Saturday, 20 June 2015

Matt Duffy is outperforming Pablo Sandoval

Duffman is the hero we all deserve, after Pablo Sandoval's graceful departure from San Francisco. Casey McGehee was already penciled in as the starting third baseman, but Duffy's huge spring warranted a spot on the roster - thank goodness.

To date, McGehee has been nothing short of really bad, while his successor at the hot corner seems to be making more than just the most of his opportunity. He's in even filling the shoes he nor McGehee were expected to fill. I'll get to the numbers in a second, and they're pretty great.

It's important to remember that the Giants anticipated taking a hit in their offensive output from 3b at the start of 2015. They had every reason to believe that even their intended starter wouldn't measure up to the success that Pablo had for years. They also hoped to be close to on par defensively. But the failure of McGehee has, in short, led to the Giants looking better and more consistent at third base than they have in years.

Since his inarguable best year in 2011 (.315/.357/.552), Sandoval settled into a much more average but consistent player.

Here are his batting averages, on-base percentages and slugging percentages from 2013, 2014, and thus far in 2015, respectively:

             '13    '14    '15
AVG: .278  .279  .270
OBP:  .341  .324  .322
SLG:  .417  .415  .410

In a game this difficult with such a long season, that's pretty damn consistent. And no one's going to knock those numbers, in fact the Giants desperately wanted a few more seasons of them. And yet, here's Matt Duffy.

             '15
AVG:  .290
OBP:  .340
SLG:  .435

That's just the surface level stuff, though. Watching him play, it's actually kind of fun watching a third baseman who doesn't forfeit his own at bats with awful swings as often as he squares one up. It's fun watching Duffy play and much more rarely have to worry if he's up with a runner at first base and less than two outs. It's even more fun watching him play the position, because he does it better than the large version of the panda, and the numbers support that statement.

It's incredible to think that two years ago, he was putting up similar numbers for the San Jose Giants, and now he's manning third base for the big club. I appreciate what Sandoval did for the Giants, it's hard not to - but I am pulling for a $509k a year 568th overall pick to end up being a preferable option to a formerly loved and now loathed $17.6m a year fast food connoisseur.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Yes, you DO want Jake Peavy

Ah, classic Jake.

No, you're right. He's not James Shields or Max Scherzer (an astute observation). He's Jake Peavy, the man whose presence in the post-all-star starting rotation was unequivocally one of the biggest reasons the Giants ended up making the playoffs. Sure, he stank like you know what in the World Series - but that's the definition of a sample size. Prior to that he was a very comparable place-filler for the injured Matt Cain. And now, he has re-signed with the Giants to remain a part of that rotation for the next two seasons. The immediate reaction from the interwebs was a series of groans and remarks like "we have money for him, but not for Panda or Morse?" Thankfully baseball is so black and white. Here are the facts.

The Giants need starting pitchers. Pitching is what won them all 3 of their recent World Series titles. Naturally then, having a rounded out starting rotation should rank pretty highly on the list. Even still, this need was only addressed AFTER diverting all resources and assets to retaining Pablo Sandoval. It's said that the Giants offered Panda a comparable deal to that which he ended up taking from the Red Sox. Plain and simple, the Giants did what they "had" to do but Panda wanted a change. That isn't on ownership, and doesn't count as "not trying". Let's not even talk about why you don't really want Pablo Sandoval for that deal anyhow.

Getting back to it, Jake Peavy fills a more permanent spot in the Giants rotation that is littered with question marks. Will Tim Lincecum be a replacement level player this year? Does Matt Cain have any other random debris in his throwing arm? Is Tim Hudson going to pitch like you should probably expect from a 40 year old? No one knows. Peavy comes with a little more certainty than that, at an acceptable price, for a reasonable term. Even had he not excelled in his time with San Francisco this year, this would still be a favorable deal which doesn't restrict them from going after other, bigger names, while still providing what will hopefully be a great season for the price.

Do I want either of the other aforementioned free agent starters? You bet. But I also wanted to see the return of the starter who held a 2.17 ERA (161 ERA+) in his 78.2 innings, better than any of the starters not named Madison Bumgarner put up over any period of time this year. I've got a good feeling, let's at least see how it plays out a little before we randomly blame the signing for the downfall of failed others or heaven knows what else.

Hey, even if he flops, it'll only increase the amount of entertaining "emotion" we see from him on the mound.

Jake finds out he's only getting $24 million for Christmas