My First 25: Part 3 – History Just Missed!

I’ve attended 25 Giants games in my “fan career.” Twenty-five is a pretty special number around these parts, so I thought I’d go back and recap them all, starting from the most recent and working my way back. In case you missed them, here are Part 1 and Part 2.

Game #11 | July 11, 2009 | AT&T Park | Giants 2, Padres 1

Box Score

Matt Cain vs Tim Stauffer

Player of the Game: Pablo Sandoval (2-Run HR)

Entertainment Rating: 6 (out of 10) | Record in Games Attended: 6-5

Though nobody could have predicted the championships that would soon consume the franchise, city, and fanbase in the years to follow, there was a 4-game series vs San Diego in 2009 that made us all believe the tide might just be turning. Tim Lincecum took a no-hitter late into the first game of the series, and the next night Jonathan Sanchez actually did hold the Fathers hitless. Well, we had tickets to the third game, a Saturday night contest. I can still remember the buzz in the park that night. It didn’t feel like a franchise coming off four straight years of losing anymore. Of course, Cainer allowed a hit to the second batter of the game and was later removed when his counterpart, Tim Stauffer lined one back up the middle and off of Cain in the second inning. Ironically, the same thing happened to Cain in a game I attended four years later. Who knew? In the game at-hand, the Giants bullpen held San Diego to 1 run on 7+ innings of work, and Pablo’s 4th inning homer off Stauffer was the difference in the victory.

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Game #12 | August 8, 2009 | AT&T Park | Giants 4, Reds 2

Box Score

Barry Zito vs Bronson Arroyo

Player of the Game: Bengie Molina (HR, 3 RBI)

Entertainment Rating: 6 (out of 10) | Record in Games Attended: 7-5

Man, I can remember the circumstances of this game clearly. It was a Chico-area radio station promotion. I went with two buddies, Tyler and Jason. Tyler’s sports-loving grandpa (“Grandpa Ron”, who was given a shoutout on the air by Kruk for his 60th wedding anniversary a couple Sunday’s ago) and uncle also went with us. It was a good size group, and we took a charter bus to the stadium. I remember sitting in the view level right above home plate, near a few of the local radio DJ’s and sportscasters. I even have a picture to prove we were there… but I don’t remember anything about the actual damn game! All I recall was Bronson Arroyo and his leg-kick. That’s how I figured out which game we went to. Apparently, Bengie Molina and Eugenio Velez hit homers, and Zito tossed 6 solid innings. B-Willy Wilson sealed his 28th save of the year. Thank goodness for Baseball-Reference!

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Game #13 | August 10, 2010 | AT&T Park | Cubs 8, Giants 6

Box Score

Tim Lincecum vs Ryan Dempster

Player of the Game: Buster Posey (2-5, 2 RBI)

Entertainment Rating: 5 | Record in Games Attended: 7-6

I was home from Montana for a week-vacation, so my sister and I went to a game with our cousins, who lived in Foster City at the time. It seems you can pick something special or significant in nearly every game you attend, but this one was big. It was my first time seeing Mr. Gerald Demp Posey, live and up-close. The rook was as good as advertised, hitting a double and a single, and driving in two runs. He ended the game with a cool .341 average. Man, can you believe that was 8 years ago already? The game itself wasn’t a winner. Timmy was mired in a rough stretch and gave up six earned on this night. Kosuke Fukudome took him deep in the first inning. Highlights for the G’s included 3 hits from Sandoval. And remember the “water buffalo” outfield? Andres Torres manned CF, with Pat the Bat in left and Aubrey Huff in right. Ironically, it was the Cubs who couldn’t field the ball, committing 4 errors. which didn’t cost them in the end.

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Game #14 | September 24, 2010 | Coors Field | Giants 2, Rockies 1

Box Score

Tim Lincecum vs Jhoulys Chacin

Player of the Game: Tim Lincecum (8 IP, 1 ER, 9 K)

Entertainment Rating: 8 | Record in Games Attended: 8-6

My first and only time watching the Gigantes on the road. A pretty special experience, road-tripping from Billings, Montana to Denver with my best friend Tyler, his girlfriend (now wife), and a couple of our college friends. The regular season was nearing completion, and the Giants were really surging… just about a week away from that legendary weekend showdown with San Diego that decided the division. I caught Timmy for the second time that summer, and he was in prime form that night at Coors. Thinking back on that performance, and knowing what I do about pitching in that park, makes it all the more impressive. The Rockies scratched a run in the 6th, but otherwise The Freak was mowing them down, inning after inning. In the top of the 7th, Pat Burrell turned on one, sending the pitch sailing down the left field line, almost directly at us in the LF bleachers. It just wrapped around the foul pole, and without consciously thinking about it I jumped from my seat and let out a scream of joy. It only took a few seconds to look around and realize I was just about the only one yelling. Major stink-eye coming my way. That was a feeling I’ll never forget!  The Giants won the game, which happened to be Fan Appreciation Night. The Rockies marched everyone in bleacher seats down onto the outfield lawn for postgame fireworks. An unforgettable night, following the boys on the road.

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Game #15 | June 12, 2012 | AT&T Park | Giants 6, Astros 3

Box Score

Madison Bumgarner vs Bud Norris

Player of the Game: Madison Bumgarner (12 K, 1 HR)

Entertainment Rating: 8 | Record in Games Attended: 9-6

Summer 2012, I had returned home from Montana to complete my student-teaching. A family friend had connections to season tickets near home plate in the premium club, and I had been emailing her for a while to set up a game. We had planned on June 13, a Wednesday night against Houston (of the NL Central, mind you). For some reason that I simply cannot recall anymore, it didn’t work out. So I hit StubHub and got three tickets for Tuesday night’s game, also against the Astros. My sister, her boyfriend, and I rode the Vallejo Ferry to the stadium, a first time for me. The game was awesome. MadBum was brilliant. Not only did he strike out 12 Astros (a pretty hapless lineup at the time, but one that contained Altuve, Jason Castro, Jed Lowrie, and JD Martinez), but he also CRUSHED a 3rd inning offering from Bud Norris into the LF bleachers. That was the first homer of Bum’s career, odd when considering it was his 3rd full year in the bigs. Look it up! Later in the game, Belt would hit his first homer of the season. I’m pretty sure young Bum was giving young Belt an earful about getting off the big fly schneid first, and Belt simply got tired of hearing about it. Bochy used four pitchers to get the game’s final four outs, and we went home happy.

About that game we were originally supposed to attend, the one the next night on Wednesday? Nothing special happened. Unless you consider Matt Cain’s perfect freaking game special!! Bum’s first homerun is a decent consolation prize, I suppose…



My First Twenty-Five: Part 2

I’ve attended 25 Giants games in my “fan career.” Twenty-five is a pretty special number around these parts, so I thought I’d go back and recap them all, starting from the most recent and working my way back. In case you missed it, here’s Part 1.

Game #16 | April 19, 2013 | AT&T Park | Giants 3, Padres 2

Box Score

Madison Bumgarner vs Edinson Volquez

Player of the Game: Bumgarner (6 IP, 2 ER, 10 K)

Entertainment Rating: 7 (out of 10) | Record in Games Attended: 10-6

I actually forgot I had attended this game. But as I was going through each season, it came back to me. I had flown into the city from Montana to work a college admissions fair.  I bought a single ticket a little closer to the dish than I’d ever been, and walked to the park from my hotel. Only time I’ve been to a game by myself, and maybe that’s why I don’t remember much. Bumgarner was dominant, and I do remember Angel Pagan’s liner scoring Andres Torres to walk it off in the bottom of the 9th. The memory that stands out most to me from this game though is the 7th inning stretch. It was a Friday night, just days after the tragedy at the Boston Marathon, and they played “Sweet Caroline” during the stretch. Everyone belted it. A very passionate, heart-warming moment.

Game #17 | April 20, 2013 | AT&T Park | Giants 2, Padres 0

Box Score

Tim Lincecum vs Andrew Cashner

Player of the Game: Lincecum (6.2 IP, 0 ER, 8 K)

Entertainment Rating: 6 (out of 10) | Record in Games Attended: 11-6

Timmy just owned the Padres, didn’t he? I actually went to games on consecutive nights, a first for me. This time my mom and sister drove down from the valley to go with me though. Again, the specific memories from this one are fuzzy for some reason. Aside from the pitching staff (Lincecum, Mijares, Casilla, Romo – that’s a quartet!) tossing a shutout, the game-changing moment came off the bat of a beefed-up Pablo Sandoval, who parked a pitch from Cashner into the right-field seats. Those were the only runs of the game.

Game #18 | August 22, 2013 | AT&T Park | Pirates 10, Giants 5

Box Score

Matt Cain vs Jeff Locke

Player of the Game: Brett Pill (3 hits)

Entertainment Rating: 4 | Record in Games Attended: 11-7

This was a special night, even if the game itself was forgettable. Long before she would become my wife, Keri and I flew to SFO from Montana and she attended her first Giants game. We sat near the Giants dugout, and I remember being so proud to show off the sights of the park, like it was mine or something! The glory faded once the game began, however. Cainer gave up two homers in the 2nd inning, including a towering splash hit to Garrett Jones. In the 4th inning, Cain took a comebacker off the arm and left the game. It was a play that would lead to the first DL stint of his career, and a roller coaster ride for him over the next few seasons. The Giants got thumped, but Brett Pill manned LF and had 3 hits for the good guys. Sorry Brett, but I don’t remember any of them!

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Game #19 | June 15, 2015 | AT&T Park | Mariners 5, Giants 1

Box Score

Tim Hudson vs Taijuan Walker

Player of the Game: Walker (7 IP, 1 ER)

Entertainment Rating: 4 | Record in Games Attended: 11-8

Fast forward two summers to another special game. I had moved back to NorCal for a full-time teaching position. My college roommate, RA partner, coworker, and very good friend Aaron flew out to catch an interleague game against his beloved M’s. It was his first trip to AT&T, and he was in awe. I got us seats in the premium club, a first for me, and we felt like we were VIP’s in the park. Dave Flemming walked right past me in the tunnel and I said hello like I was a giddy 7th grader. The game itself was kind of a dud for the Giants. Seattle’s hyped-up righty Taijuan Walker shut them down over 7 innings, and Kyle Seager hit a late homer off Affeldt to seal the deal. Future Mariner Nori Aoki drove in the Giants’ only run. Score 1 for Aaron, but we’d even the score a few years later…

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Game #20 | August 15, 2015 | AT&T Park | Giants 12, Nationals 6

Box Score

Jake Peavy vs Gio Gonzalez

Player of the Game: Matt Duffy (2 hits, 4 RBI)

Entertainment Rating: 8 | Record in Games Attended: 12-8

This was a fun game – Saturday night, Giants sporting their black alternate jerseys, which are my personal favorites. It also ended up being Keri’s (then my fiance) first in-person win. The offense came out in full force, tagging Gio Gonzalez for 6 ER, all in the 3rd inning. The rookies, Duffy & Tomlinson, really put on a show. Duff-Man hit two doubles and drove in 4, while Kelby (whose career was less than a month old at that point) doubled and tripled. Our seats were near lower level, near the left field foul pole, so we had an up-close view of Duffy’s 2nd inning, bases-clearing double that bounced against the wall and electrified the crowd. Giants pounded out 12 runs on 13 hits. Just an exciting night at the yard, and a great way to spend my 20th Gigantes game.

My First Twenty-Five: Part 1

I’ve attended 25 Giants games in my “fan career.” Twenty-five is a pretty special number around these parts, so I thought I’d go back and recap them all, starting from the most recent and working my way back.

Game #21 | October 10, 2016 | AT&T Park | NLDS Game 3 | Giants 6, Cubs 5  (13 innings)

Box Score

Madison Bumgarner vs Jake Arrieta

Player of the Game: Conor Gillaspie (2 RBI)

Entertainment Rating: 9 (out of 10) | Record in Games Attended: 13-8

This was the first and only postseason game I’ve ever attended. My wife and I sat in the view reserve along the 3B line. With Bumgarner on the mound, that was a kind of electricity I hadn’t remembered feeling since the days of Bonds. Arrieta homered off him early and took the air out of the stadium. All seemed lost until Gillaspie stepped in against Aroldis Chapman and tripled into the gap. The tying and go-ahead runs scored, an incredible 51% win probability added according to Baseball-Ref. We both had work the next day and a 3-hour drive home, so we couldn’t stay for extras. We were losing it in the car with KNBR on all the way home. A game I’ll never forget.

Game #22 | June 14, 2017 | AT&T Park | Royals 7, Giants 2

Box Score

Johnny Cueto vs Jason Hammel

Player of the game: Lorenzo Cain (3-4, HR)

Entertainment Rating: 3 (out of 10) | Record in Games Attended: 13-9

Wife and I went for this one on a Wednesday afternoon. Cueto just didn’t have his stuff, issued 5 walks and served up three homers. Jorge Bonifacio’s 2-run big fly in the 3rd was the top WPA play of the game. Eduardo Nunez & Austin Slater knocked in the Giants two runs. Our usual 3-hour drive home took 5. Pretty forgettable day!

Game #23 | July 9, 2017 | AT&T Park | Marlins 10, Giants 8 (11 innings)

Box Score

Johnny Cueto vs Jose Urena

Player of the game: Brandon Crawford (HR, 3 RBI)

Entertainment Rating: 5 | Record in Games Attended: 13-10

Our first wedding anniversary and the start of a tradition we hope to continue for many years. Again Johnny Beisbol scuffled, giving up 6 ER on an unbelievable 6 walks. Crawford and Hundley homered, but the Giants were still in a hole going into the late innings. They rallied, and Miguel “Go-Go” Gomez did this to earn his first career hit, while we watched from the SRO above the bricks in right. The game ran long, and we had to bolt for the ferry building to catch the last boat out of town. G’s lost in extras. Hey, Jae-Gyun Hwang played in this game. I wonder if we’ll ever hear from that guy again?

Game #24 | April 4, 2018 | AT&T Park | Giants 10, Mariners 1

Box Score

Johnny Cueto vs Felix Hernandez

Player of the game: Pablo Sandoval (HR, 4 RBI)

Entertainment Rating: 7 | Record in Games Attended: 14-10

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Second home game of the season and our third straight Cueto start. He was back to his old self in this one. The Giants were really due for some runs, and boy did they put a hurt on the King, Felix Hernandez. My college roommate from Montana flew in for this one, as we renewed our personal Giants/Mariners interleague rivalry. We sat in the premium club, as we did the first time he came out for a game three years earlier. He wasn’t thrilled when Gorkys Hernandez launched one into the seats off his franchise icon. I tried to play it cool, because I care, you know… But I couldn’t keep it in when Pablo parked a 3-run bomb into the cove. What a moment, and a nice blowout win for the good guys.

Game #25 | July 8, 2018 | AT&T Park | Giants 13, Cardinals 8

Box Score

Madison Bumgarner vs Jack Flaherty

Player of the game: Pablo Sandoval (HR, 5 RBI)

Entertainment Rating: 8 | Record in Games Attended: 15-10

Last Sunday and our 2nd-anniversary game. Another one where the Giants were due for some runs. 17 hits, and another Pablo 3-run homer. We also saw the MLB debuts for Steven Duggar and Ray Black, which was pretty special for them, and also for me. Bum didn’t have his best stuff, but the bats just pounded out hit after hit, running promising rookie Flaherty from the game early. A four-hour affair, but a fun boat ride home after career Giants game number Two-Five for this fan.

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2017 Mock Draft

With only one weekend until draft day, I decided to throw a mock out there. This will probably be the only version I post. It feels a little too close to the consensus for me, but considering those guys miss a lot of picks anyway, I’m not too worried about it. I tried to focus on who I thought the Giants could target, & jotted a few names to look for on the second page.

Do I have a favorite player in this class? Well, I suppose that guy is Adam Haseley, Virginia CF. He won’t come close to #19 though, so there’s no sense in writing much about him. Kentucky’s Evan White was a guy I felt like Evans and his team could target, and wouldn’t you know it he started getting mocked to the Giants by most of the major sources. Now his stock seems to be soaring, & it doesn’t seem likely he’ll make it to 19 either.

In this scenario, Oregon southpaw David Peterson falls into the Giants’ lap. I’d be very happy with that, as my preference would be to grab an impact college performer right off the bat, then pick from a deep high school pool in the second round.  Personally, I just hope they go with some consensus here (preferably someone who isn’t of the “high floor, low ceiling type of prospect we’ve become accustomed to them taking). The system needs a rebuild at all levels, & Monday is a great opportunity to get the ball rolling.

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy!

Giants Top Prospects, Spring 2017

Hello all. I didn’t have the time to put together a top 50-100 Giants list this year, and my knowledge of the system isn’t as deep as it once was. But it still didn’t feel right to start the year without posting my thoughts on the top prospects in the system. That was one of the reasons I began this blog in the first place! Better late than never, I suppose.

Without further ado, here are the 20 best prospects in the organization – according to yours truly.

#1(a): Christian Arroyo, Inf, Age 21 = His “doubles, not homers” power in AA last year dropped his stock in some eyes. Not mine. He’ll be in AAA with the potential to do some real damage.

#1(b): Tyler Beede, RHP, Age 23 = Beede & Arroyo are very different prospects, but both will be in Sacramento, and both are future cornerstone pieces for the franchise. Tyler will likely make his MLB debut this season.

#3: Bryan Reynolds, OF, Age 22 = The Giants didn’t have a 1st round pick last summer, but they snagged a legitimate 1st round talent in Reynolds. He’s an all-around hitter who swings from both sides. Can he stick in CF?

#4: Ty Blach, LHP, Age 26 = We saw the best of Blach last September when he mowed down the Dodgers and outpitched Clayton Kershaw. Where he starts the season I don’t know, but he should get his shot at some point this year. Will he settle into the rotation?  

#5: Steven Duggar, CF, Age 23 = Athletic; great arm; solid plate discipline; chance to stay in CF. He surprised a lot of people last year, surging to AA in his first professional season.

#6: Chris Shaw, 1B, Age 23 = The jump to AA took some of the sting out of his bat last summer, but it was still a great debut season for one of the premier power hitters in the organization.

#7: Heath Quinn, OF, Age 21 = One of my favorite players in last year’s draft class. I was ecstatic when the Giants called his name. He roasted NWL pitching, and I believe he has the bat to continue that trend moving forward.

#8: Steven Okert, LHP, Age 25 = I know ranking relievers is a tricky deal, but Okert has shown flashes of being an impact arm throughout his pro career. He pitched well in his opportunity late last season and has had a spring that could see him land on the opening day MLB roster.

#9: Andrew Suarez, LHP, Age 24 = He’s a Ty Blach type, but with better fastball velocity. There’s a good chance he spends some time in Sacramento this summer. How will he handle the jump?

#10: Sandro Fabian, OF, Age 19 = I’ll admit I don’t know as much about this kid, but he torched the AZL as an 18 year-old, and is consistently getting mentions among the system’s top 10. Currently projects as a solid all-around RF, but still has a long way to go to get there.

#11: CJ Hinojosa, SS, Age 22 = A sneaky upside pick in the 11th round, he turned heads almost immediately in his first full season. Most projections have him as a below average SS, more of a utility type.

#12: Austin Slater, OF, Age 24 = Athletic IF/OF had a power uptick last season, and might just be the super utility type the Giants have been longing for. He’s got a real shot to see big league time this year.

#13: Aramis Garcia, C, Age 24 = Injuries have slowed his development, but his arm and defensive chops still make him a significant prospect in the system for me. Will his bat catch up?

#14: Joan Gregorio, RHP, Age 25 = 6-ft-7 arm has been around a long time. AAA batters hit him hard, but his K rates were some of the best of his career. I envision a future power arm out of the bullpen.

#15: Sam Coonrod, RHP, Age 24 = Another guy with velocity, but concerns about whether he’ll remain a starter. I haven’t seen him this spring, but thought his stuff looked pretty electric at times last year.

#16: Chris Stratton, RHP, Age 26 = Hasn’t lived up to his 1st round pedigree, but he did take a step forward last year and should see more time in Bruce Bochy’s bullpen this season.

#17: Reyes Moronta, RHP, Age 24 =  He took over the closer’s role in San Jose when Rodolfo Martinez moved to AA last summer and had a huge season for the Giants. He’s a smaller guy, but his fastball sure isn’t.

#18: Dan Slania, RHP, Age 24 = Big Dan became a starter last season and had himself a nice season. I could have put just about anyone in this spot, but I’ve always envisioned Slania as a big league arm. If he can start, that sure ups the ante.

#19: Ryder Jones, 3B/1B, Age 22 = Ryder takes his fair share of heat, but he also showed pretty good pop in Richmond last year. More importantly, the Giants believe in him.

#20: Miguel Gomez, Inf, Age 24 = Let me put it this way. Gomez can flat out hit. Now he’s hitting for power too? I’m sure someone will find a spot for him one of these years (he’s on the Giants’ 40-man now too).

Honorable Mention: Matt Krook, Rodolfo Martinez, Clayton Blackburn, Ray Black, Jonah Arenado

Game Score Plus Part 2: Some Context

Morning all. If you missed my introduction post last night, here is the link. In a nutshell, I explained that my calculations of Game Score “Advantage” failed me in that they didn’t hold up well between generations. A pitcher who started 40 games might regularly accumulate an Advantage score between 600 & 700, where today’s best pitchers often don’t even make it to 500 (Max Scherzer was #1 in 2016 with a 459).

Another major downfall of Advantage was the fact that nobody had any idea what it meant. Whenever I posted scores on my Cove Chatter Twitter page (which admittedly isn’t the best place for this kind of information), I was almost always prompted to provide an explanation of what those scores actually meant, how they were calculated, etc. Tip: if you’re going to come up with some cool, new metric to evaluate something, it better be easy for the general public to understand. As I learned, Game Score Advantage wasn’t.

If I was going to find the most dominant pitching seasons of all time (using Game Score), I needed a better way to compare pitchers across the decades.

That line of thinking led me to Game Score Plus, a simple metric that puts a pitcher’s Game Score Average in direct comparison with his peers that season, 100 being the league average.

Continue reading “Game Score Plus Part 2: Some Context”

Game Score Plus: An Introduction

It’s been feeling a little dull around here since WordPress nixed the MLB-themed blog pages, so I finally made it feel a little more like home. Now, what say we do a little “blogging?”

Game Score is simply another way to look at a starting pitcher’s performance, be it an individual start, a month, season, or career. It’s not perfect, and Tom Tango has altered the original Bill James model (used on Baseball-Reference). Tango’s new GmSc formula is listed in the pitcher game logs at Fangraphs. I have a BB-Ref play index subscription – which is not only time saving but also unbelievably deep –  so I always refer to the original Game Score.

I have used GmSc to look at pitcher performance from a number of different angles. I categorized every start from 2016 as either a win, loss, or no decision, with qualifying scores set for each league. That was a serious undertaking, one which I probably won’t do again, but it did, in my opinion, make a pitcher’s win-loss record actually mean something.

Continue reading “Game Score Plus: An Introduction”