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Monday, April 12, 2010

Interview With Andrew Baggarly

Over the weekend, I had a chance to catch up with the San Jose Mercury's fine Giants beat-writer, and the guy who seems to be as good as anyone out there in relaying Giants information, Andrew Baggarly. I stuck to mostly minor league talk with Baggs' as I want to try and get a feel for what the organization's top prospects will have planned for them in 2010.

-Q: I was impressed with what Henry Sosa did this spring and was hoping the Giants' brass would try and keep him in the rotation, but it looks like they are scratching that idea and going to keep him in the pen. Do you think Sosa will ever be moved back to the rotation, or is he a reliever from here on out?

-A: Looks like organizational need at this point. Also, they think Sosa might have an easier time staying healthy if he's used in shorter stints. The stuff plays, that's for sure. I'd say there's a strong chance we see Sosa this season, and perhaps sometime soon if there are injuries or under-performing guys.

-Q: I was equally impressed with 24 year-old speedster Darren Ford. With the Giants lack of speed and without a true leadoff hitter, do you think Ford could realistically get a look in 2010 if Aaron Rowand isn't cutting it in the top spot?

-A: Ford could get a look as a bench guy, kind of how Rajai Davis broke in a couple years ago. Let's see if the bat plays against upper-level pitching. He sure had a tremendous spring, though. If nothing else, his glove and range in CF will get him to the big leagues in some capacity.

-Q: Thomas Neal didn't get as much playing time during the spring as I was hoping for after a huge 2009 season. It really reminded me of Pablo Sandoval's 2008 minor league season. What is the Giants plan with him? Do you think he'll be in the outfield mix with the big club at all this season, or are we likely looking at a 2011 debut for the Giants #2 hitting prospect?

-A: The Giants had a glut of outfielders, so there were fewer innings to go around. (They wanted to get a better read on Schierholtz and Bowker, etc.) Neal was sent out so that he could be on the field on a regular basis. Not every scout thinks Neal is a can't-miss type of hitter, but he's got a lot going for him. He's got huge power and yet he's a high-average hitter, too. Like Ford, we'll have to wait and see if he can make the all-important Double-A turn.

-Q: Brandon Crawford got off to a terrific start in 2009, then tailed off a bit when he was promoted to AA. To me, he still seems at least a year or two away. Do the Giants envision him as their starting shortstop in 2011 with Edgar Renteria in the last year of his deal, or is it a little too early to tell?

-A: Too early to tell. Crawford has gone through some huge peaks and valleys, even going back to his last two years at UCLA. He struck out a ton at Double-A toward the end of last season. That's why he's repeating the level. The Giants kept him till the end of the exhibition schedule because they know he's their only true shortstop who's up the upper levels. If something were to happen to Renteria or Uribe, he'd be somewhere on the depth chart. I like him, and with Renteria's contract coming up, it'd work out perfectly for the Giants if he is ready to take over the position next year. Not sure we can bank on that, though.

-Q: When do you foresee Buster Posey making his '10 big league debut? I don't see him completely taking over for Bengie behind the dish, unless Bengie is truly struggling offensively which I don't see happening, so what exactly will be the plan with him when he does arrive?

-A: My guess is that Posey forces his way to the big leagues like Timmy did in 2007. If that happens, how would Bochy divvy up the playing time at catcher? Wow. Let's just say I'm happy I don't have to handle that grenade.

-Q: Have you seen any of 2009 first-round right-hander Zach Wheeler or the C/1B they took early in the draft, Tommy Joseph? I've seen only brief youtube clips each one of them from the instructional league last fall. I haven't heard either of them mentioned too much since the draft though, so I'm curious to see where they'll start the year.

-A: I have not seen them, other than a pitch or two on a back field. They'll be at Augusta to start the year. Joseph is going to DH and play first base on the days he doesn't catch. I've used the Paul Konerko comp with him because I'm guessing he won't stay behind the plate.

Giants Notes: On Monday night, the Giants go for their 6th win of the year, after beating the Braves in 2 of 3 in the season opening series at AT&T Park. Barry Zito will set out for win #2 against the Pirates, who are one of the weakest teams in baseball. The Giants will have be in the drivers seat to sweep this series with the pitching match-ups they'll be exploiting, and after the way they played vs. Atlanta and Houston, I'm really not expecting anything less than a sweep.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 5:38 PM, Blogger obsessivegiantscompulsive said…

    Great interview, good questions!

    While it's true that Lincecum pitched so well that he could have forced the matter, it was also then that Ortiz had his injury and was DLed, freeing a rotation spot for Lincecum. I wonder what would have happened if Ortiz was pitching well too, what would have happened.

    To me, it wouldn't make sense to bring up Posey to start 2 games at C and 2 at 1B, and Molina would have to hit pretty bad to lose the job because Lincecum made the big show of crediting Molina, so the only scenario I see that could work is if Posey also played some games at other position a la his college days.

    I would think LF would be a spot that he could easily field without a lot of practice, with DeRosa moving to RF or even taking a spot on the bench - DeRosa has never started a full season, he doesn't hit RHP as well as he does LHP.

    I would also think that he could take some starts at 2B as well.

  • At 11:57 PM, Anonymous Jason Billingsley said…

    I like how Bengie Molina is killing the ball and settling into the sixth slot. He looks like the pressure is off and I think he's in store for a great year. I wonder how they're going to find Posey playing time.

  • At 11:27 AM, Anonymous hitnrun said…

    Trevor, they may need to call up Sosa soon. Medders was getting pounded in Spring Training, and he is giving up too many hits now. He basically gave away the Pirates game last night. Odd how fast the league has caught up with him. I also hope to see Ford come up as this team sorely needs speed at the top of the lineup. Good interview with Baggs.

  • At 1:05 PM, Blogger King of Cali said…

    Very nice interview! I'm sure all Giants fans that read it will love it!

    ~King of Cali
    All The Latest SF Giants Rumors

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