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San Francisco Giants: Why They Are Favored to Win N.L. West, Part II

Patrick HightowerContributor IMarch 22, 2011

San Francisco Giants: Why They Are Favored to Win N.L. West, Part II

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    As stated in the previous Giants piece, readers will agree that the San Francisco Giants have taken more steps forward than other teams in their National League West Division.

    Part II to this series will introduce three more reasons why the Giants can only improve their record from last season.

    Part II to this series will introduce three more reasons why the Giants can only improve their record from last season.

Sanchez Health: Freddy

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    Imagine being a Baltimore Oriole or a Pittsburgh Pirate. Imagine nearly two decades of losing seasons. Imagine being a star player on one of these teams.

    One can agree that it would certainly be hard to give a great performance night in and night out, knowing that the odds of postseason baseball would be close to zero.  

    Such is the case with second baseman Freddy Sanchez. He has certainly been flirting with a .300 average throughout his entire career.

    While spending quite some time on injured reserve since coming to the Giants, Freddy Sanchez had a significant impact once the Giants reached the postseason last year.

    Having a consistent hitter in the No. 2 spot in the lineup will guarantee that if Andres Torres has anywhere close to the success he had at the end of last season, Freddy Sanchez will have the experience during the 162-game season to move runners into scoring position.

    He will also be able to get himself on base in crucial situations.  

Sanchez Health: Jonathan

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    As for left-handed pitcher Jonathan Sanchez, many will agree that last year’s experience will only make him better.  

    Baseball fans will agree that Jonathan Sanchez will put the past behind him regarding last year’s postseason game against the Phillies where Sanchez barely escaped the second inning after hitting a batter and nearly causing a brawl.  

    Fans will also agree that with the threat of being on the “trading block” no longer in the back of his mind, Sanchez will improve his win total for this year.

Pablo Sandoval: Version 2.0

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    Third baseman Pablo Sandoval has transformed himself in more ways than one. First, those that have seen him in person, or even on a glimpse of any news coverage, will notice that Sandoval has taken his off-season training very seriously.

    Sandoval was reported on Feb. 19 to have lost 40 pounds. His trainers have verified that his body fat went from 30 percent down to 19 percent.  

    Although Sandoval was involved in a dangerous collision with Brewers player Chris Dickerson at third base last week, Sandoval states that he felt fine.

    When asked about the collision, and why he was laying on the ground for extended moments after the collision, he replied, “I just wanted to make sure it was nothing and try to calm down a little bit.”  

    Giants fans will be thrilled to know that Sandoval remained in the game. In fact, he even hit his third home run of this spring training.  

    Sandoval looks as though his bat speed is much quicker. His spring training numbers show success from both sides of the plate.

    While he has made a couple of errors at third base, those that have viewed Sandoval and the Giants from Scottsdale during this spring training will agree that this new version of Pablo Sandoval wants to be a Giant for many years to come.

    If Sandoval stays healthy, many will favor the Giants to win the National League West by a comfortable amount of games.

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