The Giants Future Stars' War: The Pitchers at San Jose

This is the third and last in a series on the prospects in San Jose. The first one gave my introduction and went over my methodology and data sources plus discussed one thing I found from the analysis about age and how that pertains to Frandsen. The second one discussed the hitters who are the main focus of Giants management's long term vision for the future 2008-9 Giants roster. This one will discuss the pitchers who have not been given as much atttention by management, the press, or the public hype, but have some interesting prospects.

The Pitchers

The following are pitchers on the San Jose team who had more than 45 IP (this allowed me to include relievers; all bolded figures are in the elite range for that ratio):

Player ERA h9 hr9 w9 k9 WHIP k/w (sorry, blogger took out all my spacing for formating)
Bateman 1.91 6.5 0.1 2.6 9.6 1.01 3.6
Espinelli 2.66 7.8 0.3 3.4 7.7 1.26 2.3
Coutlangus 3.04 7.5 0.4 3.4 9.2 1.21 2.7
Waddell 3.40 7.9 0.8 2.8 8.3 1.20 2.9
Hedrick 3.55 6.5 1.1 3.6 11.6 1.11 3.3
McNiven 4.24 10.5 0.8 2.9 4.9 1.49 1.7
Broshius 4.40 10.3 0.9 2.1 7.4 1.37 3.5
Sadowski 4.64 8.6 0.9 3.0 8.4 1.29 2.8
Petersen 4.97 10.8 0.7 4.6 8.2 1.70 1.8
Reina 5.16 7.7 1.1 5.6 9.5 1.47 1.7
Floyd 5.18 9.9 1.3 3.8 7.7 1.52 2.1
Serrato 6.10 10.0 1.2 5.0 9.1 1.67 1.8
League 5.01 10.3 1.0 3.6 7.6 1.54 2.1

{If you want to view this better, you probably can cut and paste this table into Excel and then convert the text to columns under the Data menu; I will gladly take any advice on how to better present tables in Blogger}

A large number of pitchers made a nice showing. Joe Bateman, Gino Espinelli, Coutlangus, Waddell, Justin Hedrick, Garrett Broshius, and Ryan Sadowski all had elite stats for a large number of categories. The San Jose team was known more for their position prospects by Giants fans, but the pitching was pretty good as well.

A significant chunk of the reason is that the pitching staff was actually on the older side. With an average age of 23.7 years across the league and 23.2 years for players pitching at least 45 IP, these pitchers were on the older side, with one 21 year old, two 22 year olds, four 23 year old, four 24 year olds and two 25 year olds. Being older, the pitchers are expected to do better than younger players with less experience and maturity and was able to pull that off.

How the Pitchers Measured Up

Here are the players who did well in each ratio (elite bolded) and those who did poorly in italics following the semicolon:
  • ERA: Bateman, Espinelli, Coutlangus, Waddell, Hedrick; Reina, Floyd, Serrato
  • h9: Bateman, Hedrick, Coutlangus, Reina, Waddell, Espinelli, Sadowski
  • hr9: Bateman, Espinelli, Coutlangus, Petersen, Waddell, McNiven, Sadowski, Broshius; Serrato, Floyd
  • w9: Broshius, Bateman, Waddell, McNiven, Sadowski; Petersen, Serrato, Reina
  • k9: Hedrick, Bateman, Reina, Coutlangus, Serrato, Sadowski, Waddell, Petersen; McNiven
  • WHIP: Bateman, Hedrick, Waddell, Coutlangus, Espinelli, Sadowski; Floyd, Petersen
  • k/w: Bateman, Broshius, Hedrick, Waddell, Sadowski, Coutlangus, Espinelli

The most noticeable thing is that Bateman is in each ratio as a good stat, elite in almost every one. Of course, he is 25 and the average age for pitchers was 23, so he is much older for this league, by a lot. This means that he is doing what he should be doing, dominating the younger players. Espinelli, Coutlangus, Waddell, and Hedrick also did well, making this a strong pitching staff. Broshius and Sadowski also did well in a lot of ratios as well. Most of the staff was 23 or older, so it was a veteran, experienced pitching staff. But there were some young bucks as well: Espinelli was 22, Sadowski was 22, and Reina was 21. Espinelli and Sadowski were especially good.

How the Pitchers Ranked

A number of players were in the 80 percentile or higher (24th or better out of 120 players with 45 IP or more; bold if Top 10):

  • Joe Bateman was at 80+ percentile for ERA, h9, hr9, k9, WHIP, k/w.
  • Gino Espinelli was at 80+ for ERA, h9, hr9, and WHIP.
  • Coutlangus was at 80+ for ERA, h9, hr9, and WHIP. He was close in k9 as well.
  • Jason Waddell was at 80+ for ERA, h9, and WHIP and close in k/w.
  • Justin Hedrick was at 80+ for ERA, h9, k9, WHIP, and k/w.
  • There were three others to garner an 80+: Broshius with w9 and k/w (only one to rank well in w/9), Sadowski with WHIP, and Jesus Reina with h9 and k9.

Not only did Bateman show elite status based on his stats' performance, but also against the other pitchers in the league who pitched a significant of time; but again, his age. Espinelli was also good, that is probably why the Giants promoted him in mid-season. Coutlangus, Waddel, and Hedrick also had a nice showing.


The pitchers that have high potentials are not Bateman, Coutlangus, Waddell or even Hedrick - all of them are average or old for the league, which average age is 23.2 for all pitchers with over 45 IP, which helps explains their dominance and force us to take their achievements with a grain of salt - but rather Geno Espinelli and Ryan Sadowski, the only 22 year olds in this bunch. Both had good or better stats in 5 of the 7 metrics. Plus Sadowski's high ERA is probably a function of poor bullpen support, as his other ratios were good or better, less than a hit per inning, a homer per 9IP, almost a strikeout per inning, and his k/w ratio was very close to elite status, at nearly 3 times.

Jesus Reina is another one to keep an eye out for. Only 21, he was recently added to the 40 man roster in preparation for the Rule 5 draft. He is a strikeout machine but unfortunately is still very wild, with a lot of walks. Fortunately he balances that with a very low hit rate but he still needs work on keeping the ball in the park.

But just because they are older doesn't mean that they cannot contribute in some way in the future, just that their peak performance is probably lower. Coutlangus was also recently added to the 40 man roster. At 24, he is around the average age of players in the league, so he is battling on a relatively equal footing with every else. His walk rate is his worse stat, but not horribly so, and is compensated by his high strikeout rate. His stats are nice across the board but he needs to watch his walk rate because it cannot really go up much further.

Personally, I've been keeping an eye on Joe Bateman. Despite being old for the league at 25, still, he dominated, ranking 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in four of the metrics (ERA, h9, hr9, WHIP) and at 80 percentile or higher in k9 and k/w ratio. Even in w9, he was still in the 76 percentile. While I wouldn't say he could dominate in this way at the majors, I think he could be a thoroughly useful cog in the bullpen if given the chance. Scott Eyre has to be an inspiration for Joe because Scott didn't do anything good until his 30's.

Lastly, Hedrick is another to watch. He was 23, i.e. just under the average age of pitchers in the league, and ranked in the Top 10 in h9, k9 (11.6!), and WHIP, and in the 80 percentile or better in ERA and k/w. Unfortunately, for a reliever, he had a touch of the homer ball and wildness, falling under the 50 percentile in hr9 (though at 1.08, it is only mildly out of line, the ideal is keeping it under 1.0) and w9 (at 3.55, he needs to get it under 3.0 for it to be good, but with 11.6 k9, he can get away with it; if his k9 drops lower in moving up to a higher level, then he will need to get his walks down as well or his k/w will fall from elite status).

Bobby Bonds Gets Stat Support For Hall of Fame

There was a very interesting article I wrote for sfdugout.com.

One additional point the author could have added was that his totals were warped by the fact that he spent his early part of his career leading off and the latter as an RBI guy. That hurt his chances to get RBIs in the early part of his career, then hurt his chances to get runs later in his career. If he had strictly stayed one or the other, he could have put up bigger numbers in one or the other, instead of where he is now.

It gave him more of a jack of trades look, statistically, when he could have been a run machine like Ricky Henderson or an RBI machine like any other middle of the lineup guy. As it was, I think that he was up among the top 100 in a number of the major offensive categories when he retired but his notoriety as a strikeout beast, plus he didn't make friends in the media (imagine how bad Barry must be relatively for his dad to have told him to take it easy), cost him any chance for the Hall of Fame, as well as his travels to 7 teams in 7 years in his last years.

And despite the strikeouts, his contact rate was at least over the 75% rate for much of his career, the minimum rate for contact, particularly during his best years. And he walked enough so that for his career, he had just over 50% walks:strikeout ratio, which is not as bad as one would think given all the strikeouts, though still not that good, just barely acceptable.

They author should have also emphasized his OBP a bit more. Yes, he struck out a lot but he also got a lot of walks, his walk rate was consistently and comfortably over 10%. Given what we know now about the importance of getting on base, I think this was one area that he was never given his due on. Thus his OBP throughout his career was in the OK to good range, .330 to .375, until his final years. And his OBP was at or above (looks like averaged about 24 point above) the league OBP for his whole career, except for his next to last season.

That plus his power contributed to a strong OPS throughout most of his career. His OPS+ was consistently in the 120-150 range throughout his career. He never had one year with his OPS+ under 100, even at the end of his career. Given all this, I've always thought that he should be in the hall of fame, but now with this further evidence, that should make his case a bit more: he was not just a prodigious strike-out artist, nor just a hybrid, odd-ball power-speed athlete, nor a failed Willie Mays wannabe (in media's eyes, of course), nor just Barry Bonds father - he was the best RF in the game for a 10 years out of 14 career seasons. What more does an baseball player have to do?


Congratulations to Brian Sabean and Amanda on getting hitched!

Just wanted to state my congrats to the newlyweds (getting married on Friday) and wish them all the best, a long and happy life together

Giants add 6 to their 40 man roster; Eyre signed by Cubs

The Giants announced the addition of six players to the 40 man roster. They are:

  • RHP reliever Kelyn Acosta (20 years old)
  • LHP reliever Jon Coutlangus (24, if I recall correctly)
  • LHP starter/reliever Jesus Reina (21)
  • C Elizer Alfonzo (26)
  • 1B Travis Ishikawa (22)
  • RF Nate Schierholtz (21)
The only real surprise of the group was the addition of Elizer Alfonzo, as he is pretty old for a prospect (26 years old is the age that Ron Shandler says a minor leaguer goes from prospect to non-prospect; I would recommend getting his 2006 book if you like Bill James type of analysis, I feel like I got more out of his 2005 book in terms of concepts I can use everyday than I did out of Baseball Prospectus' books from the past three years, which is good for the excellent analysis they do but then you need to subscribe to their website to get all the updated and adjusted stats whereas I can apply Shandler's stuff on data I can pick up anywhere and quickly see how the player look like, skill-wise. I would also recommend Shandler for any fantasy baseball stuff as well).

Except for Acosta, all had a significant role in helping the San Jose Giants win the California League championship this past season. They are part of the Giants of the future that Sabean was noting in his first post-season press conference. Frandsen, EME, Bowker, and Timpner will probably follow them to the 40 man next season, as well as a number of other pitchers, like Brian Wilson, Gino Espinelli, Justin Hedrick, and perhaps Joe Bateman (not sure about exactly how the rules govern the need to put players on the 40 man, so I'm basing this on relative ages and guesses on when drafted relative to players just promoted).

Eyre Goes to Cubs

On a sad note, Eyre has left the Giants to join the Cubs, signed to a two year contract for $7M with a player option for $4M for a possible total of three years. There are the usual incentives for games pitched and if he becomes the closer. I've seen a variety of different versions of the contract, here is the latest. In the end, it was being closer to home that pulled him away, according to the press acounts I've seen, plus, of course, the guaranteed third year he wanted and the money.

These are his prizes for one great year:
  • $1M signing bonus
  • $2.7M in 2006
  • $3.5M in 2007
  • $3.8M player option in 2008
  • $2.4M in possible bonuses over the three years
  • no-trade clause in 2006
  • limited no-trade for 2007/8 blocking deals to 10 teams (presumably the 9 Western Division teams plus another Central team - I would go with maybe Pittsburgh, at least Detroit is a pitcher's stadium, though KC is not barrel of fun either)

According to this article, there could be a physical reason why he became better with the Giants. He was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in May 2002, three months before the Giants picked him up. But with medication, the article notes, things changed for Eyre.

I checked on his 2002 stats and the results are stark: in April about as ugly a month as any pitcher could ever have in a nightmare, but from May 2002 to the end of the season, he was very good in three of the five months, OK in the fourth, and bad for the fifth (his first month with the Giants but included 1.1IP/1ER with the Blue Jays; first month with Giants was 3.86 ERA, though 2.58 WHIP). Overall, he had a 2.12 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, after April.

Starting from taking his meds in May (being nice and including whole month since it was very good plus made my math easier), he pitched 229 IP, with 200 hits and 101 walks, giving up 16 HRs and striking out 188 for a 3.03 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. That's a h9 of 7.9, bb9 of 4.0, k9 of 7.4, and hr9 of 0.6; only the bb9 is bad but it was much improved in 2005, which went well with another increase in k9.

Good bye and good luck (except for games that affect the Giants playoff and World Series chances), Giants fans will miss him.


I Like to Watch the Media

In the aftermath of the Colletti hiring, I found it interesting how the media can slightly twist perceptions, just by leaving out a brief statement, or just plain leave out pertinent and interesting information. Here are some I noticed between the Giants official press release and the AP version:

  • In the Giants official press release, it notes that the Giants will look internally for help with Colletti's absense, with help from Bobby Evans and Dick Tidrow, and it notes that Tidrow is a likely candidate to replace Colletti. In the AP version, Tidrow does not even get one mention, though Evans was mentioned as a helper.
  • The Giants official press release also noted that scout Pat Dobson will take over discussing possible deals with teams.
  • However, the AP version noted, where the Giants didn't, that because Colletti has been the Giants' primary negotiator with agents, Sabean will take a greater role there. Given Sabean's perturbment that Colletti hadn't been made GM earlier ("long overdue" is his quote), one would have thought that some sort of "emergency scenario" would have been accounted for, so that the Giants would not be caught so flat-footed and unprepared as they appear to be in these articles. Scenario Planning is an increasingly common management technique today, something I would recommend all companies do in some form today. I believe that it is the wave of the future for management practices.
  • In the Giants official press release, in response to the question of whether Colletti would attend Sabean's wedding (which occurs this Friday, Congrats Brian and Amanda!), he is quoted, "If he does, I hope he's ready for the biggest prank in our relationship. Hopefully, he'll show up." In the AP version, however, it is noted that Colletti is invited but that Sabean will understand if his friend doesn't make it, noting furthermore, "If he does, I hope he's ready for the biggest prank," but leaving out the part about hoping he shows up (I assume and would hope he will, otherwise the praise of his character heaped on him the past day would seem false), making it seem like Sabean doesn't want him there and if he showed up, a big prank would be done.
  • Then there's the Merc version, which I won't go over point by point as above, but whereas the Giants version said that Sabean reported that Wotus has been told that he is no longer a candidate and assumes he'll be back with SF, basically implying that the Dodgers had told him this, the AP version didn't mention Wotus at all, and the Merc version noted much more specifically that Sabean said that he won't allow the Dodgers to interview Wotus a second time, noting "They had their chance."
  • However, I will note that the Merc version did state that Sabean would assume most of Colletti's negotiating duties (vs. simply "greater role" above) and that Tidrow, Evans, and Dobson will have expanded roles this winter (as noted by the Giants version).

Overall, it sounds like the Giants won't be able to interview candidates for the new assistant GM until at least the middle of December. "From an organizational standpoint, the timing is not good. We really can't go through the search process with due diligence right now beecause we have too much to do prior to the winter meetings." In addition, he said that he will consider restructuring the Giants front office or promoting from within before looking at outside candidates.

Too bad, I was kind of hoping that Colletti would fire Kim Ng (to have one of your major competitors for the job still there while you are the boss would be pretty awkward, class or no class) and that the Giants would pick her up to be the new AGM. They have had relatively progressive hiring practices towards minorities and her skills in negotiating contracts and overall general background is very similar to Colletti. Plus, more importantly to me, she could pass on Dodger secrets to us just like I'm sure Colletti will use his knowledge of the Giants operations against us, no matter how ethical and upstanding you are, he cannot help but allow his knowledge of the Giants to affect his decisions in some way. Plus, that guy who has been given all the credit for the Dodger's improved farm system, probably wants to move into the AGM position.

Similarly, I would have to assume that Dick Tidrow would be the frontrunner for that position with the Giants. He and Colletti were the two touted for GM positions by Sabean, so I would assume that the Giants would want to give him a promotion to recognize his work. This would be Tidrow's next step up, by taking that position.


Restoring D-ger Tradition: They Hire Sheriff Ned?

The D-gers finds their new GM, plucked from their biggest enemy's hire: Ned Colletti. Sounds like a fit for the most part. McCourt said in his statement that "the team needs a strong foundation" and he listed his criteria for the new GM - a leader, a communicator, and experienced - and did not necessarily have to have been a GM previously. Then he further clarified and qualified what he was looking for by saying, "Leadership is a very important characteristic, no question. He has to have a keen eye for baseball talent, has to be a good communicator and have the experience to do the job of a GM and be able to work toward a common goal." In addition, Lasorda listed what he would be looking for in a GM, which, obviously, is probably what he told McCourt as well: "He has to know the game, know how to handle people and communicate with people and depend upon people working for him. That guy would be successful." Obviously, they also put up the usual stuff about returning to winning traditions, yada yada.

I found the descriptions of the GM candidates to be rather interesting and hilarious in some ways. For the funny, in Ng's description, they list all her career achievements, which is quite impressive, then end with this bon mot: "Ng graduated from the University of Chicago, where she played softball for four years." (emphasis mine); what's the point of this, is this a critical piece of info for their position search? For the interesting, Colletti was described thusly, "Granted broad authority by Sabean, Colletti's duties have included assisting in the acquisition of players, overseeing waiver and rule compliance, formulating salary arbitration cases and managing roster payroll." They also mentioned his authoring of four books.

Lets run down the laundry list:
  1. Leader: not sure where they would find example of this leadership in Colletti's past, I would have to assume this was more behind the scenes, in the duties he did for the Giants. Just on gut reaction, I would say no, but I'm open minded enough to give them that one.
  2. Communicator: Colletti is definitely that, I've heard him on the radio and he quite good, as good, even, as Sabean. That comes from his PR background from his Chicago days. In addition, the Merc noted that Shawon Dunston highly praised his abilities of being able to speak to players like "you're a person, like a friend." The article also noted that he "was an affable and popular figure in the Giants' clubhouse," and that this was an area that DePodesta was lacking in.
  3. Experienced: Again, Colletti is definitely that, with almost 25 years in the game, plus extensive duties as outlined above.
  4. Keen eye for baseball talent: this is where the horse and the cart separates. Based solely on what the description of Colletti is from the D-ger PR notice, no where in there is it said that he has this skill. He is very much an operations/administrator type of guy. Even Kim Ng was noted for her stint as farm director, there was no mention of Colletti even having this experience, let alone skill.
  5. Working towards a common goal: Colletti was a consumate company man, he represented the team well on the air, and appears to have done a good enough job for the team in his duties. I mean, the team didn't fire him, kept him around all this time, and pushed his name out there for GM vacancies. Sounds like he can do this fine.
Now, about his performance on the job for the Giants, as described above:
  1. Player acquisition assistance: From what I understand, Ned did the negotiating with the agents and therefore had great influence on the salaries and contracts that we signed over the years. Prime bad examples include Benard's 3 year, $11M contract, Neifi's 2 year, $4M contract, and some might include Snow's and Nen's contract. There are those who would throw in Rueter, Alfonzo, Matheny and Vizquel, as well. But good examples include Bonds, Kent and Aurilia. So he's good at negotiating and covering the rules, but there are enough mistakes to think that he's not the greatest to have ever done this. However, a recent Baseball Prospectus article noted that most free agents have been overpaid, so perhaps that is not his fault but a function of the marketplace. The Merc article noted Colletti developed a reputation for shrewd contracts when he was with the Cubs. But the Benard and Neifi deals were particularly galling for Giants fans. Overall, all indications are that he is very good negotiator, other than the dollar amount aspect.
  2. Waiver and Rule Compliance: I don't recall anything big happening, only that we lost a prospect last season (Leslie Nassar or something like that) who ended up on Baseball America's Top 10 list of prospects for the rookie league he was in, so that's a mistake there as well, just on my cursory knowledge of that situation (perhaps there are arcane rules on protecting the prospect that prevented the Giants from protecting him). Perhaps there were other ones but that's all I recall. Oh, and there was a problem one year where the player we called up was sent down but because of the 10 day rule, the Giants couldn't call him back up when they wanted, a slight rule screwup but still a screwup. Nothing really to go on except to accept their view that he did a bang-up job of this. However, I must note that Colletti was around when Matt White was the first round pick of the Giants and he became a free agent because one of the rules of the draft was not followed to the tee; I have no idea whether he was in charge of that then, but presume he would be the one involved (but then again, perhaps that's how he got this duty, because of prior screwups, this was not a duty of his listed for his Chicago experience).
  3. Arbitration: he was clearly involved in arbitration, as the Giants were only in one arbitration case the whole time he was in charge, and that was A.J. Pierzynski. Colletti was front and center on that one, I can still remember him discussing that on the KNBR nighttime sports talk show. And he screwed it up totally. Most media had A.J. slotted $3.0M eventually (initially $2.5M). A.J. asked for $3.5M and the Giants offered $2.25M and they lost the case. Then again, the Giants were able to avoid arbitration with all the other players during his tenure and that's a plus for him too, as I don't recall us overpaying for many of these arbitration eligible players, other than Benard.
  4. Managing roster payroll: I think most Giants fans haven't thought much of the Giants performance in this the past few years, because of the aforementioned problem contracts. In addition, the under-shooting of A.J. salary proposal in arbitration counts against him here. So I think this would have to considered not to be a job well done.
Overall, as a Giants fan losing Colletti, there are enough pluses and minuses to generate a "ho hum" reaction to this move - he seems like a good operations/administrator type of guy, someone every organization needs, but that this is a skill that can be developed and gotten relatively easily, witness both Colletti and Ng rising from relatively minor positions to where they are now, essentially the same position, same skill sets.

My main problem with the move is that he is going to our main rivals and he intimately knows the Giants plans for everything, especially regarding who we'll be targeting and for how much, who our best prospects are (and who are not), what our best practices throughout the organization is (since he has broad duties he probably has touched most of our operations). They should really pay us in some way with a player or something. However, this is a relatively short-term phenomenon for this off-season, then perhaps it could become a plus if Sabean and Ned could work out trade deals in future years.

As a Giants fan observing Colletti becoming the D-gers GM, I see this as neither a plus or minus, on its own, but in comparison with their prior GM, DePodesta, I have to see this as a plus for Giants fans. Overall, Colletti will be an able administrator and operations person for LA, so that would be a negative for Giants fans as we love chaos and incompetance in the GM ranks, but I have to assume his lack of player development background means that the D-gers current structure of drafting and player development will stay the same since it has been successful in drafting over the past few years and he just has to watch over it. However, since I am saber-oriented, I am glad that DePodesta's skills in that area is no longer in the D-ger's corner, and since Colletti has not demonstrated any skills (perhaps he has it but he hasn't had a chance to show it) in finding diamonds in the rough, the D-gers are taking a step backward in that regard, especially as more successful GM candidates passed on the job, from Gillick, to Hart, to Hunsicker. With an inexperienced person in charge, there is always the chance that Murphy's Law might operate and that someone is promoted above his level of competence.

So there's a new Sheriff in D-ger Town and Sheriff Ned looks to put some teeth in their administrative duties but not necessarily in the baseball talent evaluation area, which would be a bigger problem for Giants fans. But I find it totally incongruous that they hired a Giants employee with no links to the D-gers' past to be the one to restore the D-ers to their winning tradition, as McCourt put it. There was all that talk about Hershiser and Dusty Baker, coming in as two past D-ger greats, bringing back the glory, but in the end they ended up with a Giants employee. As much as it seems that Ned is a nice enough fellow, I wish him bad luck, from the bottom of my heart, in his new job, as he's now GM of the D-gers! Go Giants!


Oops, forgot to talk about Sweeney

Well, it appears the Giants have found a younger Snow in Sweeney. He hits RHP but not LHP. He had power on the road in 2005 but not at home. He hits better on the road. Don't know about his defense but at least he plays the outfield, giving the team flexibility there, plus he hasn't normally played a lot so the Giants can give Niekro more ABs against RHP in order to see if he can figure out RHP. And Alou could PH with each other to reduce their ABs against tough relievers throwing their sidedness.

The most troubling sign is that in limited ABs at SBC, he has not done very well there. Perhaps he can figure it out if he joins the team. Plus perhaps it was the caliber of pitching as well. However, until he proves otherwise, it appears he is one of the LHH who cannot hit at SBC.