Home  |  Contact Us  |  @GiantsBlogger Twitter  |  Giants Blog Instagram  |  GBB Facebook 

Monday, June 30, 2008

First Half Review

We are about to hit July and the season is officially halfway over. I thought now would be a good time to do a mid-season review on the first half of the season.

THE GOOD: Tim Lincecum was the subject of trade talks over the winter, but the Giants eventually took him off the table and it was definitely the right thing to do. The 24 year-old right hander has been borderline dominant over the season's first 12 weeks as he sits at 9-1 with a 2.38 era and 114 k's in 109 innings. He's almost guaranteed to make his first All-Star team in couple of weeks and there is a decent chance he could start the game for the national league. The Giants' new closer, Brian Wilson, has also stepped up big time this year and has cemented himself into the Giants closer role, a role he may fill for them well into the next decade. As far as the position players go, nobody is having a real standout year. Fred Lewis has had a nice first half as full-time player for the first time. Lewis quietly leads the team in OPS, runs score and stolen bases all while playing a much improved left field. Aaron Rowand, Bengie Molina and Randy Winn haven't been too bad either.

THE BAD: The Giants are still 10 games below .500 at the un-official halfway mark and a big reason for that is Barry Zito's struggles. The 126 million dollar man has gone 3-11 over the first half while sporting an era over 6 for most of that time. He has been throwing a lot better as of late and his era is dropping a bit, but you can't help but think of where the Giants would be had he been just average over those first 2 months of the season. The team has also been bitten by the injury bug as Noah Lowry (originally slated as the teams #3 coming into the year) has been on the shelf all year and likely won't pitch again until 2009. Omar Vizquel missed the first 6 weeks of the season and he hasn't really been a factor since his return. He's hitting .156 in 122 at bats and while he still plays an above average shortstop, it looks like 2008 will be the last go round for the future hall-of-famer.

THE SURPRISES: There are two guys who have played a much bigger role for this team this season than I think anyone anticipated and those two guys are Jonathan Sanchez and Jon Bowker. Sanchez has finally harnessed that talented left-arm of his and is starting to string up good starts one after another. He probably wouldn't even have had a shot to start had Lowry been healthy to start the year so while having Lowry out for the year hurts, the finding of Jonathan Sanchez makes it a little easier to handle. Sanchez is 8-4 with 102 strikeouts over 102 innings while sporting a 3.79 era. Jon Bowker has been the Giants' rookie of the year so far as he has 8 home runs (tied for team lead) and 35 RBI (3rd on team) for them while playing only about 70 percent of the time. He's starting to earn pt against southpaws though and is probably in line for 300+ at-bats in the second half.

SECOND HALF PREVIEW: The Giants will enter the second half of the year within striking distance of the first place Diamondbacks. I don't expect to see the Giants win the division or even be serious contenders come September, but the NL West is not very strong this year. If Barry Zito pitches more like he did in June rather than April and May, the Giants will be better in the second half than they were in the first. I would like to see the Giants approach the second half as sellers and actively try and deal away some of the veterans who could be desirable to other teams (Winn, Ray Durham, Rich Aurilia, Dave Roberts etc...) but I don't really see that happening. Look for the Giants to hover around the 10 game-below .500 mark for much of the second half, just as they did the first. I don't think they're going to loose 100 games like I thought in April, and it's starting to look like a 75-80 win year isn't too far fetched.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Zito Dominates

Barry Zito had arguably his best start of the season for the Giants on Wednesday going 6 2/3 innings giving up only 1 run on 4 hits with 4 k's and no walks. The big stat here was the zero walks allowed. It was the first start all season in which Zito didn't allow a runner via base on balls and the result was nearly 7 shut-out innings. The win moved the Giants within 5.5 games of the first place D-Backs and with the Backs idle tonight, the Giants can move to within 5 with a win in Cleveland. Not that I expect the Giants to make a serious move in the division, and I fully expect to see the Dodgers and D-Backs start playing better in the second half but we've all seen crazier things. You'd think the D-Backs rotation alone wouldn't allow them to struggle like this, but Randy Johnson and Doug Davis aren't that great while Brandon Webb and Micah Owings have been average or below over the last month. The Dodgers have been nailed with injuries, so I really do think it's only a matter of time before they get back on track, but even when they do, they aren't a powerhouse. This division is still wide open, and even though I still see the Giants finishing 4th or 5th, things could be relatively close for a while, especially if Zito can keep turning in performances like he did last night.

One Giant who continues to be steady, yet un-spectacular is Jonathon Bowker. The rookie right fielder turned first basemen has handled the change admirably while still providing some punch at the plate. He's quietly tied for the team lead with 8 home runs and is 3rd with 33 RBI and he didn't start the year with the Giants, or hasn't really been an everyday player. You project that out and he's on pace for 20 home runs and 75 RBI if he gets 300 at-bats in the second half. Not great by any means, but for a Giants organization that hasn't produced a hitter with plus power since Matt Williams, it's a nice start. One of the main goals of this rebuilding season is finding out which "bubble" prospects can play and which can't. So far, it looks like Bowker can stick in some capacity, now he should have the whole second half of the year to prove if he can handle the everyday job. So far, it looks like the Giants have found keepers in Fred Lewis and Brian Wilson, Bowker isn't quite there, but he's close.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Monday, June 23, 2008

Notes: Lincecum Looks Human

It took over 2 1/2 months, but Tim Lincecum finally turned in a rough outing Sunday, his first of the season. He made his first "non" quality start of the year last week vs. the Detroit Tigers, but was still effective enough to go 7+ innings and allow the Giants to get the victory. He only lasted 5 innings Sunday, and although he had 8 strikeouts over the 5 innings, he allowed too many big hits with runners on base. The "Franchise" has now raised his era from a ridiculous 1.99 to 2.54. He's still in line to make the NL all-star squad, but what little chance he had of starting the game for the NL appears to be diminishing after his last 2 outings, coupled with the fact that Edison Volquez just won't slow down. I think it's probably in the Giants best interest that Lincecum doesn't start that game. It seems like every time a young pitcher goes out and starts an all-star game, it's not out of the ordinary for injuries or ineffectiveness to take hold after the game. As a matter of fact, I would love Lincecum to be named to the squad and not throw a single pitch for the National League.

The other two potential Giants' representatives for the all-star game this July seem to be fading just as fast as the team. Bengie Molina and Aaron Rowand have seen their averages drop nearly 30 points over the last few weeks. Molina should still get a spot, but Brian McCann and Russel Martin are starting to pick up their game so the NL will have to carry 3 catchers in order for Bengie to get in. He still leads all of baseball in RBI for catchers. Rowand had been leading all big league outfielders in batting average through most of May and early June, but he's gone 9-49 with no home runs and 3 RBI over his last 10 games. Even though he probably isn't looking at this 2nd consecutive all-star appearance, the Giants can't complain on what the 30 year-old outfielder has done for them through his first 3 months with the club. Nobody expected Rowand to be an all-star offensive player, but he's been solid with the bat and in the field as well as taking over the clubhouse as one of the Giants' un-official team leaders. Is he worth 12 million dollars a year? Probably not, but I'd rather have him on my team being a little overpaid, than have Dave Roberts and Clay Timpner manning center field for this team.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Friday, June 20, 2008

Zito, Giants Looking Into Peterson

The Giants have recently shown interest in fired Mets' pitching coach, Rick Peterson, the same pitching coach that helped Barry Zito during his most successful seasons in Oakland. The team has apparently inquired about bringing Peterson aboard as someone who may be able to give Barry Zito some pointers as he tries to break out of his season long slump. Zito has been the cog holding back the rotation all year long. Tim Lincecum has been Cy Young like while Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez have been very effective. Even the number 5 guy, Kevin Corriea is back and pitching solidly. I don't see any reason why the Giants shouldn't be trying anything in their power to right Zito, so hiring Peterson would be a good step in that direction in my opinion. The Mets were one of the other teams in pursuit of Zito back when the Giants signed him in December 2006 while Peterson was still with the club. I don't expect Peterson to work magic with Zito, but he was way more effective pitching in Oakland under Peterson than he has been pitching in San Francisco under Dave Righetti. Nothing has been made official as far as bringing Peterson aboard to the coaching staff, but it wouldn't surprise me if he starts working with his old protege in the coming weeks now that he's no longer with the Mets. Another possibility for fixing Zito that hasn't been bandied about as much is putting the lefty under the knife for Tommy John surgery. Much of Zito's struggles over the last 1 1/2 years have been due to lack of velocity on his fastball. TJ surgery could possibly bring life back to his fastball, although it would be a pretty big risk to take with a guy who's still owed nearly 100 million dollars over the next 5 years.

The Giants actually made an interesting move about a week ago, one that I have yet to comment about here at the Giants Baseball Blog. After the amateur draft, the Giants signed Dominican born outfielder, Rafael Rodriguez. Rodriguez doesn't turn 16 until July 13th, so nothing will be made official until then, but this move mirrors the one they made with Angel Villalona a couple years back. They supposedly have agreed to give the youngster a 2.5 million dollar signing bonus as he's considered one of the better talents in the Dominican Republic at age 15. Like Villalona, it's going to be a long journey to the big leagues for the teenager, but he is certainly another name to keep an eye on as he'll likely crack the Giants top prospect list in 2009. I don't know much about Rodirguez, but apparently he's got 5 tool talent. Even if he doesn't end up being the next Miguel Cabrera, it's good to see the Giants change their philosophy and start investing money into their farm system for a change.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Monday, June 16, 2008

Home Woes Continue

The Giants now sit alone as the team with the worst home record in baseball as their early June surge has died out here in the middle of the month. If they were just a .500 home team, they would be within a game or two of the first place D-Backs. After their last road trip, the team looked like it was making some progress, but they got home to AT&T Park and got swept by their cross-bay rival, Oakland Athletics. They have now lost their last 5 series' at home The bats once again went into hibernation for the three game set against Oakland as they couldn't come up with any clutch hits and only scored 4 runs in the series. They now site at 13-22 at home for the year and after getting within 5 games of the first place D-Backs, the Giants are once again 7 back and 10 games below .500. One positive was getting Kevin Corriea back into the rotation. Although he didn't pitch particularly well in his first start since returning from the disabled list, I am expecting good things from KC from here on out. He gave up 5 runs over 5 1/3 innings, but was pitching brilliantly until giving up some runs in 6th inning. Getting Corriea back also pushed Misch down to Fresno which is good thing. Misch has looked a little out of his element since he was called up back in May and hopefully he gets right down in Fresno.

Contrary to Misch, Emmanuel Burris has not looked out of his element in the bigs so far and he's getting more and more playing time. The speedy shortstop continues to be an offensive force as he's reached base in all but 2 of the games he's started this year. He's hitting .296 with 13 runs and 6 stolen bags. Him and Omar Vizquel have had roughly the same number of at-bats and Burris production has blown Omar's out of the water so far. I like Omar as much as anyone, and even when he's not hitting, he's still fun to watch master the shortstop position but he's 41 years-old and he's starting to show his age. He hasn't had a multi-hit game since May 21st and he just isn't much of a factor at the plate anymore. Burris is earning at least a 50-50 share in PT, if not more, with the way he's played in part time duty. I'm not sure that Burris is the answer at shortstop going forward into the future with this club, but right now, he's their best option. I would really like to see Bochy start fielding a lineup that features the younger players playing together, something like this:

LF Fred Lewis
SS Manny Burris
CF Aaron Rowand
C Bengie Molina
1B Jon Bowker
RF Brian Horwitz
2B Travis Denker
3B Jose Castillo
The Giants Baseball Blog

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Giants Within 6

1The Giants most recent surge of winning baseball has moved them within 6 games of the first place Arizona Diamondbacks. If you would have told me the Giants would have only been a handful of games out of first come mid-season, I would have laughed at you, but here we are, in mid-June, and the Giants are making a little bit of noise. Most of the reason the Giants have moved back within striking distance is because of the way the Diamondbacks and Dodgers have been struggling this month. However, you can't take away the fact that the Giants are 6-3 in June and playing better than they have all season long. No, they aren't going to be making any playoff push, or even finish at .500, but you have to like the way the team has played over the last few weeks if you a Giants fan. They've gotten terrific starting pitching over the last 10 days as well as some clutch hitting by some of their most recent call-ups. Travis Denker and Brian Horwitz are the 2 latest Fresnoians to be brought up to the big league squad and both have been hammering the ball ever since. In 14 at-bats, Horwitz already has 2 home runs and 5 rbi to go along with a .429 average. He's had limited at-bats, but has really been impressive in those few he's gotten. Denker is also looking like a bat to keep an eye on as he's 7-22 with 5 extra base hits since his promotion and starting to earn some time at second base. Denker is a very intriguing kid becuase he's only 22 years-old and had never really played much above A ball until this season. He kind of has some Marcus Giles in him as he's only a 5'9" second basemen, but can drive the baseball like he's 6'4".

It hasn't been all positives in San Francisco since the calender turned to June though. While one young arm, Kevin Corriea, is headed back to San Francisco and ready to make his start June 15th, another one looks like he'll be shelved for the year. It was reported last week that Noah Lowry is likely looking at a season long recovery from his strained elbow and probably won't pitch in 2008 at all. Lowry is still holding out optimism that he'll be able to start working again in July and be ready by late July or early August, but it doesn't look too probable at this point. I think it would be wise to take it slow with Lowry. The Giants aren't going to be challenging for any playoff spot this season and unless he's %100 healthy, he should take the year off. I was looking forward to seeing this strong pitching staff at full strength, but I guess we'll have to wait until next year. Getting Corriea back however, will be a huge shot in the arm for the staff. Every starter has been throwing the ball well recently except for Pat Misch and Corriea's arrival will bump him out of the rotation and likely back to Fresno.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Monday, June 09, 2008

Draft Interview

After the draft, I had a chance to talk to the writer at thecollegebaseballblog.com, Brian Foley, and ask him a couple questions regarding the Giants' draft:

Q: What are your thoughts on Buster Posey? Did he go lower than you expected?

A: I know several places around the Internet predicated that Posey would go first overall to the Devil Rays but I never saw Posey as dominate to be the first overall pick. I think Posey is going to be a 12-14 year MLB player with a .275 avg and 15 homers.

Q: Many Giants fans wanted the team to draft a big time power hitter like Justin Smoak or Yonder Alonso. Gordon Beckham was another guy who was on Giants radar as well. Do you think Posey will end up being a better major league hitter than those guys?

A: Justin Smoak is the best player that was drafted. In my opinion, He is the next Mark Textiera with his switch hitting ability and he also hits for power from both sides of the plate. He is a very good defensive first baseman who could possibly win a gold glove at the next level.

Beckham has many doubters on whether he can stay at short at the next level and his swing tends to be long so he will have to shorten that up to become a great MLB player but there is some potential.

Alonso to me looks like a AL DH and needs to continue to become more fit to play the field everyday.

Q: Talk a little bit about Connor Gillaspie. A lot of scouts had him going higher than he did. Was it only the lack of power that made him drop so far?

A: Gillaspie led the Cape Cod League in hitting last summer and picked up the MVP award down there so I don't know why people let his stock drop off so much. He just wasn't that dominate this past season for the Shockers.

Q: The Giants are obviously hoping to fast-rack their top two picks. How soon do you expect to see Gillaspie and Posey playing at AT&T Park?

A: I expect Posey to be on the Giants roster at the beginning of the 2012 season as he is still learning the catching position and has never called his own game. Gillaspie should be called up in the summer of 2011 and be an instant contributor.

Q: Looking at the list of Giants draftees, who jumps out at you besides Posey and Gillaspie as a name that Giants fans will become familiar with over the next couple of years?

A: I think Erik Surkamp will be an excellent addition to the Giants minor league system. He was expected to be the number 1 for the NC State Wolfpack staff this year but faced some injuries and lost his spot. He was the number 1 for the Pack during his sophomore year which led him to be selected to participate on the USA National Team last summer which took part in the Pan-Am Games.

Q: I really liked the Brandon Crawford and Roger Kieshnick picks in the 3rd and 4th rounds. What do you expect to see out of those two?

A: Kieshnick did nothing all year with the Texas Tech Red Raiders and was a disappointment as the Red Raiders failed to make the Big 12 tourney. Crawford has been about potential during his career with UCLA as he only hit .302 this season. He had some problems with woodbats last summer in the Cape Cod League with a .189 average with four homers in 36 games. He was rated as one of the top 30 prospects in the league though.

Q: The Giants definitely focused on offense early in the draft. Who are a couple of pitchers that they picked who intrigue you the most?

A: Jason Jarvis who was kicked off the Arizona State team would have been a Top 3-4 round pick but slipped to the 687th overall pick. I just love the kid's competitiveness and it should translate to him being a cog in the bullpen for the Giants. Scott Barnes out of St. John's had a great season with the Red Storm where he went 7-3 and held opponents to a .216 average.

Q: How do you grade the Giants 2008 draft?

A: Baseball scouting is always tough to grade because the attrition rate is so low in MLB. The Giants had a very good draft grabbing some diamond in the rough but the question will be whether or not they want to dish out the 12 million for Buster.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Friday, June 06, 2008

Giants Go Offensive In Draft

The Giants 2008 draft could end up being one of the better ones in the club's last few decades. The Giants got two premium collegiate bats with their first two picks, then stole a few more potential first rounders with their 3rd and 4th choices. All the talk around draft day though surrounded NCAA Player of the Year and All-American catcher, Gerard "Buster" Posey out of Florida State. Posey was arguably the best all-around player in the draft and if it weren't for his high signing bonus demand ($12 million), some feel he would have been the number 1 overall pick by the Tampa Bay Rays. I have had a chance to watch Posey play a few games and watch some video on him and he looks as good, if not better than advertised. The day after getting picked 5th overall, he hit a majestic, 420+ foot shot against Wichita State in the NCAA Regionals. He kind of reminds me of the Derick Jeter of catchers as he looks like he can do everything well and is comfortable as a leader of a team. Scouts project him as a .300+ hitter in the bigs with exceptional defense, 15-20 home run power and a solid, clutch run-producer. I think he'll be a step above Joe Mauer with a little more power. He's second in college baseball in home runs and first in batting average and RBI, so I don't really understand the mediocre power projections. In a perfect world, I would have loved to get a shot at Pedro Alvarez, but Posey and Justin Smoak were right there after Alvarez in my book. Another positive about Posey is how polished he is at and behind the plate already. He could be playing a major role with the team as early as 2009.

The Giants didn't stop with Posey as far as drafting hitters on day 1. They also grabbed Bill Mueller-clone Connor Gillaspie with pick number 37 in the supplemental round. He's another advanced college bat that was projected to go as high is the middle first round, but apparently teams were a little concerned about his lack of power. Gillaspie won MVP of the Cape Cod league last summer so he seems like he's comfortable hitting with the wood bat as well. Scouts have him as a good bet to hit .300 in the bigs' with extra-base power. He's ranked as an average defender with a solid arm but is known as a hard-nosed, all-out player. He's another guy that could be making noise in San Francisco as early as the 2009 season. Gillaspie also has the flexibility to play second base and could end up there depending on what happens with Giants number 1 prospect Angel Villalona.

The Giants grabbed two more positional players and couple arms to round out the first day of drafting. They grabbed left-handed, power hitting right fielder, Roger Keischnick out of Texas Tech in round 3 and Bay Area native Brandon Crawford from UCLA in the 4th. Keischnick is an interesting pick because of his power potential. He's got the raw power potential to hit 30+ homers a year in the major leagues if he can fine tune some hitches in his swing. He's also got some speed and a very strong arm in right field. Some scouts had him as a late first round possibility so for the Giants to nab him in the 3rd round is a very good pick. Crawford also was a guy that could have gone higher than he did. In fact, if Crawford would have entered last years draft, he probably would have went a little higher. A tough summer in the Cape Cod league destroyed some of his confidence and he hasn't been the same hitter since. His glove at this point is more pro-ready than his bat is, but the Giants are expecting him to rebound offensively. He's a big shortstop (6'2", 200 pounds) but is still fluid defensively. If he can fill out his offensive potential, he will end up being a steal in the 4th.

The only pitchers the Giants ended up grabbing on day 1 were right handed reliever Edwin Quirarte (Cal St. Northridge) and left-handed starter Erick Surkamp from North Carolina State. I don't know much about either of them besides some video. Quirarte looks like he's got a nice right-handed power arm and a compact motion. He throws between 92-95 with a good hard split. He projects out to be a middle/late reliever. Surkamp is a big lefty (6'5") with a deceptive fastball and a plus curveball. Another intriguing young arm who came in round number 10 is bay area prep star and 2007 All-American, Ryan O'Sullivan. The 17 year-old is most likely headed for San Diego State, but if the Giants can sign him, he'd have the biggest upside of any other pitcher selected by the club. If he wasn't committed to going to school, he could have went in the top 5 rounds.

*More Draft Coverage To Come*
The Giants Baseball Blog

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Minor League Report

In April, most the hype around the Giants farm system surrounded the Giants High A affiliate in San Jose. This month the spotlight has to be on Madison Bumgarner. The month that Bumgarner put together in low-A Augusta has to have Giants fans optimistic about the young lefty's future. Bumgarner followed up a mediocre April by going 3-0 in May with 34 strikeouts and 23 hits allowed in 29.1 innings pitched. He only allowed 2 earned runs in May which led to a 0.23 era as well. Now sitting at 5-2 with a cool 2.10 era, Bumgarner is starting to look worthy of the number 10 pick he was taken at last June. The Giants aren't going to rush Bumgarner, so even if he continues to dominate the way he has over the last 5 weeks, don't expect to see him make any advancements any time soon. As for the other 2007 top draftees, Nick Noonan has been the best at the plate hitting .275 with 3 home runs and 27 rbi. Wendall Fairley was the draft pick with the most offensive upside but the outfielder is still recovering from injuries and hasn't been cleared to start his professional career quite yet.

The San Jose Giants continue to be the organization's best minor league team. Pablo Sandoval was carrying them with the bat and their starting pitching was brilliant during the month of April and May was much of the same. Sandoval, who hit over .420 last month, cooled off a bit but is still hitting .372 with 10 home runs and 46 rbi. The pitching staff has stayed rock solid led by 22 year-old Ben Snyder and 19 year-old Tim Alderson. Snyder has had only one bad start all year and looks destined for a promotion to AA Connecticut any time now. Alderson, one of the Giants first rounders from last years draft, had his best start as a pro in his last outing May 31st in which he went a career high 7 innings while allowing 3 hits and 1 run with no walks and 8 strikeouts. 22 year-old Henry Sosa, another top ten prospect, made his 2008 debut in late May with San Jose and looks good. Sosa should be moved up as soon as he shows he healthy and ready to pitch 5-6 innings a start.

Up in Fresno, the Giants have a few familiar faces playing very well. Eugenio Velez was sent down from the big league squad in early May and apparently he wasn't too happy about it as he's been on an absolute tear ever since. He's hitting .388 with 2 home runs, 7 rbi and 5 stolen bases in 12 games. Another recent demotion, Brad Hennessey, has also stepped up his game since his send-down. Hennessey has been used as a starter in Fresno and there's been whispers that the Giants are doing that in order to market Henny for a possible trade. The only Giants' prospect who hasn't gotten a shot in '08 is Nate Schierholtz. Nate continues to do what he does keeping his .300 average with a some pop (8 home runs) and a little speed (8 stolen bases). Giants fans keep wondering why other guys (Jon Bowker, Brian Horwitz) keep getting called up before Schierholtz but the Giants want Schierholtz playing everyday and the only place he's guaranteed to do that is in Fresno. He's not going to stay down there all year long, but at this point, with the Giants outfielders playing well, there really is no spot for him.
The Giants Baseball Blog

Monday, June 02, 2008

Lincecum and Lewis Beat Padres

The Giants sea saw season continued over the home stand as they keep beating the good teams and losing to the weaker teams. After sweeping the Diamondbacks, the Giants lost 2 straight to San Diego and barely avoided getting swept by a team that they should beat. Fred Lewis' pinch hit triple off the deteriorating Trevor Hoffman, and another stellar outing from Tim Lincecum helped the Giants Sunday as the Giants' brightest young arm and bat continue to have a successful 2008 season. It was good to see Lewis get his stroke back with the 420 foot triple to the deepest part of the ballpark. Lewis struggled a bit in May hitting only .204 and got on base at a .282 clip after hitting .341 with a .423 OBP in April. Obviously Lewis is not as good as he showed in April, but he's not as bad as he showed in May either. I would expect him to be somewhere in the middle. One thing Bochy should consider is swapping Lewis and Randy Winn in the batting order. There are some inside the organization that think Fred Lewis could be more valuable in a run producing spot in the batting order. I would like to see him hit 3rd in this lineup with Winn leading off for a few weeks to see how he responds to hitting in the middle of the order. Once again, this is the season to experiment.

Tim Lincecum continues to put together an incredible first half. Timmy has yet to start a game without finishing at least 6 innings and allowing 3 runs or less. In other words, he's had "quality starts" every single time he's taken the mound this season. A lot of people worry about how Lincecum's relatively small frame will hold up over the course of the 6 month season, but at this point, he's well on his way to the 200 innings pitched mark and as of June 2nd, he hasn't lost a mile off the fastball or an inch of the breaking ball. If Lincecum isn't in New York in mid-July representing the National League all-star team, it would be a shame. There are a lot of pitchers having solid seasons, but Lincecum is in the top 5 in all major categories including 2nd in strikeouts and era. I don't think anyone is real surprised at how well he's doing, but I'll admit I didn't expect him to be this dominant, this early. His projections for this season heading into June are now: 19-3, 221 strikeouts, 218 innings pitched and a 1.21 whip all going along with a sparkling 2.23 era. Imagine what he could be doing if he wasn't walking 4 batters per 9 innings? While I think 15 wins, and a low 3 era are more realistic, Lincecum has arrived and should already be considered amongst the NL's elite arms.
The Giants Baseball Blog