SNL sketch about liberals living in Trump's America: The Bubble

Wow. For the first time in maybe 30 years Saturday Night Live has a funny sketch. This one is about "The Bubble," a place where liberals can stroll around in a place where then can live as if the Donald Trump victory never happened.

From Da Tech Guy: Media insanity over Trump win continues

The march to lunacy continues as I write in my weekly blog post at Da Tech Guy: Media insanity over Trump win continues.

Two teens held in murder of Danny Davis' grandson

On Friday there was another senseless murder in Chicago, in this outrage two teens were arrested for the killing of a 15-year-old, Javon Wilson, over a pair of gym shoes. What makes this barbarity, which occurred in the notorious Englewood neighborhood, more newsworthy than other Chiraq homicides is that Wilson was the grandson of US Rep Danny K. Davis (D-IL).

While I've been a rare yet harsh critic of Davis, he and his family will be in my prayers.

Related posts:

Office of US Rep. Danny K. Davis and three murders at Fohrman Motors

(Photos) The abandoned homes of Chicago's violent Englewood neighborhood

Scouting the Draft: 2016 Giants Draft Review Rounds 11-20

Round 11:  Jason Delay, C, Vanderbilt.  Did not sign.


Round 12:  Ryan Kirby, 1B.  22 yo.  B-L, T-R.  6'2", 180 lbs.  College- San Diego.  Highest Level- SS.

Rookie:  .375/.333/.375, 8 AB.
Short Season:  .260/.345/.398, 16 2B, 3 HR, 22 BB, 49 K, 196 AB.

Pretty good plate discipline.  May be underpowered for a 1B.  Grade B-


Round 13:  Jose Layer, OF.  20 yo.  B-R, T-R.  6'0", 160 lbs.  HS PR.  Highest Level- Rookie.

Rookie:  .283/.356/.377, 5 2B, 5 BB, 7 K, 53 AB.

Giants love to take fliers on PR HS kids in the early teen rounds.  No exception here.  Love the upside. Very nice little pro debut.  Hit .324 over his last 10 games(out of 13 total).  Grade B


Round 14:  Conner Menez, LHP.  22 yo.  6'3", 195 lbs.  College- The Masters(Santa Clarita, CA).  Highest Level- High A.

Rookie:  2-0, 2.57, 21 IP, 4 BB, 26 K.
Short Season:  0-1, 7.20, 5 IP, 1 BB, 4 K.
High A:  2-0, 4.94, 27.1 IP, 11 BB, 20 K.

Pitched 6.2 shutout innings in his final start 9/2 against Visalia.  Grade B


Round 15:  DJ Myers, RHP.  22 yo.  6'5", 255 lbs.  College- UNLV.  Highest Level- AAA.

Rookie:  3-2, 1.70, 58.1 IP, 5 BB, 52 K, GO/AO= 1.50.
AAA:  0-0. 0.00, 1 IP, 0 BB, 1 K.

Big body RHP.  Not sure why he pitched so many innings in rookie ball.  Pitched 1 shutout inning for Sacramento.  Does that get him ticketed to SJ?  AA?  AAA?  Giants sometimes do unexpected things with their placements.  Grade B


Round 16:  Chris Falwell, LHP.  22 yo.  6'7", 210 lbs.  College- Texas A&M, Corpus Christi.  Highest Level- Short Season.

Rookie:  3-1, 2.73, 33 IP, 12 BB, 20 K, GO/AO= 1.17.
Short Season:  0-0, 5.40, 1.2 IP, 0 BB, 2 K.

All appearances were in relief.  Giants like their tall pitchers.  They like their tall LHP's even better.  Falwell is probably a future lefty specialist.  Grade C


Round 17:  Reagan Bazar, RHP.  22 yo.  6'7", 250 lbs.  College- Louisiana-Lafayette.  Highest Level- Rookie.

Rookie:  2-2, 4.91, 18.1 IP, 13 BB, 15 K, GO/AO= 2.00.

Big!  Hard Thrower!  Wild hair up his nose!  Project with a high ceiling and a high risk.  Why not?  Grade D


Round 18:  Jacob Heyward, OF.  21 yo.  B-R, T-R.  6'3", 210 lbs.  College- Auburn.  Highest Level- Short Season.

Rookie:  .337/.488/.579, 10 2B, 5 3B, HR, 24 BB, 30 K, 95 AB.
Short Season:  .286/.444/.429, 2 2B, 3 BB, 3 K, 14 AB.

Jason Heyward's lil' bro.  Not sure how he lasted until round 18.  Love the pick!  Spent too much time in rookie ball.  Went 3 for 3 with a BB in his final game for Salem-Keizer.  Grade B


Round 19:  Brandon Van Horn, SS.  23 yo.  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 175 lbs.  College- The Masters(Santa Clarita, CA).  Highest Level- Short Season.

Rookie:  .231/.328/.300, 7 2B, 2 3B, 24 BB, 47 K, 160 AB.
Short Season:  .286/.375/.714, HR, BB, K, 7 AB.

Slick fielding college SS.  Bat is a project.  Grade C


Round 20:  Justin Alleman, RHP.  23 yo.  6'1", 220 lbs.  College- Lee(TN).  Highest Level- Rookie.

0-0, 11.81, 5.1 IP, 1 BB, 4 K.

Sturdy RHP.  Obviously a project.  Grade D-

No way, Jose

Grant Bisbee at McCovey Chronicles says Jose Bautista probably isn't going to be a Giant in 2017. He's coming off a bad season and will be 36 --- 

In the last 100 years, there have been 18 outfielders who have had multiple seasons worth more than 3 WAR after turning 36. Just four of them have come since 2000. Now, those four were Barry Bonds, Moises Alou, Kenny Lofton, and Steve Finley, so it’s possible that being the type of person who would consider playing with the Giants augers well for post-36 excellence. But it’s far more likely for an old-timer to disintegrate completely than it is for him to put up more than one good season.
Whichever team pays Bautista will be paying for more than one good season.

Jose Bautista is coming off his worst season in years

His .234/.366/.452 line was his worst since transforming into Super Bautista in 2010. It’s a blip when you’re 30. It’s a red flag when you’re 35.
Plus, there are signs that he’s not that hard to pitch to at the moment:
It’s out of this meeting that the scouting report against Jose Bautista was born. The scouting report against Bautista went like this: a steady diet of breaking balls, and nothing on the inner-half.
It worked, and he looked awful in the ALCS. This probably isn’t going to change next year.

Jose Bautista is a designated hitter, not an outfielder

He used to be a fine outfielder with a marvelous arm. But shoulder surgery and age has sapped his defensive talents and made him a liability, especially for a National League team.

Hot Stove Update: Cardinals Sign Brett Cecil

The Cardinals bolstered the left side of their bullpen by signing Lefty Brett Cecil to a 4 year/$30.5 M contract, a figure that some analysts find just a bit startling.  Cecil has been a solid, if unspectacular reliever over the course of his career, but he's not a closer and was used more as a lefty specialist last season by the  Toronto Blue Jays.  He is coming off a season in which he missed the better part of 2 months with a torn oblique muscle.  His final line from 2016:  1-7, 3.93, 36.2 IP, 1.96 BB/9, 11.05 K/9.  The 20% HR/FB should improve in St Louis, but that is still a lot of dingers to give up.  It also took him 54 appearances to accumulate the 36.2 IP, so he averaged right at 2 outs per appearance.

I don't know if there is any such thing as an overpay in MLB anymore, but if there is, this contract would fit the description.  More importantly, it likely sets an absolute floor for any reliever with closing on his resume.   I mean, there might even be hope for Santiago Casilla to get more than the $6.5 M he got from the Giants last year!  Just think of what the elite guys, including Mark Melancon, are going to get!  The Giants might want to start exploring the trade market for the closer they need for next year.

Black woman blames white women for Hillary losing

The mainstream media continues its mental collapse. Rather than blaming Hillary Clinton's defeat on herself, her plethora of scandals, the growing unpopularity of ObamaCare, and the populist revolt against globalism, to name a few, Chicago Tribune columnist Dahleen Glanton, an African American, says it's the fault of white women that Clinton lost.

Oh, here's another reason Donald Trump will be moving into the White House next year--the Democrats' obsession with identity politics, rather than creating policies that voters believe will benefit their lives.

Folks, this ain't that hard. But like deluded cult members, Democrats refuse to admit the errors of their ways.

The Kinks: "Misfits" live

Four years and two days ago I was depressed after Mitt Romney's defeat in the presidential election and as a reflection of my mood at that time I posted a video of the Kinks performing "Misfits."

These lyrics hit home for me.
You say your summer has gone
Now the winter is crawlin' in
They say that even in your day
Somehow you never could quite fit in
Though it's cold outside
I know the summer's gonna come again
Because you know what they say
Every dog has his day
Well, this dog is having his day now and summer is back. Donald J. Trump is president elect.

This stanza seems prescient of the Trump silent majority, especially when you think of how the mainstream media and the other elitists look at "the Forgotten Man."
Look at all the losers and the mad eyed gazers
Look at all the loonies and the sad eyed failures
They're giving up living 'cause they just don't care
So take a good look around
The misfits are everywhere
Here is "Misfits" again, albeit from a different concert.

We're not misfits anymore.

Hot Stove Update: Giants Add Minor League Free Agents

We already talked about Orlando Calixte who the Giants added to the 40 man MLB roster days after signing him to a minor league contract.  They also signed 3 other notable minor league deals in the past week:

Wynton Bernard, OF, 26 yo, B-R, T-R.  6'2", 195 lbs.  .279/.344/.396, 13 2B, 5 3B, 7 HR, 23 SB in 376 AB(AA/AAA).  Bernard was drafted by the Padres in 2012 but played last year in the Detroit Tigers organization.  He is fast and plays mostly CF.

Juniel Querecuto, IF, 24 yo, B-S, T-R.  5'9", 155 lbs.  .241/.298/.341, 19 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 340 AB(AAA).  Querecuto comes out of the Rays organization.  He went 1 for 11 with a triple with the MLB club last year.  He played mostly SS.

Michael Roth, LHP, 27 yo.  6'1", 210 lbs.  11-5, 2.97, 145.1 IP, 42 BB, 94 K, GO/AO= 1.31(AAA).  Roth is a well known name in prospect watching circles.  Classic polished college lefty drafted out of South Carolina in 2012.  Has always pitched well in the minors but has gotten bombed in several MLB trials.  He probably just does not have the stuff to get MLB hitters out.

Liberal goons harassing Republican Electoral College members

I am certain that had the circumstances been reversed--Trump winning the popular vote and Clinton winning in the Electoral College, such goonery would not be occurring.

From the Daily Mail:
Electoral College voters across the country are being harassed by Hillary Clinton supporters, in a last-ditch effort to prevent the Trump presidency.

In the U.S., presidents are elected by the Electoral College - not by popular vote. In most states, electors must cast a vote for the winner of their state's popular vote. But some states - like Arizona, Idaho, Michigan and Georgia - don't have a rule against electors going rogue and voting for another candidate.

So Clinton supporters have been harassing electors in the 21 states with no rules against these so-called 'faithless electors' - urging them not to vote for Trump when they officially cast their ballots on December 19.

In Arizona, electors have been hit with a barrage of emails and phone calls from unhappy citizens - most of them from out of state.

Hot Stove Update: Giants Add 5 Players To 40 Man Roster

The Giants were the last team to report their 40 man roster additions today.  Added were Reyes Maronta, Chase Johnson, Dan Slania, Miguel Gomez and a surprise, Orlando Calixte who was recently signed as a minor league FA.  The first 4 are not surprising, although I thought the Giants might protect Tyler Rogers over Chase Johnson.  Calixte is a SS prospect out of the Royals organization.  He will be 25 yo in 2017 and put up some interesting numbers last year:  .274/.324/.420, 26 2B, 5 3B, 11 HR, 19 SB 37 BB, 99 K in 471 AB splitting time between AA and AAA.

This leaves RHP Tyler Rogers as the most likely target of other organizations in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.

Chiraq: Four thugs charged in beating of man they taunted as a Trump voter

Abandoned home in
North Lawndale
Last week a man was beaten by four thugs in a car jacking incident in Chicago's notoriously violent North Lawndale neighborhood because they said he voted for Donald Trump. He did, but there was no way the attackers could have known that, the victim later said.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:
Julian Christian, 26, of the 2500 block of South 14th Avenue in Broadview; Dejuan Collins, 20, of the 9500 block of South Avalon; Rajane Lewis, 21, of the 7800 block of South Euclid; and a 17-year-old girl were each charged with a felony count of vehicular hijacking in connection with the incident, police said Friday.

The four were taken into custody Thursday, police said.

At least three males can be seen in the YouTube video repeatedly punching and kicking a man in a blue sweatshirt. In the background, a man and woman can be heard yelling.

"You voted Trump?" they ask, laughing. Then: "Don't vote Trump!"
I'm still waiting for the liberal elite to denounce this thuggery.

Related post:

(Photos) Abandoned homes in Chicago's violent North Lawndale neighborhood

(Video) Borderless Europe no longer shuns fences

Globalism, that is the surrendering of national sovereignty, is in retreat. Brexit prevailed this summer, Donald J. Trump is president-elect.

And Tucker Carlson Fox News reports that border fences are being built all over Europe.

Down on the Farm: Arizona Fall League Summary

The Arizona Fall League wrapped up yesterday, well, except for the championship game tomorrow, but the Scottsdale Scorpions are not playing in that one, so all of the Giants prospects who participated are done.  The two Giants prospects who probably helped themselves the most in this year's AFL were Ryder Jones and Chris Stratton who both had solid fall campaigns.  Here is a complete list of Giants prospect stat lines for the AFL with some comments:

Ryder Jones- .302/.380/.429, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 BB, 16 K, 63 AB.  Jones just keeps working his way up the ladder.  Very nice effort in the AFL coming on the heels of a 15 HR season in Richmond.  Will it be enough to get him to Sacramento to start 2017?

Hunter Cole- .235/.316/.338, 2B, 2 HR, 8 BB, 17 K, 68 AB.  Cole started off hot, but cooled off in later in the fall campaign.

Aramis Garcia- .191/.304/.277, 2B, HR, 5 BB, 17 K, 47 AB.  Not a good line, but Garcia needed AB's and reps behind the plate after missing a big chunk of 2016 with fractured facial bones suffered in a face vs knee collision on a slide into 2B.

Chris Stratton- 2-2, 3.12, 26 IP, 5 BB, 21 K.  Stratton gave up 5 of a total of 9 ER in his 3'rd start over 3 IP.  In his other 5 starts, he allowed just 4 ER in 23 IP.  He pitched 5 shutout innings in his final start. He'll probably start the season back in Sacramento, but should be in the mix for a callup if needed.  Or, he could have hit another team's radar as a trade target?

Tyler Mizenko- 1-1, 7.20, 10 IP, 5 BB, 6 K's.  Mizenko is a sinkerballer who lives and dies by the groundball.  The desert is not kind to groundball pitchers!

Tyler Rogers- 0-1, 6.23, 9.1 IP, 2 BB, 9 K, GO/AO= 2.00.  The submarining Rogers had a 0.00 ERA in 7.1 IP, until his last two appearances in which he gave up 7 R, 6 ER in 2 IP.  He did not get anyone out in his final appearance.  Fatigue?

Rodolfo Martinez- 0-0, 27.00, 3 IP, 6 BB, 2 K's.  Eyewitness reports have Rodolfo's FB velocity way down.  Gotta wonder if he's hiding an injury?

Breitbart’s Joel Pollak slays entire CNN's Don Lemon, "Name one white nationalist piece"

My good friend Joel Pollak, an observant Jew by the way, was confronted by the Clinton News Network's Don "Black Hole" Lemon about, of which Pollak is a senior editor, about the the popular news site being an an alt-right outlet.

Pollak asked Lemon to "name one white nationalist piece" article on Breitbart.

He couldn't.


Scouting the Draft: Giants 2016 Draft Review, Rounds 1-10

We'll review the Giants 2016 draft and take a look at how the kids did in their MLB debuts.  Just for fun, we'll put a letter grade on their performance.  Just remember the letter grade is for performance only and not necessarily a judgement on the quality of the pick or the player's future as a prospect.  Listed ages are their 2017 season age.

Round 1:  No pick.  The Giants lost this pick when they signed RHP Jeff Samardzija to a FA contract.  Grade B.


Round 2:  Bryan Reynolds, OF, 22 yo, B-S, T-R, 6'3", 200 lbs.  College- Vanderbilt.  Highest Level- High A.

SS:  .312/.368/.500, 12 2B, 5 HR, 5 HR, 11 BB, 41 K, 154 AB.
Low A:  .317/.348/.444, 5 2B, 1 HR, 3 BB, 20 K, 63 AB.
High A:  4 for 12, HR(3 games, Cal League Playoffs).

Reynolds was ranked in the first round by many analysts and he performed like a first round talent in his pro debut.  We'll dock him a half grade for all the K's.  A-.


Round 3:  Heath Quinn, OF, 22 yo, B-R, T-R, 6'2", 190 lbs.  College- Samford.  Highest Level- High A.

Rookie:  .600/.778/.800, 5 AB.
SS:  .337/.423/.571, 19 2B, 9 HR, 26 BB, 50 K, 205 AB.
High A:  .353/.421/.412, 17 AB.

I had him as a potential 2'nd rounder.  Terrific pro debut showing the RH power the Giants were hoping they got with a reasonable K rate.  Grade A.


Round 4:  Matt Krook, LHP, 22 yo, 6'4", 195 lbs.  College- Oregon.  Highest Level- Short Season.

Rookie:  0-1, 1.59, 5.2 IP, 2 BB, 2 K, GO/AO= 4.33.
SS:  1-3, 6.17, 35 IP, 33 BB, 39 K, GO/AO= 3.77.

There are some things to like here.  The K rate is dominant as is the groundball tendency.  Obviously has a long way to go to overcome the control issues that emerged in college.  Grade D(Still like the pick in round 4).


Round 5:  Ryan Howard, SS, 22 yo, B-R, T-R.  6'2", 180 lbs.  College- Missouri.  Highest Level- Short Season.

Rookie:  .250/.400/.250, 8 AB.
SS:  .272/.313/.371, 4 HR, 13 BB, 24 K, 224 AB(.317 over his last 10 games).

Solid, if unspectacular pro debut for the college SS.  Grade B.


Round 6:  Gio Brusa, OF, 23 yo, B-S, T-R.  6'3", 220 lbs.  College- Pacific.  Highest Level- High A.

SS:  .264/.298/.495, 15 2B, 3 3B, 10 HR, 11 BB, 69 K, 220 AB(.325 last 9 games).
High A:  0 for 2, BB(1 game).

Enigmatic player who ran hot and cold in college and that trend continued in his pro debut.  Switch-hitter had a pretty severe platoon split hitting just .219 from the right side  and .286 from the left.  K's and defense are also question marks.  Power showed up, though!  Grade C.


Round 7:  Garrett Williams, LHP, 22 yo, 6'1", 205 lbs.  College- Oklahoma St.  Highest Level- Short Season.

Rookie:  1-0, 2.57, 7 IP, 3 BB, 5 K's, GO/AO= 2.75.
SS:  1-2, 5.68, 25.1 IP, 14 BB, 22 K, GO/AO= 1.60.

Similar profile to Matt Krook.  Touted HS prospect who struggled with control in college.  That continued in his pro debut.  Grade D(nothing wrong with taking a flyer on the upside in Round 7).


Round 8:  Stephen Woods, RHP, 22 yo, 6'2", 200 lbs.  College- Albany.  Highest Level- Short Season.

Rookie:  0-2, 2.67, 27 IP, 17 BB, 25 K, GO/AO= 1.59.
SS:  1-0, 5.63, 8 IP, 5 BB, 12 K's, GO/AO= 1.00.

More control issues.  Grade D+.


Round 9:  Caleb Baragar, LHP, 23 yo.  6'3", 210 lbs.  College- Indiana.  Highest Level- High A.

Rookie:  5-2, 2.51, 61 IP, 21 BB, 53 K, GO/AO= 0.88.
High A:  0-1, 4.76, 5.2 IP, 5 BB, 3 K, GO/AO= 0.56.

Pretty good numbers but at a low level for a top 10 round college draftee.  Grade C.


Alex Bostic, LHP, 22 yo, 6'3", 195 lbs.  College- Clemson.  Highest Level- High A.

Rookie:  2-4, 5.59, 46.2 IP, 27 BB, 39 K, GO/AO= 0.89.
High A:  0-1, 6.35, 5.2 IP, 4 BB, 7 K, GO/AO= 0.13.

More control issues and at a low level.  Jumps of Baragar and Bostic from Arizona to SJ late a bit curious.  Grade D+


Overall, the hitters drafted in the first 10 rounds had terrific pro debuts.  The pitchers, wow!  No bueno!  Let's hope the mythical Giants pitcher whisperers can fix one or two of these guys!

Dishonest and Trump-hating media can't change

In the last week the mainstream media, who peddled false narrative after false narrative about Donald Trump during the presidential campaign, can't break its bad habits. The crooked media is reporting that top Trump aide Stephen Bannon is an anti-Semite. He was a Hollywood producer for twenty years and no one complained about any bigoted views from Bannon. The Anti-Defamation League has backed away from criticism of him. The most serious charge of anti-Semitism comes from a divorce proceeding. No one ever lies in divorce proceedings, do they?

The media, some of whom colluded with the Democrats during the campaign, claims that Trump's transition team is in disarray. But Trump already has settled on his picks for attorney general, national security advisor, and CIA director. While Barack Obama didn't name his first cabinet selection until three weeks after defeating John McCain in 2008.

Hot Stove Update: 'Stros Add Lefty Bats

The Houston Astros, coming off a disappointing season, had a strong rightward tilt to the lineup as their main young guns, George Springer, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman as well as Evan Gattis all hit RH.  They addressed that issue with 2 big moves today:  1.  They traded a couple of young fireballing RHP's to the Yankees for what is left of Brian McCann.  2.  They signed OF Josh Reddick to a FA contract worth 4 yrs/$52 M.

McCann lost his starting catcher job with the Yankees.  He has 2 years and $34 M left on his contract with a vesting option for 2019.  The Yankees will reportedly send a total of $11 M to the Astros to help pay McCann's salary.  McCann is still probably worth 20 HR/season, but he is clearly on the downside of his career and he is a below-average defensive catcher.

Reddick is a good all around player when he's healthy, but has exactly 1 season with more than 600 PA's.  His defense, once stellar, has slipped into negative territory, possibly due to an accumulation of injuries.  He also is basically a platoon player who struggles against LHP's.

The Astros needed some LH pop to balance their lineup and they needed "veteran presence" for a very young core.  McCann and Reddick give them that at a reasonable price, but with risks.

The Yankees come out smelling like a rose as they not only get to dump about 2/3's of McCann's remaining contract, they get a couple of pitching prospects who can hit the upper 90's and even triple digits on radar guns to deepen a rapidly strengthening Yankees farm system.

#TrumpSpring: Fewest weekly jobless claims since 1973

Yeah, yeah, I get it, Barack Obama is still president, but last week's victory by political newcomer Donald Trump is sending a positive message to businesses, the heavy-handed, regulations-heavy Obama economy will be in the rear view mirror very soon.

Trump Spring is here.

From Investor's Business Daily:
The U.S. economy got several positive signs Thursday, as a raft of reports showed jobless claims were down, new home construction reached a nine-year high, manufacturing activity stayed on the plus side and inflation seemed to be returning to normal levels.

Jobless Claims

The fewest Americans since 1973 filed for unemployment benefits last week, a sign that the U.S. labor market is getting tighter.

Jobless claims dropped by 19,000 to 235,000 in the week ended Nov. 12, which included the Veterans Day holiday, a Labor Department report showed Thursday in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey called for 257,000. Continuing claims fell below 2 million to a 16-year low.
Of course for the most part the mainstream media is ignoring this story because it makes Trump look good.

(Video) Professor makes case for the Electoral College

Watch as Larry Arnn, the president of Hillsdale College, make the case in favor of the Electoral College. Among other things it compels the people in cities to talk to the folks in rural areas.

From Doug Ross: FUNNY: LA Times produces list of "fake news sites" that includes a bunch o' sites more accurate than it is

You shouldn't be surprised that most of these "phony" news site are conservative-leaning outlets. The leftist media is still in denial about America and Donald Trump's victory. From Doug Ross: FUNNY: LA Times produces list of "fake news sites" that includes a bunch o' sites more accurate than it is.

Rahm's Chicago: Families pay $1700 more in taxes, mostly for city pensions

Blogger on site of his mother's
old Chicago home
Years ago Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley made a deal with the devil, well not really, it was with public-sector union bosses, to hike the pensions of municipal workers. Daley, who chose not to run for reelection in 2011, is a Democrat and the government unions essentially lead the labor wing of the Democratic Party.

But the unions, who believed the promises of the politicians and Daley and the exclusively Democratic City Council, didn't fund those generous pension plans.

Now Chicago taxpayers, most of whom don't have their own pensions, have begun to bailout those plans. The city's bonds are already rated as junk.

From the Chicago Tribune:
Left unsaid during all of this optimism? The average family will pay nearly $1,700 more a year to the city and Chicago Public Schools than they did before the mayor took office in 2011 once all of Emanuel's tax and fee increases take full effect. There's been a series of property tax hikes. There was a water and sewer rate increase, plus a new tax on top of that. Not to mention a new garbage hauling fee, 911 phone tax hike, vehicle sticker fee increase and a tax on cable television.

Even with all of that, taxpayers may be asked for more money in the coming years. Emanuel's plans for shoring up long-neglected city worker pension funds will require the city to come up with hundreds of millions of dollars more by the early to mid-2020s.

"We shouldn't be running around giving high fives until we're clearly on a path to solvency," Ald. Scott Waguespack, 32nd, said after the budget vote.

Glossed over during what turned out to be just minutes of discussion on the budget Wednesday was that the $8.2 billion spending plan relies on one significant new tax to balance the books — a more than 30 percent charges on city sewer and water bills once fully phased in four years from now. The $239 million a year raised will go into the city's pension fund for municipal workers.
Meanwhile Chicago's infrastructure continues to crumble. You don't believe me? Take a drive--not on the expressways--in Chicago and find out for yourself. Of the roads I've been on, only Detroit's streets are in worse shape.

Decline and fall.

Illinois law needs to be changed so municipalities and government agencies can file for bankruptcy.

Hot Stove Update: Giants Rule 5 Eligibles

A bit of a lull here while I research a longer post.  Covechatter posted a list of Giants Rule 5 Draft eligible players on his site, linked to the left.  They are:

Reyes Maronta, RHP
Dan Slania, RHP
Chase Johnson, RHP
Miguel Gomez, 3B
DJ Snelton, LHP
Gustavo Cabrera, OF
Tyler Rogers, RHP
Tyler Horan, OF
Brandon Bednar, IF
Pat Young, RHP
Dusten Knight, RHP
Christian Jones, LHP
Jake McCasland, RHP.

I'll guess the Giants protect Maronta, Slania, Gomez and Rogers.  Gustavo will be a tough decision, but I highly doubt another organization would keep him on their 25 man roster.

Jesse Jackson wants Obama to pardon Hillary

And while Obama has his pardon pen out, why doesn't he pardon Jesse Jackson's son Jesse Jr, and his daughter in-law, Sandi, both of who are ex-cons, as well as Noah Robinson, who is the leftist loudmouth's half-brother?

From the Detroit Free Press:
Speaking at President Gerald Ford's alma mater, The Rev. Jesse Jackson called for President Obama to issue a blanket pardon to Hillary Clinton before he leaves office, just like Ford did for Richard Nixon.

Stopping short of saying Clinton did anything wrong, Jackson told a large crowd of University of Michigan students, faculty and administrators gathered at daylong celebration of his career that Obama should short-circuit President-elect Donald Trump's promised attempt to prosecute Hillary Clinton for use of a private e-mail server.

"It would be a monumental moral mistake to pursue the indictment of Hillary Clinton," Jackson said. He said issuing the pardon could help heal the nation, like Ford's pardon of Nixon did.
While Nixon's campaigns practiced some shady fundraising tactics, Tricky Dick didn't put the country up for sale with a so-called charity as the Clintons did with their "charity," the Clinton Foundatin.

Draining the swamp: Trump White House proposes 5 year lobbying ban for top picks

Volo Bog, Illinois
The incoming Donald Trump administration clearly wants to keep its promise to Make America Great Again.

From CNN:
Two top Republicans working with President-elect Donald Trump's transition team told reporters in a phone call Wednesday evening that they're taking steps toward one of Trump's campaign promises -- to "drain the swamp" in Washington.

Trump communications director Jason Miller and Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer announced anyone being vetted for a high post in the administration must provide a termination of lobbying form if they are a registered lobbyist.

In addition, when officials leave the government, they will be banned from being a lobbyist for five years as part of the agreement to serve in Trump's administration.

(Video) Anti-Trump protesters didn't vote

Surprised? You shouldn't be. Of those arrested at the anti-Trump riot in Portland, Oregon last week, over 70 percent of them didn't vote.

NY Times didn't learn fair and balanced lesson at all?

Last week in a letter to readers published last week, New York Times publisher Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger vowed to rededicate the Old Gray Lady to refocus itself back to "good journalism."

But Tucker Carlson took a look at some Times headlines and questions whether it has changed.

DrB's 2017 Draft Board

To help organize the draft prospects we review into a draft ranking or draft board, I'm going to rank the prospects I've already reviewed and will start adding as we go along.  Here is what we have so far:

1.  Hunter Greene, RHP, HS
2.  Tanner Houck, RHP, College
3.  Alex Scherff, RHP, HS
4.  JB Bakauskas, RHP, College
5.  Jeren Kendall, OF, College
6.  JJ Schwarz, C, College
7.  Alex Faedo, RHP, College
8.  Tristan Beck, RHP, HS
9.  Hagan Danner, RHP, HS
10. Alejandro Toral, 1B, HS

This is my ranking of the 2017 draft prospects I have reviewed so far.  You can look up my summaries in the Archives listed to the left.

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Alex Scherff

Alex Scherff, RHP, HS, Texas.  6'4", 205 lbs.  PG's bio page lists him at 6'4", but he's listed 6'2"- 6'5" depending on what showcase even is covered.  Everybody seems to agree he has a sinking FB that sits 93-95 MPH and gets up to 96.  He backs that up with a plus changeup that is repeatedly referred to as the best in the draft.  The breaking ball is a slurve with some bite that probably needs refinement and could become a true slider.

What stands out in the video I saw is the easy 3/4 motion and how the ball jumps out of his hand with seemingly little effort.  I would guesstimate that he is a pick 10-15 draft prospect right now with potential to go higher.  He is an excellent student committed to Texas A&M.  I would say he is singable if he goes anywhere in the first round.

Giants 2017 Depth Charts: Relievers

The universe of possible future relievers for the Giants is vast and includes several names we have already listed in the SP depth charts.   Instead of an exhaustive listing of all of the organizations relief pitchers, I will highlight a few who for whatever reason are on my radar as relievers to watch.  First, let's sort out who will be contending for an Opening Day assignment in the Giants bullpen.  We'll assume they are going outside the organization for the closer and we will assume none of their current FA's, Casilla, Lopez or Romo are going to be re-signed.

Locks:  Will Smith LHP, Derek Law RHP, Hunter Strickland RHP, George Kontos.

Likely:  Cory Gearrin RHP.

Contenders(for 1 spots):  Ty Blach LHP(if he's not the 5'th starter), Steven Okert LHP, Josh Osich LHP, Albert Suarez RHP.

Of course, if they sign/trade for more than 1 reliever, it could bump everybody down a notch or two.

Now, let's take a look at a few key relief pitcher prospects in the minors(not including potential converted starters such as Joan Gregorio, Chris Stratton, Sam Coonrod, Dan Slania and others.


Tyler Rogers RHP, 26 yo- 2-2, 3.27, 24, BB, 46 K, GO/AO= 4.69!(2 levels).  ERA ballooned to 6.10 in Sacramento, but his peripherals stayed about the same.  He is doing much better in the hitter friendly Arizona Fall League, 0-1, 2.08, 8.2 IP, 2 BB, 9 K, GO/AO= 2.00.  He's a submariner whose release point millimeters from the dirt has garnered some inneresting images from the AFL.


Rodolfo Martinez, RHP, 23 yo- 1-4, 3.35, 53.2 IP, 25 BB, 50 K, GO/AO= 1.18(2 levels).  The hard throwing Martinez dominated the Cal League in the first half, but got crushed after a promotion to AA. Continued to struggle in the AFL where his velocity was reported to be down raising injury concerns.

Chase Johnson, RHP, 25 yo- 1-4, 3.77, 52.1 IP, 18 BB, 37 K, GO/AO= 1.69.  Abruptly moved to the bullpen midseason and later the DL.  Not sure of his current health status.  He was closing games for the Flying Squirrels when he hit the DL.

Carlos Alvarado, RHP, 27 yo- 1-0, 1.72, 31.1 IP, 1 BB, 37 K's(3 levels).  I've always like Alvarado despite his advanced age for level at every step.  He's listed at 6'4", 175 lbs. and has always put up interesting numbers not the least of which is the 1 BB in 31.1 IP for 2016.


Reyes Maronta, RHP, 24 yo- 0-3, 2.59, 59 IP, 20 BB, 93 K.  Doesn't throw quite as hard as Rodolfo Martinez did in San Jose, but still sits in the mid-upper 90's.  Was Martinez' setup man in the first half then took over the Closer role in SJ when Rodolfo moved up.  Listed at 6'0", 175 lbs.  He's at least 50 lbs heavier than that.  Physically a strong resemblance to Jean Machi.


Cesar Yanez, RHP, 22 yo- 1-0, 2.22, 28.1 IP, 15 BB, 35 K(2 levels).  I don't really have any reason to believe Yanez has a huge upside except a gut feeling.  I like his listed size at 6'5", 175 lbs, and his numbers.


Patrick Ruotolo RHP, 22 yo- 2-2, 1.13, 24 IP, 14 BB, 42 K's(2 levels).  Most of those numbers were put up in Arizona which is too low a level for a college draftee.  On the other hand, his peripherals were the best of a weak crop of pitching draftees.


Jesus Reyes RHP, 20 yo- 4-1, 1.51, 35.2 IP, 17 BB, 46 K, GO/AO= 2.00.  Giants pitching representative to the DSL All Star Game.  Expect to see him in Arizona next summer. 6'4", 175 lbs.

Jasier Herrera RHP, 19 yo- 3-1, 3.27, 22 IP, 7 BB, 21 K, GO/AO=1.28.  Like his size at 6'5", 175 lbs. second season in the DSL.  Was this enough to get him to Arizona?

Hot Stove Update: Walker and Hellickson Accept QO's

A very thin FA class just got thinner today when Neil Walker and Jeremy Hellickson accepted their QO's from the Mets and Phillies respectively.  These are probably good deals for both sides as the players like will get a significantly higher single season salary than they would from a multiyear deal on the open market while the teams probably will pay a bit more for equal talent in a single season, but avoids the risk of a multi-year commitment.  Of course, there is risk to the players that a severe injury could cause their future value to evaporate, but chances are that a series of single season contracts will outperform a single multi-season contract of the same length.  I actually do not understand why more players don't take the single season QO.

Among players declining QO's and becoming FA's are Kenley Jansen, Mark Trumbo, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Justin Turner, Ian Desmond and Dexter Fowler.  Sought after relievers Aroldis Chapman and Mark Melancon are exempt from QO's having been traded to their current teams within season.

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Alejandro Toral

Alejandro Toral is a HS prospect from Florida who is a B-L, T-L first base only prospect.  He's a big kid, 6'2", 220 lbs with big power.  He's got an average arm and average speed with enough athleticism that he can probably be a plus on D at first base.  There is some brave talk that he might be able to play LF, but from the videos, he's a first baseman, which means he's going to have to hit bigly.  The first comp that pops into my head when I see videos is Adrian Gonzalez which is great if he can hit like Adrian Gonzalez.  He's not the type of player the Giants look at in the first round.

Hot Stove Update: Mariners Acquire Danny Valencia

The Mariners have acquired Danny Valencia from the Oakland A's for pitching prospect Paul Blackburn.  Valencia has been much traveled over the past few seasons playing for multiple teams.  Valencia, who bats RH, can hit, no doubt about that!  He is known as a lefty killer hitting .318 against them in 2016, but is no exactly helpless against RHP's with a .275 BA.  He will team up with Nelson Cruz to form the RH half of a 4 man R-L gauntlet in the middle of the Mariners batting order with Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano forming the LH half.

Valencia has become a defensive liability at 3B and the Mariners anticipate he will play mostly 1B, RF and DH for them.  He may split time at 1B with lefty Dan Vogelbach.  The other issue with Valencia is what type of a guy he is or isn't in the clubhouse.  He was involved in a physical altercation with Billy Butler during the season which put Butler on the DL after which the A's shipped Butler out to the Yankees.  We don't know whose fault the altercation was or if Valencia's clubhouse personality had anything to do with his bouncing from team-to-team over the past few seasons.  The Mariners are likely not his last stop as he is FA eligible after the 2017 season.

Not much word on what the A's are getting in Blackburn.  He seems to be your average sinker-slider pitching prospect whose FB tops out at 93 MPH.  The A's seem set to go with Ryon Healy at 3B in 2017.

Mark Melancon in the Orange and Black?

The official Giants web site is pointing fans in that direction

He had a cumulative 2.8 WAR this season between the Pirates and Nats. 

It was his best season in the bigs. He's 31. 

He finished 8th in the Cy Young voting last year with a whole five points.

Giants 2017 Depth Charts: Starting Pitching(Lower Minors)


Cory Taylor, RHP, 23 yo- 11-6, 2.72, 119 IP, 34 BB, 121 K, GO/AO= 1.69(2 levels).  First full pro season.  Results would be more impressive at a higher level.  Got a few late starts in San Jose with mixed results.

Michael Connolly, RHP, 25 yo- 11-7, 3.05, 135.2 IP, 31 BB, 107 K, GO/AO= 1.35.  Veteran minor leaguer trying to find some traction.  This may get him to the next level.

Jake McCasland, RHP, 25 yo- 8-5, 1.65, 109.1 IP, 24 BB, 107 K, GO/AO= 1.18.  Another veteran trying to find traction.

Dominic Mazza, LHP, 22 yo- 8-3, 3.93, 84.2 IP, 16 BB, 79 K, GO/AO= 1.21.  Lefty out of UCSB, first full pro season.

Heath Slatton, RHP, 23 yo- 2-4, 2.37, 49.1 IP, 23 BB, 44 K, GO/AO= 1.15.  Reliever most of the season with a few Saves.  Got 5 starts at the end of the season allowing just 1 ER in 20.1 IP with 8 BB's and 17 K's.  Breakout candidate for 2017.

Matt Solter, RHP, 24 yo- 4-6, 6.45, 68.1 IP, 30 BB, 60 K, GO/AO= 1.20.  Minor league FA signing.  Got knocked around pretty good.  Will he be back?

Grant Watson, LHP, 23 yo- 3-7, 4.62, 78 IP, 18 BB, 68 K.  Definition of a polished lefty.  Peripherals better than his ERA.

Logan Webb, RHP, 20 yo- 2-3, 6.21, 42 IP, 12 BB, 30 K's, GO/AO= 1.49.  Last pitched 5/31.  TJ?  Age gives him plenty of time to recover.


Melvin Adon, RHP, 23 yo- 5-5, 5.48, 67 IP, 34 BB, 55 K, GO/AO= 1.52.  Adon is getting plenty of national buzz for his mid-high 90's FB.  He's going to have to get that bad boy under control and move fast to be a legit prospect.

Victor Concepcion, RHP, 20 yo- 4-7, 6.40, 57.2 IP, 24 BB, 46 K.  Skipped Arizona after 2 seasons in the DSL and paid the price.

Mac Marshall, LHP, 21 yo- 1-6, 4.73, 51.1 IP, 48 BB, 54 K.  Name is well known in prospect watching circles.  Has a wild hair up his nose that needs to be tamed.

Raffi Vizcaino, RHP, 21 yo- 0-4, 4.60, 47 IP, 23 BB, 43 K.  Got a late promo to Augusta and was noted to have a FB up to 96 MPH.

Matt Krook, LHP, 22 yo- 1-3, 6.16, 35 IP, 33 BB, 39 K, GO/AO= 3.77.  Highest drafted pitcher by the Giants in 2016 draft.  Another lefty with a serious wild hair up his nose. Can it be tamed?

Garrett Williams, LHP, 22 yo- 1-2, 5.68, 25.1 IP, 14 BB, 22 K, GO/AO= 1.60.  Another well known name in prospect watching circles.  Another lefty with a wild hair up his nose.  Giants seem to have a thing for them.

Hengerber Medina, RHP, 23 yo- 2-3, 4.43, 44.2, 18 BB, 37 K.  Converted SS trying to get some traction as a pitcher.  Held his own as a starter.  Struck out 17 batters in 9.1 IP in  late callup to SJ.


DJ Myers, RHP, 22 yo- 3-2, 1.70, 58.1 IP, 5 BB, 52 K, GO/AO= 1.50.  Pitched 1 scoreless inning for Sacramento late.  Jumbo body. Top performing pitching draftee, but at a low level.

Caleb Baragar, LHP, 23 yo- 5-2, 2.28, 55.1 IP, 16 BB, 50 K.  College lefty.  Nice numbers but at a low level. Allowed 3 ER in 6.2 IP in 2 late appearances for SJ.

Alex Bostic, LHP, 22 yo- 2-4, 5.59, 46.2 IP, 27 BB, 39 K.  Another college lefty with a bit of a wild hair.  Gave up 4 ER in 5.2 IP, in 2 late appearances with SJ.

Sandro Cabrera, LHP, 21 yo- 2-2, 2.81, 41.2 IP, 14 BB, 38 K.  Pitched mostly in relief, but I think the Giants will try to develop him as a SP.  Pitched 1 inning for Augusta late and struck out the side.

Stephen Woods, RHP, 22 yo- 0-2, 2.67, 27 IP, 17 BB, 25 K, GO/AO= 1.59.  Got a couple of late starts with S-K.  Allowed 5 ER, 5 BB and struck out 12 in 8 IP.


Johan Herrera, RHP, 18 yo- 4-4, 2.09, 77.2 IP, 18 BB, 50 K, GO/AO= 1.59.  Smallish righty with nice results but low K rate.

Norwith Gudino, RHP, 21 yo- 3-3, 2.84, 50.2 IP, 13 BB, 40 K.  Very old for the league and 2016 was a repeat of the level.

Miguel Figueroa, RHP, 19 yo- 5-0, 3.02, 47.2 IP, 14 BB, 28 K's.  Very low K rate.

Aneudy Acosta, RHP, 21 yo- 3-3, 3.99, 47.1 IP, 19 BB, 46 K, GO/AO= 1.27.  Old for the level.

Orleny Quiroz, LHP, 23 yo- 2-5, 2.18, 45.1 IP, 22 BB, 50 K, GO/AO= 2.18.  Very old for the level, but first pro experience and nice size for a lefty.

Jerson Severin, RHP, 18 yo- 0-4, 3.15, 34.1 IP, 13 BB, 13 K's.  Very low K rate.

Jose Marte, RHP, 21 yo- 1-1, 1.89, 19 IP, 10 BB, 18 K, GO/AO= 2.36.  Marte is apparently in Arizona for instructional league and caught the eye of Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs.

Giants 2017 Depth Charts: Starting Pitching(High Minors)


Chris Stratton, RHP, 26 yo- 12-6, 3.87, 125.2 IP, 39 BB, 103 K.  Posted a 3.60 ERA in 10 IP at the MLB level.  I see him ending up as a long/middle relief arm in the majors where he could have a fairly long career.

Clayton Blackburn, RHP, 24 yo- 7-10, 4.36, 136.1 IP, 35 BB, 101 K, GO/AO= 1.19.  Posted a 3.22 ERA over his last 8 starts after the All-Star break, but overall took a step back from his spectacular 2015 finish.  Will need to come out strong in 2017 to get back into the mix for a MLB callup.

Joan Gregorio, RHP, 25 yo- 6-10, 4.69, 134.1 IP, 49 BB, 152 K(2 levels).  The K's tell you he has the highest ceiling of the 3 AAA prospects.  Has had trouble staying completely healthy and maintaining consistency in his command.  Ceiling ranges from #2,3 SP to bust.  Most likely a middle reliever/setup man in the majors where he could produce some dominant numbers.


Tyler Beede, RHP, 24 yo- 8-7, 2.81, 147.1 IP, 53 BB, 135 K.  The Giants top pitching prospect.  Looked like he was going to fade again in July, but then put up a 1.60 ERA in 5 August starts and allowed just 1 ER in 6 IP, in his final start of the season on 9/2.  Had 66 K's in 61 IP over his last 10 starts of the season. Should move up to Sacramento and be ready for a callup midseason.

Andrew Suarez, LHP, 24 yo- 9-8, 3.63, 143.2 IP, 29 BB, 124 K, GO/AO= 1.20(2 levels).  2015 draftee who rocketed up the system.  Had a brief stumble as he started AA but finished 5-1 with a 2.33 ERA over his last 10 starts for Richmond.  Not a hard thrower, but the Giants like his command of a 3 pitch mix.  Should move up to Sacramento and be ready for a MLB callup about midseason or at least by September. I might rate him a tick behind Blach due to Blach's MLB experience.  Those 2 will likely be the 2'nd and 3'rd highest rated pitching prospects behind Beede on my list.

Matt Gage, LHP, 24 yo- 9-7, 3.38, 136 IP, 34 BB, 106 K, GO/AO= 1.60.  Gage consolidated his position in AA. Went 5-2 with a 2.92 ERA over his last 10 starts.  Also ready to move up to Sacramento, but is there room up there?

Dan Slania, RHP, 25 yo- 11-8, 2.93, 119.2 IP, 35 BB, 111 K(3 levels)- Slania started the season in the bullpen in Richmond, but then was suddenly switched into the rotation with Chase Johnson moving into the bullpen, a move that may have been designed to protect Johnson's arm.  Big Dan pitched well in his starting role, but kind of got shuttled around with short stints in San Jose and Sacramento.  In his final start of the season for Sacramento he went 6 IP, 2 ER, 9 K's.  A nice sleeper in the system.  His future may still be in the bullpen, but the starting experience will help him in that role.

Sam Coonrod, RHP, 24 yo- 9-6, 2.55, 141 IP, 60 BB, 94 K's(2 levels).  Coonrod was effective with poor secondary numbers.  Hard throwers with those kinds of numbers generally end up in the bullpen.

Kyle Crick, RHP, 24 yo- 4-11, 5.04, 109 IP, 67 BB, 86 K's.  Time may be running out on Kyle Crick. He just can't seem to get command of his stuff.  2017 may be his last chance.

High A:

Mark Reyes, LHP, 24 yo- 9-9, 4.74, 127.1 IP, 60 BB, 80 K, GO/AO= 1.43.  A finesse lefty who struggled with command.  Not a good look!

Jordan Johnson, RHP, 23 yo- 8-9, 5.33, 120 IP, 39 BB, 111 K.  Peripherals better than ERA, but he gave up dingers by the bushel.

Jason Forjet, RHP, 27 yo- 10-7, 4.84, 102.1 IP, 20 BB, 87 K.  Ran hot and cold with a lot of QS and even dominant starts but with disaster starts sprinkled in which blew up his ERA.

Jose Reyes, RHP, 26 yo- 4-6, 5.38, 100.1 IP, 33 BB, 64 K.  Disappointing season for the hard throwing righty.

DJ Snelton, LHP, 25 yo- 4-7, 4.11, 96.1 IP, 32 BB, 82 K, GO/AO= 2.69.  Anther guy who just can't seem to find traction.

Conner Menez, LHP, 22 yo- 4-1, 4.22, 53.1 IP, 16 BB, 50 K's(3 levels).  2016 draftee who made it to High A in his first pro season and held his own.

Your 2016 Giants: The Three Ami-Gold Glovers

As reported by various news outlets (Haft, Pavlovic, Schulman; I would include Baggarly, but since the SJ Mercury changed to no RSS feed, it's not easy to grab, as these three were), three Giants won Gold Gloves:  Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, and Joe Panik.
  • Schulman reported:  "The winners were announced on ESPN on Tuesday afternoon. Posey, Crawford and Panik were selected in a vote of National League managers and coaches who could not choose their own players, in combination with a defensive index created by the Society for American Baseball Research."
  • As Pavlovic reported, this is the first time since 1994 that the Giants won 3 Gold Gloves in a season.  Bonds, Lewis, and Williams won it that year.   As Haft noted, this is the most since 4 Giants won gold gloves in 1993:  Bonds, Manwaring, Williams, Thompson.  And Schulman noted that the Giants and Rangers were the only teams to win three in 2016, and that 1993, 1994, and 2016 are the only seasons the Giants won 3 or more Gold Gloves.
  • This is Posey's and Panik's first Gold Gloves.  Posey's win broke Yadier Molina's eight year streak and he was the first Giants catcher to win it since Matheny won it in 2005.   Panik won in spite of only playing 127 games (and starting only 118, per Schulman), which suggests that, with health, he could put up a streak at 2B.  However, one of the guys he beat out, DJ LeMahieu, had won in 2014 and, per Schulman, is "widely viewed as the best defensive second baseman in the league."  He and Robby Thompson are the only Giants secondbasemen to win a Gold Glove (no Tito?).  
  • This was Crawford's second Gold Glove, which was made easier when his top competitor, Andrelton Simmons, was traded to the AL, but he got a new strong competitor in Addison Russell, who the A's stupidly traded away to the Cubs.  Pavlovic:  "This season he had to hold off Cubs rookie Addison Russell, who tied Crawford with 19 Defensive Runs Saved and led in SDI. Crawford had the support of opposing coaches and managers who have spent years watching him pull outs from thin air. "
  • Schulman noted:  "Crawford and Panik compose the first double-play combo to win in the NL since the Cardinals’ Edgar Renteria and Fernando ViƱa in 2002."
  • Pavlovic provided numbers that backed Posey:   "He led all catchers with 12 Defensive Runs Saved and was a runaway winner in the SABR Defensive Index, which makes up about a quarter of the vote. Posey finished with 15.2 SDI, far ahead of second-ranked Yasmani Grandal (5.9) and Molina (0.7)."  He noted that the Giants were disappointed that Posey did not win last season, but it has historically been hard to unseat the incumbent, especially someone like Molina, who won for so many years.  These numbers could no longer deny the breakthrough for Posey.  
  • Similarly for Panik:  "Panik got a boost from SDI, finishing at 8.5, two points ahead of the next best second baseman."
  • This adds to the trophy case for Posey and Crawford, and starts one for Panik:
    • Pavlovic:  "The award is the first major one for Panik and gave Crawford two to go along with his 2015 Silver Slugger Award. Crawford said he was happy to hear Posey added another item to an overflowing trophy case. “I think it was the one award that he hadn’t won,” he said. Through eight big league seasons, Posey has an MVP, three Silver Slugger Awards and a Rookie of the Year Award. Like Panik, he finally has that coveted Gold Glove, too. "
  • All three noted that they had always focused on defense, from their earliest days.  Which is not surprising given that they all three started out as SS, which is a position that most coaches drill into their heads to be good defensively.  

ogc thoughts

Looks like this could be the start of another Golden era, like we had in 1993-94.  Posey probably will win again next season, barring injury.  Panik most likely should win again, as he won it while only starting 118 games.  Then again, this SI article on the Gold Gloves noted that while he led in SDI, he didn't lead in any of the components other than TZ, where he tied (good article, covers Posey and Crawford as well;  but based on the tone, 2016 might be one and done, except for Posey).  Wong actually led more, so he must have come up horrible in other components.  Crawford looks like he's up against a tough young competitor in Russell, however, so we'll see there, but advanced defensive stats are notoriously up and down as well, so Russell will have to repeat to see whether he'll be Crawford's next thorn.

Perhaps Belt Will Get the Call in 2017?

I would also add that Brandon Belt has been considered to be a good defensive first baseman.  And he had 10 DRS per, 9 per Fangraphs, in 2016.   Rizzo, who won the award, had 11 DRS, Goldschmidt 4 DRS, and Myers, the last finalist, 7 DRS.   Plus, Belt killed it in SDI in 2015, so I'm not sure why he wasn't a finalist in 2016:  he had 11.1, Goldschmidt 9.4, A-Gon 8.3, Rizzo 4.2.  Per this SI article, Belt was very comparable but only played 117 games.

Oh, now I know, his 2016 SDI was not as good in 2016:  only 3.5, vs. Rizzo's 8.6 and Myers 6.6.  He was fifth and by a lot.  Wow, what a drop!  He must have fallen a lot in the other components.

Looking at another component for Belt, UZR, he was third with 5.8, behind Myers 8.8 and just ahead of Rizzo's 5.0.  So he had another good showing.  He must have really sucked, then, in the other three defensive analytics: Runs Effectively Defended (RED) from Chris Dial, Defensive Regression Analysis (DRA) from Michael Humphreys, and Total Zone Rating (TZ) from Sean Smith.  I've never heard of any of these other metrics, though I'm aware of Chris Dial as a baseball analytics guy.  I'll have to research these other ones.

Though that SI article nicely noted the Sean Smith TZ connection, and there we have it, a reason why Belt's SDI fell like a rock.  He was -0 in that stat in 2016, this after two stellar years in 2014-15 in TZ.  And per DRA, available at the Baseball Gauge website (here's Belt), he had a really down year in 2016:  after steadying increasing DRA from the start of his career to 2015, he had his worse full year results ever in 2016.  So that's two different metrics where Belt got really crushed in the index, he will need to fix whatever problem this was, and return to his prior goodness.  Had he not suffered this decline with these two stats (both are derived from play-by-play data, so that's where he was hurt), he probably would have been among the leaders again.

In any case, maybe next year Belt will return to his 2015 goodness (I mean really, he led by a lot in 2015, 11.1 vs. 9.4) with improvement particularly in his play-by-play (not sure how those metrics work; just ordered Humphrey's book) and help to bring at least three Gold Gloves to the Giants in 2017.

Other SDI rankings
  • Bumgarner 9th with 1.4
  • Cueto 14th with 0.7
  • Samardzija was actually negative!  Moore just squeaked above 0 in AL.
  • Duffy was actually third with 6.3 at 3B, with full season probably would have challenged for lead with Arenado.
  • OMG, Adam Duvall actually led with 9.1 in LF.  Looks like Giants made a mistake in letting him go, both offensively and defensively.  A rare miss in the Sabean era, but it seems like they are missing more lately:  Biagini, Duvall, Otero, among others.   Though part of me wonders if Hamilton being in CF helped Duvall out by taking over some of his area of coverage.  
  • Span was next to last with -9.2; surprisingly, McCutchen was last with -15.5.   We need a better defensive CF, perhaps the Giants could trade Span given that Nunez could take over leadoff.   Hernandez could be good defensively there (he had nice time with SF, but SSS, but horrible time in CF with Miami in 2012), but obviously we don't know about his offense, though, again, SSS, but he had nice time with us.  Span's down year hurts his value, though.  However, part of his down was a bad BABIP year, down 27 points from last season and 25 points from his career.  However, at 33 YO next season, and recovered from hip surgery that happened last off-season, could be reasons why this continues.  
  • Pence was 9th out of 13 with -1.0.   As much as fans love him, defensive stats have been "meh" about him, particularly advanced stats.  

Hot Stove Update: The Stove Fires Up!

The Hot Stove got warm in a hurry today as there were 4 significant deals made.

1.  Blue Jays sign Kendrys Morales to a 3 year/$33 M FA contract.  Kendrys Morales hits dingers, lots of them, but not a lot else.  He might be the slowest player in all of baseball and can't really play any position.  Fortunately, the Jays play in a DH league which is what Morales will be.  He is affordable insurance against them losing both Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion via free agency, both of whom figure to be much more expensive than Morales.  Morales will play his age 34 season in 2017.  He has a long injury history but has been healthy enough to DH full-time the last 2 seasons for the Royals.  He's a switch-hitter.

2016 Royals:  .263/.327/.468, 30 HR, 618 PA.

KC is a tough park to hit dingers in while Toronto and most of the AL East parks are dinger friendly, so I could see him parking 40 or more per season…if he stays in one piece.  For the upside, it's nice value for the Blue Jays and it leaves them with money to spend elsewhere on the roster.

2.  Dodgers trade Howie Kendrick to the Phillies for Darin Ruf.  Howie Kendrick has always hit for average, albeit a fairly empty average, which is just fine for a middle infielder.  He doesn't play 2B much anymore and he didn't even hit for much of an average last year.  Ruf has intriguing RH power but can't really play any position well.  He started off poorly at the plate last year and got shipped out to AAA where he raked as he always has at AAA.  He is probably no more than a RH platoon bat or bat off the bench in the majors.

Kendrick is entering his age 33 season and has 1 year left on a  contract that will pay him about $10 M for 2017. Ruf is arbitration eligible for the first time this season and probably will get a contract for under $1M if the Dodgers even tender him a contract.  Let's face it.  This was mostly a salary dump and roster-clearing move by the Dodgers.  The curious part is how Kendrick fits into the Phillies rebuild.  They were reportedly looking for a "veteran presence."  He will give them that.

3.  Angels sign RHP Jesse Chavez for 1 year/$5.75 M.  Chavez is entering his age 33 season.  He pitched exclusively in relief last year for two teams.  The Angels say they will give him a chance to start.  Most likely ends up in a swingman/long-middle relief role.

4. The Braves signed 44 yo RHP Bartolo Colon to a 1 yr/$12.5 M deal.  He'll pair up with RA Dickey who they signed yesterday to give the Braves a pair of veteran innings eaters to support young aces Julio Tehran and Mike Foltynewicz.

Colon 2016:  15-8, 3.43, 191.2 IP, 1.5 BB/9, 6.01 K/9.
Dickey 2016:  10-15, 4.46, 169.2 IP, 3.34 BB/9, 6.68 K/9.

Dickey should be helped by moving out of Toronto and the AL East.

These are a couple of solid signings by the Braves to make them more competitive in their rebuild years.

Giants 2017 Depth Charts: Starting Pitching(MLB)

The starting pitching depth chart for the entire organization is such a massive undertaking, I decided to divide it up.  We'll divide it up into 3 parts here:  MLB, High Minors, Low Minors.  The Giants have a solid situation for their 2017 rotation with 4 SP's who are capable of pitching like an ace on any given day and 3 candidates for the 5'th spot in the rotation.

Madison Bumgarner, LHP, 27 yo.- 15-9, 2.74, 226.2 IP, 2.14 BB/9, 9.97 K/9.  Bumgarner is still probably the ace of the staff, although Johnny Cueto is at least a co-ace statistically.

Johnny Cueto, RHP, 31 yo- 18-5, 2.79, 219.2 IP, 1.84 BB/9, 8.11 K/9.  Great season for Cueto.  If he repeats it in 2017, he will almost certainly opt out of the rest of his contract.  If he does, the Giants should thank him for his 2 great seasons and let him go.

Jeff Samardzija, RHP, 32 yo- 12-11, 3.81, 203.1 IP, 2.39 BB/9, 7.39 K/9.  Wow!  Samardzija is 32 yo but seems like he's about 28, still learning to pitch and just coming into his own.  Had a great first 2 months of the season then a terrible middle two months.  To his credit, he almost completely rebuilt his repertoire on the fly and had a sub-3 ERA over the last 2 months of the season.  Can he carry that rebuild into and through 2017?

Matt Moore, LHP, 28 yo- 6-5, 4.08, 68.1 IP, 4.21 BB/9, 9.09 K/9.  These numbers, compiled after his trade to the Giants do not really do justice to what kind of a pitcher he was or can be in 2017.  He had a couple of disaster starts in September that blew up his ERA, but he also had several dominant starts including a gut check 8 innings agains the Dodgers on the final weekend.  Then, he had Game 4 of the NLDS won before the bullpen disintegrated in the 9'th inning.  I am expecting big things from Matt Moore in 2017!

Matt Cain, RHP, 32 yo- 4-8, 5.64, 89.1 IP, 3.22 BB/9, 7.25 K/9.  Bumgarner and Cueto are the aces, but Matt Cain is the dean of the Giants pitching staff.  That and $20 M says he gets the first shot at the 5'th starter gig entering 2017.  He will be on a fairly short leash though.

Ty Blach, LHP, 26 yo- 1-0, 1.06, 17 IP, 2.65 BB/9, 5.79 K/9.  Blach was mighty impressive, especially in that start against the Dodgers on the final weekend.  Some people might think a BABIP of .152 is not sustainable, though.  Still, first in line behind Matt Cain for the 5'th SP job.

Albert Suarez, RHP, 27 yo- 3-5, 4.29, 84 IP, 2.79 BB/9, 5.79 K/9.  Suarez was a life saver for the Giants through the rough patches, but never pitched quite well enough to trust in any type of must-win situation.  That is probably OK for a sixth-starter/swingman role, but the Giants will be looking to upgrade.

Christ Heston, RHP, 29 yo- Heston missed almost the entire season with injury.  He's still on the 40 man roster.  He could be in the mix if he is fully healthy and nothing else is clicking for the #5 SP.

Fantasy Focus: Relievers

The commissioner in my league is adding K/9 to the categories next season for the express purpose of adding value to non-closer relievers.  So, let's take a look at relievers with high K/9's and add in their Save totals:

1.  Dellin Betances, Yankees- 15.53, 12 Saves.
2.  Edwin Diaz, Mariners- 15.33, 18 Saves.
3.  Andrew Miller, Indians- 14.89, 12 Saves.
4.  Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox- 14.09, 31 Saves.
5.  Kyle Barraclough, Marlins- 14.00, 0 Saves.
6.  Ken Giles, Astros- 13.98, 15 Saves.
7.  Aroldis Chapman, Cubs- 13.97, 36 Saves.
8.  Kenley Jansen, Dodgers- 13.63, 47 Saves.
9.  Michael Feliz, Astros- 13/15, 0 Saves.
10.  Shawn Kelley, Nationals- 12.41, 7 Saves.
11.  Jason Grilli, Blue Jays- 12.36, 4 Saves.
12.  Juan Nicasio, Pirates- 12.13, 0 Saves.
13. Tyler Thornburg, Brewers- 12.09, 13 Saves.
14. David Phelps, Marlins- 11.84, 4 Saves.
15. Seung Hwan Oh, Cardinals- 11.64, 19 Saves.
16. Mychal Givens, Orioles- 11.57, 0 Saves.
17. Cody Allen, Indians- 11.51, 32 Saves.
18. Hector Neris, Phillies- 11.43, 2 Saves.
19.  Alex Colome, Rays- 11.28, 37 Saves.
20.  Brad Hand, Padres- 11.18, 1 Save.
21.  Ryan Buchter, Padres- 11.14, 1 Save.
22.  Justin Grimm, Cubs- 11.11, 0 Saves.
23.  David Robertson, White Sox- 10.83, 37 Saves.
24.  Felipe Rivero, Pirates- 10.75, 1 Save.
25.  Kelvin Herrera, Royals- 10.75, 12 Saves.
26.  Steve Cishek, Mariners- 10.69, 25 Saves.
27.  Addison Reed, Mets- 10.55, 1 Save.
28.  Brad Brach, - 10.48, 2 Saves.
29.  Luke Gregorson, Astros- 10.46, 15 Saves.
30.  Tyler Clippard, Yankees- 10.29, 3 Saves.

So, a reasonable strategy here in a league like mine where you can roster as many as 5 relievers would be to overpay for a couple of high K/9 full time Closers and then try to get 2-3 non-closer relievers with high K/9's.

Scouting the 2017 Draft: JJ Schwarz

Whoa!  Didn't get much sleep last night.  Still in shock and processing the results of the election.  Fortunately, there is still baseball to enjoy thinking and writing about.

JJ Schwarz is an offensive minded college catcher from Florida with big time power potential.  He's 6'1", 205 lbs.  B-R, T-R.  He burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2015 with a line of .332/.398/.629 with 18 HR's.  He also had a solid 28 BB's against 46 K's in 256 AB.  His slash line took a hit in 2016 with a .292/.404/.451, 6 HR, but he improved his BB's and K's with 44 and 49 respectively in 233 AB's.  Most observers believe the bat will rebound strongly in 2017.  If it does, he could easily move up the boards and become the #1 overall pick.

The rap is on D where his body does not project particularly well and his throwing arm is suspect.  Scouts think that with a lot of work he can become a passable MLB catcher, but more likely he ends up at 1B or DH like a Mike Napoli.

Giants 2017 Depth Charts: Corner Outfield

Corner OF is a bit thin at the top for the Giants as Hunter Pence is coming off his second injury limited season and the only other corner OF's on the roster are trying to gain a foothold in the major leagues.  In the minors, the depth is bolstered by several players who could wind up either as CF's or at a corner.


Hunter Pence, 34 yo- .289/.357/.451, 395 AB.  Pence has 2 years left on his contract.  Can he avoid the injuries that have plagued him the last 2 seasons?

Mac Williamson, 26 yo- .223/.315/.411, 6 HR, 112 AB.  Could win the LF job outright or end up in a platoon with Jarrett Parker or be left out by a FA signing or trade.  If you project the dingers to 600 PA's it's somewhere in the high 20's.

Jarrett Parker, 28 yo- .236/.358/.394, 5 HR, 127 AB.  See Mac Williamson above.  Parker has tremendous raw power, but struggles to use it effectively with a high K rate.  Might want to cut back on the caffeine before stepping into the batter's box.


Austin Slater, 24 yo- .305/.393/.500, 18 HR, 390 AB(2 teams).  Slater is the main reason I think it is safe for the Giants to not acquire a veteran corner OF this offseason.  If Mac and Jarrett can't get it done, it's time to give Slater a shot.  If that does not work, they can still make a deadline trade.  He should hit for a higher BA than either Mac or Jarrett, but may come up short on power.


Steven Duggar, 23 yo- .302/.388/.448, 10 HR, 507 AB(2 teams).  Impressively hit .321 for Richmond after his promotion, but the HR's disappeared in a small sample size.  Probably has enough speed to play CF.  Definitely has the arm for RF.

Hunter Cole, 24 yo- .271/.319/.420, 13 HR, 469 AB.  Strong numbers considering they were all from Richmond. and the EL.  Getting more AB's in the AFL.

Tyler Horan, 26 yo- .265/.337/.460, 12 HR, 287 AB.  Has been moving up the ladder despite some poor numbers.  Seemed to get some traction at the plate late in the season.


Dylan Davis, 23 yo- .283/.356/.521, 26 HR, 484 AB(2 levels).  Big time power and has been steadily lowering his K rate.  Big time throwing arm that could play on the mound.  Nice sleeper in the system who could eventually turn into a Mike Napoli/Mark Trumbo type hitter.


Jean Angomas, 22 yo- .272/.308/.365, 16 SB, 378 AB(2 levels).  Slow mover in the lower levels.  Finally seemed to get some traction this year.  Can he take it to the next level?


Heath Quinn, 22 yo- .344/.434/.564, 9 HR, 277 AB(3 levels).  Tremendous offensive start to his pro career.  Can he hang at higher levels on D?

Gio Brusa, 23 yo- .264/.298/.495, 10 HR, 220 AB.  A bit of an enigma.  Starred twice in the CCL.  Giants reportedly told him he needs to step it up on D.

Gustavo Cabrera, 21 yo- .241/.288/.393, 4 HR, 4 SB, 191 AB.  Managed to stay on the field a bit more this season.  Obvious athleticism.  Will the hand hold him back at higher levels?

Julio Pena, 24 yo- .222/.242/.397, 2 HR, 63 AB.  Fringy prospect with some pop in his bat but not a lot else to recommend him.


Jacob Heyward, 21 yo- .330/.483/.560, 11 SB, 109 AB(2 teams).  Most of his AB's came in Rookie ball where he would be expected to dominate as a draftee from a major college program.  Still, it's better to do well at a low level than not well.

Sandro Fabian, 19 yo- .340/.364/.527, 159 AB.  One of the few age appropriate Giants prospects to dominate rookie ball in a long time.  Nice scouting reports.  Detractors point to a lack of projectabilty in the body.


Ismael Munguia, 18 yo- .274/.359/.363, .237 AB.  Got off to a hot start in the DSL.  Cooled off some in the second half.  Is it enough to get him to Arizona?

Franklin Labour, 19 yo- .242/.333/.304, 194 AB.

Diego Rincones, 18 yo- .244/.346/.343, 201 AB.

Hot Stove Update: Dodgers Unload Carlos Ruiz

The Dodgers picked up Carlos Ruiz from the Phillies for the stretch run.  They have now flipped him for a valuable left-handed arm(and my, the Dodgers do seem to love their left-handed arms, don't they?).  Ruiz goes to the Mariners for LHP Vidal Nuno.  Ruiz is still a decent catcher option as he hit .264/.365/.348 and threw out 42% of baserunners.  He has an option for $4.5 M next season which the Mariners will pick up.

Nuno made 55 appearances with 58.2 IP, 1 start, last year for the Mariners.  His ERA was a respectable 3.69 and came with 7.82 K/9 and an excellent 1.69 BB/9.  He is arbitration eligible with a MLBTR projected salary of $1.1 M.

This is probably a good trade for both sides as Ruiz gives the Mariners some protection in case Mike Zunino's bat turns to swiss cheese again.  The Dodgers get a small amount of salary relief and a valuable pitcher who can relieve or start.  Austin Barnes is on tap to step into the backup catcher role for the Dodgers.

Fantasy Focus: 2016 SP Rankings

The commissioner of my league announced that he is going to a 6X6 format next season and will replace the Wins category with QS and K/9.  I am going to assume that ERA and WHIP correlate fairly well with QS, although there may be exceptions.  For instance, a pitcher who throws 8 QS but gets blown out in 2 disaster starts may have an inflated ERA relative to his QS's.  What QS's will do is give credit to the pitcher who has a good start, but fails to get a W because of low run support or a Blown Save.  QS may be less of a crapshoot than W's, but using Dominant Starts or some sort of Game Score metric would probably do a better job or rewarding very good starts and penalizing bad ones.  Here is a list of all 2016 SP's with 100+ IP in order of K/9 with their ERA.  If you can find a correlation between K/9 and ERA, you have a better eye for pattern recognition that I.

1.  Jose Fernandez(RIP), Marlins- 12.49, 2.86.
2.  Yu Darvish, Rangers- 11.84, 3.41.
3.  Robbie Ray, D'Backs- 11.25, 4.90.
4.  Max Scherzer, Nationals- 11.19, 2.96.
5.  Stephen Strasburg, Nationals- 11.15, 3.60.
6.  Noah Syndergaard, Mets- 10.64, 2.61.
7.  Michael Pineda, Yankees- 10.61, 4.82.
8.  Danny Salazar, Indians- 10.55, 3.87.
9.  Rich Hill, Dodgers- 10.52, 2.12.
10.  Vince Velazquez, Phillies- 10.44, 4.12.
11.  Chris Archer, Rays- 10.42, 4.02.
12.  Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers- 10.39, 1.69.
13.  Justin Verlander, Tigers- 10.04, 3.04.
14.  Madison Bumgarner, Giants- 9.97, 2.74.
15.  Jonathan Gray, Rockies- 9.91, 4.61.
16.  Aaron Nola, Phillies- 9.81, 4.78.
17.  Drew Pomeranz,  Red Sox- 9.78, 3.35.
18.  Corey Kluber, Indians- 9.50, 3.14.
19.  Danny Duffy, Royals- 9.30, 3.56.
20.  Chris Sale, White Sox- 9.25, 3.34.
21.  Carlos Carrasco, Indians- 9.23, 3.32.
22.  Francisco Liriano, Blue Jays- 9.22, 4.64.
23.  Kenta Maeda, Dodgers- 9.17, 3.48.
24.  Carlos Rodon, White Sox- 9.16, 4.04.
25.  Archie Bradley, D'Backs- 9.08, 5.02.

26.  Cole Hamels, Rangers- 8.97, 3.32.
27.  David Price, Red Sox- 8.92, 3.99.
28.  Scott Kazmir, Dodgers- 8.85, 4.56.
29.  Steven Matz, Mets- 8.77, 3.40.
30.  Jon Lester, Cubs- 8.75, 2.44.
31.  Kevin Gausman, Orioles- 8.72, 3.61.
32.  James Paxton, Mariners- 8.70, 3.79.
33.  Jake deGrom, Mets- 8.70, 3.04.
34.  Gio Gonzalez, Nationals- 8.68, 4.51.
35.  Jake Arrieta, Cubs- 8.67, 3.10.
36.  Colin McHugh, Astros- 8.63, 4.34.
37.  John Lackey, Cubs- 8.60, 3.35.
38.  Drew Smyly, Rays- 8.51, 4.88.
39.  Ian Kennedy, Royals- 8.46, 3.68.
40.  Marco Estrada, Blue Jays- 8.44, 3.48.
41.  Eduardo Rodriguez, Red Sox- 8.41, 4.71.
42.  Adam Conley, Marlins- 8.37, 3.55.
43.  Johnny Cueto, Giants- 8.11, 2.79.
44.  Mike Foltynewicz, Braves- 8.10, 4.31.
45.  AJ Griffin, Rangers- 8.09, 5.07.
46.  Kyle Hendricks, Cubs- 8.09, 2.15.
47.  Matt Moore, Giants- 8.08, 4.08.
48.  Anibel Sanchez, Tigers- 8.05, 6.04.
49.  Matt Shoemaker, Angels- 8.64, 3.88.
50.  Carlos Martinez, Cardinals- 8.02, 3.04.

Like I said, if you can see a pattern here, you are much better at pattern recognition than I.  So, what drafting strategy will I employ in my league's new 6X6 format?  I believe that WHIP correlates better with ERA than K/9.  I also believe WHIP is more stable over time than ERA.  So, if I continue to load up my bench with SP's who have a low WHIP and rotate them into the starting rotation with daily lineup resets, I can rack up QS's and K's while still winning a majority of WHIP's and ERA's.  In a 6X6 League, you can better afford to punt one category, so fill RP slots with relievers with high K/9 regardless of Saves.  The other strategy would be to punt W's and K's, spend all your allotted pitching dollars on a few ace SP's and then load up on relievers which would give you K/9, ERA, WHIP and Saves.

Your 2017 Giants: Post Cubs World Series Championship

Wow, the Cubs ended 108 years of misery, winning their first championship in most likely all of their current fans' lifetimes (unless there is a 115 year old or so fan out there).  Congrats to the new Champs!

With that comes the first rush of business that the Giants took in the post season.  They signed three players to minor league contracts, two oldies, one newbie:  Kyle Blanks, Ricky Romero, and Jason Johnson (the newbie).  Romero and Johnson had been All-Stars not that long ago, but are recovered from injuries and hoping to return to their careers.  In particular, Johnson is being viewed as a potential reliever (Schulman).  Plus, they released Tony Sanchez, outrighting him to AAA, freeing up a 40-man spot.

There currently are 35 spots taken, assuming all the free agents on the list leaves:  Casilla, Lopez, Romo, Nathan, Beckham (I think he's a free agent), Blanco, Pagan.  I believe we still control Suarez and Hernandez.  I'm not sure who are the five players who will be added out of the prospects, but the Rule 5 draft happens in early December, at the Winter Meetings, if I remember right, so the news will be out in a couple of weeks.

More importantly, they quickly picked up Matt Moore's option for 2017 at $7M (Pavlovic; Schulman; SFGiants).  We still have options for 2018 at $9M and 2019 at $10M.   He will be 28 YO for the 2017 season (Bumgarner is 27).

Lastly, Greg Holland, who had been amazing as a closer for the Royals from 2011-2014, until TJS at the end of the 2015 season knocked him out for the 2016 season.  He's having a showcase soon, in time for free agency (unlike Lincecum's long delayed showcase), and Evans said that the Giants are interested and attending, as will other teams (Pavlovic).  He's 31 YO.  Evans also noted that closer is his major goal for the off-season (Haft) and that it is great that the Giants have so many options available, both in terms of free agents, as well as one-year and two-year trade options available.

ogc thoughts

The Cubs are in a real good position to be The Team of the 2010 Decade, with their 2016 title and all the good young players and prospects they have.  And they won in spite of Jason Heyward's colossal collapse as an offensive player.  But the Giants are not that far off either from continuing to be good, now that they have a rotation of Bumgarner, Cueto, Moore, and Samardzija.  If Cainer can consolidate the progress he made in 2016 - he had a nice stretch of dominant starts just before his hamstring injury, the first good stretch that he had had in years -  or if Blach shows that his great pitching at the end of the season wasn't a fluke (but remember how we all felt after Heston's great 2015, to help temper those feelings), the Giants should make the playoffs again and be capable of pushing it to the World Series again.

Closing the Deal

But it's going to take a closer to seal the deal.  The bullpen is actually in pretty good shape.  We have a lot of good pitchers who might actually be closers in the future:  Law, Strickland, Okert, Osich (plus Smith, Guerrin, and Kontos).  But Cueto is only here for another year, potentially, and so we need a closer for 2017.

Holland would be an interesting choice if he's anywhere near what he was before.  Heck, even if he's not quite what he was before, that would still be better than our closer situation that we have had since BWeez, probably, he was that good (1.86 ERA from 2011-2014; even including 2015 his ERA was a stupendous 2.15 ERA).  Given that he's just recovered and hasn't pitched against live MLB hitters in a game that matters, he most likely will be facing a "prove it" one year deal (which he'll want to leverage into a long term deal), and that's exactly what the Giants would love to get, as that allows them to try him out for 2017, and if he's good, they can try to sign him long-term, and if not (or he's too expensive), it's just one year and our young relievers will have another year of experience under their belt and perhaps ready for more responsibility in the bullpen (particularly Law and Okert).

I could also see a trade happening, particularly for a one-year rental/tryout (a la Nen).  We have some trade pieces that could be valuable to other teams, including Heston, Blach, Nunez, relievers with MLB experience, and a ton of pitching prospects.  Much like how we bundle some current value (Susac, Duffy) along with potential (Bickford, Fox, Santos), that is how the Giants could get a "proven" closer in the trade market for 2017.

Moore is More

Matt Moore was a steal to me when the trade happened, and it continues to be.  Some may point out his poor 4.08 ERA, but in 12 starts, SSS, it was skewed greatly by having to pitch in Colorado, which skews most pitcher's numbers.  Of course, everyone will need to pitch there at some point, but for this exercise, we are trying to see what his real value as a starter is, without a random Colorado bad start messing up his overall stats.  In his other 11 starts, the results were as good as expected:  3.43 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 2.62 K/BB, .306 OBP, .300 SLG, and .606 OPS, with a very average .294 BABIP.  Just like we need to view Belt's stats in light of the fact that AT&T depresses his production, we need to see how Moore normally produces to appreciate his full value.

And, as I stated before, this is nothing against the players we gave up in the trade:  Duffman, Lucius Fox, or Michael Santos.  Duffman will produce good cheap value for the Rays for at least his defense, and perhaps with his offense, particularly since they might be playing him at SS.  But given that he was not that highly valued as a prospect, I feel like the Giants sold high on him.  Fox is the $12M prospect (Giants paid him $6M and about $6M in penalties to get him), struggling with his first season as a pro, but most do, and he still has his superlative speed and good bat skills that might still greatly develop.  But the window is now, and Fox most probably is at least 3-5 years away from producing, and we need good players now, while our core of Bumgarner, Posey, Belt, Crawford, Panik, and now Moore and Smith, are still young and/or in their prime, and not on their downside (though that could be coming soon, as Posey and Crawford are 30 YO next season, and Belt is 29).  Same for Santos, he's a few years away, at best, and given his lack of pedigree, may never develop into MLB value.

For that bundle of average production, potential and long off value, we get a SP in Moore who could become ace level performance (he's done it once before, in 2013, and showed that potential with the Giants).  In the 12 games he started for us, he had a 67% DOM/17% DIS, which is nearly elite level production (I've defined 70%+ plus under 20% as elite), as well as his 9.1 K/9.  He also delivered a DOM start in the playoffs.

He walks more than one would like, but that is mainly because he's pulling a Rueter by avoiding RHH power, which trades off a lot of walks to RHH, but reducing their SLG from league average of .413 to .389, and ISO from league average of 159 to 147, over his career (and I'm using NL league averages even though most of his stats is AL).  With the Giants, his SO% was 23.9%, high for his career, average 21.7%, and 22.3% in his best season (2013).  And groundballs galore:  GB/FB of 0.72 with Giants, vs. 0.64 career, vs. 0.66 in 2013; GO/AO of 0.85 vs. 0.80 career, vs. 0.87 in 2013.

Lots of strikeouts (9+ K/9) plus a good number of ground outs (though that could be improved some; perhaps Righetti can do his magic with Moore like he has with the Giants staff for years now, as Fangraphs noted how the Giants team, even with adjustments, prevents homers at a greater rate than the mean of 10% HR/FB that every pitcher is supposed to regress to) is what you want to see from a pitcher, especially a starting pitcher.   And he's equally good vs. both sides of hitters:

  • RHH:  .242/.325/.389/.714, 147 ISO, .295 BABIP, 32.6 HR/AB
  • LHH:  .241/.315/.364/.678, 123 ISO, .278 BABIP, 37.1 HR/AB

That is great to have in the #3 spot, and most teams would love to have that in their #2 spot.  Our rotation should be close to the great 2011's rotation, particularly if Cain or Blach comes through.  2017 is very promising just from this standpoint.

Rule 5 Draft

Unlike recent years, when the Giants lost players either to Rule 5 (Biagini) or DFA (Smith, Hall), there is not a lot to lose, it seems, this season.  From what I understand, college players drafted in 2013 and high school players drafted in 2012 are eligible to be drafted via Rule 5 if not on the 40 man.  The only names that caught my eye are Dan Slania, Chase Johnson, and Tyler Rogers, who is in the AFL, as there were no HS draftees in 2012 who are interesting.  In fact, the only HS draftee retired after the 2015 season (Shilo McCall).  Martin Agosta, Jake McCasland, Tyler Horan, and Chase Johnson are other possibilities, but no sure things in this bunch, and probably unlikely.

I think Slania is a sure thing, and Johnson and Rogers are strong possibles, and the others are possibles, but unlikely because the Giants need at least one spot for a closer to sign/trade, plus perhaps another spot for a reliever, and another spot for a veteran LF to compete with Williamson and Parker for starting LF position.  With Slania and one of the other two, there goes the five spots open on the 40-man roster.