Monday, January 31, 2011

Giants Fans to use a plane to taunt the Dodgers for Season Opener

The Dodgers are jelous
The Giants and Dodgers Opening day drama just went to the next level.

The Giants and Dodgers rivalry is pretty intense but even the most intense rivalries need a little gasoline thrown on them every once in while. This is where  F**k Yeah! Shut Up, Inc. has stepped in, FYSU Inc is raising money to hire a plan to tow a sign that reads "Giants 2010 Champs: BEAT LA" for the 3 game series opener in Los Angeles.

This is coming after the Dodgers decided against playing nice with ESPN and MLBs request to move the opening game to San Francisco so that the raising of the World Series banner could be nationally televised.

So this is the perfect counter measure for Giants fans and I hope that the national TV cameras get a nice shot of the plane flying overhead.

Here is some more info and as of today this effort is half way to making it a reality:
Two years ago one man came up with an idea. He waited for the perfect time to enact this diabolical, yet beautiful concept. One concept, one idea, that would shock the sports world while leaving Southern California feeling empty inside. Now is the time. 
As most of you die hard fans know, The World Champion San Francisco Giants open up Major League Baseball play at Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles. In this hostile environment The World Champion San Francisco Giants will need the support of The World Champion San Francisco Giant's Faithful. The plan is to fly a banner 3 miles above Chavez Ravine that says, "Giants 2010 Champs: BEAT LA". This banner will fly in Los Angeles for the Thursday, Saturday and Sunday games for an hour and 20 minutes. It is a great way to pay tribute to The World Champion San Francisco Giants while giving the other organization a taste of what it is like to be World Series Champions: something they haven't tasted since 1988. So, we ask the faithful of The World Series San Francisco Giants to pledge whatever you can to make this idea, this dream, a reality.
There are numerous options out there to help donate for the cause, some with some awesome names.

So if you've got some spare change laying around this is a worthy cause to help out.

h/t 22gigantes (a donor to the cause), @ieeewok and L.A. Weekly (who has the panties in a wad over this)

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Matt Cain vs. Joe Blanton: Are they the same pitcher?

Is Matt Cain only as good as Joe Blanton? Nope not even close.
This link was sent to me on Friday asking me what my thoughts were, basically I agree with what the overall premise is, over the last 3 years the Phillies 1-4 have been better then the Giants top 4. Also like the fine print after mutual fund advertisement past performance is not a guarantee of future returns, the same is true here especially with all but 1 guy on the Phillies on the wrong side of 30.

That being said the reason that I am here tonight writing this is not because I disagree but some of the crazy Phillies partisan commenters brought up something that I think should be addressed. Here are the comments in question:

From the author Bill Baer:
If you put him [Matt Cain] in Citizens Bank Park for 17 starts, he’s nothing but a Joe Blanton.

Also echoing this thinking is commenter Greenman!:
A lot of Giants fans seem to be way too confident in Matt Cain. I agree that he’s nothing but a Joe Blanton. They can both produce some pretty good starts but neither are phenomenal pitchers.
So I have to ask is this really the case?

Click for larger view
This is a look at each's ERA by age, Blanton has had  season where his ERA was in the 3.5 range and for the rest has hovered in the low to mid 4s. Cain on the other hand has only had one season where his ERA was above 4 and for the rest of his six seasons he has been in the mid to low 3s.

If ERA isn't your cup of tea you can look at FIP Cain has a career mark of 3.84 vs. 4.21 for Blanton. If you look at ERA+ Cain has a career mark of 126 vs. 99 for Blanton.

Even if you think that Cain gets by on thriving in the spacious confines of AT&T park he still manages to have a 3.76 ERA and keeps the ball in the park with a HR/9 of 0.85. Blanton can not boast the same consistency with an ERA that is 4.82 and with a HR rate that is even higher away from the launching pad that is Citizen's Bank Park.

Matt Cain is a good pitcher and comparing him to Joe Blanton is not an especially close comparison, Cain is among the top 15 to 20 pitchers in the National League while Blanton is serviceable he much closer to a league average pitcher then a front line pitcher.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Jeff Passan Underestimates the Giants

The calendar may have changed but national writers thinking that the Giants just don't have what it takes sure hasn't.

The Giants World Series victory is largely seen as something lucky or fluky outside of the Bay Area. I will give that the team caught good breaks but that is bound to happen to any team that wins in a short playoff series but fluky? No last years title run was anything but that.

This was a talented team with flaws but none the less a talented team. The 2011 vintage has retained all but a couple of the players from that team and is still a flawed but very talented team. So that now that it is time to look ahead it begins again that the Giants are being looked past by the national scene.

The Giants get a pat on the head told they are cute but told it is time for the big boys to play now.

Here is what Yahoo! sports writer Jeff Passen said in his preview of the team:
So, yeah, Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez and Bumgarner doesn’t look quite as dominant, not unless they repeat their performance over the last two months of 2010, which amounts to a near-impossible task. They are good. Just not that good. And the Giants as a whole certainly do not stack up to the Phillies, not when their lineup remains Posey and a bunch of guys who may or may not hit.

At this point, only a fool ignores the fact that the Phillies are a far superior team than the Giants. San Francisco outplayed Philadelphia last October, no question, but to conflate fleeting glory with long-term viability is fallacious. Though the Giants remain capable of defeating any team in a short series because of their pitching, they’re simply not a team that’s built to survive a season, and it took an epic Padres collapse and underachievement from the Rockies and Dodgers to do so last year
The main points that I want to address here is that the Giants do in fact match up pretty well against just about every team in the National league and should be expected to be among the contenders for the playoffs once again.

Before getting to the heart of the argument let's talk really quick about the NL west rivals, the Padres were playing over there heads for months and still very nearly pulled off a tie on the 162nd game of the season, the Rockies and the Dodgers didn't really under achieve as much as that they like all of the teams in the NL west were flawed and they just couldn't overcome them.

Now the big question, can the hang with the Phillies? Basically yes they can. They are in fact two very evenly matched teams.

I took the liberty to do a quick and dirty comparison between the teams using the Cairo projections for 2011. What I found is that the Phillies according to my projections will score around 4.565 runs per game and allow 3.956 runs per game. Using the Pythagorean expectation that comes out to a winning percentage of 0.571 or 92.5 wins.

For the Giants they are projected to score around 4.339 runs per game and allow 3.751 runs per game. Using the Pythagorean expectation that gives them a winning percentage of 0.572 or 92.7 wins.

So according to these quick projections the two teams are roughly equal. So if it makes me "a fool" for thinking that the Giants are not too far behind the Phillies or even on the same page then I am perfectly fine with that.

Giants Link Round-Up

All of the Giants links fit to print.

Frisco Fastball: Brian Wilson Appears As Sea Mariner On George Lopez Show, Oh that bearded one.

El Lefty Malo: The Song of Kroon: Best Story Line of Spring Training? Mark Kroon will be an interesting guy to watch in the Spring as he does his best impression of Rick Vaughn from Major League. A hard thrower with a record 162kmph fastball in Japan.

Bay City Ball: Chris Ray to the Mariners – A Moment to Remember the Molina Trade. Some good perspective on the trade that quite possibly put the team over the top last year. Also a new site design that looks very nice, gotta love the addition of some more orange and black.

Raising Matt Cain: A look at the historic run of pitching in September where they held their opponents to under 3 runs per game. Check out the whole series, I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII and VIII with more to come.

Give 'em Some Stankeye!: Bound To Disappoint? Paulie is on the same wavelength as me on this with the worries starting to creep in about next season.

24 Days of Magic: Demystifying the Nerd Stats: VORP and Relationships, Your introduction to Value Over Replacement Wife/Girl Friend, and situations that you can use it in like this:
Your wife watches the baby so you can go watch Timmy strike out 14 Braves even though she'd been watching the baby all day: 96 VORW
Obsessive Giants Compulsive: 2010 Giants Fluke: Sabean Naysayers and D-gers Fans Are Like One Mind. Strange bedfellows a World Series makes.

22gigantes: Sanchez On Pace For Opening Day, sweet!

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Prospect Ranking Season Continues: Keith Law's Top Ten Giants Prospects

It is prospect ranking season is in full bloom, rosters are taking shape and pitchers and catchers reporting is just around the corner.

Today's prospect list is from ESPN's Keith Law. You've got to be an insider to get the full scouting reports (not a bad use of money especially nice that it comes with ESPN the magazine and access to all the insider blogs and chats) but I will give the list here.

1. Brandon Belt, 1B (overall number 17)
2. Zach Wheeler, SP (overall number 36)
3. Gary Brown, CF
4. Francisco Peguero, OF
5. Charlie Culberson, 2B
6. Thomas Neal, OF
7. Ehire Adrianza, SS
8. Eric Surkamp, LHP
9. Heath Hembree, RHP
10. Tommy Joseph, C

If you are an insider here is the link to the 2011's top 10 players by organization.

More prospect lists to enjoy: Hardball Times Top Giants Prospects, Baseball America's Giants Top Prospects, When the Giants Come to Town Top Prospects, Bay City Ball Top Prospects.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Winning the World Series: The Last Twenty Seven Outs

I don't think that as a Giants fan I will ever get sick of watching videos like this. This video is dipped in a batter of awesome and the deep fried to golden crisp amazing and served with a side of spectacular.

This is the final 27 outs of the clinching game five. The Tim Lincecum dominance, the Edgar Renteria home run, Brian Wilson closing it out, it is all there. So take the 5 minutes and sit back and savor the sweetness one more time.

Glove slap to 24 days of magic

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Baseball America's Giants Top Prospects

This morning Baseball America announced the last of their top prospect lists with the World Series Champin Giants.

The list is written by Giants beat writer Andrew Baggarly and it is pretty similar to most of the other top prospect lists out there.

Here is the top 10:

1.Brandon Belt, 1b
2.Zack Wheeler, rhp
3.Gary Brown, of
4.Francisco Peguero, of
5.Ehire Adrianza, ss
6.Brandon Crawford, ss
7.Thomas Neal, of
8.Charlie Culberson, 2b
9.Eric Surkamp, lhp
10.Tommy Joseph, c/1b

Scouting reports are available but only to subscribers. There is a nice write up about the team and the system and some more interesting tid bits like best athlete, best fastball, projected lineup for 2014 etc. So check it out here.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Giants are over exposed and it will be there downfall next year

The Giants are in the news again, this time it is Tim Lincecum who was named by GQ as one of the 25 coolest athletes of all time. It is a great honor for him but is all of this getting to be too much?

Of all of the things that could have happened this off season I didn't expect the Giants to turn into the most overexposed team in the country.

I guess that is something that happens when you win the World Series and are situated in one of the largest markets in the country (#4 for radio and #6 for TV) but man I didn't see all of this coming.

The attention is well deserved but I have to say that this makes me nervous. The band of misfits (also the title of forthcoming book by Giants beat writer Andrew Baggarly) thrived while being the underdog that no one believed in and now that they are the team in the limelight with the target on their back can they also thrive as a front runner.

First and foremost I want the Giants to win games, spreading "Giants Nation" isn't the biggest priority for me especially if it is a source of distraction for a team that should be in contention once again. As a fan of this team I already saw the team have to deal with the everyday circus that was Barry Bonds at the end of his career and you have to imagine that it didn't make performing at the highest level easy but that was just one player this round of scrutiny will hang over all of the players.

I get that the Giants have some very marketable players (Tim Lincecum and Buster Posey) and some personalities that are made for TV (Brian Wilson, Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell seem to right out of central casting) that need to be shown off to the rest of the country.

You just have to wonder what kind of effect this will have on the team. It is easy to have all the attention when things are rolling but what happens during the inevitable rough patch that will pop up during a 162 game 6 month season. This kind of thing may make sense form a public relations angle but what about from a winning angle?

This just adds to the already daunting task facing the Giants this seasons as the defending champions and I think that the added pressure is not necessary.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

The Giants are Number 1 on Social News Website

Giants world domination has another victory

On the social new website Reddit, the World Champion Giants reign supreme.

The Giants have the largest number of fans participating on the baseball community beating out the second place Red Sox and third place Yankees.

If you haven't heard of reddit, it is a social media website that displays news based on individual user preferences based on voting. In addition there are numerous sub-reddits (like the baseball community) to meet numerous individual preferences and give a place for discussion.

This is just another feather in the cap for the media savvy Giants fans who are already among the leaders in social engagement with a massive twitter presence and a huge following on Facebook.

So if you are looking for a great place to get news and discussion then join and help increase the number of Giants fans.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Honeymoon Period

What is the honeymoon period?
This is a topic that I have been kicking around for a while. I have informally been polling people asking people how long is the grace period the Giants just bought with their World Series victory over the Rangers with the length varying from as soon as the champagne is dry on the trophy it is back to work to a year.

I want to come down on the side giving some slack to Brian Sabean and company. It may not be popular or exciting or provocative to give the benefit of the doubt even for things that I disagree about but I feel like it is the right thing to do.

What just took place is happening for the first time in my lifetime and if are a fan of another team you will have to give me some time to adjust to this new feeling. The Giants were ridding the 2nd longest drought before this but our pain and suffering wasn't as in your face as Cubs or Red Sox fans but it was just as real. Finally making it to the top of the mountain for the first time is a life experience that I would never give back.

So the question that I am wrestling with is what is proper in this situation? How long do I give Giants management before I start calling them out for decisions that I think are boneheaded or calling for the head of the manager after some questionable pitching changes and double switches during a 5 game losing streak.

After all these idiots were the ones that delivered me this wonderful life experience. I don't want to me that ungrateful prick or heaven forbid a Yankee fan who complains that his team doesn't win the World Series every year.

The other side of the coin is that these windows of opportunity are fleeting and how can one hold their tongue and sit on their hands as stupid decisions are being made? The Giants have a historic pitching staff and they will all be together for the few seasons but we are one freak t-shirt cannon accident away from having to rebuild.

The Giants couldn't capitalize on having a team stacked with Hall of Famers in the 1960's, the team had an exciting young nucleus in the late 80's but kept falling short and then they had the best hitter of the last 40 years and couldn't get over the top.

These windows of opportunity are fickle and even the smallest mistake or bad luck can mean falling short so giving the benefit of the doubt even for one minute could be the difference between the rally monkey dancing all over the pieces of our broken hearts and hosting a parade down Market Street.

I feel like I am being pulled in two different directions, the one side of me wants to be the grateful fan and give the Giants a year and enjoy everything. The other side of me wants to be greedy and double down and go after it all again while taking no prisoners.

So the compromise that I have reached with myself is that I will give the Giants 1 (one) season without nitpicking and second guessing every single decision. I reserve the right to complain if it starts to feel like the team is resting on their laurels and are not making a good faith effort to win another championship.

I will still examine and obsess over everything but I have decided that baring a resting on laurels exception not to call for the head of the GM, the coach, or the benching of a player. Will this make things difficult as a blogger? Yeah maybe, but it will not make me feel icky as a fan.

So let me ask everyone, what is your honeymoon period going to be for the Giants? Or do they even get one in your mind?

How long is the Giants Honeymoon

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Giants Link Round-Up

All of the Giants links fit to print.

PaapFly: "Jeff Suppan is no Joe Posnanski" I wonder how he feels about this pickup. Actually I don't because this line sums things up nicely.
Imagine for a second you were collecting baseball writers. You already have Joe Posnanski, Bill James, Rob Neyer, Joe Sheehan and Jayson Stark. But you want a little just-in-case insurance, you know, just in case. Maybe, along the way, one of them gets writers block, or maybe one breaks both hands and can’t type. You already have Murray Chass lined up in the stable, and a couple others like him. Then, in an effort to beef up your complete and utter lack of depth, you hire on the Bleacher Report. This is essentially what the Giants have done.
Sully Baseball: A great video giving MLB some tips on how to appeal to a younger generation. What makes it better is he says that we need more Giants.

Baseball Monk: The monks talk about how loaded the National League is in pitching right now. I couldn't agree more, after years of offense the pendulum has swung towards pitching and it special with the number of great arms out there.

Splashing Pumpkins: A quantitative look at Giants skipper Bruce Bochy. He did everything right in the playoffs it seemed but I agree with the conclusion here that his overall effect on the team was probably a wash with great decisions cancelled out by the boneheaded ones.

22Gigantes: If you need more reasons to hate the Dodgers here is another one: Tommy Lasorda disses the Giants.

When the Giants Come to Town: The top 50 prospects (plus a bunch of Honorable mentions). First few detailed scouting reports are out too: #1 Brandon Belt, #2 Zach Wheeler, #3 Thomas Neal and #4 Gary Brown.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hardball Times Top Giants Prospects

This morning the Hardball Times came out with their top 10 prospects for the Giants and the Dodgers.

The list is similar to what others have come up with but there are a few surprises. They went with Zach Wheeler as the top prospect (they love his ace like ceiling) over Brandon Belt. They are higher then others on last years top draft choice Gary Brown then most others. The other thing that I noticed is that they are down on Thomas Neal and Francisco Peguero then most others.

Here is the list.

1. Zack Wheeler - SP
2. Brandon Belt - 1B
3. Gary Brown - OF
4. Eric Surkamp - SP
5. Jorge Bucardo - RP/SP
6. Thomas Joseph - C/1B
7. Ehire Adrianza - SS
8. Rafael Rodriguez - OF
9. Thomas Neal - OF
10. Francisco Peguero - OF

Click through for the explanations and thoughts.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

All-Time Giants: San Francisco Era

Continuing the series for the all-time Giants teams, today I wanted to look at the best players of the San Francisco era. In addition to the starting 9 and a 5 man rotation to day I added two guys to come off the bench (a right handed and left handed pinch hitter) and two relievers (again a righty and a lefty).

San Francisco Era
CDick Dietz
1BWill Clark
2BJeff Kent
3BJim Ray Hart
SSRich Aurilia
LFBarry Bonds
CFWillie Mays
RFBobby Bonds
1B/LFWillie McCovey
3B/LFKevin Mitchell
PJuan Marichal
PGaylord Perry
PTim Lincecum
PJohn Montefusco
PBob Knepper
RHPGreg Minton
LHPGary Lavelle

A nice collection of talent to say the least with 4 hall of famers and at least 2 more that should be joining before too long (Bonds and Kent).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Analyzing Giants Arbitration Settlements

A slew of Giants announcements came out this afternoon with arbitration settlements for Cody Ross, Jonathan Sanchez, Santiago Casilla and Ramon Ramirez.

Ross in his last season of arbitration received a deal worth $6.3 million. If you follow the 40%, 60%, 80% arbitration to free market ratio that puts Ross at a 1.6 WAR player ($6.3/0.8 gives free agent value of $7.875 million and with a marginal win valued at $5 million leave 1.575 WAR).

This to me is a good discount, Ross has averaged 2.4 WAR with a low of 1.8 WAR so baring an injury it is a pretty safe bet that he can outperform this deal.

Sanchez in his second year of arbitration and received a deal worth $4.8 million. Using the same methodology as above values Sanchez at a 1.6 WAR player as well. This deal is another good discount. Sanchez has outperformed this every year and I think it is safe to say that he should be able to do this again.

Ramirez in his second year of arbitration and received a deal worth $1.6 million. Using the same methodology as above values Ramirez at a 0.5 WAR player. Over his career he has averaged 0.76 WAR and even with the volatility in reliever statistics this seems like it is pretty close to right on the money.

Casilla in his second year of arbitration and received a deal worth $1.3 million. Using the same methodology as above values Ramirez at a 0.4 WAR player. Over his career he has averaged 0.17 WAR but last season was worth nearly 1 win. If Casilla can approach last seasons numbers he could be a very nice bargain.

Overall it seems with this batch of deals the Giants did well getting below market rates with most of these guys  and avoided having to go to an arbitration hearing that the team views as a bad for morale.

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All-Time Giants: The team of the 00's

Giants news is a little slow outside of pics of a slim downed Pablo Sandoval, so I was playing around with the Baseball-Reference play index to come up with some all time Giants teams based on WAR.

The first one that I present here is the team of the 00's.

CBobby Estalella
1BJ.T. Snow
2BJeff Kent
3BPablo Sandoval
SSRich Aurilia
LFBarry Bonds
CFRandy Winn
RFEllis Burks
PTim Lincecum
PJason Schmidt
PMatt Cain
PRuss Ortiz
PLivan Hernandez

This team with everyone playing at this high of a level would have won an astonishing 120 games (rounding up). The guys you expect show up but there are a couple that are surprising.

The first thing that I noticed was the Giants have gotten surprisingly little production from their center fielders. Randy Winn takes the spot with a WAR of 3.9 that he accumulated in just 58 games with the Giants in 2005. Those were a torrid 58 games however with him putting up a triple slash line of .359/ .391/ .680 with 14 HRs.

If you are looking for another reason to be thankfull for Buster Posey look no further then the Giants past catchers. In the decade the only two catchers to break the 2.0 WAR barrier was Bobby Estalella and Benito Santiago everything else was cover your eyes bad.

Another thing that this exercise helped me with is my appreciation for just how good Rich Aurilia was. His last stint sort of clouded the memory a little bit but man what a great season he had in 2001 putting together a .324/ .369/ .572 37 HR season. I still find it hard to believe that he knocked out 37 in one season.

Tim Lincecum was the best pitcher of the decade with both his 2008 and 2009 seasons being better then any one else. Jason Schmidt holds his own with 4 solid seasons from 2002 to 2006. Matt Cain is also solidly implanted on the list with his contributions since joining the team in 2006.

Not included in here but I thought I would mention it anyway but the best reliever of the decade wasn't Robb Nen, Brian Wilson, Rod Beck, Tim Worrell but Felix Rodriguez's 2001. Rodriguez put up a 3.3 WAR with 80.1 innings with a 1.68 ERA and a ERA+ of 240.

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Giants Tempt Fate with Showtime Series

When the news first broke that the Giants would be getting their own documentary series on Showtime I was excited and thinking of ways to convince my wife that it was a great deal to upgrade to the premium channels (the first month is FREE!).

Then I remembered what happened in Rocky 3.

Clubber Lang is looking to
take down the Champs
Now most everyone knows the story of Rocky, first movie he is a no one who is given a shot and takes the champ the distance but falls just short. I see this as the 2009 season, the Giants were a no one coming off a 4th place finish and hung with the Champs (Dodgers and Rockies) before falling just short.

In the second movie, Rocky with a chip on his shoulder takes on the Apollo Creed again and this time he wins. This was the Giants last year, after years of adversity and heartbreak they broke through.

In Rocky 3, Rocky has gotten soft. He is the Champ and doesn't need the same crazy training that he did in the past (like the Giants standing pat this off-season). When he agrees to fight a hungry up and comer that wants his title (the other 29 teams in baseball) he invites the media to his training sessions and poses for the cameras while sparring.

This is where I see the Giants right now. They are hamming it up after a magical run. It is much deserved but winning a second World Series is harder when you have the target on your back.

The worrier in me is afraid of the champs getting soft from all the champagne and caviar while the Clubber Langs of the world train in the shadows with the Giants names circled on the calendar.

Look the 2010 Giants were a great team, but they had some magical karma working for them too. I worry that this TV show is an invitation for the universe to even things out. I hope for the best but if a rash of injuries strike I know where my blame is landing.

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Friday, January 14, 2011

I Wanna Fight Brian Wilson, uhh not me but this guy does

Brian Wilson is scared of no man.
A disgruntled Oakland A's fan has extended a formal invitation to fight Brian Wilson.

I guess that you could say that Giants closer Brian Wilson is umm polarizing. Not Sarah Palin polarizing but none the less most baseball fans have an opinion of the guy, either bad or good.

Some think that he is pretty awesome but I guess some think that his shtick is a little much. I think that they are just blinded by the crazy awesome and wild character that he is (come one the machine is just awesome) to see it for themselves.

So here is the formal invitation that has been extended to Wilson.
So this is a formal invite for Brian Wilson to spar me in a legal boxing match in a boxing gym. Any gym he wants any time he wants. It would be a legal sparring match with full headgear and other safety equipment so there is no risk of him getting "seriously" hurt. There would be a ref, and all amateur boxing rules would apply. So if Brian Wilson is a real "tuff guy" like he tries to promote himself to be, and wants to challenge me to fight in a situation where i would get arrested, then I'm sure he is tuff enough to take on this challenge and get into a ring with me and have a legal boxing match! The ball is in his court now!
The guy's hatred dates all the way back to May 23rd of last year after been a dick to Wilson when he was signing autographs for the little kiddies.

I hope this guy Nick (if that is his real name) does get his fight and Wilson puts him in his place. I don't see it happening and for this guy he may get some publicity but I think that $9.99 plus whatever overpriced fee godaddy is charging to host his crappy website he spent registering was money down the toilet.

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The Giants Defense, Good or Bad?

Believe it or not the Giants were rated as one of the best defensive teams the last 2 seasons. This seems to go against what most people's eyes would have told them with some of the aging, slow, lumbering guys the Giants have trotted out in the field the last couple of seasons.

According to Fangraphs UZR measure the Giants finished 2nd in 2010 with 56.4 runs above average. In 2009 the Giants again finished 2nd with a UZR of 55.7. According to the fans scouting report in 2010 the Giants ranked 18th with a score of 1 run above average. In 2009 they were 26th with a rating of 26 runs below average.

So where does the divergence of what our eyes tell us and what is measured come from?

Again I turn to Fangraphs, Matthew Carruth has examined the difference between the UZR numbers and the fan scouting reports and noticed a few things that stood out:
The two biggest differences in FSR and UZR for the Giants come from Andres Torres and Edgar Renteria. Renteria is the biggest offender of the two. Fans rated Renteria well below average, a combined -21 runs for 2009 and 2010, but UZR saw the short stop as reasonably above average, a combined 2.7 runs. Andres Torres’ play is another example, garnering 29.4 UZR runs across the entire outfield but only 11 runs via FSR.

As big as the disagreement is on those two, the spread for the Giants does not come from a divergence of opinion on just those few players, but rather appears to be more of a systematic difference. Renteria and Torres totaled about 42 runs of difference between themselves, but the gap between FSR and UZR for the entire team is 137 runs.
 So what else could help explain the difference? To me there are a number of things.

First, maybe the fans are biased against some of the Giants older players simply because they are older or reputation. If they are discounting their play based on age and not something that they see that would introduce a bias. I think that this is plausible, Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell, Freddy Sanchez, and Edgar Renteria don't exactly have great reputations but played solidly last season. You could also suggest that some of the younger players are not well known and could be underrated because they don't have a reputation. This could be the reason that Andres Torres was measured so low, he was spectacular but unknown to most people the last couple seasons.

Second, there could be something wrong with the UZR measurements. There could be some sort of systematic bias there that gives the Giants fielders a boost that is undeserved. There has been some studies looking into this but I don't know of any that looked specifically at AT&T park.

Third, the Giants pitchers induced balls in play that were more likely to fielded. I am not sure about this one as UZR should adjust for that as easy balls should be rated lower than things that are harder to field but I guess the simple act of more easy balls could inflate numbers. The other side is that fans tend to remember spectacular plays but forget the routine ones, if there are less opportunities to make a flashy play that could be a reason the fans rate the team lower.

I can't come up with any more explanations out side of random chance, sometimes you get outliers but that doesn't mean that either system is wrong but that is not a very exiting answer.

Anyone else have thoughts?

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