WHO ARE MATT DUFFY, JOE PANIK, CHRIS HESTON, AND, NOW, ANDREW SUSAC?
With less than a year combined major league experience, they're the top hitters (and second best pitcher) on the #SF Giants. Despite a team with top, name players injured, are theses ' no names' going to drive yet a fourth 'patented' Giants late season run, as one pundit suggests? And, exactly, how do the Giants - who don't do many deals - continue to pull these rabbits out of the hat year after year?
Of the three world series in five years the San Francisco Giants ONLY ONE starting position player was on all three starting lineups (Buster Posey) and only one pitcher (Madison Bumgarner) among regular starters .
Pundits have noted many oddities in the #SFGiants winning these series , such as having among the lowest season homerun totals of any team and with but one reputable starting pitcher (Bumgarner)- and he's been only around 20th best in the league (3.00 ERA) until the post seasons begin. And, how do the Giants, as a unit, seem to always ramp things up in the post season - three years running. One could be a coincidence or luck - THREE UNLIKELY. Had the Giants won the three world series with the bulk of the same players, ala the 1970s Oakland A's it wouldn't be so odd; it's doubtful any team in history has been able to accomplish the feat of winning three world series in five years with a totally different lineup, sans one, and it's unlikely it COULD happen without some 'external help.'
MATT DUFFY has more homers than Pence, three short of star Posey and is hitting as well as the Giants lone star position player. CHRIS HESTON already has a no-hitter and as many wins (8) as Bumgarner, the Giants' ace. JOE PANIK hasn't stopped hitting since he came up to the Giants late as year as a 'desperation' 2nd base replacement for Marco Scutaro; they were so sure Panik wasn't major league caliber it wasn't until after .165 hitting Dan Uggla failed they brought him in. And now, young ANDREW SUSAC , with his .250 minor league average , is suddenly hitting .286 for the Giants - almost as well as 'superstar' Posey - as of this writing . At one point, last month, the entire the Giants starting lineup was averaging .300 with but the one 'legitimate' star (Posey) and four players with a combined major league of experience of less than a year.
Now, with veterans Aoki and Pence out of the lineup, it's REALLY a virtual MINOR LEAGUE club YET hitting better than most teams with top, known talent, yet these players, with little or no substantive history are out-performing multi-million dollar stars. Who would have thought 'skinny' Duffy, who never hit more than three homeruns in Double A ball - and totally skipped AAA - would have 8 homers already this year (only three less than Posey) and more than both guys he replaced (combined), McGee and Sandova l. But, stuff like this isn't unusual on the Giants.
We just added ANDREW SUSACE to the above chart as he raised his average from .220 to .286 with Giants, after a minor league average of around .250 -a high of .268 last year at Fresno (AAA)- now hitting .286 with the 'big' Giants, as of this writing
#SF Giants UNLIKELY TRANSFORMATIONS - MATT DUFFY, JOE PANIK, CHRIS HESTON, ANDREW SUSAC
How is it , year and after year the San Francisco Giants, after failing to bring in a name free agent, other than Hunter Pence - who isn't even playing right now - keep bringing in no-name players who suddenly over-perform with the big club? There's more to it than coincidence that Matt (skinny banjo hitter) Duffy, Joe 'I was the seventh and desperation choice to play second place, even after Dan Uggla' Panik , Chris '247th draft pick later released' Heston and Andrew ' Even I can do it too despite my .250 minor league average' Susac all suddenly lead the Giants in hitting this year with vitually no major league experience and average minor league careers behind them.
In fact, when the Giants were so desperate for a third baseman Duffy came all the way from Double A , with not only no major league experience but no Triple A experience, yet he's already hit as many homers this year in a third of the season than he hit at any stage of the minor leagues - and his batting average is up there , too. Makes the trade for McGee, currently hitting .220 , very foolish. Normally, players show promise ahead of time and a team doesn't go shell out $5 million for a player if they think they have a player about ready to come up. The Giants didn't see that in Duffy, nor in Panik, nor in Heston, another desperation move when Matt Cain went down, and now Susac.who is suddenly hitting like he's been in the majors forever. NOT ONE OF THESE PLAYERS WAS EXPECTED TO MAKE THE GIANTS TEAM with possible exception of Panik on his sudden late 2014 success.
I mean these guys are getting peanuts compared to the Pagans, Poseys, Pences - and, yet, they are performing as well or better. My God, Skinny Duffy is only three homeruns behind the great Posey and is hitting as well for average. Ditto, Panik, who's hitting better than Posey, and, now yet a FIFTH the big suprise (?) with Gregor Blanco, nowhitting over .300 , better than the guy multi-million man he replaced, Hunter Pence. The names on the Giants don't seem to matter. If a guy gets hurt there's always another 'magic man' around. Most teams have to trade for a decent player. The Giants just pull them out of a hat.
But we're not done yet.
Then there are the Brandons. never stars in the minors nor majors but hitting on cue as needed, Crawford with AS MANY HOMERUNS AS POSEY and more homers than his slugging brother Belt. ! This for a 'no-hit all field'shortstop
You have a Giants team with , essentially, minor league-calibre players, except for Posey and Pagan and Pence, when the latter two are healthy. This pattern has followed all three world series years, but at least the guys they brought in previous years at least had major league experience, ie, Cody Ross, Aubrey Huff, Pat Burell and Marco Scutero, yet no teams even wanted them! Come to the Giants and they're sudden stars!
And, with the Giants they ALWAYS find a rabbit to pull out of the hat. One writer yesterday said the Giants , despite injuries, are in good position for their 'patented' late season run. Go figure. All players seem to always come through as needed. Only one Giant has yet to perform but don't be surprised if he's the next 'hero,'Maxwell.
What about Maxwell?
My only question is '
What Happened to Maxwell? didn't anyone on the Giants share the koolaid with him? Where was he when Bonds came around in Spring Training to 'coach'the hitters. Must not have been around at t he time because everyone else is playing like the 2002 Giants. Think Matt Williams, Aurellia, Santiago, Schmidt, etc. Only Marvin Bernard seemed to fall a little flat.Perhaps Maxwell is the Bernard of the Giants. Yet Maxwell was an unlikely star in spring training. Maybe nobody took him aside and told him 'You're not supposed to strike out so much and you're supposed to hit out of your mind - better than you ever did before. But just wait for the 'trickle down' to happen next to Maxwell, or, maybe the Giants need to have at least one under-performing player to make them look honest.
Whenever the Giants Get Down, Like Magic, They Get a 'Break'
Other teams like the Dodgers are made fun of for under-performing wtih big name free agents and star power. The Giants,with one of the most disliked and talentless GMs in baseball, weren't able to swing few good deals, yet they keep coming up with these marginal players who time and again become success stories. I mean, Panik was so not major league material the Giants didn't even consider bringing him up last year to fill in for Scutaro at second base. In fact, they went through six other players including .165 hitting Dan Uggla, from Atlanta (who never did get a single hit in the two or three games he played with the Giants.
So, we've seen a pattern over the years with the Giants. In 2010 it was Andres Torres, Cody Ross Huff, Burrell and Uribe and a bunch of pitchers. In 2012 it was Scutaro coming over from Colorado to fill in for his friend Melky Cabrera, the one free agent pick up that had been doing anything until he got kicked off the team for PEDs , and others. in 2014 it was k first another previously indicted player, Michael Morse, who had a great first half, and then the most unlikely guys of all - with virtually no major league experience and not a lot of success in the minors - Panik and Duffy. And then, there were a lot of players who suddenly over-performed as the Giants are want to do in the late season and post season...
And, oh, don't forget pitcher Heston, the 247th player to be picked in the draft and then released by the Giants before they brought him back, suddenly the second starter on a team supposedly known for it's pitching. He's already pitched a no-hitter and won as many games as Bumgarner (8) !
'HOMEGROWN' TALENT from a Minor League Wasteland
The Giants say they're proud of their 'homegrown' Giants. With a minor league pretty much in shambles - and lack of quality trades, the Giants have somehow been able to win those three world series - their first in 56 years. It's even more interesting that the four above mentioned players, Duffy, Panik, Heston and Susac came up through a weaked organization - not to mention Brandons Crawford and Belt. The Giants have depleated their 'upper' minors for years due to trades and lack of great drafts - only Buster Posey can be called a real 'prize' yet here they are, somehow winning at the major league level.
They say baseball is 'clean' again. After 24 PED-indicted players since Barry Bonds, three world series and a cast of 'no-name' characters later, The Giants must be doing it with mirrors and magic.