San Francisco Giants: A hypothetical response to Ohtani’s questionnaire
By Daniel Sperry
Describe the Player Development, Medical, and Performance Philosohpies the team employs.
The San Francisco Giants have a considerably good history of helping pitchers avoid Tommy John surgery. One of the number one killer of pitcher careers is the Torn UCL. A torn UCL drastically alters a pitcher’s career, and very few have been able to truly recover from Tommy John surgery and return to their normal form. The Giants have done well to avoid that with their starters that hit the big leagues.
Some clubs, like the New York Mets specifically have a bad history of misusing their pitcher’s power arms to the point of ruining the promise of their career. The San Francisco Giants only injury history with pitchers in recent years has come from their own doing (Bumgarner), or players who had spent considerable time outside of the organization prior to coming here. Will Smith and Mark Melancon are two of those who fit that bill. Their injuries likely occured thanks to something they had been doing for a long time, not what the Giants had helped them do.
The Giants main injury history from players they have developed, usually comes at the point of a player’s body breaking down simply because of age and years of work. Matt Cain‘s injury came after he had already started 265 games, and pitched in 1700+ innings. Hunter Pence and Angel Pagan‘s injuries that have hampered and slowed them down in recent years simply came as the players were climbing up in age and innings of wear and tear on their bodies.
The Giants virtually have a squeaky clean injury record in the terms of the things that they can control themselves. Most injuries have come as a result of outside factors. Crashing into a wall and breaking a collarbone (Jarrett Parker), and getting hit in the head with baseballs (Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Buster Posey).
In terms of performance philosophies, they want players to stay within themselves and emphasize doing what they do best. Their offensive strategy hasn’t really been surrounded by smashing home-runs, but getting guys on base and keeping the line moving. Their job has always been to keep their hitters making good contact. By continually making good contact, the hitter sets himself up for success most of the time. Ohtani’s advanced feel for hitting certainly helps this setup. It doesn’t mean he can’t swing for the fences, but the goal is always to keep the line moving.
In terms of pitching, it’s always aim for the strikeout, but don’t feel like you have to strike him out. Don’t be afraid to put it in the hands of the defense. While the outfield defense was atrocious in 2017, they still have one of the best defensive infields in baseball. Keep the contact manageable, and stay down in the zone. The ballpark will do its job, and you can also let the defense do it’s job as well. It’s a great environment for hitters.
As far as training philosophies, and the actual philosophies, we’ll have to default to the real Giants front office to answer that.