Giants

Instant Replay: Panik delivers big hit, Giants beat Royals in 11

Instant Replay: Panik delivers big hit, Giants beat Royals in 11

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KANSAS CITY — Bruce Bochy has missed two games the past two seasons because of minor heart issues. 

Last August, Brandon Crawford’s seven-hit game led the Giants to a 14-inning win over the Marlins. On Tuesday it was the other middle infielder, Joe Panik, who got the big hit in an 11-inning win over the Royals. 

Panik drove Nick Hundley in with an RBI single just under a diving Lorenzo Cain’s glove in the top of the 11th and the Giants held on for a 2-1 win in their return to Kauffman Stadium. Both teams spent the later innings wasting promising rallies until Panik’s liner touched grass a couple inches away from Cain’s glove.

The night was a pitching duel from the start. Two games after watching Tyler Chatwood flirt with perfection, the Giants struggled to get in gear against Jason Hammel. The former Cub retired the first 12, but Matt Cain was up for the challenge. He worked around some trouble in the first and then cruised into the fifth. 

Earlier Tuesday, infielder Whit Merrifield told reporters about facing Madison Bumgarner when he was 11 years old and getting drilled in the head. He fared better against Cain, poking a homer the other way to give the Royals a 1-0 lead in the fifth. 

The Giants struck right back, tying the game when Hunter Pence’s two-out single to right brought Panik racing in from second. Buster Posey, playing for the first time in a week, appeared to have given the Giants the lead when he hit a ball up the middle that Raul Mondesi couldn’t field cleanly. Brandon Belt raced around second but he was out by inches when Sal Perez snow-coned the throw home and put a perfect tag down. 

The Giants had a chance to go ahead in the seventh when Crawford reached third with no outs, but Hundley and Chris Marrero struck out and Denard Span grounded out. In the eighth, it was the Royals who threatened. They nudged the go-ahead run to third but Steven Okert got the Giants out of the inning. 

The Royals left a runner on second in the bottom of the ninth. The Giants countered by leaving one on second in the top of the 10th. The Royals wasted two singles in the bottom of that inning and two more in the 11th. 

Starting pitching report: That’s two good ones in a row for Cain. His last two starts: 12 innings, two earned runs, nine hits, five walks, nine strikeouts. He threw just 86 pitches Tuesday. 

Bullpen report: Derek Law got a well-deserved win after throwing two scoreless innings of relief. Mark Melancon picked up his third save.

At the plate: Posey had three singles on his first night back from the concussion DL, raising his average to a cool ..385. 

In the field: In case you had forgotten over the past three years, the Royals have an excellent outfield that will annoy the hell out of you if you root for the other team. Cain made it look way too easy while chasing down a Hundley liner in the fourth and another in the ninth, and Alex Gordon made a tremendous diving catch to rob Marrero in the sixth. 

Attendance: The Royals announced a crowd of 20,863 human beings who didn’t seem to have any hate for the Giants. That 2015 title worked some magic. 

Up next: Bumgarner will make his first appearance at Kauffman Stadium since the night he won a free truck with technology and stuff.

 

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'

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."