San Francisco Giants 2011: Ranking Each Offensive Position in Order of Futility
The defending world champions are slumping, thanks to a static offense that has already lost Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez for the year. Despite GM Brian Sabean making a few attempts to improve the offense before the trade deadline, the Giants came out less explosive and more pathetic than ever.
Throughout this slideshow presentation, the Giants will be ranked, position by position, in order from most productive to least productive. For example, Pablo Sandoval is a good player and third base will therefore receive a low rating. Follow me? Good.
8. Third Base
Starting third baseman: Pablo Sandoval
The Giants are set at third, with Kung Fu Panda Pablo Sandoval's resurgent 2011 campaign. A first-time All-Star, the big man at the hot corner is batting .313—while he still needs to learn some plate discipline, his 12 home runs and 42 RBI in only 72 games-played is nothing to be frowned upon.
7. Right Field
Starting right fielder: Carlos Beltran
Despite Giants fans' initial frustrations with Beltran (his OBP is only .262 since the trade), he is still a pretty dang good player when healthy. Currently leading the league in doubles, Beltran will provide some pop in a lineup that desperately needs it. And let's not forget that he earned Brian Wilson's seal of approval at the All-Star Game.
6. Left Field
Starting left fielders: Cody Ross and Nate Schierholtz
This is where it starts getting ugly. Before you overreact, hear me out on this one. Cody Ross and Nate Schierholtz are not great players, but both are decent and capable of getting hot. Right now, Bochy is playing both in the hopes of just that—one of them catching fire and providing a spark from the middle of the order. Ross has yet to live up to the lofty standards he set for himself in last year's magical NLCS, but I would expect Bochy to give him the bulk of the playing time down the stretch if Schierholtz doesn't heat up.
5. Second Base
Starting second baseman: Jeff Keppinger
Keppinger, although he is no Freddy Sanchez, has been solid for the Giants thus far and has been a huge upgrade over Bill Hall and Emmanuel Burriss. Keppinger is hitting .295 this year in limited playing time, due to an injury early in the season with Houston. Ultimately, Keppinger is not going to be anything spectacular, but he hardly ever strikes out and should be a consistent hitter for the duration of the season.
4. Center Field
Starting center fielder: Andres Torres
Torres was the spark plug on offense for last year's World Series team, but this year has been a completely different story. His OPS has dropped 151 points to a poor .672, and although nobody expected him to hit 16 home runs again this year, something higher than three would be nice. Thankfully, Torres is a solid defensive player and has nice speed, or else he might be lower on this list.
Starting shortstop: Orlando Cabrera
What do you do when your 37-year-old, worn-down, poor defensive shortstop goes down to injury? If you're the Giants, you just replace him with a lighter-hitting 36-year-old version of himself!
While Cabrera may play slightly better defense than Miguel Tejada, this does not make up for the lack of pop in the 14-year veteran Cabrera's bat. Last year's World Series MVP came from the shortstop position; it is a safe bet that if the Giants repeat this season, the MVP will come from a different position.
Starting catchers: Eli Whiteside and Chris Stewart
This slide made me realize how much I miss Buster Posey. Eli Whiteside, who starts most games, has been slumping of late, and his .216 average speaks to that. It is a very good thing that both Whiteside and Stewart are capable of drawing walks, because .216 and .209 BAs won't cut it no matter what team you play for.
Stewart has the better arm and plays better defense of the two, but Whiteside has been receiving the bulk of the playing time, likely due to experience at the dish (nearly 300 more career plate-appearances than Stewart) and handling the Giants' vaunted pitching staff.
1. First Base
Starting first baseman: Aubrey Huff
If Huff doesn't bring back the Rally Thong, or at least its power, soon, he may be out of a job. The man who finished sixth in last year's MVP voting, currently has a slash of .243/.294/.366 with a WAR of -1.8. When I first read that, I thought it was a typo.
Brandon Belt, the Giants' No. 1 prospect, is bouncing between San Francisco and Fresno, and fans are tired of Huff bouncing out to second base, four times a game. Expect Belt to be starting by the end of the season if Huff doesn't get his act together—and fast.