There have been a lot of encouraging performances in the Giants’ minor league system so far, and there’s a good breakdown here. Pitchers are pitching. Hitters are hitting. Pablo Sandoval am become death, destroyer of worlds. Good news all around for the most part.
I don’t want to be a nattering nabob here, but here’s a short list of concerns:
Emmanuel Burriss (before he was called up): 62 at-bats, two walks
Pablo Sandoval: 90 at-bats, nine walks (only seven away from his 2007 total!)
Andy D’Alessio: 85 at-bats, seven walks
Nick Noonan: 106 at-bats, two walks
Angel Villalona: 85 at-bats, six walks
The leaders in walks in Fresno are Scott McClain and Justin Leone, both veterans who learned to hit in different organizations. There are a few hitters who are walking their fair share – Travis Denker, Adam Witter, Mike McBryde – but they’re in the minority.
Let me stop to explain my concern: I am not saying that these players would be magically helped if they just tried to walk more. Heck, Denker has had a miserable go of it in AA-ball so far even though he’s walking a bunch; it wouldn’t make sense to tell Nick Noonan to look toward Denker for an example of how a fella should hit.
Still, a player who walks is a player who can wait for a good pitch to drive. And since the Giants haven’t produced a good hitter in ten years or an All-Star in twenty, it’s fair game to question the organizational philosophy. This leads us to the…
Comment starter: The Giants aren’t exactly a hitter factory, and they’ve never been known to produce a lot of patient hitters. The highly touted hitters like Tony Torcato and Lance Niekro made a lot of contact, but they rarely walked. One of the few exceptions to the rule was Fred Lewis, and Baseball America wrote that the Giants were convinced that Lewis was walking "by accident" early in his career. So is the lack of organizational patience:
b) a result of a specific organizational hitting philosophy
c) just a fluke (i.e. the hitters the Giants draft turn out to be free-swingers by chance)
d) Other (oh, do share)