One more thing: Steve Shelby Future Forty interview

First off, feeling much better, to quote the Beatles, "it's getting better all the ti-i-ime", but I'm not there yet. Realized that I may have given the impression that I was deathly ill with my quick note - I'm not. Just been battling something for a month now and finally giving in and taking some meds and taking it easier to get well sooner instead of dragging it out.

I wouldn't wish this on anyone, I remember a player that had the same thing - positional vertigo - his name is Nick Esasky and it ended his career, understandably given his occupation - you can hit because every swing would make you woozy-dizzy. Unfortunately the cure is "when it gets better" as there isn't much you can do to get better but there are meds that help you not feel the symptoms as strongly. I'm hoping some rest and relaxation will help speed it along.

Thanks for your well wishes Butta, much appreciated!

Also forgot that I had this one last thing that I wanted to get out, an interview with Steve Shelby, hope you all enjoy it.

BGF: Hi Steve, thanks for another round of questions on your latest Future Forty. I always appreciate the chance to probe your mind about the Giants prospects.

There was not much movement this time, except for the two players dropped moving people up - Hennessey and Ellison - and Linden jumping up with his monster hitting at Fresno (unfortunately it did not continue at the MLB level), so I will focus on a few players for questions. First off, what do you foresee for Matt Cain, do you think he will make it up to the Majors this season, what is his ceiling, and what are the things he needs to figure out to reach his ceiling?

SS: I am a big Matt Cain fan. I think whether he makes it to the majors before the end of this minor league season is more a function of the health and effectiveness of pitchers in the Giants' major league starting rotation. It would seem that the Giants would likely give Cain a September callup since they will have to add him to the 40-man roster this winter. I think his ceiling is that of a #2 pitcher. Right now he really just needs to become more consistent from start to start. At least from the stats, it would appear that he lacks command of his pitches in about a third of his starts. His changeup still needs refining too.

BGF: Hopefully he can do that next season, we could use a good #2 (as could most teams :^) then Lowry could be slotted 3rd with Hennessey, Foppert (finally back to full health in 2006), and Correia fighting for the 4 and 5 spots (with the usual assortment of veteran free agent starters...), with Schmidt, de rigueur, the ace of the staff. This is probably too soon to ask but I know it's a question on many Giants fans minds: where will EME play if he made it to the majors? Where do you think he should play ideally? What do you think about the comparison of him to Manny Ramirez?

SS: I think we still don't know how well EME's arm will respond to the off-season surgery. If it comes all the way back, he should be able to play left field. Otherwise, he may play first base. I am not sure any scout ever compared EME's hitting ability to that of Manny Ramirez. There was a comparison of their defense. Ramirez is such a special, talented hitter, that I just don't think it is fair to compare practically any minor league hitter to him.

BGF: Marcus Sanders has been a revelation but it is all at low-A ball. Could he be our SS of the future or do you think he might end up, say, at 2B? Given how Fred Lewis has stalled at Norwich, could Sanders be battling Lewis for the leadoff spot for the Giants in the future?

SS: At this point, Sanders looks like a future major league hitter. It is not yet clear whether he will be a shortstop or middle infielder in general. One trend with Sanders that concerns me is that his power has dropped considerably over the last month or more. At the start of the season, about a third of his hits were for extra bases; since then, it is more like a sixth of his hits have been for extra bases.

BGF: Good point, checking the stats, you hit it spot on, it was at 30% XBH/H at the end of May but then it was only 16% in June, quite a drop. What are your thoughts about Schierholtz' and Ortmeier's offensive surge during your last update? The outfield could be full in the next couple of years, with Linden, Shabala, and Ellison, Lewis, Ortmeier, EME, and Schierholtz, potentially coming up. Who do you think will be the future starting OF, who would you like it to be, who might make good backups, and why?

SS: I'm not one to get too excited about any hot streak. It seems that Ortmeier's AVG has now settled in about .265. It's not rising anymore, and I find it difficult to get excited about a corner outfield prospect who is not hitting closer to .300. Schierholtz's hot streak seemed to me primarily composed of hitting for a higher average. I would have liked to have seen more power. If I am to project an entirely home-grown outfield for the Giants in 2008, I would say that it would be EME in left and Linden in RF. Ellison and Lewis could form some kind of platoon in CF, at least presuming Lewis rebounds from his current slump to reach the majors. That would leave Shabala and Ortmeier battling for the final bench spot.

BGF: 1B of the Giants long-term, Niekro or Ishikawa or maybe EME?

SS: I'm still not sold on Niekro as an everyday starter, so I would have to take Ishikawa at this point. He needs to improve his pitch recognition and reduce his strikeouts. If he does, I think he has a much higher ceiling than Niekro.

BGF: Goody, I'm rooting for Ishikawa, I love the raw power he has shown thus far. Lastly, list your best guess of the future roster of the Giants, batting order and positions, bench players, starters and relievers, composed of just players who have been in (or just off, like Ellison) the farm system this season, leaving blanks if you think we don't have anyone potentially good enough to fill that position in the future.

SS: This seems really hard. It seems like in about the last seven weeks we have watched Brett Tomko go from being the staff ace to the person without a job in the rotation anymore. When major league veterans like this are hard to predict, how much harder are minor league prospects? It would seem the Giants are developing a good amount of bullpen depth from their farm system, including Scott Munter, Jeremy Accardo, Jack Taschner and Alfredo Simon. The starting pitching depth seems suddenly thin, particularly if we exclude Brad Hennessey and Kevin Correia from the equation since they have too many innings to qualify as prospects. It gets pretty thin after Matt Cain and Merkin Valdez. The Giants' hottest prospect in the last couple weeks has been Kevin Frandsen, who is now hitting about .350 for San Jose. He doesn't seem to have much power with just two home runs this year. Will he find more power? If not, will he be able to maintain a good OBP as he is promoted?

BGF: Yeah, I know it was a tough one but I had to ask that one. Thanks for the chat. Just wanted to add that I, and I'm sure many others would like to do the same, want to thank you for your great website over the past couple of years and that we all appreciate it greatly. It and your insights will be missed by Giants fans around the world. And thank you for all the chats we have had via e-mail, I greatly enjoyed them. Take care.


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