Ah yes, I can almost taste opening day which is just a single week away. The Giants had a busy off-season with the additions of Angel Pagan and Melky Cabreara, and it will be interesting to see where these guys end up hitting come 5:15 PDT Friday night. But we know that Pablo and Buster will be slotted in the middle of the Giants lineup, ready to lead the team to a better offensive year. Oh, who really cares about that stuff right now? Baseball is back! Here is what I personally think the Giants should open up with in Arizona next week.
Angel Pagan, CF
If there is one player that is more excited than anybody to get out of Scottsdale, it’s Angel Pagan. Through 59 spring at bats, Pagan has posted an on-base percentage of .200, with a sub .200 batting average. Fortunately for Pagan, Bochy still has faith in him to be the Giants opening day center fielder and lead-off hitter. The Giants have lacked speed for years now, and with a player like Pagan who has the capabilities to steal 30+ bases, score 70+ runs, and most importantly, create havoc on the base paths, their lineup will only be better in 2012.
Melky Cabrera, LF
Cabrera has arguably had the best spring among all Giant hitters. Despite getting off to a blazing fast start, the former Royal has cooled off over the past couple of weeks, but that shouldn’t take away from his previous success at the dish. A player with the versatility to play all three outfield spots and switch hit at the same time, fits right into the mix and match style that Bochy likes to play around with. If he can even come close to the numbers he racked up last year in Kansas City, Giants fans will be in for a pleasant treat.
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
A healthy Panda along with a healthy Buster is a recipe for success. 2012 will hopefully be the first year that those two young hitters are able to hit alongside each other for a full season. Sandoval’s ability to hit in the high .300′s, with the power to consistently launch balls into the cove, puts him among the best third basemen in the National League, and a perennial MVP candidate. Oh, let’s not forget that he plays gold glove caliber defense over at the hot corner. Despite a sub-par spring, I think the Panda is in line for a monster season.
Buster Posey, C
Ah yes, Buster is back for hopefully his first full season with the Giants. The return of his bat will do wonders for a team that was a historically worst offense last season, along with leadership behind the dish. In 29 spring training at-bats, Posey is hitting .310 with a homer and four runs batted in, but who really cares? People are just happy to see him back out on the field, applauding even if he hits weak pop up or ground ball. A Buster-Panda duo could be one of the best one-two punches in the National League for years to come, and we have yet to witness a full season with both of these guys in the lineup. All I’ve got to say is, watch out N.L. West…
Brandon Belt, RF
I want to see Belt batting fifth for the next several years, but Aubrey Huff’s contract and Brett Pill’s power right handed bat is preventing this from happening. Pitchers in Fresno don’t posses a challenge to the lanky left-hander anymore, and I would hate to see him waste another vital year of growth down there, where it’s practically batting practice with a few curve balls here and there. Belt is leading the Giants with 24 hits this spring , and to go along with that, he has also smacked three home runs. Yes, it’s just spring training, but you don’t see Aubrey Huff or Nate Scheritolz producing those numbers, do you?
Aubrey Huff, 1B
If spring training is any indication of what we can expect to see from Huff in 2012, we will see the same player we saw in 2011 at the plate. But even if Huff does struggle, he will continually be rolled out there night in and night out because the Giants are paying him $10 million this season. Huff does have one bit of information working in his favor, though. His track record shows that he usually has one bad year, and then a good year usually follows. I’d rather see Pill at first, but I guess we will all have to live with it. Now if this track record thing proves to be correct, then this season will be a whole different story. Remember 2010 where he finished top five in MVP voting? Let’s not completely start bashing the man just yet.
Emmanuel Burriss , 2B
With the releasing of Mike Fontenot, and the struggles at the plate for Ryan Theriot, Burriss finds himself in line to start on opening day. Burriss will bring a whole lot of speed to the bottom of the lineup, while creating mayhem on the base paths. His .360 batting average in spring training is solid, but I need to see what he can do in regular season games before I fully have faith in him. And if Burriss is inconsistent, Theriot is more than ready to replace him until Freddy Sanchez returns.
Brandon Crawford, SS
Crawford’s impressive spring training at the plate have fans believing in him as the long-term solution at shortstop. It was just a few months ago when these same fans were already writing him off, but his .333 and 10 runs batted in during spring training, have people intrigued to see what he can do when the games count. His glove is by all means ready for the show, and if his bat gets going, we are going to be very, very pleased. He will comfortably slide into the eighth spot to take all the pressure off his shoulders, but if this superb spring training has any implications on how he will perform in 2012, he could quietly rise up the lineup as the season progresses.
Pitcher’s spot: Tim Lincecum
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