San Francisco Giants: Will Nate Schierholtz Be the Starting Right Fielder?
Nate Schierholtz was tabbed to be the starting right fielder for the Giants with the impressive numbers he put up in the few opportunities he had last season.
The departure of Cody Ross also paved the way for Schierholtz and it looked as though the young-athletic outfielder would finally get his shot.
Many fans and writers (including myself) have hailed Schierholtz as the leading man to play the tough right field of AT&T Park and answer some of the Giants offensive woes.
Schierholtz has great speed and can hit in the clutch unlike many of his teammates. He started a career high 77 games last year and was hitting .278 before a fractured right foot held him back.
However, with his recent struggles in spring training, and the surprise emergence of outfielder Gregor Blanco, some say Schierholtz may not have the season he was hoping for.
Schierholtz suffered from forearm aggravation and was scratched from the team's lineup during a spring training game against the Diamondbacks in late March.
He has been dealing with some hip injuries as well and is not putting up the numbers he was expected to.
Schiertholtz has struggled greatly behind the plate, hitting only .217 with just 10 hits and four RBI.
He currently has a .237 on-base percentage and has not hit a home run in 37 at-bats.
Will Blanco win the RF job over Schierholtz?
Although too much can be made of spring training at times, it is no secret that if you do not produce someone else will.
According to CSN Bay Area's Andrew Baggarly, Schierholtz is in danger of losing the right field job.
Gregor Blanco signed a minor-league contract with the Giants this year and has put up some impressive numbers during spring training.
Blanco, who appeared to be nothing more than a journeyman to this point, came to the Giants after playing in Atlanta, where he hit .249 in three seasons.
Blanco spent the 2010 season in Kansas City—he hit .274 with 49 hits and 11 RBI.
Overall, his career numbers are not stellar.
His career BA is .258 with 53 RBI and 183 hits. He only has two career home runs.
With his spring numbers, he is poised to make the team's roster but will he take the right field job?
According to SFGiants.com, Blanco is tearing up the Cactus League, going .436/.511/.487 in 39 at-bats through March and also leads the team in stolen bases.
Blanco is currently hitting .345 and boasts a .419 on-base percentage. Some say that Blanco is just having a hot spring and it will be nothing more than a fluke.
If that is the case, it is reminiscent of Schierholtz losing the starting right field job to John Bowker during the 2010 season.
Many said Bowker was better offensively, but he just got lucky during spring training.
Although Blanco has been better offensively so far, he still has to prove he can play the notorious right field at AT&T Park if he is indeed named the starting right fielder over Schierholtz.
Fortuneatly for Schierholtz, he has already proven he can play the outfield at AT&T, and he arguably has a better throwing arm than Blanco.
The main fault for Schierholtz is the Giants are a team that struggles offensively.
He has proven his offensive and defensive abilities equally, but if he cannot produce when the team expects him to then he is in for a tough season.
If Schierholtz can get healthy and stay focused, he will have his breakout season and will keep his job in right field.
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