When the Giants were rumored to be interested in Nori Aoki, I was worried about the team-wide lack of power. When the Giants signed Aoki, my first thought was about the team-wide lack of power. Here, then, is a nerd with numbers to help us feel better. Let's see what kind of Aoki analysis this tall drink of water has for us:
With Nori Aoki, Giants Look Like Least-Powerful Team in Baseball
Oh, no. That's just the headline. Oh, no no no no no.
The Giants are projected to hit even fewer dingers, but at the same time they’re projected for almost as much position-player WAR as the Orioles, who have the highest team dinger projection. It’s almost like the Giants know what they’re doing.
Oh, phew. It's a mostly complimentary and reassuring article. Just forget that this same dillweed wrote about how the Giants' bullpen was going to be the worst in baseball last year, and you can probably trust him. Probably.
How do the Giants get to the happy side of WAR projections?
Buster Posey: .368
Brandon Belt: .346
Nori Aoki: .343
Hunter Pence: .329
Angel Pagan: .326
Casey McGehee: .321
2014 NL average OBP: .312
Joe Panik: .309
Brandon Crawford: .307
Just two below the league average, and those two players play solid-to-great defense. Those projections are raw, too. They don't take AT&T Park into account. It's not the dingeringest offense that ever dingered, but these aren't the 2008 Giants before Pablo Sandoval, either.
Brandon Belt: 6.5
Buster Posey: 5.0
Brandon Crawford: 3.6
Nori Aoki: 0.5
Joe Panik: 0.0
Hunter Pence: -0.3
Casey McGehee: -5.9
Angel Pagan: -7.2
Well, the last two projections make me a little grumbly, but you get the idea. At least 75 percent of the position players are average or better in the field, or your money back!
There are baserunning projections that are slightly pessimistic for a lot of the Giants, so I'll just separate the players like this:
Not a sloth
Raise your hand if you're on that list! You have something close to average speed or better, and we're all really proud of you.
(Apropos of nothing: Does anyone remember the first time Buster Posey got called up in 2010 and actually got playing time? Remember the first time he really got to air it out and stretch for an extra-base hit? Boy, that was surprising. "I thought he was ... young.")
The Giants can (mostly) get on base. The Giants can (mostly) field. The Giants can (mostly) avoid clogging the bases. That's how they're doing okay with the lineup, and that's not including Blanco, who returns to his role as "the best fourth outfielder in the game who keeps getting starting jobs."
This should probably be a conclusion that reads something like "So the Giants will be just fine, everyone! Don't worry about the dingers!" Except it's going to read more like, "Get another pitcher, you ninnies." Because, hey, get another pitcher, you ninnies. The more I look at this roster, the more I'm convinced that it's the kind of roster that should sacrifice some long-term flexibility for short-term gains. If Shields will sign for four years, pretend that Madison Bumgarner has a normal contract, add the two contracts together, and pretend the Giants have two reasonably priced pitchers. Can't lose!
Okay, so the Giants will be just fine, everyone. Don't worry about the dingers. Math told you it's going to be fine.