San Francisco Giants: Projected Infield
A converted outfielder, Ortmeier has the skill set to become a solid defender. He's showed the ability to hit in Pac Bell and has speed that spices up the first base spot a little. His learning curve has been helped by having one of the best defensive first basemen (JT Snow) mentoring him. I think he's a great player and he's taken the conversion very well.
2B: Who WILL Start- R. Durham Who SHOULD Start- R. Durham
This was a very contested battle for me. I was really into the way Frandsen shaped up last year but after this injury, he might be out for the whole season. Durham stepped it up this spring, although being injured as usual, but if he takes even a little bit of his torrid .436 BA in to the season, it will be worth the contract year. I liked Durham when he came to the Bay Area, but I did think his salary was a little high. Eugenio Velez will provide depth and blistering speed off the bench, but I'm not keen on him being an everyday player.
SS: Who WILL Start- n/a Who SHOULD Start- J. Castillo
Shortstop is a place where the Giants will basically have someone as a stopgap until Vizquel returns. I think that, instead of having Bocock start on the roster and risk exposing him to the majors too early, they should carry that extra pitcher and have Castillo/Velez/Aurilia fill in is a lot better for the whole team. Velez is red-hot and is actually leading the team in ABs this spring. Castillo is a veteran of a couple years who is capable of filling in for the month or so that Omar will be out. These hitters will either be table-setters or people at the bottom of the order, but as with the outfield, the speed will be a definite weapon.
3B: Who WILL Start- R. Aurilia Who SHOULD Start- R. Aurilia
With all the speculation about Joe Crede, Richie Aurilia has put together a respectable spring this year. He's batting .333 and has always been one of my favorite ball-players. A veteran who had his best years as a Giant at short, he knows how to play third and will provide a solid enough glove to keep the infield together. No one expects another 2001 (.324 BA, 37 HRs, 97 RBIs), but he'll contribute. He's a major league hitter and knows his way around this ballpark. Velez and Castillo will once again be waiting in the wings to give him a day off or even take his spot, but Aurilia will do what Ryan Klesko could not last year, and that's be a veteran on a ball-club who will know his place as a role-player.
Defense: Until Vizquel comes back, this isn't going to be a defensive unit that will blow people away. Aurilia's range is definitely depleted, Ortmeier is still learning the position, Velez can be spotty at times, and Durham has had his share of sub-par defensive seasons. Jose Castillo is a solid glove. Velez is most comfortable at second, and makes less errors there, but he should become more consistent as he learns how to play a utility role. Once again, Ortmeier is learning from the best in Snow. Aurilia still has a cannon, though not the one that Pedro Feliz had. It won't be the flashiest of Giants teams, but there aren't any severe deficiencies.
Offense: This infield will probably hit less than 60 HRs between them, but that's not a problem. This spring Velez has shown tremendous base-stealing efficiency (13-16) and Ortmeier also displayed his wheels as well (3-3). Aurilia and Vizquel know how to execute, which is key on a club like this. Vizquel will raise his average a little bit from last year, but as long as he keeps performing in the field, less people will pay attention to his batting average. I feel like Durham's good for 15-20 HRs a year, and he's been on a tear this spring. I think he'll put a couple into McCovey Cove, and Ortmeier has shown he has the pop as well. Overall, nothing magnificent offensively, but good baserunners and good executors. Speed makes everything easier, and the Giants seem to be headed in that direction.
I'd still like to see Brandon Inge or someone of that mold come over. He's always on my fantasy team, just because he played so many positions, and is consistent at all of them. Apparently the Giants have nothing to offer the Tigers, but if I'm the Tigers and I just signed Miguel Cabrera for another eight years, I'd want Inge's $19 mil over the next three years off my hands. That's the kind of deal the Giants would go for, maybe for a pitcher, or Dave Roberts. I don't know, somebody should work something out. I still think Joe Crede is a lock NOT to come over, so they'll have to look somewhere else.
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