The black hole of death for the San Francisco Giants is located between second and third base. Oh, I've no doubt we'll hear lots of Spring Training stories about how Edgar Renteria "looks great" and is "fully recovered" or, the worst of all, "is in the best shape of his life." Let's just hope FSanchez gets healthy so we can slide Juan Uribe over to start those 6-4-3's. You can tell I'm not expecting much--a wRC+ of 68 and an OPS+ of 66 will do that to a fellow. Interestingly, Bill James and CHONE are more optimistic, with a .710-.718 OPS and a 92-93 wRC+ for 1.3 WAR. That would be an gi-normous upgrade for the 34-year old, and I suppose the odds are pretty good that he will creep back towards his career line (.288/.345/.401)--ZiPS thinks there is a 23% chance he'll hit .300! Of course, ZiPS also says Ryan Garko will be our 2nd best hitter and that Fred Lewis will match Mark DeRosa's production. (Those pencil-pushing Strat-O-Matic stat-geeks have obviously never played real baseball with real men, otherwise they'd know Veteran Savvy Clutchness when they saw it.)
Troy Tulowitzki is the class of the NL West. The Rockies have a genuine superstar in the making, and only Hanley Ramirez of the Marlins can deliver more with the bat. Tulo's .297/.377/.552 (134 OPS+) was good for 5.4 WAR. He projects as a 135 wRC+ and 6.4 WAR player for 2010. That's insanely valuable at shortstop. And he's only 25! The former 1st-round pick was the 7th player selected overall in 2005, behind the likes of Ryan Braun, Ryan Zimmerman, and Justin Upton. Arizona moved young Upton to right field (he was a SS in HS) because they had the previous year's 1st-round pick (#15), Florida State's Stephen Drew, to play short. The 27-year old had a bit of a drop-off last season, but still projects as 103 wRC+ and 2.8 WAR player. His OPS+ has varied wildly in three full seasons (71, 109, 89), so there is some uncertainty there. Still, it is nice to have a young buck with some pop (.445 career SLG, .175 ISO***). Young Everth Cabrera of the San Diego Padres ran out an impressive rookie line of .255/.342/.361 (98 OPS+) in 103 games. He's a little guy, 5-9 and 170, who is fast and lacks pop, and only projects as a 1.0 WAR (98-101 wRC+) player. The 22-year old Rule 5 pickup (from Colorado) filled a huge hole for them. Whether he can be a consistent ML-player remains to be seen.
Over in LA 32-year old Rafael Furcal held down the starting spot in 2009 and will most likely be the man in 2010. In 1300 games he sports a .284/.350/.408 line (96 OPS+), and still projects as a 3.0 WAR (99-100 wRC+) player. He was hurt in 2008 and is reaching that point where a decline is probably inevitable. It is a good thing the Dodgers are run by Ned Colletti, as their promising young prospect Chin-lung Hu probably won't get much of a chance. At least they HAVE a major league-ready guy if Furcal pulls a Renteria. Our depth chart still shows Kevin Frandsen on it, and our non-roster invitees don't quite look ready to contribute. We should keep an eye on the 20-year old Ehire Adrianza who will likely start the year in AA, and the 23-year old Brandon Crawford who will (I hope) get the bump to AAA despite a tough year (.659 OPS) in Connecticut.
We avoided arb with Brian Wilson. That's good. Let's hope we can get Tim's business done, too.
***ISO is "isolated power" and is simply slugging percentage minus batting average.