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  1. Brian Sabean clearly agrees. Pence, Sandoval, Uribe, Nady… The list goes on.

    Comment by KH — January 22, 2013 @ 2:02 pm

  2. Sadly, this.

    Comment by Nivra — January 22, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

  3. Interesting. I’ve always been interested in player archetypes. I wonder if having a lineup of similar hitters vs diverse “types” changes productivity. For example, you might get in a rhythm with a patient team of pounding the zone to get ahead of them. Where you might have trouble if you are constantly switching up your strategy. I know it might sound weird, but muscle memory and repetition are huge in baseball.

    Comment by Antonio bananas — January 22, 2013 @ 2:24 pm

  4. I would be really interested to know what differentiates the Phillips, Pudges, Pences, and Sandovals of baseball from the Youngs, Boeschs, Diazes, and Nadys of baseball. Is there a common trait that makes up for the former groups lack of plate discipline? Or maybe they are more well rounded players (no pun intended with Sandoval)? Or maybe they have one defining strength?

    Comment by Cody — January 22, 2013 @ 3:02 pm

  5. Not sadly this at all. Got the rings to prove it. If everybody is after the OBP fueled moneyball ideal, then there is gold in them thar hills. Giants grabbed an undervalued commodity on the cheap and ran with it. Juan Uribe is a great #6 hitter utility guy. Sandoval is a stone cold hero. Pence did his job when it counted most, and sure, lets yuk up ribeyes, but he got the runs home. Nady… well OK. You gots to kiss a couple frogs from time to time.

    Comment by Shankbone — January 22, 2013 @ 3:04 pm

  6. Great article Eno. I love me some Brandon Phillips, and the guys caught in your troll are among my favorites: Sandoval Pence and Uribe as well as Adam Jones. Like I said upthread, as a #6 hitter, hacking away isn’t the worst thing to do. It takes a village, and the Giants have Posey (and Burrell in 2010) to do it all. I’d hope that the Gints front office could talk with Mr. Bochy about skipping Belt to the 5 spot and let Pence take his hacks with some more runners on base, but that’s just a little nitpick on my part. Sandoval is a unique character. There really isn’t any good way to pitch him, especially when he gets hot.

    Comment by Shankbone — January 22, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

  7. Phillips fell flat on his face the year after his cup of coffee in 2002, rebounded with a very solid AAA campaign in 2004, and then stunk again in 2005. I can think of a lot of plausible scenarios to explain his career arc with the Indians besides them not being willing to give a free swinger a real second chance.

    Comment by Sparkles Peterson — January 22, 2013 @ 3:21 pm

  8. Those rings prove that he has an elite rotation that got hot at the right time. Nothing else.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — January 22, 2013 @ 5:50 pm

  9. The standard got lucky/can’t build an offense rag. Well, the Giants went 12th in the majors in runs scored, 5th in BA, 8th in OBP and a miserly 18th in SLG. Pitching they got 7th in ERA, 6th in QS, 13th in WHIP and 8th in BAA. I’ll just go pre-emptive on the inevitable Melky Cabrera reference, they went 30-15 without him, and had no problems scoring runs. Went on a nice rampage to end the year as well.

    Hackers have a place, along with 3 true outcome and the elite hitters. The Giants are building a nice offensive core, and are getting set to compete for years, starting with next years title defense.

    Comment by Shankbone — January 22, 2013 @ 6:47 pm

  10. Exactly. Between 2002 and 2005 there was no good reason to believe that Phillips would be a legit major leaguer other than hope his potential panned out. The Indians gave him plenty of chances. He just had some growing up to do, and the kick in the rear that being DFA-ed is was seemingly just the thing that did it.

    Comment by Steve — January 22, 2013 @ 7:41 pm

  11. Brandon Phillips drives me crazy at times. Hes obviously a guess hitter in certain counts. But his defense and passion for the game often make up for it.

    Comment by EL DoRo — January 22, 2013 @ 10:44 pm

  12. In regard to the Giants contingent, aren’t we mixing also a lot of other effects here?

    First there is the most extreme park in the majors (2nd lowest park factor overall, 1st for homers). Who knows how well current wisdom applies in such an extreme environment. Could hacking be advantageous in a low scoring environment, and bases on balls advantageous in a regular park?

    Second Uribe was extremely valuable because he could (and did) play the field well at 3B and SS, and did so extensively in 2010. Third, he had 12 RBIs in the postseason while posting a OPS of 471! And finally, many feel that he was eating his Wheaties back then looking for a big contract (once he got the contract, he stopped having breakfast and his production went South).

    Finally, it would be nice to see a study of whether postseason baseball is different from regular season baseball, leading to better success for high contact guys. Sabean, no doubt, consciously tries to get this kind of players. He is doing it again right now, bringing Cole Gillaspie and Javier Herrera to compete for the LF platoon slot. Could it be that their analysis department knows something we don’t know?

    Comment by glib — January 23, 2013 @ 11:55 am

  13. Each player was targeted by Sabean at a different point in his career. Sandoval got signed 10 years ago. Its worth noting he has the best BB% and best K% of the bunch, he’s sort of a freak of nature. (Hardballtimes does a Yogi Berra award posting that’s fun – he has “won” it 2 out of 3 years and narrowly lost to Juan Pierre last time) Uribe was signed (twice) when nobody wanted him. 1MM for 2009, 3.25MM for 2010. 3.4 WAR and 1.3 WAR (B/R). 40 HRs combined while putting up just above the 300 mark in OBP each year. He gets charmed by Coletti wanting him, the Giants try to match, Bums go over the top with 1MM Frank McCourt deferred and what do you know, the Giants get a supplemental pick, one that turned into Kyle Crick. Juan Uribe is the gift that kept on giving, and for Sabean, sometimes its better to be lucky than good. He did maybe his worst move in 4 years within hours of Uribe fleeing south by signing up Miggy Tejada’s bad attitude/corpse but that was only for a year.

    Pence was a target before Beltran, but the Gints didn’t have the steaks in the freezer for that trade. I think the important thing with both Pablo and Pence in the lineup is they need to draw the breaks on more hackers. Gotta balance out with a little three true outcome and some Buster Posey who does it all. Scutaro obviously is the owner of the best contact rate in the majors, I think they targeted him for that aspect. Too bad they didn’t try to trade for him (or JJ Hardy/Jason Bartlett) when they rushed in on Tejada. And compounded with Orlando Cabrera. They did admit that was a mistake though, and it was a short-term jobby. They tried to get Alex Gonzalez to caddy Crawford for 2012, but he wanted starting time.

    Nady was just a flyer. As was Burrell, Guillen, Ross and for that matter Scutaro. The Giants are short timing fill-ins, and have had outstanding success with it. They get the bad ones rubbed in, such as Cabrera or Guillen, but you have to kiss some frogs. Scutaro and Ross are 2 of the all time great pickups for the stretch run. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them, if LF is still a mess, go after Jeff Frenchman if the Royals are out of it. But they have 2 reclamation projects already, 2 farmhands banging on the door, and Herrera and Gillaspie. The Giants treat the OF the way most fans want them to treat the bullpen – spare parts. Its a contrarian move, and its paid off in spades for them the past 3-4 years. These have all been cheap moves, easily discarded if something better comes along.

    Comment by Shankbone — January 23, 2013 @ 1:37 pm

  14. Does the constant switching in the lineup of Phillips have any play in this? They have never had a leadoff hitter (until Choo now), so Phillips did that for a time. He’s batted in the 2 hole…he’s batted cleanup. He seems to have the versatility to tailor his hitting philosophy a little to what his team needs…which is why I like BP. With Choo hitting leadoff, does Phillips hit cleanup between Votto and Bruce? 6th after Bruce? Just curious to what the new stability might do for his 2013.

    Comment by Justin Shirley — January 23, 2013 @ 10:10 pm

  15. I can never predict exactly what Dusty is thinking, but it would seem he will hit 2nd. Ludwick or Frazier will hit 4th.

    Comment by big red machine — January 25, 2013 @ 6:06 pm

  16. The tribe drafted lincecum in 2005 .they were not allowed to give him the million he wanted because of his draft spot. And the next year he signs in the first round. I wonder how clevelands rotation could have looked in 07 or 08 lincecum sabathia lee westbrook carmona( carl pavano?)

    Comment by camfrommaine41 — February 9, 2013 @ 10:01 am

  17. I always think about this with pitcher success; like why a guy like Kevin Slowey will have 7Ks 1-2ER one day, then 7ER and 0Ks the next time out. Because he’s around the plate so much, a lineup of Sandovals and Phillips would probably destroy him, but a more cautious lineup will get picked apart by him because he’s hitting good spots.

    Comment by MLB Rainmaker — June 28, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

  18. I think you’re on to something here, but maybe in a broader sense. Players aren’t just a collection of stats, they are thinking, reacting, adapting humans. While the Panda has publicly stated his “approach” never changes, I’d bet that as you point out, Phillips approach changes somewhat depending not only on where he bats in the order, but the pitcher, the count, the situation, etc. — good players are gamers like that.

    I think that’s why the archetyping doesn’t hold true 100% — we want to put players in nice little buckets, but the reality is there are some guys who can reach outside their demonstrated collection of skills now and then. Like if you looked at Pence’s post-trade numbers, you’d see some scary stuff — .213AVG, HR/FB% down, K% up, BB% down — and it would look like the move from a hitters park to pitchers park was going to be a terrible match for Pence’s skillset. Flyballs that were HR at Citizen BanK were outs at AT&T Park, and it was bringing Pence way down. But halfway through the season, Pence is on his way to career year.

    Comment by MLB Rainmaker — June 28, 2013 @ 12:52 pm

  19. That’s not correct, from what I know. They could have given him the $1M that he wanted, there was no limit by the CBA back then. The Giants did that to pick up Ishikawa.

    In any case, the Indians did not even get close, they reportedly only offered him $400K, who knows what he might have chose had they offered him at least double that.

    They would have had an amazing rotation. And it probably would have been the Rays with two World Series Championships instead of the Giants had they selected Posey instead. Woulda coulda shoulda.

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — July 1, 2013 @ 8:16 pm

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