Second-Half Predictions for Every San Francisco Giants Player

Ben FederCorrespondent IJune 24, 2014

Second-Half Predictions for Every San Francisco Giants Player

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    The San Francisco Giants have experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows so far in 2014.

    On June 8, they were a season-high 21 games over .500 with the best record in baseball but have since dropped 10 of 13. 

    With so much baseball left to play, it is difficult to predict where the Giants will be in the NL West standings come September.

    Will Angel Pagan stay healthy for the rest of the season? Can the Giants starting rotation turn it around? Who is the solution at second base?

    Let's take a look at second-half predictions for every player on the club's 25-man roster.

Jeremy Affeldt

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    The Giants’ valuable left-hander has dominated hitters on both sides of the plate this year, giving up just 20 hits in 25 innings thus far.

    Affeldt is working on a career-best 1.08 WHIP and will have a strong second half as long as he continues to attack the strike zone and limit his walks.

Joaquin Arias

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    In the past, Arias has provided a spark off the bench for the Giants but has struggled as a pinch hitter this year, going just 1-for-16. 

    The Giants have a very thin bench and need their utility man to be more productive at the plate. Arias has good career numbers against lefties, which is how the Giants will likely use him in the second half. 

    Arias is definitely in the mix as the second base solution, but his value belongs in a pinch-hitting role or as a defensive substitution.

Gregor Blanco

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    Since he joined the Giants in 2012, Blanco has asserted himself as the Giants' best defensive outfielder.

    With his speed and ability to play any outfield position, Blanco has become a huge weapon off the bench for manager Bruce Bochy. 

    Blanco was hitting .145 on May 23 but has raised his average to .248 while earning more starts in place of the banged-up Angel Pagan. 

    He has only committed two errors since joining the Giants in 2012 and will continue his stellar defense in the second half. When Pagan returns to the lineup, Blanco will be a defensive substitution for Michael Morse late in games. 

Madison Bumgarner

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    With a 9-4 record this year, Bumgarner has asserted himself as one of the best left-handed pitchers in the game. The 24-year-old southpaw ranks ninth in all of baseball with 111 strikeouts and 14th with a 2.63 ERA.

    Bumgarner is all but a lock to make his second All-Star team, but his accomplishments might not end there. If the Giants can continue to give Bumgarner good run support, he has a solid shot to become the Giants' first 20-game winner since 1993.

    How many games do you think Bum will win this year?

Matt Cain

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    After his start on June 23, Cain’s ERA swelled to 4.82. There should be some worry surrounding the veteran righty because this is not the Matt Cain the Giants are used to seeing.

    What has happened to the ace who went 16-5 in 2012? 

    The veteran righty only has one win on the year, and he has not been able to avoid the home run ball, something he struggled with in 2013. 

    Cain has missed time this year due to a cut finger and a hamstring strain, so you could argue that he hasn’t had enough time to find a rhythm yet. 

    It is tough to predict how he will do in the second half but if he can regain control of his fastball, he’ll turn it around. Last year Cain was able to put a poor first half behind him and finish the year strong. I expect him to do the same again in 2014.

     

Santiago Casilla

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    Since Casilla joined the Giants in 2010, he has been their most consistent relief pitcher. He missed time this month with a strained hamstring but has thrown three shutout innings since his return from the DL.

    In the second half, Casilla will help solidify the Giants bullpen and continue his role as the setup man. One thing's for sure, Casilla’s days as a hitter have come and gone. Isn’t that right, Bruce Bochy?

Brandon Crawford

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    No player on the Giants has improved more at the plate this year than Brandon Crawford. 

    A .259 average may not look very impressive on paper, but Crawford has proved that he can handle left-handers and hit for power—two things he has struggled with the past two seasons. 

    The Giants have seen Crawford hit gap to gap in 2014. He has seven triples on the year, a mark that is third in all of baseball.

    For the rest of the season, Crawford will continue to give the Giants pop at the bottom of the order, something the club lacked in 2013. Don’t be surprised if Crawford finishes the year with 14 home runs and 60 RBI.

    Defensively, Crawford does have 11 errors but has drawn huge praise from his teammates, including veteran pitcher Tim Hudson. Look for the young shortstop to continue to flash the leather in the second half. 

Tyler Colvin

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    With a solid glove in the field and some power at the plate, Colvin has been a very solid addition for the Giants.

    Colvin had the chance to start when Michael Morse moved to first base after Brandon Belt went to the DL. When Belt returns, Colvin will relinquish his starting job to Morse. 

    The good news for the Giants is Colvin can come off the bench where they need some depth. Colvin will become a very important pinch hitter for the Giants in the second half. 

Juan Gutierrez

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    General manager Brian Sabean has a knack for picking up no-name relief pitchers and putting them in positions to succeed. That is exactly what has happened with Juan Gutierrez.

    After ending 2013 with a 4.23 ERA, Gutierrez has allowed just 13 earned runs in 34.1 innings this year. Gutierrez is a great arm to have if a starting pitcher goes just five or six innings. He will continue to bridge the gap from the starting pitcher to the setup men during the second half this season. 

Brandon Hicks

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    Hicks has been great defensively for the Giants but has struggled so badly at the plate that his days as the starting second baseman might be over.

    If recent call-up Joe Panik does well at second base, Hicks might not have a spot anymore. If Panik struggles, the Giants may trade for a second baseman. Either way, I can’t see Hicks getting many more starts this season. 

Tim Hudson

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    Hudson has been brilliant this year, plain and simple. It seems like every start Hudson is reaching the seventh inning in full command with his Giants in the lead.

    Huddy has gone seven innings or more in 10 of his 14 starts this year by throwing strikes and challenging hitters. He will continue to turn in quality starts in the second half and should be in contention for his first Cy Young Award if he can hang around the 2.00 ERA mark. 

Tim Lincecum

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    There is no telling what will happen when Timmy takes the mound every fifth day. It could be five shutout innings where he doesn’t even give up a hit. It could also be a four-inning fiasco where he surrenders eight runs.

    The Giants do owe Lincecum $35 million for this year and next, but the bottom line is he’s a wild card on the mound and has only pitched more than six innings once this year. If the Giants decide to trade for another starting pitcher, which seems very likely considering their struggles, Lincecum could be the odd man out and make his way to the bullpen. 

Javier Lopez

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    Lopez has been one of the best lefty specialists in the game since 2010, and he will continue that role throughout 2014. 

    Lefties are hitting .194 off Lopez this year with one home run, the first he has given up to a left-handed batter since 2012. 

Jean Machi

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    Is there a better relief pitcher right now in baseball? Doubtful.

    Relief pitchers who are not closers do not typically get considered for the All-Star Game, but Machi should be in the discussion. 

    In 31.1 innings this year, Machi is 5-0 with a ridiculous 0.29 ERA thanks to his nasty splitter. Take away the one earned run he has allowed all year, and his ERA would be 0.00. 

    With 86 games left for the Giants, Machi will probably give up some runs on the year, but he will continue to induce double plays and escape jams. 

    If Sergio Romo’s struggles continue, Machi would be the obvious pick to become the closer.

Michael Morse

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    When the Giants signed Morse to a low-risk $6 million, one-year contract last December, there was no way general manager Brian Sabean believed Morse would be this valuable.

    Whether it has been due to the "Yes, Yes, Yes" chant or his 1980s walk-up song, Morse has thrived in San Francisco. He leads the club with 13 home runs, 44 RBI and a .866 OPS.

    Morse does not have a reputation as a great defensive player but has shown versatility by starting 28 games at first base and 41 games in left field this year. Once Brandon Belt returns from the DL, Morse will move back to the outfield. 

    In the second half, Morse will hit 12 to 14 home runs and end the year as the club’s RBI leader. He does not have to hit .300 as long as he can drive in runs and add depth to the lineup.

Angel Pagan

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    There is no denying that the Giants offense goes when Angel Pagan goes. Their leadoff man is hitting .307 on the year after missing 111 games in 2013 due to injury. 

    Pagan has missed the last seven games while nursing a sore back, but it appears he’ll avoid a DL stint. 

    The Giants desperately need Pagan to stay healthy and continue to be one of the premier leadoff hitters in the National League. Pagan has a great shot to hit .300 for the first time in his career. If he does so, the Giants will be in great shape for the stretch run in September.

Joe Panik

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    The Giants do not need Panik to be a hero and carry the offense like what we saw Buster Posey do as a rookie in 2010. Panik was called up to provide quality at-bats and give the club a lift after losing nine of 10. 

    The young second baseman won’t hit .321 like he did in Fresno this year, but he will be a good contact hitter and a tough guy to strike out—two things the Giants have lacked with Brandon Hicks.

    Is Panik the solution at second base or should the Giants make a trade?

Hunter Pence

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    Although the Giants offense has sputtered a bit in June, Pence has raised his average over .300 and has registered nine multi-hit games this month. How has Pence managed to do this? Plate discipline.

    Pence has 30 walks in 2014, a mark that he didn’t reach until August 14 last season. The slider that has given Pence so much trouble in the past has been irrelevant so far this year.

    He has shown to be a much more patient hitter this season and has a great chance to be one of the top three hitting right fielders by season’s end.

    Barring an injury, Pence will be in left field every day, something he has done 247 games in a row. 

Juan Perez

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    Perez is a solid outfielder but has really struggled at the plate this year. Once Brandon Belt comes back, Perez will go back to Fresno where he will spend the summer until rosters expand on September 1. 

Yusmeiro Petit

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    Petit has done a decent job this year of eating up innings and making spot starts when needed. 

    The Giants might go after another starting pitcher and if they do, Petit will likely be sent down to Fresno. Petit has had better luck relieving than starting this year, but there might not be a spot in the bullpen for him if the Giants add another arm. 

Buster Posey

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    The 2012 NL MVP is off to a bit of a slow start this year but seems to have turned a corner during the month of June. Posey is 25 for his last 71 and has a hit in every game he has started in June except for one.

    After suffering back issues during May, it appears Posey is finally healthy again. Expect the Giants catcher to continue to gain more confidence at the plate and return to his old form. If Posey can keep his recent momentum going, look for him to hover around .300 throughout the rest of the season. 

Sergio Romo

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    Sure, Romo is tied for second in all of baseball with 22 saves, but it has not been an easy season for the Giants closer.

    Romo has given up 16 earned runs thus far, just one less than he did in all of 2013. He has blown two saves this month and has given up hits in his last four outings. 

    Romo’s struggles have created debate as to whether he should return to his setup role. However, even the game’s best closers, like Craig Kimbrel, go through ups and downs.

    Bottom line is, Romo is still one of the elite closers and will not be removed from his ninth-inning duties this year. Look for Sergio to notch 40 saves this year, a mark no Giant has reached since Brian Wilson in 2010. 

Hector Sanchez

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    If the Giants are still in the thick of a pennant race come August, it would be hard to imagine Sanchez still getting the start every fifth day when Tim Lincecum throws. 

    The Giants have done a good job of resting Buster Posey but will need him behind the plate during the stretch run. When Brandon Belt returns, Posey won’t make nearly as many spot starts at first base, which means Sanchez will come off the bench when needed. 

Pablo Sandoval

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    After hitting .177 through April, the Kung Fu Panda has regained his old form at the plate and raised his average to .265.

    Sandoval will continue to swing the bat well in the second half and force Brian Sabean and the front office to lock him up for the long term. 

    Contract talks came to a halt in late April, but if Sandoval is hitting .290 come August and keeping his weight down, the Giants will have to start negotiating a deal with the 2012 World Series MVP. 

Ryan Vogelsong

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    For a No. 5 starter, a 5-3 record with a 4.13 ERA is very solid. The Giants are 10-5 with Vogelsong on the mound. What does that mean? He gives them a chance to win.

    If the Giants add another arm to their rotation, Vogelsong will still remain in the rotation. He will continue to give the Giants productive outings and should finish the year with a sub-4.00 ERA.