Giants Offseason, Divorcing the Dodgers, Predicting the Lineup

Since this is the first episode the For The Fans By The Fans - San Francisco Giants Edition podcast, we have a very special guest with us. Dr. Dolph Shapiro a converted Dodger lover turned diehard Giant's fan. In this episode, Dr. Shapiro walks us through why he started pulling for the orange and black and how he thinks the G-men will fair in 2018. 

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Episode Transcript

Benjamin:             Welcome to this first episode of the San Francisco giants, addition of for the fans by the fans of benjshap LLC podcasts. In this show, we're going to bring new your weekly dose of all things San Francisco giants baseball. From the fans perspective, I'm a lifelong giants Fan and your host Benjamin Shapiro. Today we're going to kick things off by talking about the giants off season move and what we think the strengths and weaknesses are going to be in 2018. But before we get to that, I want to tell you that this podcast is brought to you on behalf of our friends at fanatics. Fanatics is the global leader in licensed sports merchandise. They have the world's largest collection of official sports apparel from the leagues, teams and players you love their the best place in the world for you to buy your San Francisco giants care. So if you're going to buy your Longoria, McCutcheon, Jersey, maybe you need a new hat or you're getting a tee shirt before spring training fanatics is the place for you.

Benjamin:             We're lucky enough to be fanatics affiliates, so if you want to help out the for the fans by the fans podcast, go to f, Taf, to buy your San Francisco giants gear and fanatics will give us a little kickback to help pay for the production of this show. Since this is the first episode of the for the fans by the San Francisco giants addition podcast, we have a very special guest with us today. He's an orthopedic surgeon, turn volunteer at risk youth counselor. He's also a converted dodger fan who now poles for the San Francisco giants. He's the man who taught me at least four of the five key tools of baseball. He's my dad, Dr Shapiro. Dad's great to have you here today.

Dolph:                     It's my pleasure button. As you know, I love spending time with you. Always have, always will. And I appreciate you asking me to help you in this project.

Benjamin:             So let's start off, you know, in this show we're going to talk about a weekly show where we talk about how the team is doing, who's playing some of the strategies, uh, you know, viewing some of our upcoming opponents. Um, but we're gonna start off with a little story time with Dr Dolphy specifically data. I want to hear how a kid from Brooklyn, New York, born in the 18 sixties, I mean 19 forties, a grew up as dodgers fan and ended up becoming a pretty die hard giants fan. So tell us how the heck you're rooting for the giants. Now.

Dolph:                     What happened actually was the dodgers were a great team from the time I was born in 1943 till the time they left in 1958. They won one championship in 1955, beating the Yanks in seven games after they left. The mets came in 1962. So there was a four year period where we had no baseball and I rooted for the mets. But your mom being a native and telling me if I wanted to see my kids, I'd moved to San Francisco. So we came here in 1976 and I love baseball, so I read the papers and I followed the giants and I watched the dodgers too in the papers to see how they were doing, but this was the only a team you could actually follow on television and in the papers beside the fact that all the players were new, the Dr Dales and a co faxes and the reese's Snyder's, they were all gone. So I followed the new players that were giants. And then you came along like baseball. We watched together and went to games together and I became a rapid, a giant fan.

Benjamin:             The dodgers played before I was a kid. Who'd you reach for?

Dolph:                     It's hard to say. Uh, basically after a couple of years, few I started rooting for the giants.

Benjamin:             OK. So for everybody listening to this podcast, you could take what my dad says, at least with some sense of seriousness that he is actually a giants fan. So let's talk about, uh, how big of a giants fan you are now. About how many games would you say that you go to? A year?

Dolph:                     I'm going to have about 25 games a season.

Benjamin:             And how much would you estimate that you actually pay in ticket prices?

Dolph:                     Well, I have a friend who takes me to a lot of games. He's got season tickets and if his family can't go with him, I'm invited. He's got great seats so I must go to 15 to 18 games with him.

Benjamin:             What about the other?

Dolph:                     These are the games I have the most fun actually going out to scalp a ticket. All the scalpers know me and when I first started I tried to get a $10 ticket and then people would tell me, well hey man, this isn't the minor leagues. This is the major leagues. I said, OK, well then no problem. I'll go home and watch it on television. And eventually I waited for the game to start and I got a $10 ticket. Now over the last several years the price has gone up to the giants. Won three world series. So now I'll try to get a ticket and I'm willing to give 15 bucks

Benjamin:             for about 10 tickets and probably spend about a hundred and 50. Maybe 200 back box and you end up going to 25 games. Not a bad deal. Contacts for everybody listening. My Dad lives a couple blocks away from the ballpark. So he'll go out during the early hours before the game and just see if he can get in, sit wherever he wants a. how'd you like last season?

Dolph:                     Forget about it. Well it wasn't quite as bad as cows basketball season this year.

Benjamin:             Yeah. Well that's probably a positive way to look at it unless you're a bear fan like the two of us. Uh, needless to say the season was probably disappointing according to most everyone's expectations. How did you think the team was going to do last year?

Dolph:                     Well, they will be much more competitive.

Benjamin:             Did you think that would make the playoffs?

Dolph:                     They had a good chance. I felt the making the playoffs or having good pitching staff, they were coming off, you know, some good use. They got Quedo Somalia came bomb. So I thought that pitching staff there that would carry them to the playoffs. Yes.

Benjamin:             Yeah. So if you assume that they're a fringe playoff team, that's probably an [inaudible] [inaudible] to 92 win team to be a wild card. So they essentially finished what they have 68 wins, something like, you know, almost 30 games below what your expectations are for last year. Obviously the season was a nightmare. It wasn't very much fun to watch. And you still went to the games. So tell me how much are you enjoying your retirement when the giants are as bad as they were last year.

Dolph:                     It's just tough to take. You go out. And what was the expression crew used to use? What was the trap? Some time meet. No, no. The one word started with a t

Benjamin:             torture

Dolph:                     torture thing that was kind of OK for those games would torture because they couldn't hit, they couldn't run and

Benjamin:             it couldn't pitch, that couldn't throw and they weren't well managed.

Dolph:                     I don't know about managing. If you don't have the horses, what can you do? But if you went to the game and you knew the other team scored four runs, it was over.

Benjamin:             It was a rough season to look forward to. So let's talk about how you feel about some of the off season moves. The off season was highlighted by the acquisition of [inaudible], Evan Longoria, uh, Andrew mccutchen, a former MVP, multiple stars for both of them. They brought in a center fielder, Austin Jackson. There was one of their acquisition, a long reliever. That's right. And they had a reliever that they brought in whose name escapes me right now. Uh, how do you feel about the acquisitions? How do you feel about the strategy of going after veterans?

Dolph:                     I kind of liked it because the alternative was a good and that's to break up the whole team and it was too good at team to do that. So for the short term, I thought it was a good move because I think both Longoria and mccutcheon still have gas in the tank. The problem is going to be with the other guy out there and that's pence. I'm not what he has left in the tank. And if he doesn't have something, I think there's a problem because for us in Jackson is not an every day player either. So the outfield might be a mess and you might be looking again at who will play a, will it be Williamson Parker, we'll doug or be able to carry a. He certainly good enough to play in the outfield offensively, defensively, but can he hit more than to 10? And that's to be determined.

Benjamin:             So the hope is that the team had last year, numerous outfield was obviously a disaster. They at least plugged one of the holes with mccutcheon barring injury and hoping that he performs to his sort of career average. They have a plus player at one of the outfield spots. I think they're hoping to have the collective of Jackson and in Dugger in Centerfield. And then pence stays healthy with a platoon from Parker or Williamson. So let's say the outfield is improved, but probably not. Plus relative to most other major league out fields. Let's talk about the infield. Um, you know, they plugged a hole at third base. Obviously that was an issue after the Nuñez trade. Are you sad that Pablo Sandoval isn't going to be manning the hot corner this year?

Dolph:                     None at all. Bottom line, he's a backup catcher. He would be as a switch hitter, a good guy off the bench to the designated hitter,

Benjamin:             calling him a switch hitter is like saying that he's a swimsuit model. He can't hit from the left side to save his life.

Dolph:                     That's a good analogy, but in a pinch they could use them if he's on the team. I mean, I, I haven't seen him so I'm not sure if he can bend over

Benjamin:             as much as I have always been pro Pablo and you. I think that we've talked about this a fair amount. Pablo was my guy during the world series of Brown, you know, he was my favorite. Every home run, hit the three home runs. He was the round mountain to rebound sitting at third base and, and I loved the personality that they brought and he was the beginning of the transition for this team from being really a terrible team. I mean we were really bad, you know, the Pedro follies years and then we had some pitching prospects with Cain and lincecum and that's when we started to turn it around. But when Pablo came, the lineup started to happen and they added Posey, but he was really the beginning of the change of the lineup. I always had an affinity to him now having a back as almost a tease of like the, you know, the years for Oregon, but uh, you know, I joke, but obviously they, they, they solved a problem at third base with Gloria, older veteran still sort of mid career, but probably the back nine. Um, and then we have the rest of the infield which looks relatively the same as last year and it was an underperforming in field. How do you feel about the rest of the infield?

Dolph:                     I don't have great expectations for Crawford to hit more than 50 to 60. I don't see him batting fifth. He's not that type of hitter, great fielder. But I just don't think you can bank on him year in, year out, getting 80 RPS, not in the middle of the line. OK. So great panic contacted her. I would say if he could hit two 75 to 95, it decent. The guy that has been disturbing me for years was built and you know, I sat next to him at a lunch and he's a great guy, but he just is irritating to me taking pitches. I know he walks a lot. It's so frustrating to watch him take a called third strike time and time again. I say to the fellow who gets me the tickets if he goes one and two are open to just put k on your scorecard. He's done and usually that's true.

Benjamin:             Talking about the pitching staff for a second, to me when we're talking about the line up, I think that we both agree that, you know, belt is an asset

Benjamin:             but isn't the middle of the lineup. Guy and panic is an asset and it was in the middle of the lineup guy and so to me the question is, let's talk about the batting order and have they solved that middle of the lineup power gap that they had and can they push the guys that are top of the lineup, get on base contact hitters up and can they push the guys that are value added bottom of the lineup guys down and really have balance throughout the lineup because that's what seemed to work, uh, in the championship years is that, you know, everybody could get a hit throughout the lineup of people seem to be in the right positions. Talk to me about what you think the lineup should be for this year.

Dolph:                     I'm not sure

Benjamin:             who's the lead off hitter.

Dolph:                     Well, I would say the center fielder,

Benjamin:             no matter who it is, who's the center fielder,

Dolph:                     Jackson, I would probably put panic panics. And then let's see. Hosey, Liguria and I'm coaching, you know, somewhere three, four, five on how you want to do that. Uh, maybe long. Gory. Your third Posey for mccutcheon fifth. Um, belt sixth. No, I'm sorry, pence then belt Crawford. Did I forget anyone

Benjamin:             petro spot? Yeah. So what's interesting to me is a, you have Austin Jackson at the top of the lineup penciled in, um, my understanding of Austin. Let's talk about Austin Jackson first. You know, obviously that's a, the guy that's going to get the most at bats throughout the season if he ends up being the pitcher. What do you think his career batting averages?

Dolph:                     No idea.

Benjamin:             You give me a shot in the dark.

Dolph:                     I say

Benjamin:             to 70 to 75.

Dolph:                     What's his on base percentage?

Benjamin:             What do you think it is?

Dolph:                     Three 30

Benjamin:             3:36. So you're pretty right on. So I'd call that, you know, a slightly above average. Ah, my understanding with him is that he is pretty dramatic splits between righty, lefty. So I think they end up platooning in center field and assuming Dugger, I think they want to be the center fielder. I think the question is if he can hit his weight,

Dolph:                     could he lead off? He's got speed, he can steal bases. He might do this

Benjamin:             so far. I mean, it's take whatever you want out of the pre season so far has shown a little power and the pre-season. Uh, so I think that, you know, indications are, he's going to get some playing time and I think he's going to make the team. I think what they'll do is start off with the platoon, so I think Austin Jackson as the opening day center fielder, but eventually they work dugger in more and more and hope that he takes the job. But you know, you have a moderate on-base percentage guy with some speed at the top of the lineup. Panic seems like a natural number two. The middle of the lineup is the big question for me. So you said it was Posey Longoria, mccutcheon,

Dolph:                     Louis Korea. Three full of fun.

Benjamin:             Gloria Posey. Mccutcheon. Why do you think that's the order?

Dolph:                     Well, I think you'd like to see posey bed and cleaner [inaudible] a power hitter and he hits for average. So He'd be three and mccutcheon. Well, if he has guests left in the tank, he's going to be really good.

Benjamin:             Yeah. I think that the ballpark plays a lot into the order that it'll change between the home and the road splits. I think that what they're going to do is put posy batting third, uh, because they want to get him more at bats at the top of the lineup. I think mccutcheon probably has the best right-handed power. Um, and so I think that they're going to put him as the cleanup hitter with long story, uh, in the fifth hole. That's, that's at least how I would do it. And then, you know, they have a lot of writings in a row. Then you're going to end up with writing, writing, writing. So I think it ends up being belts and a pence seventh or they're going to put belt forth to break up. Righty. Lefty and [inaudible] is going to end up getting pushed down to the parking lot.

Dolph:                     I have another theory because if Jackson can't leave,

Benjamin:             you might put belt number one now. It's going to be mccutcheon if they, I think little power. Yeah. Mccutchin is much faster than belt. I mean, he's a little older. I don't know how much they want him to ceiling, but I think that he's got a good shot at being laid off and they've done. They put pens out lead off last year too. I don't like that at all. I think that's a recipe for him blowing his hamstring out. I want as little pressure on pence as possible and I want them to platoon him at the beginning of the year. So he's ready at the end of the year. I would, you know, play him a hundred 20 games this year instead of the hundred 40 they'd like.

Benjamin:             Yeah, yeah. Some were six and seven. I guess if I was, now that I'm thinking about it, trying to break up the righties and lefties, if that's important to you, probably get Jackson first panic second a posy. So now you have lefty righty? Then they'd put belt in, clean up, and you'd get the other power hitters in five and six. Uh, then maybe put Crawford to get somebody left-handed and put pence eighth. Uh, you see a lot of fast balls before the pitcher before you know. And that, that spot. So maybe that's the right place and it's hard to think of Pencil and dropped that far down the line up, but I think that's reality these days. So let's talk about the pitching staff. What's, what's going to be better this year? The starting rotation or the bullpen? It can't be worse. Do you think that there's more improvement out of the bullpen?

Benjamin:             Smith. So he's bag. They brought in a lefty from Texas to have dyson. You get Malcolm coming off the injury. You still have hunter strickland, uh, Derek law, little fellow who's going to be there, I could tell you that. Uh, you're not gonna. See Kurt, you won't see Osu, which those guys are, you know, basically the lefties that they rolled out the, the tuna cans from last year. I think they're banking on those guys, uh, being somewhere else. So with banking, Dyson in a mill, Melancon the ninth. And let's say the starting pitchers go five, six innings. So who's the Will Smith? This is the lefty. Lefty from Texas was from the dodgers. That lefty that they brought in, he played for the dodgers at the end of last year. Tony Watson played for the dodgers last year. I don't know anything about it, so I think that the bullpen will be much improved.

Benjamin:             Uh, to me, let's say the starting pitcher leaves on the fifth, you're going to have what, uh, probably be Derrick Law Hunter Strickland maybe tie block, you know, it depends on how the fifth starter race shakes out, but let's say tie block ends up being the long man can block coming out. Uh, putting the fire out. Hunter Strickland, righty power pitcher you have will smith as the lefty who's kind of a middle Indian guy coming off an injury, let's assume that Tony Watson ends up being the late inning lefty, right? He's your Hobby Lopez as opposed to your child, you know, and I think that that's the recipe that they're going, is they a left-handed specialist and then a lefty reliever that can get lefties and righties out. So fifth inning block, sixth inning you throw in Strickland will smith, seventh inning. Tony Watson, Finning Dyson, ninth inning. Mark Melancon.

Benjamin:             No melkon my answer. He didn't play enough last year. That wasn't good enough for me to remember his name. Mark, come on, man, expensive for agents signing disastrous first year, obviously battling through an injury. I'm sure he's a tough guy, but that one was a shot in the pills last year. It was like Santiago Castilla all over again beneath Jesus. Tell everybody who your favorite reliever of all time is. Bernie now come on. Five pounds of shit in a 10 pound bag. Gene Machi. Ring a bell and the other guy there too, just like I think they will. The same uniform in the same body build. Yeah, the trainer, his name was Jack in the box. All right, so you think that the the bullpen is going to be a pro, can't be worse. It was a disaster. The bread is buttered with the starting pitching. What is the rotation? I could tell you this for sure. Baumgardner is going to be first and sit Kenny pitch second to.

Benjamin:             There's no way I could tell you anything about some audio. I feel the same way about him as I do have built to me. He's going to be a 500 pitcher. Kwaito who knows? I mean hopefully he can win 15 games. I quit about a battle, the blister injury last year. I don't think they brought him back super quickly. I don't think he was very motivated at the end of the year. He knew it was a crap team. He was probably trying to figure out what he was going to do, whether he was going to be in San Francisco or not. It was a bummer of a year for him. I think that the hope is that he's the second pitcher and he's, you know, hopefully a 15 when pitcher, um, where you have Bumgardner as an eight winning, you know, [inaudible] games if he has a good season. I agree with you.

Benjamin:             I think some are. Gia, you know, is a 500 pitcher. I'd love to see him drop down to the fourth spot. In an ideal world, he'd be a great fifth starter. Um, they don't have the horses right now, but you know, when we had a great bullpen, he would've been a great pulpit when we had a great starting staff. I think that he would've been our fifth starter. Who are the other two starters? Good. Look, it'll have to be a Stratton or Blach and Beede, so do you think it's bomb Cueto? Some Marja Stratton block or block Stratton was they'll get a free agent. I think that ship has sailed on them. Getting a free agent. They brought in Derek Holland who was the pitcher for Texas and that was when they were competitive in the Josh Hamilton ears when we beat them in the world series. He was on that team and I think they're hoping for Vogel Song Type Re entry into the league, but I wouldn't put a lot of faith or stock in that. So what's the weakness of the team and what's the strength of the team this year? You've got lineup bullpen and starting pitching where they a plus or minus

Dolph:                     in starting pitching in in the outfield.

Benjamin:             What are the strengths of the team where they're going to say

Dolph:                     faith will be added power. They'll be able to score more and I think the bull pen will be much better. Will that be enough to take them to the playoffs?

Benjamin:             Let's temper everybody's expectation. Let's talk about what do you think is the worst case scenario for this team?

Dolph:                     500,

Benjamin:             500 to the worst case scenario. So that is what, uh, what was the 68 wins last year? So that's a [inaudible] game improvement from last year. That's the worst case scenario.

Dolph:                     I think so, yeah.

Benjamin:             Oh, I've totally. The worst case scenario for this team is Kwaito was a 500 pitcher. Some Marja has a year, like last year they've signed expensive old free agents that break down. They don't get a lot of value. They're stuck with them. Everyone is on the hunter pence ready for retirement tour. They waste from gardeners and posies last good years and this thing falls apart and they are the same team as last year. The bullpen is a collection of injured arms and you know, it just ends up being a train wreck. Like last year we've seen what the basement looks like. I don't think this team is going to be that bad, but I think that that's worst case scenario. Tell me what you think is best case scenario.

Dolph:                     No one's going to beat the Dodgers and the other teams at tough. I mean Colorado's got a good team. Arizona's a good team.

Benjamin:             San Diego has a team.

Dolph:                     Yes. So these folks have good seasons.

Benjamin:             Give me, give me a number. If a playoff team is [inaudible] wins, best case scenario,

Dolph:                     92 wins.

Benjamin:             I would have said the exact same number, 92 and they're competing for a division championship and barring major injuries with the Dodgers, they probably end up with a wild card to me, you know, if I'm thinking about the most positive outlook for this team is they have solved the power discrepancy. So the lineup picks up last year was a crap year in every sense and they get value out of hunter pence and moving Posey and moving Panik and Belt to their natural places in the lineup. Helps them be more productive.

Benjamin:             You good top line starting pitchers hopefully, but becomes something he'd be ends up as your third or fourth starter which moves margin down. You get two, 500 pictures in the back of the rotation and they finally reestablish the bullpen with some of their off season moves and people recovering from injuries and you got a hall of fame manager so you get into the playoffs and then all hell breaks loose and they become the San Francisco Giants again. And it's linear, right? You know, that's, you know, they catch lightning in a bottle. I wouldn't bet on it. What do you think is gonna happen this year? In what regard? What's the record? I think between eighty five and 90, eighty-five and 92 wins. That's a, that's a pretty broad range. So you think that they're going to be competing for a wild wildcard? Um, I'm pulling up the odds that Vegas has for this team and their expectation is that the Giants win 80 one and a half games.

Benjamin:             So that is, there are 500 team with less than 500 and they're not making the playoffs. I think my expectations, there are a couple games over 500 and maybe they eke out the second game. In the wildcard, I think that this is an 80 six to 80 eight-win team unless they make a trade for a starting pitcher because I think they're going to end up with rotation problems. I am very uncertain about Somalia bed block, Suarez. Stratton like there, there are too many question marks in the back end of the rotation, so I think they're going to feel it out at the beginning of the year and see if the lineup is going to work and hopefully make an off season. Move to pick up a couple of wins at the end of the year. So, first week of the season. Spring training, not much to tell from the performance so far.

Benjamin:             Um, but I hope you enjoyed the first episode of the for the fans by the San Francisco giants edition podcasts. <Unk> Shapiro Dad. Thanks for joining us. My pleasure indeed. Go giants go giants. OK, that's a wrap for today's show. Our plan is to do this every week, so if you want more giants baseball on your podcast feed, click the subscribe button. Also, since we're just getting started, we'd love for you to give us a rating and the apple iTunes store, or if you have any questions, you can reach us at four, the fans by the fans. Thanks to our friends at Fanatics. Don't forget, if you're going to go buy your San Francisco Giants gear had to f t, s, t, and fanatics will kick us a couple of bucks to help produce the show. And until next time, in the immortal words of Duane Kuiper swaying in a mess. And that's it