Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Brian Sabean is a Genius: Morse and Hudson Making Sabes Look Good

Sanchez congratulating Morse on being Awesome
I'm going to be Captain Obvious for a second, or as announcer Duane Kuiper put it a week ago on a post-game show, Captain Mr. Obvious.

  • Mike Morse is the best hitter on the Giants.
  • Tim Hudson is the best pitcher on the Giants.
  • Both these players were not members of the 2013 Giants.
  • The Giants are currently the best and hottest team in baseball.
As obvious as these points are, I don't think we fully understand the magnitude of the impact these two players have had on this Giants team.  
First of all there's the raw numbers:

Morse is hitting .295 with 11 home runs (leads the team) and 38 RBI (leads the team).  What's more is that watching him everyday I realized a wonderful thing: Morse can flat out hit.  He's not your typical big man who just swings away and mashes at every pitch.  Morse has a plan and an approach to the plate that rivals even the Giants' most fundamental hitter, Buster Posey.  

I really shouldn't have been surprised as if you look at his numbers in his last 3 seasons in Washington, he never dipped below a .289 average.  In his only truly healthy year of 2011, he hit .303 and smacked 31 bombs in 146 games.  

Tim Hudson has never had a statistical season that even remotely compares to this start so I'm not holding my breath. On the other hand it is something to marvel at, that a 38 year old pitcher who we weren't even sure would pitch again after his gruesome ankle injury last year, now has the 2nd best ERA in the NL in the first two months of the season.  

Hudson is carrying a 1.75 ERA right now and a 6-2 record.  He has pitched 7 innings or more in 9 out of his 11 total starts, one of which he was taken out after 3 innings because the game was suspended due to rain in Colorado.  

The law of averages tell us that Hudson can't keep this up.  First of all, he's 38, second of all, he's 38, and third of all, his career ERA is 3.40, as in, he's averaged worse than a 3.40 ERA before he turned 38.  Did I mention that Tim Hudson is 38?

Looking back at Hudson's career his best season numbers are in 2003 when he was still with the A's.  George W. Bush was serving his first term in office and iPhones were 4 years from being released.  In that year Hudson finished with a 2.70 ERA and with a 16-7 record.  

Right now Hudson's ERA is .95 better than his very best season ERA when he was 27 years old.  

As impressive as all these numbers are, the thing that impresses me most is that these guys have made this entire team better.  

With Morse, his clutch and power hitting have made it easier for 3 Giants regulars who had normally carried the offensive load.  The killer P's Posey, Pence and Panda had all started off this season slowly.  Although Sandoval has heated up recently, he was toeing that mendoza line for a good month and a half before he started on his hitting streak.  

Posey has dealt with some back issues but even with him out the Giants have been able to whether his absence because Morse was there able to hit 5th or cleanup in some cases and the offense still finds a way to score runs.  

Pence had a very slow start power-wise and Morse's presence in the lineup has made it easier as there is no focus on Pence and the fact that he is the newly minted $90 million man who hasn't been putting up the numbers.  

As it pertains to Hudson, Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong had terrible years last year and have both seemingly turned it around.  I don't think it's a coincidence that Hudson's presence in the clubhouse and in the rotation coincided with their rebounds.  Both pitchers have made note that watching Hudson work every day have helped their approaches to their games.  

It's truly amazing that these two players both somewhat "broken" in the offseason were brought in at low cost by Brian Sabean and have both rewarded him and the Giants with possibly the best starts of their careers.  

Tip of the cap to 'ol Sabes... He's done it again.

Laws of the Day

This time last year, Barry Zito was 4-3 with a 3.88 ERA, Gregor Blanco was hitting .260 with 0 HR and 16 RBI.

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