The problem with Sabean


When I first got to Vietnam in ’62 I was surprised at who were the top management there.  I had worked with all of them in Iran.  We were about to become perhaps the largest civil engineering/construction organization in history and the project manager was an ex-mechanic.  That would have been OK if he were a good organizer and delegated to the right people who knew what they were doing.  That wasn’t the case here.  His top assistant was his best friend, also an ex-mechanic.  To complete the triumvirate, the project engineer was a mechanical engineer.  This would have worked great if all our problems were mechanical.  I was a civil engineer.  There was no one I could talk to.  Plans to management were like kryptonite to Superman.  Open a set of plans and they were out the door.


I think this is similar to the Giants organization.  Sabean is an eyeball scout.  He only believes what he sees.  He doesn’t trust numbers.  “Don’t talk numbers to me, I know what I see.”  He only hires eyeball scouts.  Bochy is an eyeball manager.  They all talk the same language.  “He swings reeeeel good!”


This seems to work great for pitching.  Sabean is a great judge of pitching talent.  Bochy was the best handler of pitchers in the NL this year.  It doesn’t work for hitting.  To properly evaluate hitting you need numbers.  You have to evaluate what the hitter has done over an extended period.  That will show if he has any plate discipline.  The Giant organization has come up way short in that area.


The Giants minor league system had an incredible .603 winning percentage this year.  The Yankees were second at .554 and 34 games behind.  But take a look behind those numbers. 


The top farm team at Fresno was 14th in a 16 team league in drawing walks.


The AA team was dead last in walks in a 12 team league.


In the Arizona Rookie League they were 10th in an 11 team league


Do you see a pattern here?


Some other teams in the Giant system were near average but none were above average.


Top prospect (until…problems) Angel Villalona drew 9 walks in 310 PA.  That’s less than 3%.


Third round draft pick this year, Christopher Dominquez, drew 9 walks in 198 PA.  That’s less than 5%.


Hot 21-year-old prospect, Francisco Pequero, hit 353 in low A.  He drew 8 walks in 328 PA.  That’s worse than the others.  He’s a singles hitting outfielder.  What a waste of talent.  Unless someone can teach him what the strike zone is, he’ll be worthless to the franchise.


So the Giant system has hackers at the top, hackers at the bottom, and hackers all through the organization.  Remember how frustrated you got with all those wild swingers this year.  Well there’s a lot more on the way.  Those are the type of hitters the Giants look for.  “He swings reeeel good.”


I think the problem is numbers.  Numbers are to the Giant management as construction plans were to the mechanics in Vietnam or kryptonite to that guy in tights.  They don’t like ‘em; they don’t want ‘em; they don’t understand ‘em.  As the Mexican bandit said,”We don’ need no stinkin’ numbers!”


When Giant scouts look at pitchers prior to the draft they can see which ones are hopelessly wild and pass on them.  But hitters who are hopelessly wild swingers they seem to love.  “See that?  The pitch was a foot over his head and he hit it out.  He swings reeeel good.”  Him they sign.


But the numbers would tell the story.  They need to hire a few numbers freaks.  And they work cheap.  There are basement geeks reading this right now who would work for practically nothing.  Maybe one payroll check which they would frame and never cash.


Take this guy Dominquez, mentioned above.  He was the highest position player signed from this year’s draft.  His line at Louisville U. in his last college season was 345/441/698.  See anything wrong with that?  Okay here’s your last clue: he was hit by the pitcher 14 times in about 305 PA.  If the red flag hasn’t gone up for you, then you’re not a numbers geek.  He hit 25 homers and drew only 32 walks including intentional walks.  I couldn’t get the figures on intentional walk but he probably hit more homers than he drew non-intentional walks.  Those numbers are freakish.  But, “He hits reeeel good.”


The guy is a hacker.  Very likely that’s a wasted draft pick and wasted money because hackers seem to be hackers for life.  Any numbers geek could have seen that.  So how did he do in his first season in the pros?  In rookie and low A he had 263/311/456.  Funny how that looks somewhat like they hit on the parent club.  That is no coincidence.

This FanPost is reader-generated, and it does not necessarily reflect the views of McCovey Chronicles. If the author uses filler to achieve the minimum word requirement, a moderator may edit the FanPost for his or her own amusement.

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