Giants

Giants pitching prospects way ahead of hitters in Arizona Fall League

williamsmilb.jpg
MiLB.com

Giants pitching prospects way ahead of hitters in Arizona Fall League

At the beginning of every baseball season, pitchers typically are ahead of hitters. The same can be said of Giants prospects in the Arizona Fall League. 

Hitters must find timing early on to catch up to a 95-mph fastball, then adjust to an 88-mph slider one pitch later. With the AFL being an extension of the minor league season, you would think hitters and pitchers would be on more of an even playing field. Through the first two weeks, that’s far from the truth for the seven Giants prospects on the Scottsdale Scorpions. 

Between four pitchers — Garrett Williams, Melvin Adon, Sam Wolff and Chase Johnson — the quadruplet has a 1.79 ERA in 25.1 innings pitched. On the other hand, the trio of Heath Quinn, C.J. Hinojosa and Matt Winn is batting .109 with seven hits in 64 at-bats. 

Let’s get back to the good. It all starts with Williams, who was dominant in his third start in the desert against the Mesa Solar Sox. Over four innings, Williams didn’t allow a hit or a run while walking three and striking out four. 

"The first two outings were a little struggle for me," Williams said Tuesday to MLB.com. "So I really wished to speed up my tempo, pound the zone and attack the strike zone."

After walking Daz Cameron to start the bottom of the first, Williams struck out the next batter and ended the inning with a double play. The rest of his outing was filled with strikeouts, along with walks and groundouts sprinkled in. 

The left-hander struck out the first two batters of the second inning before issuing two consecutive walks and sitting down the third out of the inning on his fourth strikeout. He then followed that with two strikeouts and a groundout in the third inning. 

Williams’ final inning of the day started with his seventh strikeout and ended with two consecutive groundouts. Led by Williams’ stellar start, the Scorpions didn’t allow a hit until the leadoff batter in the bottom of the 10th inning of their 2-1 win. 

"I think that's a big, big role for [the starter] to set that tempo and the tone of the game." Williams said. "The guys behind me did an awesome job. An all-around great performance from the pitching staff.”

No other Giants pitching prospects took the mound in the win, but all the three hitters were in the starting lineup. Quinn, Hinojosa and Winn went a combined 0 for 10 with eight strikeouts. At least it wasn’t 10 strikeouts. 

When asked about seeing homegrown hitters such as Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Joe Panik and Steven Duggar find success in San Francisco, Quinn told MLB.com: "Seeing their success gives me hope that one day I can be up there with them. I've just got to keep trying to get better and work my way up. I've just got to keep focusing on the little things and try to get better each year.”

There’s still three weeks to go in the AFL, but Giants hitting prospects have a long way to go before catching up to those toeing the rubber.

Source: Giants working to add former Santa Clara coach to big league staff

zaidikaplerap.jpg
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Source: Giants working to add former Santa Clara coach to big league staff

SAN FRANCISCO -- For more than a decade, the staff in the Giants' dugout was as traditional as it gets, with longtime big league coaches serving under Bruce Bochy, who managed for 25 consecutive seasons. It appears the next staff will be the complete opposite.

The Giants have gone young and are working to bring in former Dodgers minor league hitting coach Justin Viele as one of their major league hitting coaches, multiple sources told NBC Sports Bay Area. Viele, 29, is expected to work with 33-year-old Donnie Ecker. While it's unclear what the hierarchy would be, the Giants have internally discussed the possibility of getting rid of traditional roles, and it's possible Ecker and Viele will work as a team instead of having one hitting coach and one assistant hitting coach. 

Viele served as hitting coach for the Low-A Great Lakes Loons in 2019 and the year before that was the hitting coach for the High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, where he worked with top prospect Gavin Lux. Viele is from Southern California but has Bay Area ties, having played at Santa Clara University. He later worked on his alma mater's coaching staff before joining the Dodgers, where he worked with Farhan Zaidi and Gabe Kapler. 

Like Ecker, who is coming over from the Reds, Viele has limited professional playing experience. He was drafted as a middle infielder and played 126 minor league games for the Orioles, a stint that made him a teammate of current Giants standout Mike Yastrzemski. 

It appears Viele will now serve as one of Yastrzemski's hitting coaches, continuing a trend for the Giants, who are trying to bring in younger coaches well-versed in analytics, biomechanics and player development. The Giants are expected to announce their staff early this week at the annual Winter Meetings, with Viele possibly joining Ecker and Brian Bannister, the 38-year-old Director of Pitching. Ron Wotus is the lone member of Bochy's staff who will work on Gabe Kapler's staff. 

MLB rumors: Yankees offer Gerrit Cole record seven-year, $245M contract

MLB rumors: Yankees offer Gerrit Cole record seven-year, $245M contract

Gerrit Cole is going to get paid. Everyone knew that headed into this offseason, but now we know the benchmark for his payday. 

The New York Times' Bob Klapisch reported Sunday that the Yankees offered the superstar pitcher a record-breaking, seven-year, $245 million contract. Those figures would surpass David Price's $217 million deal, and Zack Greinke's average annual value of $34.4 million per year. 

While Giants fans surely would love to see Cole pitching in San Francisco, it should be seen as a win if he does wind up in pinstripes. Cole, a Southern California native who just happens to be Brandon Crawford's brother-in-law, reportedly is being courted by the Dodgers and Angels as well. 

The Giants last faced Cole on May 22, 2018. The right-hander struck out eight batters over six innings in an 11-2 Astros win in Houston. In seven starts, Cole is 5-1 with a 3.15 ERA against the Giants. 

It's safe to say, the last thing San Francisco's front office wants to see is the 29-year-old returning to the NL to be a Dodger. The fewer times you face Cole in a season, the better. 

Cole taking his talents to the Bronx certainly would be a welcome sight for the A's, too. Sure, he still would be in the AL, but it definitely beats having him in the same division. 

[RELATED: What to watch for as Giants head to MLB Winter Meetings]

Oakland faced Cole twice last season, and he was brilliant in both starts, allowing only three earned runs over 13 innings to go with 15 strikeouts. He is 4-1 with a 3.08 ERA and 65 strikeouts over 50 2/3 innings in eight career starts against the A's. 

As Shohei Ohtani returns to the mound in 2020, the A's will have their hands full when they face the Angels. Adding Cole could be a disgusting cherry on top.