Tag: Andres Torres

Francisco Peguero: Breaking Down Why He Should Make the SF Giants’ Roster

When Andres Torres signed with the San Francisco Giants, the Giants set up their left field platoon of Gregor Blanco and Torres, both speedy and talented outfielders.

However, after just two weeks of spring training, some of those thoughts have significantly changed. And that’s because of another left-field hopeful that has broken onto the scene.

Francisco Peguero has dominated this spring, hitting .550 (11-for-20) and playing decent defense. Peguero is smoking the baseball and running out ground balls, and he has impressed a lot with his hustle. Peguero will make routine ground balls into close plays, and he sometimes beats out those ground balls with great speed and hustle.

In other words, Peguero has looked a lot better than he did when the Giants called him up late in August of 2012.

Peguero went 3-for-16 after being called up as a backup outfielder, and he looked a bit rattled at the plate. Peguero pinch-ran a lot and stole three bases, and he was never caught. He has lots of speed, and that’s something the Giants value. However, it didn’t translate into immediate success, and Peguero was left off the postseason roster.

Blanco and Torres are both great defensive players, but neither has much pop. Peguero has a lifetime minor league average of .305, and while his plate discipline has brought up concerns, it’s not slowing him down now. Peguero is hitting the ball and hitting it incredibly well, and that’s something the Giants want.

Because the Giants aren’t a team built around big names on offense, they need production from everyone. Having Blanco or Torres, both of whom strike out a lot (25.3 percent strikeout rate combined), isn’t going to be enough. Neither have good batting averages, as neither reached the .245 mark last year.

However, it’s almost guaranteed that one of those guys will start, largely because of their defensive value. On the bench, the Giants would have whichever left fielder doesn’t start, a backup infielder (such as Kensuke Tanaka or Wilson Valdez) and Hector Sanchez. None of those guys has pop, and they won’t help the Giants pinch-hit.

Last year, Giant pinch-hitters hit .218. Peguero could most definitely change that with the ability to record extra-base hits. He can keep the chain moving for the Giants, which is very important considering that the Giants were last in the league with 103 home runs last year.

You could say that Cole Gillespie or even Brett Pill could fill that role, as Pill has pop as a pinch-hitter. However, Pill hit .210 with an offensive wins over replacement (oWAR) of -0.3. Pill needs regular at-bats to succeed, and he won’t get them with Brandon Belt at his natural position, first base.

The transition to left field could also cause a problem for Pill, and that would not be good for the Giants, who need good defense to thrive. Pill has power, but he’s going to have trouble keeping the chain moving. Pill has a .239 batting average in the majors and a .280 batting average in the minors, neither of which stands out. Pill could steal a spot as an infielder, but he’s not going to make the roster as a left fielder.   

Gillespie, however, could make the roster as a left fielder. In 110 career major league at-bats, his batting average is just .236 and his on-base percentage (OBP) is .292, but he has impressive minor league stats. This spring, Gillespie’s batting average is .261, but his OBP is .370 and he has three doubles.

His career major league fielding percentage (.981) is also decent, showing that he can support the Giant pitchers with defense—something that’s very important in San Francisco. However, Peguero has a .1000 fielding percentage in left field and a .979 fielding percentage in the outfield. This suggests that both are good at defense, which is a true statement.

Both can hit, too. Gillespie has a stellar minor league batting average of .290. While it’s not as good as Peguero‘s, it shows he can get hits off the bench. Peguero has better hitting numbers, and he has shown that he wants to start. He’s been outperforming everyone, including Gillespie. If Peguero keeps this up, he will be assured a starting role.

Gillespie is a good all-around player and a nice backup option, but Peguero has more potential. Torres has been hurt a lot, and if he does get hurt again, it could hurt the Giants. Gillespie has struck out in 27.3 percent of his MLB at-bats, and the Giants don’t want guys who strike out. Peguero struck out in 17.9 percent of his minor league at-bats, and he can keep the chain moving with good hits. He’s certainly done that this spring.  

And if he keeps it up, Peguero could even slide past Blanco and Torres and into a starting role.

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San Francisco Giants: Why the Left Field Tandem Will Be a Strength in 2013

Gregor Blanco—the San Francisco Giants projected starting left fielder—hit just .244/.333/.344 with five home runs last year.

Andres Torres—the free agent the Giants brought in to compete with Blanco—hit just .230/.327/.337 with three home runs last year.

For comparison, the average major league team received a .260/.325/.431 batting line with 22 home runs from their left fielders last season.

Based on those numbers, left field appears to be a position of weakness for the Giants heading into spring training. Chris Quick of the website Bay City Ball summed up the general sentiment well by writing:

The best way the Giants can upgrade their team is fixing [left field] LF, but that’s almost surely something that won’t be handled until the trading deadline…And stuff like LF should be easily fixable, in a way, since there’s a chance that because the baseline is so low, any upgrade should be, theoretically, easy to attain.

While Torres and Blanco don’t have the power bats typically associated with a corner outfield position, they both provide value in less obvious ways that should make the left field situation a strength for the Giants next season.

First, Blanco (.333 on-base percentage) and Torres (.327) got on base in 2012 above the overall league average (.319) and the league average for left fielders (.325). Torres walked in 12 percent of his plate appearances and Blanco walked in over 11 percent of his plate appearances. Thus, while they both hit for low averages in large part because of their high strikeout rates, their excellent walk rates propelled them to have acceptable on-base percentages.

Secondly, Blanco and Torres are excellent defensive outfielders, and a run saved on defense is just as important and valuable as a run created on offense. According to the defensive metric ultimate zone rating (UZR), Blanco was the 15th best defensive outfielder last year and Torres was 33rd.

With Blanco and Torres, the Giants are deploying two players with enough range to play center field in left. While defensive performance is harder to measure than offense given the limitations of the metrics available, both the numbers and the eye test show them to be well above average in the outfield.

Finally, both players create additional value once they get on base. Blanco was 26 for 32 in stolen base attempts and he was credited with being worth nearly four runs with his legs last year. Torres was 13 for 18 on stolen base attempts and was credited with being worth nearly two runs with his baserunning last year.

In 141 total games including 89 starts, Blanco was worth 2.4 wins above replacement (WAR). In 132 games including 101 starts, Torres was worth 1.7 WAR. Thus, they combined for 190 starts and over four wins last season. If the Giants get the same overall production from their tandem of left fielders this season, they won’t need to scour the market for an upgrade at the trade deadline.

Blanco and Torres both strike out a lot and don’t hit for much average or power. However, they both walk enough to keep their on-base percentages above the league average, play excellent defense and provide value with their speed on the bases. 

If you just look at their traditional hitting statistics, you would assume the Giants need to upgrade in left field. However, when you take into account the complete package that both players offer, you can see why the Giants are comfortable heading into spring training with Blanco and Torres competing for playing time in left field and as backups for Angel Pagan in center and Hunter Pence in right.

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5 Players New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson Will Let Go This Winter

Only the Mets can find a way to not keep a pitcher who wins, or contends for a Cy Young award. The New York Mets have a lot of roster spots to fill, and no money to fill them. Is the best strategy to spend all of their money on re-signing David Wright and R.A. Dickey, leaving all their holes unfilled?

I don’t think that is a wise choice. The Mets have a lot of players leaving via Free Agency, but some players who are under contract for 2013 may not be here as well. 

Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson is tasked with changing the makeup of this team, and it starts with the departure of the Knuckballer, who had one of the best seasons in franchise history.

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New York Mets: Can a "Fruit and Nuts" Franchise Still Compete in the NL East?

Earlier this week, during baseball’s Winter Meetings, super agent Scott Boras categorized the New York Mets as a team that is normally in the “steaks section,” but now find themselves in the “fruits and nuts category a lot.”

Any Mets fan will admit there are plenty of nuts running around the organization at the moment.

It’s far too late to claim that fans want a contender—they’re dying for one.

In the wake of Jose Reyes signing with the newly-christened Miami Marlins, the only thing the Mets can do is shop around in the bargain bin and find any way to keep butts in the seats while their better prospects develop.

General manager Sandy Alderson, completely unwilling (and rightfully so) to concede anything, including the upcoming 2012 season, hopes to build a long-term contender no later than 2014. And with prospects like Zack Wheeler, Jeurys Familia, Jenrry Mejia, Matt Harvey and Brandon Nimmo in the fold, that just might be possible.

Yes, they should trade David Wright, but that’s an article for another day.

But with the farm system still unable to bear Major League-ready fruit, can the Mets actually find a way to compete within the NL East—a division which is arguably the best in baseball?

After several days of inactivity, Alderson finally made a flurry of moves, trading Angel Pagan to the San Francisco Giants for outfielder Andres Torres and reliever Ramon Ramirez, and signing relievers Frank Francisco (two-years, $12 million) and Jon Rauch (one-year, $3.5 million).

Ramirez, Rauch and Francisco give manager Terry Collins plenty of arms to choose from in Spring Training.

Francisco, 32, went 1-4 with a 3.55 ERA and had 17 saves in 54 relief appearances for the Toronto Blue Jays last season. Rauch, 33, is a good match for the Mets, finishing 2011 5-4 with a 4.85 ERA in 53 relief appearances. He missed the remainder of the season after being sidelined September 4 with torn cartilage in his right knee. Ramirez, 30, went 3-3 with a 2.62 ERA in 66 relief appearances for the San Francisco Giants last season.

In adding Torres, Alderson took a page out of the Moneyball Handbook, hoping that the Torres of 2010 will reemerge. He hit just .221 with four home runs and a .312 OBP last season, but two seasons ago, Torres was a monster.

Although he produced a ho-hum slash line of .268/.343/.479, he was tied with the Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista with a 6.8 WAR. Defensively, he posted a revised zone rating of 96 percent, first among centerfielders.

While Torres might be a slight upgrade, especially defensively, over Pagan, and the addition of three relievers gives Collins more flexibility to sort out the bullpen, Alderson didn’t add any actually wins to the Mets roster.

Once again, the Mets bullpen is going to be a trial-by-error system—everyone will have a chance to fill a role until they begin to show imperfections, at which time, hopefully, Collins will make a change.

Last season, the Mets bullpen ranked 15th in the NL in both BAA (.267) and ERA (4.33).

The Mets will enter 2012 with a team of retreads and returning players, like first baseman Ike Davis and starting pitcher Johan Santana. Unless Alderson puts the hammer down and trades a player like David Wright, the next few seasons will be highlighted by continual futility and failure.

Will the Philadelphia Phillies finally start to show their age? Will expectations become too much for the completely revamped Miami Marlins? The Atlanta Braves missed the playoffs only because of a nightmare September collapse; will they recover or enter a free fall not unlike the Mets’?

Heck, even the Washington Nationals, who are expected to break camp with stud Bryce Harper, have a brighter future than the Mets.

So what can Alderson, Collins and the Mets actually do?

For now…nothing.

If Alderson is unwilling to concede the season and start making serious trades, there isn’t much to be done. Yes, the Mets have reportedly been shopping young players like reliever Bobby Parnell and starting pitcher Jon Niese, but Alderson didn’t seem very willing to actually pull the trigger, and it’s unclear exactly what the market’s interest was.

We’ll have to wait and see if the Mets will make any aggressive moves between now and the start of Spring Training, but it seems that, once again, Mets fans will be looking at another season of disappointment.

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San Francisco Giants: Brandon Belt Seems Bound for Triple-A Fresno

So the San Francisco Giants made a mistake.

The hype was so huge coming out of Spring Training that the Giants ultimately had no choice but to start Brandon Belt on Opening Day at first base.

The Giants went against everything they have ever preached about their prospects by bringing up Belt to the majors to start the season.

Buster Posey waited until mid-season, now look at him; so did Madison Bumgarner and a host of other players who now make up the young core of the Giants’ competitive ball club.

Which is why murmurs of Belt’s imminent departure for Fresno seems just about right for this situation.

Andrew Baggarley of the San Jose Mercury News says that Belt has until April 26 to make a splash in The Bigs or he’ll be splashing in Fresno. That would be the date that Andres Torres is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list.

Honestly, this seems like a done deal already and the Giants really don’t have any other options for this situation at this point, if you look at it.

If the Giants choose not to send Belt down to Fresno, that would mean they would have to designate someone like Nate Schierhotlz for assignment to make room for Torres on the roster.

Why would the Giants choose to lose Schierholtz when Belt can just be optioned to AAA and possibly brought back up again?

At this point in the season, it betters the team for Belt to be sent down.

His .196 BA isn’t helping anyone right now and he seems a little overwhelmed at the plate at the moment.

With that move, Aubrey Huff can now make a home back at first base and the one-man circus that he was in right field comes to an end.

Plus, it gives Aaron Rowand and Schierhotz, guys who have played well when called upon, chances in the outfield until Cody Ross returns.

There are more pros than cons when it comes to Belt being sent down to AAA-Fresno, which is why it seems the Giants have already made up their mind.

Mark it down: Torres up and Belt sent down on April 26.

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San Francisco Giants: Recasting “Major League” With the 2010 World Series Champs

English romantic poet and literary critic Samuel Taylor Coleridge is credited with coining the phrase “suspension of disbelief.”  

The term describes the requirement a work of fiction places upon a theoretical audience member or reader to willfully accept as truth certain fantastical or implausible elements contained therein.

This aesthetic imperative enables us to become invested in alternate realities we know to be false, and use the shadowy truths and broad archetypes we find so appealing in fiction to simplify the dizzying complexities of our own empirical reality.  

Now, let’s be honest: Major League is as far-fetched a film as they come. The parallel universe created here—familiar to us because it speaks a well-known language of baseball, complete with well-known team insignia—provides the framework for the ultimate underdog story.  

Fueled by the multiplication of unlikely events, the narrative pays the debt that every suffering baseball fan believes he’s owed.

But in a much larger sense, it follows the blueprint drawn up by the deepest desires of humanity.

We take tremendous comfort in the story because it expands the limits of what Man, even in his most wretched state, is capable of.

The elevation of the lowest common denominator empowers the human imagination to reach heights untalked-of and unseen, fulfilling our eternal hope that the lives we lead eventually break loose from the shackles of mundane monotony we’re so accustomed to wearing.  

Prince Hamlet tells us that fiction holds the mirror up to nature; and so it does.  

But fiction can also increase our appreciation for the beauty of nature’s reality.  

The 2010 San Francisco Giants were branded as “misfits” and “outcasts” early in their playoff run. Against all odds, they became World Champions, triumphing twice over teams they weren’t supposed to beat.

The formula is familiar. The Cleveland Indians in Major League provide a bare-bones model for misfit champions that our own beloved Giants flesh out.  

Only when we move from the fictive to the real, we transform our implicit contract of “suspended disbelief” into the power of “sustained belief.”

So let’s get started, shall we?

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World Series Game 3: Rangers Use Long Ball To Defeat Giants

Down two games to none in the World Series, the Texas Rangers desperately needed some home cookin’, and more importantly needed a win in Game 3. The guy they relied on for a big performance was Colby Lewis and like in his three postseason games prior, Lewis delivered.

Lewis gave up just five hits, two runs, walked two and struck out five in 7.2 innings of work as he helped the Rangers defeat the Giants 4-2 on Saturday night. The Giants now lead the best-of-seven series 2-1.


I thought Lewis’ start was more like his Game 2 start against the New York Yankees than his Game 6 start. Lewis danced through raindrops in that Game 2 start, and I thought he did the same thing on Saturday.

Lewis only gave up five hits and two runs, but it could have been a lot worse. He left a lot of balls right out over the plate and somehow avoided serious damage all night.

According to PitchFx, Lewis threw 57 sliders and curves in Game 3. Take a look at his pitch chart, notice how many of those pitches he left up…

Lewis left an insane amount of sliders and curves not only over the middle of the plate, but up in the zone. How he didn’t get hurt more than he did is a mystery to me.

The two mistakes he did get caught on were an inside fastball to Cody Ross and a right down the middle fastball to Andres Torres. After this postseason, I don’t think any pitcher is going to throw a fastball on purpose to the inner half of the plate to Ross. He has manhandled that pitch all postseason.

Lewis is now 3-0 with a 2.35 ERA and 24 K’s in four postseason starts. If there is a Game 7, it will most likely be Lewis taking the mound for the Rangers.

While Lewis was doing it on the mound, the Ranger offense just did enough to get by.

The first big blow for the Rangers came from Mitch Moreland in the second. After fouling off four tough pitches, Moreland hit a frozen rope over the rightfield wall for a three-run HR. Why Buster Posey would call an inside fastball in that spot was a little puzzling.

Josh Hamilton added to the lead in the fifth when he hit a hanging curve from Jonathan Sanchez into the right center field seats. Sanchez put that pitch on a platter for Hamilton and he didn’t miss it.

Here are some other observations from Game 3…

The Giants are going to have quite the decision on their hands if this series goes seven games. Sanchez was terrible for the second straight game and if this series goes seven, he is slated to start.

Sanchez only lasted 4.2 innings, and gave up four runs on six hits and three walks. Sanchez is so Jekyll and Hyde that I don’t think Bruce Bochy can go to him in a Game 7.

The Giants’ hitters weren’t much better.

Three World Series games and eight strike outs in nine AB’s. This is the Pat Burrell Tampa Bay Rays fans knew to grow and love.

While Tim McCarver thought Nelson Cruz made a poor baserunning play in the bottom of the second, I thought he made the right decision.

Here was the setting: Cruz was on third with one out and the infield was playing back. Jeff Francoeur hit a slow roller up along third. Instead of going home, Cruz went back to third. Juan Uribe looked Cruz back and then threw out Francoeur at first.

Okay, here is my take on this. Uribe fielded the ball right in front of third. If Cruz goes home off of contact, he would have been out by 20 feet. The contact play clearly wasn’t on and instead of having a runner on first with two outs, the Rangers still had a runner on third with one out. Maybe it’s me, but I would rather have the latter.

Can someone please tell Ron Washington it’s the World Series. Despite Darren O’Day getting the job done in the eighth, I still can’t believe Washington refuses to go to Feliz for a four-out save.

I will have to admit, I didn’t mind it when Washington left Lewis in the game to face Aubrey Huff in the eighth. Yes, Torres just hit a HR. And yes, Edgar Renteria hit a rope to left for an out. But Huff didn’t represent the tying or go-ahead run, so let the guy try to finish things out.

However, once Lewis hit Huff, Washington has to go to Neftali Feliz. Who do I want pitching the most important AB of the game? O’Day or Feliz? I will take Feliz for $1,000 Alex.

I was completely shocked Bochy went to Ramon Ramirez in the bottom of the eighth in a 4-2 game. I didn’t think he would see the mound again in this season unless it was a blowout.

If you told the casual fan after watching last night’s game that Pablo Sandoval hit .330 last year, they would laugh at you. He has zero and I mean ZERO confidence at the plate right now.

Moreland had 145 AB’s during the regular season, so he won’t qualify for the Rookie of the Year award in 2011, but not being up for the award aside, Moreland should be good for a .260-.270 average with 20 plus HRs.

Words can’t describe how big Game 4 is on Sunday. The difference between 2-2 and 3-1 can’t be understated. The Rangers will have Tommy Hunter on the mound trying to tie the series, and the Giants will have rookie Madison Bumgarner on the mound trying to give them a 3-1 series lead.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

NLCS 2010: Do The Giants Have Enough Thump To Take On The Mighty Phillies?

As the 2010 post-season delves further into October, the San Francisco Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies are the last two National League teams standing.

The National League Championship Series between these two clubs will begin on Saturday, October 16th – in Philadelphia.

The Phillies jumped all over Joey Votto and the Cincinnati Reds, sweeping Dusty Baker and company right out of the playoffs. While it may be tee time in Cincinnati, the Phillies are resting, laying in wait for the Giants.

In San Francisco there lies another brand of baseball. The Giants secured their NLCS ticket in four games, sending Atlanta home for good in 2010. Shipping off Bobby Cox was no easy task, each game being decided by a single run.

On paper and before your eyes, the Phillies have been the team to beat coming into the playoffs. They feature top notch pitching, a fearsome lineup, and oodles of playoff knowledge in the dugout.

One thing is for certain with the Giants, they can pitch. It is the other things like hitting, and oh maybe more hitting that are less certain.

The Giants squeaked by the Braves, getting just enough runs to win by the narrowest of margins. This will not fly against the Phillies. If the Giants want to have a chance against a true juggernaut like Phillie, they will need certain players to step up and deliver big time.

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Andre(s) the Giant: Torres Wins the WIllie Mac Award for San Francisco

Andres Torres has been one of the best stories around Major League Baseball this season. He has been a journeyman for his entire career, and was virtually unknown. 

Now, his name is most likely spoken in almost every home belonging to a Giants fan. He has been one of the best clutch players on the Giants, 

Winning this award is a big deal for Giants players, and no one deserves it more than Andres Torres. He has a .270 average, to go along with 16 homers, 62 RBIs, and 25 stolen bases. But to win this award, one has to be more than a paper tiger. 

Andres Torres is a warrior, and his hard work has definitely paid off for him. After almost every game, he can be seen working out in the weight room for around 30 minutes. 

He was a track star in high school, and he caught the eyes of scouts with the way he plays defense. As we all know, his defense has made him a possible gold-glover as well. There was a point during the middle of the season when Torres appeared on the highlight reel for a sliding, diving, or wall-climbing catch every other day. 

Torres has never put up the numbers that he has this season. He has produced more in one year, than he has in his whole career. Torres is quite the character, and he definitely deserved this award. 

As the Giants inch closer to a playoff berth, we can only help the Torres has recovered from his emergency appendectomy. It sure looks like he has. He has two home runs (including one in his first game back), a triple, and a stolen base that forced him to slide on his stomach. 

Torres has been a main part of the Giants offense all year, and a great person on- and off-the-field. His hustle, hard work, and determination has influenced his teammates to vote him into winning the Willie Mac Award.

Just like a fine wine, Andres Torres has gotten better with age. 

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San Francisco Giants: Five Things They Need to Do to Win the Series in Colorado

By the time the San Francisco Giants take the field in Colorado Friday night, there will be nine regular season games left.

I’m not sure there is anything regular about them. In these remaining games, the Giants will face the Colorado Rockies who are very much in the hunt AND the division leading San Diego Padres.

Through today (9/23), the Rockies are 3.0 games out of first place, and dropping three in a row to Los Angeles and Arizona.

The Giants and Rockies clash for three games over the weekend. If you are starting to see a trend here, you nailed it.

When you consider the importance of the final three games against the Padres next weekend, do not under appreciate what is about to happen in Colorado.

A sweep by the Rockies this weekend will leave the Giants all but out of the playoffs for certain.

San Francisco must win this series if they want to keep San Diego in their cross-hairs for next weekend.

In order for that to happen, there are five things the Giants must do….

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