We know the Giants won't spend the big money on free agents and are looking to re-sign their own soon-to-be free agents, so we have to assume that the Giants are hoping for a rebound season from a handful of their players.
The 2011 season was a disaster at a hitting stand point where injuries to Buster Posey and Freddie Sanchez decimated this team. The arrival of the big bat Carlos Beltran was supposed to push this team into the playoffs, but the Giants failed to surround Beltran with any other hitters.
Many other players will look to have a better season in 2012, and help one of the best pitching staffs in baseball with some run support and ultimately lead this team back into the playoffs.
Nate Schierholtz was the right fielder for the Giants for much of the season. His stats have been steadily rising since he has entered the league. Schierholtz’s season was cut short from a foul ball that hit his ankle, but with the trade to Beltran, I think he would have been sent to the bench anyways.
For the 2012 season, Schierholtz will be the man in right field with Beltran commanding top dollars, and I believe Schierholtz is the right man for the job. He is faster, more athletic and plays great defense at McCovey Cove.
He was also the leading hitter with runners on base for the Giants before the injury. Look for Schierholtz to be the full-time right fielder and have a lot more hits as the Giants big bats come back next season.
Aubrey Huff had a huge decline this season from his 2010 season where he hit 26 home runs, 83 RBI and had a .290 batting average. His numbers were cut in half this season and that is unacceptable for an aging player getting paid $10 million a season.
The Giants have told Huff to get into shape using the same tactics that they used on Pablo Sandoval a few seasons back. He also knows that the young Brandon Belt is breathing down his back waiting for Huff to under-perform.
Huff will have some urgency to rebound this season, so look for him to have numbers similar to the 2010 season.
After a slow start where Bumgarner lost 11 of his first 15 games, he finished the season strong. He went 13-13 with a 3.21 ERA and had 191 strikeouts.
The Giants have arguably the best pitching staff in baseball where Lincecum and Cain have been battling it out as the best pitcher on the team. They also have been one of the worst hitting teams as well.
Bumgarner is a 22-year-old with similar stuff to the two aces on the staff and will help this team make the playoffs in 2012. He will be the third best pitcher behind the “freak” and Cain next season, and it will definitely be a coming out party for the young lefty. He is a kid with Cy Young potential and could be in contention for the award next season.
Freddy Sanchez was a player who got on base regularly for the Giants. He allowed the Giants to have a sure bat on the roster. When he went down with his season-ending shoulder injury, the Giants lost another leader on their roster who led them to the World Series the previous year.
Sanchez should be ready by spring training camp and should be motivated to get the Giants back into contention. He should rebound from the injury and have an awesome season with his sweet swing. Sanchez will come back to compete for the batting title and possibly win just as he had in 2006.
The young Buster Posey is hands-down the leader of this team, and when he went down from a freak broken leg injury, the Giants knew that they had their work cut out for them.
Posey’s extraordinary rookie season that led the Giants to the World Series was something to be in awe of. In the 2011 season, he was on pace to put up similar stats.
Posey has the talent and attributes to be the best catcher in baseball with his strong arm and uncanny ability to hit in the clutch. He is also controlling the pitch calls for this strong pitching staff.
For the upcoming 2012 season, look for Posey to be healthy, stronger and have a little more power in his bat. As Posey matures, the Giants batting will become better. Look for Posey to compete against Pablo Sandoval for the team leader in home runs.
The Giants have one of the best pitching staff, but is one of the worst hitting teams. The players coming back from injuries and the ones looking to prove their worth should be enough for this team to get back into the playoffs and contend for the World Series.