Waiting for Boof
Blog devoted to the San Francisco Giants
     Thursday, January 27, 2005

Waiting for Boof has moved!

The new site is http://www.mccoveychronicles.com.

If you are not automatically redirected in five seconds, it's because I don't know how to do that.

posted by G at 11:53 PM

     Friday, January 21, 2005

Saying Goodbye to Waiting for Boof

This site has grown from around a hundred regular readers to about two hundred regular readers. I have you to thank. The second hundred, I mean. The first hundred obviously didn't promote my site enough. The first hundred can sit in the corner, and think about what they've done.

I started the site as a way to practice my writing. As it turns out, there are a good number of people who enjoy bathroom humor, throwaway pop culture, and making themselves feel better by casting value judgements on athletes they have never met. Some of those people found their way here. I hope I have delivered.

Now, however, it is time to end Waiting for Boof. The days of poor HTML, ugly formatting, and bi-weekly posts are over. Enter:

McCovey Chronicles

This is the new site. It will feature daily updates, a snazzy logo, and much more interactive features. Also, a snazzy logo. It's the exact same idea behind Waiting for Boof, with the following exceptions:

1. The name.

2. The daily post thing. Also, there will be an open thread posted for every game where we can cheer every Matheny triple and Rueter punchout in real time. Why just ignore your loved ones by watching the game on television? You can also be on the computer, discussing what you're watching on television with total strangers.

3. You will have an uncontrollable urge to click on the ads. It's okay. Run with that feeling. I'm sure (product or service offered by advertiser) will be of great use to you.

4. The format. There is a strong interactive element to the site now. The "diaries" section allows you your own ranting space. It has been described as a "blog within the blog", and that description fits. If you disagree with what I write, start a diary and title it, "This Guy is an Idiot". People can then comment on your writing. While the diaries will allow readers to share their opinions with others, the focus is still on me. Throughout the changes, let us not lose sight of what's important here1.

More content and better interactivity are key in this new venture, and I'm very excited about it all. Thanks to everyone who has read Waiting for Boof, and I look forward to seeing you on McCovey Chronicles.


posted by G at 7:31 AM

     Thursday, January 20, 2005
 Check back late tonight or early tomorrow for a very important Waiting for Boof. Perhaps as important as your wedding and D-Day rolled into one. Maybe as important as that episode where Angela and Tony finally get together, despite Mona's salacious wisecracks. Or, perhaps as important as the Chronicle moving their crossword puzzle to the classified section, though even that still managed to bunch up some drawers.

You'll just have to come back and see, won't you? Wait! Don't take my coy take-it-or-leave-it attitude seriously. Please, please come back. I get so...lonely.

posted by G at 8:12 AM

     Thursday, January 06, 2005
(Baseball America's) credibility isn't worth a damn to me," he said. "I don't know what they use for a formula to decide what's a good organization and what isn't. Detroit was their No. 1 organization for three straight years, and obviously Detroit was getting an opportunity to draft at an excellent spot. However, none of those people have helped them win any games. So how do you feel about that organization being No. 1 now?
That was a quote from the director of player development for the Giants, Jack Hiatt, in response to a Chronicle article about the Giants minor-league system. Hoo. Must feel nice to get that off your chest, Jack. One little problem, though. Detroit was never the number one organization in any of Baseball America's rankings. They were never really close, much less at the top spot for three straight years.

Here's what the amatuer sleuth in me can piece together. Jack Hiatt is the director of player development for the Giants. He has heard of this magazine which employs professional writers to gather and distill opinions about minor leaguers. He doesn't read the magazine. He hears of the content second-hand, maybe from dirty limericks etched into urinal walls at minor league ballparks. This confirms his suspicions that other people's opinions are bad, and he quietly resumes his work of not producing any hitters.

Am I warm? Because the track record of the organization is so poor, at least with respect to hitters, the list of plausible explanations is thinning. No one has perfect scouts. The Yankees can't buy perfect scouts. Paul Depodesta can't make one with his computer, a la Weird Science, though it is easy to picture him wearing a bra on his head as he looks up his stats. The Giants haven't produced a good outfielder since the movie Weird Science was released, though. The last all-star position players produced by the organization have retired.

Someone in the organization can spot pitchers, though. Jerome Williams is poised to become more than the average starter he already is, and Noah Lowry's changeup allowed him an easy transition into the majors. Matt Cain one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, behind only Felix Hernandez of the Mariners in most rankings. Merkin Valdez was a throw-in to a trade, which makes everyone pay a bit more attention to subsequent throw-ins, like Alfredo Simon.

The recent strategy of politely declining draft picks is fodder for a column of its own.

The top ten prospects, in the uninformed opinion of a man who relies heavily on just a handful of internet sources:

1. Matt Cain

Baseball America had him as the number one prospect entering the season. It was somewhat of a bold call, as Cain was a teenage pitcher coming off an injury. Bold like a fox, it turns out, as Cain had a tremendous year. He was one of very few teenagers in the California League, and he dominated. Other general managers call each other on the phone, rolling around the bed in their pajamas, twirling the phone cord around their finger, and just giggling at the mere mention of Cain.

He has poise and superlative stuff, they say. Pitches beyond his years, they say. They absolutely love him, as they are wont to do. If he were to burst on the scene in a Dontrelle Willis-type fashion, it wouldn't be a complete shock. If his elbow were to melt into melted gruyere, that also wouldn't be a complete shock. So it goes with young pitchers, but you knew that.

Quote from the future:

"I would have loved to stay in San Francisco. I just couldn't turn down a chance to pitch for the Yankees. Also, a chance to make $100,000,0000. You see that extra zero, defying all laws of standard numerical notation? The Yankees can actually do that sort of thing."

2. Nate Schierholtz

The first of several irresponsible overrankings, Schierholtz is this high for a couple of reasons. The first is my tendency to overrate players who tear up a league full of older players. The difference between the strength of a 21-year old and a 23-year old is relevant though, and that's without taking into account the experience handicap they face.

The other factor with this slotting is the only reason scouts aren't uniformly wild about him is his defense. Yeah, the bat is there, it goes. But where is he going to play? The Giants will find a place, and that shouldn't dim the star of a kid who slugs over .550 before he can buy booze. Early returns on his play indicate he will not win a gold glove, but is also not in danger of causing the apocalypse with his play in rightfield.

Quote from the future:

"I was all set to start my first game as an outfield prospect on the Giants. Man, was I excited! Then, there was a bright, blinding light. I went towards the light, and found myself in a room with pure white walls. Calvin Murray was there. Adam Hyzdu was there. Jacob Cruz and Steve Hosey were playing cribbage. It was so peaceful and beautiful. The next thing I know, I'm 33 and out of organized baseball. That's what prompted the lawsuit."

3. Merkin Valdez

Merkin is carrying a heavy load, trying to make people forget about the one-sidedness of the Russ Ortiz trade to this point. The scouts love him, but there are a couple of strikes against him. He is now 22, and has yet to have much extended success above San Jose. The fastball is there, and the slider isn't far behind, though he didn't flash it much in his limited big-league action. That magical third pitch, reportedly required to enter the VIP room at Club Legit Starter, is still a work in progress.

His fastball has some serious life to it, though. If he locates his fastball decently and junks the other pitches, he could still have a Felix Rodriguez-type career. That's nothing to be ashamed of at all, but it would be much nicer if he could make it as a starter.

Quote from the future:

"It means what in english?"

4. David Aardsma

The best relievers are made, and not born. Very few of the elite college closers drafted, with Matt Anderson being the favorite horror story told around the campfire, have fufilled their promise at the major league level. It is an interesting trend to think of in general terms, but in individual terms it probably means nothing. Aardsma had a nice year in AAA, which was impressive considering he had only 18 innings of professional experience before the season started. He has a chance to start the year in the majors. If he gives the Giants 60 innings of sub-4.00 pitching this year, his acquisition would already be a success.

Quote from the future:

"As the last first-round pick taken by the Giants until the fiasco of '18, I felt a certain responsibility to be great. As a reliever for the Giants, though, I felt another -- stronger -- responsibility to completely fall apart in the playoffs. I stand by my choice."

5. Eddy Martinez-Esteve

A 2004 draftee, Martinez-Esteve is constantly being compared with Manny Ramirez. Can't field anywhere, but can flippin' hit. Or, as the scouts truncate it, CFABCFH. Scouts are worried Schierholtz might not find a position, but they are certain Martinez-Esteve doesn't have one. Again, that is not worth worrying about at this point. Anyone who claws their way out of the masoleum known as the Giants minor-league system with their ability to hit still intact is going to be a fan favorite, even if they can't catch a weak pop-up.

He'll likely start in AA, and slowly start to suck. Hey, it's not what I hope happens, but I've been following the Giants and their hitting prospects for a while now.

Quote from the future:

"Look, the important thing isn't that I caught the ball with my ass after swallowing my glove and falling down. The important thing is that I caught the ball. And hit three doubles."

6. Pat Misch

Misch resides in that shaded area of the Venn diagram where Brian Sabean and Billy Beane meet. He has had good balance with his strikeout and walk numbers through his college and pro careers, but some high ERAs allowed him to drop to the 7th round. The left-hander has mowed through his first two pro seasons, surviving a precipitous promotion from short season-A to AA. He will likely be on the Brad Hennessey path this year, filling in and spot starting when needed, and should be a nice, cheap fourth starter for the team in the future

Quote from the future:

"What is 'The Shed', and why do people keep asking me if they can hang out there?"

7. Travis Ishikawa

Another wild overranking, sure, but Ishikawa has potential. He still has three years until the word "potential" isn't mentioned within the first minute, but it'll do for now. He either strikes out, walks, or hits the spittle out of the ball; usually going for the first option, unfortunately. Still, he finished the season very strong in San Jose. His pretty swing, combined with a willingness to take a walk, makes a personal favorite.

Quote from the future:

"When I made the majors, the veterans made me wear a dress as part of a hazing ritual. I thought that would be my lowest point in the majors, even though it was in good fun. Then I was traded for Shawn Estes...."

8. Craig Whitaker

He makes the list only because you can see the ribs of the Giants farm system. That, and he's talented enough to regularly throw the ball by kids just out of college. Young, throws hard, no control, and has about a 13% chance of ever being an above-average major leaguer. If he does make it, though, it'll be fun.

Quote from the future:

"What's a VHS tape?"

9. Fred Lewis

He had a nice season in San Jose. There is no getting around that. However, he was 23, and struck out a lot in single-A. He has tools, and added a touch of power, a category where he was previously south of Neifi. If he can do the same thing in AAA, he'll rocket up this list. This is probably as low as you'll see him ranked.

Quote from the future:

"Baseball America ranked me where? Well, that's nice and all, but my career's probably ruined after Waiting for Boof's comments. I could taste the doubt. General managers rely on him pretty heavily, so I'm getting a bunch of applications together for law school."

10. (tie) Todd Linden

Dimensional Vortex Leading to Ethereal Graveyard of Failed Giants Outfield Prospects, Todd. Todd, Dimensional Vortex Leading to Ethereal Graveyard of Failed Giants Outfield Prospects. His strikeout numbers went through the roof, though his homerun power started to show up. There is still a chance Linden can put it together in his age-25 season. It's hard to believe how well he started his minor-league career right out of college. He's ranked this low to compensate for his top ranking last year.

If you have children, please keep them away from his winter-league stats. Not that they mean anything. The stats, that is, not your children.

Quote from the future:

"It turns out the Curse of the Giants Outfield is passed on with a traditional speech. When Armando Rios gave it, it reminded me of Christopher Walken in Pulp Fiction. Fascinating stuff, really."

10. (tie) Lance Niekro

Before the 2004 season, it seemed as if ol' Lance would have to perfect his knuckler if he ever wanted more than a cup of coffee in the big leagues. Then he added power. Sweet, sweet power. He needs to ditch the Body by Drew tapes, and stay healthy for a full season. And though his walk rate has climbed each pro season or so, he still has a long way to go. This ranking is probably too generous, but his last 200 at-bats were that promising. His upside is Pedro Feliz with more contact, less power.

Quote from the future:

"Son, I had a nice career as a utility player. I regret nothing. Well, except for the time I duct taped Hoyt Wilhelm's grandson to a flagpole and emptied a fire extinguisher on him. He shouldn't have mouthed off like that, but still...."

The one major exclusion from this list is Brad Hennessey. Not that this is a terrible thing, but I can't shake the Tim Worrell comparision stuck in my head since I first watched him. As such, he didn't make the cut. Hennessey has a nice slider and a decent fastball, but he just doesn't seem like a good bet to be a successful starter. He and Kevin Correia seem interchangable at this point, though Correia has had slightly better strikeout/walk ratios. The Giants seem to like Hennessey, and they do have some credibility when it comes to the evaluation of pitchers, so hopefully this snub turns out to be a huge mistake.

If the Giants had Lowry, Williams, and Jesse Foppert still in the system, the list would be a lot more pitcher-heavy, and a lot more impressive. It would be nice if the team had some in-house replacements in the event of an injury, but there isn't much of a chance of injury with the Giants team of 2005.

2) Comment starter of the week: Your top ten prospects. Or top five. Or Steve Decker memories. Go nuts.

posted by G at 1:18 AM



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