Your 2010 San Francisco Giants
With pitchers and catchers reporting in a week, and baseball finally coming out of hibernation, we can all take a deep breath and know that the tough winter is on the back end.
Soon the clouds will make way for the sun and the cobwebs will come off baseball fields all through out the country.
With all the big off-season moves essentially behind us, it's time for me to highlight key players on the San Francisco Giants.
41 Jeremy Affeldt
Jeremy Affeldt had the season of a life time in 2008. He boasted a career best 1.73 ERA while holding opposing hitters average to .197.
Affeldt led the league in holds and was the Giants most reliant relief pitcher. With such a break out year late in Affeldt's career, I'm afraid that it was a one time deal and he will flame out this year, but if Affeldt can do his thing again this year, the Giants bullpen will again be one of the best in the league.
40 Madison Bumgarner
In Bumgarner's short debut with the Giants last season as a young 20 year old, he made one start and four total appearances.
He showed signs of brilliance, striking out 10 hitters in 10 innings, and posting a 1.80 ERA allowing 2 ER's both off solo home runs.
However, Madison looked to be fatigued after his first full major league season as his velocity dipped into the low 90's and high 80's.
Madison will be competing for the fifth stater slot in spring training, and looks to complete the three headed monster of young Giant pitching talent.
18 Matt Cain
Matt Cain turned from the sore luck loser with no run support a couple years ago, too what everyone knew he could become last year.
Cain dominated in the first half of the season earning his first all star bid, and finished up the year 14-8 with a 2.89 ERA.
All of Cain's innings seemed to add up and tax him late in the season, but this year he looks to be ready to take on those innings and stay fresh through out the season.
55 Tim Lincecum
"The Freak" looks to win his third Cy Young in his third complete MLB season. Tim Lincecum has emerged as the best pitcher in baseball despite his small stature.
Last year, in Lincecum's Cy Young season, he was 15-7 with a 2.48 ERA, and led the league in strikeouts with a career high 261 in 225.1 innings.
I'm concerned that Timmy will have a slow start to the season, with the marijuana bust, and the arbitration hearing, and Timmy still not adopting an off season work out, he may start out slow.
But he is a Freak so I would not be surprised to see him come out of the gates firing again.
49 Joe Martinez
Joe Martinez could challenge Bumgarner for the fifth starter slot in spring training. We all know what happened last year to Martinez, he made the team out of spring training and the third game of the season takes a liner off his head.
Martinez came back and made five spot starts for the Giants later in the season. He struggled as he got deeper into games, so this year he will be a valuable long or middle reliever, and make the Giants pitching that much deeper.
52 Brandon Medders
Similar to Affeldt, Medders had a break out year. He was signed to a minor league deal, but ended up being one of the more reliable guys in the Giants pen.
He finished up the year with a 5-1 record and 3.01 ERA. It will be interesting to see if he can put together another solid season this year.
Last year, however, he did blow some games late in the year, so we all hope he can pitch like he did the first half of last year again.
52 Brandon Medders
Similar to Affeldt, Medders had a break out year. He was signed to a minor league deal, but ended up being one of the more reliable guys in the Giants pen. He finished up the year with a 5-1 record and 3.01 ERA. It will be interesting to see if he can put together another solid season this year. Last year however he did blow some games late in the year, so we all hope he can pitch like he did the first half of last year again.
54 Sergio Romo
Sergio Romo had his rough patches last year, which ballooned his ERA. Romo finished up the year with a 3.97 ERA, but he has electric stuff, and when he's on, he can be lights out late in the game.
Romo struck out 41 in 34 innings, and only walked 11. Look for Romo to have a great 2010 and pair up with Affeldt to lock down leads late in games.
37 Dan Runzler
After Runzler was called up in 09, he pitched phenomenally. He appeared in 11 games, pitching 8.2 innings only allowing one run. In those 8.2 innings he struck out 11 and walked 5.
Runzler will help solidify the Giants pen this year and truly make it rock solid.
37 Dan Runzler
After Runzler was called up in 09, he pitched phenomenally. He appeared in 11 games, pitching 8.2 innings only allowing one run. In those 8.2 innings he struck out 11 and walked 5. Runzler will help solidify the giants pen this year and truly make it rock solid.
54 Sergio Romo
Sergio Romo had his rough patches last year, which ballooned his ERA. Romo finished up the year with a 3.97 ERA, but he has electric stuff, and when he's on, he can be lights out late in the game. Romo struck out 41 in 34 innings, and only walked 11. Look for Romo to have a great 2010 and pair up with Affeldt to lock down leads late in games.
57 Jonathan Sanchez
2010 is looking to be Jonathan Sanchez's break out season. We have all known for years that he had the electric stuff to dominate games and compliment Cain and Lincecum, but as Kruk and Kuip often say, if Jonathan can't find that arm slot then he can really struggle with location, which then leads to him losing his composure on the hill.
With a really rough first half of 2009, Sanchez was moved to the pen where he seemed to get a reality check, and work out his mechanics.
On a magical night, in a spot start, Jonathan Sanchez finally tapped his potential and tossed a no hitter in front of his dad, and surprisingly the first of the Giants young pitchers to throw one.
From then on, in the second half of the season he dazzled us with good game after good game.
Sanchez ended the season with 163.1 innings and 177 K's. 2010 looks to be the year that he pieces it all together and gives the Giants the best starting 5 in baseball.
38 Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson had another solid season in 2009 finishing fourth in the National League in saves, with 38.
He showed all the qualities of a great closer you're looking for, The strike out ability (83 K's in 72.1 innings), the swagger of a great closer, the 100 mph fastball, and hard slider.
After another full season as the guy in the ninth inning, Wilson is more experienced and more comfortable in that roll.
Wilson will have another solid 2010 season shutting the door on the great games by his stellar starters.
75 Barry Zito
2009 gave Zito his best season since his last year with Oakland in 2006. Barry posted a 4.03 ERA, but after the mid summer classic he was possibly the Giants go to man.
He had a phenomenal second half, getting the velocity of his fastball up just those few crucial MPH's and learning how to utilize his change up and deadly curve.
Zito learned how to pitch now that he has lost that fastball, and change the speeds on the hitter and his eye level. This is a very valuable skill for a pitcher to learn and it sets Zito up to have a solid 2010.
1 Bengie Molina
Giants fans had accepted the fact that they were gonna move on with out "Big Money" Molina behind the dish, and the Posey era beginning, but late in the winter surprisingly Molina signed on for another year.
I really feel this is a good move. Molina and the pitchers had such a magical year last year, and he is one of the best behind the dish.
With the signings of DeRosa and Huff, this moves Molina back in the lineup solidifying the back end. Offense is the main concern for the Giants and Molina no doubt has a stick they could desperately use.
Look for him to produce and not cause a drop off after the six hitter.
28 Buster Posey
After a short, very successful stint in the minors, Posey made his debut last year collecting two hits in 17 at bats. Buster seems like as of now he is the back up catcher to Molina.
Whiteside could challenge him in spring training and push each other. An interesting development though, could be the freak injury of Ishikawa which could lead to Posey getting some AB's at back up first base.
This spring it has been reported that he is taking grounders at first, but Bochy is quoted in saying that Posey is a catcher and wants to keep him there.
If Ishikawa spends anytime in the DL, and Aubrey Huff needing days off, it would make sense to get Posey reps at first as well.
7 Emmanuel Burris
2009 started off great for Burriss, he had a breakout spring training, winning the starting second base job, but even though his glove, arm, and speed was great, his bat was just not producing.
Burriss hit .238 in his 202 at bats in 2009, then was sent down to the minors where he broke his foot and was done for the season.
With Freddy Sanchez at second and Uribe among other capable back ups, Burriss will have to work his butt off to make an impact on the 2010 Giants.
Mark DeRosa signs on with the Giants to add a punch to the lineup. He has 44 home runs combined in his last two seasons, but with the Giants should be a more gap to gap hitter with some pop.
More importantly he will give Sandoval more pitches to hit because he can put fear into a pitcher that he is looming later in the lineup.
DeRosa can also fill in at every slot in the infield and probably be the every day left fielder.
2009 was an off year for Huff, with a .241 average but he still banged out 15 home runs which unfortunately is an upgrade for the Giants.
A change of scenery could be all that is needed for Huff however, because in 2008 he had a career year with 32 jacks and 108 RBI and a .304 AVG.
The Giants would just take a portion of that. If Huff could supply power and hit fourth for the Giants behind Sandoval and in front of DeRosa, the offense would be halfway decent and put up more than enough runs for the stingy pitching staff.
10 Travis Ishikawa
Ishikawa wasn't the first baseman with pop that they expected in 2009. He hit only 9 home runs and drove in a sparse 39 runners.
Now with the signing of Huff Ishikawa knows the best he can be is a back up and defensive specialist, which may drive him to become better and produce more in his backup role.
16 Edgar Renteria
Edgar had his worst year as a professional in 2008, only hitting .250 with 5 home runs.
Renteria played through bone chips in his elbow virtually the entire season, which Bochy said was the reason to the down season for Edgar.
Renteria reported to camp four days early, and if he can return to his old form he could really help out the bottom of the Giants offense and supply a solid gap to gap bat.
21 Freddy Sanchez
Freddy Sanchez will probably miss the first week or so of the season after off season surgery, but when he returns the Giants are hoping for the former NL batting champ to return and slap out of the two whole setting the table for Sandoval and DeRosa.
Last year if hobbled by a knee issue, Sanchez produced for the Giants after the trade and showed that he can still hit. Look forward to a full season of Freddy Sanchez and the Giants.
48 Pablo Sandoval
Pablo "Kung Fu Panda" Sandoval had an enormous break out season in his first full year as a big leager.
Pablo single handedly carried the Giants offense last year slugging 25 home runs, 90 RBI, and hitting a cool .330.
The free swinging Panda took to Arizona in the off season to under go "Camp Panda" where he worked out for hours a day to shed some of his belly but build more muscle.
Panda is leaner, stronger, and more agile going into the 2010 season. Panda will bat in the three whole and again the the focal point of the Giants offense.
Look for Pablo's power number to go up his plate selection to get better. Pablo has been working with new hitting instructor Hensley “Bam Bam” Meulens to only hit his pitches.
5 Juan Uribe
Juan Uribe was one of the best off season pick ups for the Giants. Signed to a minor league deal, big swinging Uribe stepped in and slugged 16 homers and hit .289.
Uribe is a valuable veteran with playoff and world series play under his belt. With Freddy Sanchez possibly starting out on the DL Uribe could be the opening day second basemen, and he can also fill in for Renteria at SS and Pablo at third base.
Uribe is another free swinger who doesn't take many walks but no one can deny he helps out the Giants starving offense.
20 John Bowker
John Bowker should get a fair chance for a spot in the out field, because if he can get adjusted to the pros, the guy can flat out hit.
With Fresno in 2009, Bowker launched 22 home runs. He is the kind of guy the Giants really could use to step up.
Some one that emerges like Pablo did last year. I think Bowker could turn some heads this year.
14 Fred Lewis
It seems that Freddy Lewis has out stayed his welcome with the Giants. Last year Fred Lewis was supposed to be a huge part of the Giants offense, but he had such a disappointing season in so many ways.
Freddy only hit four home runs, batted .258, and struck out 84 times! The Giants are hoping that Fred can come out and have a great spring which will either get him another chance, or increase his trade value.
33 Aaron Rowand
Rowand had a hot and cold 2009 season. He started off in a huge slump, but when the Giants moved him to lead off he sparked the offense and went on a tear.
Still Rowand did not produce as much as the Giants would have liked, only hitting .261. But still he hit 15 home runs which they will take any day and if he did that this year the Giants wouldn't complain one bit.
Rowand is slotted to lead off this year, and after adopting a biking off season program, he is 10 pounds lighter than last year. Look for a better year out of Rowand.
12 Nate Schierholtz
It looks like Schierholtz is the guy in right field this season. The Giants will miss how well Randy Winn played right field, but Nate isn't much of a drop off. He plays right field very well and has a cannon for an arm.
The Giants would like more of Nate's bat though. He is an emerging young talent i believe, but at 6'2 215 he should slug more than just the 5 home runs he had last year.
I think Nate will have a good 2010 and get double digit home run totals as the every day right fielder.
8 Eugenio Velez
I see Velez as the dark horse on the Giants this year. After a rough start to his 2009 season, Velez had a stint in the minors then came up and was a little spark plug for the Giants.
Velez has so much speed, and wiry strength that he could be a good option for the fourth out fielder spot.
Depending on his spring and if he can improve his plate discipline, Velez could be a contributor.