My thoughts on Bonds future I posted on another blog and on Ishikawa plus notes from BA's Cal League chat
Bonds has already said that he wants to play in 2007 so I would bet on him playing in 2007. He claims that beating Aaron is not a big deal but his statement opening up the 2007 can of worms means that it does matter to him, otherwise he would retire in 2006 and preserve his knee. And if that matters to him, he knows Pujols and A-Rod will be hot on his trail and "wipe him out" soon after he sets it, like how he knocked off McGwire.
I expect him to play as long as he can man leftfield well enough to convince the Giants to sign him to another contract so that he can add to the record and make it that much harder for the two to beat him. And who knows how low he has to go to reach that, most commentary I've read on him says that he has been subpar for a while now and the Giants still picked up his option.
I think it is good for the team as long as he hits the way he did this season - the team as constructed when he came back is not far from where it was when it was losing all those games that sunk the team and yet adding him boosted the team enough to go 18-10. And look at how he ran - there is almost no way he could be any worse in the upcoming years unless he is riding in a wheelchair.
Thoughts on Ishikawa
I was disappointed he didn't make the Top 20 prospect list for the California League that Baseball America put out, but he, according to the chat today, was "very close".
In addition, it noted that he was the best 1B in the league and "has one of the prettiest swings you'll ever see".
However, it also noted how streaky he was and, surprisingly, despite the homer power he has shown last year and this, "not everyone's convinced he'll have enough pop."
I found that streakiness to be true as well. I collected data weekly on him and it showed that he would be white-hot for about two weeks, then be cold as ice for two weeks. However, he improved this year over last year in that he was still pretty steadily hitting at least a homer a week even while he was not hitting for average whereas last year his homer hitting was streaky as well.
However, I wonder what's different about his power (led the team with something like 22 homers or something) and the power of the other guys on the list who hit for power as well. Power has not been his problem at any of the levels he has played, hitting for average and not striking out has been.
And he was able to hit for average (.280-something) and was able to bring down his strikeouts (down during good two weeks; back to career norm during bad two weeks) this season; but he has never had any problem getting on base, he walks a ton to go with the strikeouts.
All in all, the chat moderator (Kevin Goldstein) said he is a "big Ishikawa fan" and he didn't not say that Ishikawa won't make AA next year when asked. He also said that Schierholtz would be in AA as well.
As streaky Ishikawa was, I don't see why he wouldn't move up to AA with the hitting he did in the Cal League this season. Especially since I've heard that the Cal League is more of a pitchers league, suppressing hits, homers, and runs, so it takes more to show good batting in this league, given that. He still has time as a prospect, he just turned 22 and will be 22 for next season.
Notes on Giants Prospects from the BA Chat
One of the questions asked why so few SJ Giants when they won the championship but what this questioner forgot is that this list is about the expected potential for each individual, not for a team. Kevin Goldstein, who moderated the chat, however noted that Ishikawa was very close and that Timpner got some support but doesn't have enough offense to be an everyday player, though he might get to the majors solely because of his speed and defense. To me, this sounds like another Darren Lewis, Calvin Murray, Jason Ellison.
He also noted that while he is a big Ishikawa fan, because of the high bar for 1B today, he is lacking relatively. It was here that he noted that Travis was the best defensive 1B in the league and have a pretty swing, though some are not convinced he'll have any pop, plus his streakiness. I noted my thoughts on Ishikawa above but will add here that my biggest hopes for our next power hitter from the farm system lies with him - it would be EME except he hasn't actually played a position for us yet, as far as I know, he looks right now to be trade bait with an AL team.
About Schierholtz, it was noted that despite tremdendous raw power, his long swing costs him a lot of bat speed so they are working to shorten his swing without losing that power. He is expected to be in AA in 2006 anyway. I lost faith last season when he clubbed all those homers at Hagerstown then was virtually shut down for homers - got a boatload of doubles and triples - at San Jose then I watched EME and Ishikawa go to San Jose and didn't lose a beat on their homer hitting.
About EME, it was noted that he could move to 1B, but no one thinks his glovework would be good there either. However, because, in the words of an AL scout, "that SOB sure can hit," the scouts sees a hitter who can hit .300+ with .400+ OBP and 30+ homers. I continue to hear about his arrogance, which also contributes to his being unwilling to devote much energy to his fielding; he truly embodies the term "mini-Manny Ramirez" and, if so, he doesn't want to play for the Giants because he knows we are an NL team and will need him to play a position. He has "AL" stamped all over his face and I think it will be a matter of time we trade him to an AL team for a hitter who can actually play a position.