Giants

Baggs' NL Rookie of the Year ballot

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Baggs' NL Rookie of the Year ballot

Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was named the NL Rookie of the Year today, and I was among the 32 members of the BBWAA who served on the voting committee.

My ballot reflected the final tally: 1. Harper, 2. Arizona left-hander Wade Miley, 3. Cincinnati Reds infielderoutfielder Todd Frazier.

The outcome shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Harper was the most celebrated rookie in the league -- one of the most hyped phenoms of all time -- and he had the best statistical season. This was the stat that stood out to me as I did my research: Despite being called up April 28, he still managed to score 98 runs -- fifth best in the NL and two better than Atlanta's Michael Bourn, one of the game's most respected leadoff men, who had over 100 more plate appearances.

If anything, I was surprised that Harper only received 16 first-place votes. Miley received 12 first-place votes and nearly won in an upset, finishing with 105 points to 112 for Harper. The only player to appear on all 32 ballots was Harper; Miley appeared on 31.

Frazier received three first-place votes, and in the "losing credibility" category, someone who probably never saw Wilin Rosario play defense gave a first-place vote to the Rockies catcher.

I thought about putting Rosario third on my ballot after he led all rookies with 28 home runs and an .843 OPS, but Frazier was a much more well rounded performer and he made a huge contribution to a Cincinnati club that took control of the NL Central even after losing former MVP Joey Votto for a chunk of the second half.

(Jack Etkin, who has covered the Rockies since their inception, omitted Rosario but had Rockies first baseman Jordan Pacheco on his ballot. That should tell you something.)

Miley was a solid second choice for me and he would've been a worthy ROY in many other seasons. I can't really fathom how 12 voters thought he had a better season that Harper did, though. (Maybe some voters don't like excessive eye black or to be called on the carpet when they ask a clown question.)

Anyway ... in the end, the right guy won. And Harper is going to be a force in this game for a long, long time.

Just a number? Longoria says slow down with concerns of Giants' aging roster

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AP

Just a number? Longoria says slow down with concerns of Giants' aging roster

The Giants added two premier face of the franchise players this offseason in Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. Together the two have combined for eight All-Star Game appearances. 

What they don't bring to San Francisco though, is youth. Longoria (32) and McCutchen (31) are the latest to join an again Giants roster. Buster Posey turn 31 in March, Johnny Cueto turns 32 in February, Hunter Pence turns 35 in April, Brandon Crawford turns 31 in January, and Brandon Belt turns 30 in April.

Father Time though, is far from getting Longoria and the rest of the Giants' stars according to the third baseman. 

"I believe that all of us believe we're in our prime and we are more than capable of competing," Longoria said Wednesday on KNBR. "That's just ways of making waves in the news. Our job is to just go out and do our job. I think we'll be just fine." 

Longoria is entering his 11th season in the big leagues. That has certainly added wear and tear on him, but also added knowledge of his body. 

"I'm definitely a different player," Longoria says now at 32 compared to 22. "There's a lot of ways that I prepare now that I didn't have to do or I didn't know how to do when I was a younger player. For me personally, it's going to be quite an experience."

While Longoria and McCutchen may not have the freshest pair of legs in baseball, they are two of the most durable players in the game. In 2017, both players appeared in 156 out of 162 games.

"Being prepared for the season is one thing and I know how to do that and I know how to get myself ready for that," Longoria said. "It's just a matter of the day in and day out homework so to speak that I'll have to do. That's gonna change based on the league and based on the division."

Evan Longoria reacts to Giants' 'big, big acquisition' of Andrew McCutchen

Evan Longoria reacts to Giants' 'big, big acquisition' of Andrew McCutchen

When Evan Longoria heard he was being traded to the Giants, he instantly thought of the three World Series trophies. 

"They've won three World Series in the past eight years or whatever, everyone knows that," Longoria said Wednesday on KNBR. "It's a great place to be. The fan base is amazing. I'm just looking forward to playing in front of that and being a part of that." 

That's true, the Giants have won three titles in the last eight years. At one point, it was three in five years, building a modern-day dynasty. That also means they have come up short the last three years. 

In 2017, the Giants fell well beyond short. Playing his whole career in the American League East for the Tampa Bay Rays, Longoria didn't realize quite how bad things were going in San Francisco this past season. 

His wife did though. 

"My wife was actually the one that said, 'Hey, did you know the Giants basically had the worst record in baseball last year?'" Longoria shared. "I said 'I'm excited to be going to a contender' and she said 'Uhh... wait a second here.' But I know that those things happen and it's very tough to compete atop of the division every year and there's years that you have to punt so to speak and start preparing for next year." 

None of that matters to Longoria. The past is the past. All Longoria cares about now is 2018 and beyond. And he believes the Giants are in line to make some more Even Year Magic.

"I truly believe that this organization, obviously with the moves that they've made this offseason, with the recent acquisition of [Andrew] McCutchen, I believe that they're still not done," Longoria says. "I think they wanna do a few more things and that shows a committment to winning. We're definitely on the path to turning it around this year." 

The Giants acquired McCutchen from the Pirates on Monday for prospects Bryan Reynolds and Kyle Crick. Longoria couldn't be any more excited to be in the same lineup as McCutchen. 

"It's a big, big acquisition," Longoria said. "I think when you look at Cutch's numbers, they speak for themselves. When you look at what he's done on the baseball field is probably some of the best numbers and performances in the last 10 years in the National League.

"When you add a player like that, it brings a mindset that the team is committed to winning and I've heard nothing but great things about McCutchen in the clubhouse and off the field too. Whether or not you can quantify it, I believe those things go a long way." 

Longoria and McCutchen combined for 48 home runs and 174 RBI in 2017.