Friday News & Notes 09/02/2011
- In the first wake of September call-ups, the Giants have recalled Brandon Crawford, Waldis Joaquin, Emmanuel Burriss, and Conor Gillaspie from Triple-A Fresno. In addition, Darren Ford was recalled from Double-A Richmond.
Brandon Crawford was sent down after hitting .190/.275/.261 in 50 games with the Giants this season, and presumably won't see too many starts with Orlando Cabrera and Mike Fontenot around, despite Crawford possibly being the better option because of his plus defense. In 29 games in Triple-A, Crawford was hitting .234/.291/.327
Waldis Joaquin has pitched 15.1 innings with the Giants, with a combined ERA of 5.87. Joaquin has been in the Giants organization since 2005, with a combined 3.50 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, and BB/9 1.94 of in 291.1 IP. In his 49.2 IP in Triple-A Fresno, Joaquin has a 3.44 ERA, but despite that, has a beyond poor 1.17 K/BB, and FIP of 5.05. At one point, Joaquin was actually considered a Top 10 prospect in the Giants organization.
The stories of Emmanuel Burriss and Darren Ford are pretty well known by now-- both being career minor-league players used nothing more than bench players in the majors from time to time. Both will bring some quality speed to the bench, that we've seen showcased several times.
- One notable player who was not called up today was Marc Kroon, who became an instant team and fan favorite in Spring Training when signed to a minor-league contract. In 46.1 IP with Triple-A Fresno as the closer, Kroon had an ERA of 5.05, and despite the impressive 9.5 K/9, he's posting a 6.2 BB/9, totaling a K/BB of 1.53, along with a WHIP of 1.66 and FIP of 5.52. I can't say I'm opposed to giving Kroon a shot for the last month of the season before he likely retires, but I can understand-- with those numbers-- why the Giants wouldn't be inclined to call him up. Through his Twitter account, Kroon has made it sound like he was told he will not be called up this month.
- In an off the field story, the Giants are close to resolving a $5M breach-of-contract lawsuit with former Giants top prospect Angel Villalona, who was arrested back in 2009 in the Dominican Republic for the murder of a 25-year old man. Villalona has now been since set free and the charges have been dropped. If the Giants can resolve this contract lawsuit, Villalona could potentially return to the Giants organization and resume his baseball development. In 2009 with Single-A San Jose, Villalona was hitting .267/.309/.397, and before that season was ranked the #44 prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America
Quick Analysis: Giants DFA Rowand and Tejada 08/31/2011
Brian Sabean finally budged today and decided to DFA both Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada. Just as of yesterday, Sabean publicly admitted his frustration over the team's struggles over the last month, but also said that he had no regrets on the course of action he took throughout this season. Today, I can't say that's the case.
Aaron Rowand was signed after the 2007 season where he posted a .309/.374/.515 line, with 27 HR's and a wRC+ of 126. Rowand was once an established All-Star type player, who consistently put up those type of good numbers with solid defense in center field. Despite the 17.5 WAR Rowand has amassed between 2004 and 2007, it was safe to say that paying a player who's main publicity came from running into a wall an average $12M a year was just stupid. I never understood it, and over the last 3 years, I understand it even less. In the long term view of this contract, Sabean will probably take high levels of unfair criticism, but it mostly comes due to the amount of players he's over-payed, including Barry Zito. Not only has Rowand been unwilling to change or adjust his batting stance in order to try and affect his offensive production, but as of late, it's been said that Rowand's complaining has reached critical levels. One player said, "“He’s doing everything possible to get out of here." (quote courtesy of Extra Baggs)
Miguel Tejada was signed to a 1 yr/$6M contract this off-season to be the everyday SS while the Brandon Crawford continued to groom in the minor leagues. In an understatement, that didn't work. On the season, Tejada has been hitting .239/.270/.326, adding up to a total of -0.1 WAR (yes, negative). What was also puzzling from the start, has now shown just as predicted-- Tejada, at 37 years old, can't play anything close average defense at SS. Over the last three seasons, Tejada has a total -14.8 UZR, and has cost his team(s) a total of 19 runs at the position. While some don't buy into the metrics, Sabean's "advanced scouts" shouldn't of had any trouble recognizing that in 2010, Tejada was simply inadequate at anywhere other than 3B. The bunting incident on Sunday was just adding fuel to the fire. The Giants have essentially spent $6.5M plus Thomas Neal to fill their SS needs, and still haven't found any adequate performance.
Brett Pill, Fresno Grizzlies
In corresponding moves, the Giants activated Pat Burrell and purchased the contract of Brett Pill from Triple-A Fresno. Burrell has been rehabbing with San Jose after the foot injury, while Brett Pill (26) has been tearing up the Pacific Coast League, with 27 HR's and 107 RBI. Take that lightly, because while his standard numbers look impressive, Pill has a wRC+ of 106, an OPS of .879, and his OBP of .341 is lower than the league (PCL) average. The Giants still have a 40-man roster spot open, so stay tuned.
Today's ultimate message is that it was time to move on and things are going to change, but unfortunately that message is about 4-6 weeks overdue. Sabean was never going to just simply dump his veterans to play young players, but he's now accepted that it just wasn't working. I'm not sure if this is going to spark anything for this weekend series against the D'Backs, but if it does and the Giants simply can't catch up, the criticism will ultimately lie with Sabean for waiting too long
Giants Activate Romo and Torres 08/28/2011
- With both elgible to come of the 15-day DL today, the Giants have activated Andres Torres and Sergio Romo. Torres will be in the starting lineup today, and Romo will re-join the bullpen and presumably take over the closer role until Brian Wilson returns.
- In corresponding moves, the Giants optioned both Eric Surkamp and Dan Runzler. The choice to keep Steve Edlefsen shouldn't come as a surprise, as the Giants won't need a 5th starter until September 6th, and Surkamp will get that start. Runzler is headed to Triple-A Fresno and Surkamp to Single-A San Jose, where both should be back up when the rosters expand.
- In other news, there's some concern from the team that Jonathan Sanchez may not be able to return this season, as his ankle injury hasn't progressed.
- The Giants designated P Clayton Tanner (Double-A Richmond) for assignment to clear a 40-man spot for Eric Surkamp. This move was made before the game, but was just announced. In 119.2 IP, Tanner was posting a 4.29 ERA with a WHIP of 1.29 and K/BB of 2.5
- The Giants also plan to activate both Andres Torres and Sergio Romo tomorrow, so two more roster moves will have to be made. Bochy acknowledged that Torres will start tomorrow (Sunday)
- Overall a good first outing from Eric Surkamp. Allowed only 1 ER, due to the throwing error on the pick-off play by Huff. Surkamp struck out four while walking three batters, through six innings. Surkamp looked a bit wild at first, but got through the start. According to Bill James' gamescore, Surkamp's debut was the better than Madison Bumgarner's, Matt Cain's, and Tim Lincecum's:
Bumgarner (9/8/2009): 53
Cain (8/29/2005): 51
Lincecum (5/6/2007): 33
Surkamp (8/27/2011): 57
While you probably noticed Surkamp doesn't flash a great fastball (average 87.4 MPH tonight), his off-speed pitches are what gives him the deception. Baseball America rated Surkamp as having the "Best Breaking Pitch" and "Best Changeup" in the Eastern League (Double-A) this season.
- Man, Jeff Keppinger has been clutch (if you believe in it) this weekend-- drove in the only 2 runs the Giants scored last night with a double off J.A. Happ, and now the game-winning hit tonight off Fernando Rodriguez. That makes the Giants' 11th walk-off win this season. The Giants record when being out-hit by their opponent was 5-44, but they pulled this one out (Astros 5 hits, Giants 4 hits).
- I'd be unfair if I didn't mention Mark DeRosa, so I will. Self-admitted, DeRosa hasn't done much to live up to the 2 yr/$12M contract the Giants signed him to, but none of that mattered tonight:
- Because it's Saturday night, and it's getting old talking about how bad this offense is, (Did I mention they were 2-hit by Brett Myers?) here's my attempt at an irrelevant way to construct a lineup, based on the Giants record with each player in their respective spot:
1. Andres Torres, CF (36-31)
2. Miguel Tejada, 2B (14-5)
3. Mike Fontenot, 3B (6-1)
4. Nate Schierholtz, RF (7-1)
5. Aubrey Huff, 1B (15-9)
6. Cody Ross, LF (19-13)
7. Brandon Crawford, SS (19-9)
8. Chris Stewart, C (18-10)
9. Ryan Vogelsong, P (13-8)
I'd do the math and figure out what the Giants' record would be with this record, but I'm not going to. Mainly, because I don't know how. Feel free to try.
UPDATE: Giants to call-up Eric Surkamp 08/26/2011
John O' Connor from the Richmond Times-Dispatch is reporting that Eric Surkamp was a health scratch from his start today. According to O'Connor, the Giants' vice president of player personnel Dick Tidrow was in Richmond last Sunday to watch Surkamp pitch
With a hole in the rotation, the Giants need a starter for Saturday. After Dan Runzler's last start, it's not a surprise that Bochy and co. wouldn't have much confidence at this point. At this point, Surkamp being called up is not official and nothing more than speculation. If they purchase his contract, the Giants will have to make a 40-man move, which likely could be transferring Barry Zito to the 60-day DL.
Eric Surkamp, 24, was drafted by the Giants in 6th round of the 2008 draft. The Eastern League All-Star is having a breakout season in Double-A Richmond, posting a 2.02 ERA in 142.1 IP, with a WHIP of 1.08, K/9 of 10.4, and K/BB of 3.75. With Zack Wheeler traded, the LHP Surkamp is without a doubt the Giants best pitching prospect in their system.
According to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, "The big lefty [Surkamp] doesn't throw hard, but he's got excellent command and two plus secondary pitches in his curve and changeup."
Giants 1, Astros 3: The Harsh Recap 08/25/2011
That pretty much sums it up. Thanks to @Croixdstick for that.
This was the part of the schedule that was supposed to "favor" the Giants, and so far against the Padres and Astros, they've gone 2-4. While some of the struggles over the last several weeks can be attributed to the amount of players sent to the DL, there's just no excuse when you score 1 run on 4 hits against Henry Sosa, who only struck out 3 batters. On any other team, Sosa is still a member of a Double-A or Triple-A rotation. When you have 43 wins through August, you'll pretty much call up anyone who can throw a good fastball with less than average command.
In great seasons, teams usually have almost everything go their way, from the small hits, to staying healthy. This team? It's just not happening, but yet amazingly, the Giants are still only 3 games out of 1st, while playing .308 baseball over the last month. The playoff invoices have been sent out, but if it's me, I'm pretty sure I'm not signing that check with confidence.
Giants 2, Padres 1: Post-Game Notes 08/24/2011
- Despite walking issuing 5 BB's tonight, Tim Lincecum got through with 7 K's, allowing 1 ER on 8.0 IP. In 8 of Lincecum's last 9 starts, he's allowed 1 ER or fewer, with a total ERA of 1.16. If you exclude Lincecum's shaky June where he posted a 4.84 ERA in 35.1 IP, he has a 1.93 ERA over the rest of the season (135.2 IP). Lincecum still has a decent shot at making up ground in the Cy Young race if he keeps his performance at this rate.
- Even while only scoring 2 runs, I actually liked what I saw from this lineup. Carlos Beltran finally got back in the lineup, and contributed right away, going 2-for-4 with a HR that ended up being the deciding run in this game. While he's obviously not 100%, Beltran is desperately needed in this lineup. Brandon Belt has continued to hit since being called up, going 2-for-3 with his first career triple.
- Bruce Bochy has made many questionable decisions, but letting Orlando Cabrera hit lead-off is still up there. A pure example of how an opinion doesn't match the facts. Cabrera is a "disciplined hitter" who "comes up when needed", but on the season he has a line of .246/.273/.316, and .254/.257/.296 as a Giant. For those who don't understand on-base percentage-- that's awful. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt as his options are limited, but I hope this is not even temporary.
- Santiago Casilla got the save today, and very quietly, is having quite a tremendous season. In 37.2 IP, Casilla has a 1.43 ERA on the season, which currently ranks 4th in the NL among pitchers with at least 30 IP-- despite an FIP of only 3.67 and K/BB of 1.24. You can't expect Casilla to continue on this roll, but he's certainly been more than solid (in terms of results).
Notes/Injury Updates, per Andrew Baggarly
- Nate Schierholtz, despite a hairline fracture in his foot, should be available by Friday (at the earliest)
- Pat Burrell is going to DH for San Jose in attempt to see if he can play through the pain in his foot. If not activated in September, Burrell will likely retire.
- Eric Surkamp will have to be on the 40-man roster by December to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, which could strengthen the chance of the Giants purchasing his contract from Double-A for the 5th spot in the rotation.
[I originally thought Surkamp had to be on the 40-man by the end of the season, but thanks to Baggs for clarifying]
I'd like to go into as much detail as possible about how horrible this loss simply was, but I'd be repeating the thoughts of many people from over the last 3 weeks. The expression "one of these games" is often used too frankly, but with this team over these last few weeks it has been more than applicable.
- As each game goes on in this terrible stretch, it just seems a new low occurs in every game, including this one. Not only did Madison Bumgarner [thanks to Cody Ross] give up a lead-off in-the-park HR, but he gave up a season-high 11 hits while tying a season-high mark by giving up 2 HR's. Despite that, Bumgarner only issued 1 BB while striking out 5, raising his 3.97 K/BB ratio, which ranked 6th in the NL coming into this game. The big inning has continued to be a problem for Bumgarner though, marking the 9th time he's allowed 3+ runs in one inning. Coming into this game, Bumgarner had a 2.61 FIP with a .331 BABIP on the season. Bumgarner has been the definition of tough luck in terms of his W-L record this season, but I'm not sure exactly how much is playing into his ERA.
- It's definitely a fair opinion to say that Bumgarner is the best pitcher in the MLB with 12+ losses. Just don't tell that to Keith Olberman.
- Before this game, the Giants have been scoring 2.4 runs per game in the last 21 games. In that stretch, they've hit .165 with RISP, and have lost 15 of those 21. (Now 16 of 22)
- With Jonathan Sanchez unable to go, the Giants decided to give Dan Runzler the start for tomorrow's series finale. He'll be facing the pitcher the Giants sent to the Astros for Jeff Keppinger; Henry Sosa. Runzler made 10 starts in his stint with Triple-A Fresno this season, posting a 4.17 ERA [in 14 total games]. Sosa was in Fresno-- where he had a 10.41 ERA in 23.0 IP-- when traded to the Astros. He then made 4 starts between Double-A and Triple-A with the Astros (allowing 6 ER in 30.1 IP) before being called up to Houston, where he's now made 2 starts, in which he's allowed 8 ER in 12.0 IP.
- Seems like the best time, to be quite honest. If Wilson is having issues with the elbow and won't be able to go for the next few days, being short a reliever for that time can only add to the troubles. Especially with the way this team has been playing as of late, there hasn't been a huge demand for a closer-- as depressing as it sounds.
- Steve Edlefsen was drafted by the Giants in the 16th round in 2007. In 292.1 IP in the minors [all as a reliever], Edlefsen has a 2.92 ERA with a BB/9 of 4.6 but has been struggling this season, posting a 5.66 ERA in 43.0 IP with a 1.53 K/BB.
I leave you with a pretty depressing quote [despite being reality] from Baggs:
Giants Catch the Injury Bug-- Big Time 08/16/2011
I won't bother writing it all out, I'm afraid I might hurt my wrist by the time I'm done. Courtesty of Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) (click the link for full explanations) here's the list of all the injuries:
If any of the other plays above hit the DL, we're obviously going to see some call-ups, and quickly. The safe bets would be Emmanuel Burriss (for Keppinger) and Darren Ford (for Rownand or Schierholtz) as they've both seen the majors in multiple stints.
After that, that would likely leave one roster spot as Sandoval appears to be fine. I highly doubt all three players (Rowand, Schierholtz, Keppinger) will hit the DL so there shouldn't be too much thought put into that third roster spot. Because either way, it's highly unlikely there's any player they'd call up (including Burriss and Ford) that they'd give a starting job.
The other option could be Brett Pill, who has absolutely been tearing up the PCL in Fresno. While his stats are very easy to overvalue and he only plays first base (also a dismal second base), giving Belt a starting job in LF or RF would leave the only viable backup first basemen (off the bench) as Mark DeRosa. Pill's also been in the minors since 2006, so if there's any time to give this kid a chance, it seems like it's now. Bill Hall is also sitting in Triple-A after being designated for assignment a few weeks ago, but he's the last player I want to see and we all know why.
One of the biggest keys to the attempting to make another run in the playoffs this season was staying healthy (as is for any team), and so far this season, the Giants have had 20 players on their 40 man roster hit the DL. Last year wasn't torture. We're all now learning what torture really is... it's just one depressing injury after another.
Chris is the lead writer and founder of Your SF Giants and a contributor to other blogs including GiantsPod.net. You can reach Chris on Twitter with any questions, comments, or other information.
This is a Giants blog covering all things from post-game notes, to prospect updates, to the craziest trade speculations you might have ever seen.
I started this blog as a Giants fan and huge baseball enthusiast to put my thoughts out there for all to read. Call it a fan blog, but I try to keep my opinions backed up by facts, and explain everything I say.