Tag Archives: Joe Nathan

Original Draft Series – Team # 20 – San Francisco Giants


For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.

Team #20: San Francisco Giants

General Managers(since 1994)

Bob Quinn Sr (1994-1996): 190-231
Brian Sabean (1997-Current): 1120-984

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
0 1 4 3 6 3 3 1

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Buster Posey 2008 – 1st Rd (5) 2 27 gm, .269/.299/.366, HR, 7 RBI, 10 R Currently with Org.
1B Pablo Sandoval Int’l FA – 2003 7 261 gm, .319/.370/.513, 34 HR, 144 RBI, 7 SB, 139 R Currently with Org.
2B Matt Downs 2006 – 36th Rd 4 46 gm, .214/.291/.328, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 12 R Currently with Org.
3B Pedro Feliz Int’l FA – 1994 13 874 gm, /.252/.288/.433, 109 HR, 418 RBI, 12 SB, 346 R Free Agency – 10/29/07
SS Emmanuel Burriss 2006 – 1st Rd (33) 4 156 gm, .262/.328/.301, HR, 31 RBI, 24 SB, 55 R Currently with Org.
LF John Bowker 2004 – 3rd Rd 6 183 gm, .238/.285/.394, 15 HR, 58 RBI, 2 SB, 47 R Currently with Org.
CF Fred Lewis 2002 – 2nd Rd 8 326 gm, .277/.355/.420, 16 HR, 81 RBI, 34 SB, 169 R Traded to TOR – 4/15/10
RF Nate Schierholtz 2003 – 2nd Rd 7 235 gm, .280/.323/.406, 7 HR, 54 RBI, 10 SB, 74 R Currently with Org.
SP Tim Lincecum 2006 – 1st Rd (10) 4 2008-2009 NL Cy Young Award Winner
2 All Star Appearances
48-19, 2.90 ERA, 789 K, 256 BB, 699.1 IP, 1.160 WHIP
Currently with Org.
SP Francisco Liriano Int’l FA – 2000 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to MIN – 11/14/03
SP Matt Cain 2002 – 1st Rd (25) 8 1 All Star Appearance
50-56, 3.39 ERA, 797 K, 379 BB, 972.1 IP, 1.229 WHIP
Currently with Org.
SP Kevin Correia 2002 – 4th Rd 6 14-22, 4.59 ERA, 289 K, 168 BB, 398 IP, 1.492 WHIP Free Agency – 10/14/08
SP Jonathan Sanchez 2004 – 27th Rd 6 26-35, 4.49 ERA, 511 K, 253 BB, 497 IP, 1.408 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP David Aardsma 2003 – 1st Rd (22) 2 1-0, 11 gm, 5 K, 10 BB, 10.2 IP, 2.813 WHIP Traded to CHC – 5/28/05
RP Scott Linebrink 1997 – 2nd Rd 3 0-0, 11.57 ERA, 2 BB, 2.1 IP, 3.857 WHIP Traded to HOU – 7/29/00
RP Clay Hensley 2002 – 8th Rd 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to SD – 7/13/03
RP Bobby Howry 1994 – 5th Rd 3 + 1 2-6, 3.39 ERA, 46 K, 23 BB, 63.2 IP, 1.147 WHIP Traded to CHW – 7/31/97
RP Brian Wilson 2003 – 24th Rd 7 1 All Star Appearance
13-13, 106 SV, 3.49 ERA, 233 K, 93 BB, 219 IP, 1.320 WHIP
Currently with Org.
CL Joe Nathan 1995 – 6th Rd 8 24-10, 4.12 ERA, 200 K, 142 BB, 266.1 IP, 1.378 WHIP Traded to MIN – 11/14/03
BN Travis Ishikawa (1B) 2002 – 21st Rd 8 206 gm, .266/.332/.409, 13 HR, 62 RBI, 3 SB, 68 R Currently with Org.
BN Carlos Villanueva (P) Int’l FA – 2002 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to MIL – 3/30/04
BN Sergio Romo (RP) 2005 – 28th Rd 5 10-6, 2 SV, 2.94 ERA, 99 K, 24 BB, 95 IP, 0.937 WHIP Currently with Org.
BN Madison Bumgarner 2007 – 1st Rd (10) 3 0-0, 1.80 ERA, 10 K, 3 BB, 10 IP, 1.100 WHIP Currently with Org.
BN Jack Taschner (P) 1999 – 2nd Rd 9 8-4, 5.01 ERA, 124 K, 73 BB, 140 IP, 1.571 WHIP Traded to PHI – 3/27/09
BN Dan Runzier (P) 2007 – 9th Rd 3 2-0, 3.06 ERA, 32 K, 22 BB, 32.1 IP, 1.485 WHIP Currently with Org.

June Amateur Draft

The Giants have clearly had some excellent success stories out of the draft with regard to pitching. Tim Lincecum is arguably the best pitcher in the majors right now, and leads an excellent pitching staff that also includes draft picks Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez. The relief core made from players they have drafted is excellent also, with 3 pitchers currently closers in the majors (Nathan, Aardsma, Wilson). Unfortunately, the success that they have had with pitching has not translated to the fielders. This is a team that has clearly not had a lot of success on their field with these fielders. With the exception of probably Buster Posey, none of the major league position players would be considered anything particularly exciting.

International Free Agency

The Giants have had a few international signees, with Pablo Sandoval probably having the most success for the Giants. Francisco Liriano has been mildly successful, but unfortunately was a part of the abortive A.J. Pierzynski trade that the Giants made back in 2003.  Clearly, this is an area that has not translated to a lot of success in development for the Giants.

Overall Grade

C. As with the Marlins, there are a few elite players here (Lincecum, Sandoval), but there’s a lot of players who quite simply are not Major League caliber, or barely that. The pitching staff for the Giants from this is very good, but the position players as a whole are so generally bad that I was very tempted to move them back down further in my rankings.

Trade Retrospective: A.J. Pierzynski


This week’s trade retrospective concerns an oft-discussed trade: A.J. Pierzynski to the Giants for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano, and Boof Bonser on 11/14/2003.

The Background

The Twins were waiting for the coming promotion of top prospect catcher Joe Mauer. Mauer had spent 2003 split between High-A and AA, posting a combined line of .338/.398/.434 with 5 HR and 85 RBI. They had a solid if not amazing player at that position in AJ Pierzynski. Pierzynski was going to be a free agent within the next two seasons, and they figured that they would want to move him at some point to make space for Mauer.

The Giants had been to the World Series two years prior, and had won 100 games in the 2003 season. Despite winning all those games, they had been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the eventual champions, the Florida Marlins. The catcher for the Giants that year had been Benito Santiago, who was 38 years old, and also a free agent.

The Moving Pieces

A.J. Pierzynski was slotted in to be the everyday catcher for the Giants, and it was hoped would hold down the position for many years.

Joe Nathan was slotted into the bullpen for the Twins, and immediately was named as the closer for the team. Boof Bonser and Francisco Liriano were both sent to the minor leagues.

What Happened Next

Pierzysnki had a solid season for the Giants, hitting .272 with 11 homeruns and 77 RBI. The team fell short of its goal of a return to the playoffs, as they finished a game back in the race for the Wild Card in spite of winning 91 games. However, he was not well liked in the clubhouse by the Giants pitchers. As a result, he was not tendered a contract by the Giants after the season, and became a free agent.

Joe Nathan took to his role as the closer immediately, saving 44 games in 2004, posting a 1.62 ERA, and finishing 4th in the Cy Young voting for the American League. He helped to lead the Twins to the AL Central division title, although they were eliminated in the first round by the Yankees.

Boof Bonser spent the 2004 season split between AA and AAA for the Twins, posting a 13-9 record with a 4.24 ERA in 161 1/3 innings pitched. He struck out 153 and walked 57 batters in that time.

Francisco Liriano spent the season split between High-A and AA, posting a 9-9 record with a 3.79 ERA in 156 2/3 innings pitched. He struck out 174 and walked 60 batters.

The Net Moves

Giants – First Level

  • Pierzynski only spent the 2004 season with the Giants, posting a .272/.319/.410 with 11 homeruns and 77 RBI
  • He was not tendered a contract after the 2004 season, and became a free agent. He signed with the Chicago White Sox.

Twins – First Level

  • Nathan has been a cornerstone closer for the Twins. In 6 seasons, he has posted 246 saves, a 1.87 ERA, and 518 strikeouts in 418 2/3 innings pitched. He is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery, and is not expected to return to the team until sometime in 2011.
  • Boof Bonser did not make his major league debut with the Twins until 2006, and was in the starting rotation for 3 seasons. He posted a lackluster 18-25 record with a 5.12 ERA in 391 2/3 innings. He was traded to the Red Sox on 12/10/2009 for minor leaguer Chris Province.
  • Francisco Liriano made his debut in 2005, and had his first full season in 2006. He missed the 2007 season due to having Tommy John surgery. He appears to have put it back together in the 2010 season so far, posting a 4-2 record with a 2.63 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 48 innings pitched. To date, he has a 28-24 record with the Twins, 412 strikeouts and a 3.97 ERA in 405 1/3 innings pitched.

Overall Reactions

This trade has widely been viewed as a complete disaster for the Giants. As well it should be. Nathan had been an effective reliever with the Giants, notching 12 wins in the season before the trade. However, the Giants didn’t view him as a closer, and the Twins did. This trade may have been slightly better had the Giants retained Pierzynski for longer than the single season. However, Liriano continues to be a high-upside, high-risk pitcher for the Twins, and will hopefully be able to stay healthy and effective for the whole season this time around.  Pierzynski has become a solid catcher for the White Sox, and for the most part they have been happy with the time he has spent there.

Team Preview – Minnesota Twins


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Joe Mauer SP 1 Scott Baker
1B Justin Morneau SP 2 Carl Pavano
2B Orlando Hudson SP 3 Nick Blackburn
3B Nick Punto SP 4 Kevin Slowey
SS J.J. Hardy SP 5 Francisco Liriano
LF Delmon Young Bullpen
CF Denard Span CL Joe Nathan
RF Michael Cuddyer RP Matt Guerrier
DH Jason Kubel RP Jose Mijares
Bench RP Jesse Crain
DH Jim Thome RP Jon Rauch
IF Brian Buscher RP Clay Condrey

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SS J.J Hardy Trade (MIL) CF Carlos Gomez Trade (MIL)
2B Orlando Hudson Free Agency SS Orlando Cabrera Free Agency
DH Jim Thome Free Agency C Mike Redmond Free Agency

Top Prospects: Aaron Hicks (OF), Ben Revere (OF), Carlos Gutierrez (P), Wilson Ramos (C), Danny Valencia (3B)

2009 Review

The Twins had a pretty good season in 2009, posting an 87-76 record en route to an AL Central division title. They spent the month of April without their all-star backstop, Joe Mauer. Not that you could necessarily tell, since he posted a career year. Mauer won the AL batting title with a .365 batting average, hit a career high 28 homers, and drove in 96 runs en route to winning the AL most valuable player award as well. The Twins were also led on offense by RF Michael Cuddyer (32 HR, 94 RBI), DH Jason Kubel (28 HR, 103 RBI), and CF Denard Span (.311, 23 SB). 1B Justin Morneau had a solid year as well (30 HR, 100 RBI), although not necessarily quite to the standard of his MVP season.

The starting rotation was a complete mixed bag last season, as they only got 200+ innings from Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn. Late season additions to the rotation of Carl Pavano and Brian Duensing both helped the Twins stay in the race until they finally caught the Tigers during the last weekend of the season. The bullpen pitched extremely well last season, with Joe Nathan (47 sv, 2.10 ERA), Matt Guerrier (5-1, 2.36 ERA), and Jose Mijares (2-2, 2.34 ERA) all posting excellent seasons in relief.

The Twins won the play-in game against the Tigers, but unfortunately were no match for the eventual World Champion New York Yankees. They were swept in 3 games by the Yankees.

Team Outlook for 2010

As has become the standard for the Twins, they didn’t make a lot of flashy moves this offseason, but did make some excellent moves which will help to improve their team for the 2010 season. The trade to acquire SS J.J. Hardy could pay off hugely, as he will likely provide some more power for the Twins, and all it cost them was a player that had essentially been passed on the depth chart. Resigning SP Carl Pavano should also help to bring some stability to a rotation that is sorely in need of it. I particularly like the signing of 2B Orlando Hudson, as it takes a position where the Twins have been weak the past two seasons and brings in a professional hitter who can also provide some solid defense as well.

Unless it gets done during the season, the biggest topic of discussion during the season will be whether or not the Twins can get C Joe Mauer signed to a contract extension. It seems at this point like both sides want to get this done, and that they’re likely to before the season starts. I think it’s really important that they get this done, as Mauer is probably more representative of his organization than practically anyone else in the league right now. Joe Mauer is the face of the franchise for the Twins, and it would be a gigantic hit to the organization if he ends up walking away from the Twins.

The Twins are also moving into a new outdoor stadium at the start of this season. It remains to be seen how it is going to play, but I think that the Twins lose a major home-field advantage that they had with the Metrodome. That roof was the bane of quite a few visiting outfielders’ existence, as the ball would get lost in it on a fairly consistent basis. That said, I think that the Twins still are the class of the AL Central at this point, and should do pretty well in 2010.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

All sorts of good fantasy players here, with C Joe Mauer leading the way. RF Michael Cuddyer, DH Jason Kubel, RP Joe Nathan, and 1B Justin Morneau will all end up owned in nearly every league. And of course, there is everyone’s favorite high-risk, high-reward starting pitcher in Francisco Liriano. Liriano has been reported that he pitched well at winter ball, but he is a definite buyer-beware type of pitcher for fantasy.

Prediction for 2010

I think that this Twins team is actually better than last year’s version, and remains the class of the AL Central division. I think that barring a huge rash of injuries, the Twins should win the division pretty easily.

87-75, 1st in the AL Central

AL Rookie of the Year Review


Andrew Bailey was announced as the winner of the American League Rookie of the Year for 2009 yesterday.

In my predictions, I thought Bailey would win the award, but it was a lot closer than I thought it would be. The voting (first place in parentheses):

Bailey – 88 votes (13)
Elvis Andrus – 65 (8)
Rick Porcello – 64 (7)
Jeff Niemann – 21
Gordon Beckham – 10
Brett Anderson – 4

Andrew Bailey
Andrew spent the majority of the 2009 season as the closer for the A’s, and was 26-for-30 in save opportunities this year. But his dominance is better illustrated in his other stats: 1.84 ERA, 91 strikeouts, a .167 opponents batting average, and a 0.88 WHIP.  His numbers were extremely comparable to the elite players at his position:

Bailey: 1.84 ERA, 91 K, .167 Opp BA, 0.88 WHIP, 26 saves
Mariano Rivera: 1.76 ERA, 72 K, .197 Opp BA, 0.91 WHIP, 44 saves
Joe Nathan: 2.10 ERA, 89 K, .171 Opp BA, 0.93 WHIP, 47 saves

Bear in mind, that Bailey did not take over the closer role until early May, and could potentially have had a lot more saves on a more competitive team. Digging in a little deeper, there are a couple of concerns I have for the next season.

Bailey’s Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP) was a very low .234. Those same comps had .252 (Nathan), and .263 (Rivera), so I would be inclined to believe that some form of correction to the mean may occur next season. His Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) number was 2.56, almost a full run higher than his actual era. Again, not a huge problem necessarily for a reliever, but something to keep an eye on.

So, how did his competitors fare last season?

Elvis Andrus

Andrus was named the starting shortstop for the Rangers prior to the season. The Rangers thought so highly of him that they asked All-Star SS Michael Young to switch to 3B. Andrus definitely did not disappoint. He hit to the tune of .267/.329/.373 with 72 runs, 6 hr, and 33 sb. Andrus was also no slouch with the glove, as he compiled a 10.7 UZR rating at SS. A very good rookie season.

Rick Porcello
Porcello joined the Tigers out of spring training, and made the rotation. This was a huge surprise, considering that he had only pitched one year in the minors, and it was in A-ball at that. However, he made a very strong impact, compiling a 14-9 record with a 3.96 era, 89 strikeouts, and a 1.34 whip. They believed in him so heavily, in fact, that he was the choice to start the play-in game against the Twins on 10/6. Porcello should be a very good major league pitcher for years to come.

Jeff Niemann
Niemann made the Rays rotation out of spring training, after having a couple of starts in 2008. With a 13-6 record, Niemann was one of the few pitchers that the Rays could rely on throughout the season. He gave the Rays 180 innings, while compiling a 3.94 era, 1.35 whip, and 125 strikeouts. I frankly thought that Niemann would finish ahead of Porcello, but that could be partially due to Porcello pitching meaningful games in October. Niemann will be a solid #2-3 anchor for the Rays rotation in a system that is full of top-level pitching.

Gordon Beckham
Beckham was called up in May, and was the first player from the 2008 draft to have a meaningful impact in the Majors. He posted a very solid .270/.360/.477 line, with 14 homers, 58 rbi, and 7 steals. All while learning a new position in the major leagues. While he had some of the better stats of the season, I felt that he should be discounted slightly due to not being up for the whole season. Not really his fault, but that’s how it goes. Beckham will have another transition to make next season, as the White Sox announced that he would be moving to 2B to accommodate newly acquired Mark Teahen.

Brett Anderson
Anderson spent the whole season in the A’s rotation, and posted a respectable 11-10 record on a bad team. He really came on in the second half, going 6-4 with a 3.48 era, 86 strikeouts, and a 1.19 whip. If he puts together a full season like his second half, he’s going to be a very, very good pitcher for a long time.

Overall, this year’s AL rookie class was one of the strongest. Especially when you consider that the two top rookies in the AL at the beginning of the season aren’t here either. (Matt Wieters, David Price). This whole group should be interesting to watch for years to come.