Great Moments in Organizational Philosophies

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Repoz over at Baseball Think Factory links USA Today’s Organizational Report on the San Francisco Giants today. The report was written a couple of weeks ago, actually, as is evidenced by both the url and the references to the team maybe picking up Rod Barajas or someone to help Buster Posey out behind the plate.  But the age of the report only helps to highlight the best part: Brian Sabean explaining the Giants’ new organizational philosophy of getting on base and working counts: 

. . .the Giants want to change their hitters’ mind-set, a process that
began when they replaced hitting coach Carney Lansford with Hensley
Meulens after the season, and Molina’s .285 on-base percentage did not
fit with the philosophy. Plus, when you register the lowest OBP in baseball (.309), relying purely on instinct might not be such a good idea.

“Last year we were challenged because we had a bunch of free
swingers, and some of our better hitters were free swingers,” general
manager Brian Sabean said, naming Molina and Pablo Sandoval among them.
“It is a shift. The first thing we’ll do once we have the players at
hand on the roster is figure out how we can have a better attack. It’s
not necessarily hitting home runs as much as taking care of your
opportunities. We are going to work counts more if possible.”

I’m trying to figure out what my favorite part of this story is.  The choices:

  • The fact that Hensley Meulens, the man tasked with implementing this alleged new philosophy, had a lifetime .288 OBP;
  • The fact that Sabean seems to think that you should teach the players you have how to get on base as opposed to actually going out and signing players who have demonstrated that they know how to get on base;
  • The fact that eight days after this story was first published, the Giants re-signed Bengie Molina, who is repeatedly cited in the article as a counter-example to the team’s alleged philosophy and is probably the least patient hitter in baseball; or

Other than that, great philosophy fellas. Whether it’s any better than the last two Giants philosophies (i.e. “Do whatever Barry wants” and “sign old dudes and talk about how great it was when Barry was here”) is an open question.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a switch hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.

I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.

I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.

As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.

There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
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Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.

Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.

With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.