New Faces in San Francisco: My Favorite Giants of 2008

Evan AczonSenior Analyst ISeptember 9, 2008

As the 2008 season comes to a close, I wanted to reflect on the new faces that have been revealed to us as San Francisco Giants fans.

Who are the Giants of the future? And even if they’re not young, who are we going to be looking forward to in the future?

This isn’t as much a prospect report, but more of a “New Giants Report.”

Emmanuel Burriss, 2B/SS

Burriss was recently told that next year’s shortstop job is all but his. After the news went public, he then goes and gets hurt the next day against the Diamondbacks.

Disregarding that, he was still my favorite rookie to get the call this season. He’s smooth. He plays both sides of second exceptionally well, and he is a scrapper at the plate.

He doesn’t strike out a lot (1:10 at-bats) and walks just as much, which shows he already has maturity at the plate. He also knows how to steal a bag once in a while, and that will factor in to his success as a major leaguer.

To quote this young stud from Washington DC, when the Giants play the young guys, “We get victorious every now and then.”

Brian Wilson, Closer

Wilson is hardly a new face, but 2008 was his first full year in the majors.

I’ll say two things right now: He’s badass, and he loves his faith, two things that might not seem to go together, but I don’t think anyone who’s seen Wilson knows exactly what to really expect. His assortment of tattoos, his heavy metal entrance song, his postgame “X” with his arms, his thundering 98 MPH fastball...He’s a prototypical closer.

He is right behind a proven veteran, Jose Valverde, for the lead in saves in the National League, going 37-40 in his first year as a closer.

He’s also a tantalizing interview, never really answering a question and saying ridiculous stuff like this, when asked what makes him unique in Major League Baseball: “(I am the only player in MLB) to levitate.”

Alex Hinshaw, LHP

Hinshaw is another kid that I really like this year. Another one of the many in the Giants' bullpen who have gone through Tommy John surgery, he came up and started mowing people down with ease.

Hinshaw has 44 strikeouts in only 35 innings and has come in 41 times his rookie season. But I think my favorite part of Hinshaw’s game is his swag. He comes in from the bullpen with knee-high socks and a hat with a totally flat brim that looks a size too big.

He handles his business quietly, but always seems to make hitters look silly in the process.

Pablo Sandoval, SUPERUTILITY

Since being called up, people have been raving about Sandoval’s torrid batting average and power numbers. But, let’s just remember, he’s just picking up where he left off.

Sandoval is hitting .358 with 14 RBI in only 22 games with the big club. Before he got his call, he was hitting .359 with 59 RBI in High-A San Jose in only 68 games and .333 with 26 RBI in only 28 games at Double-A Connecticut.

So it's just business as usual for this kid. He’s brought Barry Zito three starts over seven innings, easily his three best starts of the season. He can also play first and third base, two positions that will be open competition next season, and he can play them more than adequately.

Honorable Mention: Geno Espineli, LHP

Aside from being one of the only Filipinos in baseball, he wears stirrup socks and is flat-out dirty for being a left-handed low three-quarters guy.

Honorable Mention: Fred Lewis, LF

When given the chance to play this year, Lewis came in and ripped it up. If not for a bunion bothering him, he probably would have been more effective as the season went on. He strikes out a lot, but he has slick sunglasses, and I like his long pants. Also, he's a hell of a lot better outfielder than Barry Bonds would have been.

I also wanted to write about Nate Schierholtz, who is proving his selection to the USA Olympic team was deserved, and Aaron Rowand, who is playing just as advertised, but I’m in class and ran out of time.

Feel free to add your own picks or let me know what you think about mine and enjoy the rest of the season—and root for Tim Lincecum in the Cy Young race.