It's that time of the year orange and black fans—the San Francisco Giants are looking more than ready for the 2009 baseball season. Spring training is coming to an end and AT&T park will lay dormant no more.
So what can Giants fans is expect from this 2009 season? How about a spectacular staring rotation led by Tim Lincecum and a full season of Pablo Sandoval.
While any casual fan can point out the offensive woes of the team that last year was just plain awful. It is safe to say this year's offense will be somewhat improved.
Now it might be too much to ask Edgar Renteria to produce numbers as he did in St. Louis, but any production in the shortstop position will be well appreciated.
Also helping the offense this year will be a full season of both Pablo Sandoval and Travis Ishikawa. While Travis Ishikawa is having a good Spring Training, it is the hitting machine that is Pablo Sandoval Giants fans are getting excited about.
It's no secret that Pablo "Little Money" Sandoval can hit, his .442 batting average speaks for itself. Did I mention he also has a .463 OBP and .692 SLG this spring as well?
Now while Giants fans can't expect too much from Sandoval his bat, along with Ishikawa it will be more than welcomed.
The Giants that roam the outfield are healthier so expect Aaron Rowand and Fred Lewis to produce improved numbers. Randy Winn as under appreciated by baseball fans as he is, will have yet another consistent year.
While I haven't mentioned second base yet, it is likely Emmanuel Burriss gets the job—sorry Kevin Frandsen fans, but numbers do not lie. Burriss has also been having a great spring hitting .400 while driving in nine RBI with a couple of doubles and a triple.
Let's not forget the man behind the plate, Bengie Molina. His leadership and presence in the clubhouse is undeniable. It doesn't hurt that his best offensive numbers has come as a Giant, but can he repeat that production for the third consecutive season?
For our reserve spots look to have Nate Schierholtz as the fourth outfielder, Juan Uribe, Rich Aurilia, and let's hope that Jesus Guzman makes the team because he's definitely making a case, too, this Spring Training.
Now if there were any questions about our offense, there is none for our pitching.
There is guy named Tim Lincecum, I'm not too sure if you've heard of him. But he did win the CY Young and lead the league in strikeouts. Now sarcasm aside, Tim Lincecum is the ace followed by Randy Johnson, Matt Cain, Barry Zito, and Johnathan Sanchez.
The starting rotation is looking to be the top five in the league because all of them can eat up innings and punch out batters.
While we know what to expect from Tim Lincecum this year how will Randy Johnson fair?
Going for his 300th win this year, Randy Johnson is out to prove that signing him wasn't just for that reason. He has looked as healthy as any 45-year-old could be and has been enjoying a strong spring. Posting a 2.38 ERA while punching out 12 in 11 1/3 innings.
There is always a strong possibility that Johnson's back can give him trouble as the season wears on, but he has stated himself that he hasn't been this healthy in a long while.
He will also be mentoring a Matt Cain who in the last couple of seasons has been a victim of low run support. My prediction is that Cain will have the breakout season all the Giants fans have been expecting, because of an improved bullpen that can protect leads.
The back end of the rotation looks nice as Barry Zito and Johnathan Sanchez look to improve. Now I am optimistic, because Zito is not the go-to guy anymore so the pressure is off. His September starts last season and spring starts this year should be an indication that Zito is finally settling in.
With Sanchez its a matter of finding consistency and pitching better from the stretch. If Sanchez solves this, the Giants will be the premiere starting staff of the league.
That improved bullpen I talked about will be joined by two new faces, Bob Howry and Jeremy Affeldt. Both provide the stabilization in the bullpen the team was yearning for. With Brian Wilson having one season under his belt and with some other young arms the bullpen this year can expect less blown saves and leads.
- Randy Winn
- Edgar Renteria
- Pablo Sandoval
- Bengie Molina
- Fred Lewis
- Aaron Rowand
- Travis Ishikawa
- Emmanuel Burriss
- Tim Lincecum
- Randy Johnson
- Matt Cain
- Barry Zito
- Johnathan Sanchez
- Brian Wilson
- Jeremy Affeldt
- Bob Howry
- Brandon Medders *
- Osiris Matos *
- Alex Hinshaw *
- Steve Holm
- Rich Aurilia
- Nate Schierholtz
- Juan Uribe *
- Jesus Guzman *
- Eugenio Velez *