Though spring training has barely started, there have been some positive/interesting news about the prospects, culled from local newspapers (San Jose Mercury
, SF Chronicle
, Oakland Tribune
, Santa Rosa Press Democrat
) , sfgiants.com
, and Baseball America
(care of Steve Shelby's site):
- [Matt Cain]'s also lighting up spring training with the Giants, and though it’s early, he’s going to pitch his way into their crowded rotation if he keeps throwing the heck out of it like he has this spring…. I like Cain’s fastball command better and his knockout breaking ball [in comparison to the Indian’s Adam Miller and the Dodgers’ Chad Billingsley].” - John Manuel from Baseball America. This view was reiterated in a number of local newspapers as well.
- When it was mentioned to Manager Felipe Alou that he was impressed with Cain last year in spring training, Alou smiled and said, "I'm more impressed now." Alou has noticed that Cain has filled out physically, throws harder and has developed a "tighter" breaking ball. Alou also related that a player -- who he would not identify, except to say that he was new to the organization -- said to him incredulously, "You tell me this guy's not on the pitching staff?" ...."I believe that's the kind of guy any organization would never, ever trade," Alou said. "Everybody has a good eye on that kid." [Damn straight, my opinion of Sabean will go into the dumper if Cain is traded unless we get, say, Vlad Guerrero in exchange, or someone like him]
- Manager Felipe Alou was impressed with [John Bowker]. "I heard he was a good hitter, so he's already 1-for-1 with a double," said Alou. "We'll see him and the others later on."
- "[Pat Misch] looked good out there and has complicated the inventory," said Alou. "Misch has three real good pitches, and you bring that stuff to a game in A or Double-A ball and he's going to get people out. "He has a shot at the Triple-A rotation [at Fresno] this year -- it's his to lose," said Alou. [Scouting report plus his stats have Misch at a more advanced development state than Lowry was when Lowry was in AA, though he still has to make a big leap to make the Majors]
- [Erick] Threets looked powerful, despite giving up Bowker's double and hitting a photographer on a warmup pitch. The 23-year-old underwent surgery to repair a left shoulder tear and that cost him the 2004 season. "He was good today. He is real healthy now and more mature," said Alou. "It's going to happen sooner or later. He's going to see the light. He's scary."
- [Another quote on Erick Threets by Alou from another writer] "He looks good this spring. We haven't seen the wild pitches and the hit batters. I'm not saying much about that kid because we want to leave it at what it is right now. We want him to surprise us. The feeling is that he's healthy now and more mature. It's going to happen sooner or later; he's going to see the light. He's pitching easier this year, not so much pumped up like he was before."
- Minor league outfielder Dan Ortmeier received an engaged, hands-on lesson [from Barry Bonds] that lasted almost a half-hour. [Hopefully he learned something]
- Who are some of the lesser known sleepers with amazing tools in lower levels not on the top 100 list that could potentially make large impacts? A: John Manuel (BA): Marcus Sanders is one of some good candidates.
- Baseball America ranks RHP Matt Cain #13, Merkin Valdez #58, and Fred Lewis #78 in their Top 100 Prospects ranking for 2005.
- Threets said he has smoothed out his delivery and he is having an easier time repeating it consistently. His triple-digit velocity hasn't come back, but he believes it will.
- "... you have to stay with what you do. For me, that's hitting line drives.'' [Kevin] Frandsen, 22, resumed doing that fairly quickly during last fall's instructional league after a broken collarbone ended his promising professional debut. "He made a great showing,'' General Manager Brian Sabean said Tuesday, explaining why Frandsen received a non-roster invitation here. "Our guys are very high on his ability, as well as his work ethic.'' A 12th-round selection in last year's amateur draft, Frandsen hit .296 in 25 games with short-season rookie league Salem-Keizer before his injury. He'll probably begin the season with Class A San Jose or Hagerstown.
- Alou said Jason Ellison has the inside track on the fifth outfield spot. Ellison has played two full seasons at Triple-A, so the Giants aren't worried about stalling his development by having him sit on the bench in the majors. The club may feel that someone such as Todd Linden, for example, would be better served to play every day in the minors.
- [Mike Cervenak] has been held back for lack of a position. His defense at third base is not considered big-league caliber, and, at 5-foot-11, he is viewed as too small for a first baseman. But the Giants love Cervenak's bat and believe he could be a valuable corner utility player on a major-league team. His path to the Giants seems blocked, but stranger things have happened.