Saturday, June 11, 2011

CIN 10, SF 2: Lincecum Cold Streak Continues

That's now 3 iffy starts in a row for Tim Lincecum and today's was the worst. After striking out the first batter of the game, he struck out no more, walked 4, and gave up 7 earned runs in 4 innings. And just 36 of his 73 pitches were strikes. Yikes. Many, including the brilliant FOX broadcasters, are speculating that Lincecum's complete game, 133 pitch outing against the A's is the reason for the recent struggles. But I don't buy that one start is gonna mess with Lincecum and cause him fatigue, especially because it's not like he hasn't thrown a lot of pitches before. With him, there's really no concern that he won't figure it out; he's a great pitcher who has gone through struggles before, most notably August of last season. But it'd be nice if he figured it out soon because this offense can't afford for the pitching to be anything less than perfect.

Speaking of the offense, that's going to be rough to watch for a while. It's been beaten to death, but it's really amazing that the Giants have not only been hit by a ton of injuries, but they've been injuries to very important players. As Grant at McCovey Chronicles pointed out, the entire Opening Day starting infield, with the exception of Miguel Tejada, is out right now. Posey, Belt, Sanchez, Sandoval. That's UNBELIEVABLE. I mean, it's not too great when Andres Torres is your best player on offense by a pretty large margin. The only glimmer of hope is that the offense really can't get too much worse (knock on wood), and they are still in first place. Pablo Sandoval may not be the same player he was at the beginning of the year when he comes back, but he's still better than Tejada. Brandon Belt isn't too far away from returning. Maybe Bruce Bochy will realize that Pat Burrell should be getting more starts at the expense of Aaron Rowand, who is again terrible. Things should get better, but it's gonna be ugly for a while.

Also, Burriss and Tejada hitting 1-2 in the lineup? Hahah, I guess Bochy never figured out what OBP is.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Draft Reaction: Giants Select SS Joe Panik, RHP Kyle Crick

The Giants had two picks on the first day of the MLB Draft - one in the 1st, and one in the supplemental round - and used them on a college SS and a powerful high school RHP.

Here's a scouting report for St. John's SS Joe Panik from Keith Law (Insider Only):

And here's a more optimistic report from John Sickels of SBNation:

I do not like the Joe Panik pick. He put up good numbers (.398/.509/.642) in college, but when it comes to draft prospects, stats usually don't matter as much as tools. He supposedly has a weak arm, may need to move to 2B, and doesn't have much power. And if you listen to most scouts, the Giants made a major reach and probably could have selected him with the 49th pick in the supplemental round. I don't like criticizing the Giants when it comes to the draft because they've been pretty freakin' successful in that department recently, but Panik is the type of low upside, limited power hitter the Giants always seem to go for. If you can't read Law's report, he calls Panik a likely utility infielder. Baseball America called the pick the "first truly off-the-board pick of the night" and compare him to Freddy Sanchez. Not really what I'd like from my first round pick.

My main issue with the Giants is that it seems like they doubt their ability to develop raw hitters, so they take safe players like Panik instead of somewhat risky players with more star potential. And then they decide to sign guys like Aaron Rowand and Aubrey Huff to supply the power in the lineup. That's worked pretty well. Not. You may point to guys like Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Belt as hitters that have come through the Giants' minor league system and had success. I'd argue that Posey didn't need much development, Sandoval was signed on the international market, and Belt may be the exception to rule, assuming he pans out like we all think he will. Gary Brown (a pick I hated, so maybe you can call me an idiot in a year or so) is tearing up the minors right now, but his absolute ceiling is an All-Star leadoff man. I don't mean that to sound like a bad thing, but the Giants don't lack scrappy, high average hitters with speed as much as they do true middle of the order hitters. Maybe I'm being unreasonable; a good player is a good player. I suspect the Giants did prefer HS pitchers like Robert Stephenson and Joe Ross, who went slightly before the Giants picked. But with guys like Dillon Howard, Daniel Norris, and even someone like Travis Harrison on the board, Panik was still an overdraft. Maybe it has to do with my hatred of how the Giants deal with the draft and free agency. I've said it before: imagine Aaron Rowand not signing with the Giants, and the team using that $12 million every year on the draft. It's how it should be. The Giants played it too safe in my opinion and didn't get the best player on the board.

In the supplemental round, the Giants selected Sherman HS RHP Kyle Crick.

Here's another report from Keith Law (Insider Only):

There were other available high school arms on the board I preferred, like Howard and Norris, although they probably had high price tags and I certainly liked the Crick pick better than Panik. Crick is 6'3", 220 lbs, so he's not very projectable but has the body of a typical power pitcher. His fastball sits 92-97, and according to Law he has an average changeup and average slider right now. There may be some question as to whether or not he can be a starting pitcher, but he has the potential to be a No. 2 or 3 starter. Mostly, I like the pick because it's not a huge overdraft and I always love pitching prospects. There's not really much else to say for Crick, who shouldn't be an especially tough sign out of high school.

Day 2 of the draft begins tomorrow. Let's hope for Josh Bell. Ha!