nobody got hits. Sounds like good pitching to me.

Ron said...

Roster items:

- Sandoval's spot is in question, although I'd probably stick with him. We don't have much left-handed bench pop, because Ishikawa & Schierholtz have looked completely over-matched. Against a right-handed starter in Texas, Sandoval will probably be the DH.

- Of our defensive substitutions, the one that seems less of an 'automatic' is the Huff/Ishikawa swap. The defensive upgrade there isn't quite as dramatic as the Burrell/Schierholtz upgrade. Therefore, coupled with the above, I think that Ishikawa may be 'on the bubble'.

- If Ishikawa & Sandoval are marginal, is there anyone else that could be brought in? You can make a case for Burriss, Rohlinger, or Velez, but none of them are particularly compelling. So, I guess we stay with the same position players.

- We have wasted a roster spot on Mota for 2 series. I think that the tally is 'warmed up 3 times, pitched 0 times'. Not that I have anything in particular against Mota, but his presence on these rosters has been inconsequential.

- Here is some important news, painstakingly gleaned from a year-by-year tally of Baseball Reference splits. Barry Zito's lifetime record at the Texas Ballpark (whatever it's called now) is 11-1, with a 3.75 ERA, over an appreciable sample size of 96.0 innings. Now, granted, he was a good pitcher overall, when he put down those numbers (he didn't pitch there on the Giants' only visit to Texas since he's been a Giant). But ... 11-1, & don't discount that, in that era, 3.75 was a damn fine American League ERA. At this point, I don't expect great things from Zito, but doesn't that get anyone else a bit more excited than just sticking Mota on the roster again?

- Ray or Runzler are worth another thought, too, but I'm inclined to go with a former AL Cy Young Award winner over another round of Mota.

- The only other possibility which I see is going with an extra position player in lieu of Mota, because there are potentially 3 games with a DH. In that case, I suppose that I would bring Velez aboard, due to versatility & speed.

Anyone else want to comment?

M.C. O'Connor said...

I'm not sure anyone has earned their way off the roster. JSanchez had a meltdown, but I wouldn't bench him for it. I might try to start him at home, though.

Zito saw a lot of Texas when he was with the A's (2000-2006). That's, for my money, ancient history. He's not that pitcher any more, they aren't that team any more. The Rangers only had one winning season the whole time Zito was in the AL. Elvis Andrus, Julio Borbon, and Josh Hamilton were not even on the team. Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz were rookies in '06.

I don't want Velez on the post-season roster. Can't hit or field or run. I can live with Mota. If we never use him it's most likely because there were no blowouts, and that's good.

Ron said...

As I acknowledged in my post, Zito was a different pitcher then, & I know that that is important. However, the information provided is relevant because:

- The ballpark is the same & played the same way (i.e. bandbox).

- Zito recorded those numbers there during the age of the slugger, in a slugger-oriented ballpark.

- Texas had piles of sluggers then, too, so Zito was performing something of a miracle containing them in their own park. They had A. Rodriguez for a few of those years. And, just to pick one non-Rodriguez year at random, in 2004, Teixeira hit 38 HR, Blalock hit 32, Soriano hit 28, Mench hit 26, & M. Young hit 22. They sucked, because they had no pitching.

- Once again, Mota has not appeared, so what's the point of including him again. If not Zito, then someone who will participate.

- Are we are going to continue to have our most expensive player, who has significant post-season experience, be a cheerleader? If he's really that useless, then we should just take our losses & release him in the off-season. I don't think that he's totally useless. And, I don't think that we're going to release him. Therefore, I say at least put him on the roster & use him judiciously.

Other point re J. Sanchez:

As you know, on Saturday night, I was thinking 'pitch Cain in SF to take advantage of using him in AT&T'. Therefore, I was thinking Lincecum, Cain, J. Sanchez, Bumgarner. The flaw in that is that J. Sanchez is then in line to pitch Game 7 (unless, we go with Lincecum on short rest, a risky proposition). With Bumgarner now performing in a manner reminiscent of Bob Welch in 1978 (i.e. a 21-year old pitching with unbelievable maturity in difficult circumstances), I think that we now have to think about either Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, J. Sanchez or Lincecum, Bumgarner, Cain, J. Sanchez. Either way, I think that we have to delay J. Sanchez's start to give more time to clear his mind. If he goes in Game 4, then he only pitches once. I would think quite hard about rushing him back in there to pitch at home. I haven't totally landed about this, but that's my thoughts for today.

M.C. O'Connor said...

If we are using Zito (or Mota) then we are getting hammered. Does it really matter which one is the garbage guy? I don't think so. I don't think Zito should get credit for what he did in 2006, but if Boch & Rags and Co. think that matters I expect they'll put him on the roster, but I'm not holding my breath.

The Giants would be wise to sell Zito for pennies on the dollar, but that's for the off-season.

Ron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brother Bob said...

The player we must crush, the same way we crushed Hayward and Howard, is Josh Hamilton. He had this to say while his teammates were pouring champagne all over each other: "Well, it's not the top of the mountain until I get to stand in front of my savior one day."
I say FUCK Josh Hamilton.

Ron said...

Before we get too carried away with ourselves, against the best pitching the NL could throw at him, Ryan Howard hit .318, with 4 2B's in the NLCS. He had an OBP of .400. Yes, he struck out 12 times, but, with a bit more luck, he would have knocked in a couple of runs, & the Series could have been transformed. I still fear Ryan Howard in a big situation - luckily, we don't have to deal with that until July 26, 2011.

We have to do BETTER against Josh Hamilton. The benchmark has to be different. The Heyward Treatment (.125 w/ an OBP of .176) would do just fine.

Ron said...

So confusing ...

Now my Parents have denied being responsible for this. The mystery continues.

"Breaking news: Uribe, Affeldt, Wilson, Bumgarner, Lopez, Bochy deny responsibility for simultaneous miracles (Zo's gradual, but accelerated recovery & Giants' entry to World Series).

Initiators of Zo's pre-Game 6 gift from the Giants revealed (to me, too, by Akemi a few minutes ago):

My Parents!"

M.C. O'Connor said...

If it were me, I'd throw Cain in Game 1, followed by Sanchez. Use Lincecum in the opener on the road, and have him ready for Game 7. I don't care about Cliff Lee. I think at home the Giants can beat anybody behind Matt. We need to set the rotation for our guys, not theirs.

That being said, Ol' Boch and the crew have been pulling the right strings, so if they go with Lincecum and Sanchez in Games 1-2, fine. If you threw Cain in Game 2 and had Sanchez and Bumgarner start in Texas that might help against their big lefty slugger (Hamilton).

Anonymous said...

I have faith in all of our starters (as usual). Isn't it funny how Halladay threw a no-hitter in his first postseason game but then has two not so great starts against us? Be funny if Cliff Lee regressed a little (34:1 K/BB ratio? c'mon that's not sustainable).