Friday, March 6, 2015

First Casualty

The only thing I ever really hope for in Spring Training is that no one gets hurt. Win, lose, whatever, just stay healthy. Alas, the Giants steadiest player, Hunter Pence, a model of consistency and durability throughout his career, suffered a broken arm yesterday after being hit by a pitch. The only positive is that it happened this soon--much of Pence's recovery time will be before the season opens. I suppose a second positive is that it will give another outfielder a chance at a roster spot. Roster spots for the 2015 club are few and far between and now one will open that no one expected. Maybe Justin Maxwell will get a better chance to show what he's got. Perhaps Juan Perez will find that consistent big-league stroke.

Get well soon, Hunter.




obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Yes, Get well soon, Hunter.


MosesZd said...

Gary Brown hit a homerun. I was like 'he was in camp?'

I thinking about Williamson. I'm thinking about Maxwell. I'm thinking about Delfino, Okert, Blach, Crick and Mejia.

But I'm not thinking about Gary Brown.

JC Parsons said...

Sure hope this is not the start of more odd season woes. It should be ok though; it is early and an injury that should heal well. Besides this team is much better built than last year, in terms of outfielders anyway. Jettisoning Morse gave us a chance to have complete players, not just sluggers, on the bench. I would guess that Aoki will be our starting right fielder, with Blanco/Perez in left. This also means Travis might make the team, at least for awhile. I'm excited about Juan getting a chance after what he did in the postseason. Once his on base skills improve, he becomes a quality role player.

Brother Bob said...

Aoki should handle RF and leadoff. This means he'll be crucial to how well we do in April. Pagan can settle somewhere in the order like 3rd and be more aggressive at the plate. He should enjoy that.
Last season I always wondered if Pence was saving himself for the postseason, then in the first rounds of the postseason I wondered if he was saving himself for the World Series. Which turned out to be the case. Maybe now he can just start hit
ing well in May and keep it up all season.

JC Parsons said...

I agree Aoki should be near the top of the order, which is not what Bochy is saying at this point. I would like him #2 so that Panik doesn't have that worry quite yet (every one acts like Joe is a grizzled vet ).

My first reaction when MOC used "consistent" to describe Pence was a bit of a recoil. Sure he plays everyday and is a rock in the clubhouse, but he is one streaky bastard at the plate. So I understand your feeling of Pence "saving himself" but I really don't think he is capable of toning it down. He consistently gives it his all, but sometimes his production disappears for awhile. This actually characterizes a few Giants hitters (BCraw was especially bad last year) and I think getting McGeehee and Aoki is a way we are trying to deal with that.

M.C. O'Connor said...

If Pence fails in the "consistent" definition, then I don't know what the word means. Take a look at his career--season after season the guy delivers the same thing. If I recall from last season, Pence had one bad month (Sept).

As far as "streakiness" goes, I would be interested in something other than the eye test. If a player really is less "streaky" than another player, it should show up clearly in the numbers. That is from week to week his OPS or whatever should vary very little. I don't know what you'd need to calculate--rolling averages over 10-day blocks or somesuch. Standard deviations of wOBA from in each 18-game inning? (I'm retired, my math skills are shite.) I've been hearing all my life about "streaky" vs. "consistent" hitters but rarely see any real analysis. In my view it is a very hard game to do that with, i.e., lump hitters into pots (Very Streaky, Semi-Streaky, Semi-Consistent, Very Consistent, etc.) because it takes SO MANY GODDAMN plate appearances to really judge a guy's true hitting ability. There are rare outliers that hit the moment they put on the uniform (Posey) but most have to learn over several years before putting it all together (BCraw).

I love Pence's positive spin on everything. Something good will come out of this. I'm adopting his attitude.

I'm not sure I want Aoki in RF. He's not as good a fielder as Blanco, IMO.

M.C. O'Connor said...

This book has a really interesting chapter on streakiness in teams and individuals. Overall it is a thought-provoking foray into the game we all love. At the beginning of each new season I feel like a little kid, ready to discover some new things and learn a bunch more than I knew last season.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

I see both sides points. Pence is consistent, at the macro level, but not so much at the micro. Given his personality that he exudes publicly, I cannot believe that he is not playing max effort all the time. That is life.

Posey consistent? Wow, he is even worse than Pence. People forget that after his initial hot hitting, he fell into a deep slump that got him to below .700 when Molina was traded. Oh OPS that is. Then he hit like Bonds for a few months. He has been like that, for a few months he is Bonds, for the other moths, he is like Juan Pierre, high BA, high OBP, but low SLG. Overall, usually pretty good, period, but he has been consistently bipolar in his hitting, always good OBP but SLG goes from Bonds to Ordinary and back a lot. He showed in 2012 what happens when he is consistent much of the season, but his downs brought down his other seasons to merely very good instead of MVP.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

I love that book, Curve Ball, very interesting, would love to go thru in depth whenever I can retire. Recommend to anyone who is interested in analyzing baseball. I do not recall the chapters any more, will have to dig up and peruse again.

If anyone is interested, he is college prof and wrote a stats class book using baseball to teach statistics. That was also fun too.

Thanks for reminding me, I will have to check his college website to see what his latest studies have found.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

I still like Brown. At min, he will be a Blanco type who can serve that role for a while. More defense, but less OBP and SB. I still think he can break out if he gets some regular play in majors once he matures some, I think after he gets past the point where the hole in guys brains finally fill in, I still have hope for him, he could take over once Pagan moves on.

nomisnala said...

Some consistent hitters with the giants were Marco Scutaro after we got him in the trade in 2012, Melky Cabrera, until the drug issue, Randy Winn during his first less than half season with the giants. Streaky is Pence. Yeah, streaky is Pence. He is consistently streaky thoughout his entire career.

M.C. O'Connor said...

My issue with streakiness is "compared to whom?" All ballplayers are streaky. All have ups and downs in their performances. Is Pence worse than most? Is there an "average" ML-level of streakiness and is Pence on the wrong side of the line?

Here's an easier question:

Is there a recent Giants hitter we have watched as closely as Pence that exhibits significantly less streakiness?

Zo said...

It would actually be a fairly easy analysis to do, assuming you could get a database and use a computerize a search through it. You could simply look at a variety of time periods and look for significant changes in production, say OBP. Then think about you want to define streakiness. Day to day? Week to week? Trending above and below a certain average?