Where Have All The Fastballs Gone?

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Eovaldi’s average fastball velocity in two starts so far this year is 97 mph.

Watching Miami Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi overpower the Giants on Sunday afternoon was an eye-opener on several levels. For one, I began to wonder if the team actually fines anyone who takes a first pitch in back-to-back at-bats. But mostly I had to ask myself, why don’t the Giants have guys with arms like that?

Perhaps you’ve noticed, but these days the Orange and Black are nearly devoid of pitchers, starters or otherwise, who can simply reach back and throw one by a hitter. Let me first say that I am well aware that velocity by itself is pretty useless against big league hitters, and on the list of things I would preach to pitchers it would sit comfortably behind location and the ability to change speeds effectively. That said, like home run power, velocity can be a great equalizer and overcome certain deficiencies a pitcher may have.

In the case of a guy like Eovaldi, whose calling card is not pinpoint control and command, it means he can get away with mistakes here and there and still get people out. Should he ever harness his stuff and combine the mid-to-high 90’s velocity with the ability to hit his spots consistently, look out. Worst case scenario, he never gets it all together and slips easily into a relief role where the fastball plays up and he’s only forced to face a hitter once a game at the most. Either way, that’s a valuable big league arm.

For all the accolades showered upon the Giants pitching staff over the last several years, and they have been fantastic, they do not have a single arm on their roster that even approaches Eovaldi’s. It’s a hard truth to swallow, but a truth nonetheless.

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Examining Bud Norris

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Would Norris be a good fit for the Giants?

It’s becoming clear as the days go by that if the Giants want to give themselves a chance at their third championship in the last four seasons they need to find reinforcements, and fast.

Injuries and ineffectiveness have cut the legs out of what seemed to be a solid team that had a better than average chance of winning the NL West. While the team has multiple needs, the most glaring is in the once-vaunted starting rotation which has gone from strength to weakness in the span of three months.

Last month I floated the idea of trading for Cliff Lee, which while a nice thought, would simply cost the Giants too much in terms of prospects to make that a palatable idea in my opinion.

That brings me to the Houston Astros (my new favorite team in the junior circuit) and their 28-year-old right-hander, Bud Norris. Norris, a native of Novato, has been in the big leagues since mid-2009 and while his numbers over that span don’t wow you, he has proven to be a solid back-of-the-rotation stater despite being asked to be the ace of a truly terrible Astros team. To me, Norris should be right up at the top of the Giants’ and Brian Sabean’s shopping list come the trade deadline.

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Deal or No Deal?

Is Cliff Lee the answer, or would he cost too much?

Is Cliff Lee the answer, or would he cost too much?

There is no easy way to say this, so I’ll just come right out and say it. Your reigning, defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants absolutely suck right now and any light that may have been at the end of this tunnel is getting dimmer by the day.

The issues that have contributed to the general suckiness are abundant, but perhaps most glaring is the sudden and dramatic decline of the Giants starting pitchers who have delivered an MLB-worst 22 quality starts so far in 2013. With Madison Bumgarner the only Giants starter with an ERA under 4.00 and Bruce Bochy grasping at straws to find a replacement for an injured Ryan Vogelsong, what once was the Giants’ greatest strength has quickly become their Achilles heel.

This of course begs the question, should the Giants and Brian Sabean be looking to make a trade for a starting pitcher and if so, should that starting pitcher’s name be Cliff Lee?

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A Constant Struggle

brandon-belt-giantsEditor’s note: I was a solid 500 words into writing this piece when I came across this from CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly. Encouraging to say the least.

Editor’s note #2: I literally put the final period on this piece when lo and behold, Belt comes through with a walk-off single off D-Backs lefty Tony Sipp. You can’t make this stuff up.

As I’m sure you are aware, I started this little blog for the express purpose of venting about what I felt was the mishandling of Giants first baseman Brandon Belt by his manager and hitting coach. So it is with great disappointment that I must report that I believe Brandon Belt is officially broken.

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The 18 Million Dollar Question

World Series hero, Barry Zito

World Series hero, Barry Zito

Let’s face it Giants fans, we love us some Barry Zito. Game 5 of the NLCS, Game 1 of the World Series, those were magical performances that will forever live in the hearts and minds of Giants fans everywhere. Things weren’t always so magical for Zito in the Orange and Black, which brings me to the aforementioned 18 million dollar question:

Should the Giants exercise the 18 million dollar option on Barry Zito’s contract for 2014?

Tough one, isn’t it? Let’s examine both sides of this very expensive coin.

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The Moment of Truth, Or Is It?

Will the real tim Lincecum please stand up?

Will the real Tim Lincecum please stand up?

Small sample sizes. In baseball, they are good for very little beyond, well, they’re just not very good. Which makes tonight’s start for Tim Lincecum vs. the Dodgers just that much more interesting.

On the one hand, Giants Nation is waiting with bated breath to see what a slightly heavier, well-coiffed Big Time Timmy Jim will do in his first start since a disastrous 2012 regular season. Can he ever be close to the same again, or was his dominant post-season run in the bullpen a glimpse at his ultimate destiny as a pitcher?

On the other hand, does it even matter what happens tonight or will we just be fooling ourselves one way or another as we either proclaim his demise or trumpet his return to glory?

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Buster Posey: What Does It All Mean?

Buster Posey, f**k yeah!!!

Buster Posey, f**k yeah!!!

I was getting ready to sit down and write about how good I thought Tim Lincecum looked last night in his final tune up before the regular season, when it was announced that Captain Amer… I mean Buster Posey, had just signed the biggest contract in San Francisco Giants history.

First off, bravo to Giants management for locking up one of the best players in the league and if he stays healthy, potentially the greatest catcher who ever lived. And they did it in a way that even alongside a large, lengthy deal for Matt Cain, will not leave the club hurting for cash down the line. Combine these deals with the bargain-basement deal given to Madison Bumgarner and you have the backbone of a contending team in place for the next half-decade.

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