After a month of baseball, I want to look back and see how my series of preseason predictions have panned out. In my last article I wrote about how the team as a whole has been surprising, but I want to go back and see how I did on individual performance. Of course, there are things no one could predict, like Noah Lowry's continued trouble, or Barry Zito's demotion, and looking back, I realize that I never did predictions on the pitching staff. So, in this series, I'm going to add the bench and the pitching staff to my list. Next up is the infield, and then the pitchers later in the week.
Position Wanted Starter Actual Starter Current Starter
LF F. Lewis D. Roberts F. Lewis
CF A. Rowand A. Rowand A. Rowand
RF R. Winn R. Winn R. Winn
LF: FRED Lewis, who stated the other day that he hates being called Freddy, has finally found his place on the Giants. The 27 year old was running out of time in the minors and Brian Sabean finally woke up and saw what we had all seen when he first showed his face. Lewis is taking full advantage, and instead of trying to fill the very big shoes left empty in left field, he's made it his own. Fred is leading all leadoff hitters with a .384 average out of that spot, hitting .324 overall. He has also stolen five bases in seven attempts. Competition has also been a non-factor: veteran Dave Roberts is on the DL and gives Lewis his full support, while Rajai Davis is hitting .385 across the Bay in Oakland after being released by the Giants. I predicted that he would be starting by July, and it turns out I was just being pessimistic.
CF: Aaron Rowand, playing in Philadelphia for the first time since he signed with the Giants, is hitting .330 despite sore ribs. He homered the other night to put his new team ahead, and has been on fire pretty much all season. No questions here, he's deserved to start from the beginning, and has been a pleasant reminder of why the Giants spend their free-agent money.
RF: Randy Winn has been splitting some time with Eugenio Velez, but Winn has shown that he is the veteran presence needed in the outfield. He's been on a hot streak lately, but in true Randy Winn fashion, he's downplayed it in favor of praising his team and citing his weaknesses. His average is still low but he'll pick it up around the All-Star Break and should have a solid second half.
Bench: John Bowker provided a great spark when he was called up, hitting three homeruns in in about a week. Eugenio Velez is getting his playing time whenever and wherever he can, and took advantage of Winn's soreness to hit a couple key extra base hits. Ortmeier is still exhibiting a surprising lack of success hitting at the big-league level, and hopefully he can get over that hump and become a solid fourth outfielder.
Defense: Lewis is making the plays that the old Barry Bonds used to, and left field is no longer an automatic single. There haven't been many Web Gems made by Rowand, but you can't predict something like that. Needless to say, I don't think that the outfield has cost the Giants that many runs. They're solid, they've been solid, and should be for the rest of the season.
Offense: Now, I hate talking about someone being on pace to do something, but I'll let up a bit and talk about who's on pace to do what. Rowand is on pace to hit 17 HRs, Lewis 15, and Winn 0. RBI-wise, Rowand (87), Lewis (40), and Winn (63), aren't putting up the numbers that would look like a good season, but they're still providing a bulk of the Giants offense. More importantly, this unit has stolen 20 bases. Winn hasn't been caught yet, and these steals are really playing into Bochy's small-ball strategy.