Bobby Evans answers your questions

Posted By on January 21, 2009 1:07 pm

Bobby Evans, the Giants director of player personnel, was very generous with his time this morning. I talked to him for about 30 minutes (except when he put me on hold to take a call from some Neukom guy), and we got to many of your questions. To those whose questions are not answered here, thanks anyway for asking.

Please use the comments section of this post to also thank Bobby for his time.

So, here goes…

Which player in the Giants farm system has the highest upside? (Drew)
EVANS: “I think Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey are certainly looked at as guys that will have a chance to make the most impact at the major league level.”

What current or former MLB player do you envision Angel Villalona being most similar to, assuming he reaches his potential? (Alex, Los Gatos)
EVANS: “Felipe Alou has likened him a lot to Andres Galarraga. It’s still to be determined whether he’ll play first or third, but his bat and his body type remind us of Galarraga.”

How many years away is Nick Noonan? Is he more Dan Uggla or Mark Loretta? (Jon, Walnut Creek)
EVANS: “He’s a better defensive second baseman, where Uggla has more pop. (Noonan) has great bat control. I would liken him to Uggla, but he doesn’t have the same pop. I think he could see the big leagues by the end of 2010.”

Any thought of signing Orlando Hudson and hitting him third? Two years and then pass the job to Noonan? (Jon, Walnut Creek)
EVANS: “Hudson is an exciting player. Even with the option that we have of bringing a guy like that in, it’s just he wrong position and the wrong time given we have three options there we like. We like Frandsen, Burriss and Velez. Those guys make Hudson not a fit. We worked hard to develop those players, and we want to give them a chance.”

Do the Giants have plans to participate in any future “Million dollar arm” competitions in India? Do you feel the players signed with the Pirates through the previous competition have a legitimate chance to play in the big leagues? Do the Giants scout other cricket playing nations for potential players? (Drew)
EVANS: “We got a chance to see both players and they clearly have some arm strength. There is a learning curve for them. I have heard that Million Dollar Arm program will continue and we’ll always review talented options out of any country. We certainly wish those young men the best. It’s amazing what they accomplished in a short time.”

In the 2008 First Year Player draft it seems the Giants selected high upside offensive players early, followed by a good crop of “second tier” college pitchers. At this early juncture the draft appears to be strong in the area of college pitching and will also feature some promising high school pitchers. Pitching is one area where the Giants don’t have a glaring weakness in the minor leagues. Will the Giants shift their focus this year to take advantage of the strengths of the 2009 draft class and accumulate more first-tier pitching prospects who can later be used in trades for the offensive players they lack? (Mike, Redwood City)
EVANS: “You never know who will be there when you pick. You tend to look at who is the best available at the time you are picking. If it’s the fourth best pitcher or second best position player, then you compare. We are picking high (6th), so we’ll have a chance to see who’s on the board, but I think our options will be good no matter what.”

With Pablo Sandoval’s participation in the Venezuelan winter league HR Derby, does that signal that Pablo has eyes on HRs as well as high average? (Drew)
EVANS: “I think Pablo is very much aware of the kind of player he’ll be, at least this year. We all know he has power potential, but his biggest tool is going to be the bat and not so much the power. The homers will come for him, but that won’t be a focus.”

The Giants clearly seem very confident in Pablo Sandoval’s bat but how confident are they that he can handle the defensive requirements of 3B on a full-time basis? (Mark)
EVANS: “I think we’re confident enough in him at third to have him as the leading candidate to play third for us. We’ll evaluate him along with other options in spring training. We’re confident enough at this point we haven’t gone out and brought in anyone else to play third. Truth be known, we spent a lot of ’08 focusing on him behind the plate, but his best position is still a great debate. What we do know is his bat fits in the lineup somewhere.”

Historically, the Giants have never fully relied upon rookie position players. However, Sandoval looks to be relied upon as an infield anchor. Is there a Plan B if Sandoval does not play as anticipated? (Frontrow)
EVANS: “I think we know Frandsen is capable of playing over there and there still are options on the free agent market. We certainly have options to go get help if needed.”

Looking long range it seems to me that the Giants would be best off if Pablo Sandoval can indeed handle the defensive requirements of 3B on a full-time basis at an acceptable level. This would mean that Buster Posey would not be blocked at C and Angel Villalona would not be blocked at 1B. Is this the Giants long range thinking as well? (Mark)
EVANS: “It’s certainly an advantage to us if third base plays out for him well. That does have a nice fit for us. We have other options coming at third, but not nearly as advanced.”

How would you describe the confidence level of Giants management that Travis Ishikawa will work out as a good everyday first baseman? Is he viewed as another “who knows” like Minor, Niekro, Ortmeier, and Bowker of which none actually worked out? Is he viewed as someone more likely then not to man the starting first base job at an above average MLB level? (Mark)
EVANS: “I think the highest level of confidence is that we have in him is defensively he’ll be above major league average at first. The offense, at a major league level, is going to be an ongoing evaluation. He’s shown us things in his development and progress that give us reason to believe he’ll be a very capable offensive addition in bottom end of our lineup paying first base. Ultimately his progression offensively has gotten back on track. We’re optimistic that he’ll carry his load well over there.”

Are there any minor league shortstop prospects better than Burriss? Brandon Crawford?
EVANS: “When you say ‘better than’ it’s a hard question to answer. We like Brandon Crawford at short. We like Ehire Adrianza. We like Charlie Culberson at short, although he may profile at second as well. And Noonan can play short, but we like him more at second. But those are all solid.”

I was curious how you became the Giants’ director of player personnel? What did you do to get that job, or work your way into that role with the Giants? (Kyle, San Jose)
EVANS: “I worked briefly in player development and scouting as a intern with the Red Sox while I was in college. When I graduated I worked in player development and scouting with baseball operations at the commissioner’s office for two years. I came to the Giants in an entry level position in player development. I really learned the ropes internally from Brian Sabean, Jack Hiatt and Dick Tidrow, and I’ve been here 15 years. I think it’s been a progression over time to head up player personnel. But the ultimate head of player personnel other than Sabean is Dick Tidrow. He’s the vice president in charge of player personnel, and I’m the director.”

Randy Winn becomes a free agent after 2009 so with this in mind how confident are the Giants that Nate Schierholtz will be able to assume the starting RF role in 2010 at an above average MLB level? (Mark)
EVANS: “I think we’ll find out a lot more about Nate Schierholtz in ’09 in whatever role he has on this club. One of the goals of ’09 is to know as much as we can about Nate so that we make the right decision going into 2010. How confident are we? We are as confident as we need to be right now, but we have whole year to evaluate.”
(NOTE: Schierholtz is out of options this year, and Bobby confirmed to me that means he will be on the team in some capacity, barring something unforeseen.)

Do you think (Conor) Gillaspie is close or did you call him up for some other reason? (Jon, Walnut Creek)
EVANS: “Gillaspie was brought up primarily because the bat is advanced at a key position for the Giants. What we found is that for someone on the fast track for us, getting him major league exposure early, in theory, will help him advance more quickly at a key position. However, there a lot of aspects of the game that Conor will be learning, not only this year but years to come. We told all of our top draft picks that signing early would give them an advantage to moving quickly and Conor was first of those (top) four picks to sign. Along with all of those four, we think they have a chance to move quickly. Conor had a taste first hand. He has a good chance of starting the year in San Jose this year, relatively quickly for a player who just signed.”

I’m real interested how you deal with a situation similar to Darren Ford where a batter is dramatically more advanced against righties versus lefties. I’m talking like being ready for the next level for righties and probably should be cut against lefties. I’m less interested in what you are doing with Ford than the concept of could you justify moving a guy up through the organization who would only bat against one type of pitcher for his career? (Eric)
EVANS: “During instructional league we worked on making him a switch hitter. He did a whole lot to evolve from the other side of the plate. We’re very optimistic. He’ll go into a place like San Jose this year, having had instrux and full spring training under his belt. He really adjusted well… (Generally speaking) to be an everyday player you have to be able to hit against righties and lefties. With his tools, his speed, we felt if we could resolve the problem against lefties it would help, so it’s proving a positive adjustment.”

Where is Madison Bumgarner going to start the year? Is he going to be in spring training so he can pick Randy Johnson’s brain? Chances he could be a late season call up? Rather seem him up than hurt himself in the minors. (David, Temecula)
EVANS: “He’s got a chance to start in San Jose, but he also could make the Double A club. It’s awful cold in Connecticut in April, so he might be better to start in San Jose and move later on… He’ll be in minor league camp (in spring), but he’ll have his time to visit with Randy Johnson and some big league players.”

In a recent interview with Sirius/XM Radio, GM Brian Sabean suggested that the option of moving Jonathan Sanchez to the bullpen remains on the table for 2009, if “Noah Lowry or someone else assumes the final rotation spot.” Is there any concern that continuing to flip-flop the young left-hander from the rotation to the pen might have adverse effects on his performance (both short and long term)? Or does management feel confident that, if the transitions are managed properly, a professional pitcher should be able to make these kinds of adjustments without too much trouble? (Dylan, San Francisco)
EVANS: “Back and forth between bullpen and starting is not necessarily in his best interest. At times it’s been in the best interest of the organization’s needs at the given time. That could happen again in ’09, but no question it would benefit him to stay in one role and progress in that… His best shot to help the club is as a starter, but that’s always a point of discussion with how things look this spring.”

What was up with the Matt Downs promotion/demotion last year? How does the organization see him? (Otis)
EVANS: “Matt Downs is a very capable offensive player as well as defensively he can play a number of different places. Basically he was in a position where he played himself out of the Cal League and we wanted to advance him, but as the roster became jammed at Triple A, it made more sense for us to send him back to the Cal League where he could finish the season and complete what was a good year, as opposed to creating a spot at Double A where the roster was already full.”

What are the Giants plans for Eddy Martinez-Esteve? (William, Los Angeles)
EVANS: “Eddy is going to be in minor league camp with hope of making the Triple A club. Certainly last year he progressed with the bat, but didn’t show the power he’s shown in the past. Hopefully that will come back this spring and another year removed from having been injured, he’ll hopefully play a role on the Triple A club this summer.”

That’s it folks. I realize some of the answers were rather obvious (Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner the top prospects!), but hopefully the interview was still informative. Again, thanks for the questions. I’m planning to do this periodically with different baseball people. Maybe a player next time.


11 Responses to “Bobby Evans answers your questions”

  1. Mark says:

    Thanks Jeff!

    I really appriciate the access you have to Bobby Evans, scouts, and so many others.

    Lately you and I seem to be differing alot in our opinions which I also appriciate. I appreciate these disagreements because I learn more from those I disagree with like you that can actually articulate their views then I could ever learn from those I agree with.

  2. frontrow says:

    Thanks for the responses and time!

  3. Johnny Disaster says:

    Thanks Jeff and Bobby! Just the thing for the long wait until spring.

  4. starburst says:

    Thanks Jeff and Bobby. I really appreciate the information and the fact that you took the time to do this. As a lifelong Giants fan, I’m thrilled with the direction the team is taking and looking forward to following the progress of our young prospects.

  5. mfletcher1 says:

    Thanks for taking the time to talk to Jeff about player development. It is interesting to learn how a major league club evaluates players and how they develop them.

  6. scipio77 says:

    Much thanks to both Jeff and Bobby, I even got one of my questions asked! Keep up the good work, can’t wait for the season.

  7. obsessivegiantscompulsive says:

    Thanks Jeff, keep up the good work, just got introduced to your blog.

    Just a note on EME, he did show the HR power he had in the past, only it was only on the road. Connecticut’s stadium reduces the power of hitters greatly, particularly homers (roughly 30-40% reduction), so it is not correct to just view his overall stats in Connecticut, his road numbers is closer to his true talent level than his overall.

    On the road, he hit .330/.391/.478/.869 vs. .266/.387/.277/.664 at home, for an overall .300/.389/.384/.773. His ISO is a bit lower than before, but his homer rate is much like it was in 2006′s shorted season.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Jeff. I sure miss you in the Press Democrat but at least I can read your great reports and interviews here. Tim

  9. Anonymous says:

    Have the giants given up on Rohlinger?

  10. [...] fans, it’s your turn. Just as Giants fans had their shot to ask questions of director of player personnel Bobby Evans, you guys now can ask questions for A’s assistant GM David Forst. Just email your questions [...]

  11. [...] question for Bobby Evans about Pablo Sandoval got me [...]

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