Giants pitchers and catchers report on February 18th, and the position players follow five days later on the 23rd. Danny and I will be reporting some time around March 12th, notepads in hand. Many things will be playing out before our eyes. Roster spots will be won and lost. Guys will take their last professional hacks, groove their last slider. We’ll eat a lot of fried food. But before spring gets fully underway, here is a preview of how I think the roster looks coming out of Spring Training.
Zito has the spot Opening Day, but he and Surkamp could carousel in and out if Zito can’t stay healthy, effective, or a combination of both. By effective I mean not light the rosin bag on fire and throw it at the umpire.
I’m not even going to mention the first six names, except to say I’m worried about Wison’s elbow. In my opinion Casilla closes again if Wilson goes down. Unless he has a third elbow and that’s what the beard is hiding. I penciled Hensley in for the last spot because he has the most experience and even an average performance would round an elite bullpen. His 2010 (193 ERA+, 9.2 K/9) appears to be a fluke, but he can spot start and pitch long relief. Like 2008 Brad Hennessey, but batters occasionally won’t reach first base. Look for Runzler and Edlefsen to try to win a spot in spring if Hensley struggles. And look for Heath Hembree to make an appearance toward the end of the season.
Christian is iffy as he just last week got bumped from the 40-man roster. But nonetheless, he gets a shot in Spring Training. No Stacy, we aren’t breaking up, I just want to make sure none of these other girls look better in their prom dresses before I decide to take you. Remember, Aubrey Huff will get some starts in the outfield when Posey needs a respite from catching duties. And despite his eight-figure contract, Huff will see more off-days this season after his 2011 stint of being one of the least valuable players in baseball. I still cringe writing that. As for where everyone plays, I have it (from left field to right): Cabrera, Pagan, Schierholtz
That was harder than I thought it was going to be. You know, the whole leaving Emmanuel Burriss off the roster part? Nevertheless, the Giants are over-loaded with left-handed hitters. Four of those guys bat only from the left side and Belt is the only one who throws with his left hand. Weird. But you know what? Screw it. I’d rather have Belt the Actual For Reals Lefty on the roster than Brett Pill as the right-handed pinch hitter. Belt’s patience and ability to play competent outfield will make it hard to keep him off the field. And oh yeah, all that power upside that has every other team In the league wondering why someone with the tools of Freddie Freeman has to face Brett Tomko 15 times in Fresno. Besides, too many lefties only hurt the Phillies after their guys got older. Our guys aren’t that old. Well, most of them. Fontenot spelling Sandoval is wince-inducing, but he has started 47 games in the last three seasons at third base. Still…we’re a hamate bone or a few honey-glazed hams away from a Fontenot/Conor Gillespie hot corner. Theriot is Crawford/Sanchez insurance, meaning if Crawford can’t hit .215/.215/.217, Theriot will hit .245/.245/.255. Shortstop sigh shortstop.
Some Really Awesome Dude or Barry Zito P
The Theriot/Crawford splits are the only thing that jumps out at me. Crawford only has a handful of big league at bats against lefties, but the outcome is as expected- a .133 BA with a normal walk rate and no power. Theriot starts against almost every lefty if I just so happened to be the man in San Francisco with the largest head. Also a lot of the batting order rests on the shoulders of Aubrey Huff. He hits, and he’s a valuable 5-hole guy. Like Orlando Cabrera. Jeez, remember that? Belt will fill holes in the field or start every day in Fresno, I still vacillate between which I prefer. Let’s flip a coin, I assume that’s what Bochy does. Or he just notices there is an old white guy on the front of the coin and then writes Aaron Rowand’s name at the top of the lineup card. Overall, this lineup is decent. Not quite average, but decent. But to borrow from Grantland’s Jonah Keri, here’s what happens if everything breaks wrong:
In other words, stay healthy Busteddy Sanchosy.