Giants

EXTRAS: Sandoval anticipating fine from fashion police, etc.

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EXTRAS: Sandoval anticipating fine from fashion police, etc.

BOX SCORE
SAN FRANCISCO -- Second only to performing, Bay Area athletes place great importance on looking good, no matter the consequences.

Evidence:

Brian Wilson wore his All-Star Game cleats in 2010 and was fined because they weren't fifty-fifty black and orange. He was infamous for taking a sharpie to them to get them in compliance with the uniform regulations.

Michael Crabtree and the entire 49ers receiving corps welcomed fines when they wore all white socks in their memorable 2011 season.

Pablo Sandoval, you're up.

Sandoval took a page from Wilson's book and donned his flashy All-Star Game cleats during the Giants' 5-1 win on Orange Friday. The cleats are roughly fifty-fifty orange and gold -- not even close to the league stipulation that cleats must match the team jerseys -- and are likely going to cost Sandoval.

"It's like 1,000 for the fine," Sandoval estimated. Or maybe he didn't. Sandoval said he's received a similar fine before. Last season he wore his all white All-Star Game cleats and was docked pay.

He's anticipating a repeat offense, but it didn't seem to bother him, saying he felt good in them, it was Orange Friday, and they brought him good luck.

Sandoval finished the game 1-for-4 with a triple and a run scored.

'Pen changing?

Bochy shied from a concrete answer about how he plans to treat the ninth inning going forward, but when prodded, he acknowledged that we "are seeing a little change."

"With Sergio (Romo) throwing the ball so well, if he has an easy eighth like he did, there's a good chance he will start the ninth."

RELATED: 'Good baseball' earns complete win

It's a bit of a departure from the stereotypical role of the closer, but then again, when have these Giants been stereotypical about anything?

Bigger, badder curveball

If Madison Bumgarner's curveball looked a bit different Friday night, you are very observant.

"I've been talking with (Jeremy) Affeldt," Bumgarner said. "He's got a really good curveball. We've been working on some stuff.

"We made a little adjustment, and it made it a whole lot better."

Bumgarner's tighter slider is still in his repertoire, but the addition of a larger breaking pitch could take the young lefty to the next level -- especially if he keeps it down like he did Friday.

Greg White

Gregor Blanco didn't play Friday night, but with right-handed pitcher Lucas Harrell going for the Astros Saturday and Justin Christian going 0-for-4 in the leadoff spot Friday, Blanco is likely to start Game 2 against Houston.

The backs of Blanco's cleats are embroidered, the left reading "Greg," the right reading "White."

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."