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Day Two

Optimism Week: It's like Shark Week for Giants fans. Right, chum?

Reasons to be excited about Eugenio Velez:

  • Eugenio, of course, is Spanish for "eugenics", and it's a nickname that alludes to the fact the Giants are actively trying to create a Master Team of pure speedy and bunty-types who play the game the right way. His given name is "Paul."
  • You're worried that his minor league performances aren't that great for a 26-year-old prospect? That it would take a massive and unexpected jump in performance for him to be a good player? Pshaw. The only reason we're even discussing him right now is because he has experience with massive and unexpected jumps in performance. He's already been to that well once; why not again? When the Giants took Velez in the minor league Rule 5 draft, he was a stone-handed shortstop with a lifetime on-base percentage of .002 or so.

    Seriously, look at his stats from the Toronto organization. Is there any reason to have thought Velez would still even be in organized baseball in 2008? I believe it was Sartre who said, "A man who surprises you with a wet willie once is probably the kind of jackass who will keep doing it." Velez has already stuck a moist finger into the ear of our collective consciousness before by exceeding expectations. Why wouldn't he do it again? Other than physical limitations, that is.

  • Stolen bases are pretty cool. There, I wrote it. If Rajai Davis and Velez could each maintain on-base percentages of .350 or higher, the Giants would be pretty fun to watch for an inning or so. If they could consistently maintain on-base percentages of .350 or higher, they would have a chance to scamper around for the next good Giants team. A Giants team with real hitters behind a productive Velez would be ridiculously exciting.
  • Velez's career will probably be limited to that of a utilityman, but obligatory Chone Figgins reference.
It isn't necessarily logical to think of Velez as a top prospect bound for something more than a couple cups of coffee. But every now and then, logic needs to sit in the Arizona sun and get drunk before noon. Spring training isn't for sandwich board-wearing doomsayers. At least, not all the time. Ray Durham will tweak something, Kevin Frandsen will have to cover third for the season, and Velez will put up a .290/.340/.390 line with 50 steals in 450 at-bats.

Velez '08: Why not?