Giants

EXTRAS: Cain mum on contract, Sanchez a confident catcher

692222.jpg

EXTRAS: Cain mum on contract, Sanchez a confident catcher

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Matt Cain allowed two runs on five hitsin 3.2 innings against the Cleveland Indians Wednesday, and most of thequestions he took in the clubhouse were about his outing.One bold reporter, however, asked Cain about ongoingcontract negotiations on a long-term extension.No updates, Cain said. Good try thought. Puntpunt onedown there real quick.Cains next contract remains a mystery, but the big right-hander is stillfocused on the task at hand: working on all his pitches in preparation for theregular season.I started throwing a couple more sliders today but we didnt get too far intothose, Cain said. Were still kind of on fastball command and working on thecurveball and the changeup, but the slider is going to start falling into playmore.RELATED: Posey's first spring hit an oppostie field home run
Giants manager Bruce Bochy liked what he saw from Cain, who struck out four andwalked one, even though he couldnt finish the fourth inning after throwing 71pitches, 48 for strikes.I thought Matt threw the ball well, Bochy said. He got his work in and hejust got to his pitch limit, which is why I went out there and got him. But hehad good stuff and he only gave up that one run. The other run was that wildpitch so I thought he did a real nice job.--The wild pitch Bochy referred to was one thrown by Mitch Lively, who came in tofinish the fourth in place of Cain. Livelys pitch slipped through HectorSanchezs legs, allowing one of Cains baserunners to score.Bochy said after the game that Sanchez normally makes that play and that hesbeen impressed so far this spring with his young catcher.Hes comfortable catching these guys and calling the game, Bochy said. Kidsgot a lot of confidence. He can hit and he can catch and throw. Its just amatter of getting some time up here to where he does feel like he belongs andhe carries himself like that. I thought he did a good job with Matt today.Cain also praised Sanchez after his start, saying that hes made strides sincehis call-up last season.I dont know if he was timid to call certain pitches hereand there but I think now hes got the confidence to take some chances onpitches in or throwing chageups behind in the count, Cain said. I think hesgot that confidence because he relays that confidence from the pitching staff,the way that all the guys arent afraid to throw any pitch really in anycount.Sanchez didnt just call a good game Wednesday, he also went1-for-2 to raise his spring average to .444.With Chris Stewart and Eli Whiteside, his competition forthe backup catcher job, both out of minor league options, Sanchez seems likethe odd man out for a roster spot. But if he keeps hitting, he will make thedecision hard on Bochy and general manager Brian Sabean.

--Another player that looks to cause headaches for Bochy andSabean is Gregor Blanco, who continued his hot spring by going 1-for-3 with awalk and a run scored out of the leadoff spot Wednesday.RELATED: Vogelsong tests back with 45-pitch bullpen session
Blanco is now batting an even .500 in the Cactus League and continues to showcasehis amazing speed.In the first inning, Blanco went from first to third on a ball that never leftthe infield. Bochy took notice.He goes first to third on a dribbler because he has theability to make things happen, Bochy said. He knows how to play the game,too. Hes a smart player.Bochy also praised Sabean for bringing in Blanco as a non-roster invitee.Great signing, he said. Were excited to have him. Hes aguy thats going to go down to the wire, we know, but hes certainly intriguingthe way hes been playing.--Brian Wilson made his second appearance of the spring and worked a perfectfifth inning. Motion feels good, Wilson said. Another pain-freeouting.

After hitting 93-94 MPH in his first outing on Sunday, Wilson hit 95-96 againstthe Indians. Wilson said he isnt even trying to ramp up his velocityjust yet.I think I should stay low 90s as of right now if I can andjust progressively work towards Opening Day to max out then and try and sustainthat for the rest of the season, he said.Bochy said that Wilson was throwing his breaking ball andhis cutter and that hes ready.Wilsons next test will come on March 17, St. Patricks Day.

Projection system loves Giancarlo Stanton at AT&T Park

stanton-ap.jpg
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'

ohtani-ap.jpg
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."