San Francisco Giants' Brett Pill Making His Case for This Year and Next
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Brett Pill spent the entire Triple-A season just hitting. He was the first professional baseball player to reach the 100 RBI mark in 2011 and batted .312 with 25 home runs overall. Giants’ fans wondered all year why he wasn't being brought to a team that struggled mightily to score.
I have to believe that the Giants as an organization didn't have Pill listed too high on the prospect chart because he was going to turn 27 this year and he wasn't even on the 40-man roster. After a season like he had this year, they really had their hand forced by Pill and, to date, Pill hasn't made them regret their decision to add him to the big club.
In only 21 at bats, Pill is batting .333 with an .857 slugging percentage and an OPS of 1.190. These are great numbers and they are being put up by a guy that the league hasn't adjusted to yet, but he is showing a propensity to have good, selective at bats and when he hits the ball, he hits it loud.
He will run into rough patches, but I believe he will make the necessary adjustments because I've watched him make significant adjustments at bat-to-at bat, and even within a single at bat. He's a smart, talented and strong baseball player. He gives the Giants something they haven't had all year, the ability to hit a home run in any at bat.
As the Giants desperately try to pull back into the race for the NL West as time is expiring on the season, Brett Pill could be their ace in the hole. If teams do not adjust to him over the final 10 games of the year, he can do some damage and the Giants could ride his bat to an improbable run at the title.
So, where does Brett Pill fit into the Giants plans for 2012 and beyond? With his age and the season he put together in 2011, his time is now if it will ever be his time. His most comfortable position is first base but he did play some second base and a little third base this year too. The Giants could end up with a significant log jam at first base next year, especially if they see Pill as being in the mix.
Brandon Belt, Aubrey Huff, Brett Pill and even Buster Posey could be playing first base for the Giants next year. Huff, based on a horrible 2011, would be the most likely odd man out in that group and the Giants will think long and hard this offseason about whether they should cut ties with him even with one year and $11 million left on his two-year deal.
I really don't see them letting him go, but he won't have much of a chance to play if he struggles at all, if those other guys hit. The Giants are also going to have to decide where they fit in the free-agent frenzy that will commence after the World Series.
The major free-agent talent will be at first base with Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols. Fielder will be a horrible long-term risk to take as he will most likely deteriorate in the second half of an eight-to-10 year deal. Pujols is about as close to worth 10 years and $300 million as you will find, but I just don't see the Giants coming close to that at all.
The Yankees and Red Sox do not need first basemen so the bidding may not go that high and the Giants should monitor that situation. Pill, Belt and possibly Posey give them viable options to the significant years and the major money Pujols will command.
The Giants really should focus on two positions, right field (bring back Beltran) and leadoff (Jose Reyes?). Brett Pill gives them one more option at first base so they can focus whatever free agent money they have to spend elsewhere.
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