Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Giants Scouting Report -- by a Terrible Scout

by SonDog

DMo and I recently spent three days in Denver watching the Giants take on the Rockies. We were fortunate enough to witness Barry Bonds's first homer of the year, which was a euphoric experience. We're in the process of putting together a post discussing our weekend, and you can look forward to reading that later this week (or later next week at the pace we're going).

But today, I have a few random Giants thoughts that I have to get off my chest (Editor's Note: It's been a long couple of days at work and I'm cranky because my favorite young pitcher was just put on the DL. I'm sorry if this sounds like griping, but I'm in a griping mood. As always, I have no expertise when it comes to scouting players, so take all that is written below with the knowledge that I am nothing more than a frustrated fan. And probably an idiot.):

-- I told everybody who would listen (like my dog Rocky, for example) for the last 14 days that the Giants should call up Brian Wilson from AAA. The 24-year-old LSU product had a phenomenal season last year in the minors. He started 2005 in low-A and progressed through Fresno, then he continued his success into Spring Training 2006. In Fresno this year, Wilson was pitching better than anybody in the Giants' 'pen and was ready for a shot. Tyler Walker simply didn't have anything left in his proverbial tank (presumably because it was all in his literal gut) as it was a foregone conclusion that he would be shown the door sooner rather than later. In fact, it was so predictable that I even predicted it on March 2 in The Indispensables -- Part 1 when I wrote, "Walker, at this point, is trade bait. He will probably make the team out of spring training at the expense of one of the Giants' younger, stronger arms (i.e. Jeremy Accardo, Brian Wilson or Kevin Correia), but I see him as utterly expendable. I have nothing else to say here." Of course, I also wrote that the bullpen was a team strength, so what the hell do I know. At any rate, Wilson was called up on Saturday night and promptly blew the Rockies away for two innings on Sunday. From our seats behind home plate, his slider looked like it was straight from hell and his fastball was clocked regularly at 95. The Rockies didn't know what hit them. Naturally, Wilson was placed on the disabled list on Monday with a strained oblique, similar to the injury that continues to sideline Noah Lowry. For some reason, Wilson's injury sounds about par for the course.

-- Can Pedro Feliz lay off a slider in the dirt? Just once? The guy has grounded into what seems like 230 double plays this year from trying to pull pitches that are a good two feet off the plate and in the dirt. I'm amazed he makes contact half the time (other times he brings back wicked flashbacks of Glenallen Hill, who Giants fans might remember as the guy who would swing at a pitch even if it was rolled towards home plate). It's pretty clear by this point that Feliz can diferentiate a fastball from a slider about as well as my color-blind brother-in-law can differentiate between blue and yellow. In fact, I don't think he's seen a fastball in three weeks because teams know they can get him to strike out or weakly ground out on a slider. After hitting in the low .200 range in the second half of last season (teams finally adjusted to him) and starting the 2006 season with a .176 average (despite having the most at bats on the team), he's running out of time to prove himself as a viable, consistent hitter. How this guy once batted third regularly in the lineup boggles my mind. And Darrell, I hope he turns it around, for both of our sakes.

Feliz, finding a ball that he can actually hit... just not with his bat

-- I'm tired of waiting for Jason Schmidt to return to the form that made him such a stud in 2003 and 2004. It's just not going to happen. He only threw one pitch on Friday night that registered above 91 on the Coors Field radar gun, and that was a 93 mph heater at Jason Jennings's knees. He's just not the same pitcher anymore and, in turn, I don't think you can classify him as this team's ace. If I had to pick one Giant to start a crucial game today, I would pick Matt Morris. My second choice would be Noah Lowry (even though he's injured). My third choice would be Matt Cain.

-- I don't know what else Kevin Correia, Brad Hennessey and Jeremy Accardo have to do to stick on this team. When Noah Lowry comes back, it would be an absolute travesty if any of the above pitchers were demoted. Felipe Alou admitted that he didn't know what else Hennessey had to do to stay on the big club, and Correia has proven his worth as a long reliever and spot starter. Accardo just needs to pitch a little more regular than every three weeks. If I have to see Jeff Fassero pitch in one more game for this team, I may have a projectile vomiting session all over my TV (mental image.... DELETED!). Honestly, the 2006 version of Eddie Harris has done an admirable job to this point, but he simply is taking the roster spot of a more talented and younger replacement (of course, the same can be said for Tim Worrell, so I'll just shut up now).

Fassero's arm may come flying off one of these days

-- All that said, the Giants are in first place in the National League West. Granted, it's a pathetically bad division, but I have no idea how this team is three games above .500 at this point. The hitting has been horrible. The bullpen is in shambles. The starters have been mediocre at best. My nerves are at their wits end. And I love being a Giants fan.


Mitch said...

nice post -- AWESOME photos. Did you take them??

SonDog said...

Thanks Mitch... I did not take those photos as I should have credited them to the AP. I took quite a few photos this weekend at the Giants/Rockies games that I'll be posting, but nothing quite as good as the two above.

OZ said...

When Jeff came in on Saturday I looked over at my wife's father, who recently celebrated his 60th birthday, and asked, "Didn't you go to high school with that guy?" He took offense saying, "I'm not THAT old."

Stapes said...

I don't see how anyone can think this is more than a .500 team. They have no closer for the third staight year, no ace in the rotation and a line up that doesn't get on base, doesn't hit a lot of home runs and hasn't been hitting in the clutch. Oh and they ground into double plays whenever I say please don't ground into a double play.

At they aren't complete morons. For example even the stupidist person on this team would realize that you just need to stand next to brent barry when you have a three point lead with 14 seconds left. Whatever you do stand next to him! That is all I ask, is it hard to stand next to someone for 14 seconds?

bh said...

The thing is, they have three closers. Valdez, Munter, or Wilson (when off the DL)and maybe Accardo can handle the duty, yet management seems to subscribe to this theory that if you're paying a guy a closer's salary, he has to close. I have no idea how Benitez is getting guys out anymore. If they're going to pay him, I'd rather he be trying to get guys out in the fifth inning of a bullpen start, rather than in the ninth inning of every outing. At this point, I'd rather see Munter or Valdez blowing guys away while occasionally getting roughed up rather than see Benitez struggle to get the ball to the plate at 90.

Darrell said...

How bad has Feliz been? I took the two homers he hit for my roto team Friday night and probably took him off my active roster on Sunday night after watching him hit into another twin killing.

Darrell said...

OK, I meant to say I promptly took Feliz off my roster Sunday night. And why is Jeff Fassero still in the big leagues? After the Mesa-Vizquel dustup over the weekend, I was reminded of Fassero's run-in (which led to his release from the Rox) with Clint Hurdle a couple of seasons back. Too bad Clint couldn't grab a bat against Jeff - there likely would have been more fireworks on Sunday.

sondog said...

Stapes, there will be a quick Kings post up soon. I could have covered Brent Barry better than Bibby at the end of the game. It is a travishamockery in every aspect. Yet, somehow it is so fitting.

Darrell, we are less than two weeks away from PacBell/SBC/AT&T/Verizon/Nextel/Southwestern Bell/T-Mobil Park fans booing the crap out of Feliz. It happened a couple of years ago with A.J. Pierzynski, and it will happen this year with Feliz. Pedro, your job is not to ground into double plays... it's to NOT ground into double plays.

BH, Accardo was awesome on Monday night. I've already talked about Wilson. Valdez is getting hit a bit in AAA, but he's still better than half of the guys in the 'pen at the moment.

All, Fasserro must have some inside knowledge about Brian Sabean's love child or something, as that's the only way he possibly remains on this roster.