Here’s a list of the Giants’ top hitters this Spring Training:
Aaron Rowand. He’s the hottest bat so far with 12 hits in 24 at-bats. He hasn’t hit for a whole lot of power this Spring, but you don’t need to when you’re hitting .500.
Rowand, over the last six seasons, has had a pattern of one great year followed by two mediocre ones. However, based on that pattern, he’s due for a great year in 2010, and at age 32 this year, this is the season for a last great one, if he’s got one left in him. Certainly, a good Spring is a promising sign.
Darren Ford. He’s 8 for 15 with 4 stolen bases and eight runs scored. He hasn’t walked even once yet this Spring, so his batting average is actually higher than his on-base percentage.
Ford is a great story, and he had great year at A+ San Jose last year as a lead-off hitter recording a .386 OBP. However, you don’t jump from the California League to the National League, so the best that a great Spring can do for Darren is jump him over AA and get him to AAA Fresno for the start of the real season. However, Ford is still only 24 years old this year, so he’s still definitely a prospect.
Aubrey Huff. Huff is hitting .400 with 3 doubles and 3 homeruns. I didn’t think much of the Giants’ decision to sign Huff, but I’d certainly be happy to be proven wrong.
Matt Downs. He’s a 2Bman who got some major league playing time last year. He’s 8 for 22 with an OPS a hair over 1.000.
Eugenio Velez. He’s hitting .355, which probably means he’ll make the team, particularly because he can play second, the corner outfield positions and pinch run. Giants management like him a lot more than I do.
I just think Velez really isn’t much of hitter. For example, despite the .355 batting average, his OPS is only .848. You know Velez isn’t going to hit .355 in any significant amount of playing time during the regular season, so it’s safe to say he won’t come anywhere near an .848 OPS either. I’d rather see the Giants start the season with Downs, if both he and Velez continue to play the way they have so far.
Bengie Molina. He’s hitting well, which is a good sign.
Andres Torres. He has a 1.016 OPS so far this Spring, which, given the year he had last season and his ability to play all three outfield positions and pinch run, means he’s a virtual lock as the Giants’ fourth outfielder going into the season.
Torres struck me as a really professional player last season. He’s definitely a good guy to have on the bench.
Buster Posey. He’s hitting .382 with a .959 OPS. That’s certainly great, but I still think both he and the Giants would be better served having Posey start the season at AAA Fresno. Assuming he continues to hit, having him play some games at first down there could only help him and the Giants once they call him up.
If Posey continues to hit, he won’t remain down on the farm more than 40 games.
Freddy Lewis. He’s hitting only .267 but his three HRs are tied with Aubrey Huff for the team’s Spring lead, giving him a .986 OPS. I saw a post about a week ago on mlbtraderumors.com suggesting that the Giants might release Lewis coming out of Spring Training.
I sure hope not. Freddy’s certainly no world-beater, but he gets on base, runs well and has just enough pop that he’s really too valuable to just give him his walking papers and get nothing in return.
Mark DeRosa. He’s hitting .300 but with no power and few walks, so his OPS is only .714. I’m not particularly worried about Mark. He’s a veteran player who’s working his body into shape for the long season.
John Bowker. He’s hitting .275 with a .748 OPS. He’s received ten more ABs than Freddie Lewis this Spring, but right now the job should go to Lewis, unless Bowker is out of options.