Tim Federowicz's scouting report on the Giants' young pitchers


Tim Federowicz's scouting report on the Giants' young pitchers

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Federowicz has spent nearly a decade in professional ball and he entered this year with nearly 700 innings behind the plate in the big leagues. That made Federowicz a nice depth piece this spring, and when Buster Posey and Nick Hundley stayed healthy most of the first five months, the profile made the 30-year-old a valuable addition for Triple-A Sacramento. 

Federowicz played 77 games for the River Cats and spent most of the season serving as their starting catcher. He helped develop some of the organization's most advanced pitching prospects, so recently I asked him for scouting reports on a few guys we may see next year and one we have seen plenty of in recent weeks ... 

Chris Stratton (5.11 ERA in Triple-A, 4.07 ERA in the big leagues): "He had quite a few outings like this down there where he was (going deep into games) and you see that with guys that have good out pitches. Those types of guys don't have to end up throwing a lot of pitches to get guys out. With him, it's kind of strike one, strike two, curveball for strike three, so it's a little bit easier to go deeper into games with that out pitch ... He definitely has a sneaky fastball with good cut on it. He has a good sinker to go with it, too. It's just a good mix and you don't really know which way (the fastball) is going to go. When he's really throwing it well, the ball really planes out well. A lot of guys' fastballs will sort of drop towards the end but his kind of planes out."

Right-hander Tyler Beede (4.79 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 83 strikeouts in 109 innings, 3.57 ERA in his final month): "He has great stuff. He started strong and had a little bit of a rough stretch in the middle, but he was actually pitching really well when he had that unfortunate (groin) injury. He's got good movement on the fastball and he'll four-seam, two-seam, with a curveball and a changeup that was coming along nicely. We made a point to use (the changeup) more and there's also a cutter. He's pretty unique. Sometimes you see righties with a really good slider but he's got the pretty good curveball. He's definitely got the stuff to get guys out here. It's just a matter of getting more experience. Guys like him, they've just got to pitch and experience stuff, and he did that a little bit with a rough patch where he was walking batters. His fastball was moving a little too much and he had to make the adjustment and get back to throwing strikes. He did, and he was able to put it all together towards the end." 

Left-hander Andrew Suarez (3.55 ERA in Triple-A, 3.30 ERA across two levels, 80 strikeouts in 88 2/3 Triple-A innings): “He’s got a good fastball and real sharp slider that’s short and has good depth. He’s got a good feel for pitching, too. He has the stuff to definitely get guys out here. He could get guys out right now with what I’ve seen down there, but it’s all about timing with some of the young guys.” 

Asked for a sleeper prospect, Federowicz picked Tyler Rogers, a submarine-style right-hander who had a 2.37 ERA: “I really like him. He just gets guys out. He doesn’t throw very hard — about 85 (mph), but his 85 plays a lot harder than that and he’s got good command of his fastball. I’ve faced plenty of submarine guys but his ball moves different than any I’ve ever seen. It’s just real sharp and downward, nothing side to side. It’s just straight down and sometimes it’ll cut a little bit to the lefties. It’s pretty impressive and he’s able to get it to the corners.”

Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency


Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency

With free agency set to begin five days after the World Series ends, two hitters that played for the Giants during the 2017 season have put their names on the open market.

Veteran third baseman Conor Gillaspie and longtime minor league outfielder Carlos Moncrief have both elected for free agency, according to Baseball America.

The 30-year-old Gillaspie appeared in 44 games for the Giants this past season. He hit just .168/.218/.288 with four doubles, two home runs and eight RBI. He was designated for assignment on August 3 and outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento on August 5. With the River Cats, Gillaspie hit .375 with four doubles in 15 games in August.

Prior to the 2017 season, Gillaspie signed a one-year, $1.4 million deal with the Giants.

As for Moncrief, the soon-to-be 29-year-old finally got his first call-up the majors this past season after eight and a half seasons in the minors. He debuted for the Giants on July 29. In 28 games, he hit .211/.256/.237 with one double and five RBI. While he didn't do much with the bat, Moncrief showed off a cannon for an arm when he patrolled right field.

Giants reassign pitching coach Dave Righetti, two other coaches


Giants reassign pitching coach Dave Righetti, two other coaches

SAN FRANCISCO — Late in a 98-loss season, general manager Bobby Evans met with members of the coaching staff to discuss new roles. The shakeup of the staff ended up being a stunning one. 

Pitching coach Dave Righetti was one of three coaches to be reassigned Saturday morning. After 18 seasons as pitching coach, Righetti will now serve as special assistant to the general manager. Bullpen coach Mark Gardner was given a “special assignment role to assist in pitching evaluations.” Assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will be a special assistant for baseball operations. 

The moves cap a 13-month run in which the coaching staff has taken much of the blame for a $200 million roster that was poorly constructed in places and played embarrassing baseball for long stretches of the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Third base coach Roberto Kelly was let go after the 2016 season and first base coach Billy Hayes was reassigned. More changes appear on the way. 

“It does raise the level of attention to change when you struggle as much as we have, but you’re always contemplating making changes to try to help keep pushing your guys and make sure you continue to have different perspectives and new voices and reflections on how to get the most out of them,” Evans said on a conference call. 

Throughout September, multiple coaches expressed concern about their future roles, but the Giants held off several weeks before announcing changes. At least two members of the staff were involved in managerial searches elsewhere, and third base coach Phil Nevin is reportedly still a candidate for the open job in Philadelphia. 

Evans confirmed that he has interviewed outside candidates for a hitting coach role, but he would not go so far as to say Hensley Meulens will be reassigned as well. He also would not speak to the future of Ron Wotus, although the longtime bench coach is expected to be mixed up in future changes as well. Evans indicated he would announce further moves after all the open managerial vacancies are filled.

For now, the Giants are in the process of trying to find a new pitching coach. They are focused on experienced outside candidates, and they have plenty of options, as several other teams have made changes this month. Evans hinted that he wants the next pitching coach to have a more analytical approach. 

Righetti's replacement will have massive shoes to fill. His run was the longest for a pitching coach in franchise history. The Giants, usually so reliant on pitching, finished 16th in the Majors with a 4.50 ERA, but it’s hard to see how Righetti takes the blame for that. Madison Bumgarner missed a chunk of the season after a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto had a brutal injury-plagued year, Matt Moore battled himself and had the worst ERA in the National League, and the bullpen struggled, with closer Mark Melancon pitching through an injury that required season-ending surgery. 

Righetti was credited with helping to develop a rotation and bullpen that won three titles, and the bond he shared with pitchers was on display during the final weekend of the year, when Matt Cain talked repeatedly about their close relationship and went straight for Righetti after he came off the field for the final time. While it’s often hard to figure out where to give credit, even in a down year for the staff, Righetti played a role in Sam Dyson’s resurgence, and he helped Ty Blach and Chris Stratton break in as big league regulars. 

“Ultimately a change for us in the clubhouse is really an opportunity just to put a new voice with our pitching staff and try to keep pushing to the heights that we aspire as an organization and a club,” Evans said. “Changes sometimes are needed as much for the sake of that new voice as anything, and I think that was really the priority here.”

Righetti will help Evans in a front office role. Evans admitted that Righetti’s “heartbeat is in uniform as a coach,” but said he was willing to take on a new role for an organization he loves. 

Gardner, a former Giants pitcher, had been on staff since 2003. He will now help to evaluate pitchers inside and outside the organization, and Evans said Gardner could serve an important role in evaluating trade options. Decker joined the big league staff in 2015 after a long run working in the minor leagues. The 2017 season was his 23rd with the organization. He will have a “blank canvas,” Evans said, working in different roles inside the organization. Decker will also help with draft preparation.