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Title Chances: 16-1
Defending a World Series sure isn't easy. San Francisco found that out that last year when a season filled with injuries left the Giants players watching the postseason from their living room couch. But the Giants are healthy again, and with one of the top-five rotations in Major League Baseball, they look to make another title run in 2012.
Tim Lincecum, a.k.a "The Freak," leads a trio of potential aces that, if they can remain healthy, could carry San Francisco back to playoff form. After an impressive first full season in the big leagues, Madison Bumgarner figures to slot behind the consistent Matt Caine in the Giants deadly rotation.
Although the back end starters may be aged in comparison to the first three, Ryan Vogelsong and Barry Zito are more than capable fourth and fifth starters. In fact, Vogelsong's 2.71 ERA from a season ago suggests he may be nothing more than the odd-man-out in a foursome of studs.
But San Francisco's offense is an entirely different story. After ranking next to last in the majors in runs scored last season, the Giants failed to make any moves to upgrade their lineup for 2012.
Yes, the decision to prevent Buster Posey from blocking the plate should benefit all; however, losing three notable bats in the form of Pat Burrell (retirement), Carlos Beltran (free agency) and Orlando Cabrera (free agency) will likely leave San Francisco back in the basement of baseball in terms of run production.
The San Francisco Giants, like 10-12 other teams in baseball, do have the pieces to make a world series run in 2012. But in order to even have a shot at playing in October, a few bats are going to have to step up and score some runs.
A repeat offensive performance in 2012 would certainly make postseason baseball unlikely, but behind solid pitching, anything is possible. Prove us wrong, San Francisco.