Organizational Philosophies

It's taken a lot* to settle down from last night's loss. It angered me -- made me nauseous, it did -- when I felt the game was out of reach when the opposition scored four runs. Today was less emotional; I was able to step back and rationally dissect my anger. My airing of grievances with how the Giants run their organization, and why it upsets me:

  • Small sample sizes are weighted too heavily when evaluating young players

    If a young player comes up and hits .143 over 40 at-bats, that's proof that he's not ready. If Matt Downs goes 5-for-12 in Fresno, it's evidence that he's swinging a hot bat. And we'll be seeing Eugenio Velez for the next two months because he's "figured it out." It certainly couldn't be a case of being all about the Mike Benjamins, no.

    If the young player in question hits under .200 while hitting into a lot of bad luck, the small sample of results matters more than the approach at the plate or his minor league numbers. Maybe that deserves its own shiny bullet point....
  • Minor league numbers mean nothing

    For hitters, at least, though the Sadowski era hints that it might be true for pitchers. Kevin Frandsen hits well throughout the minor leagues? Doesn't deserve a roster spot, and he should shut his pie hole until he's 35. John Bowker dominates AAA? Well, he was nervous, tried to prove too much, and swung a ton of awful pitches. He really did look bad. Instead of letting him get comfortable, though, the Giants gave up after 40 at-bats. Nate Schierholtz hits all throughout the minors, albeit with a less-than-desirable approach? There's no reason to give him at-bats until he has a fluky mid-June run in the majors. Now he's proven.

    Anyone can do anything in the minors. Those numbers might have as much predictive power as major league statistics -- if you want to be some bespectacled nerd about it -- but what matters is what a manager's gut tells him.
  • Veterans are always about to turn the corner

    Because minor league numbers mean nothing, it's hard to know just how good a minor leaguer can be. So why would the Giants think about replacing a veteran? Proven players are proven by proving they can hit in a proven way. Just because a guy is 35, looks awful at the plate, and hasn't hit a home run in almost four months doesn't mean that he shouldn't be in the middle of the order. He's proven. C'mon. He'll shape up. Age-related decline is a myth like chupacabras, elves, and home runs. 

    But what if there's a possibility that one veteran might provide better production than another veteran? Oooh. That's a tough one. But the final bulletpoint helps explain it....
  • If a player makes a lot of money, there's no way another player could be an improvement

    Sunk costs don't exist in the organization. If the Giants pay a pixie with a broken wing $6M to play first base, and the pixie can't hold a bat, field a ball, or exist in our reality, there's nothing the Giants can do about it. The pixie with the broken wing is paid to start at first base; therefore, the pixie is the best option. He improves the team by making more money. If a player looks like he might be the worst regular in Major League Baseball, but he's making $9M, the Giants will need about 1,200 more at-bats just to be sure he's not good anymore.

Another thing that angered me: losing to the Dodgers. I understand not wanting to make knee-jerk decisions with veteran players; I really do. But at some point, production should matter. Production should matter with minor leaguers trying to break through, and it should matter for veterans who are in no danger of losing their jobs.

Disclaimer: Yes, I understand the Giants are enjoying a winning season. Yes, I'm happy they're contending. Yes, this is just a whirlwind of a fantasy of a magical experience. Yes, this season has exceeded expectations.

*Quaaludes, mostly

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