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Friday, October 03, 2008

2008 Season Review Part 1

There is way too much to cover in one post the whole season in review, so I'm going to break it into 3 parts; what went right, what went wrong, and what needs to be realistically changed. We'll get things started on a light note and talk about what went right this season.

The starting pitching, minus Barry Zito, was pretty darn good for the most part this year. Tim Lincecum very well could win the NL Cy Young Award in November and as highly touted as he was, I don't think anybody, including myself, expected this kind of dominance, this quick. The Giants won 72 games this season and Lincecum got 18 of those, that in itself shows how well he threw this year. Then there was the 2.62 era, 265 strikeouts and .221 baa in 227 innings. The Giants other young righty wasn't bad himself, though he could have been better. Matt Cain was a little inconsistent at times, but overall, pitched pretty well, again, without much run support. He once again lost more than he won, but sported a respectable era, and was again amongst the NL league leaders in strikeouts. And Finally, the breakout performer, Jonathan Sanchez. Due to a to a tired arm from throwing so many innings for the first time in his career, he definitely struggled as the season wore on and had to be DL'd at one point. However, Before the break, Sanchez was 8-5 with a 3.97 era and 115 k's in 111 innings. His emergence made the loss of Noah Lowry a little less painful.

In the Bullpen, Brian Wilson, Alex Hinshaw, Sergio Romo and (if he can get healthy) Merkin Valdez all emerged as guys to build around. The Giants look to have finally solved their closer fiasco with Brian Wilson. Not that Wilson had the best year, his 4.62 era and 1.44 whip need to come down next year, but his 41 saves and ability to overpower batters gave Giants' fans glimpses of a young Robb Nen and earned himself a spot on the NL All-Star team. Valdez showed he has closer stuff as well, but only got to throw 16 innings before hurting his elbow and ending his season. Take one bad game in Coors Field away from Romo and his era is in the low 1's; that's how well he threw in his 31 innings. Put that strong era along with 33 strikeouts and only 8 walks and he looks like a strong right handed set-up candidate heading into next year. Hinshaw took over as the Giants primary late inning lefty and he thrived in that role. The pen will need a little bit of work over the winter, but overall, the future there is looking good.

As far as positional players go, it was all about the youngsters. Especially Pablo Sandoval and Fred Lewis. Sandoval dominated the minor leagues for 4 months, then came up and did the same in the bigs. The 22 year-old ended the year at .345 with 3 home runs and 24 RBI in just 141 at-bats. With Bengie Molina under contract for another year, Brian Sabean has stated the plan at this point is to have Sandoval penciled in as the everyday 1st basemen heading into 2009. He also showed the ability to play third base decently as well, so don't be surprised to see him get some time there if other options become available at first. Jon Bowker (.255 10 hr, 45 RBI, 326 ab's) could be in the mix at first if he can improve his plate discipline a bit. Travis Ishikawa should also be on the the 25-man roster and played well in September. Another infielder, Emmanuel Burris, became the Giants everyday shortstop in August and established himself very well both offensively (.283, 37 runs, 13 steals in 240 at-bats) and defensively. Not bad for a 23 year-old shortstop who hadn't even played above double-A before this season. Fred Lewis made an otherwise boring outfield relatively fun to watch. His numbers (.282, 9 hr's, 91 runs, 21 steals in 468 ab's) don't stick out at you big time, but if you watched this team throughout the season you know how consistent he played and how much he improved this year from last. As far as the veterans go, Bengie Molina was rock solid once again behind the plate (.292, 16, 95) and Randy Winn started playing better towards the end of the year, although Nate Schierholtz has clearly become a better option in right field heading into next season (at least vs. righties).
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4 Comments:

  • At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Manny Stiles said…

    Maybe they're sending Burriss to AFL to showcase him for a trade?

     
  • At 7:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Good read. I am looking forward to next year, but this team probably won't be any good until Posey is a contributor and Zito is gone.

     
  • At 12:13 AM, Anonymous Kelsdad said…

    Makes one wonder if the Yanks are sending Phil Hughes, and the Red Sox Clay Buchholz for the same reason.....

     
  • At 12:22 AM, Anonymous Manny Stiles said…

    Based on my observations: AFL games, practices and a small bit of 2008 Spring Training... I like Burris MORE than Velez as a hitter. And KD will tell you how much I like Velez.

    Both are second rate players, neither will ever be an All-Star and they're bound to be roster fodder and backups but I won't knock either of them because they're fast emephers, decent enough with the glove (Velez has better footwork and a softer glove but Burriss' arm is much better) and Burriss DEFINITELY has a good work ethic.

    Another compliment to Burriss is that he is a fellow "Manny"...

    Seriously though, Velez was an "eye catcher" with his speed and surprising bat pop for a human stick figure. I would still rate Burriss higher at either 2B or SS. Burriss would make a hell of a 4th/5th outfielder/pinch runner type as well...

    Utility men!!!

    Keep this in mind, KD... Burriss stole Playing Time from the highly touted Reid Brignac and it wasn't all bat related because Brignac was DHing (which is why he still led the AFL in PAs last year) when Burriss was leading off and playing SS... Burriss played well after a slow start and outperformed Velez by November.

    I like Burriss. He's a back-up type but on the right squad, he's an adequate starter. I can name at least 50 Shortstops in the past 25 years that were every day starters that I'd take Manny Burriss over EVERY DAY of the week...
    It's easy to knock him, but it's not neccessary.

     

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