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Where we tend to talk about the recent past a lot

Updated: 2017-08-18T13:36:26-07:00


Giants showing ‘strong interest’ in top Dominican prospect


Marco Luciano will be one of the better prospects of the 2018-2019 signing period, and the Giants are interested. The international draft pools are artificial abominations that use the veneer of competitive balance to steal money from teenagers who were making a lot more money for their families under the old system. That’s a column for another time, but it’s only right to point that out whenever international spending comes up. It’s a shame system, and baseball should be ashamed of itself. Also, the Giants are attached to one of the better international prospects for next year, which is super rad. According to Baseball America, the Giants are interested in 15-year-old Marco Luciano, described as one of the top prospects in the Dominican Prospect League. The 6’2” infielder/outfielder was one of the players at the DPL Elite Underclass International showcase, and BA says the Giants are “showing strong interest.” You might not care about a tidbit like this almost 11 months before the next signing day kicks off, but I will note that these rumors have a way of becoming established truisms before July 2. Baseball America makes a list of the best 30 prospects of each international-signing class, and most of them will have “is expected to sign with the Rays” or some such after their names. It’s completely disappointing. Spoiler warning, guys! Spoiler warning! And it would be nice if the Giants were one of these teams with their name attached to a top player before the signing could become official. They’re due, at least. While it hasn’t been that long since the Giants broke the bank for an international prospect (Lucius Fox was a big-ticket player), they’ve also been mostly shut out of the last two signing periods. Considering the new Felipe Alou Baseball Academy in Boca Chica, they might want to make some high-profile moves to boost the farm system and the organization’s profile in the Dominican Republic. As for Luciano, BA wrote this about him: Luciano, 15, put on a show on the first day at the end of the workout, showing more raw power than any other player in attendance. He drove seven balls out of the park in two rounds of BP, showing a fast, powerful stroke, using his lower half well and generating torque to drive the ball well to all fields. Power, eh? It’s right-handed power, too. So I’m interested. The biggest caveat I can think of — and I don’t want to make too big a deal over this — is that HE’S 15 YEARS OLD. HE’S YOUNGER THAN AT&T PARK. HE WASN’T ALIVE WHEN BARRY BONDS HIT 73 HOME RUNS. IF HE TAKES TEN YEARS TO REACH THE MAJORS, HE WOULD STILL BE YOUNG ENOUGH TO BE CONSIDERED A PROSPECT. HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY EVALUATE SOMEONE THIS YOUNG AND BURDEN HIM WITH EXPECTATIONS? HE’S 15. JEEZ. On the other hand, it would be nice for the Giants to sign a premium prospect. On the other, other hand, this might be grasping at straws a little. Just because a player is highly regarded when he’s 15 doesn’t mean that he’ll be a certain major leaguer when he’s 22. Here’s the top prospect for BA in 2010. He’s 23, and he hasn’t played affiliated baseball since 2015. On the other, other, other hand, the top three international prospects in 2013 were Eloy Jimenez, Gleyber Torres, and Rafael Devers, all of whom would have been huge additions for the Rays after the Giants traded them for Matt Moore. All three are usually among baseball’s top 10 prospects, regardless of which publication is doing the ranking. When it was time for BA to make predictions about who would go where for that signing class, the Giants didn’t appear in connection with any of the top 30 prospects. This is their chance to rectify that. Maybe. I don’t know how to separate the Eloys from the Ehires, so I’ll trust the Giants to do that. Well, not trust. But assume they know more than me and scout better than they have been, so if they see Luciano as a special, at-all-costs prospect, they should dive right in. Here’s something to note, though: The Giants don’t get more money t[...]

All right, fine, let’s talk about Matt Moore


His last start was good. His season has been not good. Matt Moore did a good job in Washington on Sunday and we can all be happy for him. He doesn’t seem to be an unpleasant person, and the Giants made a big trade to get him (though who even remembers what players they gave up to get him, ha ha, am I right), and with the options in his contract, if he does well over the next couple years, he’s a bargain. If he repeats his performance from this year, he will be, shall we say, not a bargain. According to Baseball Reference, Moore has been worth -0.5 WAR this year. According to Fangraphs, he’s been worth 0.8 WAR. According to Baseball Prospectus, he’s been worth -2.3 WARP, which to be honest, is the one that feels right. However, even accepting the Fangraphs number, which is the one most generous to Moore, he’s still been quite bad this year. I know sometimes it’s hard to trust the fancypants numbers from Internet baseball sites, but let’s just assume the story they’re telling is true. What’s going on with Matt Moore? Moore’s lefty/righty splits are, bluntly, shocking. Righties are hitting .256/.318/.455 against him, which isn’t especially good, but it’s not a disaster either. It’s 10 points of wOBA more than his career number, because even though the raw power numbers are significantly worse (about 50 points of SLG higher than his career line), the 2017 environment is so offense-friendly that, compared to league average, it’s not as bad as you might think. So as much as righties are a problem, they’re not really the problem. This is when we come to lefties. Left handed hitters are hitting .378/.448/.641 against Moore this year. To put that into perspective, it’s awful. To put that into more perspective, Joey Votto is leading all left handed hitters in OPS this year, and he’s hitting .317/.447/.603. So roughly speaking, Matt Moore turns every lefty he faces into Joey Votto. YOU: That’s not fair. The batting lines are different! Yeah, well, “Matt Moore turns every lefty he faces into someone better than Joey Votto” doesn’t give you a clear picture in your head, does it? It’s close enough for you to get the point. But it gets worse! Lefties on the road are hitting .446/.507/.905 against Moore this year. YOU: That’s got to be small sample size. No one’s that bad. No, that’s not the point. The point is more, what the hell is that? He’s also worse against lefties at home than he’s ever been, but not Peak Barry Bonds OPS Bad, which just to be clear, is incredibly bad. Something has to be obviously different, right? You can’t be this much of a disaster without there being some sort of obvious clue as to what’s going on, can you? I’m going to present some graphs now from Brooks about Matt Moore facing left handed hitters. I hope you like graphs. First up, two about his whiff rates: Ignore the blue changeup lines from last year, because from August through October Moore threw a total of 10 changeups to lefties, so the high whiff rate on those doesn’t mean a lot. But if you look at the curveball, which was a consistent swing and miss pitch for him after he came to the Giants last year, it’s declined significantly. The cutter’s had ups and downs, but lately it’s been awful, the changeup hasn’t been working, and the fastball, even though he’s seen some improvement there, hasn’t been a consistent swing and miss pitch either. Matt Moore just doesn’t have an out pitch against left handers, which has made it harder to get left handers out. Now, his batting average against and ISO: So if he only throws his curve and cutter in even numbered months, only throws his changeup in odd numbered months, and completely abandons his fastball against lefties, Moore’s got a good shot at being effective. Got it. Good plan. Now, finally, his velocity and the percentage of line drives he gives up per ball in play: On the whole, Moore’s velocity is d[...]

SF Giants Minor Lines 8/17/18: Chris Shaw hits #21


Disappointing afternoon in San Jose, a power show in Reno, and runs were flying fast and furious in Oregon and Arizona. I’ve been thinking about this for a little while now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Chris Shaw’s doubles are the best doubles in the world. src="" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> HIGHLIGHTS: Chris Shaw and Tim Federowicz doubled, HR’d; Dom Mazza threw 6 shutout innings; Rob Calabrese had 4 hits; Mikey Edie had 5 hits. Sacramento won at Reno Aces (Diamondbacks), 7-4 Chris Shaw and Tim Federowicz powered the RiverCats to the victory at Reno. Both drove in three runs on a double and a HR. For Federowicz it was his 9th HR and continued a torrid month of August in which he’s hit .371 and SLGd .800. The veteran has been a very nice depth pickup for the Giants this year. As has been pointed out to me, the Giants always bring up a 3rd Catcher when September comes. The 3rd Catcher on the 40 man is Trevor Brown, who’s suffered through a miserable 2017, while Fed-X has thrived as Sacramento’s primary receiver. Chris Shaw is settling into being probably something very like a version of the major leaguer he’s going to become (with probably a bit higher BA). His walk rate has dipped lower than the EL version and it would be nice to see that come back up, and the strikeouts are up. But he’s a consistent source of power in the Sacramento lineup, with an Iso in the PCL above .250 and a swing that can generate some serious getouttahere: src="" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> That’s 53 extra base hits on the year for Shaw across two levels, including 21 HRs, 31 doubles, and even a triple. He leads Sacramento in both HRs (15) and doubles (21). A couple of other encouraging notes about Shaw: he’s handled lefties decently well this year, posting an .818 OPS against same-siders albeit with just 1 HR. And he knows what to do with count leverage as he’s put up a 1.001 when ahead in the count:.306/.432/.569 Andrew Suarez broke his streak of consecutive quality starts, as he was pulled after just 5 innings of work. He wasn’t quite as sharp as typical, throwing just 46 of his 74 pitches for strikes. Still, he went into a tough pitching environment and held the league’s most potent offense to just 2 runs, only 1 of which was earned (on a solo HR). DJ Snelten and Tyler Rogers took it the rest of the way, each allowing 1 run. Snelten allowed a triple to his first batter and RBI single to his second, but then retired his final 7 batters. Rogers took over the PCL lead in appearances with 49. Both relievers owed a thanks to 2b Ali Castillo in the 8th inning. First he helped Snelten with his final out: src="" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> And an out later he did the same for Rogers: src="" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> And hey, as long as we’re highlighting defensive stylings, check out this throw from Williamson: src="" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> Richmond lost at Harrisburg Senators (Nationals), 5-4getting swept in their three game series, 0-3 Oh goodness, there’s just not much left to say about these Squirrels. Yes, Caleb Gindl homered again. Yes, Cory Taylor was incredibly hittable again and owns the dubious distinctions of having the second most walks in the EL and being in the bottom 10 in WHIP. And Aramis Garcia nabbed his third ext[...]