Trying to bring a little common sense to the game of baseball. But considering many of the people who read baseball blogs, I'm probably just pissing into the wind.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The San Francisco Giants preview

The defending World Series champions, but I don’t think they’ll be able to do it again. They’re older again, and the pickups they made just seem to be retreads of what they do every year. Yeah, I know they won, but they aren’t a great team and they aren’t a good team beyond the pitching. That’s always good, but they need some young guys if they want to do this again.


Buster Posey. The Rookie of the Year, and he deserved it. He did a little of everything well. Got on base, but more walks will come. Hit for average and power, and a good amount of doubles. He doesn’t run at all, but he’s not really expected to. His defense is okay, if not spectacular. The big question is how long he will be catching before he moves to first base.

Upside:  Thurman Munson?

Downside:  ends up with Joe Mauer’s knees

Score:  + 1

First base:

Brandon Belt. I wouldn’t have picked him before the season, but since I’m late with this, here he is. He did it all in the minors, and but there is no reason to keep him there. He’s got nothing left to prove. He has good speed and a good eye at the plate. The only issue waiting to be seen is how good his fielding is, but that won’t really be an issue here. He and Posey kind of screw up my ‘retread’ theory, but stick around.

Upside:  back to back Rookie of the Year awards for the Giants

Downside:  still better than any other option they have

Score:  + 1

Second base:

Freddy Sanchez. A former batting champ who always hits for good average but doesn’t walk at all. He doesn’t strike out much, but doesn’t do much but hit singes. He doesn’t hit for extra bases or steal base. His defense is good, so that’s an advantage. As long as he is used correctly, hitting second or eighth, the team will be okay with him out there. He just won’t give much more than that.

Upside:  is on base enough for the others to knock him around

Downside:  stops hitting for average

Score:  0

Third base:

Pablo Sandoval. A switchhitting monster who is going to be a big star, so people should stop bitching about his weight. He had a down year last year, but it doesn’t matter. He hits for average and walks a lot. He doesn’t strike out very much and has good power along with extra base hits. He doesn’t run, but he doesn’t need to. The only knock is his defense, but a position change is out now.

Upside:  does a Chipper Jones impression

Downside:  does a Terry Pendleton impression

Score:  + 1

Short stop:

Miguel Tejada. Still a starter and playing every day, but he shouldn’t be here. He should have went somewhere as a utility play. He’ll hit for some average, but not walk at all. His power is going away, but he should still hit some doubles. He doesn’t run, and never did. His defense isn’t good, but he’ll hit enough, or should, to overcome that and stay in the line-up.

Upside:  no one plays defense so it doesn’t matter

Downside:  stops hitting

Score:  0

Left field:

Pat Burrell. It’s hard to believe he’s starting his 13th season. He’ll do what he has always done. Walk a little bit, strike out a lot, and hit a fair amount of homeruns. He’s in a good park to do that, and with the young players the team has, he just has to contribute, not be a star. His defense was actually good last year, but that was in limited time and I wouldn’t expect it to continue.

Upside:  30 homeruns from the back of the order

Downside:   becomes Rob Deer

Score:   0


Andres Torres. Finally got a chance to play, and to start, and put up a good year. It will be hard to repeat it, but he has some skill. The on base percentage was okay, but way too many strikeouts. Good speed and good power, and he’ll get around the bases. His defense is excellent, which might be the most important thing, sandwiched between Burrell and Huff.

Upside:  late developer like so many pitchers are

Downside:  he’s not a pitcher

Score:  + 1

Right field:

Aubrey Huff. A great year from him last year, which he does everyone once in awhile, but not every year. Good power and the highest on base percentage of his career. He didn’t strike out too much and even stole seven bases without getting caught. He can also hit for average, and is a very underrated player. He’s actually a good defensive outfielder, and shouldn’t hurt them out there.

Upside:  has to have one more year like he just did

Downside:  has one of his down years

Score:  + 1

Pinch hitter/general utility:

Cody Ross. When he comes off of the disabled list. A starter last year, but he’s going to lose that status because of Belt. He’ll still get plenty of time around the outfield and pinch hitting, and this might suit him better. He doesn’t get on base very well, but does have some power, and will hit doubles. His defense is good on the corners. He strikes out too much and doesn’t run, but will be useful to the team.

Upside:  can fill in for Burrell if needed

Downside:  has to start in right because of problems elsewhere

Score:  0

Backup catcher:

Eli Whiteside. A career guy who doesn’t have to play too often, he has respectable numbers for a career back up, but his defense isn’t up to snuff. As long as Posey is catching, Whiteside won’t get that many opportunities. If they move Posey to another position without getting another catcher first, it would turn out to be a big issue. Lack of work will make him better.

Upside:  only starts 25 games

Downside:  Posey gets hurt

Score:  - 1

Backup first baseman:

Mark DeRosa. A versatile guy who can play all over the field, if not well, at all of them. He’s coming back from injuries that took his year away from and has to hope he can get it back. He has some decent power and no speed to go with it. He gets on base at a decent rate but strikes out too much. He’ll play everywhere and shouldn’t have to start anywhere.

Upside:  comes back from injuries with no problem

Downside:  first option to replace Tejeda

Score:  0

Back-up infielder:

Mike Fontenot. Good defensively at second base, where he’s not needed, but not at short stop, where he is. He could step in and start if needed. He gets on base and has limited power. He doesn’t run at all, but doesn’t strike out too much either. He’ll be all over the infield and fill in for everyone. He’ll be the option when Tejeda stops hitting.

Upside:  might end up hitting better than Tejeda

Downside:  won’t field better than Tejeda

Score:  + 1

Back-up outfielder:

Aaron Rowand. At least as long as he’s on the team, because he seems to be destined to be traded before too long. Not as bad as people think he is, but not as good as the contract. He’s headed to career fourth outfielder territory, and that’s not bad. He has some pop in his bat, and he plays good defense. He can, or could, run, at one time. He’ll replace Burrell a lot for defense.

Upside:  adjusts to his role

Downside:  can’t replace Burrell

Score:  0

Rotation (front 3):

Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Jonathon Sanchez. Not exactly the front three of the Phillies, but it isn’t too far off. This is a good rotation, and they are going to be good. Lots of strikeouts, low hit totals, and Cy Young Awards and considerations. As always, I’d like to see them go a little deeper in the game, but there is no reason to push it. They almost always hand a lead over.

Upside:  the battle for the Cy Young

Downside:  they only give out one a year

Score:  + 2

Rotation (back end):

Madison Baumgarner and Barry Zito. Baumgarner had some of the best numbers on the staff last year in half a season, and Zito was merely average. Two left handers who will give the team three left handers in the rotation. Baumgarner is only 20 and only has to pitch like he did last year and not try to be a star, and Zito just needs to be adequate and eat innings. They’ll do good.

Upside: low expectations for now

Downside:  can’t quite get it done this time around

Score:  + 1


Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Ramon Ramirez, and Javier Lopez. A great season from all of them last year, which is what you expect from a World Series bullpen. They’ll get lots of leads to work with, and shouldn’t have to do too much to hand it over to the closer. Lots of strikeouts, but a lot of one inning guys also. I guess I’ve said that about every team, but I’m not giving it up.

Upside: just have to pitch like they did last year

Downside:  they weren’t really that good

Score:  + 1


Brian Wilson. When he’s healthy. He’s good and he’s getting better. The strikeout rates are going up, but so are his appearances and innings. He walks too many for a closer, but he doesn’t give a lot of hits or homeruns, so he’ll be okay. He’ll get a lot of leads, if the offense can hit. He’ll lead the league in being a wacko and quotes, as well as saves, so he has that going for him.

Upside:  the injury isn’t really an issue

Downside:  it is

Score:   + 1

Team speed (which includes base running):

Not really good. No one steals bases except Torres, and they don’t hit doubles or triples. Except for Torres, there is no range in the outfield, and absolutely none in the infield. The offense isn’t great, and more speed would be a big help. It won’t matter as much on defense with this pitching staff, so it isn’t a huge problem there. Still, they have a lot of station to station guys, and that includes in the field.

Upside:  anything they can do on the bases will help the offense

Downside:  they won’t do anything

Score:  - 1

Team defense:

Not really. Maybe on the right side, but not enough. Torres can really pick it, and Huff and Sanchez are okay, but neither one of them move well. Tejeda and Burrell are like the statues of angels from Doctor Who, and Sandoval can’t get to anything. The pitchers won’t need a lot of help, and they won’t get it. The biggest thing will be Torres tracking down shots to the triangle.

Upside:  pitching staff says no

Downside:  the pitching staff is only human

Score:  - 1

Team batting:

Average. About as average as it can get. They don’t strike out too much, but they don’t walk either. They don’t steal bases, or run a lot. Everything else is middle of the road on everything. The pitching staff will keep the other teams score down, but they have to get a few on offense to make it competitive. There aren’t any good offensive teams in their division, so they can still compete.

Upside:  Belt and Posey and Sandoval show the old guys how to hit

Downside:  Belt doesn’t hit, Sandoval is too big to, and Posey hits the slump

Score:  - 1

Team pitching:

Finally. Yeah, it’s good. They were in the top four in every category last year, at least the ones I looked at. The only thing they don’t do well in is the fact that they walk too many hitters, but they strike out a lot, don’t give up homeruns, and keep the hits down. It’s a premium staff, the second best in the league, and they are only getting better. If they can pitch like they did last year, they’ll make the playoffs.

Upside:  they’re all young

Downside:  so was Doc Gooden

Score:  + 1

Total score:    + 8

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