10 More Giant Eye-Openers – Can San Francisco Again Repeat Even Year Success With ‘Sanctuary’ Players?

It would be too much of a coincidence for what now appears almost half of the San Francisco Giants players who are suddenly having career years – and many over 30 and well past their primes – or young pitchers with lackluster histories in the minors suddenly over-performing with the major league team. Maybe the Giants have great coaches but that, alone, can’t account for what we’ve seen this first half of the 2018 baseball season from the San Francisco Giants.

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     It would be too much of a coincidence for what now appears almost half of the San Francisco Giants players who are  suddenly having career years – and many over 30 and well past their primes – or young pitchers with  lackluster histories in the minors suddenly over-performing with the major league team.  Maybe the Giants have great coaches but that, alone, can’t account for what we’ve seen this first half of the 2018 baseball season from the San Francisco Giants.

 

10  NEW GIANT  EYE-OPENERS

– Can San Francisco Again Repeat Even Year Success With Unlikely Under-the-Radar ‘Sanctuary Players’ Instead of  Star Power?

Derek Holland's unlikely progress from minors to major leagues with SF Giants

TYPICAL UNLIKELY, UNDER-THE -RADAR  ‘SANCTUARY’ PLAYER  – Derek ‘out of the blue’ Rodriquez’s  unlikely progress from minors to major leagues with SF Giants and similar velocity increase (using teamate Holland’s since Rodriquez chart not currently available).   Why are baseball pundits and fans so into new saber-metrics and  stats like ‘WAR’ and ‘WHIP’ but don’t seem to have the same concern about a players’ UNLIKELY track records, e.g. how a guy can suddenly improve ‘out of the blue’ his numbers in the majors over , say, a limited Double A record. We’re talking about someone like Dereck Rodriquez of the San Francisco Giants – a guy who everyone admits is having a good year, but where did it suddenly come from??? Rodriquez wasn’t even a pitcher until the last three years, a former field player only a recently converted pitcher. Perhaps Rodriquez used a bit of his family influence – Hall of Famer and suspected PED user ‘Pudge’ Rodriquez is his Dad. By the way, Giants were no geniuses, as some think they were, to acquire Rodriquez – who had a sub-4.00 ERA in the low minors; but Rodriquez, reportedly (Henry Schulman) called ‘fake’ friend Sandoval to inquire about Jints, who would invite Rodriquez to camp this year, perhaps hoping Rodriquez would suddenly transform ala Sandoval as another ‘Sanctuary’ success story, which he has, to everyone’s amazement.

 

Remember  Cody Ross, Pat Burrell, Marco Scutaro, Michael Morse, Aubrey Huff, Andre Torres? Players who  came to the Giants at advanced baseball ages and suddenly began putting up big numbers often better than in their prime. There were younger guys, too, like Joe Panik and Duffy, who came out of nowhere, in 2014,  to help  the Giants achieve one of those unlikely World Series championships.

Seemingly every year, except perhaps the ‘odd’ year of 2017 when the team finished unexpectedly last without ‘even year magic’, there was at least one unlikely player who would come out of the blue to over-perform like nobody’s business.  Ever since Bonds, we’ve seen this phenomenon with players such as Scutaro come in to add 20-50 points over their career averages. It all began over 20 years ago when mid-career  Barry Bonds,  a mere .290 hitter who never hit more than 36 homers with Pittsburgh, came to the Giants and instantly began crushing the ball. Back then, players were visibly bulked up  where it was more obvious something was contributing to the new-found output than one’s pure natural ability – as was the case with Bonds, who  looked almost like a different person.  Today, a player can ‘over-perform’ this way without showing any outward signs, thanks to newer designer PEDs and and drugs seemingly as innocuous as Adderall,  normally used for helping kids with attention-deficit disorder.

 

Baseball Junkie Aubrey Huff

BASEBALL JUNKIE -Aubrey Huff book finally explained away his sudden, late career surge with the Giants that helped bring them a World Series, and then his ‘crash’ the following year, thanks to the performance enhancer Adderall.

 

 

Since Bonds, San Francisco and the Giants have continued to be the epicenter for PED use, with the team featuring 25 KNOWN PED users in the past twenty years, not to mention many other likely ‘suspects’ who learned well from BALCO’s Victor Conte, or whomever, not to be ‘dumb or dumber ‘  (as Conte has referred to those few players who do get caught.)

We know the BALCO culture in and around the Giants’ clubhouse  where Bonds and a host of friends were finally caught up , not initially by baseball drug testing  but by the Mitchell Investigation on the heals of two brave San Francisco reporters who finally exposed , in 2006,  illicit performance enhancing activities on the Giants in their book ‘GAME OF SHADOWS.’  By then, PEDs had infiltrated not only the Giants clubhouse but all of baseball.  It had become almost a joke where players like Giants farmhand , Garrett Brohius, when at a career crossroads was encouraged  by  a coach to  try artificial means when   make it to the big leagues instead of retiring, which he had contemplated – and eventually did, rather than cheat, according to a story in Salt Lake City newspaper.

Instead of PEDs going  away, as we were told was the case by the last two baseball commissioners, we saw a upsurge in homers last year.  More homers were hit in 2017 than ever before, despite an increase in power pitching. Sportwriters and baseball attributed  the power surge  to a ‘tighter’ baseball.

Surprisingly, other than Bonds, the Giants have NOT been known for their power.  Playing in a spacious ball park in cold weather, Bonds was one of the few players who was able to overcome the elements in San Francisco. And, boy, did he,breaking  the season and career homer records in San Francisco, of all places.

This year, for the first time since the World Series years of 2010, 2012 and 2014, we’ve seen a  real upsurge in those unlikely exploits, not by established hitters like Bonds but by ‘no names’ like Gorkys and Hansen – and even the ‘Brandon’s who, after five years on the team,  had never lived up to  their potential.  Even Pablo Sandoval, a player no other team would touch after failing in Boston,  was brought back by the Giants. A player who couldn’t hit a lick for $45 million in three years at Boston,  Sandoval comes back to the expansive AT&T park where , at age 31, and suddenly hits eight homers in less than 200 at  bats -a  higher rate   of nearly a homer in every 25 at bats  than he had had back in his prime in San Francisco.

 

Crawford, like Belt, having an unlikely career year at the unlike age of  31.

The Brandons had always been around the .250 hitting line, never rising to their potential,  but this year, they’ve  managed to  stay closer to .300, with both staying over that line while hitting with power for most of the first half. Career years  with averages nearly 50 points over their career averages, this for players over 30, when  most others, like established stars McCutcheon and Longoria, who have slowed .  Pretty surprising to see these two , at the same ages as McCutheon and Longoria, significantly out-performing two guys the Giants opened their pocketbooks for this year.

 

Then,  we have perhaps the two normally weakest links among   Giant regulars suddenly leading the team in hitting (the Brandons) at the ripe ages of 30 – hitting   better than even Posey and much better  than the newly acquired big money   stars, McCutcheon and Longoria, who, by the way are only a year and two older than the Brandons!

 

But the biggest surprises of all are probably come from the least known players, Gorkys Hernandez and Alen Hanson.  Gorkys  is one of the few regular players who didn’t hit a single homerun  last year for the Giants.  He was much derided  as the 25th man out whose ability somehow matched the sound of his name. A guy of slight build ,  Gorky’s is a world beater this year, with NOW  11 homers – second highest on the team and more than Posey, McCutcheon and other name players. Meanwhile, Gorkys has been hitting over .300 most of the year, too.  With Hansen, who hasn’t played as much, now filling in for the injured Panik, the story has been much the same.

The PANDA, back to try to recreate the ‘magic’ IS somehow(*) performing better and hitting better at age 31 with the Giants with his highest homer rate than with Boston while still in his prime. At this rate could he replace Longoria full-time? This stuff only happens on the Giants.

And, now there are a  raft of young , little know pitchers with undistinguished track records, who have recently come on to replace – and even out-perform – the injured big  name pitchers they have replaced , such as Johnny Cueto and Jeff Smardja.

Add one more ,  Chase D-Arneau , another ‘woodpile’ acquisition  who has just come to the  Giants where he is hitting 100 points higher and with homers- albeit in a small sample size- than his career average which was .237 with a handful of homers over several years.

It’s as though Giants’ management goes out of it’s way to find rejects and retreads ,    if you will, at a crossroads,  who are willing to try anything to resuscitate their flagging careers ala Ross, Burrell, Scutaro, Huff, etc.   Much like the World Series years, when the Giants won with guys named Smoke and Mirrors  – hardly a star player on the team – and they did it in three spaced years with teams made up of largely three different sets of players.   The Giants KNEW they had a negative reputation for acquiring ‘black market’ players, if you will, and president Larry Baer, in 2014, even said the team would try to steer clear of acquiring more players with PED backgrounds.  That didn’t seem to last long when the next year, the Giants picked up   Everth Cabrera and  Marlon Byrd,  both with PED backgrounds.

This year, the Giants  may have more ‘unlikely’  users than ever before.  In the Giants desperate attempt to ‘keep the magic’ outside of Buster Posey, Mr. Straight, there are any number of guys who are dabbling to help the Giants to some more ‘even year magic’ since ownership elected not to rebuild, even after losing the most games in baseball last year.  So, perhaps all the more reason for acquiring anybody who might contribute at any cost. At least that’s the view Giants ownership appears to take, in our view.

 

 

Well known local PED guru and BALCO founder, Victor Conte –  probably the main inspiration for the Giants leading the league in PED players over the past two decades – has often stated that ‘upwards of 50% ‘ of ballplayers are using some form of PEDs and that, with baseball’s lax drug testing, these players would have to be ‘dumb or dumber’  to get caught.  It appears the Giants have learned well and that clubhouse culture that began with Barry Bonds arrival in San Francisco in 1997 continues to this day.

 

sf giants fake five

It was no surprise that PEDs took off in America’s most liberal city, San Francisco, where Barry Bonds remains a hero and sportswriters and broadcasters have stated openly that they have no problem with PEDs.  And, so it goes. Three World Series and 25 KNOWN PED-indicted players later, the Giants keep on keeping on. With nary a standout  player in 2018, the Giants have somehow managed to maintain a .500 record to date, and, it could just happen that they could once again take advantage of the Wild Card system with other factors  in this ‘even’ year of 2018.
At this time there are, once again,  at least 10 unlikely Giants over-performing expectations.  Only in San Francisco  with Giants ownership. What a team!

 

Huff Confirms Adderall/PED Connection to his Unlikely Rise and Fall with Giants in New Book