Giants release veteran infielder Gordon Beckham upon his request

Giants release veteran infielder Gordon Beckham upon his request

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants released veteran infielder Gordon Beckham on Thursday. Beckham had requested his release after being told he would not make the Opening Day roster.

The veteran infielder was in camp in hopes of winning a backup infield job, but in a crowded field, he was not headed for a spot. The Giants like Beckham's glove and love his presence in the clubhouse, but they're looking for bigger bats on their bench. Aaron Hill and Jae-gyun Hwang are among the newcomers who were ahead of Beckham on the depth chart.

"As is his right, he requested and was granted his release so he could look for other opportunities," general manager Bobby Evans said. "We were up against the clock. We needed to let him know where things stood. There are a number of (other) options here."

Beckham hit .217 with the Braves last season before being acquired by the Giants in the final week of the season. He would have been due a $100,000 bonus on March 28. The Giants were preparing to release him before that date.

Real problem for Giants' lineup was an inability to get on base


Real problem for Giants' lineup was an inability to get on base

SAN FRANCISCO — When the Giants changed their hitting coach last offseason, a lot of attention was paid to the effort to increase launch angles, hit more homers, and join the modern game. But perhaps the Giants should have put a greater emphasis on a stat that was part of the previous analytics push. 

Giants hitters finished with an on-base percentage of .300 in 2018, ranking 28th in the majors, ahead of just the Orioles and Padres. It was the organization’s lowest combined OBP in 33 years and the eighth-lowest in franchise history.

As team officials watch this postseason, they’ll see OBP’s importance on a nightly basis. The Red Sox, who have a lead in the ALCS, led the Majors at .339. The Dodgers (.333) finished fifth and the Astros (.329) ranked seventh. The 10 postseason teams all finished in the top 13 in the Majors in on-base percentage, and it’s easy to see the correlation. 

On-base percentage is a simple concept: It's about not making outs. The Giants don’t hit for power, and they didn’t really do the little things all that well in 2018, but they also made far too many outs up and down the lineup to sustain any kind of legitimate offense. 

For the lineup, the dip was nearly universal. Buster Posey led the team with a .359 on-base percentage, but that was his lowest mark in eight years, and down 41 points from 2017. Andrew McCutchen was the only other Giant above .350, and at .357, he posted the second-lowest OBP of his career. 

Brandon Belt (.342) has one of the best eyes in the game, but in an injury-filled season, he was down 13 points from 2017 and more than 50 points from 2016. Joe Panik (.307) was down 40 points from a year before. 

Among the everyday starters, Evan Longoria did the most damage to the team’s effort to get on base. Longoria was at .341 in 10 years with the Rays but drew just 22 walks in his first season in San Francisco, posting a .281 on-base percentage. There were 64 NL hitters who qualified for the batting title and Longoria was last in OBP, nine points worse than No. 63, Nick Ahmed. 

Most of the rest of the players who saw regularly time had just as much trouble reaching base. Pablo Sandoval had a .310 on-base percentage; Austin Jackson was at .309 before he was traded; Nick Hundley posted a .298; Mac Williamson was at .295 before he got hurt; Gorkys Hernandez was a .285 in 451 plate appearances, and just .220 during a sneaky-rough second half; Alen Hanson drew just one walk after the All-Star break and finished at .274; Kelby Tomlinson was at .265, just ahead of Gregor Blanco’s .262; Hunter Pence had a .258 on-base percentage, the lowest of his career by 57 points. Aside from Austin Slater (.333), none of the rookies had an OPB above .310. 

There were 20 National League hitters who had at least 200 plate appearances and an on-base percentage of .285 or lower, and an astounding five of them played for the Giants. 

Even the pitchers were a problem, combining to reach base at a .105 clip, which ranked 14th out of 15 National League clubs. 

You knew the Giants needed more power, but it’s clear there’s a greater issue. The first step to scoring is usually to simply get on base, and in 2019, the Giants need to do so at a much, much higher rate. 

Recapping Giants prospects from Week 1 of the Arizona Fall League

McCovey Chronicles

Recapping Giants prospects from Week 1 of the Arizona Fall League

There’s small sample size, and then there’s the first week of the Arizona Fall League. 

In a league where you’re sharing time with everyone getting at-bats and innings pitched, it’s easy to fall in an early hole at the plate or see your ERA balloon right away. 

That’s been the case with some Giants prospects after one week of action in the AFL. 

At the plate, three Giants prospects hit a combined .138 (4-for-29) in the first week. On the mound, the Giants’ four pitching prospects weren’t much, combing for a 5.56 ERA in 8.1 innings pitched, though one of those arms is yet to allow a run. 

Here’s a quick look at how each prospect performed one week into the AFL. 

Heath Quinn, OF 

Talk about small sample size. Quinn has only played in two of Scottsdale’s six games so far, and those two certainly have not gone how he hoped. After a breakout year this season, the Quinn is 1-for-10 with six strikeouts. He also had two RBI and two runs scored. 

The 23-year-old outfielder has a swing-and-miss hole in his powerful stroke, but it’s way too early to look into two games. 

C.J. Hinojosa, INF

Hinojosa has also played in only two games after starting at second base in the Scorpions’ opener. After going 2-for-5 to start off the AFL, he went 0-for-6 two days later. 

The Tale of Two Games saw Hinojosa go from batting .400 to .186. Here’s my advice — just don’t go 0-for-6 again. *Disclaimer: future advice won’t be free. 

Matt Winn, C

Winn has caught half of Scottsdale’s six games, and like Hinojosa, has gone downhill after the opener. In the first game, he went 1-for-2, but has gone 0-for-6 with five strikeouts since. 

It seriously can only get better. 

Melvin Adon, RHP

Adon’s 3.86 ERA doesn’t tell the full story. In his first appearance out of the bullpen, Adon allowed two runs — one earned — on a two-run home run in one inning. He also struck out two with no walks. His next time out, Adon was dominant. 

Closing out the game against the Salt River Rafters on Oct. 12, Adon faced the final five batters of the game, needing four outs. Those five batters had one hit off him and struck out four times. The 24-year-old now has six strikeouts and no walks in 2.1 innings pitched. 

Garrett Williams, LHP 

Williams has a 4.50 ERA in his two innings pitched so far. He’s allowed one earned run off two hits, which sounds like a standard start. There’s a bigger issue though. 

Walks have followed Williams to Arizona. The lefty has already walked three batters to one strikeout, and his biggest key in AFL will be command. 

Chase Johnson, RHP

Johnson rebounded nicely Tuesday after a rough start. 

In his first outing of the bullpen, Johnson allowed three earned runs on three hits, including a two-run shot, in one inning. But his next time out, Johnson tossed a scoreless inning while giving up one hit and one walk. 

Sam Wolff, RHP

Of course our lowest ranked Giants prospect in the AFL is off to the best start. Wolff has come out of the bullpen twice and has totaled two scoreless innings without giving up a hit. He is also yet to walk a batter and has three strikeouts.