Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Player Preview -- The Infielders

stolen from here
God the Hot Stove League is so short when you play into November -- here we are, less than 2 1/2 days from the start of the regular season.

The Giants depth is in the outfield, but their run scorers are in the infield.  It also might house their weakest cogs defensively.

(break down below the fold)

First Base -- Aubrey Huff/Mark DeRosa/Brandon Belt/Travis Ishikawa --

Looks like this is the biggest question mark.  Belt will only make the roster if he'll play.  With Cody Ross out, Huff seems to be destined to get a couple weeks in Right Field.  And DeRosa has had a decent spring, hitting .298 with a .340 OB.

I've never been a Mark DeRosa fan, meaning he seems like an all right guy, but I don't believe in bending over backwards for super-utility guys.  With 500 ABs, he'll still not get you to 15 HRs and he'll probably hover around.270.  Brandon Belt, by all accounts, has softer hands than the lot.

For defensive purposes alone, I think that you use these first two weeks while Ross is injured try out Belt.  Then, if he seems to be scuffling by the time Ross comes back, you have a natural reason to send him to Fresno to get his stroke back.

Second Base -- Freddy Sanchez/DeRosa/Mike Fontenot --

Sanchez has the middle bag on lock down, but he is just as susceptible to injury as any 33 year-old, oh and by the way, he takes 3 weeks to get started and he's only hitting .250 this spring.

He's the 2nd batter, and he's supposed to be the contact guy.  In the lineup, historically, Sanchez is light years better in the 2-hole over the 3-hole.  He won't be a liability in the field, and if he struggles DeRosa and Fontenot are both perfectly competent to step in and not cost you any defensive runs for a game or two while Freddy works out any kinks.

Luckily, they've got a few contact hitters now, and if Sanchez does pull a .240 season out of his hat, there's a couple guys that might be able to pick him up at the second spot (Posey, Sandoval, Ross).

Shortstop -- Miguel Tejada/Fontenot/DeRosa --

I forsee Fontenot getting his late game reps on as a defensive replacement for Tejada almost daily.  I'm nervous abut Tejada, by and large we lost only 2 guys, but they were the SS's (and one of them was pretty good).  I hope that Tejada can hit .270, with 15 HRs, and be at least an average to slightly below average fielder.

But he's like 100 years old and he has no institutional loyalty to this organization.

Third Base -- Pablo Sandoval/Fontenot --

OK, Panda Bear.  Sleek, strong, with a bit of defensive range now: this has to be your coming out party.  2 years ago was a tease, last year might have been a little more accurate.  I didn't think Panda Bear was a huge defensive liability until about late August when he all but hit the wall. 

Now, Sandoval's trim, he's second only to Aubrey Huff in his Spring Numbers, and he's got a little movement out there.  Ray Ratto went on KNBR yesterday and broke it down for reals when he pretty much said that Sandoval is the Giants only real option at third.  Fontenot is not a natural 3B, DeRosa is too old to play there with any sort of frequency -- so even if Panda Bear comes out of the gate at .250 with little to no power, he's still going to be their hot spotter.  If he's comitting errors and not getting to balls that he should, however -- then the Giants are in a tail spin. 

In fact, when they had Uribe last year they had an alternative: now they are more dependent on Panda Bear playing well than they were last year.  I thinkt he Giants are hoping for .280/18/75 from Panda Bear, they'll allow him .240/10/50: but to me, Sandoval looks like he could be .310/25/95.

Catcher -- Buster Posey/Eli Whiteside --

If I was going to start an MLB team tomorrow, Buster Posey would be my first pick.  If I couldn't get him, Eli Whiteside would be my catcher of choice.  I think the Giants are very fortunate with their depth at backstop.  Aside from a possible Sophomore Jinx (which I don't see happening to Posey), the Giants have very little to worry about with their catcher postion.

Later, The Outfielders

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