SF Giants Weekly Mailbag 9/16: Bart, Gritty, Dickerson, and more
By Marc Delucchi
Around the Foghorn co-expert, Marc Delucchi answers whatever SF Giants (or non-SF Giants) questions you have for him.
After the SF Giants series against the Seattle Mariners was postponed Tuesday due to air quality, the teams are prepared to begin their two-game series later today in San Francisco. While many of the Giants players are probably frustrated by the team’s recent cancellations, it should provide the team’s pitching staff with some much-needed rest heading into the final stretch of the season.
Before any games on Wednesday, here are the current National League Wild-Card standings:
*denotes in playoff position
*1. Philadelphia Phillies 24-23
*2. SF Giants 23-24
3. Cincinnati Reds 24-26
4. Milwaukee Brewers 22-25
5. Colorado Rockies 22-25
6. New York Mets 21-27
The Giants currently hold a slight lead on the final postseason position in the NL but have plenty of teams on their tail. Scheduled to play 13 games over the final 12 days of the regular season, a lot is left up in the air.
It’ll be interesting to see how manager Gabe Kapler handles his pitching staff. His staff is well-rested and the starting rotation could have as many as seven options to play with (Johnny Cueto, Kevin Gausman, Logan Webb, Drew Smyly, Tyler Anderson, Trevor Cahill, and Jeff Samardzija).
SF Giants Mailbag Question 1: Do you think Alex Dickerson deserves a formal apology from a certain someone? -Lane Stapp via Twitter
Lane’s referring to USA Today columnist Bob Nightengale’s reporting on Giants outfielder Alex Dickerson’s false-positive COVID-19 test last week. I wrote a pretty in-depth piece on Nightengale’s history of misleading and/or false reports yesterday that was quite critical of his track record.
Should Nightengale apologize to Dickerson? Absolutely. However, that doesn’t change the larger issue. A writer with one of the best positions in baseball media has a history of manipulating narratives and reporting falsehoods. It’s especially frustrating in an industry where layoffs and furloughs have been a reality for hundreds of great qualified writers without those histories.
SF Giants Mailbag Question 2: Given that Bart was called up earlier than expected based on his experience above High-A, do you expect players like Heliot Ramos or even Will Wilson to arrive in 2021? -Andrew Caldwell via Twitter
While Joey Bart didn’t get much minor-league experience above High-A, don’t underestimate the impact the Arizona Fall League had on the organization’s evaluation as well. The AFL is generally considered somewhere between Double-A and Triple-A in terms of difficulty and Bart was the best player in the league last year before his injury.
In 10 games at the AFL, Bart hit .333/.524/.767 with four home runs, nine walks, and just seven strikeouts. By contrast, Ramos hit .185/.250/.262 at the AFL with a 31.9% strikeout rate.
Roger Munter and I talked about the differences between Ramos and Bart on Munter’s There R Giants podcast (subscription highly recommended). Ramos has plenty of upside, but is far less refined and will probably need more upper minors at-bats than Bart before Giants management will give him the call.
Ramos should have a chance to start next season at Triple-A and if he does, a September cup of coffee could be in order. But even with really strong play, I’d expect he’ll at least 350 more minor-league plate appearances before he gets the call.
Wilson’s scouting report follows the type of refined approach and swing that could move quickly and require fewer upper-level at-bats. However, Wilson underperformed in his pro debut last year. If he lives up to his college performance, he could move quickly, but 2021 still seems too aggressive for my taste.
SF Giants Mailbag Question 3: Which Giants position player prospect will be the first to force out a veteran? -Andrew Bader via Twitter
Well… I can’t see the Giants trading Buster Posey, finding a market for Brandon Crawford, or feeling confident in their other options at first base to move Brandon Belt.
As you know if you read my SF Giants top 31 prospect rankings, I’m high on the system and a number of the team’s position-player prospects. With that said, I don’t see a timeline really causing too much of a conflict.
The DH solves any issue with carrying Posey, Belt, and Bart on the same roster. Plus, from what we’ve seen from Bart defensively behind the plate, it’s not a bad idea to keep Posey around to mentor him. Of course, even if they wanted to trade Posey, his no-trade clause creates another hurdle.
A lost minor-league season creates a lot of variability, but ultimately Heliot Ramos is the only offensive prospect I really foresee making a debut in 2021 (and even that’s not a guarantee). The only veteran under contract beyond next season is Evan Longoria and I don’t see Wilson or Luis Toribio moving fast enough with a high enough ceiling to truly displace him by that time.
I’d guess that all of the Giants veterans finish their contracts in San Francisco before retiring or finding a new team (a la Madison Bumgarner). We know Farhan Zaidi is aggressive on the trade market, so nothing is out of the question. However, I don’t think we’ll see any veteran moved to “clear space” for a prospect.
SF Giants Mailbag Question 4: Is Gritty the greatest mascot in sports history? -Jeff Young (ATF site expert) via Twitter
Leave it to my co-expert here at ATF to bring the hard-hitting SF Giants questions. In all seriousness, I’ve never really been a mascot type of person. I was always scared of mall Santas, clowns, and live-action easter bunnies so mascots weren’t really my thing.
With that said, Gritty seems like the next iteration of the SF Giants Crazy Crab, an anti-mascot from the 1980s. While the Crazy Crab seemed to feed into a darker side of fans that I’m somewhat uncomfortable with, the tone definitely more aligns with my dry, sarcastic, and absurd sense of humor.
I generally like it when we allow anything in sports to take themselves less seriously. Gritty seems like that approach in a mascot.
If you’d like to have your questions answered in next week’s mailbag, message Around the Foghorn on Facebook, leave a comment, or Tweet to @maddelucchi or @roundthefoghorn on Twitter.