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.
Adrian Beltre has been on the disabled list all year because of nagging right calf strain, but he’s about to take a big step toward getting back to action.
Beltre has been cleared to begin playing in extended spring training games. He’ll commence them tomorrow at the Rangers facility in Surprise, Arizona. After three games the team’s doctors will reevaluate him. If things go well, he’ll likely be sent off for a full minor league rehab assignment.
Joey Gallo has filled in for Beltre all season, bringing a lot of power but not much else to the table. While Beltre is 38, his all-around game would be welcomed back on the field and his leadership would be welcomed back in the Rangers clubhouse. On a personal note, Beltre is only 58 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.
Barring a setback, he’ll be back with the big club in early June and will hit the milestone eventually.
Outfielder Michael Bourn was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Orioles late last season and hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with them through the end of the season. While that’s not enough to outweigh the miserable season he had in Arizona, it was enough to get the O’s to give him a look in spring training with a minor league deal. They signed him to one in late February.
Then, a couple of days later, Bourn broke his finger while playing catch with a football. Unable to play, the O’s cut him. In early April, once Bourn healed, the O’s signed him again. He played 11 games for their Triple-A affiliate and went 9-for-41 with ten walks in 51 plate appearances. While that makes for a decent OBP, his lack of any sort of pop or good contact suggests that if someone throws him strikes, he can’t do much with the ball.
As such, the O’s had not called him up to Baltimore. And as a result of that, Bourn exercised his opt-out rights and became a free agent.
Someone may take a look at him given that his batting eye seems to be intact and given that, in an admittedly small sample size, he still performed last season. But if he does get a look, it’ll likely be back at the minor league level.