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Friday, April 29, 2016

Giants arrive in New York on a roll

The Giants started out the season 6-2, at which point I think many of us felt like this team was already clicking and probably would be a +.500 team pretty much from start to finish. However, the Giants offense hit a major funk while also running into some pitching problems and it caused them to lose 8 of 11 ballgames and before you knew it, they were a few games below .500.

Well, much like that first 10 days of the season, the Giants look like they've somewhat gotten their grove back. They've finally gotten back over the .500 mark, now sitting at 12-11 (after sweeping the Pads this week), heading into Friday night's series opener with the Mets. I'm really looking forward to this weekend's series as it's the Giants first big test outside their division and they're having to go into Flushing Meadows to take on the reigning NL Champions. Luckily for the Giants, they won't have to face Mets ace Matt Harvey while getting to sport their two aces Johnny Cueto and Madison Bumgarner in games two and three. However, they're not going to avoid Noah Syndegaard (who in my opinion is better than Harvey anyway) nor Jacob deGrom, one of the most underrated young arms in the game. Games two (MadBum/Syndegaard) and three (Cueto/deGrom) should be outstanding pitching match-ups in the spacious Citi Field and we may see a grand total of about 5 runs scored in those two ballgames.

Where the Giants have the upper hand on New York is their much deeper lineup, however, a lot of guys, including their star Buster Posey, are still looking to really get into their grooves. Pence and Belt have been helping pick up the slack, and Joe Panik looks like he's rounding into his .300 form with that sneaky extra-base power. They really just have to get Buster Posey, who, whether it  takes until May 1st of June 15th, is gonna get it going at the plate and in a big way, to start pitching in. Also, Brandon Crawford, the all-star shortstop who hit 20 jacks last year and drove in 84 runs while sporting an OPS just shy of .800, needs to show more of that BCraw rather than the .236/2/5 line he's put up the first month. Granted, his patience at the plate still has his OBP around .350 and OPS up over .700 which are still respectable for a shortstop with his defensive caliber, we've seen him grow a lot the last 2 seasons and eventually he's gonna round into shape. Denard Span is another guy who should see his average start spiking here sooner or later. He's always been a .285+ hitter  (.302 combined the last 2 seasons) and although he's driving in runs at a high rate, scoring runs and still getting on base at a decent clip, he's still got some offensive upside he's yet to fully tap into.

The Giants have a good squad people. Better than they did entering any of their Championship seasons, in my opinion. They're up there with the Mets, Cubs and Nationals, better than LA, Arizona, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, and they/'ve finally started looking it the last week. Most likely, the team that stays the healthiest out of the first four, more elite squads I mentioned will end up representing the National League in the World Series this October, barring some unforeseen fall-off, injury or something along those lines. The Giants, with the experience and depth they have, are going to have as good a shot as any, but they gotta get that consistency going. No more losing 7 of 9. If they can avoid those prolonged losing streaks, they have a good enough squad to win 95 as they're currently composed. Now if Bobby Evans and Brian Sabean go out and get another starter and/or lights out closer (or whatever need may present itself over the next two months), they the Giants could become clear favorites. Again, they have to keep up the way they've played the last week though, and not that team we saw in the middle of the month.

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The Giants Baseball Blog
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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Johnny Cueto.. The Savior!

After a red hot first week-plus to start out April, the Giants hit about a 2-week rough stretch, but it looks like they're finally breaking out of it. Oh yeah, that Johnny Cueto guy looks like he's going to be pretty good too!


San Francisco has won four of their last five ballgames to get back to the .500 mark at 11-11, and they did it behind the best pitching performance we've seen to start the 2016 season, hands down! Johnny Cueto dazzled the San Diego Padres Tuesday night at AT&T Park, and while the Pads don't exactly supply the most imposing offensive lineup, it was impressive nonetheless. The Giants' 29 year-old prized off-season signing threw the teams first complete game of 2016, allowing 7 hits and a walk but used 11 K's to help get him out of any trouble he ran into, which wasn't much at all. This was the exactly what the Giants had in mind when they gave Cueto that big deal in December, and this is exactly why I was all for his 2-year opt-out. This guy looks motivated and focused here in the early season. Look no further than his 4-1, 2.65 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 33 K's to just 5 walks in 37 innings of work thus far as a testament to that. A lot of pitchers, after they get their big deals, take some time to settle into their new digs as they know they're set for the next 5+ years, but Cueto knows another two big seasons could land him a gigantic deal in what would likely be his last big contract.

So yes, a lot of people worried about that two-year opt-out but not I and it's being shown why early on here. Dude looks focused! It was a good thing Cueto had his A-stuff on this night too because the Giants just couldn't get anything going against Padres ace James Shields. The tall right-hander held the Giants to just 3 hits in his 7 innings of work, but luckily one of those hits was a double off the bat of Denard Span with a runner on to provide the only run of the game and Johnny made it stand. The hitting, after that slow start and then horrible couple weeks in mid-April, looks like it's slowly but surely coming around (sans Tuesday obviously), as we all knew it would. As the weather heats up, so do the bats usually and I really expect this team to start clicking at the plate sooner than later on a consistent level.

MadBum, Cueto, Samardzija have all been just about as advertised and Jake Peavy's coming off his best start of the year, so right now, that staff really just needs to get Matt Cain going and then they'll start clicking on all cylinders as well. With the shuffling going on in the bullpen right now, the starters are going to be pushed a little harder to try and get into that 7th inning and so far, Matt Cain is the only one yet to do so. Cainer had that solid outing to start the year in LA, but has had three rough outings since and the theme for him seems to be struggling in the middle innings, which tells me it may be time to explore using him in relief where he can go hard for an inning or two.

I wouldn't expect to see any drastic changes like that anytime soon though and Cain is the fifth man after all so the Giants don't need him to be great, but he's hardly appeared Major League-caliber over his last three starts. Problem is, the closest guy the Giants have in-house to taking that fifth spot should Cain need a replacement is Clayton Blackburn and a lot of scouts don't see his stuff transpiring as well at the Major League Level and they certainly aren't making a trade of any kind this early.... Anyway, as I said in my last post, I have complete faith the offense is going to be just fine and we're already seeing signs of it. I'm not as sure about their 4th and 5th starters although Peavy has shown a little more ability than Cainer, especially when you take the second half of last year into account as well.
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The Giants Baseball Blog
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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Back-end of rotation raising concern?

Sure it's just halfway through April, but each Giants' starter has had a chance to take the hill a couple of times now and thus far the main concern lies in the back-end of the rotation. Two rough starts by Jake Peavy and Matt Cain cost the Giants a chance at winning a series they really should have and those two have to be better going forward, especially Peavy.

We all kinda know what to expect from the front-three guys (Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija), however, the two that follow those three horses have been far less than spectacular their first two times out. Now, to his credit, Matt Cain looked very good in his first outing vs. the Dodgers at AT&T last week throwing 6 innings of 2-run ball and I think that was a breath of fresh air for all of us. However, his second start of the year, granted it came in Coors Field, was a rough one. He cruised through the first four innings of the game looking like the Matt Cain of 2010, but all the sudden, like he did so many times in '15, seemed to just hit a wall in the fifth inning. Although he didn't allow all 6 runs to cross the plate while he was on the mound, he went just 4 2/3 and was charged with 6 runs on 6 hits. He did strike out 7 though and had he gotten a few lucky breaks maybe he mirrors his first start and things don't get as bad, but that wasn't the case. Now Kruk and Kuip made it sound like Cain was brilliant regardless, but when you can't make it through 5 innings, it's not a good start, period. All in all though, I'm not too worried about him, yet, not the case for Jake Peavy though.

After a rough spring, Peavy has started the year off with two rough outings which has his ERA at an even 10.00 while allowing an eye-popping 21 hits in just 9 innings, and that's the really scary part. He's getting roped and his stuff has not looked very good at all. With him being in the final year of his contract, it seems like he'd be the guy to have the shorter leash between he and Cain should the Giants feel they do need to upgrade that back-end of the rotation eventually. I mean, nothing will happen anytime soon, but if Peavy's still got his ERA up over 5 or 6 come June then the Giants are going to have to start exploring some options. A couple guys that come to mind if they do decide to venture outside the organization is Philly's Jeremy Hellickson and San Diego's Andrew Cashner (along with plenty more as he season wears on), but again, trade talk in mid-April is a tad premature. Just thinking longer term over next couple months as possible options should they be needed.

Other than these last two rough outings from Peavy and Cainer the last two games, things have gone about as good as you could ask for as a Giants fan these first couple 10+ days of the '16 season. Big money signings Samardzija, Cueto and Denard Span have all looked good and primed to contribute plenty to the Giants run this year. It's been the offense, as a whole, that has really been the treat to watch thus far. We all knew this offense was deep and could get to you in a variety of ways but what's impressed me is their ability to just never be out of a game. After Cueto had that rough first vs. the Dodgers Sunday, it looked like it was gonna be a long day, however, Cueto buckled down and showed why he's a top starter in this game after that 1st inning and the offense did picked him up in a big way to give him the W. The starting eight have all been contributing but the guy who's been the biggest surprise with the bat isn't even a regular. Rookie back-up catcher, Trevor Brown, leads the team with 3 HR and is second with 7 RBI and he's had only 12 at-bats! Not that Buster Posey's job is in any kind of jeopardy of course, but Brown has certainly made Andrew Sussac expendable and a possible key trade chip should the Giants need to swing a deal this summer, like they usually do.

Romo's Elbow Hurting: Aside from Buster Posey having some minor health issues that held him out of the first two games in Colorado, the Giants have ran into their first real injury scare with reliever Sergio Romo, who was flown back to San Francisco Wednesday to have his elbow looked at and it must not have went well as the Giants placed him on the DL Thursday. We all know with Romo's whip like delivery and slider-heavy repertoire, his elbow is always a sensitive area, so hopefully it's just some a minor little flexor strain and he's good as new in a couple three weeks. If he does indeed need surgery and they lose him for an period of time then the Giants lose arguably their best reliever (closer or not). I mean Romo's their security blanket for Santiago Casilla, who occasionally needs one, and I just don't know Hunter Strickland's ready to take on that role yet. My guess is either Mike Broadway or Derek Law get the call-up, with Jake Dunning a dark horse candidate
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The Giants Baseball Blog
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Monday, April 11, 2016

Series win proves Giants top dogs in West

Through much of this first week of the season, the Giants have been in control, heading into Sunday's series' finale with Los Angeles at 5-2, and looking every bit the team many were expecting in December when they added to an already sturdy bunch. That being said, the Brewers were hardly the test the Giants will be facing with the likes of Los Angeles, Arizona, New York and Washington all the NL, so the Dodgers were their first big test.
 After taking care of business in Milwaukee as hoped, they came home to face the Dodger's, the National Leagues best regular season team from a year ago. Most every one's radar was on Saturday's matchup of Madison Bumgarner and Dodger Ace and MVP Clayton Kershaw. The Giants wasted no time getting to Kershaw as his counter part, MadBum, took him deep for the games first run. Kershaw settled down after that allowing just a Ehire Adrianza jack as his only other blemish, but on this day the Giants were too strong. At the end, the pitching lines looked nearly identical with MadBum did out-dueling his Dodger counter-part in most areas; 6 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 8 K, 1 R compared to Kershaws 8 IP, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 HR and in the end, that's all that matters. They both gave their team chances to win and although Kershaw may have been flashier and allowed just the two hits, but the Giants scored the three runs to LA's 2 and won the ballgame. You get what I'm saying here? This game is played in between the lines, and even when you think the highest odds are stacked against you, you just never know what will happen. That, my friends, is what makes baseball so great.

Enough of this philosophical stuff though (though I'm as superstitious come when it comes to sports). We're all here to talk baseball not out outlooks on the world. Save that for the political blogs and talk shows. Strictly baseball and sports on this site please, although a good political joke or relevant topic would be welcome... Anyhow, back to the subject at hand, and that is the way the Giants are playing to star the year, and the way they've started the year has been about as good as one could have hoped for, granted they could be at 6-1 had the late relievers done their job vs. LA on Saturday, but 5-2 after taking 3 of 4 from LA to start the season isn't a bad way to kick start things in the least and there are a multiple reasons why they're doing it.

First and foremost has been the offensive onslaught this team has been laying on opponents. We talked about it all spring a lot during that first series in Arizona, this team is just too deep from 1-9 in the batting order and never really out of a ballgame. It looks like manager Bruce Bochy is indeed going to roll with the pitcher in the 8th slot for the time being and I do like the move just because of the Giants' personnel. I mean, Brandon Crawford won a Silver Slugger award for SS's last season hitting in the 8th spot ahead of the pitcher so he's comfortable there. Then with the addition of Denard Span, it allowed Angel Pagan to be dropped into the 9th spot, aka the 2nd leadoff, and we've already seen it pay dividends early on. Now pitchers are facing to Denard Span with runners on and he's responding by driving in runs. Pagan still has some learning to do out in left field everyday but I really do like the new Giants' lineup set-up, Another reason why they're able to do that besides having the two leadoff hitters, is the great balance they have throughout. I mean, they have 2 or 3 guys who could hit 2nd and a few guys who could hit 3rd and so on, they just really could slot in anywhere and make it work but I think Boch has figured out the right formula so far.

So, things have been "so far so good" through the first week of the first week of the 2016 season, but in no way is this team perfect and I already see a few areas to keep an eye on moving foward. Now if you recall last season, Santaigo Casilla was ousted from the closer's role before regaining it and the Giants had some issues with their late relief at times and a premiere closer like a Craig Kimbrel, Mark Melancon, Greg Holland etc.. Not saying Caislla isnt right there too, but he's a notch below them and Romo a notch below that. I don't know if the Giants would even entertain trading for a closer, as that all depends on whether they think Hunter Strickland will be ready to take over in 2017 but I, myself, have the feeling they aren't thinking like that right now, so the late releif trade market could be one to keep an eye one. Besides that, the Giants look set as is right now. I mean, I was thinking maybe beefing up the infield with a more experienced utility guy to play with Tomlinson but Adrianza just keeps proving me wrong. Also, it wouldn't surprise me to see them bring in some sort of right-handed thump off the bench once they feel ready to roll with just 12 pitchers.

What a Week! Well, to wrap things up for the week, I don't think any of us Giants fans could have asked for a batter 7-day start. Sure a 7-0 record and maybe a MadBum no-no would be a spoiled kids wish list but nontheless, the Giants showed this is going to be another fun year and they have the talent to make it a memorable one. With the day off tomorrow and obligations Tuesday I probably won't be back until Wednesday or Thursday but until then, go Giants. And as always, folllow our Twitter for all things Giants Baseball Blog, new posts, thoughts on moves, major leagye baseball thoughts and even some occasional politic or pop culture talk if I feel like it. And we're setting up some cool giveaways this very moment! Stay tuned and follow us, and as always, GO GIANTS!
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The Giants Baseball Blog
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Thursday, April 07, 2016

SF carry's momentum into home opener

The home opener didn't start all that promising behind the arm of Jake Peavy as the Giants took on their arch rival Los Angeles Dodgers. Peavy was tagged for four runs throughout his five innings, and it took the Giants' offense a minute to get going but they indeed did just that.

Now, before I delve into the home opener Thursday, two of the Giants biggest acquisitions of the winter made their debuts in Milwaukee and while Jeff Samardzija would probably like a do over, Johnny Cueto threw how I think a lot of us were expecting the premiere right-hander to throw. I wasn't able to give my thoughts on Johnny Cueto here after his outstanding start Tuesday and wanted to just briefly. Cueto showed his value in terms of just all the different quirks he has out there and how he can mix stuff up without losing his release point or running into mechanical issue. He went 6 strong, didn't walk a batter, allowed 6 hits and also struck out 6 Brewers' hitters and never really ran into trouble at all throughout the day. He's got that quiet confidence and swag about him that exudes confidence and you can see exactly why. Samardzija,, on the other hand did not look as comfortable or in control as Cueto. Granted, he wasn't terrible, but he was way too hittable, allowing 8 knocks over 5+ innings (a problem that haunted him last season) and also allowed 3 free passes, so he's lucky that he got out of that start of 5+ innings only charged the 3 run. Over two base-runners allowed per inning is way to high for a pitcher, especially a guy who has expectations like Samardzija coming in. Needless to say, he's going to be under a bit of a microscope his next time out and it won't be easy in another hitters paradise, Coors Field.

So, the Giants headed into the home opener at a comfortable 2-1 and although they had the edge in the pitching match up in this one, you wouldn't have known it by watching the first few innings. Jake Peavy just didn't have his crisp stuff early, as he was leaving balls up in the "hit me" zone and his sliders and sinkers weren't dipping and cutting as much as they were towards the end of spring (according to Krukow). Unlike the walks that killed Madison Bumgarner and really hurt Jeff Samardzija though, Peavy put up a goose egg in that column and thankfully he did or else who knows what kind of numbers LA puts up those first couple innings.

Luckily for Peavy, as was the case for Samardzija on getaway day in Millwauke yesterday, the Giants offense showed why they're one of the deepest, most dynamic bunches in baseball and treated that 4-0 deficit as if it were non-existent. Denard Span got the Giants on the bored with an RBI ground out, but then Joe Panik tripled and Buster Posey doubled to bring the Giants to within 1 in the 5th. That shows you the versatility of this lineuep. They can put up quick numbers without necessarily needed to hit the 3-run jack just because they have gap power throughout and pretty good speed as well (minus Posey only, really). At that point, although they still ended the inning down 4-3, I think most Giants fans had a pretty good feeling about the team coming back in this one, and come back they did. Angel Pagan, Panik and Posey all contributed RBI hits in the 6th to give the Giants a 2-run lead for the first time on the afternoon then the Hunter Pence grand slam was pretty much the nail in the Dodgers' coffin on this day. This is what's been so damn special about this unit and if they're showing this unity and comrodority this early then imagine what things will be like come July! Grand slams never hurt a team's morale or confidence but even if Pence never hit that, the Giants were gonna win that game. The players confidence is starting to legitimately transffering over the fans!

So we've gotten through just 4 games so far, and the Giants sit at 3-1 and if you look at their victories, you can't help but be impressed with the fashion in which they've pulled them off. This team reminds me a lot of the 2014 just with more versatility, defense and better pitching. Let's keep this in mind: Coming into the season the Giants' success was going to be deemed by how well the pitching staff can put it together and so long as they lineup stays healthy and can score enough runs. So far it's been the opposite, and we saw some of it in spring training too. I'm just waiting until those starters like Peavy, Bum and "The Shark" hit their stride, then look the hell out National League! Man am I glad this game is back and the Giants are providing the type of excitement I think we're going to grow accustomed to all year laong... Oh by the way, super excited to see what Matty does in his debut Friday night. It'll be epic, not only for his confidence, but for the fans if this guy can go out there and deliver a vintage Cainer perfomance. I didn't get to see Cain throw at all in spring, aside from a few edited clips here and there, so I'm escpecially excited to see what kind of stuff he brings into 2016.
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The Giants Baseball Blog
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Monday, April 04, 2016

Giants have big Opening Day, smash Brewers

Well, any minor concern there was over the rough spring training the Giants had pretty much got alleviated on Opening Day in Milwaukee on Monday. The Giants showed why they're one of the favorites to represent the NL in the World Series this year with an all-around team victory in MLB's biggest regular season game.

Things were a little up and down early in the game, as Madison Bumgarner (who was battling illness in the start) was tagged for 3 runs, including two big flies, over a trying first three innings. However, he settled down a bit and managed to make it through the required 5 innings to secure the victory. MadBum certainly wasn't as sharp as we're used to seeing the big left-hander, walking 5 hitters which is uncharacteristically high for the Giants' ace. He gets hit sometimes, but he usually doesn't beat himself and after watching him walk in that run in the first and give up two homers on 1-2 counts, I think we wall knew it was going to be a struggle. Despite the 5 free-passes, Bum did induce a big double play off the bat of Aaron Hill, which helped limit major damage, and also struck out 6 over his 5 frames and those two factors probably were the reason why he was able to hang in there and earn the victory in the end. I mean, just seeing how bad it was for Bum by the end of the third, I think we all would have gladly taken this line, which speaks volumes to his ability to buckle down as the game goes on, no matter what happens early on. Unfortunately pitch count and this being the first game of the season forced him out after just five, I'm sure had the count been 15-20 pitches lower and this been a game in June, he may have gone on to pitch 7 strong and turned this into a strong start.

Fortunately for Bumgarner though, the Giants offense came to play today, and I think that's going to be a theme we see a lot of all season long. I mean, this Giants lineup is so deep and so dynamic now with the 'two-leadoff hitter' look and all that power and strong contact throughout the middle. Although pretty much every hitter in the Giants lineup pitched in in some way, the day was really all about Denard Span and Matt Duffy. Span, making his Giants' debut after signing that 3-year deal this winter, ended up going 2-4 but drove in 5 and scored 2 runs, including the big 3-run jack that put the game out of reach in the 8th and was the first end of a back-to-back-to-back. Duffy also had a 2-hit game, while also homering and driving in 4 runs. Brandon Belt had 3 hits and Buster Posey and Joe Panik each left the yard as well. There was so much said about the depth of this Giants' lineup coming into this season and they lived up to all the hype, and some, on Opening Day.

I mean, there really isn't much more you could ask for as a Giants' fan on opening day. As it snowed in the frigid outdoors in Milwaukee, the Giants offense lit it up on the inside. But we can't forget about the awesome, four scoreless innings the bullpen combined to throw after taking over for Madison in the 6th inning. Sure, they had a comfortable lead, but a lot of times that's when bullpen's can get lazy and in an offensive yard like Miller Park, no game is ever quite out of reach, especially in the 6th/7th innings. It would have been nice to see MadBum make it a quality start and go another inning, but all else considered, I think it was a near perfect opener for the Giants, and hopefully a glimpse of whats to come in the Summer 2016! I can't wait to see Cueto and Samardzija's debuts the next two nights!
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The Giants Baseball Blog
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Friday, March 25, 2016

The three stages of Spring Training

Ah, the three stages to spring, at least the way I see it. First is, you get everyone here, healthy and and in shape (man has that third part gotten easier without the Panda bumbling into Scottsdale) the for those first few weeks, the majority of teams actually think they have a shot, and this year, they do. So for the first week or 2 of games it's slow process getting back into the swing of things and it's a time for the young guys to shine. And most importantly, keep everyone healthy. But then things pick up...

Then all the sudden before you know it it's the time that first cuts come and guys who make the cut and are actually performing, are getting their chance to shine. For the younger guys, it's crunch time in terms of putting up or shutting up in the Cactus League because at the end of spring the vets will all be getting 7+ inning tune-up. This group contains guys like IF Kelby Tomlinson, OF Jarrett Parker, IF Ehire Adrianza, OF Mac Williamson, catchers Trevor Brown and Miguel Olivo and reliever Mike Broadway. Of course star young prospect, Christian Arroyo (the best all-around talent level since Buster Posey) and one of the top young SP's Kyle Crick, were optioned to minor league camp early but were very impressive during their brief stay (especially Arroyo).

Of the group remaining though, I think Jarrett Parker and Ehire Adrianza seem to have grabbed a stranglehold on the final bench sports now, but Mac Williamson is doing his best to be that right-handed power bat off the bench. Usually you get a big slugger like that and he's anchored to one position. To me though, Arroyo didn't make the cut but was obviously the most intriguing of any prospect, and not necessarily a guy to rule out in 2016, especially with Panik's back issues. Brandon Crawford doesn't really have to worry this year about the 21 year-old "could be phenom" but this kid should be more than ready by 2017 which means someones getting dealt. (I know it's all purely speculation and Aroyo's yet to even face a big league arm, and BCraw has been crucial in 2 of them). Arroyo won't make the squad outta spring of course as the team will want him playing everyday, but he should just keep working his way up the prospect charts.

Now, of course, we've hit third and final phase, it's really put up or shut up for the fence guys when they do get their chances and turn up time for the 20 odd players guaranteed a spot for April 4th. So far things have been pretty good in terms of health and even production from the Giants' on and offensives standpoint, especially offensively. Most of the starters are hitting around .300 or north of it and everyone appears on target for opening day.

On a pitching standpoint, however, especially on the starting end, it's the complete opposite, as everyone has an ERA north of Jake Peavy's 8.31. Let's hope it's just the thin air fellas cause these guys have got to be a strength and a key start is huge (see 2014), even though the lineup is a top one (this is a team with championship aspirations afterall). They also had that little scare with Cueto's shot off the head but he came out just fine and entrenched his spot as the man behind MadBum in the Giants official starting rotation, announced Friday. The big focus down the stretch and into the preaseason Bay Bridge Series, will be that final spot. Which again, at the moment should belong to Adrianza or Parker. I love the idea of the right-handed Williamson, but Parker showed a lot last year and I think is big power option off the bench and a guy who's already proven he can change games with one swing of the bat. Wiliamson does give you that right-handed option whereas you only have Susac and/or Brown. So that will be it. Could be a guy like Mike Broadway, especially given Cain's worries, but I think that's exactly what Heston is for.

Extras: Bochy announced the rotation Friday with absoutley no surprises. Madison Bumgarner will be followed by necomers Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija then Jake Peavy will give way to Matt Cain as the fifth man. However, and not not as surprisingly, the veteran manager has not announced his opening day lineup and likely won't do so until last weekend of the spring. My guess though, it too will be as expected: Span-Panik-Posey-Pence-Belt-Duffy-Pagan-Crawford. Although Duffy could swap into the 3-hole and drop everyone down the spot (possibly including a Pagan/Crawford swap depending on matchups). Those are the only two outcomes I can see and we should know in a matter of days.
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The Giants Baseball Blog
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