Month: September 2013

Why the San Francisco Giants Need to Re-Sign Hunter Pence

August 12, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence (8) celebrates after hitting a three-run home run against the Colorado Rockies in the eighth inning at AT

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

Many players tend to have a great all-around season when they are going to be free agents at the end of the season. By doing this, they get the opportunity to sign a new long-term, hefty contract in the offseason. This is exactly what Hunter Pence has done this season for the Giants.

Pence will be a free agent at the end of this season, and he’s having a fantastic year for the San Francisco Giants. Pence is hitting .290 with 22 home runs and 82 RBI. He also has a .340 OBP, .477 slugging percentage, and a .817 OPS. Since the All-Star break, he’s hitting .338 with eight home runs and 34 RBI.

Pence will be a free agent at the end of this season, and he and the Giants have reportedly begun discussions toward a contract extension. Although he will probably command a fairly large contract, he might be worth it. Pence has said that he wants to re-sign here, and it seems like many of the other Giants players want him here too.

“It’s hard not to be a huge fan of Hunter,” Buster Posey said. “He gives 100 percent from the time he gets here to the time he leaves. He’s probably the hardest worker I’ve ever seen.”

Here are a few reasons why the Giants need to re-sign Pence in the offseason.

First of all, in addition to his impressive stat line, Pence has also started every single game this year. He has an incredible work ethic, he’s extremely fit, and he gives 100 percent on every single play, no matter what the score or the team’s record is. This is the type of guy a team would want leading a clubhouse. He’s a great role model for the younger players, and, he also knows a thing or two about giving a motivational speech.

Second, he provides some protection for Posey in the lineup. Bruce Bochy usually has Posey hit cleanup and, as of recently, has Brandon Belt hitting third, so Pence is the perfect person to hit fifth. If an opposing team wants to pitch around Posey, they’ll have to face Pence. Pence has power, finds ways to get RBI’s, and has a good OBP, so he’s the perfect player to have hitting behind Posey.

Aug 2, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; San Francisco Giants right fielder Hunter Pence (8) singles during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. San Francisco Giants defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Aug 2, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; San Francisco Giants right fielder Hunter Pence (8) singles during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. San Francisco Giants defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Third, he’s beloved by all Giants fans. His determination, his work ethic, his quirkiness, and his gratitude immediately made him a fan favorite. He’s extremely likable, and he has a lot of character. He’s the perfect representation of this franchise and their fanbase.

Fourth, Pence is an all-around, quality player that would be valuable to this Giants team in the future. As mentioned before, Pence has had a solid year offensively. Most importantly, he brings some much-needed power to this team. Pence has also stolen 21 bases so far this year. Pence became just the seventh player in Giants history to reach the 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases milestone.

Pence joins an elite 20-20 club of Giants including Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonds, Willie Mays, Jeffrey Leonard, Glenallen Hill, and Orlando Cepeda. Any major league club would love to have another base stealer, so Pence is even more valuable to the Giants in that sense.

Defensively, he’s quite strong as well. Since he’s in the best shape of his life right now, he’s even quicker in the outfield and is able to get to more flyballs because of it. Especially since the Giants were so poor defensively this year, Pence’s consistent, reliable defense in right field would be important for the Giants to keep around.

The Giants have three key players who will become free agents in the offseason: Pence, Javier Lopez, and Tim Lincecum. They need to determine which of these three players they want to bring back and how much they are willing to spend on them. Ideally, for Giants fans, the Giants would be able to bring back all three. Financially, it’s not clear if that’s possible.

Re-signing Pence should be a top priority for the Giants this offseason. He’s a talented, versatile player who could really help the Giants next season. He’s also a hard worker, a fan favorite, and he’s a veteran leader in the clubhouse. The Giants need to find a way to bring Pence back next season.

The 3 Best Trades in Golden State Warriors History


This article was originally published on Let’s Go Warriors.

Last season, the Golden State Warriors clinched their second playoff berth in just 19 seasons. The franchise hasn’t experienced much success in recent history, but the Warriors made those two playoff appearances because of a few key trades.

The following three trades are not listed in any particular order. Here are three of the best trades in Warriors history:

Trade #1: On January 17, 2007, the Warriors acquired Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, Sarunas Jasikevicius, and Josh Powell from the Indiana Pacers for Mike Dunleavy Jr., Troy Murphy, Ike Diogu, and Keith McLeod.

This trade was significant, because it led to the “We Believe” era. The Warriors were 19-20 when the trade was made, and, after the trade, the Warriors offense drastically improved. The Warriors finished 42-40 and earned the eighth seed in the playoffs. The Warriors finished the season over .500 for the first time in over a decade. In the playoffs, the Warriors went on to upset the number one seed in the Western Conference, the Dallas Mavericks.

The Warriors finally had a star in Jackson, and Harrington allowed the Warriors to go small and play the run-and-gun style that was so successful. Captain Jack and Harrington truly re-vamped this Warriors team and helped turn them into one of the most exciting, entertaining teams in the NBA.

Trade #2: On February 24, 2005, the Warriors acquired Baron Davis from the New Orleans Hornets for Speedy Claxton, Dale Davis, and cash.

Davis was a transformational force for the Warriors. Before this trade, the Warriors hadn’t had a true franchise player since the Run TMC era. Davis gave them that. Warriors fans immediately loved Davis for his exciting, confident style of play.

As a Warrior, Davis averaged more than 20 points, eight assists, two steals and nearly five rebounds per game. He is among the franchise leaders in three-point field goals, three-point field goal attempts, points per game, assists per game, steals per game, etc. Davis helped turn a Warriors team that had been so bad for so long into a playoff contender.

Trade #3: On March 13, 2012, the Warriors acquired Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson from the Milwaukee Bucks for Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh, and Kwame Brown.

This trade was a controversial one for many fans, since Ellis was a fan favorite at the time. However, this is, arguably, the most impactful trade in Warriors history. The Warriors weren’t going to become a legitimate force in the Western Conference with Ellis on their team. He was too selfish, and he wasn’t the leader that the Warriors needed.

By acquiring Bogut, the Warriors finally had that dominant inside presence that they hadn’t had in so long. Although Bogut was injured when they traded for him, he was exactly the type of center the Warriors needed. He’s a defensive-minded beast who plays with a constant stream of effort. Bogut wasn’t able to play all of last season, but every Warriors fan could see how dominant the Warriors could be when Bogut was on the floor.

His presence alone altered an opponent’s offensive approach. If a player was even able to get to the basket, there was a good chance Bogut was going to block their shot or, at least, alter their shot and snag the rebound. If the Warriors can get at least 60 or 70 games out of Bogut this season, then they will certainly be one of the strongest teams in the Western Conference.

With all that being said, which trade do you think was the best trade in Warriors history?

The Top 5 Draft Picks in Golden State Warriors History


This article was originally published on Let’s Go Warriors.

In the past decade, the Golden State Warriors have made some questionable draft selections including Patrick O’Bryant, Ike Diogu, Andris Biedrins, and Marco Belinelli. Despite these poor draft picks, the Warriors, as a franchise, have a rich history and have drafted some extremely talented players.

In order to determine the top 5 draft picks in Warriors history, there are some factors that have to be considered. This is not a ranking of which player was better but more of a ranking of how good the actual pick was. The following picks were ranked and determined based on how long the player was a Warrior, what the player accomplished as a Warrior, and what pick the player was drafted with.

With that being said, here are the top 5 draft picks by the Warriors:

Honorable Mentions: Tim Hardaway and Mitch Richmond

5. Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry was drafted with the seventh overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. He is entering his fifth season in the NBA and is, arguably, one of the top five point guards in the league right now. After averaging 22.9 points and 6.9 assists last season, he should’ve been named an All-Star.

Although Curry hasn’t been selected as an All-Star yet, he has accomplished a lot in his four-year career. He was a First Team All-Rookie selection. He won the Taco Bell Skills Challenge in 2011. He had a 54-point game. He made the most three-point field goals (272) in a single season in NBA history.

Over his career, Curry has been the main reason why the Warriors have transformed from the laughing stock of the Western Conference into a legitimate title contender this season. Curry is a superstar, and he will accomplish much more for the Warriors in the coming years. Based on Curry’s career so far and the Warriors’ poor track record with drafting in recent history, this draft pick earned top five honors.

4. Wilt Chamberlain

The Philadelphia Warriors drafted Wilt Chamberlain as a “territorial pick” in 1959. In his rookie season, he averaged 37.6 points and 27.0 rebounds and won the Rookie of the Year Award, All-Star Game Most Valuable Player, and NBA Most Valuable Player. In his six seasons with the Warriors, he averaged over 30 points and 20 rebounds. In the 1961-1962 season, he averaged 50.4 points and 25.7 rebounds.

The Warriors didn’t see much success when Chamberlain was on the team though. He was criticized fiercely for averaging so many points and rebounds, yet not converting his personal success into the team’s success.

Although Chamberlain is one of the greatest players in NBA history, he ranks at number four, in terms of Warriors’ draft picks, because he only played six seasons with the Warriors and the lack of team success during that time.

3. Chris Mullin

The Golden State Warriors selected Chris Mullin with the seventh overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft. He played a total of 13 seasons with the Warriors in two stints. He was a five-time NBA All-Star and was named to the All-NBA First Team in 1992. From 1988-1993, Mullin averaged more than 25 points and five rebounds, and the Warriors made five consecutive playoff appearances.

Mullin was known for this shooting, passing, decision-making, and his constant effort on the court. He wasn’t known for his speed, so he had to out-smart his opponent and keep them off balance using fakes, stutter steps, etc. Of course, Mullin, Hardaway, and Richmond formed the “Run TMC” trio for the Warriors, which featured high-scoring, fast-paced play.

Mullin’s 13 total seasons as a Warrior earns him the number three spot.

2. Nate Thurmond

The San Francisco Warriors drafted Nate Thurmond with the third overall pick in the 1963 NBA Draft. Thurmond played a total of 11 seasons with the Warriors. He was a seven-time NBA All-Star and a two-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection. He’s also the first player in NBA history to record a quadruple-double.

Thurmond played alongside and backed up Wilt Chamberlain during the beginning of his career. When Chamberlain was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, Thurmond became the starting center and proved to be exactly what Chamberlain wasn’t for the Warriors.

Thurmond was one of the greatest rebounders and shot blockers in NBA history. Although Thurmond was one of the most dominant centers to play the game, he wasn’t able to bring the Warriors a title.

1. Rick Barry

The San Francisco Warriors drafted Rick Barry with the second overall pick in 1965. Barry played for eight seasons with the Warriors in two different stints. He won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in 1966. He’s also an eight-time NBA All-Star, five-time All-NBA First Team selection, and was the NBA All-Star Game MVP in 1967.

Barry was known for his pinpoint three-point shooting, his basketball IQ, his excellent execution on defense, and his accurate, yet strange, free-throw shooting. Barry is regarded as one of the best small forwards to ever play in the NBA.

He helped bring the Warriors their first and only NBA championship, so far, in 1975, and he was named the NBA Finals MVP. Since he is the only player on this list to bring the Warriors a championship, he deserves to be named the best draft pick in Warriors’ history.

San Francisco Giants: The Case to Give Younger Players More Starts

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

The San Francisco Giants were officially eliminated from the NL West Monday night. The Giants won’t be winning a wild-card playoff spot either, so it’s officially time for the organization to start looking towards the future.

February 20, 2013; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Heath Hembree (72) poses for a picture during photo day at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants called up many young, promising players from their AAA affiliate, the Fresno Grizzlies, at the beginning of this month. They brought back some familiar faces such as Jake Dunning, George Kontos, Francisco Peguero, Nick Noonan, and Juan Perez. They also brought up some prospects that hadn’t made their major league debuts yet such as Johnny Monell, Ehire Adrianza, and Heath Hembree.

Since the September call-ups, not many of these prospects have started games or seen a significant amount of playing time though. Bruce Bochy seems adamant about starting his regular players for the rest of the season.

“I’ll find my spots to get [the callups] in the game,” Bochy said. “Some of them will start, but at the same time, we’re going to be playing to win every game. Our regulars are going to be out there.”

Bochy’s stance is understandable. After an extremely disappointing season, Bochy wants this team to finish this season strong. Even if it’s impossible to make the playoffs, they could still finish off the season on a run and carry some of that momentum into next season. If they finish on a good note, then it’s more likely that the returning Giants players will come into spring training with a better attitude and will be more focused on getting back to the playoffs next season.

Although that argument verifies that Bochy should continue to start the regular players, it’s time to at least start mixing in some of the prospects. Bochy doesn’t necessarily have to do a starting lineup with just the prospects, but it would be wise to give each of them some starts occasionally. This will give them some experience in the major leagues, it will make them more confident about their game, and it will potentially put some of them in a better position to make next season’s roster.

For example, Hembree has a great shot at making an impact next season for the Giants. In fact, Hembree almost made the 25-man roster coming into this season. He has only appeared in three games so far this season for the Giants, but he has been very impressive so far. He currently has a 0.00 ERA with three strikeouts and two walks in three innings. He also has only allowed one hit.

He has shown great command of all his pitches, and he throws hard. He could easily make the 25-man roster next season and be one of a couple right-handed set-up men for Sergio Romo. After gaining some more experience in Fresno this year, he looks like he’d be ready to contribute effectively next season.

February 20, 2013; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Johnny Monell (79) poses for a picture during photo day at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Although he most likely won’t make next season’s roster, it would be interesting to see Monell get some starts too. Since Buster Posey is still playing with a small fracture in his right ring finger, it’d make sense for the Giants to rest him more or at least give him a break from catching.

Hector Sanchez will certainly get a fair number of starts at catcher for the rest of the season, but Monell could really use some more experience behind the plate. Monell has great power, but he needs to work on his defense. Giving him a few starts would be a great opportunity to see what he can do and what he can work on.

Adrianza is another prospect that should get a few starts. Adrianza is known for his defense at shortstop, but he started to improve on his offense once he was promoted to the Grizzlies earlier this season. The Giants should give him a couple spot starts to see if he truly has become more proficient with the bat.

The Giants, for the most part, already know what they’ll get out of Dunning, Kontos, Peguero, Noonan, and Perez. Dunning and Kontos will definitely get some consistent playing time out out of the bullpen, since Bochy wants to utilize his larger staff of relief pitchers. Perez and Peguero will most likely get some spot starts in left field, and it’s not clear how much playing time Noonan will get, besides pinch-hit opportunities.

The 2013 season for the Giants is almost over, but it’s not too late to give their prospects a chance to prove why they deserve to make next season’s roster. It’s time to focus on 2014 and which prospects could make an impact.

A San Francisco Giants Fan’s Perspective on Bandwagon Fans

Aug 22, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants fans hold a Cainer Babe sign as starting pitcher Matt Cain (18) leaves the game after being hit by the ball against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fourth inning at AT

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

This might sound repetitive, but the San Francisco Giants have had a disappointing season. They currently have a 63-79 record and are 20.5 games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West.

After bringing back a very similar roster as the one that won the World Series last year, the Giants have struggled to capture the same magic this season. Many key players have been injured at some point, but they have had some more serious issues, besides injuries.

As a diehard, lifelong Giants fan, there has been one slight glimpse of hope to come out of this disappointing season. A poor season from a reigning World championship team can result in a reduction of the amount of bandwagon fans that came along for the ride when the team started to win and become popular. Less bandwagon fans mean less frustration for the lifelong fans.

There are several reasons why bandwagon Giants fans cause the frustration that they do. First of all, most of them aren’t that knowledgeable. It’s unfair to expect every single fan to know all the latest news and rumors about a team, but it seems like most bandwagon fans lack knowledge of not just the team, but also the game itself.

They normally don’t follow the team as much because they didn’t previously care or know much about baseball. They become fans of teams like the Giants because it’s a “popular” choice, not because they previously watched baseball or admire what the team has done in the past.

Second of all, most bandwagon Giants fans aren’t as dedicated as lifelong fans. This might sound like an obvious statement, but bandwagon Giants fans don’t stick around when times go bad for a team. Shocker. For example, this season, many bandwagon Giants fans stopped consistently watching Giants games back in July or August when it became clear that the Giants weren’t going to make the playoffs.

September 6, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Yusmeiro Petit (52) is shown on the video board being congratulated by teammates after a one-hit shutout against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT

The Giants still rank third in MLB with an average attendance of 41,648, but that counts the number of tickets sold, not necessarily how many fans actually attend a game. Many fans bought tickets to games at the beginning of the season when they were eager to watch the reigning World Champs. Now that the team is almost officially out of the playoff hunt, many fans, especially bandwagon fans, have stopped attending games. Many times recently, AT&T Park has looked fairly empty compared to last year or earlier this season.

Bandwagon fans started rooting for the Giants when they were consistently winning games. It makes perfect sense why these bandwagoners aren’t watching as many games and have lost track of the team.

Fair-weather fans and bandwagon fans are very similar. What’s the difference between them though? Bandwagon fans think they’re more superior. Bandwagon Giants fans claim to have been fans for a long time, even though they didn’t watch games during all those seasons that the Giants had losing records.

At the end of the day though, it’s their loss that they’re bandwagon fans. The diehard fans that have been fans since birth have been through the ups and downs with the team. The Giants’ World Series win in 2010 was that much more special to lifelong Giants fans, because they knew how hard it was and how many Giants teams in the past have tried and failed to get that first World Series win since 1954.

The World Series win in 2012 was shared with more bandwagon fans, but it was still an incredible ride for the Giants. Bandwagon Giants fans reached their peak after the 2012 World Series win, but, with the disappointing 2013 season, their presence at games and in social media has started to dwindle.

They used to take over AT&T Park last season. They’d flood the stadium with their uninformed questions and childish shrieks. They’d also try to start a wave at AT&T Park. Sigh.

Aug 16, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; A San Francisco Giants fan cheers on during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

There are some bandwagon Giants fans who know their material and have come to fully understand the strategy and idiosyncrasies of baseball. Those bandwagon fans should be commended for their efforts, if they are still watching games and following the Giants.

The bandwagon Giants fans who don’t know what they’re talking about, in terms of baseball, and only talk about Buster Posey’s adorable qualities, Brandon Crawford’s hair and Hunter Pence’s awkward tendencies, can sit out the rest of this season. And perhaps next season too. The real Giants fans can take it from here.