Archive for the ‘San Francisco Giants’ category

NPB Signings, Rumors and Speculations

November 3, 2019

We are in the phase of the MLB post-season, where teams are mainly designating marginal players for assignment and players and teams are deciding whether to exercise their option rights.  It’s not a tremendously exciting time for anyone but the individual players involved and the real hot stove league die-hards.

Aroldis Chapman exercised his opt-out right to squeeze another season (2022) and $18 million out of the New York Yankees, which seems entirely reasonable for the parties concerned.  It’s hard to imagine a Cuban player like Chapman wanting to leave NYC.

Stephen Strasburg has also opted out of the last four years and $100M with the Nats.  My guess is that he could well command six years at $150M going into his age 31 season.  We’ll see if the Nats are willing to pay that, or if another team steps in and ponies up the bucks.

The most recent two signings of former MLBers by Japanese teams are the Yakult Swallows signing former Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar for a reported $800,000 for 2020 and the Hiroshima Toyo Carp signing former Padres and Phillies 2Bman Jose Pirela for a reported $600,000 plus another $250,000 in performance incentives.

Escobar spent most of 2019 at AAA Charlotte in the White Sox organization, until he was released on August 2nd, probably because Escobar was frustrated the Sox had’t promoted him to Chi as he had expected.  Escobar will 33 in 2020, which is old for a foreign player signing a first contract with an NPB team, but Escobar has a record of staying healthy and playing every day.  He posted a .787 OPS in the suddenly hitter-friendly International League in 2019, which seems in line with his past MLB performance.

The most interesting thing about the Escobar signing is whether it means the Swallows are more likely to post 2Bman Tetsuto Yamada this off-season.  Escobar will presumably play SS for the Swallows in 2020, because that’s where is value (mostly defense) is greatest.  The Swallows’ main shortstop in 2019 was Taishi Hirooka, who batted a feeble .203  and struck out an awful lot.  However, Hirooka was willing to take a walk and hit 10 home runs, resulting in a .710 OPS, which isn’t bad for a 22 year old middle infielder.

I don’t really see the point in signing Escobar, unless the Swallows plan to post Yamada and move Hirooka, who is still worth trying to develop into an NPB star, to 2B.  With Yamada going into his age 27 season in 2020, he should bring the Swallows a pretty penny if posted to MLB teams.  We’ll see soon enough.

Pirela is no spring chicken either, going into his age 30 season.  He also mostly played at AAA in 2019.

Rumors have it that Seibu Lions’ star outfielder Shogo Akiyama wants to play in MLB in 2020 now that he’s earned his international free agents rights.  However, he suffered a broken toe on a HBP on November 1st while playing in a post-season exhibition game.  An untimely injury makes it at least a little more likely he remains in Japan.

The Hanshin Tigers reportedly offered 2019 break-out relief pitcher Pierce Johnson a two year contract for 2020-2021.  However, Johnson’s wife just had a baby, leading to speculation he’ll want to return to the U.S. if he can get a major league contract offer from an MLB team.

Rumors also have it that the Hanshin Tigers are targeting Adam Duvall and Tyler Austin this off-season.  I would expect Duvall to get a major league contract offer from an MLB team after his strong late-season performance with the Braves, although the Tigers could certainly offer him more money than an MLB team might guarantee.  Tyler Austin is now a free agent after being outrighted off the Brewers’ 40-man roster.  Going into his age 28 season, Austin looks like a prime candidate for NPB, as does former Brewer and Padre Corey Spangenberg, who turns 29 next March and was also just outrighted by Milwaukee.

Other news out of Japan is that Scott Mathieson, who had by and large eight very successful seasons pitching out of the bullpen for the Yomiuri Giants, announced his retirement at the end of the 2019 Nippon Series, in which the SoftBank Hawks swept the Giants in four games. He won’t be well remembered in MLB circles, but he’s unlikely to be forgotten any time soon by Japanese baseball fans.  And, of course, he made a pile of money playing in Asia.

I haven’t seen anything yet on signings of new foreign players by KBO teams, which usually all take place by the end of November.  Most likely the signings will start once all MLB teams get closer to making their final 40-man roster cut-downs going into the free agent signing period, which starts tomorrow.

Best Pitching Prospects in Japan’s NPB 2019-2020

October 3, 2019

MLB teams are now, or at least should be, looking to Japan’s NPB for new pitchers every off-season.  Yusei Kikuchi‘s first MLB season in 2019 was a major disappointment, particularly in light of the four-year $56M guarantee he received, but that doesn’t mean that other 2019 NPB pitchers don’t deserve an MLB shot at the right price.  Without further ado, here’s my list of Japan’s top pitching prospects for MLB purposes heading into the 2019-2020 off-season:

Kodei Senga (27 in 2020; 2023 MLB ETA). Senga is not real big (6″1″, 185 lbs), but he’s not real small either, and he has the kind of strikeout rates that MLB teams want to see from an NPB pitcher (857 Ks in 739.1 NPB career IP).  2019 was his best NPB season to date.  Senga led NPB with 227 Ks (in an NPB-leading 180.1 IP), and his 2.79 ERA was fifth best out of NPB’s 15 qualifiers (starters are pitching fewer innings in NPB now than they used to only a few years ago, just like in MLB).

Senga could have been more consistent this year, but he threw a no-hitter in early September in which he reportedly hit 98.8 mph on the radar gun.  That will catch MLB teams’ attention everywhere.  Also, he’s had better NPB career strikeout stuff than Kikuchi, who only had one NPB season with a K/IP rate above 9.0.

Senga apparently requested to be posted last off-season, but his team, the SoftBank Hawks refused the request.  As one of NPB’s three rich teams, the Hawks may well refuse to post Senga until he becomes a true free agent after nine seasons of NPB service, which occurs most likely after the 2022 or 2023 season.  Calculating service time in NPB is a bit complicated — here’s an article on that subject.

Takahiro Norimoto (29; 2020-2021).  Norimoto is a small right-hander (5’10”, 180 lbs) with tremendous strikeout stuff, who could be described either as Kenta Maeda with more strikeouts or NPB’s answer to Tim Lincecum.  The problem with Norimoto is whether he can last any longer than Lincecum did.  (In fairness to Kenta Maeda, he’s got that harder to define “ability to pitch,” which produced better NPB ERAs than Norimoto without the same strikeout stuff.)

Norimoto missed the first half of the 2019 NPB season after having elbow surgery to remove loose bodies.  It may have been good for him to get the time off, because he pitched a lot of innings from 2013 through 2018.  Once he came back, he pitched great in 12 starts, posting a 2.78 ERA with a pitching line of 68 IP, 58 hits, 7 HR and 10 BB allowed and 67 K.  His strikeout rate was down a little, but his K/BB rate was the best of his career and his hits and HRs per 9IP were consistent with his career rates.

Norimoto should now have seven seasons of NPB service, and it’s possible that his team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, could post him for MLB this off-season.  If that happens and I were a MLB decision-maker, I would fall all over myself making him the kind of incentive-laden contract offer the Dodgers gave Kenta Maeda a few off-seasons ago.

Shun Yamaguchi (32, 2020).  His three-year deal with the Yomiuri Giants should be up this off-season, so he may be available if he decides he wants to prove he’s an MLB pitcher.  He’s coming off his best season as a starter, going 15-4 with a 2.91 ERA and 188 K in 170 IP.

I see Yamaguchi as a reliever in MLB, at least in the long run, and the Yomiuri Giants will probably offer him four years and 2 billion yen ($18.6M) to continue as a starter, which is more than I see any MLB team offering him.  Thus, Yamaguchi will only come to MLB if he really wants to prove he can play with the best.

Tomoyuki Sugano (30; 2022). Alas, Father Time and heavy workloads appear to have caught up with Yomiuri Giants’ ace Tomoyuki Sugano.  He went 11-6 this season, but was highly inconsistent and was troubled with recurring back problems much of the season.  He finished with a 3.89 ERA and 120 K in 136.1 IP, almost certainly because of the afore-mentioned back problems.  It’s looking less likely that he’ll ever leave NPB than it did a year ago.

Shota Imanaga (26; 2023-2024). Another small right-hander (5’10”, 180 lbs) who can really pitch, Imanaga came back from a disasterous 2018 campaign to be one of NPB’s best starters in 2019.  He finished 13-7 with a 2.91 ERA, striking out 186 batters in 170 innings pitched.  It remains to be seen whether his arm can hold up long enough for him to reach MLB, but he looked a lot like a younger version of Takahiro Norimoto in 2019.

Zach Neal (31, 2020).  After a 12-1 season for the Seibu Lions in which he posted a 2.87 ERA but struck out only 51 batters in 100.1 IP, mlbtraderumors.com reported about ten days ago that many MLB teams have interest in signing Neal this off-season.  Color me unimpressed, but at least he will be available this off-season.

If neither Yusei Kikuchi nor Takahiro Norimoto is posted this off-season, then the best candidates for MLB teams to sign this off-season are foreign (to Japan) relievers coming off great 2019 seasons.  All of Pierce Johnson (29), Joely Rodriguez (28), Edwin Escobar (28), Geronimo Franzua (26) and Alan Busenitz (29) pitched well enough in NPB to merit serious consideration from MLB teams this off-season.  I like them in the order listed.

Pierce Johnson had an ugly 5.56 ERA as a 27 year old rookie for the San Francisco Giants in 2018, but his ratios suggested he could develop into a useful major league middle reliever.  He elected to pitch in Japan in 2019 for more money and was absolutely terrific.  As the Hanshin Tigers’ set-up man, he posted a 1.38 ERA with a pitching line of 58.2 IP, 34 hits, two HRs and 13 BB allowed and 91 K.  If Hanshin doesn’t have an option for 2020, at least one MLB team should offer Johnson a two-year $4M deal this off-season IMHO.

Joely Rodriguez recorded a 1.64 ERA in 2019 with a pitching line of 60.1 IP, 42 hits, three HR and 14 BB and 77 K.  Rodriguez’ past MLB record isn’t as impressive as Pierce Johnson’s, but Rodriguez is a year younger.

Edwin Escobar posted a 2.51 ERA with a pitching line of 75.1 IP, 60 hits, 7 HR and 24 BB and 88 K.  After three seasons in NPB, Escobar might be ready for a return to MLB.

Geronimo Franzua is a left-hander who washed out of MLB’s Dominican Summer League years ago, but later caught on with the Hiroshima Carp through a try-out at the team’s training facilities in the Dominican Republic.  After a season in which he recorded a 2.76 ERA and 94 K in 71.2 IP, Franzua would rank higher on this list of relievers, except that the Carp might have signed him to a long-term, team-friendly contract in light of the time and money the Carp spent to develop Franzua into an NPB star.

Alan Busenitz posted a 1.94 ERA with a pitching line of 51 IP, 46 hits, one HR and 20 BB and 45 K.  The strikeout and walks rates don’t impress but the home run rate sure does.  Like Pierce Johnson, Busenitz has some limited history of MLB success.

Yuki Matsui (24; 2022) and Livan Moinelo (24, ?).  A couple of small young, extremely talented left-handers, Matsui and Moinelo both pitched extremely well in 2019.  Matsui had a 1.94 ERA and 38 saves as the Rakuten Golden Eagles’ closer.  He struck out 107 batters in 69.2 IP.  Moinelo recorded a 1.54 ERA with 86 Ks in 59.1 IP mainly as a set-up man for the SoftBank Hawks.

Matsui could be posted as soon as next off-season.  Moinelo is a Cuban who has not defected, which means he could spend the rest of his professional career pitching in Japan and Cuba.

Yasuaki Yamasaki (27; 2023).  A small right-hander (5’11”, 187 lbs) who has saved 163 games in five NPB seasons.  He posted an excellent 1.95 ERA in 2019, but his strikeout rate was (54 K in 60 IP) was the lowest of his career to date.  He could be headed for an arm injury.

Bookmark “Em: Yashinobu Yamamoto (21), Atsuke Taneichi (21), Shinnosuke Ogasawara (22), Naoya Ishikawa (23), Raidel Martinez (23), Taisuke Yamaoka (24) and Haruhiro Hamaguchi (25) are some young, talented NPB pitchers who still have many seasons in which to blow out their arms before they might become available to MLB teams.  I’ll be keeping an eye on them going forward.

Is It Worth Tanking to Improve Your MLB Draft Position?

September 25, 2019

My team, the SF Giants, are currently in line to get either the 13th or 14th pick in the 2020 June Draft.  Gints fans will remember that the team made deals at the trade deadline, but they were kind of push.  The team sold on a couple of relievers, but also made trades designed to help the team going forward in 2019.  The Gints still had an outside shot at making the play-offs at the trade deadline, and they play in a market large enough to make total rebuilds relatively expensive.

Is it worth tanking, at least once the team has realized it has no reasonable chance of making the post-season, in order to get a higher selection in the next MLB draft?

I looked at the first twelve draft picks from the June drafts starting with 1987 (the first year the June draft was the only MLB amateur draft conducted for the year) through 2009 (which is long enough ago that we should now know whether the players drafted were major league success stories).  Suffice it say, with the first 12 draft picks of each June draft, the team imagines it has drafted a future major league star in compensation for sucking ass the previous season.

In order to keep things simple, I used baseball reference’s career WAR totals to determine whether each drafted player was a major league success.  Not precise, I’ll admit, since what drafting teams really care about is the first six-plus major league seasons of control.  However, I don’t know how to create a computer program to figure out the years-of-control WAR for each drafted player, and I’m not sure I’d be willing to spend the time to do so even if I knew how.  Career WAR seems a close enough approximation.

Also, for purposes of my study, no player is considered to have lower than a 0 career WAR — you cannot convince me that a drafted player who never reaches the majors is worth more than a drafted player who played in the majors but had a negative career WAR.  A player reaches and plays in the majors 9 times out of 10 because he is the best player available at that moment to take the available roster spot.  The tenth time, he is worth trying to develop as a major league player because of his potential upside.

As a result, I did not bother with averages.  Instead, I looked at median performances (i.e., for the 23 players picked at each of the first 12 draft slots during the relevant period, 11 players had a higher career WAR and 11 players had a lower career WAR than the median player.

Also, if a player was drafted more than once in the top 12, because he didn’t sign the first time drafted, I still counted him as his career WAR for each time he was drafted.

Here we go:

1st Overall Pick.  Median player:  Ben McDonald (1989, 20.8 Career WAR).  Best Players drafted with the No. 1 pick: Alex Rodriguez (1993, 117.8 career WAR); Chipper Jones (1990, 85.3 WAR); Ken Griffey, Jr. (1987, 83.8 WAR).  Odds of drafting a 15+ WAR player = 61%.  [Examples of 15+ WAR players are Mike Lieberthal (15.3 WAR); Gavin Floyd (15.6 WAR); Eric Hosmer (15.7+ WAR); and Phil Nevin (15.9 WAR).]  Odds of drafting a 10+ WAR player = 65%.  [Examples of 10+ WAR players are Rocco Baldelli (10.2 WAR); Shawn Estes (10.4 WAR); Todd Walker (10.5 WAR)  ; and Doug Glanville (10.9 WAR).]  Odds of drafting a 5+ WAR player = 70%.  [Examples of 5+ WAR players are John Patterson (5.0 WAR); Mike Pelfrey (5.3 WAR); Billy Koch (5.4 WAR); and Sean Burroughs (5.5 WAR).]

2nd Overall Pick.  Median player: Dustin Ackley (2009, 8.1 WAR).  Best Players drafted with the No. 2 pick: Justin Verlander (2004, 70.8+ WAR); J.D. Drew (1997, 44.9 WAR).  Odds of drafting a 15+ WAR player = 35%.  Odds of drafting a 10+ WAR player = 43%.  Odds of drafting a 5+ WAR player = 70%.

3rd Overall Pick.  Median player:  Philip Humber (2004, 0.9 WAR).  Best Players drafted at No. 3: Evan Longoria (2006, 54.2+ WAR); Troy Glaus (1997, 38.0 WAR).  15+ WAR player = 22%10+ WAR player = 35%5+ WAR player = 43%.

4th Overall Pick.  Median player: Tim Stauffer (2003, 3.8 WAR).  Best Players drafted at No. 4: Ryan Zimmerman (2005, 37.7+ WAR); Alex Fernandez (1990, 28.4 WAR).  15+ WAR player = 17%10+ WAR player = 26%5+ WAR player = 39%.

5th Overall Pick.  Median player: zero value.  Best players drafted at No. 5: Mark Teixeira (2001, 51.8 WAR); Ryan Braun (2005, 47.7+ WAR).  15+ WAR player = 30%10+ WAR player = 35%5+ WAR player = 39%.

6th Overall Pick.  Median player: zero value.  Best players drafted at No. 6: Derek Jeter (1992, 72.6 WAR); Zack Greinke (2002, 71.3+ WAR).  15+ WAR player = 9%10+ WAR player = 13%5+ WAR player = 26%.

7th Overall Pick.  Median player: Calvin Murray (1992, 2.1 WAR).  Best players drafted at No. 7: Frank Thomas (1989, 73.9 WAR); Clayton Kershaw (2006, 67.6+ WAR).  15+ WAR player = 30%10+ WAR player = 39%5+ WAR player = 48%.

8th Overall Pick.  Median player: zero value.  Best players drafted at No. 8: Todd Helton (1995, 61.2 WAR); Jim Abbott (1988, 19.6 WAR).  15+ WAR player = 13%10+ WAR player = 26%5+ WAR player = 39%.

9th Overall Pick.  Median player: Aaron Crow (2008, 2.6 WAR).  Best players drafted at No. 9:  Kevin Appier (1987, 54.5 WAR); Barry Zito (1999, 31.9 WAR).  15+ WAR player = 26%10+ WAR player = 26%5+ WAR player = 48%.

10th Overall Pick.  Median player: Michael Tucker (1992, 8.1 WAR).  Best players drafted at No. 10: Robin Ventura (1988, 56.1 WAR); Eric Chavez (1996, 37.5 WAR).  15+ WAR player = 39%10+ WAR player = 48%5+ WAR player = 52%.

11th Overall Pick.  Median player: Lee Tinsley (1987, 1.7 WAR).  Best players drafted at No. 11: Max Scherzer (2006, 60.5+ WAR); Andrew McCutchen (2005, 43.6+ WAR).  15+ WAR player = 13%10+ WAR player = 17%5+ WAR player = 22%.

12th Overall Pick.  Median player: Bobby Seay (1996, 3.0 WAR).  Best players drafted at No. 12: Nomar Garciaparra (1994, 44.2 WAR); Jared Weaver (2004, 34.4 WAR).  15+ WAR player = 26%10+ WAR player = 39%5+ WAR player = 48%.

What do I conclude from all of the above number-crunching and name-dropping (and my cursory review of the Nos. 13-15 draft picks during the relevant period)?  It’s worth tanking to get the first or second pick in the June Draft or to get one of the top ten picks.  Since teams bad enough at the trade deadline to have a reasonable shot to get the No. 1 or 2 picks will be tanking no matter what, the only real lesson is that teams that have the 11th to 15th worst record in MLB approaching the trade deadline and realize they have no reasonable shot to make the post-season should SELL, SELL, SELL in order to get one of the top ten draft picks the next June.

The second lesson I take from my study is that teams should ALWAYS draft the player they think to be the best available/remaining if they have a top 12 or 15 draft pick and PAY what it takes to sign the player, unless the potential draftee has made it clear he will not sign with the team under any circumstances.  After the two best players in any given draft, there is too much uncertainty for teams not to draft the player they think is the best available.  Drafting a player the team thinks is a lesser player in order to save $2 million to throw at a high school player drafted in the 11th round is going to be a bad decision in most cases, particularly in the current regime where teams get a finite budget to sign their first ten draft picks, and the draftees know the cap amounts.

I see no obvious difference in the results for the third through tenth rounds, because, I assume, after the first two consensus best players in any given draft, teams have different opinions about the merits of the next, larger group of potential draftees, to the point where it more or less becomes a crap shoot.  After the first two rounds, and with the notable exception of the 10th round, the median player drafted with the third through 12th pick isn’t really worth a damn, and the odds of selecting a 15+ WAR player, a true star, are considerably less than one in three.

As a final note, I don’t like the fact that post-trade-deadline waiver deals can no longer be made.  I don’t see the downside in allowing losing teams to dump their over-paid veterans after the trade deadline (but before the Sept. 1st play-off eligibility deadline) in exchange for some, usually limited, salary relief and prospects, while play-off bound teams get to add veterans so they can put the best possible team on the field come play-off time.  I hope MLB can find a way for these deals to resume in the future.

Is Adam Wainwright a Hall of Famer?

September 24, 2019

I saw a post on mlbtraderumors.com today about Adam Wainwright earning all or most of the performance incentives ($8M, compared to only $2M guaranteed).  I looked at Wainwright’s career stats, and it got me thinking about his Hall of Fame chances.

Wainwright is currently 161-94 for his career, giving him a terrific .631 career winning percentage.  He’s never won a Cy Young Award, but he’s finished 2nd or 3rd four times (2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014).  He’s earned one World Series ring (he didn’t pitch in the 2011 Cardinals Championship season as he was recovering from Tommy John surgery) and played on two pennant winners.

Wainwright led his league in wins twice (with 19 in each of 2009 and 2013) and won 20 in a third season, he led the Senior Circuit in innings pitched twice, in shutouts twice and complete games once.  He struck out at least 200 in a season three times.

Wainwright’s strong 2019 campaign means it’s likely he’ll pitch in 2020.  I wouldn’t put it past him to still be pitching in 2022, his age 40 season.  It does not hurt his chances that he will be remembered as one of the best hitting pitchers of his era.

In my mind, 191 wins is the magic number for starting pitchers who started their careers after 2000, at least so long as they have a career winning percentage over .600.  It’s no guarantee that Wainwright will reach 191 wins, but if he reaches 175, his career is going to look pretty good to Hall of Fame voters between 2025 and 2040.

Right now, I would put Wainwright on the bubble.  His chances are certainly a lot better than Tim Lincecum or Jake Peavy, both of whom have at least some arguments in their favor as HOFers.

San Francisco Giants Promote Jaylin Davis

September 5, 2019

When I saw the post on mlbtraderumors.com that the Giants have promoted Jaylin Davis, I was like “who?”  I’d already forgotten the Giants acquired him from the Twins for Sam Dyson.  When I looked at the photo on baseball ref, I realized I had seen the photo before and fairly recently, but I had to read the post to find out how the Giants had acquired him.

I hadn’t thought about Davis since looking at his baseball reference page on the day the Dyson deal was made, but in 27 games for AAA Sacramento Davis slashed .333/.419/.686, which is nearly identical to the .331/.405/.708 he slashed in 41 games for the AAA Rochester Red Wings immediately before the trade.

Davis is a former 24th round draft pick out of Appalachian State University, who hadn’t done much in the minors until this season, although he had shown a little power potential.  He’s still young (he turned 25 on July 1st), and he has improved dramatically this season.  The reason for the improvement appears to be improved plate discipline, combined with refining his power stroke.  He’s hit 35 HRs in a season roughly split between AA and AAA and batted a combined .306 with a .397 on-base percentage.  Hard to find fault with those numbers, although it’s too early to tell if his AAA performance this year, which was considerably better than his AA performance (.840 OPS) in the first half, reflects true improvement rather than a temporary hot streak or dumb luck.

With the Giants now nine games back of the second wild card spot, it’s safe to say the Giants have nothing to lose by giving Davis a good luck this month to see if he can help the team in 2020 and beyond.  It certainly is nice when your team gets somebody who looked like a throw-in player in a trade and the player turns out to amount to something.  It’s also nice to see great AAA performance rewarded with a major league shot.   We’ll see what Davis can do in September.

One Good Thing about the Service Time Rules

September 3, 2019

As most people inside MLB know, it is extremely difficult for a player past his 27th birthday to establish himself as a major league regular.  It does happen, but every major league team more or less believes that once a prospect reaches age 27, he’s no longer a prospect because the odds of his subsequently establishing himself as a major league regular and continuing to play well enough remain a major league regular for more than a season or two are slim indeed.  Moveover, the way to build a winning team is to develop prospects young enough that they can reasonably be counted on to produce at least three seasons each as productive major league regulars before they become free agents.

Nevertheless, there are late bloomers who catch a break, and the service time rules can actually benefit them if they establish themselves as legitimate major league regulars after the age of 27.  Two older prospects who have broken through this year are Mike Tauchman and Mike Yastrzemski, both 28 year old rookie outfielders.  After accomplishing little or nothing at the major league level through their age 27 seasons, both have established themselves in 2019 as possible rookie of the year candidates.

It remains to be seen whether either Tauchman or Yaz can continue to be productive major league players in 2020 and beyond, but at least both can be assured of receiving major league contracts for 2020 by virtue of service time considerations.  Tauchman came into the 2019 with only 79 days of major league service, and Yaz came in with no prior major league service.  As such, major league contracts could easily cost their respective teams less than $600,000 each for 2020.

In fact, Tauchman apparently received major league contracts for both 2018 ($547,000) and for 2019 ($557,000), although it’s possible he received a split contract that paid him a lower rate for minor league service and just a little over the major league minimum for major league service.  Presumably, he received a better deal than most minor leaguers get because of his strong AAA performance and ability to play all three outfield positions.

Both Tauchman and Yaz are in their seventh professional seasons, which could mean that they would become free agents unless their current teams tender them major league contracts this off-season.  In any event, it is so relatively cheap for their current teams to hold on to them for 2020 by offering them major league contracts that it’s hard to imagine any other outcome.

In short, by virtue of their getting the opportunities and playing well enough at the major league level in their age 28 seasons, they have achieved the almost mystical quality of being seen as “major league players” by MLB teams, and their ages will no longer be a draw-back at least until they become arbitration eligible should they continue to play well enough to hold onto major league roster spots.

Tyler Rogers Finally Gets His Shot

August 28, 2019

The Giants announced today that they have released Scooter Gennett — they’d have been better off just holding onto Joe Panik — and will call up submarining right hander Tyler Rogers to take his place.  I advocated in 2017 and 2018 for Rogers to get his major league shot, but the irony is that he doesn’t really deserve it this year.

After posting ERAs of 2.37 and 2.13 and allowing only six HRs in 143.2 IP in the hit- and homer-happy Pacific Coast League, Rogers hasn’t pitched well at AAA Sacramento this season.  His 4.21 ERA is unimpressive, he had command issues early in the season, and he’s allowed six home runs in 62 IP this year.  He’s pitched well of late, or at least I think so, since MiLB.com no longer publishes his last 10 PCL games since he’s just been promoted to the Show.

Low side-arm/under arm pitchers are rare, and as a result they can be effective major league pitchers in part because hitters aren’t familiar with them.  They can be very good at preventing the home run ball, but they need good infield defense behind them to stop hard hit ground balls and turn double plays.

Rogers has allowed a total of only 19 HRs in 478.2 minor league innings pitched, which is terrific.  We’ll see if he can prevent home runs by major league hitters.  Rogers needs to command his pitches if he’s going to be successful at the major league level.  Again, we’ll soon see how well he can do it.

Rogers is 28 this season, so an awful lot is riding on his ability to make a good impression right away now that he finally has the opportunity.  I’m rooting for him, but it remains to be seen if he what it takes to be a successful major leaguer.  At least, he’s finally getting an opportunity to show what he can do.