San Francisco Giants

San Francisco Giants: Their Optimal Starting Lineup (With Everyone Healthy)

Jordan PlautCorrespondent IMay 19, 2011

San Francisco Giants: Their Optimal Starting Lineup (With Everyone Healthy)

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    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 11:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the San Francisco Giants sstands in the dugout before their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park on May 11, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    The following lineup may not exactly be threatening, but unless Brian Sabean decides to make some moves in the near future (don't bet on it) this is the best possible starting lineup for the San Francisco Giants in 2011.

    Should the Giants make a trade or two to get a bat? With the way their offense has performed recently, it sure looks like they could use it.

    As I outlined here last week, this team needs to improve in more than just one or two areas if they want to stave off the Colorado Rockies in the West.

    That being said, let's take a look at what I think should be the Giants' starting lineup. Think differently? Let me know.

1. Andres Torres, CF

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    SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 23:  Andres Torres #56 of the San Francisco Giants poses for a portrait during media photo day at Scottsdale Stadium on February 23, 2011 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Though limited by injury to start the season, Torres has shown in his return that he belongs in center field and at the top of the Giants batting order.

    The 33-year-old from Puerto Rico currently has a line of .308/.379/.500 with seven runs in 14 games as well as six extra-base hits out of his 16 total so far; not too bad for a lead-off hitter.

    Torres, though he has speed, is not a big threat to steal bases. However, his hitting ability makes up for his paltry two stolen bases on the year.

    This guy is the real deal at the number one spot in the lineup.

2. Freddy Sanchez, 2B

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    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 11:  Freddy Sanchez #21 of the San Francisco Giants in action against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park on May 11, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    This one is pretty self-explanatory.

    Sanchez, though he is only hitting at a clip of .272/.318/.381, is a career .297 hitter and for good reason.

    Even when the second baseman is struggling offensively, he always gives you a tough at-bat. That career number is no fluke.

    Freddy is also as sure-handed a fielder as they come; he's never made more than nine errors in a season and his current fielding percentage is a solid .979.

3. Buster Posey, C

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    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 24:  Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants in action against the Atlanta Braves at AT&T Park on April 24, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    The 2010 National League Rookie of the Year, Posey has shown some signs of a sophomore slump this year.

    While a .271 batting average with four homeruns and 20 RBI through 38 games isn't horrible by any means, it's not nearly what everyone expects from him, including the catcher himself.

    His OBP is still a respectable .355, and his K/BB ratio is pretty solid, but Posey just has not been the same hitter as he was last season.

    However, if his last 10 games are any indication, the superstar in the making should be getting back on track very soon.

    In that recent stretch, Posey has hit .345 while knocking in three and scoring four more. He's also walked seven times, a good indication that he's seeing the ball well.

    With some power and a consistent stroke, Buster Posey should be the man hitting third for Bruce Bochy for a long time.

    It should also be noted that Posey is a crucial presence behind the plate for the Giants. His ability to throw out runners and control his pitchers will be sorely missed whenever the team decides to move him into the field.

4. Pablo Sandoval, 3B

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    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 24:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the San Francisco Giants in action against the Atlanta Braves at AT&T Park on April 24, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Before his costly injury, Sandoval was having a season nearly on-par with his 2009 performance: .313/.374/.530 to go with five homers and 14 RBI in 83 ABs.

    Unfortunately, that injury has limited the offensive success of the Giants in recent weeks. It's also proven how vital Sandoval is to the team.

    Defensively, people can say what they want about the Panda's lack of mobility, but he is as good a third baseman as you're going to get.

    Solid range, great fielding skills, and a cannon for an arm make Sandoval an invaluable asset at the hot corner.

    Giants fans, players, and coaches will undoubtedly breath a sigh of relief when Pablo returns to the field.

5. Aubrey Huff, 1B

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    WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 01:  Aubrey Huff #17 of the San Francisco Giants walks back to the dugout after striking out against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on May 1, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Slowly but surely, Huff is returning to his batting form that carried the 2010 Giants in the regular season.

    Although is current line of .222/.292/.382 looks abysmal compared to last year's .290/.385/.506, Huff's power is vital to a team that is largely missing it.

    Even with that line, Huff still has 10 doubles and four homers to go with 20 RBI. His bat, for the time being, is necessary in an RBI position.

    On the defensive side, Huff is useless anywhere but first base. This is going to be a problem sooner rather than later as rookie Brandon Belt is currently tearing up Triple-A following his early-season demotion.

    When you're hitting .387/.529/.600, you are not going to be in Fresno for long. The kid also has three dingers, seven doubles and 18 RBI, as well as 26 BBs to 21 Ks.

    He's also a top-tier first baseman, so Huff won't be pickin' em at first for too much longer.

    If Huff starts hitting, however, his contributions cannot be wasted on the bench so look for the Giants to utilize Belt in the crowded outfield.

    We'll deal with that problem when the time comes, so here's Huff for now.

6. Cody Ross, LF

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 29: Cody Ross #13 of the San Francisco Giants laughs while stretching before the start of their game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on April 29, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Since he's returned from injury, Ross has steadily gotten into a groove at the plate.

    There's still plenty of spring in the step of the smiling outfielder and postseason hero of 2010.

    Ross has reached base safely in each of his last 10 starts, hitting .333 with two homeruns, six RBI, and four runs.

    His skills as a corner outfielder are very valuable to a Giants team that has dealt with the struggles of Huff and Pat Burrell.

    Add that to his ability to randomly smack a long ball or a few doubles and you can see why Ross needs to be in this lineup.

7. Nate Schierholtz, RF

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    SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 18:  Nate Schierholtz #12 of the San Francisco Giants plays against during the spring training baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Scottsdale Stadium on March 18, 2011 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezia
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Aaron Rowand is not the answer the outfield for the Giants. We've known this for a while now. It's time to let Nate Schierholtz have his opportunity.

    Schierholtz, in relatively limited time, is batting .286. Just as a reminder, that's higher than most of the team.

    He also has great range in right field and an unbelievable arm that has mowed down runner trying to stretch singles into doubles on numerous occasions.

    The threat of his arm in right is a great asset for a team that relies on holding their opponents to less than three runs a game.

    Rowand might be serviceable as a backup and pinch-hitter, but I'm tired of him taking up space in an already crowded outfield just because of his big contract.

    For now, Schierholtz should have the claim in right field.

8. Mike Fontenot, SS

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    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 8: Mike Fontenot #14 of the San Francisco Giants gets his throw off to complete the double-play, avoiding the slide of Troy Tulowitzki #2 of the Colorado Rockies during a MLB baseball game at AT&T Park May 8, 2011 in San Francisco,
    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Let's face it, Miguel Tejada was a horrible offseason acquisition. Now that we know that, why should he be allowed to detract from the the team?

    Again, a contract is allowing Tejada to take time away from other players who could both produce more consistently on offense as well as not be as big of a liability on defense.

    Mike Fontenot is not a fantastic hitter, but he is more powerful and consistent than Tejada and plays a much better shortstop. The choice here, when you really think about it, is quite obvious.

    Who else is going to play shortstop? Mark DeRosa? I don't even think DeRosa wants that.

    Fontenot is not going to do all that much for the Giants on offense, but he won't make Bruce Bochy want to bang his head repeatedly on the dugout railing.

    For now, that's going to have to be good enough.

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