New Year's Resolution: I Will Give Brett Pill a Chance

No sense faking a build-up to the thesis. It's right there in the title. There were alternate themes that barely missed the cut -- "I Will Make Fun of the Orlando Cabrera Trade Even More", and "I Won't Pass Judgment on Aubrey Huff Until After His First 500 At-Bats" -- but I'll stick with Pill. The Giants' outfield, as presently constructed:

LF - Melky Cabrera (S)
CF - Angel Pagan (S)
RF - Nate Schierholtz (L)

Which leaves a spot at first for Aubrey Huff, who is left-handed. If you honestly think that the Giants are going to find a spot for Brandon Belt in this permutation, you think that:

a. Angel Pagan isn't going to start and leadoff every day, or

b. Belt will somehow beat Huff out for a job, or

d. The Giants will keep Belt around on the bench instead of getting him regular playing time in AAA

Normally I'd slip a peyote joke or something in that list, but there really isn't anything funny about this. If you think that Belt is going to crack the roster, you have to pick which one of those three options the Giants will choose. After years and years and years, the Giants have finally showed patience with a young hitter who struggled in his initial taste of the majors, and they avoided pursuing anyone else in the offseason. That hitter was Brandon Crawford. The other guy -- this Belt kid -- is going to have to wait for an injury.

And this almost certainly leaves Brett Pill as the right-handed thumper on the bench. He'll be the right-handed complement to Huff at first and Schierholtz in right. When there are tough lefties on the mound, Pill will be there. So it is written. Barring some sort of surprise, he'll be doing all of this with Belt in Fresno.

That's a good recipe for resentment stew. The Giants' best chance for an in-house improvement to the worst lineup in baseball last year isn't the gooey substance inside Freddy Sanchez's shoulders and knees, but a player who is likely to be in AAA. And we'll have to watch Huff and Pill instead. There isn't much of a chance for a New Year's resolution of "Give Huff a Chance." The good tidings from the World Series run vanished when Bochy and Sabean hinted that he didn't show up to spring training in the best shape, though that still reflects far, far, far more poorly on Bochy, who was the guy pretending he didn't have an alternative to Huff.

But I don't want to resent Pill. He's certainly not a prospect -- he's 27, less than a year younger than Travis Ishikawa, for example. And even if he were four years younger, Pill wouldn't be an especially impressive prospect. He's a career .279/.328/.445 hitter in the minors, and his still-not-that-impressive .312/.341/.530 line came in his repeat season in the PCL.

Reminder: the average hitter in the PCL hit .286/.359/.448 last season.

Based on the available evidence, it sure seems like giving hundreds of at-bats to Pill would be a bad idea. There's a good reason why ZiPS suggests that Pill is pretty much indistinguishable from Conor Gillaspie, for example.

So the resolution, then, is to not hold that against Pill. I will not curse him out or roll my eyes when he comes to bat in 2012. I resolve to root for Pill in the same way that I rooted for Dan Ortmeier, Jesus Guzman, and Kevin Frandsen as they came up. I resolve to root for him in the same way that I rooted for that 30-something minor-league vet who took over for Aaron Rowand in 2010. I resolve to hope with every fiber of my being that I'm wrong, that the professional prospect hounds were wrong, and that Pill is talented enough to make us all look stupid.

I resolve to remember that Brett Pill is a member of the San Francisco Giants' organization, and that his dreams over the next year (and decade) would make all of us happy if they were to come true.

As for the goofballs who are putting the Giants in this position? No such resolution is forthcoming. But I resolve to root for Brett Pill, even if I don't agree with the playing time that he's going to get. They're two separate subjects.

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