Bochy challenges Giants to 'man up and be a little tougher'


Bochy challenges Giants to 'man up and be a little tougher'

DENVER Giants manager Bruce Bochy shut the doors for a20-minute team meeting Friday afternoon, and it wasnt to remind the boys thatJonathan Sanchez often has a wee bit of trouble throwing strikes.

Bochy challenged the team after a 3-7 homestand in which theplayers mentality sometimes looked as soft as their bats.

And he did it in no uncertain terms.

Youve got to man up and be a little tougher, Bochy said,summarizing his main talking point.

Bochy didnt say if he used any audiovisual tactics orplayed scenes from a certain Mel Gibson flick, as hes done in the past. If hedonned a Scottish highlander costume, he changed back into his uniform inrecord time.

But Bochy made it clear he wasnt just telling players toloosen up and have fun.

Perhaps most damning, Bochy intimated that some playersmight be obsessing over personal stats instead of focusing on ways to help theteam win games.

Sometimes we need to compete a little bit better at theplate, Bochy said. Thats being a little tougher mentally. In this game,sometimes you get caught up in personal stats. You forget its about competing.Thats what you love to do.

Thats an issue the Giants figured to face this season, withso many impending free agents including center fielder Angel Pagan, whoseseason took a nosedive in July.

Pagan is starting in the leadoff spot for the first timesince May 23 as Bochy tries to get him going again. At least the switch-hittersbruised hand is improved after he injured it in a fit of frustration.

Bochy addressed the frustration issue, too.

When youre not getting results, you get frustrated andcompound it by taking it into the next at-bat, Bochy said. Sometimes wevegot to do a better job washing those off.

Its a tough homestand. Its never easy when you lose, whatwas it? Seven of eight? It was time, I think, to talk to them and remind them wherewere at here. You go through times when its handed to you, but youve got toshow some resolve here.

The offense clearly misses Pablo Sandoval, even though hereally wasnt hitting the cover off the ball before he went down with ahamstring injury. (Sandoval is jogging and making progress, but Bochy said theGiants wont know if hell return when eligible on Thursday until he begins totest it more aggressively.)

The Giants would do well to recapture some of their spiritfrom 2010, when they responded from some absolutely gut-wrenching losses bywinning the next day. They havent always bounced back as well this season.

Bochy said the hitters met as a group a week ago.

When you dont hit, you look flat, Bochy said. We hadtrouble getting the crowd into it. Youve got to create some excitement scoringruns, too. It looks like youre not having fun. At the same time, wevegot to be a little tougher, too. This game is tough at times and youve got toman up and be a little tougher.

As the manager, you say what needs to be said.

Bochy said he is aware that Brandon Belt has much betternumbers against left-handed pitching, but he wanted to involve Brett Pillagainst Sanchez. The Rockies will throw three left-handed starters in thisseries, but Bochy said he isnt planning to sit Belt and shortstop BrandonCrawford all weekend.

Projection system loves Giancarlo Stanton at AT&T Park


Projection system loves Giancarlo Stanton at AT&T Park

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants have made a habit in recent winters of “kicking the tires,” so to speak, on as many free agents as possible. General manager Bobby Evans is committed to being thorough, but at times there is probably no need. 

Hitters have made no secret of the fact that they prefer friendlier confines, and if you’re a power hitter, you’re going to ask Evans for a significantly larger check to play 81 of your games at the harshest power park in the majors. That’s what makes Giancarlo Stanton, readily available via trade, so intriguing. But would Stanton be fully immune to the realities of AT&T Park?

The numbers, at least in a small sample, suggest he would. Stanton has played 27 games in San Francisco and taken 108 at-bats. He has nine homers, 11 doubles and a triple. His .676 slugging percentage at AT&T Park isn’t far off his mark at Coors Field (.714), and his 1.048 OPS is higher than his OPS during the 2017 season, when he hit 59 homers. 

The damage has been done in limited time, but the Giants clearly believe it’s fully sustainable, and a recent study done by ESPN’s Dan Szymborski backs that up. Szymborski ran his ZiPS projection system to estimate Stanton’s stats over the next 10 years for a variety of suitors. The numbers in orange and black are overwhelming. 

The projections have Stanton at 46.2 WAR over the next 10 seasons, including 7.1 in 2018 and 6.8 in 2019, the two seasons the organization should be focused on given Madison Bumgarner’s contract situation. ZiPS projects Stanton at 46 homers next season if he plays for the Giants, followed by 43, 42, 39, 35 over the following four years. For comparison’s sake, Brandon Belt led the Giants in homers each of the last two seasons and he has 35 total during that span. 

Any sort of projection system needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt, especially with a player who has had injury issues in the past. But ZiPS believes Stanton -- who plays in a huge park already -- is a rarity, the kind of power hitter who can keep crushing well into his 30’s and put up huge numbers even if he is limited by the realities of getting older and getting hurt. Szymborski’s projections have Stanton playing just 102 games in 2025, but he’s still projected to hit 23 homers, 20 doubles and post an OPS+ of 121. Even in the 10th year of the projections, ZiPS has Stanton down for 16 homers. 

There are no sure things in this game, but as Evans continues to chase a blockbuster deal, he can be confident that Stanton is one player who should be able to provide power for years to come, no matter what AT&T Park does to hold hitters down. 

Former A's slugger Gomes offers Ohtani scouting report: 'Big fan of the dude'


Former A's slugger Gomes offers Ohtani scouting report: 'Big fan of the dude'

Former A's left fielder/DH and Bay Area native, Jonny Gomes, last played Major League Baseball in 2015. The next year, Gomes looked to continue his career in Japan with the Rakuten Golden Eagles. 

Gomes struggled in Japan, batting just .169 in 18 games. While in Japan though, Gomes saw firsthand the two-way talent of Shohei Ohtani. 

"The dude throws 100 miles per hour consistently," Gomes said Tuesday to MLB Network Radio. "That plays."

With MLB, the Players Association, and the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization agreeing to a new posting system, Ohtani should soon be available as a free agent to MLB teams. Gomes was adamant that Ohtani will live up to the hype. 

"If you have the arm speed to throw 100 miles per hour, guess what your slider's gonna do -- yikes. And he also has a split, which is yikes with that arm speed. And he also has a changeup, and he also has a curveball. You're talking about five plus, plus, plus pitches.

"If he was in the draft, I think it would be a no-brainer right now that he'd be No. 1 overall," Gomes said. 

Since turning pro as an 18-year-old, Ohtani has been a dominant force on the mound. The 6-foot-3 right-hander owns a 42-15 career record with a 2.52 ERA and 1.076 WHIP. 

What makes Ohtani, 23, so intriguing is that he's not only the best pitcher in Japan, he may be the best hitter too. In 2017, Ohtani hit .332 with eight home runs in 65 games. The left fielder/DH owns a .286/.358/.500 career slash line with 48 home runs. 

"Now hitting wise, is it gonna transfer, is it not? I've seen the dude hit a fly ball that hit the roof of the Tokyo Dome," Gomes remembers. "So, what does that tell you? That bat speed's there, that power's there, that he's generating a lot out front.

"To be able to hit the roof of the Tokyo Dome is way more impressive than hitting any other roof in the states. It would be like hitting the roof in Seattle when it was closed, it's way up there."

Everyone knows about Ohtani off-the-charts talent. The stats are there. What we don't know as much about is his personality. Gomes does and he believes his leadership will make him be a star in the states. 

"I'm a big fan of the dude," Gomes says. "I saw his work ethic, I saw how players treated him, I saw how respectful he was. Over there it's all about seniority. Granted he was the biggest star on the field at any given moment, but still gave the utmost respect to seniority guys on his ball club."