Homegrown Giants pitching proves unbeatable in World Series sweep

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Brian Sabean’s fondness for over-the-hill hitters has made him the butt of more than a few jokes during his 16-year run as the Giants’ general manager. What is undeniable, though, is that the man knows something about pitching, particularly young pitching.

Four of the five starters the Giants used this year and in the postseason were drafted by San Francisco, though Ryan Vogelsong circumnavigated the globe before making his way back to the team. Only the costly Barry Zito was acquired through other means.

Now, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner were all first-round picks, but other teams had their shots at them. Cain went 25th in the Moneyball draft in 2002. Lincecum and Bumgarner were 10th overall picks.

New closer Sergio Romo was a true Giants find, getting picked in the 28th round in 2005. Of course, the guy he stepped in for, Brian Wilson, was another Giants draft pick.

Those five Giants draft picks — Cain, Lincecum, Bumgarner, Vogelsong and Romo — combined to post a 0.98 ERA in 27 1/3 innings in the World Series. Only Cain, the Game 4 starter, gave up any runs at all, and if the wind hadn’t been blowing out to aid the home runs of Miguel Cabrera and Delmon Young, perhaps he wouldn’t have allowed any runs, either.

Of course, the Giants had help from a couple of homegrown hitters, too: probable NL MVP Buster Posey was the fifth overall pick in 2008 and World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval was signed by the Giants out of Venezuela in 2003. There certainly haven’t been many success stories like those two from position players during Sabean’s reign, but as the 2012 Giants demonstrated, it doesn’t take a whole lot of hitting with arms like these.

Kolten Wong lashes out after losing his starting role with the Cardinals

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Kolten Wong is no longer the only second baseman being considered for a starting role on the Cardinals’ roster, and he’s not happy about it. On Saturday, GM John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny hinted that Wong could lose playing time to Jedd Gyorko or Greg Garcia in 2017 — in other words, an infielder who brings a little more pop at the plate. Prior to the Cardinals’ game against the Marlins on Sunday, Wong gave his heated response to the media. Via Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

I don’t think you give somebody a contract for no reason,” Wong said. “When you are given a contract, you are expected to get a chance to work through some things and figure yourself out. Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, all these guys never figured their stuff out until later on down the road. It’s the big leagues. It’s tough, man. For me, the biggest thing is I just need people to have my back. When that comes, it will be good. But, I think right now, it’s just staying with my play, understanding I’m working toward getting myself more consistent, understanding what kind of player I can be. If that’s going to be with another team, so be it.

When pressed, Wong said that he would rather be traded away from St. Louis than step into a limited role with the team. “I don’t want to be here wasting my time,” he told the press. “I know what kind of player I am. If I don’t have the belief here, then I’ll go somewhere else.” The 26-year-old was inked to a five-year, $25.5 million extension prior to the 2016 season, complete with a $12.5 million option and $1 million buyout.

Part of Wong’s frustration stems from the Cardinals’ backtracking on their stated commitment to him as their starting second baseman last winter. Mozeliak admitted that while Wong had the defensive tools necessary to hold down the position, he failed to impress at the plate. It’s an argument that Wong hasn’t been able to rebut this spring, going 8-for-44 with two extra bases and 10 strikeouts in camp. He hasn’t looked much better in the regular season, sustaining a career .248/.309/.370 batting line with a .678 OPS and 5.1 fWAR over four years with the organization.

Still, the second baseman feels that he should have been given some heads up that he was playing to keep his starting role this spring, admitting that he entered camp with the mentality of someone who had a guaranteed spot on the Cardinals’ roster and not someone whose job security was dependent on his day-to-day results. “I need the time to consistently figure out how to be me and succeed at this level,” said Wong. “Everybody goes through it. Not everybody is Mike Trout.”

The Tigers are trying to convert Anthony Gose into a pitcher

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Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.

While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.

Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.