Monday, April 22, 2013

Giants' prospect Chris Stratton off to a nice start

Giants' pitching prospects Chris Stratton has gotten off to a hot start in A ball. In three starts he has been dominate allowing less than one base runner per inning, striking out 26% of the batters he has faced and keeping the ball in the park.

This is excellent news after he was sidelined at the end of last season and could force the Giants to promote him quickly, at the start of the season I expected him to start in High-A San Jose but the Giants took the safer route which makes sense giving his limited professional experience.

Even better here is a nice quick report from Baseball Prospectus on his early season success:
A first-round pick of the Giants last year, Stratton’s professional debut was cut short when he suffered a concussion after being struck in the head by a batting practice line drive. His injury forced him out for the remainder of the season and the Giants’ Instructional League, causing him to slide a little under the radar as members of his draft class posted impressive numbers and made names for themselves during his absence.
With a blazing start to the 2013 season, Stratton may not fly under the radar much longer. Stratton has a 1.08 ERA in three starts at Low-A and he could be forcing the typically slow-moving Giants to promote him to High-A in the first half. Stratton’s total package isn’t sexy, featuring two plus pitches in his fastball and slider, two average pitches in his curveball and changeup, and plus command projection.
What Stratton does well is sequence pitches, change sight lines and avoid the fat part of the bat. As a member of a Giants organization that has an apparent knack for successfully developing highly drafted pitching prospects, Stratton’s future could be as bright as the start to his first full season.
I had him rated as my number two prospect to start the season and so far he has only shown that it was wise to rate him highly. I hope that he continues to impress, the Giants could certainly use more high ceiling starting pitching depth.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Series Preview: Giants vs. Cardinals

The Giants were able to take two out of three from the Dodgers to kick off the season. Ruining their opening series and perhaps putting a touch of doubt in the minds of fans after all the money that was spent to build the team.

Now the Giants come home and look to avoid suffering the same fate against the Cardinals.

In what will be a weekend long celebration with a flag raising, an MVP ceremony for Buster Posey and finally the ring ceremony, it might be difficult for the team to focus on the games at hand. I imagine the  Cardinals won't have nearly the trouble, looking to get some revenge for the NLCS.

So let's take a look at the series.

In case you forgot or haven’t seen the explanation, here is a quick description of how the model works:
  • I start by estimating the runs scored and allowed for each team given the starting pitcher, bullpen, defense and each team’s offense.
  • The data used in the projection model is based on the current season’s statistics to date and ZiPS projections, with the weighting shifting more toward the actual stats as the season progresses. To start the season it is based entirely on ZiPS projections put into the lineup analysis tool from Baseball Musings.
  • The estimated run differential is then converted into a projected winning percentage using the pythagorean expectation.
  • Then, it’s converted into an odds of winning the game using the log5 method developed by Bill James

Probables (Via

Friday, April 5, 1:35 PM: Barry Zito vs. Jake Westbrook
Saturday, April 6, 1:05 PM: Ryan Vogelsong vs. Shelby Miller
Sunday, April 7, 1:05 PM: Matt Cain vs. Adam Wainwright


Giants Cardinals
Game 1 57% 43%
Game 2 52% 48%
Game 3 50% 50%
Sweep 15% 10%
2 out 3 40% 35%
1 out 3 35% 40%
0 out 3 10% 15%
Win Series 54% 46%
Lose Series 46% 54%

The Giants are slight favorites in the series according to the model, but I doubt that they will be easy games. The Cardinals are a very good team and I am always nervous when the Giants matchup against them.

I was a little surprised Game 1 gave the Giants the best odds but for the first time in what seems like ages Zito wasn't destroyed by the projection systems. Hopefully he still has some magic left in the tank and has the big curveball working.

It will be nice to have three straight day games as well. I wonder when the last time that happened was?

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Madison Bumgarner Dazzles Against the Dodgers

At the end of last year Madison Bumgarner was not his normal self as he struggled through inconsistent mechanics. He spent all offseason and spring working on it and last night that hard work paid dividends.

Over at Bay Area Sports Guy, I took a look at how good Bumgarner was last night:
Bumgarner cruised through eight innings, giving up just a pair of doubles, walking none and striking out six. He was a model of efficiency — his most labored inning was the eighth, and even then he was able to get his three outs with fewer than 20 pitches.
What made this start all the more special was that it allowed Giants fans to quit holding their breath and stop worrying about the mechanical issues that plagued him at the end of last season. After an offseason spent building his strength, followed by spending Spring Training working on his mechanics with Dave Righetti, it all paid off last night.
His fastball had good life. According to Pitch f/x he spent most of the game in the 91-92 mph range and by the looks of things it seemed to have some good movement. His slider was in the 87-89 mph range and was his true out pitch, generating nearly half of his swing through strikes and 11 of his 24 outs.
Check out the whole thing, including release point graphs!

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