The Draft History of John Barr

It was announced last night that John Barr had been replaced as the Giants director of scouting and draft advisor. Michael Holmes comes over from Oakland to take on the role. Barr oversaw 11 drafts during his tenure, and saw plenty of mixed results. Here’s a quick look at each of those draft classes.

2008 | 5th Pick

#1 Buster Posey | 41.3 bWAR

#1S Connor Gillaspie | 1.0 bWAR

#3 Roger Kieschnick | -1 bWAR

#4 Brandon Crawford | 23.3 WAR

#13 Juan Perez | 0.4 WAR

Barr’s first draft class was easily his best, as he landed two future franchise icons and Gillaspie, who eventually returned to provide the organization with a couple magical October moments. As pitchers go, Eric Surkamp was the only one who logged any significant innings, albeit with nearly -2 career WAR. Still, Posey & Crawford alone make this one of the best draft classes in franchise history.

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Non-Tendered Free Agents: 10 to Consider

Scanning the list of players who were non-tendered by their clubs yesterday. There are definitely a few noteworthy names on the list. I pulled ten who I think could help the Giants the most next year, in order of my preference. There’s also a bonus name at the bottom. Obviously, most of these guys have some warts, and you wouldn’t want to fill a whole roster with them… but they’re also a group that’s seen success in the recent past, and are now likely pissed off, er, motivated, in hopes of landing a new deal and sticking it to the teams that gave up on them. A couple of targeted signings from this crop could end up proving valuable to Farhan Zaidi’s first Giants roster.

*Age listed is for 2019 season.

#1: Avisail Garcia, LF, Age 28 | 3-yr Avg: 466 PA, 109 wRC+, 17 HR, 6 BB%, 23 K%

Rationale: I’ve mentioned him a few times this offseason, and he’s one of my top choices as a risk/reward pickup. He’s athletic for a such a big guy (90th percentile sprint speed), and still hit 19 HR in an injury-filled, down season. It’s easy to wonder if his power would translate to AT&T, and this is why I would take my chances. He was in the 83rd percentile for average exit velocity and 90th for barreled-ball%. The Giants need more guys who hit the ball hard. Career .816 OPS vs lefties doesn’t hurt either.

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Utility Players

The Farhan Zaidi hiring is forcing me to think a little differently about roster construction and the idea of “finding value.” Not that that’s a bad thing, but it is kind of ironic – the guy has yet to make a MLB move with the franchise and he’s already making me work harder!

Position flexibility is all the rage in baseball right now. All of a sudden, being solid in one area doesn’t really cut it anymore (see the recently DFA CJ Cron, who hit 30 HR this year). Superstars aside, most teams are looking for players who are versatile. The Dodgers have been a prime example of this under Zaidi & Andrew Friedman. Yes, they still have their guys who hold down a single position (Puig in RF, Seager at SS, Turner at 3B), but they also boast tremendous lineup versatility in the way they utilize guys like Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger, Kike Hernandez, and Chris Taylor. Just look at how they dished out playing time in CF this year, courtesy of Baseball Reference.

Screen Shot 2018-11-24 at 4.35.00 PM

This is such a change from what we’re used to with the Giants. Normally, when we’ve seen that many players getting significant starts at one position, it was because none of the options had established themselves in that spot… the revolving door situation. The Dodgers, on the other hand, moved multiple starting-caliber players around the diamond on a nightly basis. This is what we can hope to see from Zaidi-improved Giants rosters in the future, and I wanted to take a look at some of the potential options out there.

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Net Value: Forecasting 2019

Someone anonymously commented on my last post, which compared the Giants 2018 value to the rest of the league, that I should use my calculations as a forecaster for 2019. It’s not something I had considered, but when I thought about the current temperature of the “hot stove” (is this thing on?), I figured it’d be a good time to see what the projections say about the Giants chances next season. I haven’t had enough time to chart the AL teams yet, but I think looking at the NL will give you a pretty good idea of where things stand right now.

A couple of things here. I used Steamer projections, which are sorted nicely over at Fangraphs, to get fWAR totals for this exercise. I’ve never really been a fan of projection models like this, as they’re usually very conservative, which kind of takes the fun out of making predictions. But I’ve also started to finally understand and appreciate the methodology behind such projection models, and I know that I’m not nearly smart enough to come up with a projection system with the depth and research behind it that Steamer and others have. But, I still find them all a bit bland.

The salary data comes from Spotrac, as well as MLB Trade Rumors for arbitration-eligible players. I used Roster Resource to get an idea of the current (pre-free agency and trades) projected 25-man rosters for each team, and Baseball Reference to log the 2019-season age for those players. When you’re toggling between four different websites to complete one spreadsheet, you can see how it might get a little time-consuming. But it’s a labor of love, and I wanted to make sure I credited those sites for the valuable information they provide.

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Net Value Rankings: Giants vs MLB

I used WAR $ Value totals from Fangraphs for every MLB player who logged meaningful time this season. I then subtracted each player’s salary to get their “net value.” Here’s a look at the most and least valuable teams, position units, and players across baseball, with my thoughts on how the Giants fit into the picture.

The Formula:  WAR $ Value (Fangraphs) minus Player Salary = Net Value ($Millions)

*According to Fangraphs, 1 WAR is currently worth around $8M.   

Qualifiers: At least 100 PA for hitters; At least 30 IP for pitchers  

MLB Team Net Value

Top Five

#1: A’s = $290M | Chapman = $52M | Lowrie = $33M | Treinan = $27M

#2: Yankees = $286M | Severino = $45M | Judge = $40M | Hicks = $36M

#3: Astros = $278M | Bregman = $60M | Cole = $43M | Verlander = $34M

#4: Indians = $271M | Ramirez = $62M | Lindor = $60M | Bauer = $43M

#5: Braves = $259M | Albies = $30M | Acuna Jr = $29M | Foltynewicz = $29M

Bottom 5

#26: Tigers = $36M | Martinez = -$31M | Cabrera = -$24M | Zimmermann = -$17M

#27: Marlins = $28M | Prado = -$17M | Sierra = -$12M 

#28: Blue Jays = $17M | Tulowitzki = -$20M | Donaldson = -$16M | Martin = -$15M

#29: Orioles = negative $21M | Davis = -$46M | Jones = -$13M | Trumbo = -$9M

#30: Giants = negative $23M | Pence = -$25M | Samardzija = -$21M | Cueto = -$20M

Giants roster breakdown: 21.9 Team WAR | $176M WAR value | $199M Payroll

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Giants Mock Offseason Plan; Take 2

The GM meetings are a week away, and while that’s not near as big a deal as the Winter Meetings, it still feels a little odd when a team doesn’t actually have a GM in place. It might not be time to panic or start throwing a fit yet, but if you’re feeling a little confused about the pace and timing of the front office search, well, you aren’t alone. Especially when A) the Giants don’t seem satisfied despite having interviewed some really solid candidates, and B) Sabean’s comments hinting at a slower moving offseason were already contradicted less than 24 hours later, with rumors of an “active early market” on the horizon, according to Jeff Passan.

So, as we wait to get more clarity on the team’s search for a new president/GM, all we can do is speculate about the types of moves that person might make to the roster this winter. Personally, I’m of the belief that there will be some pretty significant, “splashy” changes, if you will. Whether that’s trading Bumgarner for a prospect package, going all out to sign Harper, or getting involved in some other sort of blockbuster trade, I can’t say at this point. But the main reason they let Bobby Evans go was the roster he was responsible for (or was the scapegoat for, in some senses) wasn’t cutting it anymore. Changes are necessary, and I’m sure the ownership group will expect to see them start to happen sooner rather than later.

A couple weeks ago I posted my mock offseason plan, in which I kind of went crazy with the notion of putting a competitive 2019 team on the field. That probably wasn’t super realistic, especially for a new GM who has their eye on building a team that can compete for multiple years. As I said then, I’m always tweaking things and trying out different ideas.

So here’s another version of an offseason plan, this one taking a more long-term approach. It’s still not a rebuild/teardown scenario, as I just don’t think this is the franchise to commit to something like that. Most of the major market teams like the Giants have the luxury of not needing to strip their roster to bare bones. Now, that’s not to say they can’t use their resources to create a younger roster, and that’s the angle I tried to take here, relying less on free agency and more on trades.

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Offseason Targets: 2019-20 Free Agent Pitchers

It looks like there have been a few updates worth noting on the hitter front since I profiled them. I thought Brett Gardner was a non-option candidate, and it turns out I was right. I was wrong about him hitting free agency though, as he re-upped with the Yanks for $7M after they bought out his option. While that might not make him as realistic of an option for the Giants, it might mean New York is more willing to part ways with Clint Frazier, who missed most of the year with a concussion and doesn’t seem to fit into their roster plans anymore.

A couple of infielders I find intriguing had their options declined and became free agents this week too. Yangervis Solarte was the one among them who I did profile, while Josh Harrison was a guy I somehow overlooked. I like that Solarte hits both ways and offers some pop. Harrison’s only a year removed from 16 HR and 12 SB. Either guy can play multiple infield positions, and either would make a nice part-time option, especially if the Giants acquire an upgrade at 2B (Marwin Gonzalez or DJ LeMahieu).

Anyway, onto the pitchers who might be trade candidates in their final year of control. This isn’t a very long list, and it’s not exactly the most exciting list either. But the idea is to look at this offseason from many different angles, so that’s what we’re going to do.  

* = Team option for 2020.

Mike Fiers RHP | A’s = One of the underrated parts of the Giants looking for a new front office regime – especially if they bring in a well-regarded, “next-gen” type that we’ve been hearing about – is the potential to do business with some old foes. Let’s be real. As long as Sabean is in charge, the Giants aren’t doing business with Beane & the A’s. Ain’t happenin’! But maybe the new GM can bury the hatchet and build new relationships. Fiers had a nice bounceback season (30 starts, 1.4 fWAR) and looks to get about $10M in arbitration. That probably puts him on the block. He could be a nice one-year option for the Giants… then again, his 4.75 FIP may be a warning sign, and the A’s might just hate the Giants no matter who’s calling the shots!

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