Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How the Giants offense is better, Part 3

Now 15 games into the Cactus League schedule, the sampling size is much larger, but the competition still close. Ishikawa is leading the way a first, but Bowker's bat is heating up a little. Sandoval is doing what he did last year, but Guzman is showing why the Giants can't forget about him at third. With Roberts gone and a 5th OF spot now up for grabs, Velez is showing why he deserves to make the team, but some guy named Andres Torres is saying not so fast...and then there is Second Base. Burriss and Frandsen are locked in a dead heat to win the job. Everyday it seems, one moves in front of the other, and then back. They have both been playing so well on both sides of the ball, it is surely going to come down to the last day of camp.

But besides the open jobs, the team seems to be hitting extremely well. All of those mentioned above are lighting up the spring, or at least hitting better than expected. Some of it is in garbage time, against pitchers who are the opponents equivalent of our Pat Misch, Ronnie Ray, Jessie English, or Kelvin Pichardo...versions of pitchers who either aren't good enough or just not ready to make a big league roster, and later in the games. But not as much of it is in garbage time as you might think.

Sure, the Giants do lead the majors in Homeruns...What?...huh...well, maybe it is more garbage time than I think. We do have guys tearing up the spring later in games such as Ryan Rohlinger, as Lefty pointed out here. But we also have guys hitting well early and those are the guys who count.

Here are the inning by inning scoring lines for the Giants:

Although the scoring is bottom heavy, specifically the 6th and 8th innings, it doesn't nescessarily mean it's only from garbage time. Teams often pitch starters only a few innings, 3-4, this early, but they also occasionally pitch a second starter following the first for another 3-4 innings, such as the case when the Dodgers started kershaw and followed him up with McDonald. Regularily teams pitch closers and setup men in earlier innings, such as the 6th, 7th, or 8th to ensure they face tougher hitters early on.

So far, the opponents starters Giants have faced are Sowers, Wolf, Grienke, Silva, Bush, Davis, Ramirez, Kershaw, Cahill, Moseley, Morales, Eveland, Adenhardt, Parra, and Feldman. Combined, the starters have pitched:
41.1 35 19 16 8 17 3 3.49
This list comprises opponents relievers who are either the closer, setup men, a few starters coming out of relief, or relievers from the previous seasons bullpens who are expected to make the team. Chulk, Herges, Weaver, Stults, Broxton, Mota, Soria, Batista, Villenueva, Rouch, Peguaro, Davies, McDonald, Elbert, Mota, Oliver, Bulger, Speier, Hirsch, Simmons, Speier, Aguilar, Donnelly, Mendoza, and Register Combined, these relievers have pitched:
33.1 49 30 25 12 22 5 6.76

As you can see, the Giants are having some success early on against the starters, and significant success against the relievers. Compare the starters numbers to those of the Giants and consider Sanchez isn't included here, and you can see how much better the Giants look. Lincecum, Zito, Cain, and Johnson in 12 starts:
30.1 25 10 10 10 29 2 2.90

Of the 23 homeruns, obviously that is somewhat of an illusion as only 8 have come against teams top pitchers, but then again, no one is arguing the Giants are apowerful team. As for the rest, it is spring and it is early, but all this is marred when you compare the fact that the Giants big 3 hitters, Bengie Molina, Randy Winn, and Aaron Rowand are struggling mightly.

Returning Vets: Winn, Aurilia, Molina, Rowand-
Combined, they are: 20-99, 6 2B, 3 HR, 5 R, 11 RBI, 0SB, and a line of .202/.261/.354/.615

Returning Kids: Lewis, Burriss, Velez, Bowker & Holm-
Combined, they are: 38-132, 7 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 27 R, 17 RBI, 8-11 SB, and a line of .288/.338/.447/.785

New Additions- Frandsen, Ishikawa, Renteria, Uribe, Sandoval, & Schierholtz-
Combined, they are: 35-114, 5 2B, 6 HR, 14 R, 17 RBI, 0 SB, and a line of .307/.336/.509/.845

Fighting for a Roster Spot- Uribe, Rohlinger, Torres, Guzman, & Downs-
Combined, they are: 39-108, 12 2B, 3 3B, 7 HR, 22 R, 26 RBI, 2-3 SB, and a line of .361/.384/.722/1.106

These last 5 are impressive, but the majority of the AB's have come against the lesser talent. Still, Uribe and Guzman have been tearing everyone up and are making for strong consideration this year. Rohlinger is doing most of his damage in the 8th and 9th innings and Torres is making a case for himself. Stay tuned for more.

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