Giants

Bochy plans platoon in left with Nady, Blanco

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Bochy plans platoon in left with Nady, Blanco

SAN FRANCISCO Until August 15, Bruce Bochy didnt have tospend much time deciding who to play in left field on a game-by-game basis.Melky Cabrera was the Giants everyday left fielder, other than the occasionalday of rest and a brief hamstring issue. But when Major League Baseball handedthe Giants No. 3 hitter a 50-game suspension, it left Bochy with a dailydebate.That debate hasnt gotten any easier in the last month, as both Gregor Blancoand Xavier Nady, two of Bochys most experienced options, have dealt withinjuries. Nady hasnt played since Sept. 5 due to a left hamstring strain, butis back in the starting lineup for Mondays series opener against the ColoradoRockies. With Jhoulys Chacin, a right-hander, on the mound, the left-handed hittingBlanco would normally be in line for a start, but the speedster has his ownshoulder issue to deal with.Bochy said that Blanco will take batting practice and be re-evaluated Tuesday.He added that he feels comfortable using Blanco as a pinch-runner but istargeting Wednesday for a potential return to the starting lineup. In themeantime, hes happy to have Nady back.Hes a guy we brought up that helped us right away, Bochysaid of Nady, who went 4-for-12 with two doubles and three RBIs for the Giantsbefore his hamstring acted up. Now it looks like hes good to go so hell beout in left field with Blanco still feeling the shoulder a little bit. He needsanother day or two. I was close to starting Nady yesterday, but felt like heneeded another day. He ran the bases well, passed all the tests, and checkedall the boxes off, so hes good to go.Nady was in left field along with Justin Christian,Francisco Peguero and Ryan Theriot before Mondays game going through drills.While Bochy has previously mentioned Theriot as an option in left in the past,he made it clear that he wont put the long-time infielder in the outfieldunless hes forced to.He wants to go out there bad, Bochy said of Theriot. Andweve thought about it, but hes probably more of an emergency guy. But hesavailable Ill say that.Theriot, who once jokingly said that he was fine in theoutfield except for on fly balls, updated his comfort level after Mondayspregame practice: I feel good.Theriot will remain in a reserve role, however, as long as Nady stays healthyand Blancos shoulder improves. Bochy said he plans to platoon the twoeventually.Ill use both of them, Bochy said. Gregor gives you a little differentdynamic: speed, defense out there. And I really like the way hes been swingingthe bat. And X, hes more of a power-type bat. So Ill use both of them andwell ham and egg it with those two once they get healthy.Blanco has started 19 of the Giants last 29 games sinceCabreras suspension and has hit .280 over his last seven games. For hiscareer, Blanco hits .260 against right-handers and .227 against southpaws. Nadyhas hit lefties at a .285 clip for his career compared to a .265 averageagainst right-handers. The splits matter to Bochy, but the way he talked aboutNadys veteran presence suggests that the Cal alum might have the upper hand toget more starts during the stretch run.Hes been around; he knows how to play the game, Bochy said of Nady. Hes abig right-handed bat that can help this lineup and he was swinging well beforehe got hurt. And he hasnt missed too much time so I dont think it should takehim long to feel comfortable up there at the plate. When you have a guy thatsplayed in the big leagues as long as he has, thats a good thing down thestretch.Asked by a Rockies reporter why his team has excelled lately,Bochy said the Giants are winning because theyre getting contributions fromevery spot in the lineup.Were not a team that leans on one or two guys, Bochy said.We need everybody to do something to help out and thats whats happened.Bochy made it clear the hes focused on the stretch run andnot what could come after it, however. He wasnt ready to discuss thepossibility of clinching the N.L. West title in front of the home crowd or whata potential playoff rotation would look like.Weve got a lot of baseball left, Bochy said. If that gets done, then thatsOK to talk about it, but until then, as a club, myself, weve got work ahead ofus and thats how we have to look at it.

Projection system loves Giancarlo Stanton at AT&T Park

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AP

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'

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AP

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."