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The Giants rode their pitching the a World Series victory in 2010, and once again find themselves armed with a great pitching staff. The Giants have the third-best ERA in all of MLB at 3.24, even with two-time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum having a down year for the club.
Though they stand at 35-27 for the year, what’s holding the Giants back from first place in the NL West is their hitting. They’ve scored only 245 runs on the year, which places them in the bottom half of the NL, and their .121 ISO, a measure of slugging percentage minus batting average, is last in MLB.
A big part of that has been their production at first base. Brandon Belt, Aubrey Huff and Brett Pill have combined to hit .207/.312/.336, all of which rank among the worst in baseball.
Belt has been heralded as the future first basemen for quite some time now, but has not shown the ability to sustain success at the major league level; he’s hit .225/.322/.389 for his career. The Giants would be wise to acquire Youkilis as they look to make another championship run this year, and decide on whether Belt can live up to his hype at a later time, when it’s not as detrimental to the team.
After the trade of high-level prospect Zach Wheeler for Carlos Beltran last year, the Giants may not be willing to part with a similarly highly ranked player. Instead, they may to look to trade a couple of prospects to the Red Sox.
Josh Osich is their highest rated pitcher, but comes in at seventh in FanGraphs rating of the team’s minor league players. A left handed pitcher drafted in the sixth round from Oregon State University in 2011, he has a 2.53 in 10.2 innings of relief work in high-A ball this year.
FanGraphs writes, “He has the ceiling to be a high-leverage reliever at the MLB level,” but being so many years away, trading him is a risk the team should be willing to make.
Another pitcher the Sox could look to acquire is righty Heath Hembree, the 10th-ranked prospect and 23-year-old fifth rounder from the College of Charleston. After posting a blistering 16 K/9 and minuscule 0.73 ERA in 24.2 innings in high-A ball to start off 2011, he was advanced to Double-A where his K/9 decreased to 11, and ERA rose to 2.83.
This year he’s continued that trend at AAA, where his K/9 is only 6.9, and he has an ERA of 4.84. While he may be close to the majors, he hasn’t shown the success this year that’s needed to promote him.
Taking a chance on him, considering his past success, should be something the Red Sox look to do.
In case you missed the first five teams discussed in my previous work, you can access it here. And as always, I appreciate reader feedback and comments, so let me know what you think of these potential deals: should the Sox ask for more, less, or is there a possibility that one of these trades will in fact happen?