Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
I linked these two positions together because of one player. Or should I say one star player.
Pablo Sandoval, with a career .306 batting average, could be back as soon as Sunday (according to Alex Pavlovic of mercurynews.com). Sandoval is hitting .299 this year with eight homers and 33 RBI in 234 at-bats, and he's done a nice job at third base.
Or should I say first base.
Because of Belt's struggles, Sandoval took over at first base (and then he went on the DL with a hamstring injury). When Sandoval returns, he should see some time at first base (since Belt and Pill are clearly not fit to play there every day).
In the previous slide, I mentioned that Sanchez could and should see some time at first base. He's an above-average hitter who could definitely help an inconsistent offense score runs in the bottom of the lineup. On days where Sanchez played first and Posey caught (or vice versa), the Giants would have a great lineup.
Not only would they have Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro or Ryan Theriot, Melky Cabrera, Posey, Sandoval and Hunter Pence hitting back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back, San Francisco would have Sanchez providing a spark at the bottom of the lineup. That would create a formidable Giants lineup.
However, Sanchez isn't a great defensive first baseman. When Sandoval comes back, either Belt or Pill will probably be headed to Triple-A. Belt is a great defensive first baseman, so if the Giants want late-game defense and mediocre hitting, they should go to Belt. If they want more power and a small hitting upgrade, they should go to Pill. If I were Bochy, I would go with Pill to try to help the offense. He hasn't had as many chances as Belt, and he can hit better than Belt.
If the Giants don't want Pill or Belt, they could try to upgrade. According to Henry Schulman of sfgate.com, San Francisco reportedly has interest in Lyle Overbay, a first baseman with lots of power. He could provide a spark off the bench and do what the Giants were hoping Aubrey Huff could do before he struggled and got hurt—provide power off the bench.
At third base, the Giants currently have Marco Scutaro. When Sandoval returns, he will probably take over there and force Scutaro and Ryan Theriot to platoon at second. I think Sandoval should occasionally play first, and when he does, Joaquin Arias or Scutaro will play third.
I would play Sandoval at third four out of every five games and play Scutaro at third one out of every five games. Sandoval's done a nice job at third and is better at third, although he can and will play first. Scutaro can play third and will probably play there occasionally to create an opportunity for Theriot to start.
Which brings us into the next slide...