As Spring Training continues for the San Francisco Giants, more injury updates on several key Giants players have become readily available.
In the past week, fans have received updates on the health and progress of Matt Cain, Sergio Romo, and even Giants manager Bruce Bochy. Today, we will focus on the progress of ailing Giants Tim Hudson and Angel Pagan.
The San Francisco Giants enter the 2015 MLB season with some new faces, some high expectations, and the hope of ending their every-other-year trend by winning a World Series in 2015. As the MLB season nears, Giants reporters have been able to update fans on the injury statuses on some key players, such as starting pitchers Tim Hudson and Matt Cain.
The 2014 MLB All-Star Game is on Tuesday, July 15th. The starting lineup for the National League was voted on and decided by the fans. Injury replacements have been named, and the final spots have been filled.
The San Francisco Giants have three All-Stars on the National League roster. Two of them were named right away when the other reserves were announced, and one was just named on Sunday.
The San Francisco Giants have the best record in MLB at 35-19, and they’ve had an incredible start to their 2014 season.
The initial National League ballot figures were released on Wednesday, and the Giants had seven players near the top of the voting for their respective positions. Buster Posey is second at catcher, Brandon Crawford is second at shortstop, Brandon Belt is fourth at first base, Pablo Sandoval is fifth at third base, and Angel Pagan, Michael Morse, and Hunter Pence are eighth, ninth, and 10th for outfielders.
Read the full story at Golden Gate Sports.
This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.
After a disappointing 2013 season, it was a little surprising that the San Francisco Giants didn’t make too many changes to their roster going into the 2014 season.
They only made a couple moves, but they’ve both had a huge impact on the Giants’ season so far. Their major offseason acquisitions were pitcher Tim Hudson and left fielder Michael Morse.
Hudson was a big-name signing for the Giants, because of the success that he’s had in his 15 years in the league. He was coming off a gruesome and potentially career-threatening ankle injury in 2013 though, so this signing had some risk. However, this risk has led to great reward for the Giants.
So far this season, Hudson has an astounding 1.99 ERA, 4-2 record, and has pitched 54.1 innings in just seven starts. He’s also struck out 36 and walked only three.
Hudson has been doing exactly what many Giants’ starting pitchers failed to do last season. He’s keeping his pitch count down, he’s staying in games longer, he’s not walking many batters, and he’s getting out of innings quickly. He’s been the dream starting pitcher for Bruce Bochy and the bullpen.
He’s also been a great addition to the clubhouse. He’s a veteran presence, he works hard, and he gets along with everyone. Who knows how long he will be able to keep up this type of production, but his impact, on and off the field, on this Giants’ team so far has been incredible.
The Morse acquisition was a little more under-the-radar, but there was still uncertainty about how much Morse could produce because of a wrist injury he suffered last season. This signing also could’ve been classified as “high risk” because of that, but like with Hudson, the acquisition of Morse has greatly benefitted the Giants.
Morse is currently hitting .294, and he has eight home runs and 24 RBI in 109 at-bats in 34 games this season. Morse has provided the Giants with another power hitter and a competent, everyday left fielder, which they severely lacked last season. Morse is known as a power hitter, but he’s been that and even more for the Giants.
Also like Hudson, he’s easily fit in with the other players in the clubhouse. He’s a hard worker, he’s easygoing, and he’s fun-loving. Morse has been an excellent teammate, so he’s greatly impacted the Giants on and off the field as well.
Lastly, Brandon Hicks has been a nice surprise for the Giants so far this season. Hicks was a non-roster invitee, and because of Marco Scutaro’s back injury, Hicks has become the everyday second baseman for the Giants.
Hicks is currently hitting .198, and he has five home runs and 11 RBI in 81 at-bats in 26 games. Although his batting average isn’t spectacular, he’s filled in nicely for Scutaro.
He’s brought some more power to the Giants, and he currently has more home runs than both Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval combined. On April 27th, he even hit a three-run walkoff home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning that gave the Giants a 4-1 win over the Cleveland Indians.
He also has a .316 on-base percentage and a .432 slugging percentage, which is pretty impressive given his batting average. He also plays solid defense, so he’s been a great pick-up for the Giants.
The Giants are currently atop the NL West with a 21-13 record, and these three players are a significant reason why they’ve had such a successful reason so far. Hudson has been the model for consistency in the Giants’ starting pitching rotation, and he’s been the best starting pitcher for the Giants so far.
Morse and Hicks have provided big boosts in power to the Giants. Morse is second on the team for most home runs with eight, and Hicks is fourth on the team with his five home runs.
These players’ power is a big reason why the Giants are second in all of MLB with 42 home runs, just behind their division rival, the Colorado Rockies, who have the benefit of playing in the very hitter and power-friendly Coors Field.
The new guys have blended well with this Giants team, and hopefully they remain productive and effective, on and off the field.
This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.
The San Francisco Giants have played great baseball and shown much improvement so far in the 2014 season. The Giants knew that 2013 was disappointing in many different ways and that they would have to go back to fundamentals in Spring Training to have a more successful season in 2014.
Obviously, it’s still very early in the season, but the Giants have improved in several areas that they struggled with last season. There are still some areas that need work, but thankfully for the Giants, they have lots of time to improve in those areas.
Here are three good signs from the first 10 days of the 2014 season for the Giants:
1) Brandon Belt’s hot streak at the plate has carried over from last season. Belt is currently hitting .342 and has a .737 slugging percentage with five home runs and nine RBI. He leads the Giants in home runs, RBI, and runs.
After hitting .350 with five home runs and 13 RBI and having a 1.051 OPS in August of 2013 and hitting .341 with two home runs and 15 RBI and having a .910 OPS in September of 2013, Belt was set to have a breakout year in 2014. Even though it’s early, it seems as if that prediction will come true.
Belt is on pace to have an All-Star caliber year, and he could possibly even hit 25-30 home runs this season.
2) The Giants’ offense so far this season, specifically their power numbers and their hitting with RISP, has been impressive. As of Wednesday, the Giants rank first in MLB with 13 home runs, whereas in 2013, the Giants ranked second to last in MLB with 107 home runs for the whole season. Obviously, it’s early in the season and the Giants played their first four games in the hitter-friendly Chase Field, but the power displayed so far by Belt, Buster Posey, Michael Morse, and others has been impressive.
These are all impressive, especially given the fact that the Giants struggled so much with runners in scoring position last year. In 2013, the Giants left an average of 3.70 runners in scoring position per game, which ranked 26th in MLB.
The Giants’ offense has looked more powerful than last season, and Angel Pagan deserves a lot of credit. Pagan is hitting .447, which leads the Giants, and has a home run and eight RBI. He also leads the Giants in OBP with .488 and hits with 17. Pagan has also hit safely in all nine of the Giants’ games so far. Pagan is healthy, and the Giants’ offense is benefiting greatly from his presence and his hot hitting.
3) Tim Hudson has become a fan favorite because of his dominant pitching so far. He’s started two games so far, and he’s gone 2-0 and has a 1.15 ERA, 11 strikeouts, no walks, and a 0.64 WHIP in 15.2 innings. He’s allowed opponents to hit just .182 against him, and he’s allowed just 10 hits and two earned runs.
Every single one of these stats is excellent, but one of the important stats to the Giants is the fact that he’s pitched 15.2 innings in two starts. So far this season, Hudson is the only Giants starting pitcher to complete seven innings, and he’s done this in both of his starts.
Last season, Giants’ starting pitchers threw too many pitches, made too many early exits, and this taxed the bullpen and Posey. Hudson’s efficiency and low pitch counts are already greatly benefiting the Giants.
Here are three bad signs from the first 10 days of the 2014 season for the Giants:
1) Besides Hudson, the starting pitchers haven’t shown some much-needed stability. One of the main reasons why the Giants failed to make the playoffs in 2013 was because their starting pitchers struggled, besides Madison Bumgarner. They need this to change in 2014, and so far, they haven’t proven they can be more reliable as a staff.
So far, Matt Cain has a 5.73 ERA, Tim Lincecum has a 9.90 ERA, and Ryan Vogelsong has a 9.00 ERA. Bumgarner has a 1.74 ERA, but he hasn’t pitched more than 6.1 innings yet.
Vogelsong’s struggles have been the most concerning, because he has faced serious velocity and mechanical issues since returning from injury last season. Hopefully Vogelsong, and the pitching staff as a whole, can bounce back.
2) Marco Scutaro started the season on the DL, and there haven’t been any updates so far on his status. Alex Pavlovic of the Bay Area News Group reported that Bruce Bochy has no idea when Scutaro will be back with the team.
“I really don’t know,” Bochy said when asked about Marco Scutaro. “I know he’s doing baseball activities. I don’t even have a target date for you and I don’t think Dave Groeschner can even have that for you.”
So far, Scutaro’s absence hasn’t been too troublesome for the Giants because of the emergence of Brandon Hicks, the versatility that Joaquin Arias possesses, and the defensive prowess of Ehire Adrianza. However, it has to be a little concerning that the Giants don’t have a timetable for the return of their 2012 NLCS MVP and 2013 All-Star.
3) The Giants struggled mightily with defense last season, and they’ve shown some inconsistency on defense this season too. During the first game of the season, they committed two errors but it easily could’ve been more than that. They struggled with executing simple rundown plays, handling bunts, etc.
It even prompted Bochy to ask bench coach Ron Wotus if they needed to start spring training again. The Giants made a point during spring training to get back to the fundamentals on defense, and it certainly didn’t show during that first game.
The Giants have played better defense since then, but they need to keep improving.