Giants

EXTRAS: Cabrera's cannon, Bochy's lineup plans, etc.

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EXTRAS: Cabrera's cannon, Bochy's lineup plans, etc.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera did somenice things in their first game as the Giants 1-2 punch.
Pagan singled and stole a base in the Giants 9-6 loss toArizona at Scottsdale Stadium. Cabrera debuted with a double, an RBI and alaser beam throw from left field.Pagan and Cabrera will bat in the Nos. 1-2 spots again forSundays split squad against the Diamondbacks, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.Thats the way well play it, Bochy said. Until (FreddySanchez) comes back, thats what youre going to see.

Bochy also confirmed he is leaning toward Pablo Sandoval inthe No. 3 spot once Buster Posey returns as the cleanup hitter. Sandoval hitfourth on Saturday and probably will bat in the same spot in one of Sundayslineup; Posey wont play in either game, Bochy said.Pagan, Cabrera and Sandoval would give the Giants a trio ofswitch-hitters to send against opposing pitchers in the first inning.Although Sanchez has been a No. 2 hitter most of his career,the Giants might need his right-handed bat to break up the lower half of theorder. They look to be very left-handed with Aubrey Huff (or Brandon Belt),plus Nate Schierholtz and Brandon Crawford.Youll see some different lineups, Bochy said. Really,thats something Ill enjoy, with the flexibility and versatility. But forright now, yes, the lean is toward Pablo third.--

Cabrera has been a very quiet guy thus far this spring. Ididnt really know much about him, to be honest. Playing in the American Leaguewith Kansas City last season, I didnt see much of his breakout season. (He wasa much different hitter with Atlanta in 2010, when he and pretty much therest of the injury-riddled Braves lineup couldnt turn around a fastball inthe NLDS.)So as the Giants took the field for the first Cactus Leaguegame, I was more interested to see Cabrera than any other player.We saw something pretty remarkable right away. In the firstinning, Tim Lincecum gave up a single with runners at second and third. Cabreracharged the ball and made a clothesline throw that reached catcher ChrisStewart on the fly. Justin Upton was beaten to the plate by 20 feet and slowedinto Stewarts tag.Barry Bonds didnt have that arm in left field. Neither didPat Burrell. I cant think of the last time the Giants had an above average armat that position. Can you?Pagan also profiles as an above average defender in centerfield, although not in Andres Torres class. Pagans 10 errors last season(mostly throwing) were a concern. Sure enough, he made an error on his firstchance as a Giant when he overran a single.Bochy didnt mind that, though. He had sent a message toboth outfielders that he wants them to play all-out.Yeah, weve talked about that, with baserunning and howthey play the outfield, Bochy said. We want them to charge the ball and beaggressive. So I dont have any problem with that.--

The sellout crowd of 12,127 cheered a little louder thannormal when Aubrey Huff worked an eight-pitch walk in the first inning. Lestyou be reminded, Huffs walks plummeted from 83 in 10 to 47 last season.Heres a stunner I dug up: His on-base percentage droppedfrom .385 in 10 (10th best in the NL) to .306 last season (eighthworst).Huff also fell victim to the play of the game. In his nextplate appearance, he absolutely crushed a ball almost 420 feet to dead center.Chris Young battled the wind and the sun while making a diving catch on thewarning track.Huff didnt throw up his hands. He just jogged back to thedugout.The wind was no small factor on that Young catch, either. Thebreezy conditions twice victimized Nate Schierholtz on balls over his head inright field.--

The other play of the game: Giants second baseman JoaquinArias butchered a grounder but managed to slap it with his glove to shortstop EmmanuelBurriss for a forceout. Bet he spent all winter practicing that one.Actually, Arias is an interesting guy to watch this spring. Hewas a onetime hot prospect with the Royals and Giants special assistant FelipeAlou said he was one of the most dominant players in the Dominican League thiswinter.--

Center fielder Gregor Blanco was just as dominant in theVenezuelan League while winning MVP honors. Blanco had the biggest hit inThursdays intrasquad game, legging out a triple.I was in the clubhouse standing next to Pablo Sandoval whenBlanco made solid contact. We could see it on a closed-circuit TV feed.You hang it, he bang it, shouted Sandoval, shaking his headin amazement.Perhaps the next best hitter in Venezuela this winter wasswitch-hitting catcher Hector Sanchez. He kept up his stroke with a solo shotoff right-hander Sam Demel in the seventh inning.--

Eric Surkamps first outing of the spring was not very good.He struggled to get his pitches down in the zone and ran a lot of deep countswhile allowing three runs in 1 13 innings. Chris Young took him deep. Surkamp alsospent a lot of time practicing his pickoff move. So it wasnt over quickly,either.--

This mornings post about Dan Runzler (strained lat muscle)has been updated, but in case you missed it, Bochy said the initial diagnosisis that the left-hander would need to rest for at least three to four weeksbefore he could begin throwing again. The club will wait to see if Dr. Andrewsconcurs with that opinion before they plot out an official timetable.--

Cody Ross had quite a debut with the Boston Red Sox. He hita solo home run and later followed that up with a grand slam.The Red Sox were playing Northeastern University. They won25-0.Just more proof that Northwestern > Northeastern.

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."