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.
The Yankees are facing a convoluted path to the postseason, and they didn’t do themselves any favors after Todd Frazier fell for Ryan Goins‘ hidden ball trick in the third inning of Friday’s series opener. With one out and Frazier on second base, Jacoby Ellsbury skied a deep fly ball to right field, where it was caught by Jose Bautista just shy of the warning track and tossed back to Goins at second. Goins faked the throw to Marco Estrada, then sneakily (or not so sneakily, depending on your vantage point) gloved the ball and caught Frazier off the bag for the third out.
Of course, it helped that Frazier’s back was turned during the throw, so Goins’ fake-out may not have been as obvious as it was when the Yankees reviewed the tape several minutes later.
Goins earned another spot on the highlight reel in the sixth inning, mashing his second grand slam of the season while Frazier — and the rest of the Yankees’ offense, sans one home-run-record-slaying Aaron Judge — scrambled to catch up. The Yankees currently trail the Blue Jays 8-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning, and will need to pull off a comeback (and hope the Astros and Athletics clinch their respective games) before they can lay claim to a playoff spot.
The Blue Jays have shut down left fielder Steve Pearce for the remainder of the season following a lingering case of lower back stiffness. Pearce has not appeared in a game since September 8, when he was forced to exit in the first inning after experiencing back pain during his at-bat. Per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, he’s scheduled to return to Florida next week, where he’ll receive epidural injections to address the pain.
Pearce, 34, impressed in his first season with Toronto. He battled through a calf injury during the first half of the season and finished the year with a modest .252/.319/.438 batting line, 13 home runs and a .757 OPS through 348 PA. By September, the Blue Jays started testing the waters with outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez, who shouldered the bulk of the starts in left field after Pearce was sidelined with back issues.
With the Blue Jays all but eliminated from playoff contention, however, there’s no rush to get Pearce back to the outfield. He should be in fine shape to compete for another starting role in spring, and could face stiff competition from Hernandez if the rookie continues building on his .278 average and three home runs this month. The veteran outfielder is slated to receive the remaining $6.25 million on his contract in 2018 and will be eligible for free agency in 2019.