Sunday, November 23, 2014

Panik to Crawford to Belt

Lefty Malo has a great analysis of the key DP in Game 7 of the World Series --

You can click through for the video. Here's the post....

This was the best defensive play the Giants made in 2014, and not just because it likely saved a run or more in the seventh game of the World Series. And not just because it was probably the difference between winning and losing the World Series.

It wasn't just the best play of the year contextually. It was the best defensive play because it required two players, not just one, each doing more than one spectacular thing. (You can watch the video above for the advanced-technology breakdown. You can also watch an animated GIF of it over and over and over, and read a great explanation of the Giants' underrated defense, here.)

Joe Panik starts it all with a flat-out dive to snare a ground ball on a hard, fast infield. Diving on hard dirt on one's belly with a glove extended to catch a ball is something we see major leaguers do every day, but it's difficult -- and it hurts!

Panik then boosted himself up with the bare right hand enough to flip the ball out of his glove to Crawford, just in time to get the bullet-train Lorenzo Cain at second.

That's two spectacular things from Joe Panik, and if we stopped right there, it would be good enough to be the play of the night, the Series, perhaps still of the year. One out, man on first, a much more manageable situation.

But wait. There's more. Panik's flip was good, but it wasn't perfectly accurate. Crawford had to jerk his glove up and to the left to receive the flip. Just that alone: great reflexes, great catch. Because Craw had to shift his weight toward center field to catch the ball, he was in terrible position to make a throw to first.

But, as you might have noticed, he did make a throw to first. Watch the footwork. He doesn't really get momentum toward first, but he makes a mini-crow hop to at least get in better position and perhaps avoid taking Cain's helmet in his kneecap. Still, it's a throw that middle infielders will often plant in the dirt or throw wide in either direction or simply get nothing on. Not Brandon Crawford. You might call his work on that play one spectacular thing, but I like to think of it as three: the catch, the pivot, and the throw.

That's five great athletic, reflexive, instinctive feats action-packed into one play. The greatest play of the year.

And note to all players out there: The Statcast technology shows that Hosmer slowed down by more than 2 MPH by diving into first base. If he had stayed upright, he would have been safe.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

RIP Ray Sadecki

If there's a trade that epitomizes the 1960s Giants, this is it -- the Giants had a surplus of Hall of Fame first basemen (Stretch and Cepeda) and not enough pitching.

So they traded Cepeda to the Cards for Sadecki and finished just behind the Cards for the next two seasons.

Ray had a 2.6 and a 2.8 WAR in 1967 and 1968

He stunk up the joint in 1969 so the Giants traded him and Dave Marshall for Bob Heise and some other guy

Friday, November 21, 2014

Romo not in the Orange and Black?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

RIP Alvin Dark

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Really, Barry?

One of the toughest parts of being a Giants fan between 2007 and 2013 was enduring Barry Zito's awful pitching and watching him burn through $126 million -- keeping the Giants hamstrung from getting any other free agents.

Now CSN Bay Area is reporting that he's going to try to come back next season.

I'm still stunned that he won two postseason games in 2012. Game 1 of the World Series had to be demoralizing for Detroit -- not just because of the 3 Sandoval homers but because it was Zito who was actually effective that night. 

I'm sure someone will give him a shot in spring training.

Here's how WAR over his Giants career, per Baseball Reference:

2007: 2.0
2008: -0.1 
2009: 2.6
2010: 1.5
2011: -0.6
2012: 0.2
2013: -2.6

So in seven seasons, he had a cumulative 2.6 WAR

It was pretty horrible most of the time.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bochy finishes 3rd in manager of the year voting

Really? Matt Williams of the Nats won?

It's a little silly that these awards don't include postseason performance, given that Williams got severely outmanaged in the postseason.

I guess the same thing will happen when Clayton Kershaw wins the Cy Young. Anyhow, I've linked to Mike Bauman's column for mlb.com, which ends this way ....

At some future date, Bruce Bochy will enter the Hall of Fame as a manager. His record will make him an indisputable selection. At that point, interested people will look back and wonder why, in the year of the Giants' third World Series championship in five seasons, he was not officially the NL Manager of the Year.
The answer will come in two parts: Matt Williams had a fine regular season managing the Washington club. And, one month later, Bruce Bochy was the best manager in the game.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

The foggy Sandoval future

 It's strange to have a guy who's demonstrably better during the post-season. Joaquin Arias and Matt Duffy seem to be the alternatives right now.

One thing that's interesting -- Sandoval did not get hurt this year for a change.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has a loooooonnng post about the future of Sandoval. My guess is that he'll see how much the Bosox are willing to offer. Here's part of it -- 

Three World Series rings. Postseason hero. Lovable nickname (Kung Fu Panda) complete with fans who wear panda masks during his at-bats.
But the Red Sox have interest in the 28-year-old free agent third baseman, and after contacting Sandoval’s representatives have scheduled a meeting between the parties at next week’s general managers’ meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz., according to a major league source.
Sandoval owns a .426 average in three World Series, with a 1.162 OPS. His postseason numbers — .344 average and .935 OPS — outshine his regular-season statistics.
Sandoval doesn’t turn 29 until Aug. 11, which is attractive for a team looking for a position player long term.
The Red Sox are in need of a lefthanded hitter. Sandoval is a switch-hitter whose 2014 splits favor the left side (.317 to .199), but he did have two key righthanded hits in the recent World Series.
He’s listed at 5 feet 11 inches and 245 pounds, but appears heavier. Sandoval dropped about 30 pounds between the end of 2013 and spring training, but according to one Giants official he gained at least 20 pounds back during the season.
When Sandoval’s weight is under control, he’s a very good third baseman. When he’s heavier, his quickness fades. The Red Sox don’t want to sign him just as a future replacement for Ortiz at DH; they want him for third base. Sandoval’s weight fluctuation is a big reason the Giants haven’t already committed to him. They don’t have a DH fallback.