How Giants plan to build on pitcher Tyler Rogers' intriguing debut

How Giants plan to build on pitcher Tyler Rogers' intriguing debut

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- You don’t have to stand around the clubhouse long to find a player who mentions the Giants’ new commitment to biomechanics and body movement. But sometimes you don’t need expensive cameras or a new generation of coaches to see how a player might be different than the others. 

If you stand behind Tyler Rogers, as Gabe Kapler did for a while Friday morning, you’re in for a whole different kind of experience. Kapler came away raving about the submariner, comparing him to former A’s reliever Chad Bradford and insisting Rogers is “going to be an important part of our bullpen.”

Rogers already has once benefited from all the fresh eyes in the organization. Repeatedly passed over in previous years, he was one of Farhan Zaidi’s September call-ups. The 29-year-old took full advantage, allowing just two earned runs in 17 appearances. Rogers struck out 16 and walked three in 17 2/3 innings. 

Traditionally, pitchers who throw like Rogers have had a tough time against left-handed batters, but he had success against them in limited time as a rookie, allowing just three hits in 22 at-bats. 

The three batter minimum is coming, though, and the Giants want to make sure Rogers continues to be more than a potential matchup play. The focus Friday was on throwing the ball in an area that would be in on left-handed hitters. 

"We see that up-and-in location to left-handed hitters as a place that he can go safely," Kapler said. "And I don't think it's just about safety. It's about getting poor swings and in some cases inducing weak contact. We can see him go up there with his fastball and his slider combination and I think that will strike some fear into the heart of left-handed hitters."

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The new group of pitching coaches is looking for new areas of the strike zone that can become strengths for young pitchers. That up-and-in one is the clear emphasis for Rogers, and Kapler said a lot of his bullpen work this spring will revolve around consistently hitting that spot. 

"We're making a conscious effort for him to go after that location," Kapler said.  We're going to look at it from a pitch grip standpoint and a pitch selection standpoint, but also from a practicing the location standpoint to get the most out of Tyler."

D-backs troll Giants over Madison Bumgarner signing, 2017 Opening Day

D-backs troll Giants over Madison Bumgarner signing, 2017 Opening Day

Madison Bumgarner left the Giants for the Arizona Diamondbacks in free agency this offseason, and in an ironic twist, MLB aired the 2017 Opening Day game between the two teams Thursday.

On April 2, 2017, with Bumgarner on the mound for the Giants, they were trying to win their fourth straight Opening Day start.

Bumgarner had an incredible day on the mound and at the plate. In addition to striking out 11 in seven innings, the Giants ace also belted two home runs.

But Mark Melancon, making his Giants' debut, blew the save in the bottom of the ninth.

With the 2020 season on hold, MLB decided to re-air memorable Opening Day games Thursday, and MLB Network sent out a tweet to promote the broadcast of that game.

The D-backs' social media team responded with this tweet.

Giants fans are already hurting over the loss of Bumgarner to a division rival. They don't need his new team to rub it in.

[RELATED: Zaidi doesn't regret holding onto Bumgarner]

Hopefully for the Giants, when the 2020 season starts, they can get the last laugh on the field.

How Giants will be impacted by MLB-MLBPA agreement for 2020 season

How Giants will be impacted by MLB-MLBPA agreement for 2020 season

This is the furthest thing from business as usual for Major League Baseball, but there was still plenty of work to be done over the last couple of weeks. The league and the MLB Players' Association have been hard at work trying to figure out what a 2020 season might look like if players are cleared to return at some point this summer, and how to prepare financially and behind the scenes. 

An agreement was reached Thursday and ratified by owners Friday morning. There is plenty to catch up on, and Jeff Passan of ESPN and Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic did a nice job of providing all the information. Here are some of the key points, with notes on what they specifically mean for the Giants:

--- Service time was the main priority for the MLBPA, which wasn't a surprise. The owners have held service time over players' heads for years, and it's the main reason why top prospects are often left off April rosters. The sides agreed that a player will receive the same number of days in 2020 as he did in 2019 if the season is canceled. If there's not a full season, players will still earn a full year of service time. 

This means that, no matter what, Mookie Betts will get his year of time and be a free agent at the end of the year, which is a small blow to the Dodgers. This isn't that big a deal for the Giants. Jeff Samardzija is the only player on a significant contract that will expire after this season. 

There is a big difference for some other guys when it comes to getting closer to arbitration and free agency. A shortened season would still count as a full one for players like Alex Dickerson, Mike Yastrzemski and Mauricio Dubon, who were not on Opening Day rosters last year. 

Under Farhan Zaidi, the Giants have mostly sat out free agency. But they're close to getting their books in order, and they should be in a nice position to jump in on big names now that there's a guarantee the 2020 free agent class will still exist. With Mission Rock and other side projects, the Giants are better positioned than most other teams to come out of this season with money to spend. 

--- The draft could be as short as five rounds, per ESPN's Passan, and the internationightal signing period could be pushed back to 2021. The 2021 draft could also be shortened to 20 rounds. 

The MLBPA represents players on 40-man rosters, not minor leaguers or amateurs, so there was little reason for them to fight over the draft when they were getting small wins elsewhere, like an advance on salaries. The end result m get the owners closer to eliminating some minor league teams, a goal this past offseason. It also will save them a few million in draft bonuses. 

This is going to have a huge impact on the college game and junior colleges, and it's probably a big bummer for Giants scouts. Team officials believe they're a couple more good drafts away from being truly competitive, and shortened drafts in 2020 and 2021 would certainly make it harder to add talent to a system that is much improved but still needs it. 

The Giants have gone all-in on player development and are counting on finding some diamonds in the rough. Take, for example, Sean Roby. He was a 12th-round draft pick out Arizona Western College in 2018 and after a solid 2019 year he got seven spring at-bats this year, picking up five hits and six RBI. Those are the types of players the Giants are hoping to get into their system and develop every year. 

A five-round draft would still get some high-end talent into every system, but a lot of players would miss out on taking a shot at their dream. Dubon was a 26th-round pick. Yastrzemski went in the 14th round. Tyler Rogers was picked in the 10th round. A lot of amateurs will be left on the outside. 

[RELATED: How Dubon is staying ready]

--- The agreement was necessary to iron out some financial details as both sides seek further clarity on what comes next. At some point they'll need to figure out what spring training looks like, how much they'll expand rosters, if there will be an All-Star break, how many doubleheaders they can play, how late a shortened season can go, and much more. 

But the league, like the rest of society, is on hold: