Splash Hits: Cody Ross, Pablo Sandoval, Larry Baer

Giants

An argument for Cody Ross – McCovey Chronicles
Why the San Francisco Giants should sign Cody Ross.

Panda’s (Historically?) Big Boned Cycle | FanGraphs Baseball
Less than a year ago, Sandoval was getting benched in the playoffs for the likes of Juan Uribe and Zombie Edgar Renteria less than a year ago. Today, he is the most voluptuous guy to hit for the cycle in at least 37 years.

Larry Baer: Giants’ mission won’t change much
This week’s KNBR Conversation was conducted between Brian Murphy, Paul McCaffrey and the Giants’ Larry Baer. It has been edited for length.

Lefty Malo – The Perhaps-Not-So-Difficult Andres Torres Decision
If Torres has indeed reverted back to pumpkinhood — a backup outfielder used almost exclusively for late-game D and pinch-running — he can still earn his keep.

A Suggestion For Dumping Chone Figgins | U.S.S. Mariner
My guess is that’s exactly what the M’s will try to do with Figgins this winter, and in that vein, I’d like to offer up a suggestion on one particular team to call – the San Francisco Giants.

MLB

MLB Looks at Europe as Newest Source of Baseball Talent – MLB Daily Dish
Europe certainly produces premier athletes as we can see on the basketball court and the soccer pitch, but when will we see their athletes make an impact on the baseball diamond?

Explaining OFP in scouting – SweetSpot Blog – ESPN
A scout compiles OFP by adding up all five future tool grades (hitting, power, speed, throwing and fielding), and then dividing that total by five. Scouts can then adjust the OFP by ten or so points if they please.

The Platoon Advantage: Naive PLAYOFFS+ MVP awards since 1995
A look at how PLAYOFFS+ correlates with actual MVP voting.

A Quick Look at the Toughest Batters Using Pitch Values – Beyond the Box Score
To that end I took a look at the accrued pitch value numbers for all batters with 1,000 plate appearances or more from 2008 – 11. I decided to focus on how they fared against fastballs, sliders, curve balls, and change ups since these are the major repertoire’s of most big league pitchers.

All-time NL Hispanic greats – SweetSpot Blog – ESPN
Yesterday, in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, we talked about one person’s list — mine alone — for the AL team’s all-time greats of Hispanic heritage, so naturally enough, let’s turn to the senior circuit and look at the best of the National League’s teams.

Previewing the 2012 Free Agent Oufield Market

Aaron Rowand‘s gone for good, and the Giants will lose several outfielders — Carlos Beltran, Cody Ross, Pat Burrell — to free agency. Nate Schierholtz will be back, in with a breakout season, could potentially see regular playing time in the outfield. In addition, the Giants will presumably tender Andres Torres a contract, though it remains to be seen what role he’ll play next season.

Anyway, the Giants will be in the market for outfielders; if they envision Nate Schierholtz as the starting right fielder, and Brandon Belt as the starting left fielder, the big void is in centerfield — where the market is very thin. A brief preview of the 2012 free agent outfield market:

Re-Signs

Cody Ross: He made $6.3MM in his final year of arbitration, and has had a somewhat disappointing season – .238/.327/.399; that said, his numbers (thanks to a very-high walk rate) are bascially in line with his career norms, and he’s posted the best BB/K of his career (0.53). He averaged roughly 2.5 WAR/season from 2007-2010, and I imagine he’ll be looking for a starting role (which he deserves). The thing that makes Ross special is that he can play centerfield — and an average hitter in center is of value. Given his versatility in the outfield, and the fact that he’s solid at the plate, Ross represents one of the best available outfield options for the Giants.

Carlos Beltran: Easily the top outfield bat on the market. It’d be nice to retain Beltran, as he solidifies the middle of the Giants’ lineup. He’s the cream of the crop though, and could command a whole lot of money. If I had to guess, I bet he’ll end up elsewhere.

The Athletics

David DeJesus: initially suggested by Zack in the September roundtable, DeJesus could provide decent value at an affordable price. Here’s what Zack had to say:

I’d love to see them make a cheap offer to David DeJesus. He’s putting the worst offensive numbers of his career, but he hasn’t been nearly as bad Oakland fans tend to think. He has the ability to take a walk, and unlike other “sluggers” on the market (Jason Kubel, Josh Willingham, etc.), he still rates well defensively. I’m inclined to give DeJesus the benefit of the doubt because 1) he may still be recovering from an injury, 2) half of his games are in Oakland, and 3) his playing time has been iffy due to the managerial situation. And while he’s not exactly young, it’s not like it would be a long-term deal. One or two years would be great.

Coco Crisp: Another Oakland A’s outfielder, Crisp is an intriguing option for a number of reasons: he can still play centerfield, and despite the fact that he’ll be entering his age-32 season, he still flashes speed on the basepaths — in fact, his 40 steals in 2011 represent a career-high, and he’s stolen 72 bases in all since 2010, at an 86% success rate. Over his career, he’s pretty much been an average hitter (.276/.331/.407, 99 wRC+), but he’s been especially solid at the plate over the past two seasons (114 wRC+).

Josh Willingham: a very nice bat (career OPS+ of 121), but he’ll be 33 years old and his defensive limitations mostly restrict him to left field. Given that the Giants will probably enter 2012 with Brandon Belt as the regular left-fielder, Willingham doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense.

The Other Centerfielders

Rick Ankiel: Wrong side of 30 and a below-average hitter, but he’s also posted +17 DRS (defensive runs saved) in centerfield this year.

Nate McClouth: He’ll be four years removed from his all-star season, and he really hasn’t impressed of late. Over the last two seasons (609 PA), he’s posted a .650 OPS. He can play passable defense in centerfield, but he’s not a particularly good defender.

Some other CF names: Willie Bloomquist, Corey Patterson, Scott Hairston

Some Right-Field Names: Michael Cuddyer, J.D. Drew, Lance Berkman, Jason Kubel, Ryan Ludwick, Kosuke Fukudome