I have been accused of having a dismal outlook on the MMIX Giants. Nothing could be further from the truth, my friends, I'm as giddy and optimisitic about our team's chances as any wide-eyed twelve year old. To prove it, here are my projections for our panoply of stars:
1B--Travis Ishikawa hits .330 for half a season until felled by a mysterious ailment that requires 6 months of meditation in a Tibetan monastery with a controversial German herbalist. In the meantime, Josh Phelps finishes the season as the everyday mitt-man and cracks 20 HRs after the ASB.
2B--Move over Dustin Pedroia, the new breakout star is Kevin Frandsen, whose .900 OPS ( .300/.400/.500) dazzles the league.
SS--A resurgent Edgar Renteria channels the ghost of 2003 (OPS+ 130). Carefully timed injections of Omar Vizquel's blood gives him the edge in the Gold Glove voting and he walks away with that award and the Silver Slugger.
3B--Pablo Sandoval really is a .345 hitter who wins the batting title. He finishes with more SBs (22) than BBs (16).
LF--Fred Lewis does everything right but is barely noticed because an .870 OPS (.290/.390/.490) just doesn't win the fans' hearts. His bunion re-surfaces in the off-season but an artificial toe takes care of the problem and he goes on to a great career as the best player you never remember.
CF--Aaron Rowand and Jeff Kent have a motorcycle accident just before spring training and Capt. Gamer is out for the season. Steady Randy Winn gives us the glove and veteran presence we need.
RF--Nate Schierholz refuses to talk to the media after being dissed on by every beat writer in the NL. He sets a team doubles record and is featured on webgems more than any other outfielder.
C--Bengie Molina demands a trade in mid-season after Buster Posey is called up. We get Eliezer Alfonzo back and he and the young Golden Spikes winner handle the backstop duties with aplomb until Alfonzo tests postive for steroids. Posey gets the job and plays 1,347 consecutive games in orange and black.