Home run futility- not just for Giants first basemen

The home run that Travis Ishikawa hit on Monday against the Braves was the first home run by any Giants first baseman this year.

From Jayson Stark’s Rumblings and Grumblings column, here are some of the other positions in major league baseball which have yet to hit a home run (number in parentheses is the number of at bats):

  • Angels leadoff (185)
  • Pirates leadoff (193)
  • Dodgers #5 spot (185)
  • Rays 2B (182)
  • Mets 2B (164)
  • Twins CF (178)
  • White Sox CF (156)
  • Dodgers C (187)

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This post was written by Hank on May 28, 2009


Some thoughts on the current lineup (no stats, I promise!)

These are some general observations I had on the Giants starting lineup, simply based on watching a lot of the games. I’ve not done any statistical research or analysis, but I’d be interested to see how far off I am.

Travis Ishikawa needs to be in a platoon, but not the obvious lefty-righty platoon. Rather, he should only play at home. He hits well at home but on the road, he looks like a pitcher when he’s hitting. Mabye it’s the water, mabye it’s the hotel bed, mabye he needs to wear his home jersey under his road jersey. Somehow, he needs to drastically change his routine for road games if he wants to stay in the big leagues.

Speaking of Rich Aurilia, he needs to start hitting. Otherwise he might find himself “designated for assignment” after the next time the Giants bring up Jesus Guzman.  He’s shown some signs, but overall the Giants first base position is just a complete black hole right now.

Emmanuel Burris, on the other hand, is the anti-Travis Ishikawa. He hits on the road, and looks out of it at home.

I think Freddie Lewis is miscast hitting lower in the lineup. He’s not doing well right now because he’s being pressed to fulfill a role that frankly, his hitting style is not suited for. His best value to the Giants is that he can get on base and once on base, can steal. He should bat either leadoff or second.

Pablo Sandoval has often cited Bengie Molina as a mentor. But thank the baseball gods, one part of Bengie’s game the Kung Fu Panda has not followed is the lack of patience at the plate. Over the last month, Sandoval has become noticeably more selective at the plate, and his hitting has correspondingly improved as a result. Molina, on the other hand, has cooled off dramatically after a hot start. In this case, perhaps it’s Bengie who could take a page or two from Sandoval’s approach to hitting.

And finally, please, no more Eugenio Velez. He has been completely lost at the plate, his fielding can be most diplomatically described as adventurous, and even his only obvious asset, speed, is useless when he keeps getting picked off. He had a hot few weeks when he first got called up in September 2007, and he’s milked that for all it was worth.

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This post was written by Hank on May 27, 2009

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How much are the Giants worth?

Forbes released its annual report appraising the value of Major League Baseball teams. When you look at the overall figures for the league as a whole, they sound good- the league earned a net revenue of $5.8 billion, an increase of 5.5% from 2008. On average, the book value of each franchise increased by 1%, to $482 million, an all-time high.

However, not all is rosy. Although the overall league numbers increased, the figures were heavily influenced by the increases from the top money teams such as the Yankees and Red Sox. There were actually nine teams in the major leagues whose average value decreased. Unfortunately, the Giants were one of them.

The San Francisco Giants fell 5% in value, to $471 million…It just is not the same without Barry Bonds coming to the plate at AT&T Park. Attendance dipped 11% during the Giants’ first Bonds-less season since 1992. The California economy has been particularly hard hit and as a result the prices of PSLs at AT&T Park have fallen about 60% over the past three years.

So the drop in value roughly corresponds to the estimated $20 million the Giants would have had to pay to keep Bonds. Overall, Giants revenue in 2008 was $196 million, with the operating income at $22.4 million. This was based on a stated payroll of $104 million and gate receipts of $74 million. So at least, the Giants are still making money, and a decent amount of it.

The Giants now rank ninth in the major leagues in value. Compared to other teams in the divison, the Giants ranked a distant second. The Dodgers, ranked 4th overall, were valued at $722 million. Behind the Giants in the NL West were the Padres at $401 million (16th overall), Diamondbacks ($390 million, 19th) , and then the Rockies ($373 million, 20th).

The top five were: Yankees ($1.5 billion), Mets ($912 million), Red Sox ($833 million), Dodgers, and Cubs ($722 million).

Read the full report from Forbes

The Giants “Financial Report”

(correction: that should have been $722 million for the Dodgers)

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This post was written by Hank on May 15, 2009

He’s not up there to take a walk

After 115 at bats, on May 12 of the season…

Bengie Molina finally got his first walk of the season.

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This post was written by Hank on May 13, 2009