EXTRA BAGGS: Sanchez could make debut at 2B Friday


EXTRA BAGGS: Sanchez could make debut at 2B Friday

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. The Giants reassigned Heath Hembree tominor league camp after Tuesdays game. But expect him to resurface sometime ata major league ballpark near you.

Hembree had a dynamite first big league camp. Theright-hander showed good command with his upper-90s fastball and slider,posting a 1.50 ERA and striking out seven in six innings. He ended hisexperience on a good note, getting three quick fly outs in a scoreless eighthinning Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields.

BAGGARLY: Giants spring progress report

Earlier this spring, Hembree told me he hoped to be asconsistent as possible and throw strikes while trying to learn as much as hecould from big leaguers. He obviously didnt have an opportunity to win a jobin the bullpen. Everyone returns from last years top-flight group, with theexception of Ramon Ramirez. But when the Giants need another arm, itll be hardto keep Hembree off the roster if he keeps punching tickets in the minors.

Because hes not on the 40-man roster, Hembree can bebrought back to pitch in more major league exhibitions. So Id imagine we haventseen the last of him in Cactus League action.

Freddy Sanchez will play catch Wednesday and is likely totake infield on Thursday. Its possible he could play second base in a gameFriday, manager Bruce Bochy said.

Thats not an aggressive schedule, obviously, which makes it even harder to envision Sanchez beginning the season on the active roster.

Sergio Romo threw a side session and said his right elbowwas improved. He hopes to throw in a game soon. According to all parties, thiswas a mild issue and Romo, given a little rest, is expected to be OK to startthe season.

Nate Schierholtz said his right forearm stiffened up on hima week ago and he needed to give it a break. Strangely enough, it bothers him more when he swings thanwhen he throws.

The off day (Monday) helped a lot, he said. I feel good,but I need to be healthy to play. If this were the season, itd be a differentstory.

Spring training games are meaningless, so backing off isalmost always the smart thing to do. But when you have a reputation for nagginginjuries as Schierholtz does, its never good to miss time in the eyes ofmanagement.

The emergence of Gregor Blanco continues. He stole two morebases, lifting his major league leading total to nine.

It looks as if Angel Pagan might be starting to feel alittle pressure. He was 0 for 4 and struck out in his first three at-bats,dropping his average to .243. Pagan will enter the season as the startingcenter fielder, and because hes entering his walk year, itll cost him a lotof money if hes not playing every day.

No, Blanco will not take Pagans starting job here inArizona. The Giants just traded two players they liked to get Pagan. But a few weeks into the season, if the pattern holds, itmight be a different story.

For now, Bochy is being patient with Pagan.

Hes still searching a little bit, Bochy said. Thatsfair to say. But thats why were here. I think Angel is going to be fine.

Bochy is likely to have the same thought with Aubrey Huff atfirst base. The big question is what the Giants will do with Brandon Belt, whois having a good camp. Bochy said both of them, and Brett Pill, have done agood job thus far.

Theres no separation to this point, Bochy said.

Barry Zito did not have a good outing Tuesday. In fiveinnings, he allowed seven hits and walked four. That is not good for the olWHIP. But Zito got better as he went, he induced one double-play grounder andhe walked off the mound with the Giants tied 3-3.

Thats the quota the Giants are setting for him this seasonas a back-of-the-rotation starter.

I like what Ive seen from Barry this spring, Bochy said.Hes made some adjustments -- during his start today, actually and he threwthe ball better.

Zito said he is still more comfortable out of the stretch than the windup, but it's getting better.

Arizona outfielder Gerardo Parra hit a home run off Zito,and if rumors are true, he could be on the trading block. I know several Giantsplayers who would be happy to see him leave the NL West.

That guy is a player, one Giant told me.


This was my first time seeing Arizonas Trevor Bauer on themound. I just wish I hadnt gotten stuck in the parking lot snarl so Icouldve watched him warm up, too. He throws from foul pole to foul pole whilegetting loose. It takes a couple of relay throws to return the baseball to him.

Bauer was the third overall pick out of UCLA last June andhe certainly throws hard. He was topping out at 96 mph against the Giants.

Brandon Crawford, a fellow Bruin, managed a single up themiddle against him. Crawford also said he had two hits off Bauer in a UCLAalumni game.

Ambushed him, Crawford said, obviously pleased with himself.

An equipment company set up a sizing display in theclubhouse this morning. There were a dozen helmets in various sizes for theplayers to try on. There was even a size 8, but I dont think anyone touchedit. Probably just there so Bochy doesnt feel so abnormal.

Actually, Bochy wears an 8 18 cap now. So even that jumbohelmet wouldve been a tight squeeze.

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."