Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Final 25

Five starters:
Madison Bumgarner
Matt Cain
Tim Lincecum
Tim Hudson
Ryan Vogelsong

Seven relievers:
Sergio Romo
Santiago Casilla
Javier Lopez
Juan Gutierrez
David Huff
Jean Machi
Yusmeiro Petit

Juan Carlos (J.C.) Gutierrez is thirty years old and has played for the Astros, Diamondbacks, Royals and Angels in his career. He was signed by Houston as an amateur free agent in 2000 at the tender age of 17 and made his debut seven years later. In 222-2/3 big league innings he has 197 strikeouts (8.0/9). The Giants sent righty reliever Derek Law to AA-Richmond. He has ridiculous strikeout numbers (188 in 149 IP or 12.1/9) but is only 23 and has not yet played above A-level. I imagine we'll see Law again in September and I'll bet he makes the team in 2015. Jeremy Affeldt could come off the DL by the first home series. David Huff is the other southpaw in the 'pen. He was a first-round pick for Cleveland in 2006, made his debut in 2009, and spent three years as a starter before being waived and picked up by the Yankees who used him mostly in relief. He's 28 years old and has over 320 innings of big-league experience (1435 batters faced).

Six infielders:
Brandon Belt
Joaquin Arias
Brandon Crawford
Pablo Sandoval
Brandon Hicks
Ehire Adrianza

Brandon Hicks spent last season at Las Vegas in the PCL (Mets organization) and the year before across the Bay in Oakland. The Braves drafted him out of Texas A&M in the third round in 2007 and he made his debut with them in 2010. He's primarily a shortstop but only has 98 big league plate appearances. He had a great spring (.348/.456/.692) and will likely start against tough lefties depending on how well B-Craw is swinging the bat. As a prospect he was rated as a plus-defender and compared to Jose Hernandez. Speaking of plus-defenders, I'm happy to see that Ehire Adrianza got the last infield spot. The 24-year old has been in the organization since he was 16, signing as an international free agent from Venezuela. He's never hit well(.679 OPS in 2899 PA) but showed some growth at Fresno (.301/.409/.441) last year. He managed only four hits in his 20 PA with the Giants but one was a home run in Yankee Stadium off Andy Pettitte. Unlike Hicks, who is listed at 6'2" and 215 lbs., Adrianza is more like the shortstops of yore at 6'1" and 170 lbs. He's a switch-hitter. Marco Scutaro's 15-day DL stint is retroactive to March 21st, meaning he could be available before Affeldt.

Five outfielders:
Michael Morse
Angel Pagan
Hunter Pence
Gregor Blanco
Juan Perez

Juan Carlos Perez dazzled with the glove last season (8 assists in 32 games) and had a nice Spring (.313/.389/.563) as well. He shares my November 13th birthday--he'll be 28 this fall (I'll be 55). He's a bit old to be called a prospect, and in fact has 2499 plate appearances over five full seasons in the minors. He's been an everyday player at A, AA and AAA but never quite cracked the glass ceiling despite his superb fielding skills. Too many strikeouts (472), not enough walks (119), and a lack of pop (.429 slugging) probably doom him to a fifth outfielder role, but that's a big deal with the 2014 Giants. Newcomer Michael Morse, as we know, is going to need some help in left field, and having two expert glove men to step in for the late innings will be a nice luxury for Bochy. Gregor Blanco had a very rough patch as a starter last year, but still finished the year as a 2.5 WAR player. We know he has skills, and it will be up to Boch to find the right spots for him and take advantage of what he can do.

Two catchers:
Buster Posey
Hector Sanchez

Hanchez is only 24. He's a switch hitter. Remind yourself of those two facts when he flails at a pitch or fails to catch one of our Two Tim's sinker balls. The Giants are fortunate to have him has a backup. He's been in pro ball since he was 17 (.804 OPS in 1407 PA) and made it to the majors when he was 21. He is still raw, but I think we saw a lot of growth in his fielding last season. No one better to learn from than the guy he's playing behind.

That's it. That's the Final 25.




M.C. O'Connor said...

FanGraphs posted their NL predictions:

Only one picked the Giants in the NL West out of 31 writers.

ESPN polled their writers, too:

Out of 44, only 3 pick the Giants to win the West.

Ron said...

Tough voting, especially given that 'this is the best collection of San Francisco Giants players EVER'.

(In a world of hyperbole, that may have topped them all, Mark! As just one metric, the late '60's teams had 4 Hall-of-Famers. I think that the ceiling for this two is 2 future HOFers [Posey & Bumgarner] & that depends upon years & years of health & consistent effectiveness - unfortunately, for Cain & Lincecum, I think that that ship has sailed.)

I think that, with good health, we can win this division, but it's going to be a grind.

Russian River said...

Back in 2010, the so called experts were still picking the Rangers when the Giants had them down 3 games to one. In 2012, no one picked the Giants to beat the mighty Tigers who were all but given the trophy before the series even started. SO.....the heck with who does or does not pick the Giants to win the west. We accomplish what the "experts" don't expect, through hard work, determination and heart. Let's Go Giants!

M.C. O'Connor said...

Titles >> Talent

Rings >> HOF placques