Waiting for Boof
Blog devoted to the San Francisco Giants
     Thursday, January 30, 2003

Top Ten Prospects List

I'm no scout, and I'm not an expert with stats. What I'm great at, however, is consuming information and regurgitating it as if I discovered it. This isn't a top ten list, really, as much as it is a list of the prospects I'm most interested in for 2003.

1. Jesse Foppert, RHP
He reached AAA with about 300 lifetime innings of pitching under his belt. That's counting the minors and college, and he still looked like Nolan Ryan pitching in a tee-ball tournament.

2. Jerome Williams, RHP
I'm still wondering what kind of car he's going to get when he turns 16.

3. Kurt Ainsworth, RHP
He might not be Curt Schilling, but I can see him being Chan Ho Park in Park's "on" years. I'll take that.

4. Todd Linden, RF
He stands to be the first above-average outfielder produced by the Giants since "The Empire Strikes Back" came out. Think about that for a while. If you put together an outfield of the best prospects developed by the Giants in the past twenty years, you'd have Rob Deer in left, Marvin Benard in center, and Chili Davis in right. We're all rooting for you, Todd.

5. Boof Bonser, RHP
If he is a star for the Giants, it would be mighty cool to hear a crowd of 42,000 sing, "Booooooooof!" in unison. Of course, he could be terrible, and never know he was being booed. Jeff Brantley might have received a ten-year deal if his name was "Boof", with management thinking he was some sort of cult hero.

6. Ryan Hannaman, LHP
Young, throws gas, and struggles with his control. Welcome to the Giants, and here's your commemorative William VanLandingham, Joe Nathan, and Shawn Estes bobblehead set!

8. Jesse English, LHP
I know two things about him. One is that he was drafted far lower than Baseball America ranked him. The other is that he tore up the Arizona League right out of high school.

9. Noah Lowry, LHP
Injuries stole most of his year last year, but he still did well. He's supposed to be close to the majors, and is described as Kirk Reuter with a better fastball.

10. Tony Torcato, OF
I'm not ready to give up on him yet. He's still young, and I think he's the type of player who makes contact whenever he swings, driving down his walks. He could be Randall Simon, or he could be Ichiro without the speed. His swing is beautiful, though, and gives me a little hope.

The Giants' minor league organization has the balance of a hobo with an inner-ear infection and a bottle of Thunderbird. But even if the lack of position players is depressing, the pitching prospects they have are legitimate. The only pitcher on that list who didn't average one strikeout for every inning pitched was Jerome Williams. It's hard to find another team with that kind of depth.

posted by G at 4:02 PM

     Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Jose, You Magnificent Bastard

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. That's a sigh of relief, there, as the Giants have their last outfielder in Jose Cruz, Jr. I can write about something different for a change.

So, uh, what's up with, like, the looming war or whatever?

The lineup, as it might look:

Cruz, Jr.

Not bad at all. Getting Cruz as a free agent sure beats the horrific rumors of last trading deadline. Jerome Williams for Cruz.? I like Cruz, and think he's a better player than last year would indicate, but, sheesh. Thanks, but no thanks. But now, all things considered, thanks.

J.T. Snow is a terrible hitter compared to other first basemen, but he's average compared to the rest of the league. If he could hit, say, .275, with a .350 on-base percentage, he'd be a welcome addition to the #7 or #8 hole. If he could do so while hitting 30 doubles, and 15 homeruns, that'd be gravy.

I fully expect Santiago to fall off a cliff and hit .230, but he made me look like an idiot last year, so who knows? Torrealba's not quite a stiff, so he can rest Benito every now and again.

Looking good, Sabes. Looking good. If you need to dump salary, look at Snow, or El Ballena Inmóvil Grande. Don't think you can dump Aurilia because you've got Neifi. Ick. Just thinking that makes me want to take a bath.

posted by G at 2:18 PM

     Sunday, January 26, 2003

Random Thoughts:

1) Best hitter in the Giant minor league organization after Todd Linden? I'd have to go with Jesse Foppert.

2) Where have you gone, Terrell Lowery?

posted by G at 11:13 AM


Who Wouldn't Want Twelve Dan Carlsons Or Kelly Downses?

As an organization, the Giants have been consistent with their amateur drafting philosophy. Almost every draft for the past six or so years has followed a pattern of pitching, pitching, pitching, useless bat, pitching, and more pitching. The strategy makes sense, in a way, for the right team. The Giants are collecting live, fire-throwing youngsters because:

a)Pitching prospects are lotto tickets. It's hard to get lucky, but easier if you have a handful.
b)Other teams salivate over live, fire-throwing youngsters in trade talks.

It's all worked as planned, so far. The Giants are loaded with diamond arms. Loaded. Kurt Ainsworth, Jerome Williams, and Jesse Foppert are ready, or close to it, and would make the philosophy a success on their own. Then, you can toss in the younger studs like Boof Bonser, Ryan Hannaman, and Francisco Liriano. That's not even mentioning interesting pitchers like Jesse English, Erick Threets, Manuel Mateo, Noah Lowry, Clay Hensley, Matthew Cain, and Jeff Clark. That's an obscene amount of young pitching.

But what in the heck are the Giants going to do with it? They're not going to use it themselves. The team didn't trade Russ Ortiz for an outfielder, they traded him for two young pitchers, one of whom, Damien Moss, is going to be the replacement in the rotation. Moss is a moderately promising young pitcher, though only slightly younger than Ortiz, but there's no need for him on this team. I'd take my chances with Ainsworth, Williams, or Foppert, and invest elsewhere the million dollars saved on Moss' salary. He should be useful, though, and is the least of the team's problems. With him, and El Ballena Inmóvil Grande plugging two rotation spots, and The Somewhat Useful Ryan Jensen having a good shot at the last opening, there's nowhere for the phenoms.

The Giants do have holes, however, and this kind of depth is useful for trades. With management crying poor, this isn't going to happen either. Bartolo Colon and Kevin Millwood were both moved for packages I wouldn't trade Yorvit Torrealba for. Why couldn't the Giants have swooped in and offered Bonser or Liriano for either? Carlos Lee for Ainsworth? That'd be uneven, almost. The list of outfielders which could have moved in this new baseball economy is impressive. Mike Cameron, Kevin Millar, Jacque Jones and Carlos Beltran would all help the Giants, and they could, past tense in Millar's case, all be had for the right price. That right price would be young, cheap, and good pitching.

However, the ownership group is now standing around with outturned pockets. Ray Durham and Edgardo Alfonzo were nice free agent snags, but they were only replacements for free agents lost. The team can't afford to take on Cameron's salary, and don't wan't to part with the talent it would take to get Beltran and his looming arbitration paycheck. The suits seem to allow salary to be added during the heat of the season, but not in the winter months.

The ideal team for a drafting philosophy like the Giants' would be a team with moderately deep pockets. Teams like the Phillies, Mets, or the Rangers would be able to take on salary, while using their depth to fill needs. Another match for the pitching-first dogma would be a young, poor team like Tampa, or Milwaukee. They could use some of the prospects in the rotation, while shipping others for position player help. With the Giants unwilling to play their young pitchers, or trade them for something of substance, their organizational strategy isn't going to help the team in the near future.

Edit: It should be written somewhere that Manuel Mateo's real name has been discovered to be Melkin Valdez, and he's nine months older than previously thought. In the event that Boof Bonser is called up or traded, I promise my site's name will be changed to "Waiting for Melkin". Thank you.

posted by G at 2:13 AM

     Saturday, January 25, 2003

Random thoughts:

1. What does Damian Moss feel about Kangaroo Jack? Proud? Homesick?

2. So, Livan Hernandez supposedly took a swing at someone with a golf club? What would have happened if the guy on the other end really pissed Livan off? He would have died a miserable death, of course, because Livan has a black belt in choking. Not that I'm bitter.

3. The Giants signed Ruben Rivera. Now, it'd be real easy to start with the snarky jokes, so I won't bother. I'll just note that he's a good player to have in Fresno, just in case, and you could do worse than have him on your bench, too. I just can't help but wonder what he could fetch for Tony Zuniga's glove on EBay.

4. If you were a member of the San Francisco Giants' marketing team, what would be your choice for the 2003 theme song? I'd pick "Holy Shit, Why Couldn't You Get Those Last Eight Outs? (A Whole Lotta Cussing)", by Elvis Costello. But, that's just me.

posted by G at 1:27 AM


Stay On Target....

Okay. I read it on MLB.com, and dismissed it, but the damn rumor won't die. The Giants are still thinking about starting Ray Durham in centerfield. This, according to Ray Ratto, everyone's favorite mustachioed wordsmith. Maybe they're not thinking about it, and, in fact, they're planning on it.

What does this accomplish? The Giants' offense is not that far away from being a purty one. They've got the greatest hitter in the game, a good run-producing shortstop, Edgardo Alfonzo, and Ray Durham. J.T. Snow shouldn't be as bad as his 2002 impression of a spring Garth Brooks. I'm secretly hoping he can score more of the Wade Boggs dust he apparently snorted during the playoffs.

Moving Durham to center will hurt the defense, and, especially if Neifi gets some at-bats, hurt the offense. Marvin Benard is a favorite whipping-boy of the discerning Giants fan? He's Ted Williams next to Neifi Perez. Sick of seeing Marvin swing through eyebrow-grazing fastballs? Enjoy the Dadaist talents of the worst offensive player in the game, Neifi Perez. He wasn't just worse than Rey Ordonez with the bat last season, he was worse than Russ Ortiz.

If the lineup includes Durham in center, Alfonzo at second, and Pete Happy at third, that would still sting. Pete Happy isn't much of a hitter against righties, his flukish season for the 2000 Fresno Grizzlies aside. His defense has been described as "inconsistent", "a work in progress", and "The Crux of the Atheist Argument". He's also rumored to be given a shot at rightfield. Look out, Vlad.

The Giants' biggest need is one more starting outfielder. I'm not trying to be picky here. Benny Agbayani. Alex Ochoa. One of the Twins' fifty right-handed outfielders with pop. With one more starting outfielder, the lineup is whole again. Durham's at second. Alfonzo's at third. Neifi is riding pine like John Travolta rode the mechanical bull in "Urban Cowboy". Pete Happy is relegated to lefty-bopping pinch-hitter.

Everyone wins. Until Alfonzo sneezes too hard and ejects a vertabrae or two, that is.

posted by G at 12:59 AM



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