Hadn’t posted in a while and figured I was due since the season is about to begin. YES!!! Spring Training is winding down and the final 25 are coming together.
There were several guys sent packing from Arizona in the last week. Most noteworthy: Four pitchers – Edwin Escobar, Erik Cordier, Jake Dunning, and Heath Hembree were sent back to the Fresno Grizzlies. Most surprising of these was Hembree as it was expected he was almost guaranteed a spot in the bullpen. They did keep promising newcomers Derek Law and David Huff. Tony Abreu was released today after a lackluster spring showing. That shows how much competition there is for the infield spots to cover for an ailing Marco Scutaro. The battle for this spot continues between Ehire Adrianza and Brandon Hicks. Both have impressed the Giants staff both offensively and defensively (Hicks has so far hit .432 with three homeruns and 11 RBI this spring – hard to ignore!). And my boy Mark Minicozzi will be reporting to minor league camp next week, but he definitely turned some heads during his spring, and I look forward to hearing that name in the future. Also found out that Tyler La Torre (son of the Vice Principal at the school I work at) had a short stint at Spring Training. He played in one game, got one at bat, and walked. Good job!
The Giants resigned Darren Ford to a minor league deal. Remember that name? The Bullet? Ford was often put in as a pinch runner when speed was needed during the 2010 post season. Man, that guy was amazingly fast! I heard on KNBR that he probably won’t see much big league playing time, but he may be used in the same sub role should the boys go to the post-season. Welcome back, Darren!
My boy, Eli, was mentioned on KNBR recently. He played in the Giants vs. Cubs game on March 10th along with fellow ex-Giants members Nate Schierholtz and Jonathan Sanchez. Cubs won3-2, Sanchez got the save, no hits for Eli or Nate (WTG Matty!). It was nice to hear Kruk and Kuip speak fondly of Eli, even calling him by his first name. You’re still loved here!
Speaking of Eli, my all-time favorite catcher, I learned something while listening to the game yesterday. There was a wild pitch, the ball bounced back off the backstop, and the catcher tried to stop the ball with his mask (he had taken it off to find the ball). Jon Miller said that this is an illegal move. I looked it up, and if you want to read the entire rule (which is pretty long and detailed), refer to MLB rule 7.05. Basically it states that a player cannot deliberately touch a fair ball with his cap, glove, mask, or any article of his apparel if it is not in its usual place on his body (detached). If he does, depending on the specific situation, all runners can advance 2 or 3 bases, including the person at bat! I don’t know – it would be pretty hilarious to see guys throwing their mitts to knock down fly balls. I would definitely pay extra to see that. Thanks for the new knowledge, Jon!
In the continuing quest to narrow down a player’s skills to quantifiable Sabermetrics, a new technology has been developed to track fly balls. Check it out. Pretty cool beans. Not only does it tell you the batted ball speed, launch angle, distance, and hang time, it also tells you how long it took for the fielder to start toward the ball, his top speed, his acceleration, his direct path, his actual path, and his efficiency. WOW! To me, this just emphasizes the amazing talent of these outfielders. It will also be a helpful tool for comparing the abilities of these guys. Jason Heyward – you are a beast! Would love to see this applied to some of Hunter’s and Gregor’s catches.
So as we prepare to begin the next season of baseball, I thought I would share the things that I am excited about and concerned about for my boys. Here’s my list:
– I think since Brandon Belt has worked out his swing, we will see amazing things from him this year.
– Buster put on some weight and muscle mass and will hopefully have more endurance this season.
– Pablo trimmed down and should have a much better season both offensively and defensively.
– Hector Sanchez also trimmed down. This hasn’t gotten much media, but you know that will help him with stamina. Knowing that he will be in the lineup when Buster needs a break, I’m excited to see more production from him this season, especially since he’s a switch hitter.
– Timmy seems to have worked out his pitching issues so I’m looking forward to seeing more consistency from him.
– Tim Hudson should be a great addition as a mentor to the kids on the team as well as being a force on the plate, being consistent and getting himself out of jams. I also learned that the boy can hit! He’s got a lifetime .170 average. Not too shabby for a pitcher.
– Michael Morse has the potential to bring some power to the lineup. Hopefully he can repeat his 2011 season for us (.303 BA, 31 HR, 95 RBI). And I look forward to seeing that face on TV (sorry – I’m a girl).
– My main concern is the health of this team. Already during Spring Training there have been health issues, primarily with Angel, Michael, and especially Marco. Marco may not even make the Opening Day roster due to back issues. At least we have some depth in the infield, but Marco is an offensive force. All these guys need to stay healthy or we might have a repeat of last year, where bench players took on every day roles. Keeping my fingers crossed we can.
– We have a bad habit of leaving guys on base. I hope this season we can work on doing anything possible to get guys that have made it onto base home. How many more games would we have won last season if we could just move those guys along??
I’m leaving for my Arizona trip tomorrow night. My brothers (Paul and Nick) and I will be attending two Spring Training games and the Opening Day game vs. the Diamondbacks on March 31st. I am soooooooo excited! Hoping to have lots of close encounters with my boys. The weather is supposed to be in the 80s all week. Shorts time! Also – a heads up to all of you since I probably won’t be writing again before the season starts. I am putting out the Beat the Streak challenge to everyone again. Sign up and try to beat me. And my offer still stands – I’ll buy a Coke for whoever can beat me (and I’ve won the last 3 seasons!). Here’s the link to the site if you want to try it. You won’t be able to make picks until right before the season starts. Good luck if you take on the challenge! Until next time (when I’ll have a nice tan!) – GO GIANTS!!!