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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Early Spring Analysis

The Giants have looked sloppy through the first week of spring training, but there have been a some bright spots. Eugenio Velez and Freddy Lewis, two guys who are fighting for an opening day roster spot, have absolutely torn up the cactus league thus far. Lewis is leading the Giants with a .500 average, .700 slugging percentage and 4 rbi's through his first 4 games. Velez has been on base seven times, scored 6 runs and stolen 5 bases. Both of these players are out of options so they can no longer be sent to the minor leagues without first clearing waivers. It's a pretty safe bet that neither player would clear waivers, so it would be in the Giants best interest to have them on the team come March 31st in Los Angeles. Lewis has thoroughly outplayed Nate Schierholtz and Rajai Davis so far this spring, and if he keeps it up, it's likely that Schierholtz will start the year in Fresno as he still has an option year left. A couple young players who won't make the team right away but have stood out so far have been John Bowker and Travis Denker. Both are likely to start the year in Fresno, but they have definitely put themselves on the mind of Bruce Bochy and co. could be among the first big league call-ups as soon as someone gets injured or starts struggling. The cool part about having low expectations like the Giants look to have, is that you get to experiment with the younger players and see exactly who can play in the bigs and who doesn't quite belong.

While the Giants offense has been a pleasant surprise through the first games of the spring, the pitching, especially relief, and defense have been very inconsistent. The Giants have made ten errors through the first 4 games, but have also failed to make a lot of fairly routine plays that most big leaguer's make which haven't been counted as errors. Dan Ortmeier has been less than impressive at first base so far this spring, and Kevin Frandsen hasn't looked great at shortstop either. The outfield defense has been solid, but without Omar Vizquel and an MLB caliber defensive third basemen, the Giants infield defense is probably the worst in all of baseball.

As far as the bullpen goes, not many guys have thrown very well yet. Yes, it's still way too early to determine set spots, but if the season started tomorrow, the deserving 7 would be closer Brian Wilson, set-up man Tyler Walker, rh Brad Hennessey, rh Merkin Valdez, lh Steve Kline, lh Jack Taschner, and either lh Eric Threets or rh Vinny Chulk. Pat Misch also impressed in his outing this spring, but I'd rather keep Jonathon Sanchez and Misch starting in Fresno getting consistent work than in the bullpen with the Giants. Hennessey hasn't been very good this spring, but he's proven himself over the last few seasons so I'm not worried about him. Threets was very impressive in his only outing so far, and Merkin Valdez finally looks like he's settling in. I think that Vinny Chulk, Merkin Valdez should be in a battle for a spot, and the Giants shouldn't hesitate to go with Valdez if shows he deserves it. He's another guy who's out of options and likely wouldn't clear waivers without at least 1/3 the league looking to scoop him up.
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  • At 9:00 PM, Anonymous Scotsdalle Giant Fan said…

    Great game today. Velez is so fast, you can see how it bothers the opposing pitchers. I agree, he should be on the major league team. I like Schierholtz and Lewis about the same, but Lewis has outplayed him and you can't ignore numbers.

  • At 10:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Getting rid of Bonds will be best for them in the long run. Just get ready Giants fans, cause your team will probably suck for at least the next 2 seasons.

  • At 8:47 AM, Blogger Free Bet said…

    Online Casino

    i never got the steroid controversy...

  • At 12:48 PM, Anonymous Cornfed78 said…

    Better without Bonds...'nuff said.

  • At 3:38 PM, Anonymous NoodledueceSoccer said…

    Plenty of good thoughts in here...but what about messenger...is he even playing? I cant wait to see all these guys...just got my tickets to Giants @ Grizzlies on Mar 26!

    By the way Cornfed your right...Enough has been said about Bonds! We get it! Im not proud of being a Bonds fan but cancer he was and cancer free we are.

  • At 3:56 PM, Anonymous Agent0 said…

    I'm just wanting the real deal to start...Hoping the Giants get a lot of our young talent in the line-up this season and get them some experience for the future. Another great article Trecole!

  • At 1:40 AM, Anonymous Niteowl049 said…

    Eugenio Velez will bring some speed to the Giants having stolen 64 and 58 bases in his last two minor league seasons.

  • At 2:08 PM, Anonymous RollingWave said…

    A little skeptical of Velez, he's minor league numbers aren't that hot and he was hardly young for the league. can't hurt to try at this point though I guess

    Although ST # don't mean much. you'd be juuuuust a little worried by Zito and Lowry's outings so far.... particularly Lowry, who wasn't just knocked around... he couldn't find the target... at ALL. he walked 9 of the 12 guys he faced, including 2 bases loaded walks, 2 wild pitch, 2 MORE wild pitch that actually bounced right back to the catcher from the screen (so they didn't count as WP) and he even sailed a pickoff throw right into the seats....

    I mean it's one thing if your just getting knockced around... but that has the thing... written all over it.


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