Krukow makes bold prediction about Samardzija's 'ceiling'


Krukow makes bold prediction about Samardzija's 'ceiling'

Editor's note: The above video is from May 8.

Last year, Jeff Samardzija went 11-13 with a 4.96 ERA over 32 starts.

Through his first nine starts for the Orange and Black, he is 6-2 with a 2.66 ERA.

On Friday morning, Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow explained on KNBR 680 how Samardzija is turning things around.

[PAVLOVIC: Rewind: Samardzija clinches first 7-0 road trip in 103 years]

"He's simplifying things," Krukow started. "A lot of times, guys have four or five things they can do with the ball. They feel compelled that they have to throw all of them. And I think what (Dave) Righetti and (Mark) Gardner have done with this guy, is they've simplified it, and said 'Wait a second. Let's take a look at what your true strengths are.

"Your true strengths are your fastball ... and your cut ... so you've got two different types of movement, one going away from the other. And it's late movement. Why not let's focus on being able to corner pitch with it. To locate.

"We'll introduce a slider, we'll throw it out there, and we'll work on an offspeed pitch to give you an eventual third speed.' That's what they've done."

Samardzija signed a 5-year, $90 million deal with the Giants during the offseason.

Over his last four outings, "The Shark" is 3-1 with a 1.42 ERA in 31.2 innings, with 29 strikeouts against three walks.

"His mechanics are impeccable and he's got great finish with the crack of the whip," Krukow added. "He's in command so that maximizes velocity, movement and location capabilities. He's got all that going.

"And I think because of his athleticism he's able to repeat this stroke of the arm with great consistency."

On Thursday night in San Diego, Samardzija allowed one run on three hits and no walks in eight innings. He struck out eight Padres.

[REWIND: Krukow: 'Project' Samardzija would grow under Giants' staff]

Krukow circled back to praise Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti and bullpen coach Mark Gardner.

"It gets back to Dave Righetti. If you're a pitcher, and you've got abilities, whatever type of athlete you are, you're going to get better around him," Krukow declared. "You're going to get better around Mark Gardner. They're the best at what they do. This is just another example of it."

Krukow closed the topic by making a bold prediction.

Samardzija's "not a finished product. He is a work in progress. I think when he masters that third speed, that changeup, you're gonna see a guy who's gonna be a perennial All-Star and he'll challenge for the Cy Young. I do believe he has that type of ceiling."

Samardzija was an All-Star in 2014.

Good news, bad news for Chris Shaw's first week in the Arizona Fall League

MiLB/Sacramento River Cats

Good news, bad news for Chris Shaw's first week in the Arizona Fall League

Every time the Journey song “Lights” plays throughout AT&T Park, the lyrics When the lights go down in the City ring too true for the Giants’ offense. There’s a power outage in San Francisco. 

The savior to this issue can soon be prospect Chris Shaw, who turns 24 years old on Oct. 20. Shaw, along with five other Giants prospects, is continuing his 2017 season among a multitude of baseball’s best young up-and-comers in the Arizona Fall League. As he takes the field for the Scottsdale Scorpions, Shaw’s bat is far from the top focus for the Giants. 

After playing right and left field at Boston College, the Giants turned Shaw into a first baseman once they selected the 6-foot-4, 235-pound lefty in 2015. This year, the Giants’ front office decided to make a change. As the big league team continued to look for their own answers, Shaw saw himself in left field in 94 of the 125 games he played between Double-A and Triple-A this season. 

“I saw improvements through the course of the year,” Brian Sabean said about Shaw’s outfield defense on The Giants Insider Podcast. “The problem is playing left field in our left field isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do.” 

The AFL is all about reps in left field for Shaw as the Giants have already said he will get a long look in spring training. He earned that right after a breakout year at the plate.

One week into the AFL though, Shaw’s bat is way behind. Through four games, Shaw is batting a pedestrian .133 (2-for-15), both hits being singles. But even in such a slow start there are positives. 

Shaw has walked three times to only two strikeouts. His only downfall at the plate once he reached Triple-A Sacramento was his on-base percentage fell from .390 in Double-A to .328 at the higher level. With the River Cats, Shaw struck out 106 times, leading the team, while taking his base 20 times.

One week in the desert, Shaw is showing more patience and putting the ball into play more often. The ball simply isn’t finding grass.

In the outfield, every ball Shaw sees -- practice or game -- during the AFL is a step in the right direction for he and the Giants. He is yet to make an error in his short time at the AFL. The big lefty will never be a guy to make the spectacular play, but if he improves his instincts with the glove and improves his eye at the plate, the Giants can finally have their left fielder of the future. 

Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster


Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster

LOS ANGELES — Shortstop Corey Seager has been left off the Los Angeles Dodgers' roster for the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs.

The Dodgers announced Seager's surprise omission due to a back injury on Saturday, several hours before Game 1 at Dodger Stadium.

Los Angeles also dropped reliever Pedro Baez from its roster. Infielder Charlie Culberson and outfielder Joc Pederson were added.

Chicago made only one change from the last playoff round, adding reliever Hector Rondon and removing reliever Justin Wilson.

Seager complained of back soreness during the Dodgers' NL Division Series clincher in Arizona on Monday, and 2016 NL Rookie of the Year didn't participate in team workouts this week. Still, manager Dave Roberts said Friday that he was very optimistic that Seager would play in the NLCS.

Seager was an All-Star selection this season while batting .295 with 22 homers and 77 RBIs as a key part of the top of the Dodgers' lineup.

Kike Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Culberson all worked out at shortstop Friday for the Dodgers. The versatile Taylor was the Dodgers' center fielder during the NLDS, but he made 96 appearances in the outfield this season and 44 in the infield, including 14 games at shortstop.

Pederson is batting .071 with no homers since July, but the Dodgers could need him in center field if Taylor plays shortstop.

Culberson famously homered to clinch the Dodgers' NL West title in announcer Vin Scully's final home game last season, but the infielder spent most of this season at Triple-A, appearing in only 14 games for the Dodgers.

Rondon was the Cubs' closer in 2014 and 2015, but moved to a setup role last season after Aroldis Chapman's arrival. He appeared in 61 regular-season games this year, going 4-1 with a 4.24 ERA in an up-and-down campaign.

Chicago acquired Wilson in a trade with Detroit on July 31, adding a veteran left-handed reliever who had 13 saves for the Tigers this season. The Southern California native wasn't great in his two months with the Cubs, posting a 5.09 ERA with 19 walks in 23 appearances.

Manager Joe Maddon chose Wilson for the NLDS over Rondon, only to switch it up against the Dodgers.