Nate "Cannon" Schierholtz: The San Francisco Giants RF Is Proving His Worth

Andy Bensch@@AndyBenschSenior Writer IApril 28, 2010

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 27:  Nate Schierholtz #12 of the San Francisco Giants poses for a photo during Spring Training Photo Day at Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, Arizona.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

San Francisco Giants right fielder Nate Schierholtz had a tough Spring Training and fellow Giants outfielder John Bowker had a fabulous Spring.

But why should anyone care?

Spring Training means absolutely nothing and numerous Giants are currently verifying what should be an obvious notion.

Tim Lincecum had an ERA approaching seven during the exhibition season, while Todd Wellemeyer finished with an ERA in the mid-twos.

But did Lincecum lose his No. 1 spot in the rotation? No.

Did Wellemeyer move up in the rotation? No.

What has happened so far during the actual season? Well, Lincecum has looked like the ace he is, and Wellemeyer has looked like the minor league invite that he is.

Similarly, Schierholtz is proving that a poor Spring doesn't matter for a solid hitter who also is an All-Star caliber defender in the outfield.

Just what were the Giants thinking by declaring John Bowker the everyday right fielder at the start of the season?

Did they forget just how good Schierholtz can be?

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Put aside the stellar defense from Schierholtz (which trumps that of Bowker by a country mile) for a moment.

Look at the offensive numbers at the big-league level between the two Gigantes:

Bowker: AB: 436, AVG: .239, OBP: .284, SLG: .392, SB: 2

Schierholtz: AB: 512, AVG: .285, OBP: .320, SLG: .418, SB: 7

Clearly, Schierholtz is the better hitter. The only attribute in which Bowker is technically better at is his eye at the plate as he walks at a higher rate than Schierholtz.

But when it comes to making consistent contact, Schierholtz' .46 higher batting average proves a better swing.

Despite both of the Giants outfielders having holes on the down and inside breaking ball from right handed pitchers, Bowker has much bigger problems.

In 41 career at-bats against lefties, Bowker is hitting just .122 with zero extra-base hits.

Schierholtz, on the other hand, is hitting .381 against lefties in 105 career at-bats with 13 extra-base hits.

The fourth-year Giant may have what is considered a flat swing, but he has more pop than given credit for. Last year he hit five home runs, all of which came between June 14 and Aug. 22nd, a stretch of 147 at-bats where he was starting mostly everyday.

Translate those power numbers over a whole season (550-600 at-bats) and Schierholtz would hit anywhere from 15 to 20 home runs.

Essentially, Schierholtz has proven to be capable of a .280 average with 15-20 home runs and Gold Glove caliber defense.

That's correct, Schierholtz will win a gold glove if he becomes an everyday right fielder. In Tuesday night's game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Schierholtz was the player of the game purely because of his defense.

Schierholtz threw out two runners at second base, made a nice diving catch and a running catch deep into triples alley. (the two assists made Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt give him the nickname of "Cannon" after the game).

And not to mention, Schierholtz's one hit on the night was a scorching double off the wall to the opposite field.

The guy is simply an all-around solid baseball player and the Giants should start treating him as such by putting him in the lineup day in and day out.

Enough with this John Bowker nonsense.

Spring Training means jack.

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