Giants kick around notion of Arias in outfield


Giants kick around notion of Arias in outfield

HOUSTON Joaquin Arias leads all major leaguers with a .426average in August, and as you might expect, the Giants are trying to deviseways to get his bat in the lineup.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy even asked Arias last week if the27-year-old would feel comfortable in left field. Arias, who has played all oftwo major league innings in the outfield, said he would be willing to give it atry.

Bochy also acknowledged the staff has kicked around thepossibility of putting Arias at second base and Marco Scutaro in left field.But Bochy termed those plans as longshots, and neither Arias nor Scutaro has begun taking flyballs.

Weve already got (Ryan) Theriot out there, Bochy said.We dont want to make it look too much like a tryout.

The most likely spot to wedge Arias into the lineup is thirdbase, actually. Pablo Sandoval is in a 2-for-14 slump over his past four gamesand is hitting just .220 with no home runs in 15 games since returning from thedisabled list because of a strained hamstring.

His timing is just off, Bochy said of Sandoval. Hes latewith his setup. When youre fouling balls off, youre late. Youre not ready.He went through this when he came back from his last injury, and right when hecame out of it, he got hurt again.

Balance is key for all hitters. Hes got great balance whenhes going well. He can get out in front and still get a base hit, but what youwant to do is stay back.

Arias isnt in Thursdays lineup as the Giants go for athree-game sweep at Minute Maid Park, but he is available off the bench despitegetting hit by a pitch on his left wrist Wednesday night.
NEWS: Giants lineup -- Crawford in

Bochy said he wouldve put Arias in the outfield Tuesday ifhe had to pinch hit for left fielder Gregor Blanco, which almost happened.

The manager also pointed out that Arias was asked to try centerfield shortly after the Texas Rangers acquired him from the Yankees in 2005 before injuring his shoulder out there. (He never played an inning in the outfield in parts of 10 minor league seasons, though. Maybe the injury occurred in instructional league or the spring?)

However his injury occurred, Arias shoulder issues kept him fromfulfilling his potential as a top prospect. In a well traveled anecdote, theRangers selected him over a list of other prospects that included Robinson Canoto complete the Alex Rodriguez trade.

As Matt Cain can confirm, Arias' arm strength isn't an issue anymore.

In other pregame news, Madison Bumgarner is already on hisway to Chicago for Fridays 1:20 p.m. (CDT) start. Bochy said he plans toevaluate his players after Thursday nights game before he decides who will beOK to make the quick turn and play at Wrigley Field. Good chance Buster Poseywill be at first base, or off entirely.

This is the last time the Giants will face the HoustonAstros as a member of the senior circuit. The Astros are moving to the AmericanLeague West next season. This is a wistful development for Bochy, who wasdrafted and developed in Houstons system and made his big league debut inthose glorious orange and yellow-striped polyester uniforms.

Itll take some getting used to, Bochy said.

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."