The San Francisco Giants have a small problem. It is a very good problem to have - who will be their 2010 MVP?
With abysmal run production and power numbers over the past few seasons, the Giants are finally enjoying some excitement at the plate.
An MVP should bring that excitement, as well as get it done in the field. In considering who this honor might go to, four names come to mind. Four names who atleast deserve to be in the conversation.
Huff, Uribe, Posey, and Torres. In no particular order.
I have been able to narrow the list down to two names: Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres. Yet, for the life of me, I cannot say who is more deserving in their own right.
Over the next few slides, I will discuss why I think both players are deserving of this award. And if you can't choose between them, why not give it to them both?
In the off season, the Giants signed two bats to add respectability to their line up that was scaring no one. Mark DeRosa and Aubrey Huff.
To date, one of those moves has paid incredible dividends. Thank you Mr. Huff, may we have some more?
Bats Left, Throws Right. Born in Ohio, raised in Texas, graduated Miami. Yeah that's our guy. And he looks the part too.
Huff is extremely athletic at 6'4, 234 lbs. Hits for power and average. A good set of wheels (although he looks anything but majestic rounding the bases), good enough for an inside the park homer in his 10th big league season.
Huff doesn't hustle, he Huffles. Big Time.
Huff's acquisition is proving to be one of GM Brian Sabean's best accomplishments in his streaky tenure with the Giants.
In January of 2009, the Giants signed minor league journeyman Andres Torres. Even then his chances of getting up to Big Leagues were limited.
Born in Puerto Rico, the 32 year old speedster didn't even begin to play serious baseball until well after high school. His forte? A track star with blazing speed and grit.
Torres was drafted in 1997 by the Florida Marlins, but was unsigned. Yes, you read that correctly, 1997. Again drafted in 1998, this time by the Detroit Tigers.
Torres major league career with the Tigers was remarkably brief and unexceptional. He played a total of 81 games in three years in the Bigs with the Tigers, his highest batting average being .220.
Andres struggled to find his stride in the Majors, moving from team to team, mostly in the minor leagues. From the Tigers, to the Rangers and over to the Cubs before he arrived in San Francisco.
Often times, the meat that is marinated longer is all the more better for it.
Having an Aubrey Huff on a team like the Giants is a very useful thing. Manager Bruce Bochy has had to balance the need for an offensive line up while juggling position players around the diamond to keep his defense plausible.
This is no easy chore for a team that until very recently, did not produce position players with offensive numbers for years in their farm system.
Huff is one of the answers in this tricky equation. He has played in the outfield, and in the infield. First base, third base, right or left field - it doesn't much matter to him.
When he was signed, some of the knocks about his prior experience were on his defense. He also spent some DH'ing for the Orioles during his time there. While we can't say anyone is flawless in the field, Huff has done an amazing job in what he's been asked to do.
The Giants have an unpopular knack for staying loyal to their underachieving veterans. Add a big salary to one of these vets, and they are all but concreted in the line up daily.
This is why it seemed that Aaron Rowand would never ride the pine, and Torres would be a pinch hitter at best in 2010. Rowand began the season as the starter in center field.
Rowand struggled at the plate, as he did in 2009. Even worse his 110 percent effort levels in the outfield were no longer enough.
During that short time in April and May, Torres made the most of his playing time. His bat had life, and his play in center field was downright impressive.
Torres has already compiled a highlight reel with his skills in the field. His ability to track down almost any ball has been a thrill to watch. His range and prowess has already saved the Giants countless runs.
Diving catches, over the shoulder snags, cans o' corn. Torres move to being a starter in 2010 is by no means for his bat alone. He flat out gets it done in center.
As well you all know, left handed power hitters have not had an easy time driving balls out of AT&T park. Unless you are the reigning home run king with a number 25 on your back of course.
Huff is #17 and has never been a Barry Bonds. Then again, who has?
He is a career .284 hitter, with 34 home runs being his season best in 2003.
With San Francisco, Huff's welcome bat has turned this line up around. He is currently batting .310, 62 RBI's and 19 jacks with just under half a season to play.
Huff's value cannot be understated, he leads the team in HR, AVG, RBI and Runs. Batting third as of late has given the Giants a 'Heart of the Order' not to be trifled with.
With sparse playing time in 2009 in San Francisco, Andres Torres showed brief signs of power.
Since he took over the starting job in 2010, Torres has been on fire. Actually more like smoldering, guys that run this fast blow out flames. Ok sizzling.
Whatever you want to call it, Andres is among the best lead off hitters in the game. He is batting .287 with 10 HR, 42 RBI and 18 stolen bases.
His 32 doubles are second in the National League. His clutch performance is quickly endearing him to even the most skeptic of fans.
In 2009 Torres finally began getting treatment for ADHD, or Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The treatment seems to be working very well, as his play at the big league level has flourished.
His power numbers are not overwhelming. His 10 homers are not a stand out statistic. Even if two of those were majestic splash hits in McCovey Cove. It is his ability to come through when called upon that has made Torres one of the Giants most valuable players.
Since Huff joined the team in Spring Training, he has been a character in the clubhouse. He's the kind of the guy that players relax around, let their guards down and laugh.
He is the perfect playmate for a fun loving Panda, that's for sure. He is a leader, a veteran, a joker, and a character. In one instant Huff can rally his mates into waking up and focusing, in another he will have them all laughing into tears.
In a league of primadonnas and revolving contracts with revolving doors, you need a guy like Huff in your clubhouse. Players will take start to take themselves less seriously and get back to playing ball and having a good time doing it.
Andres Torres is one of those guys that is constantly in motion. Constantly in motion with a smile and a positive attitude.
He does nothing in a slow purposeful manner. He was born to hustle. An infernal ball of energy finally set in a purposeful motion.
His teammates look at him and see the guy they left behind in the minors, the guy who finally made it to the big leagues for good.
With Aubrey Huff, it's fun and inspiring. With Torres, it's can do and pride. Pride because all of his teammates know the journey he undertook getting to the majors. Pride because he is making his mark on this pennant race.
Pride because Andres Torres has arrived finally, and is kicking tail and taking names.
When I introduced this slide show, I gave you four names I thought should be in the conversation for the 2010 Giants MVP.
I eliminated Posey. Hard to do, but he kinda just got here. Look for him to be in real consideration for years to come.
Uribe was next to go. Uribe changed a lot of games for us in the first half with his clutch hitting. His fielding is par for the course, which I think is an upgrade from Renteria.
I was left with Huff and Torres. Or Torres and Huff. I feel if I were to make an argument for one, I would have an equal argument for the other.
Both players have contributed beyond expectation both offensively and defensively.
Both players have at times single handedly took over an inning or even a game.
Both players are equally responsible for where the Giants are this season, and where they are going.
Both players are my MVP's for 2010.