Minor League Baseball: San Jose Giants

Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH) gives away free tickets to San Jose Giants games regularly and I finally took advantage and took my family to the game last Tuesday. It was a nice night for baseball in San Jose, though it did get a little nippy by the middle of the game.

Unfortunately, the starting pitcher, Juan Serrato did not have it at all, despite the 8 strikeouts. I've seen and heard a lot of baseball games but, I swear, more than half of them were strikeouts on pitches in the dirt that the batter swung on and the catcher had to throw to first to get the batter out. He ended up giving up 6 runs in his 4 IP. Brooks McNiven, however, came out and starting striking out people at the same higher rate and shut them down for the most part so that was good.

The reason I wanted to make it out to the park was because I wanted a look at Eddy Martinez-Esteve, Travis Ishikawa and Nate Schierholtz (and because it was free, thanks OSH!). I missed Matt Cain last year and didn't want to miss out again on players who may make it up to the majors. I was also hoping to see Joe Bateman too. It was a lot of fun being there, the crowd was into the game, the weather was nice, the sunset was nice, the moon rose nicely.

Unfortunately, my daughter is too young to enjoy a ballgame and we had to leave early, after the 6th inning. EME and Nate did not do much while I was there. Ishikawa saved the day for us, hitting this MONSTER homerun in the bottom of the 6th. The ballpark has this cute tradition of playing "broken glass" noise when a homer is hit or foul ball out of the park, but I found out as we walked out that it could literally be true that your car might get a nice dent or broken window from a ball hit out of the park. Ishikawa later unloaded again to tie the game before San Jose won the game in extra innings.

Ishikawa has a lot of power, as his stats show. It was quite interesting to see it in person, that ball was OUT OF THERE lickety-split when he connected, it was no doubt about it, the only question was whether it would clear the back fence and reach the parking lot, which it did. I was very excited to see that, there's nothing like a nice homerun to charge up the crowd. It was also a rare night where he didn't strike out at all, he had good swings prior to the homerun and had solid contact, he just happened to hit them where they were. He gave me hope for the Giants of 2008-10, he should make it there in some capacity, the only question is whether he can stop the strikeouts and keep the average up like he is doing this season.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd love to be able to go see the SJ Giants. Clearly, most of our best hitting prospects are there, so we Giants fans can at least dream a little.
Everything I've read indicates that EME is a terrible outfielder and profiles best as a DH. He certainly seems to be able to hit, and hit with power. Does anyone know if EME could conceivably be a decent LF in the future? Or if he's even coordinated enough to move to 1B? (although I'd prefer Ishikawa there, ideally).
Also, does anyone know why Felipe seems so reluctant to bat Ellison lead-off? I thought he had a good OBP with some speed.

Tue Jun 28, 05:39:00 AM PDT  
Blogger obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

There is a nice article in the Merc on EME's selection to the Cal League All-Star game: http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/sports/baseball/mlb/san_francisco_giants/12003268.htm (you have to register to view it or you could try the Merc RSS link via My Yahoo to see if you can get it without registering)

I have heard the same about his defense, in particular his lack of interest in improving defensively. He has publicly been the good citizen, citing his interest in proving himself defensively.

I don't know how to take the comment in the article from the Giants head of player development, Jack Hiatt, who noted, "center field, right field, and first base as possibilities," in addition to his playing "exclusively" in left field since turning pro (all of, what, 30-40 games last season, none this season). He would have to have a pretty good arm to play CF or RF and I've never heard that of EME, even when he was healthy. I guess they are expecting his arm to be much better after the surgery?

I'm hoping he ends up in LF and Linden in RF and Ishikawa at 1B.

Tue Jun 28, 06:31:00 PM PDT  
Blogger obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

About Ellison, he is leading off today. Alou (and most managers)likes to shake up the lineup when it is not working and it hadn't been working during the losing streak when Ellison was leading off. Unfortunately, it got worse when Durham was leading off, culminating with the 1-hitter on Sunday.

Looking at the stats, it would have made sense to drop Ellison from lead off by the end of May because he didn't hit for a hit OBP during that month but he has returned to a high OBP during June.

Then the problem of where to bat Durham comes up. He has returned to not hitting with Runners On after doing well last season, so he is killing us batting in the 5/6 spot. Ellison doesn't do well in Runners On sits also and both are even worse in RISP. This is compounded probably by his inability to hit RHP well. But you can't insult him by batting him 8th either.

One way to compromise is to bat Durham leadoff and Ellison 2nd but then where to put Vizquel? We could bat him 3rd but that would probably have the whole baseball world laughing at the Giants. However, Vizquel has hit better with Runners On (both this season, the past 4 seasons and for his career), which is what we would want a 3rd hitter to do, so that might be a good compromise to do, then hit Alou 4th, Feliz 5th, Niekro 6th, Linden 7th, and Matheny 8th. The past lineups certainly haven't done a smashing job so far.

Tue Jun 28, 07:22:00 PM PDT  

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