San Francisco Giants: Could Jeff Keppinger Be the 2011 Aubrey Huff?
Jeff Keppinger is in his seventh major league season. He has never played on a team with a winning record. In fact, the closest any of the teams he has played for has gotten to the .500 mark is the 2010 Astros club that finished 76-86.
Keppinger, needless to say, has never played in a postseason game. He's never even been close enough to daydream about what it would be like.
So what a dramatic change of possibilities that swept Keppinger's way when he found out that he had been traded to the San Francisco Giants, defending world champions and leaders in the National League West.
Giants fans are familiar with ballplayers who get their first chance to play for a winning team.
Just last season, Aubrey Huff, who was outspoken about how grateful he was to finally be with a winning club, made his Giants debut and put up great offensive numbers, leading the team in both home runs (26) and RBI (86).
Huff played a solid first base for San Francisco throughout the 2010 campaign, posting a .996 fielding percentage there despite worries that he might not cut it at the position.
He even laid down his first career sacrifice bunt during Game 5 of the 2010 World Series, marking a further display of what he would do to get that championship ring for the first time in his career.
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With the arrival of Keppinger, it's reasonable to wonder whether we might expect an increase in output from the middle infielder, who for the first time is playing for something more than individual stats: a chance at participating in the postseason, and potentially getting a ring of his own.
While nobody expects him to produce the way Huff did last season, Keppinger brings great potential to the Giants.
He's a career .283 hitter (currently hitting .305), is capable of the extra-base hit (34 doubles last season), driving in runs (59 RBI last season) and has more walks than strikeouts in his career (147 walks to 125 Ks), showing that he's a tough out and puts the ball in play.
Add to that the incentive (for the first time) of playing for a team that has a chance to go deep into the postseason, and you have a recipe for a great second half from San Francisco's new No. 8.
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