A month into the season, the San Jose Giants are leading their division, while the Stockton Ports are floundering near the bottom of it. The Giants have dominated the season series, going 6-1 in their first two series, coming into this mid-week series. So what does this mean?
The Giants and A's farm systems and philosophies have long been compared. Part of that is simple geographic coincidence. Another part has been because of the philosophical differences, and the famous publishing of Moneyball, which brought the theories behind the A's development into the limelight.
So with the Giants doing so well, and the Ports not so much, does that mean anything toward the directions of the farm systems?
Well one can easily point to the Giants having higher draft picks and the A's having lower ones in recent years, but that's a bit of a false reason for this. The Giants haven't truly reaped the benefits of high draft picks until this year, and the only one of those two first-round picks from 2006 that is with San Jose is Emmanuel Burriss, whose sub-.200 average belies a minimal positive impact so far this season.
Neither team is laden with many high-rated prospects from either organization. The Ports have seven players listed in the Oakland Clubhouse Top 30, with the highest being outfielder Javier Herrera at No. 2 and pitcher Jared Lansford at No. 10. Meanwhile, only five of the San Jose Giants were among the SFDugout.com Top 30 prospects, with the top two being pitchers Davd Quinowski (No. 15) and Joe Martinez (No. 19).
So what is it? And does it mean much about the organizational philosophies?
The truth is that the Giants have simply gotten clutch performances when they've needed them, especially on the mound. The overall stats aren't all that different. San Jose has scored only 13 more runs than Stockton, and actually has a lower on-base percentage plus slugging percentage (OPS) than Stockton (.692 to the Ports' .720). Pitching-wise, the Giants have a 3.13 ERA against Stockton's 4.57.
The key may be stability on the mound. The Giants have used 14 pitchers on the year, with just six players having accrued starts, and the extra one was because of the one injury on the year to the pitching staff, that being Yosandy Ibanez. Meanwhile, the Ports have used an incredible 21 different pitchers in 31 games, including nine pitchers who have made starts. Injuries and promotions have had a lot to do with it, but that lack of continuity on the mound may have hurt the Ports all season long.
There shouldn't be too much read into the differing starts, at least for now. But if the players at these levels still show this much disparity when they become Northern California rivals again in Triple-A, then the A's might have to start wondering what's going on.
Roster Moves: Promotions and injury updates
Barry Gunther was promoted from San Jose to Fresno, after batting .268 in 17 games with the Giants. The Giants also placed reliever Anthony Moreno (3.46 ERA, 11 strikeouts, and six walks in nine relief appearances) on the disabled list. Right-handed pitcher Yosandy Ibanez is off the DL, and will work out of the bullpen. Left-handed pitcher Nathan Pendley was called up from extended Spring Training to join the team. Pendley has been on the San Jose roster each of the last three years, most recently with a 2.68 ERA in 23 relief appearances in 2006.Player of the Week: Pablo Sandoval
Sandoval has looked like he's put on a lot of weight this year, but he's finally starting to play well with it. Although he only played four games in the past week, he hit 11-for-18 with two doubles when he was in the lineup. His offensive renaissance couldn't have come at a better time for the Giants, with Ben Copeland still out due to injury.
By The Numbers: 0
Zero is how many stolen bases the Giants had in their recent three-game series against the Bakersfield Blaze. Rancho Cucamonga has taken over the league lead for stolen bases with 48, despite San Jose having speedsters like Richardson and Burriss at the top of their order.
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