EXTRA BAGGS: Zito upset he didn't shake Posey more, etc.


EXTRA BAGGS: Zito upset he didn't shake Posey more, etc.


HOUSTON Barry Zito didnt express any ire toward Giantsmanager Bruce Bochy for giving him a quick hook while the Giants led 4-3 in thethird inning Wednesday night.

But with surprising candor, Zito did acknowledge that hewasnt always on the same page with catcher Buster Posey.

After admitting that he lacked focus and consistency, Zitosaid he was hurt not so much bad pitches but bad selections. Its just amatter of throwing the pitch I want to throw.

Asked the natural follow-up question, if it was anadjustment for him to work with Posey, who didnt catch his first 18 starts ofthe season, Zito said he needed to shake more and throw his pitch.

Posey, he has a great idea for hitters, but you cant alwaysguess 100 percent of the time, said Zito, who gave up three runs on sevenhits. Im upset that I threw a couple changeups there. Thats my job to shake.Its nothing Posey is doing wrong.

Zito especially wanted back the changeups he threw in thesecond inning, when Chris Snyder doubled on one and No. 8 hitter Brandon Barnes,with two outs and a base open, hit another changeup for an RBI single.

Sometimes youre just fixed up to go, Zito said. You seea sign and go, but its on me to throw my pitch.

Snyder was safe at the plate when Posey couldnt reach backfar enough to apply the swipe tag that coaches have instructed him to execute.(Although Angel Pagans throw was off line, so Posey had no choice but to driftaway from the plate to receive it.)

Bochy had Hector Sanchez work with Zito for the first 18starts of the year as he sought to keep continuity with his batterymates whilealso getting regular rest for Posey. Bochy knew he needed to pace hiscleanup-hitting catcher, who was coming off a major ankle injury sustained in acollision at the plate last season. The Giants have reaped the benefits ofthat, as Posey has been perhaps the NLs best hitter since the All-Star break.

Posey is getting pushed harder now as the Giants enter thepennant stretch and that means catching more often on Zitos day to pitch. Hehas caught four of Zitos last five starts, and six out of 26 overall.

Asked about re-establishing a relationship with Zito, Poseysaid it wasnt a concern and labeled it as just a topic that the media likes totalk about.

Clearly, Zito didnt mind volunteering it as a topicWednesday night. And although the sample isnt the largest, its interesting tonote that Zito has a 5.93 ERA with Posey and a 4.03 ERA the rest of the time.

Yet Zito also took ownership, saying he needed to do abetter job.

I know these are must-win ballgames and I didnt have ittonight, Zito said. It was a situation where my timing was off. So I wasupset with myself. Itll be there and it wont be there. Thats on me to justbe the same guy every time. Not results-wise but focus-wise, take one pitch ata time like I talk about.

At least Bochy said Zito wasnt battling any physicalissues.

He was up. He wasnt sharp, Bochy said. Ive had him fora few years and I just thought he wasnt at the top of his game. You hatetaking starters out, especially with the lead. Hes fine. He was just off.

Its going to become tougher for Bochy to keep Joaquin Ariasout of the lineup, the way hes scalding the ball over the past several weeks.

"He's been a different player this past month," Bochy said.

One possibility that hasnt been mentioned yet: Play Marco Scutaro in leftfield and put Arias at second base.

First, Bochy wants to make sure Arias wrist is OK after hegot hit by a pitch in the eighth inning. He stayed in the game, but it wasntjust a love tap he received.

He might be pretty sore, Bochy said. Well check on himtomorrow.

It might be easy to sit down Brandon Crawford for Ariasagainst right-handers, but he just keeps bringing defensive value every night.Crawford entered on a double-switch in the eighth (with Arias moving to third)and immediately got tested on two bad-hop smashes. He handled them both with amagicians hands.

Hes so gifted there at shortstop, Bochy said. Still, fora young player to sit there and watch a game, then come in and make a play,its pretty impressive.

Compare Crawford to Houston third baseman Scott Moore, who entered on adouble-switch in the sixth and promptly made a throwing error that precededArias two-run triple.

Reports are that Andres Torres has cleared waivers, and as acouple readers pointed out, hes hitting .295 against left-handed pitching. ButIm not sure Mets GM Sandy Alderson would be so friendly as to hand him back tothe Giants. And besides, from what I understand, club officials arent in arush to bring Torres back.

Pablo Sandoval hit a pop fly that struck the roof here atMinute Maid Park, which I havent seen in this venue before. Sandoval laughedwhen I mentioned it after the game, also recalling the long foul fly heliterally hit out of Cincinnatis Great American Ball Park. As far as anyoneknew at the time, he was the first player to accomplish that feat.

(Kind of like the legendary Mike Laga, who once hit a foulball out of old Busch Stadium and became an everlasting answer to a tremendoustrivia question.)

I told Sandoval about a game I covered one time on theAngels beat in 2000 at the Metrodome, when Mo Vaughn hit a booster rocket thatwouldve been close to a 500-foot home run, but it struck the roof and droppedin left field a single, according to the ground rules.

The Angels lost 1-0.

Sandoval couldnt believe it.

Wow, he said. At least mine was just a foul ball.

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."