Is Bowker The Answer?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Giants fans have been very critical of some of the Giants moves, mostly because Barry Zito is 0-3 and Aaron Rowand is hitting .270 with no homeruns. However, prospect John Bowker is off to a hot start, and the Giants are making plans to get him more playing time. In Bowker's first ten at-bats in the big leagues, he has seven RBIs and two homers among his six hits. The Giants have been getting him some work at first base, meaning that the struggling Dan Ortmeier could be moved.

Bowker is 6'2'', 190 pounds with a short, powerful swing. He is not the next Barry Bonds, but he is definitely showing potential to be an enforcer in the Giants lineup. However, he does hold the homerun record down in Double-A.


Anonymous 7:47 PM CDT  

keep playing the kids!!

Tim 8:12 PM CDT  

He's by far the only bright spot with the Giants hitting right now.

But this still doesnt change the fact the Giants will have around 90 losses, and the worst offense in the league.

Anonymous 9:37 PM CDT  

Can I call him 'The Enforcer'?

Anonymous 11:56 PM CDT  

Let him play and we'll see how it goes. If he kills the ball then the Giants have a serious player on there hands. What I think will happen is that he will be the next Jack Cust/Rick Ankiel. Watch him put up 35-40 Hr's get the starting job next year and pitchers will just figuere out how to pitch to him. As an Tigers Fan living in the bay, it is easy to see why Giants fans are getting excited. Who wouldn't be, The Giants loose possibly the best hitter of all time in Barry Bonds and they seem to have zero power. It is fun to watch young guys strive. And the players that the Giants have I.E. Fred Lewis, that Velez guy, Bowker, Davis?, Ortmeire. Just keep playing them and maybe the Giants find a handful of regulars in there? Maybe there the Tigers of the NL, loose for 5-6 years and then BOOM, Playoffs. Who knows, but Giants fans be excited!

Anonymous 11:01 AM CDT  

Ortmeier was really struggling when he hit that game winning double against the CF wall off Heath Bell last week.

Anonymous 11:07 AM CDT  

While it's foreseeable that the Giants will improve in the next five or so years (it's not difficult to improve from having an absolutely terrible farm system), they still do have a lot of hurdles to produce some decent talent.

A lot of their farm league talent is incredibly young - mainly bolstered by a really deep 2007 draft - and not many project as future Major Leaguers outside of Villalona, they're mainly one-tool specialists ala Brian Bocock. Even Bowker - according to both Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America, and what can be observed from his brief time in the bigs thus far - all consider Bowker's power his only tool of note.

Now, this could very well change as they get older, but the Giants have bankrupted their farm system from years of catering to Bonds' needs; signing veterans was the only feasible way to fulfill expectations in what was seen as a very small window of time to get to the World Series. You're starting to see the result of that now. Even today, the Giants have a great young staff and a very much improved young bullpen - the question is whether or not they'll be able to hang on to them through their free agent years as they weight for their farm league reinforcements. It might not work seeing as a good deal of their legitimate, top tier prospects are still in their teens and years away from making a MLB impact.

Bottom line, the Giants will need to ditch a lot of their veteran talent to contenders down the line in order to get a head start in restocking their farm system and I think the common perception that they're destined for 90+ losses will only give more prospects the chance to bump up in their system. All this is beneficial, but I'd hold off from saying that the Giants farm system is making great strides to make them competitive again within the next half decade. There's just far too many questions at this point in time.

Anonymous 11:40 AM CDT  

anon 11:07 - you're opinion on the Giants farm system is not shared by many. most experts believe the Giants lower level farm prospects are very good indeed and they could be in the majors in a couple of years. Also, current major leaguers like Lewis, Velez and Bowker look very good right now. Not sure where you're getting your info on Bowker ... he's considered a very good prospect with potential to hit for a good average with good power and he has very good speed and a strong throwing arm ... those are more than 1 tool, tool.

Tim 12:33 PM CDT  

It's interesting that you brought up the facts regarding the current state of the Giants farm system. It's a total joke. The leadership in this organization should be fired alone on their incompetent approach to the farm system. To
compete in the majors, you need a good farm system.

Anonymous 4:09 PM CDT  

When you summarize the farm system as "total joke", what aspect of it is? We have always had the pitching prospects and our lower A to AA is looking good. I agree that our offense in AAA, aside from Shieroltz, is not too exciting right now but use a little optimism.

I agree that Sabes went the wrong way the past years in building this organization. I am not so certain that it is entirely his fault. I could see Magowan forcing Sabes to make the moves he did so that he could capitalize on Bonds. It would be rather hard to fire an owner.

All that aside, I am happy this year. I know we wont contend in the division but its still fun watching the kids show their stuff. They have made it exciting so far. Bowker has all Giants fans attention when he is at bat. Same goes for Velez and Lewis.

Bryant 4:20 PM CDT  

Anonymous 11:40 -

I'm getting my information from numerous sporting publications - the most notable being Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus - that analyze each farm system both independently and as a product of a whole. The Giants are ranked in the bottom five of the majors, so for me to say that their farm system was considered depleted as soon as players like Lincecum, Cain, Bowker, and Lewis graduated to the bigs isn't entirely far-fetched...mainly because that is an opinion shared by not only me but reputable and published baseball sources.

Bowker is ranked as a decent prospect in the Giants system in both publications, reaching #8 (of 10) in Baseball America and #9 (of 11) in Baseball Prospectus (where he's seen as a two-star prospect, out of five). Maybe I'm being a bit presumptuous in saying he's merely a one-tool player, but what I'm saying isn't entirely unsubstantiated. I don't know where you get that he has good speed, as he has 15 SB and 17 CS (that's an abysmal 47% success rate) in 422 games and one of the major concerns for him is if he can overcome a pretty high strikeout to walk ratio. He might hit for average - a career .292 AVG in the minor leagues - but the general consensus is that he's a power guy first and foremost. This isn't a bad thing, but it's tough to build a team on what are seen as specialty players.

If you read my response, you'd also realize that I said that they have a lot of good young talent - that came in the form of high school players drafted in their deep 2007 draft. They have a lot of quality prospects, but it will take time. That's why I said that it could backfire on the Giants seeing as their young talent - namely Cain, Lincecum, Lewis, Velez, Bowker - might have moved on due to free agency at this point. Once again, I could be wrong, but it takes a while for young prospects such as what the Giants have to develop into MLB-ready players. That's why I said that allotting a time period might be a bit premature; not because I think their farm system is trash, but because it's a huge work in progress due to years of neglect.

The Giants are going to have a couple rough years of transition and while I believe Eli and a couple other posters here (including you) are correct in their assumptions that the team could improve within the next five years, there are a of question marks at this point in time due to the age of their farm league and the current state their Major League team is in.

My suggestion: deal players like Roberts, Winn, Molina, and Aurilia and potentially get some fringe-level prospects who are a bit older. The fact that these players (not even counting the Rowand and Zito catastrophes) were brought in with the presumption that Bonds would be gone by 2008 is astounding. Up until last season, the Giants' farm system was completely neglected. It'll take more than one season and resting on what they currently have to improve within the next few seasons.

Anonymous 4:48 PM CDT  

15 games into the season and you're calling Rowand a "catastrophe" ??????????????????????

wow, enough said, tool.

Anonymous 5:08 PM CDT  

Nobody will trade for Roberts since he is hurt...nor Aurilia since he's bad. Winn & Molina would bring something back...but the young pitchers may need Molina.

Winn/Davis to the Pads for Headley!

Bryant 5:33 PM CDT  

Where did I call Rowand a catastrophe? He's a decent enough player. I referred to Rowand and Zito's CONTRACTS as catastrophes and examples of bad player management on the part of the Giants. They banked on his best season and brought him in at premium price. You really think either one of those are good deals? My point was that the Giants in the past few years have spent a lot of money on veterans instead of focusing time, money, and scouting into their farm system; last year was a step in the right direction, but those are all examples of the organization walking on eggshells. I think that for the years and dollar amount, both Zito and Rowand have disastrous looking contracts.

If you're willing to talk about irony, you misinterpret my point and call me out for declaring Rowand a catastrophe after 15 games (which I didn't). Although you totally missed my point, I get your argument - small sample size.

But at the same time, you're treating the first 10 AB (after today, he's at 13) of Bowker's MLB career as if they're proof-positive evidence that he'll cure all that ails the Giants.

Enough said.

Bryant 5:36 PM CDT  

Yes, Roberts is hurt...but teams like speed off the bench and Roberts has been at his best in limited duty. I don't expect that he'd yield top returns in a trade, but it's not far-fetched he goes for a decent prospect.

I think you highlighted their two best bargaining chips in Molina and Winn. We'll see what they do with them.

Tim 8:04 PM CDT  

I don't have to respond much. bryant did most of the work for me.

Anonymous 10:39 PM CDT  

Could Bowker's CS rate be so high because Norwich is a pitchers park and he's the victim of some swing through hit and runs??? This is what I would suspect. Not certain they would send him 32 times in a season while he's not having success...that's on the manager.

Anonymous 1:45 AM CDT  


Your letting someone else make your point for you? Seriously, tell me what exactly you think is week about the Giants farm system. I am not disagreeeing but you need to explain your claim. Thats all. I have optimisim and I am a Giants fan but I also know to look at the righting on the wall. My opinion comes from knowing the team and yours comes from...? Seems like you repeat what others have stated as THEIR opinion. What exactly is yours?

Tim 5:45 PM CDT  

I find your accusations of me being a "bandwagoner" insulting. Why repeat what someone else has said? If you want me to restate, then fine.

BP and other publications have ratted on the lack of talent and development in the Giants system. The only quality prospect(a player that is predicted with sabermetrics to have a good career in the majors) the Giants have so far is Angel Villalona. All the others seem dead end (so far).

Who knows I might be wrong, and no one can 100% predict the future, but so far the numbers don't stack in the Giants favor. SO DEAL WITH IT. I want rational arguments with numbers to back it up, not some "b/c i know the team" ramble.

And don't give the Giants management the benefit of the doubt, and actually start questioning their lack of performance. If I'm correct, 3 straight losing seasons and counting. And Sabean still has a job!? This would not cut in any other organization.