San Francisco Giants Winning Thanks in Large Part to “Late Bloomers”
By Daniel Sperry
The San Francisco Giants 2012 draft class is not really where you’d expect to be getting proverbial shots in the arm. But the late bloomers are here and they are starting to cement themselves into spots on the 25 man roster.
In 2012 The San Francisco Giants selected Chris Stratton with their first selection (20th overall), and Mac Williamson with their third selection (115th overall). The two were also accompanied by Ty Blach in the fifth round as well, but lets focus in on the first two. They were, after all, the focus of last night’s victory over the Nationals.
Stratton was the starter (duh), and he was lights out again. He’s now 2-1 with a 2.32 ERA, 24 K’s and a 0.94 WHIP. He’s 27 and this won’t be his rookie year. He’s got an “Ace” feel to him and he’s been pushing late into the seventh and eighth innings so far this season. Our FanSided friend, Sean Bialaszek dropped this awesome nugget last night:
Stratton now has solidified his spot in the rotation, more than likely pushing 2012 draft compatriot, Ty Blach, to a bullpen role. As good as Blach has been, Derek Holland has been slightly better. But we’re not here to talk about that. Let’s talk about the other 2012 draftee.
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Mac Williamson is the furthest thing from a seasoned big leaguer. At 27, Williamson made his debut in 2015, but has landed less than 250 at bats since the initial debut.
Williamson was faced with a personal ultimatum. There had been rumors that he was stubborn to teaching, and stuck in a “I want to do it my way” mode. His way wasn’t working at the higher levels. With no options left, he needed to do something to stick at the big league level. So he changed his swing.
We wrote about it at the beginning of the spring, but I don’t think any of us could’ve expected the positive results that it would yield. It tapped into Williamson’s raw power, and now has him punishing baseballs left and right.
His first homer was impressive. The oppo blast to the very hitter friendly right field in Angel’s stadium would’ve been gone even if they hadn’t lowered the fences.
That was a big boy blast
. That was nothing compared to what he did last night.
Williamson’s swing of the bat last night was the single most impressive home run I’ve seen come from a right-handed hitter in YEARS at AT&T. The only right-hander I’ve seen hit a ball that far at AT&T Park (not necessarily to the same spot) was Andres Galarraga, who notoriously put it 15 rows up in the left field bleachers.
But not many can go 464 feet to that part of the park. One person not named Barry Bonds has hit it that far while wearing a Giants uniform, and it was a left handed Pablo Sandoval, hitting a massive walk-of clout against the Nationals a few years ago.
Three home-runs that I can remember a Giant hitting to that part of the yard since Barry Bond hit 756 way up to that part of the park, and only one of them is a righty.
I don’t usually forget long home-runs, and that one will probably stick in my mind for quite some time. But with that type of power in the Giants lineup now, they finally have “the dude who can send everyone home with one swing of the bat.” They haven’t had that in years.
Buster could do it occasionally. But Williamson has done this twice so far this season, and has been wrecking shop. Williamson’s display of power last night isn’t surprising though. He’s had power his whole career, but hasn’t tapped into it. Same with Stratton, who has had ability his whole career, but has just finally put it together in 2017.
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The term “Late Bloomer” is honestly a lame term to use. The prototypical hope for a player to make his way through the minors and onto the big league roster is 3.5 years from being drafted. If players don’t make it by then, many form the notion of them being a bust.
Sometimes in baseball, it just takes longer for guys to figure it out. And that’s ok. Not every good player is going to be a hall-of-famer, and not every good player takes 3.5 years to develop. Stratton and Mac are two very good players, that just took some extra time. That’s ok. They’re exactly what the Giants needed this year, and they’re continuing to prove that they’re ready. It took a while, sure. But who cares when they have good performances night in and night out? I certainly don’t.