Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Giants Trade for Hunter Pence

By Kalen Patrick

In the closing hours before the trade deadline arrived, the Giants loaded up the Outfield with a trade for Hunter Pence. In the trade the Giants sent OF Nate Schierholtz, prospects C/1B Tommy Joseph and P Seth Rosen. Ultimately I think this was a great deal for the Giants and I will explain why.

Tommy Joseph was the Giants Number 2 prospect, however, the Giants have great depth at that position with Buster Posey, Hector Sanchez at C, Belt at 1B, so he was definitely expendable. Schierholtz will never be better than a 4th OF at best. His hitting is very sporadic although he does have a rocket of an arm and he moves well so he was solid defensively. The Giants have Gregor Blanco who is a better player than Nate, I really don't see the Giants missing him too much.

Now on to the man of the hour, Hunter Pence. He immediately has by far the best power numbers on the Giants now. Pence has 17 HR's on the year and the closest to that is Posey who has 13. Pence can be the big bat the Giants have sorely needed, especially with Pablo Sandoval missing significant time this season. Not only this, but Pence is a career .290 hitter, although he is only at .271 right now, he is due to get hot and surprisingly with the Giants he has much better protection in the lineup with Melky Cabrera, Buster Posey and soon Sandoval will be back.

Having Cabrera, Posey, Pence and Sandoval one after another is pretty scary, then add in solid hitters like Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro and Brandon Belt around that and you got yourself a good lineup. For the Giants to compete with the Dodgers and make the playoffs the pitching, especially the relief pitching must do a better job. Yes I'm talking about you Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla.

Over and Out.

Friday, July 27, 2012

49ers Sign Leonard Davis

By Kalen Patrick

Today the 49ers signed Free Agent OG Leonard "Big" Davis to a 1 year contract. In my opinion Davis will end up being the primary backup at both OG positions for Mike Iupati (LG) and Alex Boone (RG). Sure we will probably get the usual speech about how he is competing for a starting job, but if the 49ers did intend to start Davis they probably would have brought him in sooner to get the playbook down. I do think he makes an excellent backup option as you basically have to expect a lineman or two to go down throughout the season. I am a little worried about the 49ers depth at OT however.

With the 49ers being such a run heavy team I think this definitely plays in to Davis' hands as I don't think too highly of him as a pass blocker.  I think he is a backup option at best so in that capacity I think this was a very solid signing for the 49ers. Keep an eye out for "Big" when Roman + Harbaugh decide to bring him in on those incredibly important 3rd/4th and 1 situations along with goal line plays too. With his size and power he should be able to move some defensive linemen out of the way for the RB's. 

As for the 49ers OL depth, expect them to maybe look in to the veteran Free Agent market at some point during Training Camp for competition as the backup OT option.

Over and Out.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

49ers Training Camp Battles

By Kalen Patrick

Of course there will be many battles going on for the 49ers at many positions, but to me, the two most intriguing competitions will be at RB and WR. Long have these positions been one of weakness for the 49ers, especially when you wanna look at the depth at these spots. It suddenly seems that the 49ers are stacked at both RB and WR and there could very well be some tough cuts prior to week 1 vs the Green Bay Packers.

At RB, of course Frank Gore has held down that spot for the last 6 years or so, but now he has some fierce young competition. Kendall Hunter was the primary backup to Gore last season and showed flashes of quality running. However, I don't really ever envision Hunter becoming a full-time, carry the load type RB, more complementary if anything.

Where the strongest competition will be ultimately coming from will be rookie RB LaMichael James. It may take James a little while to get acclimated to the intricacies of the position (knowing blocking schemes, adjusting to audibles etc.) but going forward I see James and Hunter splitting a lot of time at RB. I think Gore holds down the spot for this season, but don't be too surprised if the 49ers look at interest around the league for Gore's services. (No disrespect to Gore, I love him and everything he has done, but with his injury history and the short shelf life of RB's, he realistically doesn't have more than 1-2 more productive years left.)

Sticking with RB but more for the bruiser type RB is another interesting competition between Brandon Jacobs and Anthony Dixon. Jacobs has experience on his side, being a 2 time Superbowl Champion, he also has proven himself in the role and can be very effective. While experience is a plus it also plays in to Dixon's favor too. He can feed off Jacobs' experience, learn a few things from him, and with youth on his side he will no doubt give Jacobs a run for his money.

Lets turn our attention to WR now. The 49ers looked for Crabtree to be the #1 WR but he has yet to fully claim that spot, and more handed that spot if anything. On a 53 man regular season roster, you expect a team to carry 5 WR's. The 49ers have Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, AJ Jenkins, Ted Ginn Jr and Kyle Williams. Of course that is 6 WR's right there, now the 49ers could decide to keep all 6, have 1 inactive on gameday and the other 5 ready to play. Ginn Jr would mostly be a returner and see little action at WR. Leaving Crabtree, Moss, Manningham and Jenkins as your top WR targets in my opinion.


The tricky thing here is that Jenkins seems to be a more raw player, maybe not ready to contribute a whole lot immediately, but obviously being a 1st round pick there is no chance he would ever get cut any time soon. So it is definitely possible Jenkins could be the guy inactive on Gameday and Kyle Williams could get more time on the field.

Everything seems good IF 6 WR's are kept on the 53 man roster. If not, I expect there to be a very tough decision to come for the 49ers coaching staff. Ultimately, this is a good "problem" to have, what I mean is that should the 49ers return to the playoffs, we won't be trotting out Brett Swain or Joe Hastings on to the field like last year.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

San Francisco's Best Kept Secret

By Kalen Patrick

Ryan Vogelsong has been setting the Baseball World on fire since re-joining the San Francisco Giants in 2011. Vogelsong once a high draft choice of the San Francisco Giants had a forgettable MLB career. He was in the Majors between 2000-2006 spending most of his time in Pittsburgh. He then played overseas for 5 years before his triumphant return to MLB with the San Francisco Giants.

In his 1 and 1/2 seasons with the Giants he has an ERA a shade over 2.5, a WHIP under 1.2 and an impressive 21 W's to 11 L's. The Giants prior to Vogelsong's arrival had a very good rotation, heck we won the World Series the year before and that was mostly due to the Starting Pitching. However, that does not take away the importance of Vogelsong's arrival to this team.


He has no doubt been the most consistent and reliable pitcher on the 2012 SF Giants. Lets look at the numbers: He has not gone less than 6 innings this year, the most Earned Runs he has given up in a game has been 4 and that was way back on April 26th against the Reds in Cincinnati. Vogelsong is Mr. Consistent, you know you will get between 6-8 innings and he will only likely give up a 1 or 2 and put the team in a position to win every single time.

I think the most fascinating part of the Vogelsong story, is the fact that while he has been the best pitcher for the Giants this year and maybe for the last year and a half, he is not even well known outside of San Francisco. He lives in the Shadows of Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner. Maybe that is a good thing though, he doesn't have the pressure of those guys, he does his job, and does it very well. Sure he doesn't have the flashy numbers but you know what you're gonna get and that is something I know Bruce Bochy and all the Giants players and fans love.