Thursday, July 16, 2015

Out In Front: My Franchise Four of the San Francisco Giants + Something Extra

There's two days off after the All-Star Festivities and we need to take some rest off for the big league stuff and some of the Minor League levels are also having their All-Star Festivities but there's some minor league levels are playing and the teams are fighting it all out in their squads. Let's enjoy this break and in this portion of Out In Front, I'll talk about something that's not related to prospecting and the minor leagues.

There's this thing in the All-Star Game called Franchise Four where fans got a chance to vote the four best players for their respective teams, kind of like the Mount Rushmore of different teams and baseball overall. I was one of the fans who vote a bunch of times to vote for my Franchise Four for the San Francisco Giants. I also voted for the greatest Negro League Players where I voted Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, and Oscar Charleston and the Greatest Living Players where I voted Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax, and Tom Seaver (I almost voted for Pedro in place of Seaver and maybe I'll vote for Pedro sooner than later). But I will talk about my view on the Franchise Four of the San Francisco Giants where I voted for Willie Mays, Christy Mathewson, Barry Bonds, and Buster Posey. 

Stats that you'll see here are courtesy of FanGraphs.

Willie Mays

Right now, we enjoy watching Mike Trout as the front-runner for the five-tool player of the league. But before Mike Trout, there's this guy named Bo Jackson who is flashing all the same tools but was derailed by injuries. Before Bo Jackson, there's Mickey Mantle where he's the poster kid of the five-tools but his career was also hurt by injuries. Before all of them, there's Willie Mays, and I will say that he's the greatest five-tool player ever.

The Say Hey Kid is pretty much a no-brainer of a pick. The Sporting News in 1999 listed Mays as the second greatest player in baseball history in their "List of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players". Let's take a look at the five-tools. He is a career .302 hitter with 3, 283 career hits and a .384 OBP for his career which shows how good of a hitter he is. Mays is never short on power with 660 career home runs which is good for 5th all-time where hit hit 50-homers in two seasons and a career .557 SLG. In his speed, he's not that shabby with a total of 338 stolen bases in his career and I am sure that he legged out many of his 523 career doubles and 120 career triples. Overall offensively, he's got a career wRC+ of 154 and with the wOBA of .409. Defensively, he won 12 Gold Gloves since the creation of the award in 1957 but I'm pretty sure, he'll win more if the award was created before. He was valued by FanGraphs at 185.0 in terms of fielding and 170.1 defensively while he's rated at 837.5 offensively with a career WAR of 149.9. 

He's really a no-brainer, right? He's also the greatest living player in my opinion because of all of the mythical things that he did AND he also won a championship. 

Christy Mathewson

Even though he pitched in the dead ball era, I consider Christy Mathewson as one of the greatest pitchers that the game has ever seen. 

Thanks to his screwball and his impeccable command, he's the only guy in the top 5 all-time in career wins (3rd with 373 wins and a NL record), shutouts (3rd with 79), and ERA (5th with 2.13). In the 1905 World Series, he pitched 3 shutouts. In 4780.2 innings that he pitched, he only allowed 844 walks, resulting to a career BB/9 of a miniscule 1.59. His FIP is also really near to his ERA (2.27 career FIP) which suggest that his dominance in that era is really sustainable. 

Aside from the stats I mentioned, I'm boggled how did the people not let him in the Franchise Four after winning 2 championships (1905 & 1921), 4x NL wins title, 5x NL ERA and strikeout titles, pitched two no-hitters, career WAR of 90.0, career WHIP of 1.06, career RA9-WAR of 109.2, and how can you punt away one of the first five members of the Hall Of Fame which is hands down the best in history? I'm torn about how fans forget about the greatest pitcher that has ever put on a Giants uniform in their minds. Maybe if he pitched on Sundays in his 17-year career, he might've put on 400+ wins and he's a great person overall. For me, he's a no-brainer as well.

Barry Bonds

Based on just pure cold hard stats, Barry Bonds is a Hall of Famer. 7 MVPs (5 with the Giants), 8 Gold Gloves, 14 All-Star selections, 12 Silver Sluggers, 3 Hank Aaron Awards, and a lot of baseball records (I won't list it all). I know that he juiced up to chase down Hank Aaron's 755 career home runs but, in the height of the Steroid Era, he's the best among all of the other players who are suspected that took steroids. Without taking steroids, he is the 2nd best player at his generation other than Ken Griffey, Jr. 

I think he's pretty much a lock on the Franchise Four because even though he never brought a title to the Bay Area in his era, the way he revitalized San Francisco baseball after all of the fiasco in the 1990s which is pretty much a dark time when the fans thought that the Giants will move to Tampa and luckily, that never happened. Instead, Bonds and Jeff Kent formed a great 1-2 punch but obviously, it was Bonds who's the culprit of most the offensive production. Even though he juiced up, I forgive him because of the renewed energy that he brought from Pittsburgh and he did his best to make the Giants winners since the 1960s (not taking away the earthquake-driven Bay Area World Series), although he did the illegal thing. He's in for me. 

Imagine if he did all of those things in a more hitter-friendly Coors Field than the pitcher-friendly AT&T Park.

Buster Posey

Now here's the decision that I might regret someday. I took Buster Posey over a lot of great candidates here like Juan Marichal, Mel Ott, Willie McCovey which are all Hall of Famers. 

But I took Buster Posey because he's the undisputed leader of the three World Championships and looks like the gang is not done yet on winning World Series. He's playing possibly the toughest position in baseball and right now in his short career, his wRC+ is better than Johnny Bench (142 vs 125). His offensive stats will not be really high thanks to playing in AT&T Park, imagine him again playing in a more neutral or hitter-friendly ballpark like Chase Field, you'll see him put up monster offensive numbers. He's actually an above-average to plus defender as well (he's one of the best pitch-framers in the game). His impact on San Francisco has been bigger than what Marichal, Willie Mac, and Ott had while wearing the Giants uniform. I know Bochy and Bumgarner really helped him as well but I think without Posey as the leader of the Giants, we'll not enjoy the 3 championships that the club won in the past 5 years. 

I believe that Posey's the best catcher in the game right now and he's on track on being a future Hall of Famer someday given all of the accolades that he won (ROY, MVP, All-Star appearances, World Series rings, Silver Sluggers, possible Gold Gloves, and other possible accolades to be won in the future). I might not really regret my pick after all when it's all said and done.

One Notable Omission

All 8 listed as the possible winners of the Franchise Four (Mays, Posey, Bonds, Mathewson, Ott, McCovey, Cepeda, Marichal), I feel that one of the best omissions is the Hall of Fame pitcher Carl Hubbell. 9 All-Star selections, 2 MVPs (there's no Cy Young Award at that time because Young's still alive at that time), 3x NL wins and MLB ERA titles, a strikeout title, and the never forgotten All-Star performance where he struck out 5 Hall of Famers including Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, Simmons and Cronin. He deserves to be mentioned somewhere in the lines of it. Where is he? WHERE?

Something Extra

In this edition of Something Extra, I'll recap my thoughts of some of the prospects who made noise in a good or bad way throughout the past couple of weeks or so.

- Aramis Garcia has flashed a really hot bat in the past 10 games, batting .386 with a .413 OBO and a .705 SLG. He also showed the power stroke, with 2 2Bs and 4 HRs with 15 RBIs. What I really noticed in a positive way is that in the videos where he hit 2 HRs in one game, his bat speed is faster than what I have ever seen from him before, which is now close to above-average. I think his really bad early slump is now pretty much over and he's really seeing the ball well. He's doing it as well in a more pitcher-friendly environment in the Sally. I hope he can sustain this kind of performance come August where most of the fatigue of playing full season kicks in.

- Ray Black started again, this time going to a career high 3 1/3 innings and recording 9 of 10 outs via strikeout, also a career high. His nasty fastball-slider combo is awesome in his outing, flashing 101 MPH on the gun. And he's really locating his fastball on the going. The problem that I saw on him is when he went on the 2nd time in the order where he lost his effectiveness by allowing back-to-back homers (both on heaters) and scuffling in terms of fastball command. His changeup is not effective enough to be a third pitch on him and my stand on him is firm. Make him a 2 inning reliever so that the hitters will not get used to his fastball-slider combo and rack up nasty numbers. Plus, he only rivals Frankie Montas, Anthony Reyes and Aroldis Chapman in terms of raw fastball velocity. His starting job is to give him more game time action after a series of bad injuries. Another Dellin Betances possibility right here. Future is bright on the bullpen!

- Miguel Gomez has been a pleasant surprise this season in the Salem-Keizer roster. He's on a really good 11-game hitting streak where he's batting .392 (20-51), .384 OBP, .588 SLG with 4 2B, 2 HRs and 18 RBIs. He sure is a contact hitter that loves to put balls in play, with just 1 walk in short season ball but he's not striking out as much either with just 7 Ks. He's played in C and 3B defensively and he's not that great at both where he's caught just 16.17% (2/12) of the baserunners and having 3 errors while in 3B, his fielding percentage is just .926 with 2 errors in 8 games that he played at the hot corner. With 185 lbs in his 5'10" frame, I think he is an average to below-average athlete. I'll vote for him to be a NWL All-Star. Another Panda in our sights? Maybe.

- After a scorching start in the DSL, Francisco Medina is really struggling in his past 10 games, batting a .195 with just 2 HRs and 10 Ks. The problem that I saw from him is that he's pretty much an all-or-nothing guy on the batter's box recently, with 3 Ks and 2 hits in his latest game. I think that he added some muscle on his frame to make him hit 7 HRs in the DSL but I'm pretty worried that he might be too aggressive on the box. But then again, I'll place my mentality that it's easier to tame aggressive hitters than to make a patient hitter to turn aggressive. It's still worth to take a look at him every now and then.

- In the AZL, Kelvin Beltre is now back after an injury in his hand (I forgot what is the injury but it required surgery, according to GiantProspectTalk on Twitter) and is spending time fielding in 2B and in SS where he's pretty much average defensively. His triple slash line this season in a few games is .273/.407/.455. I love the tools that he brings to the table and he showed a good eye with already 4 BBs and just 6 Ks and some speed to boot with 3 steals. I think he will get a good look at 3B in the future because he can't block Jalen Miller and his pretty stellar season in the AZL. Just like what DrB said, Beltre, Miller and Murray, let's call them as The 3 Kids.

- In my Twitter feed for the past days, I asked two of the best prospect analysts Ben Badler and Kiley McDaniel about Beede's Futures Game performance as well as Christian Arroyo's scorching streak.

Here's from Kiley McDaniel (unfortunately, I asked Kiley about Arroyo a little bit too late):

Here's from Ben Badler:

Share your reactions and comments below about it. Also, I actually compiled, edited and combined Beede's Futures Game outing pitch-by-pitch. I don't know if I can share it with you guys because according to MLB, it cannot be reproduced and retransmitted in any form without the express written consent. I'm pretty torn by it. 

- Congrats to all of the players who are All-Stars in their respectful levels in the minors! I can't list them all though and I don't even know if they even know me and they read my blog posts or are they aware of me on Twitter. But if someone do, I would like to say hello to you and how do you do! I hope you'll do good while you're on your way to the Majors! Keep having that passion for baseball!

This is the end of my latest Out In Front. Let's enjoy the days where there's no baseball and let's gear up because once baseball is back at it again, the heat for the pennant race will be scorching hot. Cheers!

Edit: Added something extra on Something Extra.


  1. Ray Black-You're right.We plan on using him like a Betances.Mccovey Chronicles has clips of his outing.

    Aramis Garcia-He's getting stronger.When we drafted him.You could see there was a lot of projection left.

    Miguel Gomez-If this kid has the same drive and dedication as Garcia.His bat could be legit.

    Beede-He's not a finished product.Getting him back into the strike zone was smart.Now that he's filling the zone with strikes.He can start using his 4 seam fast ball too.

    1. We're wasting Black's 100 octane velocity as a starter. We need him as a reliever. We need him bad. We have Beede, Bickford, Marshall, and others to fill up the gaps in the aging rotation.

      Yeah. I really noticed that Aramis' still lean when we drafted him. Miguel Gomez might be good. I want to see him continue to perform.

      I'm mad that the Twitter is timing out in my devices. Tyler might actually be more of a finished product in HS than in college. I have all of the info on Twitter but I can't goddamn open it.

  2. Good post!

    I was thinking Tom Seaver too, first thought, when I saw the four who were voted. Thinking more about it, I would have gone with Steve Carlton too. You have a great grasp of history despite your youth, I'm impressed (of this among other things I'm impressed with).

    Mathewson was not on the 1920's team. Unfortunately, he suffered injuries in WW I from a mustard gas attack, and was not able to play anymore by that point. Plus, he apparently moved onto the Cincinnati franchise (I've been reading lately about how McGraw alienated some of his best players at some point, that's why Frankie Frisch left the Giants to lead the Cards to a number of championships, so perhaps the Big 6 reached that point with McGraw).

    Hubbell should have gotten the call over Cepeda in those eight slots. I thought of him for that final four spot, after the three obvious ones of Mays, Mathewson, and Bonds.

    I was at first taken aback at your choice of Posey, but the more I thought (and the more I read), I totally agree, he was the fulcrum for getting us these three shiny trophies, more than Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, Sandoval, by far, and needed to be in there.

    But just looking at career (and, of course, he has a lot of career left), one could make the case for Hubbell (his feat in the All-Star game was HUGE! Plus, he was the de facto GM during the Stoneham years, guiding a lot of good amateur acquisition, from what I understand, that should count too), McCovey (the Cove is named for him, after all, and he was much beloved here, more so, for some reason - friendliness? - than Mays), Marichal (what a great pitcher, and he might have a statue up already with his iconic kick if he had been with Giants org all these years instead of A's and DR), and Ott (great player, great HR hitter, also player-managed the Giants). Each left a unique and substantial stamp on the Giants franchise history.

    1. Thanks for reading Mr. ogc! Well, I became pretty obssessed with baseball history before and I just read a lot about the old rules, the players, and I became obssessed about the Negro Leagues before when there's a video on where it featured Satchel Paige and when Paige and Gibson faced off.

      I'm not that great at baseball history like you (I didn't even know about that story about Mathewson!) which I'm really impressed as well with you. I agree that every player mentioned left a substantial mark on the franchise but in the Franchise Four, I want to pick guys with the most impact with us so I picked that four that I mentioned.

    2. Mr. ogc, I deleted my comment about Beede and Keith Law due to privacy reasons. I would be happy and grateful if you could do a transcript of the video for my behalf if it's not too much hard work for you. Thanks!

    3. I didn't see anything wrong with it, but I know everyone has different standards.

      I got you the details I thought you wanted, but generics for other.

      First, he thinks he's a better rapper than Trevor Bauer.

      Pitchers who are inspiration, who he emulates and learn lessons from are Zach Greinke and Chris Heston. From Greinke, watches repertoire, how he goes about his business on the mound, surgeon like, just the way he attacks hitters and uses all his pitches. Heston, like Beede, ditched 4-seamer for sinker (2-seamer), so he likes to look at and learn from Heston's approach.

      He was asked about how he was getting so many more ground balls, whether he used 2 or 4 seamer, and Beede said 2-seamer for sure, but still throws 4-seamer 3-4 times a game high in the zone to go for the strikeout. Certainly been a new identity that he took the approach of, to develop the sinker. Certainly been a mindset change, but it allows him to get the groundball, to be efficient, and to go deeper in games.

      Asked what particular aspect he is working on to get to the next level, Beede noted his work on the sinker, staying consistent with his mechanics, getting ahead of counts, getting the sinker into the zone, pitch to contact. Being a sinkerballer, try to get early contact, get batters out in 3 or less pitches, so that he can go deeper into ballgames. Focus on throwing quality innings, quality pitches, and put the team in position to win. [ogc note: seems like this could be the Giants Way for pitching]

      He was asked about being drafted by the Blue Jays and deciding to go to Vanderbilt, what did he gain from going to Vandy, and he said that he absolutely gained. He was taught of lot of things that prepared him for the minors, for the big leagues. He got to perform in front of large crowds, similar to that in the upper minors, and facing the hitters who are at a A/AA level, in their approach and the way that they can swing.

      He was also asked if he was surprised by how many of his Vandy teammates were drafted this season, and, surprise, he wasn't, and then he extolled the wonders of his coach, which I assume you don't care to get all the details, but let me know if you do.

    4. Thanks for this Mr. ogc! I never thought you could get this for me but you did! I am truly grateful and I owe you one! I hope he doesn't get that Greinke game face or everyday face every single start. And I really like that he was learning from the persons who already went through the struggles and got through it like Heston. I'm not saying that Heston is not a great pitcher (but he is good), but some of the best teachers in life especially baseball comes from the guys who are average guys or in baseball, average level player or pitcher. Thanks a lot Mr. ogc! I really am grateful!!!!

  3. Garcia-3 for 5 HR (13) RBI 2 (50) 1 R
    Jebavy-2 for 4 2 R 1 BB 2 SB (7)
    Gomez-2 for 5 1 RBI (23)
    Shaw-1 for 5 2B 3 RBI

    Looking at Gomez you can tell he doesn't take weight training and conditioning that seriously.That should be his main goal this off season.Getting stronger.

    1. I apologize for not commenting that early because I am currently writing something really great and I thought that you will like it.

      Miguel Gomez seems to be out of shape. But the talent is really there and he can flat out hit. I just want him to take the conditioning regimen seriously and I hope he is not another Panda in the making in terms of conditioning.

    2. No worries.Look forward to reading your new post.Peace Weenzie.

    3. Thanks a lot Mr. David! Maybe Gomez will face some out of shape issues in the future and he's the BABIP king where he almost puts everything into play. .364 BABIP and just 1 walk, 1!!!!!!

    4. Imagine what he would be hitting if he was in top shape like some of his teammates.

    5. Panda 2.0, I'm calling it now Mr. David. I hope I am wrong.

    6. Panda 2.0, I'm calling it now Mr. David. I hope I am wrong.

  4. Wrenzie,

    Love to see that you are asking some tough questions of the prospect mavens on the internet.

    2 reasons why I think the Giants have become so aggressive about changing power/strikeout pitchers into sinker/contact guys.

    1. Their own experience with the toll that high pitch counts took on Cain and Lincecum over the years.

    2. The frightful epidemic of UCL tears requiring Tommy John Surgery which seems to hit the high-velocity/high K pitchers the most frequently.

    The Giants have made an organizational decision to try to preserve these arms and get longevity even if it sacrifices some time-honored secondary stats in the process.

    It's an interesting and bold experiment and will be interesting to see how it plays out.

    1. Thank you DrB! I agree with your two reasons with proofs where Cain and Timmy are pretty much not the same pitcher as before (which really applies to Timmy) and just the number of TJ patients and how they made James Andrews really rich in no time. It's really a bold idea to test out and if I recall correctly, we are in the bottom two of the teams with the most TJ patients which serves us really well from a health standpoint. The only problem for us is that torn UCL is just one of the major injuries that a pitcher can experience in his career. There's the more painful shoulder and labrum injuries as well as lat injuries. I hope our prospect pitchers will not be infected with the TJ virus. I would love for you to read my newest post about Beede because it's pretty intense DrB.

  5. Nice. I like when others share their overall views, can make for great discussion. Really tough to pick *four* when the Giants franchise has the most players in the Hall of Fame. Just goes to show what storied history there is behind our beloved team. I don't know if there is any "right" answer, but I recognize we, as people, tend to show recency bias... Like those we've actually watched play the game.

    I can't imagine a "Best List" for the Giants without Marichal. I never got to watch him, but he's one of my favorites. Without question, I'd put him into any conversation amongst "the best pitchers ever." Well over half of his starts were complete games!

    Is Ott deserving as well? Sure, entire 22-year career posting big numbers for the New York Giants. Are we really only able to pick four? lol. How each person perceives Bonds is unique. But, yeah... Mays, Marichal, Bonds...

    Posey's three World Series right out of the gate. Dang. Rings count, and he's been a GIANT part of each one. As you say, there are obviously others involved here, not to diminish any of that. But... MVPosey. Consider our pitching staff ERA in those 3 WS. And his contributions to get us there. Yeah.

    No way is Mathewson not among the greats, right? Cannot possibly leave him out either. I just don't know. Mays, Mathewson, Ott, Hubbell, Marichal, McCovey, Bonds, Posey. Four for New York and four for SF? Can we stretch and do that? : )

    1. I really thought that Mays and Mathewson are the sure locks for our Franchise Four, honestly because how the hell can you leave the greatest player in the history of baseball outside the Babe and possibly one of the top 10 pitchers of all time? How? I'm pretty pissed that Mathewson is not elected although he got selected as one of the greatest pioneers? Maybe for being a true model of baseball like Walter Johnson.

      Well, we all have our own biases. I think Marichal and Gaylord (still pretty awkward name today) are the face of the Giants when the great Koufax is pitching for the Dodgers. But I based mine on impact guys and I thought that Mathewson had a really big impact on the dead ball Giants, Mays which is a default answer, Bonds single-handedly ended the struggle to stay the franchise to the Bay Area and Posey because of the rings. Nobody can't go wrong with this. And Franchise Four was created to stir up debates. Cheers Mr. carmot!