Saturday, January 9, 2010

Run Prevention

That's what they call it in these sabermetric times--run prevention. We were good at it last year. No--we were very good. I expect we will be very good this year as well. (I've given up writing about run scoring--I expect we will NOT be very good at that.) Our Big Three of Lincecum, Cain, and JSanchez will, barring injuries, flukes, and Acts of Capricious Gods, be outstanding. There's enough depth and talent in the bullpen to keep things humming along in the late innings. But I can't help think of the other part of run prevention--fielding. (I hate saying "defense" in baseball.) What kind of a fielding club will we field in twenty-ten? Will FSanchez be an upgrade up the middle? Winn was a fine fielder, and I think we are lucky to have Olympic Nate to step into that spot. He seems like a fine fielder as well, and certainly has a killer arm. Rowand has good range and is competent as long as he doesn't have to make throws. Lewis scared the crap out of everyone last season but he was fast and athletic and was probably a net positive out there. Sandoval showed he could pick it at third, I expect he'll be able to pick it at first. Renteria is, well, older. Perhaps he can, uh, be, uh, healthier? Yeah, healthier. That's it. Uribe won't embarrass himself, he doesn't strike me as particularly impressive, but he's certainly capable of manning the infield. Ishikawa, as we know, is outstanding. But he plays first--only--and may not have the stick to stick around. We got DeRosa for his bat. I don't know what he looks like in the field. Like I said, we got him for his bat. (Tells you a lot about the ballclub, eh?) Posey will be an upgrade over Molina.

What say, mates? What kind of leather will the Giants flash in 2010?

UPDATE 0644 Monday: We sign Aubrey Huff to play 1B. I reckon that's our "lefty bat." Pablo stays at 3B, I presume. DeRosa will be our LF. Juan Uribe is insurance for Renteria (and FSanchez). Lifetime he has an .812 OPS (113 OPS+). He's 33 and this will be his 11th season and 5th club. I can live with one-year deals for guys like this "on the cheap." He had a .912 OPS in 2008 but a .694 OPS last year. Very Renterian, wouldn't you say? I suppose this means the end of Travis Ishikawa's tenure in orange and black.

16 comments:

Ron said...

Should we be excited about Aubrey Huff? Well, I've seen this guy hit the ball a long, long way back in the early part of the last decade. He hasn't been that player for a few years, but he's a more solid pick-up than someone like Russell Branyan would have been. Not quite as sexy as Carlos Delgado, but perhaps less of a gamble. I suppose that this was a decent signing.

M.C. O'Connor said...

It's not realistic to expect him to play anywhere but first base, so I suppose we'll see him there every day. Perhaps he'll sit vs. tough lefties. That'll give Ol' Boch something to do with the lineup card once a week.

Like I said, I can live with almost any stiff for a year and $3M. Funny, how is it that we had to give Renteria, FSanchez, and DeRosa so much fookin' money when they are just as average as Huff? Why couldn't we get them or their cheap-ass equivalent for a hell of a lot less? Then maybe we could have spent $$ on an actual bat.

Sorry. My resolution for the New Year is not to talk about hitting and run scoring. We are going to pitch so well that all that other stuff will be irrelevant.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Warning: cherry-picking!

2009 Huff: .241/.310/.384 in 597 PA.

2009 Ishikawa .261/.329/.387 in 363 PA.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Goddammit! I talked about hitting and run-scoring! Shit.

OK. Let's talk about fielding.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I didn't write it so I can stick to my pledge of not talking about hitting and run scoring.

BtB article re 2010 SFG lineup.

Required reading for RMC'ers.

Ron said...

Is this really our Starting Lineup, as projected by the Giants' web page? If so, it's a bit underwhelming. And, why would you bat DeRosa 2nd, if you acquired him for some power?:

Aaron Rowand, CF
Mark DeRosa, LF
Freddy Sanchez, 2B
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Aubrey Huff, 1B
Edgar Renteria, SS
Nate Schierholtz, RF
Buster Posey, C
Pitcher, P

However, I think it might make a bit more sense like this:

Aaron Rowand, CF
Freddy Sanchez, 2B
Mark DeRosa, LF
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Aubrey Huff, 1B
Nate Schierholtz, RF
Buster Posey, C
Edgar Renteria, SS
Pitcher, P

M.C. O'Connor said...

Do you think the "new" lineup will field better or worse than last year's squad? On a pitching-dependent team, that's an important question, isn't it?

Also: do you think Ishikawa will make the club as the late-inning defense-guy? Can we afford to carry a 1B-only glove man? And another lefty to boot?

Ron said...

First of all - call me naive - but, I am not 100% convinced that Ishikawa will lose the 1B job to Huff. I think that Ishikawa could blossom into a real ML hitter. Since Huff has some positional diversity (&, apparently, Ishikawa is being groomed for the same), it is conceivable that they can both make the team & contribute in multiple ways.

Now, if Ishikawa is truly hopeless at the plate, then, no, it makes no sense to carry a defensive replacement at a position as non-crucial as 1B.

If the starting lineup is as indicated above, we have downgraded our defense in exchange for a modest upgrade in offense. So, not a big overall improvement, if any.

Therefore, in order for things to pan out in a big way, Ishikawa must become studly (&, by studly, I mean minimum 20 HR, 75 RBI, .280 BA, & .340 OBP), relegating Huff to fill-in work at 1B, 3B, OF, & PH. That would be an offensive improvement, with status quo defensively.

alleykat said...

This overal starting LU just reeks of lack of speed.Gamer leading off is a joke.I would take a look at Nate leading off over Gamer anytime.Agree DeRosa should bat 3rd .Renteria 6th? No way.Posey needs to bat atleast 7th no worse or he will never get a pitch to hit.

Bob said...

There's no way Posey remains at #8 in the batting order. Okay, start the year with him there to minimize the pressure, but if Buster doesn't quickly earn his way into the heart of the order, then it might be a long year for him, and for those of us who can't wait for him to succeed.

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JC Parsons said...

This lineup is a BIG improvement and I'm surprised at the overall lack of any excitement. As the article that MOC linked points out this team will probably be close to average offensively, an improvement of about a half a run a game! Stop focusing on the silly veterans; they are no longer the heart and soul of this franchise. Focus on the ABSOLUTE thrill of getting to see Buster, Pablo and Nate lead our offense. Think Robby and Will!!! I predict very good things for next season.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Aubrey Huff is our first baseman. Get used to it. And it is the smart move, too. The idea that he would man LF is terrifying. (Whether Ishikawa has ML-potential at this point is moot. He's a backup on the 2010 SFG's at best.)

I'm excited by Posey. My excitemnent is tempered by the fact that the Giants have stated that he's not an ML-ready starter. Is this just obfuscation on their part or do they know something we don't or are they just blundering idiots?

Ron said...

Your last question was obviously rhetorical.

So, if Ishikawa hits .400 in Spring Training, & Huff hits .200, Huff is our starting 1B? This is an open competition, with Huff the current favorite.

As far as looking at the bright side, if Ishikawa wins the job, how bright is that??? I think that my preferred scenario is optimistic as all get out! Especially, because we only dished out $3M to get someone who is an improvement as a starter & useful as a multi-role player, too. Signing Adam LaRoche for $8.5M would have tied our hands - he would have had to start to justify the money & would have kept his job even with mediocre output.

Ishikawa/Huff is a win-win situation! I'm on schpilkas for the first time this off-season.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I'm serious about the Buster question--what's the deal? Why are the Giants afraid to commit publicly to Posey starting behind the plate?

The Giants spent all winter looking for a first baseman. I cannot seriously believe they think the job is "open." Besides, Sandoval plays first. So does Uribe. So does DeRosa. At what point do you have too many first basemen? (I really hope Huff is not used anywhere else.)

I am not a fan of making starting lineup decisions based on the tiny sample of PAs you get in Spring Training. I consider Spring Training to be "practice." If Ishi rakes in practice, does that really change our thinking about him? He raked at AAA (2008 Fresno, 1.107 OPS in 192 PA)--does that change the equation? Think of it this way--if Buster hits .200 in March do we send him to the minors? Or start Whiteside? No fecking way, mate. He's our guy, spring stats or not.

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