I talked with Sergio Romo about his fantastic 2011 season (yes, I mentioned his FIP-), his durability, how he would feel about closing, his contract talks with the Giants, and the sinker that Jeremy Affeldt taught him.
It’s the offseason. That means hot stove rumors. That means prospect rankings. And that means projections. Bill James’ projections, which he publishes in his yearly handbook, were added to Fangraphs player pages about a week ago. As far as I know, they’re not all published in one place (besides, of course, the handbook, which I highly recommend you purchase), so it’s hard to just look at all the Giants’ projections unless you want to dig through all the individual player pages.
Anyway, do note that they are widely considered to be overly optimistic, but I think that’s overstated.
A few thoughts:
— The best thing on here is the Brandon Belt projection. A .363 wOBA would do wonders for this offense, and it’s right up there with Buster Posey (.363) and Carlos Beltran (.367). Belt is one of the huge keys to making next year’s offense better than it was this year.
— Andres Torres (.327) is projected for a higher wOBA than Melky Cabrera (.325). This is precisely why I wasn’t a big fan of the Cabrera trade. The Giants gave up rotation depth for a worse (arguably, and I’d make that argument) centerfielder.
— Nate Schierholtz is projected to hit .328 — roughly as well as he did in 2011 — confirming that there’s good reason to believe he can be a quality everyday right fielder. Fangraphs had him at 1.4 WAR in 362 plate appearances last year (.327 wOBA), and that was with negative fielding value. I’m fairly certain that he’s capable of being a 2-3 WAR player in 2012.
— There’s not much to be hopeful about with Brandon Crawford. I’ve gradually become less enthused about the prospect of him as the Giants’ starting shortstop, and this doesn’t help. He’d have to carry a lot of value with his glove to be a viable everyday option, and I just don’t know that his fielding is good enough to stomach a .282 wOBA.
— Brandon Belt, Pablo Sandoval, and Buster Posey form a pretty respectable heart of the order, and if the rest of the lineup carries their weight (granted, a big “if”), this offense could just be good enough.
— These projections only make me dislike the Javier Lopez/Jeremy Affeldt moves even more. It seems like that’s where most of the Giants’ offseason spending will have gone, when all is said and done. That doesn’t look too good.
— At first glance, the Barry Zito projection (sub-4.00 ERA!) looks quite nice, but it’s a) mostly pitching out of relief, and b) a small sample size.
A Post-2011 NL West All Star Team – Beyond the Box Score
The NL West All Star team. Four Giants pitchers make the list, while one Giants position player gets a nod. Guess who.
JunkStats Year In Review: 2011′s Tough Luck Losses | JunkStats
Not surprisingly, the Giants led the majors in Tough Luck Losses.
Flip Flop Fly Ball – Organizations 2011
Organizational wins and losses throughout each team’s system — an infographic.
The Platoon Advantage: On baseball reporting
On baseball reporting.
Who is playing the percentages? What are the percentages?
To remove or not to remove a rolling starter in the ninth?
THE BOOK–Playing The Percentages In Baseball
Goodbye to you, WPA for starting pitchers
It’s Here: World Series of Fashion Has Arrived – Old Time Family Baseball
Sergio Romo is a finalist (up against Ian Kinsler) in the World Series of Fashion. Go vote for him.
The Diamondbacks’ Turnaround: What Does It Mean For 2012? – AZ Snake Pit
Arizona had the biggest turnaround of any National League team since the 1999 Diamondbacks. But what can we predict for 2012 from this, and other aspects of this year’s campaign?
Nelson Cruz Could Have Been on Your Team | FanGraphs Baseball
Amidst his ascension from Quad-A player to an All-Star type player with 84 home runs over the past three seasons, it’s easy to forget that Nelson Cruz could be playing for your favorite team right now.
After a seven-game winning streak (tied for the Giants’ longest this season), the Giants are now just five games back in the NL West. On September 10th, the Giants had a run differential of -23, but they’ve improved to +1 over this streak — and they’ve gained 4.5 games on Arizona. They’re finally scoring runs. This is actually the first time they’ve scored 6+ runs in three consecutive games since August of 2010. With their 82nd win today, the Giants clinched their third winning season in a row (the Rockies, meanwhile, clinched a losing season).
Player of the game honors go to Brett Pill, who knocked in three runs with a pair of triples. Not exactly as rare as the cycle, but a relatively unique occurrence nonetheless — this is the 27th time it’s happened in San Francisco Giants history, and just the fifth time since 1997.
Carlos Beltran collected three hits, including a game-tying double. I’m with @HangingSliders here — that was a remarkably beautiful swing. It’s funny…not too long ago, Beltran was becoming the symbol of a lost season. Now, with the incredible September he’s having, he’s one of the only reasons the Giants even have a glimmer of hope of making the playoffs.
Though he only allowed three hits and one run in his 4.2 innings of work, Eric Surkamp was once again unexceptional. To his credit, this was a more impressive start than last time. The strikeouts (4) and swinging strikes (5) were there this time; the control, on the other hand, was not — six walks, five of them unintentional. Despite a shiny 2.95 ERA in four starts, Surkamp has as many unintentional walks (10) as strikeouts. And he’s had the benefit of facing some pretty weak lineups. When he inevitably regresses, it won’t be pretty.
In any event, a great game: seven wins in a row, a clinched winning season, a gained game on the DBacks, and the run differential is now positive. Things are really rolling.
Eric Surkamp allowed six walks tonight, five unintentional. Sergio Romo has allowed five walks THIS SEASON, four unintentional.
They do something similar to this over at MLB Daily Dish, and since it was a busy week at the blog (and with the Giants, for that matter), I figured I’d take a brief look back at what happened this week (well, a little more than a week, to be exact):
- Though it was a little longer than a week ago, I offered up my thoughts on the idea of Buster Posey changing positions: to summarize, I want him to stay at catcher.
- After reading an excellent piece by Wendy Thurm over at Baseball Nation, I was inspired to write a post about Barry Zito — in which I suggest that maybe it’s time for him to part ways with the Giants.
- In admiration of the awesome season that Sergio Romo has had, I wrote up a brief bullet-point list of amazing Romo stats.
- The Giants released their 2012 schedule: they’ll open in Arizona, and are set to face all four AL West teams in interleague play.
- I previewed the 2012 free agent outfield market, which is unfortunately looking a little thin.
- A couple days ago, news broke that Bill Neukom would no longer be the Giants’ CEO. In response to this, I wrote up a brief post on Bill Neukom (I didn’t like the news).
- Yesterday, Neukom and Larry Baer held a press conference relating to the news in which, among other things, Baer said that there won’t be a change in organizational philosophy, and he doesn’t expect payroll to go down.
- On the field, the Giants have been playing quite well lately (they’re currently on a five-game winning streak). Earlier in the week, Clayton Kershaw and the much-less-talented Dana Eveland dominated the Giants, but things suddenly clicked for San Francisco after that as they managed to score eight runs in back-to-back games. Pablo Sandoval hit for the cycle last night, and Carlos Beltran reached the 300-home run milestone the day before.
Thanks for reading!
Things didn’t get off to the smoothest of starts — as the Padres scored in the first on the following sequence: reached base on error, fielder’s choice, stolen base, double. Anyway, that would be the lone run the Padres scored as Tim Lincecum pitched pretty well — four hits scattered over seven innings. He entered this game as the National League leader in walks for the second half (h/t @SFBleacherGirl), but only walked two through seven innings (in eight of his other 11 second-half starts, he walked at least three).
On the offensive side of things, Carlos Beltran provided all the support Lincecum would need, as he notched career home runs #299 and #300. It doesn’t sound amazing, given that it wasn’t so long ago that Barry Bonds was reaching career HR marks in the 700s, but the club is actually quite exclusive. To give an idea of that, it has roughly half as many members as the 2000-hit club (of which Orlando Cabrera is a member). Beltran is making quite the case for the Giants to pursue re-signing him this offseason — he’s currently slugging .884 in the month of September.
On the defensive side of things, Pablo Sandoval dazzled, making a couple nice plays at third (like this); at this point, he has to be under serious consideration for a gold glove this year. He’s currently leading National League third basemen in both DRS (+17) and UZR (+12.3).
After sitting on the bench for the duration of yesterday’s 12-inning affair, Brandon Belt actually got a start; he did not, however, get to play in the entire game — he was taken out in the seventh after hitting a double. At this point, I just don’t understand why the management refuses to make him an everyday player.
Sergio Romo came in to work the eighth (after Dan Runzler surrendered a leadoff walk), and added to his impressive 2011 campaign with a scoreless inning of work (1 K). He’s currently riding a 19+ inning scoreless streak.
All in all, a great getaway game, and the Giants have themselves a nice little four-game win streak.
After yesterday’s 8-K performance, Madison Bumgarner has raised his K% to 23.1% on the season, which is the eight-best mark in the National League. On a similar note, did you know that Bumgarner has one of the top bat-missing fastballs in the major-leagues? Anyway, some Monday morning links…
Joe Blogs: Wins and WAR and MVPs
More fantastic statistical ramblings from Joe Posnanski.
Breaking Bad: Brandon Belt and curveballs, sliders, and more « Bay City Ball | Giants Baseball with a Side of STATS!
A look at Belt’s struggles with breaking pitches.
The Jonathan Sanchez Decision » Bay Area Sports Guy
Should the Giants tender Jonathan Sanchez a contract this offseason?
Player Profile: Sergio Romo, RHP, San Francisco Giants – Minor League Ball
Player Profile: Sergio Romo, RHP, San Francisco Giants
NL West: The snakebit Giants
Did you just see that? Did you see that rattler strike that bumbling oaf?