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Monday, June 29, 2009

Sanchez Bounced to Bullpen

It's been under consideration for the better part of a month now, and on Sunday evening in Milwaukee, Bruce Bochy finally made the decision. Jonathan Sanchez is temporarily out of the Giants' rotation, and will pitch in relief for the time-being.

Filling in for Sanchez on Sunday was 26 year-old Ryan Sadowski, and he was brilliant in his big league debut. Sadowski shut down one of the best hitting teams in the NL, in one of the toughest parks to pitch in. The right-hander gave the Giants 6 solid innings, in which he allowed just 4 hits, while striking out 2 batters and keeping the Brewers off the board. The quality start was good enough to give Sadowski, who's been in the minors since being drafted by the Marlins in 2003, his first big league victory, and also saved the Giants from being swept by the Brew Crew. Not only was Sadowski impressive, but the guy who's spot he took, Jonathan Sanchez, was pretty darn good out of the pen in his own right. Sanchez pitched the 9th inning for the Giants, and went 1-2-3, striking out the side on just 15 pitches. I don't know that moving Sanchez to the pen will last all year, but after the way they both threw yesterday, I think it would be wise to give Sadowski the ball as a starter, and Sanchez as a reliever until they both prove otherwise.

Providing the offense for the Giants on Sunday, and really all of June, was Nate Schierholtz. Nate just keeps getting better and better with the more playing time he's receiving and at this point, as he's pretty much taken over for the struggling Fred Lewis in the outfield. Schierholtz went 4 for 5 with a homer, an RBI and two runs scored while hitting out of the clean-up hole. The performance raised the Giants' right-fielder's average to .316. His 12 RBI's are already more than Lewis has provided on the year, and Lewis has had double the at-bats of Schierholtz. In-fact, Schierholtz has been on such a tear, that he and Pablo Sandoval are 1-2 as far as National League batting leaders for June go. These two have really stepped it up and have been the main cogs in the middle of the order in June, picking up for some other Giants who haven't been swinging as well. Bengie Molina and Randy Winn, who have really been steady offensive contributors for the Giants during their tenure's here, have been struggling lately. Winn has 4 hits over his last 2 games, so hopefully he's working out of it, but Molina's average continues to spiral down. The Giants catcher is hitting just .219 since May 1st, and has just 2 long-balls since May 12.

On-Tap: The get another tough road test, as they take on the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis for four, starting Monday night. The Cards' just added Mark DeRosa to an offense that was already one of the better ones in the league, so the Giants' pitching will be in for a good battle. Tim Lincecum takes the mound Monday night, opposed by Brad Thompson in a pitching match-up that heavily favors the Giants. It's crucial that they take advantage tonight and get Timmy his 8th win of the season...
The Giants Baseball Blog

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Giants Still Need 2 Bats

We're just a few days away from July, and about 5 weeks from the MLB, non-waiver trade deadline. The Giants have been discussed a lot over recent weeks, as they try to find another bat to help their below-average offense, but I think that they need more than just one stick.

Sure, bringing in a guy like Nick Johnson, or Aubrey Huff (two potential rent-a-players who the Giants could probably attain without parting with one of their premiere prospects) would give a boost to the clubs offense, but I don't think that an addition of one solid bat alone, unless on course it's a game changer and premier bat, will put this team over the hump. So I have been scanning the league a little bit, and found a possible trade partner for the Giants, in which they may be able to realistically add a couple of impact-type bats without giving up Bumgarner, Alderson or Posey. That team is the Baltimore Orioles. The O's are in last place in a tough AL East division, and probably will be looking to part with some of their high-priced veterans at the deadline. The two guys I have in mind are Brian Roberts and Aubrey Huff, not the best hitters in the game, but two solid bats who would drastically improve the teams' offense at first and second base. And Roberts could be a guy they may have interest in keeping around for a while.

Now, Huff has been linked as a possible target for the Giants for a while, as he can play either corner infield position and even handle right-field in a pinch. I wrote a bit about how I wanted to see the Giants make an offer to Huff when he was a free agent in 2006. Brian Roberts is an all-star caliber second basemen, who could bat atop the Giants lineup, and provide them with an offensive catalyst in the mold of Kenny Lofton, circa 2002. Neither of these guys, on their own, would put the Giants over the top, but the addition of both, could really supercharge their offense. Huff's on pace for another 20+ home run, 100+ RBI season, which no other Giant currently is besides Bengie Molina (on the home run part that is). Roberts is hitting near .300, with pop and plenty of steals (15) for the O's right now as well. I'm not quite sure what kind of package the O's would want in return for these guys, but as I said earlier, I do think the Giants could create something competitive to offer, without including their top 3 prospects. Maybe a package of Jonathan Sanchez, Emmanuel Burris, Henry Sosa, Fred Lewis and Travis Ishikawa would be a start, as all of these guys (besides Sosa) are young, have had some success at the big league level, and all have upsides that haven't been reached yet. They're also guys that the O's can control (contractually) over the next few years as well. Again, I don't have any idea what it would take to get these two guys from Baltimore, but the potential lineup with the addition of those two sure looks a lot more "playoff worthy":

1. CF Aaron Rowand
2. 2B Brian Roberts
3. 3B Pablo Sandoval
4. 1B Aubrey Huff
5. C Bengie Molina
6. LF Randy Winn
7. RF Nate Schierholtz
8. SS Edgar Renteria

Notes: The Giants will try to get back on track tonight as they send Barry Zito to the mound to face a team who's tore him apart in his short Giants tenure, the Milwaukee Brewers. Zito will also try and play stopper as the Giants lost the first game of the series Friday Night. The Brewers are on the Giants' tail in the NL's Wild Card race as well, which spices up the weekends series a little bit. Hopefully Zito can get it done tonight, cause the Giants send Jonathan Sanchez to the mound on Sunday, and he's 1-7 with a 6.47 era and a 1.88 WHIP over his last 10 outings. I can't help but think that he may be on his way to the bullpen if he can't put forth a decent effort tomorrow.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lincecum Dominates The A's

After losing game one of the second Bay Bridge Series of 2009, the Giants took game two, ensuring their season victory over their cross-bay rivals.

The star of the show was once again, '08 Cy Young winner, Tim Lincecum. "The Franchise" threw his second complete game of the season (fourth of his career) en route to beating the A's 4-1. Lincecum struck out 12 batters, while walking just two, and needing only 108 pitches to get through the 9 innings. There were a few times late in the ballgame in which the A's put some runners on base with less than 2 outs, but Lincecum had the double-play ball going for him when he needed it as well. The only run the A's mustered off of him was a mistake fastball that he left up to Jason Giambi, in which Giambi put in the right-field bleachers. Other than that, the kid was once again nails, and furthered his case for starting for the NL in the All-Star game, which is just 3 weeks away. I think Timmy should get the nod for a couple of reasons. Not only did he win the Cy Young award last season, but he's picked up right where he left off and is putting himself in the race to win again this year. The kid has really been the NL's best pitcher over the last year and a half (no disrespect to Johan Santana, but look at the numbers). If Lince' doesn't get the nod, it better go to Matt Cain. I might be showing a partial bias, but if there's anyone more deserving than Timmy, it's Cain, who's got 9 wins and a 2.28 era heading into his next start on Friday.

The Giants have been playing pretty good ball lately, so it hasn't been a big issue, but I don't quite understand why they're sticking with Matt Downs at second base over Kevin Frandsen. Downs has shown some signs of capability, and could end up being a fine utility guy down the line, but Kevin Frandsen has been a second base prospect for this team for years, and now there's actually an opening for him, and they're letting him rot in Fresno. Now, I'm not a huge advocate of Frandsen's, as I haven't been overly impressed with him at the big league level yet, but I do feel he's earned a shot, and since they're bringing Burris back slowly, why not give Frandsen a look? He's hitting .400 with 3 homers and 6 RBI over his last 6 ballgames for the Grizzlies, which has his average up to .332. He did have a string of less-than stellar at-bats up here earlier in the year, but I really hope they're not writing him off because of that showing (heck, it took Burris almost all of April to find his stroke). I just think he's in better position to help the team win than Matt Downs. He's got the experience, he's been tearing up AAA pitching, and most of all, he's hungry for that job. I talked to K-Frand late last season at a Giants-benefit event, and when I brought up the future of second base for the Giants, Frandsen went off party mode and into focused mode. You can tell that this guy wants that job. Why not give him a month to see what he's got?

Also catching some news today was Giants' third-round draftee, Chris Dominguez. Andrew Baggarly reports that the Giants have signed the third baseman from Louisville to a contract and that he'll report to Salem-Keizar immediately. It's great to see the Giants ink one of their top picks so soon, and I hope it will be the case with the other guys. Buster Posey didn't sign until late last season, which delyaed his professional debut about 2 months. Let's hope they can get Zach Wheeler inked a little quicker than they did Posey last year.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Monday, June 22, 2009

Giants Back on Track, Sweep Texas

The Giants reverted to their early-season form during their previous series with the Angels, but definitely got back on track vs. Texas over the weekend. The Giants swept the Rangers and put themselves back atop in the NL Wild Card standings.

The Giants received some rock-solid pitching over the 3-game set with Texas and got just enough hitting to make that pitching stand-up. The two starting performances that really stood out were Matt Cain's 8 inning, 3 hit, 1 run, 9 strikeout performance Saturday, followed by Barry Zito's 7 inning, 2 earned run, 8 strikeout performance. Unfortunately, as was the case in so many of his starts over the last 2 seasons, the Giants offense couldn't come up with enough support to supply Cain with the victory, although they did end up winning the ballgame.

It wasn't just the starters who carried the team this weekend though, the relievers played a big part as well. The Giants bully provided 8 1/3 innings of scoreless relief this weekend, with set-up man Sergio Romo reeling in a couple of victories. Romo has picked up right were he left off last season after missing the first 2 months of the year with injury, but return to the bullpen has really solidified things. And after Bobby Howry's scoreless inning on Sunday, the Giants have gotten all their relievers era's under 4. I know bullpens aren't as exciting to discuss and don't ever really get the credit they deserve, but the Giants' bully has been as key to their success as any other area on the team, and it may actually be their strength.

The pitching staff shined for them this weekend, but the Giants also had some hitters come through with clutch hits. Randy Winn, who has really been struggling lately, showed up in a big way late in Sundays' game. He provided a 2-out, go ahead RBI single in the bottom of the seventh, immediately after the Rangers had broken Barry Zito's no-hit bid and shut-out by tying the game in the top of the inning.

Other than Winn, it was all about Aaron Rowand and Pablo Sandoval, as it has been for most of June. Rowand 6 for 12 over the weekend, with 2 jacks, 5 runs and 2 RBI's. Sandoval had another 5-hit weekend, and although he didn't drive in any runs, he raised his average to a season-high .338. Both Sandoval and Rowand have really been the key cogs in the Giants offense over the month of June, and both may just find themselves on the NL all-star team because of it. Outside of a couple of Mets in David Wright and Carlos Beltran, there aren't any third basemen or centerfielders in the NL that are having a better all-around years than Sandoval and Rowand. Rowand has been a force on defense as well. After his sub-par 2008 season, I think a lot of people wrote him off as another free-agent bust, but it's safe to say he's earning his money this time around. And while he isn't your prototypical lead-off guy, I think he's found his niche there with this team.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Giants' Draft Interview

For the final chapter of our 2009 MLB amateur draft coverage, I had a chance to catch up with Brian Foley of The College Baseball Blog for our annual draft recap interview. Brian's been extremely busy over at the College Blog, covering the CWS, but made some time to answer a few quick questions on some of the college kids the Giants drafted:

Q: There were some other polished college arms (Aaron Crow, Alex White and Mike Leake etc..) and a 5-tool shortstop in Grant Green available to them. Who would have been your pick at 6 if you ran the Giants?

BF: I would have picked Alex White as I think he was the best college pitcher available after Strasburg. I saw Leake's performance against Texas in the College World Series and was less than impressed as he is undersized and really doesn't have the front of the rotation stuff to be worth the eighth pick like he was.

Q: I know you've seen a lot of the Giants third round pick, third basemen Chris Dominguez from Louisville. What type of player do you see him developing into? Will he provide the same kind of power as a pro that he did in College?

BF: Dominguez will be a Rob Deer type that will be able to hit about 30 homers a year and have a batting average of about .250. He tends to strikeout a ton and has some major defensive weakness. He had a fielding percentage at .878 with 23 errors at third base. His future is either in the outfield as he has an outstanding arm or at DH which the Giants don't need as you know.

Q: Two selections that I really liked for the Giants were Jason Stoffel (Arizona) in the fourth round and Brandon Belt (Texas) in the fifth. What do you expect those guys to do at the next level?

BF: Stoffel was an excellent selection as bullpen guys tend to fly through the system. He finished the year with 11 saves but a slightly high ERA of 4.67 in his 39 relief appearances. This is an extremely high number for a collegiate pitcher as the team only played 55 games. Belt has been underused at Texas as Auggie Garrido plays a very different offense which didn't show you what Belt could do. He had to lay down bunts (11on the year)
while only hitting eight homers and hitting at a .335 clip.

Q: Outside of the first few guys taken, give us an arm and a bat that you really like?

BF: One of the guys that the Giants picked up that is interesting is Chris Gloor out of Quinnipiac. He is 6'6 and 220 pound lefty. He can develop into a power left handed pitcher if he gets some good coaching in the minor leagues. He has problems with control right now and is a little raw but he could be outstanding. Kyle Vazquez out of Franklin Pierce is another interesting pick. He had an outstanding career with the Ravens and played in a wood bat conference so his numbers are more "true". The bat that I really like is Diego Seastrunk as the kid is a perfect line-drive hitter and could move into the field from his college catching position since it is blocked by Buster.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Giants Can't Handle Angels

The Giants had been on a roll coming into their recent 3-game set with the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night, riding a 9-3, 12 game stretch to start June. However, the Giants are still a flawed team, despite their play of late, and the Angels really exposed their weaknesses, and swept the NL Wild-Card leaders in their own house.

Now, in two of those games, it was really just bad outings by the starters. Barry Zito has his worst start of the season, giving up 7 runs in the fourth inning of Monday night's ballgame, and despite a nice offensive charge late in the ballgame, the Giants just couldn't make up the deficit. Jonathan Sanchez followed Zito's rough outing with almost an identical line, giving up 6 earned runs in less than 4 innings of work, while yielding 10 base hits.Tim Lincecum did provide a nice start in the final game of the set on Wednesday afternoon, but the Angels got to him in 8th inning, and gave the '08 NL Cy Young winner his second loss of the season. The Giants offense really didn't do much to help Lincecum's cause either. They scored only three runs, and missed out on a few different opportunities to get some insurance runs in, and just couldn't get it done. One positive sign though, was Travis Ishikawa, who homered for the second time this season as part of a 2-3 afternoon for the Giants' first basemen. Despite sporadic playing time, Ishi's quietly raised his average about 60 points in his last 10 games, from .219 on May 23rd, to .276 on June 18th.

The starting pitching was really the problem in the first two games of the series though. Zito has been throwing the ball pretty well for the most part this year, so I'm not overly concerned with his start, but Sanchez is a different story. He really just can't seem to find any kind of groove this year whatsover. Sanchez has only had two "quality starts" this year, and none since May 20th. Things are progressively getting worse for the Giants 26 year-old lefty, and it's starting to cause some talk of possibly removing him from the rotation. Bruce Bochy said that's not going to happen quite yet, but did imply that things need to get better in a hurry for Sanchez or else there would need to be some changes made. If Sanchez has another rough start or 2, in which he can't make it through the fifth inning, the Giants may turn to another option.

A few guys who could be in line if Sanchez is moved to the Pen or down to Fresno for a while are Kevin Pucetas and Henry Sosa. Pucetas is 6-2 with a 3.40 era and .244 BAA in Fresno right now, but has really been nails in 4 of his last 5 starts. In that span, he went 26 innings, allowing only 1 run. Pucetas isn't really a guy who's going to blow his fastball by hitters and doesn't strike many batters out, but he's got 23 strikeouts over his last 30 innings pitched, so that are is improving as well. In 12 starts in AA Connecticut, Henry Sosa has gone 6-0 while sporting a 2.61 era and .237 BAA. He's also starting to go 6 innings with more consistency, after hovering around 4-5 innings per start in the first month of the year. I think the Giants would lean towards Pucetas, just because of his control and success at Triple-A, but Sosa could very well be second on that last. And I don't think the Giants are quite ready to bring top prospects Madison Bumgarner and Tim Alderson up to the Major League level quite yet, despite their success in AA.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sandoval an All-Star?

The first half of Monday nights Giants-Angels game wasn't pretty. The Giants were down 8-0 in the fourth inning and those not at the ballpark probably started looking for something else to watch on television. However, even though they still lost, the Giants showed some fight by coming back and making it just a 2-run ballgame, something they haven't really done over the last few years.

A big reason for that comeback was Pablo Sandoval. In the last post, I talked a little bit about how Sandoval's kind of taken over as "the man" in the Giants offense, but on Monday night, he really proved it. The Giants' rotund third basemen/first basemen/catcher had himself his best night as a Major Leaguer. Sandoval went 3-5, with 2 jacks and 4 RBI and almost single handily brought the Giants back into the ballgame. With 3 more hits in the game, Sandoval raised his average to a season high .332, good for second amongst NL third basemen. With the way he's played lately, Sandoval is starting to make a case for himself to make the NL All-Star team. The only other guy who's hitting higher than Sandoval at third base is David Wright. The Mets' third basemen is leading the NL in hitting and will start for the NL at the hot corner on July 14th, despite his low run production numbers. Then there's Ryan Zimmermann, who's .310 avg., 12 homers and 42 RBI are likely to land him on the squad as well. However, Sandoval has the versatility to catch as well, and the catching position is going to be thin for the NL squad this year. In fact, outside of Bengie Molina, there really isn't any other catcher in the league that really deserves to be at the mid-summer classic. Whether he makes it as a corner-infieler, or a catcher, it's pretty clear that Pablo Sandoval needs to be on the NL All-Star team. Also keep in mind that he won't even turn 23 years-old until August, so the kid's nowhere near as good as he's going to be quite yet.

Speaking of Giants on a roll lately, ever since Nate Schierholtz and Andres Torres have been getting reps in left field consistently, they're answering the bell. I talked a little about Schierholtz's big game on Sunday, and that could possibly getting his season jump-started, and he followed up Sunday's game with a 2-3 night Monday night. However, Andres Torres is actually playing a little better than Schierholtz at the moment. Torres has been on an absolute roll ever since coming off the DL and rejoining the team in late May. In 22 June at-bats, the 31 year-old speedster has filled up the stat sheet, hitting .364 (8-22) with a home run, 6 RBI, 2 steals and 5 runs scored. Of the 8 hits in June, 5 have been for extra-bases, which Schierholtz (8 total extra-base hits in 82 at-bats) haven't been providing. In has last 4 ballgames, Torres has been especially productive, going 6-11 with a homer, 2 doubles, a triple and 4 RBI. Torres is also the best defensive outfielder on the 25-man roster, accoring to many in the organization. I think the Giants were expecting more of a pinch-run, late inning defensive replacement when they decided to add Andres Torres to the roster coming out of spring training, but he's starting to show them that he deserves a share of the at-bats too. And again, I'm not writing off Fred Lewis in anyway, just pointing out that there are 2 guys who are swinging it better and fielding it better than him right now, and the lineup should be filled out accordingly.

Up Next: Jonathan Sanchez starts Tuesday night for the Giants, and it's a big night for the Giants' young lefty. Sanchez has not had a very good year so far and he's coming off an outing in which he walked 7 batters in less than 6 innings. A lot has been said in recent weeks about possibly dealing Sanchez for a bat, and now with the Giants atop the NL wild-card standings, they may be more inclined than ever to make a move. There should be a few scouts on hand checking out Sanchez tonight, let's hope he has a good one.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cain's Gem Sweeps A's

The Giants had been floating at around .500 for most of the first half of the season. However, since June hit, they've been on a tear, going 9-4 through the month's first 14 days, and raising their record to a season-high, 6 games above .500.

Matt Cain upped his record to 9-1 and helped the Giants defeat the A's for the third straight time, completing the sweep of their cross-bay nemesis on Sunday. If there were any doubt as whether or not Cain deserved to be an NL All-Star before this start, it was all erased today. The 24 year-old allowed just 4 hits over the complete game masterpiece, striking out 9 A's en route to the victory. The big stat for Cain on this day though was the goose egg in the base on balls column. That was the reason why he was able to finish this one out. If he had walked 3-4 batters like he normally does, he wouldn't have lasted through the 8th, as he had to still throw 119 pitches to complete it. With the outing, Cain dropped his season era to a measly 2.39, and now sits alone with Chad Billingsly atop the NL with 9 victories. Charlie Mannuel is going to have a helluva a time deciding who to start for the NL exactly one month from today in the All-Star game cause there are a handful of guys who have done more than enough to earn that nod. Tim Lincecum, who also threw a complete game in the Oakland series, is also in that mix.

Sure, the Giants got complete game shutouts out of their two-aces, Cain and Lincecum, but it wasn't all about the arms over the weekend at China Basin. Young corner infielder Pablo Sandoval is slowly taking over the reigns of the Giants offense and is becoming their most consistent threat. The Panda filled up the stat sheet over the weekend, going 4 for 10 with 3 runs, a jack and 2 RBI. Sandoval has consistently steadied his production over the past month or so and his batting average (.325 after Sunday's game) is reflecting it. Part of the reason of his success is that he's becoming more familiar with the strike zone. He's always going to be a guy that likes to swing the bat, but he's starting to learn to works counts.

Another guy who showed up big Sunday was Nate Schierholtz, who drove in 3 runs with an inside the park home run. Amazingly, in less than 1/2 the at-bats Fred Lewis has taken, Schierholtz has tied him in RBI's. Nate had been scuffling himself recently, but maybe Sunday's game shakes him out of his funk and he goes on a roll for a while. We know he can hit, (always hit .300+ in the minors and majors before this year) and maybe he just needed a solid game to get him some confidence. For the time being I'd stick with Schierholtz and Andres Torres in left until they wear out their welcome, then I'd give Freddy another shot. John Bowker, who's hitting .340 with 8 home runs in Fresno, could also get a look eventually.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Friday, June 12, 2009

Lewis, Sanchez Struggling to Reach Potential

The Giants have a few guys on their roster with very high ceilings, but are just not getting it done right now. Those two guys are Fred Lewis and Jonathan Sanchez. To a lesser extent, you can also throw Nate Schierholtz into that mix.

Fred Lewis started off the year on a tear. He was hitting over .350 for the better part of April, while getting on base around %45 of the time. Lewis looked like a prime candidate for the lead-off spot, cause he really wasn't driving in runs in the middle of the order, even with the high average. However, ever since the Giants moved him around, he's hit a wall. His average has been steadily declining since early May, and he still isn't really producing any runs (only 8 RBI through June 12). He's now sitting at .256, and the lack of run production is really starting to hurt the Giants lineup. Nate Schierholtz has gotten a few shots to get himself some more PT in the outfield, but he's done very little to prove that he deserves it. Schierholtz hasn't really gotten a steady string of at-bats, so it's kind of hard to judge what he's done, but with the ab's he has gotten, he's been un-impressive, to say the least. Nate the Great is only hitting .227 himself, has yet to leave the yard in 71 at-bats, and is carrying an OPS of .553. It's a good thing Aaron Rowand is playing out of his mind right now and taking the spotlight off of Lewis and Schierholtz a bit or else the Giants would be closer to 4 games below .500 than 4 games above.

Speaking of under-performers, a lot of people are wondering when Jonathan Sanchez is going to put everything together and become the complete package, and some are wondering if it will ever happen in San Francisco. The 26 year-old lefty walked 7 batters in 5+ innings in his last start, and looked like a complete mess out there at times. He did manage to only allow 1 earned run and did a great job limiting the damage, but he showed that he's still got a long ways to go before he can be counted on consistently. He's going to give you that great start every 3-4 times out there that makes you think that he's turning the page, but then he has 2-3 average to below-average ones and you start wondering just what kind of bat he may be able to bring back in a trade.

If I were Brian Sabean, I'd try and package these "upside" or "talent" guys and deal them away while they still have some value. Not saying that I think Fred Lewis and Jon Sanchez are going to become irrelevant ballplayers over the next year or two, just saying that their value now may be as high as it's going to get. Both Sanchez and Lewis have attributes that some teams would definitely have interest in. Lewis is as athletic as they come, can get on base and steal bases and if he got put in an offensive yard, he may just take off. Sanchez has #1-#2 starter-type stuff, but he has never been able to really harness it on a consistent basis, but he's still just 26 years-old, so he's got some time for a team that has the patience. Sabean should try and come up with some sort of package that includes Sanchez, Lewis, Schierholtz and maybe a young minor league arm like Henry Sosa. That foursome should be able to net the Giants a decent bat, either in the outfield or corner infield, that could come in and help them score runs. All those guys are cheap and under team control for a few more years, so I'd target younger, rebuilding teams like the Royals, Nationals and Pirates or teams looking to field out rosters with cheap talent.

One plausible scenario could possibly be sending Sanchez, Lewis and maybe one other young prospect to Washington in exchange for Nick Johnson and Josh Willingham, which would be a major offensive upgrade, in the now. Insert Willingham in left and Johnson at first, and the Giants lineup improves drastically, but would it be worth it into the future? I personally would try and get some younger players who the Giants could control for that package, but let's be realistic, none of these guys are going to ever be all-stars or big impact players. It would be very interesting to see what kind of offers the Giants would receive if they did put a package like that together.
The Giants Baseball Blog

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Giants Find Value In Day 2

After grabbing the top prep arm in the draft, and a couple of power bats on day one of 2009 MLB Amateur draft, the Giants entered day two looking for the best possible value they could find. They grabbed one of the best closers from the collegiate level over the last few years, a high school power arm that could develop into another hard-throwing, elite starting pitching prospect and a few big bats that could inject the organization with some pop.

With their first pick in day two, the Giants took RHP Jason Stoffel, a hard-throwing closer out of Arizona. Stoffel was considered a possible first-round pick coming into the year, but he wasn't as effective this year as he was the last few which was why he fell to the Giants in the fourth. Stoffel throws 91-94 MPH with good command and a decent, hard curveball. He's pitched in some big games and chaotic atmosphere's over his years at Arizona and he's shined in those situations, which should translate well into late relief in the major leagues. He's the highest profile reliever that the Giants have drafted in while and he very well could be up in the Giants pen by early 2010. He doesn't have the most athletic build, but a lot of closers don't. He's got a quick, compact, Eric Gagne-type delivery to the plate and generates plenty of zip on his pitches. Hopefully he turns out to be a good one, because the Giants could have grabbed highly-touted lefty, Chris Dwyer with that pick as well as one of the top power hitters from the SEC, Kent Matthes. Here are a few video clips I found of the former Arizona closer: Video 1, Video 2

A few picks later, the Giants took another power arm, this one of the starting variety. The Giants grabbed Mathew Graham, a potential top-3 round pick, at number 177 in the sixth round. Graham doesn't have the most polished mechanics out there yet, but he's got that Texas-sized arm and big time heater. In fact, scouts refer to him as an "all-arm" type of thrower who stays around 94-95 mph, but could up that a bit once he solidifies his mechanics and learns more about using his whole body on the mound. Now, I'm not going to sugar coat it, he's a project, and we can't be expecting Tim Alderson and Madison Bumgarner success off the bat from Graham. He's going to have to be brought along slower, as he's got a ways to go. He doesn't really have a pitch that he's comfortable with outside of his fastball. A lot of people feel he'd do himself good by going to school for another year or two to polish his mechanics. Here's a video in which you can get a good idea of just how much upper-body he puts into his throws. However, the Giants really believe in his arm though, and they've had a lot of success developing power arms, so he did land with the right organization.

Other Notables from Day 2:

Round 5: Brandon Belt, 1B, Texas: The lanky first-basemen from University of Texas has the same type game as a young J.T. Snow. He's got a smooth left-handed stroke that produces decent pop (8 HR, .574 SLG% in '09) and a solid average (.340). As good as his bat is, scouts preach that his defense is way above average at first base and is just as valuable as his bat. Do note that he was signed on to Texas to pitch and didn't become a full-time first basemen right away. He's definitely got some upside and a ton of athletic ability. I really think he's going to be something in a few years.
Scouting Video

Round 7: Nick Liles, 2B, West Carolina: Liles is a solid hitting second basemen out of Western Carolina. He's got soft hands and decent feet and should be able to handle second base at the big league level. In 2009, he hit .367 with 22 doubles. I haven't seen much of him, but his plate approach resembles Kevin Frandsen's a little bit. Check out the Scouting video though and you can see what a sweet, consistent swing the 6 foot, 165 pounder has.
Scouting Video

Round 17: Jonathan Walsh, C-OF Texas (HS): Walsh could end up being a risky pick, becuase he's another guy who could go to school for a few years and catapult himself into the drafts top rounds. He was considered a top high school catching prospect coming into the year, but doesn't really have the quickness to stay back there. If the Giants can sign him, they'll likely move him to left field. He's a switch hitter with a chance at plus power and average. He moves well for his size as well which could lead to the move to the outfield.
Scouting Video

GIANTS NOTES: The Giants bats exploded on Tuesday night in Arizona, as they put up 9 runs and punched out 17 base hits on the night to help Matt Cain win his 8th ballgame of the year. Pablo Sandoval led the charge by going 4-5, including a mammoth home run to right, a shot that looked like it came off the bat of Barry Bonds. Juan Uribe also left the yard and contributed 3 knocks. It's no surprise that Uribe and Sandoval led the offensive charge. They're leading the other regulars in batting average as Sandoval's is now at .313 and Uribe's up at .311. Juan Uribe has totally stepped up his game since taking over at third base when Sandoval moved to first just a couple weeks back. He's hitting .350 since taking over on a regular basis May 27th, and the Giants are 9-4 in games he starts at third over that period.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Giants Take Zach Wheeler At 6

Well, the 2009 MLB Amateur draft has officially begun, and the Giants first pick is in the books. I think they were really hoping that either Tyler Matzek or Zach Wheeler ended up falling to them at 6, and when the Orioles surprised by taking Matt Hobgood at 5, the Giants then had their choice as to which prep arm to take. Goes to show you just how unpredictable this MLB draft can be.

I talked a little about Zack Wheeler a few posts back here but I really thought they were leaning towards Tyler Matzek, especially after the lefty from Capistrano, California touched 99 mph on the gun in a recent high school playoff game. However, Wheeler was generally considered to be the slightly better arm of the two, and I think the Giants may have been leaning toward Matzek thinking that Wheeler would be taken between picks 3-5. Wheeler is a big, power arm from Georgia who was widely thought of as the best high school pitcher in this draft (and there's about 6 of them that are all really close). The kids motion and delivery are almost identical to that of Dodgers right-handed ace, Chad Billinglsy, and he really has the same type of stuff. He's got a huge stride and almost a sweeping 3/4 arm slot. His fastball ranges from 91-95, sitting at 93 with consistency. He's got a big curveball that is going to be a plus pitch in the bigs, along with an average changeup that he didn't use too much in high school. At 6'4", he's got the type of frame to bulk up and develop into an innings eater.

The only slight knock on the right-hander, is that he sometimes loses his command of the strikezone. He has shown the ability to get out of it when he does get himself into trouble, but that's something he's going to have to improve on. Other than that, he's right along the lines of former top picks Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain as far as hard-throwing, high school arms from the south. As a senior this year at East Paulding High in Georgia, Wheeler was all kinds of nasty, going 9-0, sporting a 0.54 ERA and striking out a freakish 149 batters in only 76 innings pitched. He also only allowed 31 hits on the year as well. I've attached some video of Wheeler below and I will add more to this post later on in the day after the Giants have a few more selections so stay tuned. Draft Coverage here is just beginning!

-Zach Wheeler dominates a high school batter at Wrigley: Video 1
-Wheeler out of stretch: Video 2
-Wheeler on MLB.com's scouting video : Video 3

**Update: With their second rounder, the Giants nabbed the big-hitting high school catcher/first basemen out of Arizona, Tommy Joseph. In the third round, they took one of the drafts better third basemen and someone we've covered here a bit on the Giants blog, Chris Dominguez out of Louisville. Much, much more on the draft, including day one recap and day two updates coming Wednesday.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Monday, June 08, 2009

Lincecum/Giants Shine Through Rain

Today's going to be a little unique here at the Giants Baseball Blog. Since the Giants have been on a roll, I wanted to definitely get a post out discussing what's been going on with them this weekend. However, since the draft takes place tomorrow, this is my last chance to get my final take in on that, so I will post a mini-mock draft post in addition to this one, so be sure to scroll down and check that out.

The Giants took the third game of the Giants/Marlins 4-game set on Sunday, waiting out an hour long rain-delay and getting a gutsy outing from "The Franchise". Tim Lincecum went 7 1/3 innings on Sunday, allowing two runs in the eighth inning on a rare mistake to Chris Coghlan hit out of the yard. Lincecum didn't necessarily have his best stuff on Sunday, as he walked 4 and only struck out 4, but he figured out a way to get out of trouble when he had to and really was cruising until Coghlan ran into that hanging breaking ball. Timmy's recent outing finally got his era where it belongs, back below 3, for the first time since late-April. Along with his 2.95 era and 5-1 record, Lincecum is still the NL's leader in strikeouts with 95 (in 79 innings) and is certainly on pace to make another mid-summer classic appearance, let's just hope he takes it easy on the bar scene this time around.

Lincecum isn't the only Giants starter lining up to make the NL All-Star team. Matt Cain's recent, rain-shortened complete game victory netted him his 7th win of the season, and we're not even in mid-June yet. Remember, Cain's won a total of 15 ballgames the last two seasons (mostly due to lack of support), so it's good to see the tide really turing for him. Cain's not just counting on support though, he's leading the Giants staff with a 2.27 era and his 7 victories tie for first in the National League. The Giants' dual-aces look like they're starting to really come into their own, and those two are the ones really carrying this ballclub.

While on the topic of players key to the Giants success, it looks like one of them may be getting his stroke back. Bengie Molina, who's been the Giants most steady run-producer for a few years now, really hit a rough stretch over the last 3 weeks. He saw his average dip from .316 to .245 in May, but he's got 6 hits in his last 4 games and is starting to put together much better at-bats. Unfortunately, Edgar Renteria hasn't found that same luck. He's another guy, along with Molina, who was really swinging a clutch bat for the Giants early on in the season, but since he's come back from his missing a week in May, he's struggled to get his swing going. Renteria. The Giants shortstop has only has one multi-hit game since May 22nd, and his bat has looked slow and puchless (only two extra base hits over that time period). These two veterans are very key to the Giants offensive success. Luckily Aaron Rowand, Randy Winn and Pablo Sandoval are doing their part and carrying the load. If they can get all these guys going together, they may just generate enough runs to keep floating above .500.

**** Scroll down for The Giants Baseball Blog's Pre-Draft, Giants Mini-Mock Draft.****
The Giants Baseball Blog

Giants Mini-Mock Draft

The MLB Amateur draft starts Tuesday afternoon, and this will be the last chance I get to touch on the draft before the Giants take their first pick tomorrow. Since I'm not too familiar with all the prospects entering the draft, and really only have seen stuff on the top 200 or so prospects, I can only project out the early part of the draft. And since we're a Giants blog, I'm going to stick with strictly Giants picks, so here we go:

Giants Early-Round Mock Draft:

Pick #6
LHP Tyler Matzek, Capistrano HS, California: There's a chance both Alex White and Matzek will both be available here, but after seeing how high-schooler's Tim Alderson and Madison Bumgarner responded after being taken early in 2007, the Giants may want to go that route again. Matzek is clearly the best high school arm available in the draft. He's got picture perfect mechanics and already throws 93 mph with consistency. Oh yeah, he's got a nasty curve to go along with it. He's another control freak, just like Bumgarner and Alderson, so I really think there's a fit here. If Matzek goes earlier, look for the Giants to turn to White. A position player would be nice here, but the value for their pick is in the pitching department, and you draft for value in this kind of draft.
What If he Falls: Dustin Ackley, 1B/CF, North Carolina
Possible Other Choices: RHP Tanner Scheppers, RHP Alex White
Dark Horses: Grant Green, SS, USC; Tim Wheeler, CF, Sac. State

Pick #55: Mychal Givens, SS, Plant HS, Florida: This is a bit of a stretch, as most scouts feel Givens' tools have him as a lock to be gone by the end of the supplemental round, but I'm going to be optimistic. There are some other, more polished college hitters available, so I'm hoping teams jump on them. The Giants don't normally take on projects like Givens would be, but he's got so much talent that it's going to be hard for him not to succeed somewhere. Would be a steal if he falls to the Giants at 55.
Possibilites: Kent Matthes, OF, Alabama; 1B, Jeff Malm, Las Vegas (HS); Marc Krauss, OF/3B, Ohio

Pick #86: Thomas Mendonca, 3B, Fresno State: This guy plays in the Giants' AAA affiliates' backyard, so you know they've had some eyes on him over the years. He's one of the most polished power-hitting third basemen in the draft and can hit to all fields with authority. He does strikeout a bit too much, but the Giants shouldn't pass on this guys power potential if he's there for them in round 3. He's also a plus defender at third base. He kind of reminds me of a younger version of Hank Blalock, as he throws right-handed, but hits from the left side of the plate with big pop.
Other possibilities: Chris Owings, SS, South Carolina (HS); A.J. Morris, RHP, Kansas State; Chris Dominguez, 3B, Louisville

Pick #117 Trayce Thompson, OF, (HS) California
: Another guy who likely will be gone by the end of the third round, but there is a chance he falls into the fourth if teams fear his lack of baseball experience, and if so, the Giants would be foolish not to take a chance on him. BA has him as the 100th best prospect on their board, but others have him going anywhere from late 2nd round to mid-fifth round. He's got the athleticism, size and skill ability to potentially hit for power and steal a ton of bases. Kind of reminds me of Fred Lewis, as he didn't really start focusing solely on baseball until his senior year in high school, but he's got way more ability than Fred did when the Giants took him back in 2002.
Other Possibility: Justin Marks, LHP, Louisville

Pick #147 Patrick Schuster, LHP, (HS) Florida: Like Matzek, Schuster has been extremely dominant as a high school senior, including a 5 straight no-hitters during the spring. He's got a 90 mph heater that should increase as he grows, and has the frame at 6'2" to add bulk. He's not nearly as polished and doesn't quite have the stuff that Matzek does, but you don't throw multiple no-no's unless you got something. This could be a risky pick though, because he's a prime candidate to go to school for a year or two and possibly catapult himself into the first round with a few good seasons.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Saturday, June 06, 2009

A Look Beyond Round 1: MLB Draft Talk

The MLB draft is quickly approaching, as there are only three full days left for teams and a scouts to finalize their respective draft boards and start putting their plans in motion. I talked a couple posts back about a few guys who very well could end up with the Giants at pick number 6, so in this post we were going to look beyond round one of the draft look at some guys outside of the consensus top-30.

OF's Kent Matthes and Marc Krauss: These two are a couple of the biggest college power hitters in the draft and both are coming off of big seasons. Matthes, from Alabama, hit 28 bombs in 2009, to go along with 81 RBI and a .365 average in just 197 at-bats. He was widely thought to be the SEC's most dangerous hitter in '09. I know it's only college, but his HR ratio translates out to nearly a home run every 6 at-bats, which is ridiculously good no matter what level your at. Baseball America has Matthes ranked 63rd in the overall draft pool, so if he were still around when the Giants select in the second, I'd be a little surprised, but if he is, he could be just what they're looking for after they plan to take an arm with their top pick. Krauss is actually ranked a few slots higher than Matthes, as he hit .402 with 27 jacks and 70 RBI this year for Ohio. Either one of these guys would give the Giants a top-10 type outfield prospect in due time. If I had my choice I'd go with Matthes, just because of that huge power potential. He looks like he has control of the ballgame when he's in the box and really brings confidence to the field.

3B Tommy Mendonca and Chris Dominguez: Here are a couple more power prospects who should be available when the Giants have their second choice. Mendonca would be my first choice out of these two, but both look like legit third base prospects. Even though the Giants don't really need to draft a third basemen this early, it could end up being their best chance to get power into the system. Mendonca set a Fresno State record for career home runs, and there is plenty of few video on him around the web. I found this one pretty interesting, a game in which he showed his ability to hit to both fields with pop. He actually reminds me a bit Connor Gillespie in his plate approach, but he's got significantly more power than Gillespie. Dominguez mirrors Albert Pujols' batting stance and mechanics at the plate and has a pretty solid foundation. He's been known as one of the better third basemen in college ball over the past couple of years. Both guys hit over 20 bombs and drove in over 70 runs for their teams this season.

SP's Matt Hobgood and Zack Von Rosenberg: Theses two guys are ranked 40-41 on BA's draft prospect board as both had ridiculously good numbers in their senior year in high school. Von Rosenberg was especially dominant, leading the nation in strikeouts by a prep arm, and is second amongst top-100 pitching prospects, behind only Steven Starsburg with 141 strikeouts in 93 innings pitched (a ratio of about 14 k's per 9 innings). The 6'5", 205 pound righty with a silky smooth delivery also had an era of just 0.60 to go along with his 11-1 record and 0.80 WHIP. Hobgood is a big kid in his own right, and throws hard as well. His 6'4", 245 pound frame has the 18 year-old from Norco, Ca looking like a man-child. Here's a quick video of him in game action. Hobgood used that 92 mph heater and knee-buckling curve ball to go a perfect 9-0 this spring, carrying a 0.38 era and striking out an incredible 85 batters in 55 innings pitched. Either of these guys would be ideal for the Giants in round 2 if they last, though they may look for positional talent in round 2 if they end up taking a pitcher with their top pick.

SP-A.J Morris and SS-Chris Owings: The last two guys we're going to look at today are a couple of guys who may be available when the Giants have their third pick of the draft. Morris had a great year in 2009 and definitely helped his case because of it. The 22 year-old from Kansas state went 13-1 in 15 starts this year, carrying a 1.84 era and had a 98:28 strikeout/walk ratio spread out over 108 innings. His 108 innings pitched actually led all top-100 pitching prospects. He's actually a guy the Giants may eye with their 2nd rounder as well... Owings is another high school shortstop, in a class that is rich with them. The 5'11" prep star out of South Carolina can do a little bit of everything on the field. He may not project out to be quite the player or athlete that Mychal Givens or Nick Franklin might, but he's been equally impressive in his high school career. In 2009, he showed his array of abilities, hitting .482, with 5 home runs, 19 RBI and 20 steals. The amazing thing though is that he put those numbers up in only 56 at-bats. If the Giants want a shortstop in the early rounds, this could very well be their guy.

Giants Notes: The Giants are on a roll again, having won 8 of their last 10 ballgames. And once again, the starting pitching is rolling... Randy Johnson got his 300th win with a masterpiece vs. Washington on Thursday, just before Matt Cain pitched a rain-aided, complete game for a victory as the Giants swept the double-header. Then Barry Zito got a much-deserved win Friday night, making Pablo Sandoval's 2-run home run be the difference in the game. The one guy I'd like to see get back on track is Jonathan Sanchez, and hopefully that happens tonight. Sanchez opposes Florida's Andrew Miller in tonight's game in attempt to drop his 1.61 WHIP earn a victory for only the second time since April 17th.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Johnson Goes For 300

The only thing that's holding The Big Unit back from getting that elusive 300th victory was some wet weather in the Nation's capital, but it looks like they will get the games in on Thursday.

Now, I'm writing this post just before the first game of that double header is starting, so I will probably add a foot note to this post, or maybe add another quick post with the results of the Johnson game when it finishes, so check back after the game. However, I did want to touch on Johnson here just a little bit since I haven't really discussed him much in recent posts. Johnson has been very inconsistent in his brief Giants' career so far, but he's turned in a couple of gems his last 2 times out. Over his last 2 starts, The Unit has pitched 11.1 innings, allowing just 9 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 12 batters. Randy Johnson is 45 years-old, so he's not going to pitch into the 8th and 9th innings any longer. I think he's starting to realize that and is starting to pitch accordingly. It seemed like he would try and pace himself early on in the year, maybe trying to preserve himself to try and pitch as deeply into the ballgame as possible. However, it was widely noticed that after about 5 innings in his first few starts, he kind of hit a wall. Over his last 2 starts, it seems like he's going all out a little earlier in the game, maybe knowing that he's only going to be around 5-6 innings anyway, so why not let it all out. Either way, he's looked good over his last two and if he can carry that success over into this afternoons outing, he's going to get that win.... If that offense does their part of course.

While on the topic of players who've been getting it done lately, we have to talk about a couple of outfielders. I talked about Rowand's early success in his move to the leadoff spot a few posts back, but he's still not slowing down. Now 13 games into his experiment at the leadoff spot, Rowand has been getting more and more comfortable. He's hitting nearly .400 (.396), with 3 jacks, 8 RBI and 10 runs scored. He's not really doing it in typical lead-off hitter fashion though, as he's walked only 1 time in 55 plate appearances, but at the moment, the low walk total isn't hurting one bit. You do like your lead-off hitter to take some pitches at the beginning of ballgames, in order for the rest of the bats to get an eye on the opposing starter, but I wouldn't tweak anything that Rowand's doing right now. It almost seems like his defense is getting better with the bat too. Randy Winn hasn't been quite as impressive as Rowand has lately, but he's been stepping his offensive game up in his own right. The Giants' right fielder has hat .347 over the last month, while knocking in 13 runs and stealing 4 bags. They're doing their part to make up for Fred Lewis' slow stretch. Lewis is hitting just .240 over his last 28 games and isn't providing the run production that a lot of people, including myself, thought he'd provide this year.

Note: From now until our post-draft coverage ends, we will be alternating between posts covering the draft and posts covering the happenings on field with the Giants, but we should be posting a little more frequently over the next 7+ days.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Prospect Discussion

FantasyBaseballHotStove caught up with me yesterday and had some questions about some young Giants' farmhands. Here is a transcript below:

FBHS: What are the chances of Tim Alderson getting called up this season? What about Madison Bumgarner? How excited are you for the point in time where the name "Madison Bumgarner" is a household name?

TC: There is a very slight chance they come up in September when the rosters expand, but I wouldn't hold my breath. With the Giants' current starting pitching depth, there is really no reason to rush them either. If I had to guess as far as when they'd make their major league debuts, I'd say we're probably looking at June 2010. That said, they've been doing all they possibly can to fast-track themselves at the minor league level. Bumgarner's gone 4-0 in four outings since his promotion to AA Connecticuit. He's also striking out over a batter an inning, good for a 4:1strikeout/walk ratio, while carrying an era of 0.78. Alderson is 2-0 in his four games, while carrying a 1.89 era. He's demonstrated even more control than Bumgarner though, as he's walked only 1 in 19 innings of work, compared to 21 strikeouts. Both of these guys have tremendous command for their age and I think that once they get up to the bigs, they're here for good.

Bumgarner looks like he's going to be something special. Not only does he throw 94-96 with ease, he's got ridiculously good command for his age. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him come up and have the type of success Tim Lincecum did when he was brought up. Think Clayton Kershaw, but with more command, and maybe a little more polish, and that's what you have in Bumgarner.

FBHS: Who is going to get on the lineup card more and why. Kevin Frandsen or Emmanuel Burriss?

TC: Well, Frandsen is in Fresno right now while Burriss is starting at second base for the Giants, so Burriss is the answer to that question. Manny's been a little inconsistent this year, but is currently swinging a pretty hot bat (11 hits in his last 27 at-bats) and is hittin .271 overall. He's also playing sound defense at second and leads the team with 11 stolen bases. Frandsen got a brief call-up last week and didn't record a hit in 16 plate appearances. I think the Giants are going to stick with Burriss at second for the foreseeable future. Edgar Renteria is signed through 2010, at which time Burriss may move over to short. Until then, unless Burris tanks offensively and Frandsen starts tearing up the PCL, don't look for much to change at second for the Giants.

FBHS: Travis Ishikawa didn't hit his first home run until May 25, but the word I'm hearing is that he is the first basemen for the Giants. One home run from the first basemen is pretty bad it's almost like they are better off hitting the pitcher twice. Would you prefer Jesus Guzman or someone else?

TC: Guzman got a handful of at-bats when the Giants played in Seattle and may get another call-up when the Giants need a DH again in a couple of weeks. Ishikawa has been hitting a little better of late, but you’re right, he's nowhere near where he needs to be offensively. The Giants have moved Pablo Sandoval over to first for the time being because he's nursing a sore right elbow, and they don't want him making the cross-diamond throws from third to first. Right now, the Giants have Juan Uribe at 3rd in place of Sandoval and he's hitting over .300 at the moment. I don't think the Giants are totally ditching the Ishikawa experiment yet, but he's definitely running out of time. If Uribe continues to hit, or Guzman comes up in the Oakland series and rips the cover off Check out the ball, then Ishi's time could be up. The Giants are also exploring the trade market, especially corner infielders. They've been linked to Nick Johnson, Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu and Hank Blalock.

From FantasyBaseballHotStove.blogspot.com

Giants Notes:
The Giants' bullpen got roughed up on Tuesday for the first time in a while. They were unable to hold the game for Tim Lincecum as both Bob Howry and Merkin Valdez were charged with 3 earned runs in only 1/3 of an inning. The Giants' pen had been pretty through most of the first 2 months of the season and Tuesday's meltdown was something that hasn't happened a whole lot this year so I wouldn't worry too much about it. It does suck that Timmy couldn't reel in win number 5, but they've still won five of their last seven ballgames so expect them to get right back on track tomorrow night.... Speaking of tomorrow night, the Giants will send Randy Johnson to the hill in effort to collect win number 300 so defenitely tune in Wednesday night to possibly witness some history!
The Giants Baseball Blog