Tim Lincecum was awful. Pablo Sandoval was plagued by injury. Hunter Pence was better as an inspirational speaker than as a power bat.
And the Giants still won the World Series last season.
Lincecum has a lot on the line heading into the 2013 season, with his first crack at free agency next offseason and a reputation to repair as one of the game’s premier pitchers. So if he doesn’t return to his Cy Young form, it would be more surprising than the abysmal 5.18 ERA he posted last season.
Sandoval keeps teasing the baseball world with his immense potential, but he has only delivered over a full season once—in 2009, his first full season in the league.
With two hamate-bone surgeries behind him, a seemingly increased awareness of the importance of waistline control and general maturity working in his favor, Sandoval could be poised to emerge as the Giants’ best hitter.
While Pence has never been a superstar, he has been one of the better all-around offensive players over the last five years.
He wasn’t quite so spectacular in 2012, at least after the Giants acquired him midseason from Philadelphia.
Skeptics will point to his .671 OPS and 7 home runs in 59 games with San Francisco. However, he did have 24 home runs and 105 RBI for the whole season. That is exactly the kind of production the Giants should get now that they have Pence for an entire season.
Between improved production of two of their top three hitters and a return to form of their former ace, the Giants will be greater forces at the plate and on the mound in 2013.