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Brandon Belt needs to drive in runs
The sixth, seventh and eighth spots of the Giants' batting order need to produce for the Giants to be successful. The hitters in these positions will be Brandon Belt, a platoon in left field of Gregor Blanco and Xavier Nady, and the shortstop position—which will usually be Brandon Crawford.
Joaquin Arias will also see some time at shortstop, especially against tough left-handed pitchers.
Belt is a big key, because the No. 6 spot in the order is an RBI position. Furthermore, as a first baseman, he is expected to drive in runs.
Belt has displayed very sporadic power this season, so that's not something the Giants will be counting on. His six home runs do not scare anyone. The Giants will, however, expect Belt to get some key hits with men on base.
With a batting average of .268, Belt has 54 RBI in 377 at-bats. That is a relatively low figure for a player who bats in his spot in the order, but Belt has come on lately. He will need to produce in the playoffs for the Giants to score consistently.
The left field position is an area the Giants will attempt to upgrade in the winter. For now, the Giants seem to have two players who if combined into one, would be very good. However, you cannot take the best of each individual and make that into one player, unfortunately.
Gregor Blanco is an excellent fielder and gives the Giants speed on the bases. The problem with Blanco is after a hot early season, he has tailed off dramatically. Blanco's batting average is down to .245, and he has only 33 RBI in 372 at-bats. Blanco has shown some life lately, as his September average is .323.
Xavier Nady is a much better offensive player and can drive in runs. As a Giant, Nady has only 18 official at-bats but is hitting .333 with five RBI and an OBP of .455 and OPS of .899. Nady is not a good defensive outfielder, however, as his range is very limited and he has a poor throwing arm.
When Blanco is in there, the Giants hope he can deliver some offense. With Nady, they hope his offensive contribution will outweigh his defensive deficiencies.
Brandon Crawford will usually hit in the eighth spot in the order and has done more than I expected offensively this year. He is hitting .246 with four home runs and 43 RBI in 410 at-bats. Crawford is prone to slumps, however, so the Giants must hope he can be productive in the playoffs.
Crawford is an excellent defensive shortstop, so any offense he provides is always a plus. After some early-season struggles, Crawford has played stellar defense in the past three months. I project Crawford will someday be a Gold Glove winner, and it could even be this year.
Joaquin Arias will also be an important player for the Giants. He will see action at shortstop against tough left-handed pitchers. Arias is hitting .277 with four home runs and 33 RBI in 292 at-bats. However, against southpaws, Arias is hitting .319.
Arias is a good defensive player and will also be inserted into the game as a late-inning defensive replacement for Pablo Sandoval. Arias will also have some important chances as a pinch-hitter. He is one of the most important reserves on this Giants roster.