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Giants in the News

In case you missed them, here are some comments from local and national baseball writers and other members of the baseball community, about your San Francisco Giants during this 2009 season.

Baseball America
Giants Are at the top of the draft class
Jim Callis
January 12, 2010

After finishing in first or second place in the National League West for eight straight seasons from 1997-2004, the Giants fell on hard times. They endured four consecutive losing years before returning to contention again in 2009. Their future looks bright again, thanks in large part to their recent drafts. We grade every draft from 2005-08 in the new Prospect Handbook, and no team outdid San Francisco's 3.50 GPA. Vice president of player personnel Dick Tidrow ran those first three efforts, with scouting director John Barr coming aboard in 2008. San Francisco was the only club to earn three As.

USA Today
Slimmer Sandoval carries burly bat in winter league
Jorge L. Ortiz
January 11, 2010

The Kung Fu Panda might be a bit less cuddly next season, but his swing remains just as sweet. San Francisco Giants infielder Pablo Sandoval, the runner-up in the National League's batting race in his first full season in the majors, homered five times and hit .462 in his first nine games of the Venezuelan winter league playoffs for Magallanes. That came on the heels of batting .395 with 21 RBI in 20 regular-season games, yet another indication that Sandoval's offseason attempt to reshape his body has done nothing to detract from the stroke that produced a .330 average, 25 home runs and 90 RBI for the Giants.

Nastiest Pitches in Baseball
Tom Haberstroh
December 15, 2009

It's fitting that the best pitcher in the game also wields the one of the best pitches in the game. Mixed in as about 20 percent of his total repertoire, Lincecum's buckling changeup mirrors the lateral movement of his 92-to-93 mph fastball, but the slower velocity generates a 43-percent swing-and-miss rate (batters swing and miss at a typical change 26 percent of the time).
Giants '09 class builds on past drafts
Jonathan Mayo
December 3, 2009

In recent years, the Giants have been all about the Draft. Obviously, every team participates in the June event to try to find talent, but it's only been in recent years that the organization has really committed to building from within via the Draft. The past few first rounds for San Francisco have provided the team with Tim Lincecum (2006), Madison Bumgarner (2007) and Buster Posey (2008). The Giants have shown a willingness to take whoever they feel is the best player, be it a college pitcher, high-school pitcher or college position player. This past year, it was another high-end high-school arm to kick things off and San Francisco was excited about the quality of talent that came after that first pick.

Baseball America
AFL Top 10 Prospects
Ben Badler
December 2, 2009

Posey has a good, quick swing and doesn't strike out much. With his plate discipline, he should regularly rank among the top catchers in the league in OBP, though he might only have average power. Posey has a strong arm and a quick release. His athleticism helps his agility behind the plate, though he is a below-average runner, and some scouts question his ability to receive good velocity.

Baseball America
MLB's best and worst farm systems
John Manuel
December 1, 2009

The five best systems...(3) San Francisco has two elite talents in catcher Buster Posey and left-hander Madison Bumgarner, both of whom should contribute to the major league club in 2010. The Giants also have depth, despite the uncertain status of slugger Angel Villalona, who was stripped of his U.S. visa after an off-season murder charge in his native Dominican Republic. San Francisco has shortstop options, some solid bats (such as outfielder Thomas Neal) and solid depth, but it's really about the stars.

Sports Illustrated
It seems absurd, but Lincecum's worthy of Cooperstown talk at 25
Ted Keith
November 11, 2009

Lincecum is the only premier pitcher without serious question marks. Besides, even if Lincecum's Triple Crown stats, like wins and ERA, aren't the best in the league, it seems highly unlikely that he'll slip dramatically enough in any of the other categories at which he is so consistently near the top. And that means that he's always likely to be in the Cy Young discussion every year Â…All this would seem to suggest that winning a third Cy Young is a matter of when, not if, and that would all but cement Lincecum's place in Cooperstown.

New York Times
San Francisco Giants Take On a New Personality, and the N.L.
Billy Witz
August 2, 2009

The Giants are experiencing a change and Pablo Sandoval is a big reason for it. Throughout the 2009 season, San Francisco's pitching staff has been the most noteworthy news item. However, there's a new reason to start talking about the Giants and it's none other than a man that has been dubbed as the "Kung-Fu Panda." He has taken the city by storm and everyone is behind him. Complete article available on New York Times.

Sports Illustrated
In Praise of men who swing from their heels (and transform a franchise while they're at it)
Lee Jenkins
August 10, 2009

Pablo Sandoval has brought back an old-school approach to baseball not only on the field for the San Francisco Giants, but inside the clubhouse as well. The 22-year old 3rd Basemen is in the process of changing the way the Giants play on the field by swinging at every pitch thrown to him. He has also transformed the clubhouse culture, which was once described as "quiet" to now being described as a "1980's dance club." Complete Article available on Sports Illustrated.

New York Times
San Francisco Giants Take On a New Personality, and the N.L.
Billy Witz
August 2, 2009

The Giants are experiencing a change and Pablo Sandoval is a big reason for it. Throughout the 2009 season, San Francisco's pitching staff has been the most noteworthy news item. However, there's a new reason to start talking about the Giants and it's none other than a man that has been dubbed as the "Kung-Fu Panda." He has taken the city by storm and everyone is behind him. Complete article available on New York Times.

San Francisco Chronicle
Plenty to Love in Giants' August
Gwen Knapp
August 2, 2009

Not only are the Giants entertaining their fans with their wild card chase this August, the organization also knows how to entertain the masses in other ways. In just one night during the last home stand, the organization held a wedding between two fans (officiated by none other than broadcaster Mike Krukow), had over 650 dogs in attendance, and beat the defending champion Phillies by a score of 2-0 behind 2008 Cy Young award Winner Tim Lincecum. Complete article available on SFGate.

San Jose Mercury News
Giants say arms give them upper hand
February 9, 2009

"The Giants should have the upper hand (in the division) with their starting five, beginning with Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum. Newcomer Randy Johnson brings five more Cy Youngs, along with a quest for his 300th victory. Stalwart Matt Cain returns a year wiser, and there is reason to expect more from Barry Zito."- Andrew Baggarly

Randy Johson
February 7, 2009

"(Living in Phoenix), I hear everybody every year talking about the (Arizona) Cardinals going to the Super Bowl. Look what happened this year. Let's go to Scottsdale and be optimistic. Maybe this is our year for the Giants. Why should that be so funny to say that?" - Randy Johson

Randy Winn
February 7, 2009

"I believe this year is going to be a winning team. It would be a little different if I felt there was no cause for hope. As I look around at the guys in here, I think we're in a better position than we were last year to compete and win." - Randy Winn
Buster Olney Blog
February 2, 2009

"The addition of Randy Johnson, Baer believes, could shore up the back end of the San Francisco rotation, which dragged down the team in 2008. The Giants struck quickly in the relief market and signed Jeremy Affeldt and Bobby Howry, to shore up their bullpen, and they believe that shortstop Edgar Renteria will be in much better shape this year, and therefore a much better player. They've also got a full complement of outfielders, with Aaron Rowand set to be flanked by Randy Winn, Fred Lewis, Dave Roberts and others." - Buster Olney
Chat Wrap with Jim Callis
February 4, 2009

Timmy L., San Francisco: Fact or Fiction? The Giants have the best top 4 prospects in baseball.
Jim Callis: Fact.
Chat Wrap with Jim Callis
January 28, 2009

J.P. (Springfield, IL): After Price, who is the top pitcher in the minors in your eyes - Hanson or Feliz?

Jim Callis: Madison Bumgarner.

Baseball Prospectusm
Future Shock: Giants Top 11 prospects
By Kevin Goldstein

January 20, 2009

This is an up-and-coming system thanks to a new focus on the draft and what looks like a strong commitment to play with the big boys in the Latin American market. It's going to take some time, but all of the signs are pointing in the right direction.
Chat Wrap with Jim Callis
January 16, 2009

Gary (Des Moines, Iowa): Hi, enjoy the chat. Is Madison Bumgarner the top pitching prospect in baseball? If not who is? Thank you.

Jim Callis: (1:59 PM ET ) David Price is the top pitching prospect in baseball, though he'll probably never see the minors again. If we're counting just minor leaguers, then yes, it's Bumgarner.
By Jerry Crasnick
January 16, 2009

"After an improvement here and an upgrade there, the Giants are suddenly dark-horse candidates to make a run in the NL West." - Jerry Crasnick

"After years of building their club around Bonds, the Giants have cultivated a more sustainable long-term approach. Starters Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain give the team a young 1-2 punch worth envying, and the farm system is generating more respect now that the Giants have chosen to spend more money in the draft. The Giants have four monster prospects in first baseman Angel Villalona, catcher Buster Posey and pitchers Madison Bumgarner and Tim Alderson, and Baseball America rates San Francisco's minor league system as fifth-best in the game, matching the franchise's highest ranking since 1984." - Jerry Crasnick

Bay Bridge Baseball
A blog by Jeff Fletcher
January 15, 2009

"I think Cain will have a breakout year. I think Lincecum will be the same. I think Sanchez will pitch better." - Anonymous MLB Scout
Jim Callis Chat
December 31, 2008

How would you rank the Top 5 Offensive Prospects for this upcoming season?

Jim Callis: The top five position-player prospects, for me, are Matt Wieters, Pedro Alvarez, Colby Rasmus, Buster Posey and Tim Beckham.
Jim Callis Chat
January 7, 2009
Can you rank the 5 NL West farm systems?

Jim Callis : Sure. From best to worst: Giants, Rockies, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Padres. The Giants have an elite system, while all the rest are in the 20-30 range for me.
Affeldt a smart signing for the Giants
By Keith Law
November 17, 2008

They (Giants) get one of the best free agent relievers on the market for a contract below the typical length for high-end relievers. Two years is nothing for a quality relief pitcher, not when most get three years and some (like Scott Linebrink last year, who isn't close to Affeldt in terms of stuff) get four. If Affeldt gets hurt, or regresses horribly, the commitment is short. It's absolute sanity.

And best of all, this signing doesn't cost the Giants a draft pick, as Affeldt was a Type B free agent. Cincinnati gets a compensatory pick between the first and second rounds, but the Giants lose nothing.
Signings of Renteria a wise decision by the Giants
By Keith Law
December 4, 2009

The signing of Edgar Renteria makes the Giants more competitive in 2009 and probably 2010, but at no cost to the generally bright long-term picture in San Francisco. He doesn't cost them a draft pick and won't be blocking any major prospects. And if you believe that the Renteria of the last two months of the 2008 season, when he hit .299/.340/.493, is closer to his actual level of ability (as he showed up out of shape in spring training and wasn't really in shape until late July), then it's a minor bargain for the Giants.

GM Brian Sabean and his staff appear committed to a rebuilding project, and are working to fit short-term contention (or at least respectability) into the rebuilding plan...
Big Unit will be big help to Giants
By Keith Law
December 27, 2009

With the signing of Randy Johnson to a one-year deal, the Giants made another move toward 2009 respectability, if not outright contention in a weak division, without doing any damage to their long-term rebuilding plan.

It gives the Giants one of the strongest rotations in the league, with the reigning Cy Young Award winner at the top in Tim Lincecum, a potential No. 1 starter in Matt Cain and a breakout candidate for 2009 in lefty Jonathan Sanchez.
Rebuilding Giants heading in the right direction
By Dayn Perry
January 5, 2009

The San Francisco Giants are navigating treacherous shoals these days: they're trying to rebuild and contend at the same time.

Normally, this is an inadvisable tack. It's difficult to load the roster with talents ready to contribute now without trading away prospects, devoting too much of the organizational budget to the big-league club, blocking young players on the depth chart, or squandering compensatory draft picks. In the Giants' case, though, they're doing the right thing.

Thanks to the a farm system on the rise (prospects like Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Pablo Sandoval, Angel Villalona, Tim Alderson, Jose Casilla, and Conor Gillaspie are all worth watching) and an underwhelming National League West, the Giants are in just such a position. When your bar is set at, say, just 85 wins or so, then it's possible to win the flag while still tending to the future. The Giants might do just that in 2009.

The Giants' present rotation of Tim Lincecum (reigning NL Cy Young winner), Matt Cain (3.76 ERA and 186 strikeouts as a 23-year-old), Johnson, Jonathan Sanchez (tremendous potential provided his control improves, breakout candidate), and Barry Zito is potentially one of the best in baseball. And that's to say nothing of Noah Lowry, who should be healthy in 2009.

Jeremy Affeldt, the best lefty reliever on the market this winter, was another canny addition by GM Brian Sabean, and Bobby Howry has strong rebound potential in 2009. So the bullpen also figures to be improved.
Moves may make Giants contenders
By Chris Haft
January 5, 2009

The Giants have positioned themselves into being possible contenders in the National League West this season.

Randy Johnson Interview
January 9, 2009

I pitched against them (San Francisco) 3 times last year and they've got a lot of talent.

The NL West has not ever been labeled one of the strongest divisions. For that reason, joining the San Francisco Giants with what they already have on the roster leads me to believe it should be an exciting year in the NL West. I don't think anybody right now can pick who's going to win based on their roster, but the Giants are as deep and have as much potential as any team.