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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Spring Notes: Bumgarner, Vogelsong, Zito

Full-squad workouts are in full-swing down in Scottsdale, and baseball fever is starting to strike throughout the Bay Area as people finally transfer over from 49ers mania, back to the boys of summer.

We'll start by finishing off our player previews and do the last 3 pitchers of the starting rotation in the post. Since full-squad's have begun, I wanted to expand on our spring notes section, so the player previews may not be as long as they've been, but here we go:

3) Madison Bumgarner, LHP: The sometimes overlooked horse in the Giants staff could wind up being the best of the three. Yeah, I said it. The reason why is based on pure age alone. Bumgarner is already established at age 22, while Timmy didn't really breakthrough until he was 24-25. Cain came into the league at a young age too, but not quite as young as Bumgarner and Maddy is growing by the day. After that horrid performance vs. the Twins in June last year, Madison has turned in ace-like numbers. He's now legit, has no questions about his stuff or guts and he gives the Giants 3 possible aces if he keeps growing in 2012 like he did in '11!

2012 Prediction: 33 starts, 2.75 ERA, 17-11, 212 IP, 203 K's, 201 hits, 58 BB's, 1.22 WHIP, .237 BAA

4) Ryan Vogelsong, RHP: Every body's eyes will be on the 2011 success story, early and often, to ensure 2011 was indeed the norm and not an anomaly. The 34 year-old hasn't started out in spring the way he would have liked, with a strained back sidelining him until early March, but I for one, don't think last season was a fluke. He may not post a ridiculous 2.02 first half era again, but as long as he comes relevantly close to his 2011 self, he'll be a fine 4th starter and help give the Giants one of the best top-4 starters in all of baseball. As long as he can keep that back right and give the Giants 190-210 innings, the numbers should be there.

2012 Predictions: 31 starts, 3.36 ERA, 13-8, 184 IP, 157 K's, 184 hits, 65 BB's, 1.29 WHIP, .258 BAA

5) Barry Zito, LHP: And rounding out our starting rotation is the one wild card in the Giants rotation. Barry Zito has yet to live up to his ridiculously large contract the Giants gave him in 2007 and he's only got 2 more years to do so. Unfortunately, I don't see a whole lot changing in 2012. I know he's worked his tail off this winter and is in very good shape, something he probably drifted from after landing that huge deal. That could play a difference, and I can't wait to see him throw this spring! And on the update, after seeing him throw this spring, I'm running low on hope for Mr. Zito, as shown in my prediction for his 2012 season in which I don't think he finishes in the rotation (at least the Giants' rotation).

2012 Prediction: 22 starts, 5.12 ERA, 5-11, 127 IP, 82 K's, 153 hits, 58 BB's, 1.58 WHIP, .292 BAA
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Spring Notes: With full squad workouts up and running, there are a few tidbits I wanted to discuss today, starting off with Mr. Freddy Sanchez. I was weary all offseason about this guys long-term health and he's the only position player yet to take part in workouts. Even Buster Posey, who had his leg snapped practically in half is out catching while Freddy Sanchez is barely throwing from 90 feet! Not luckily, the Giants did grab some insurance late in Ryan Theriot who should be a decent fill-in if Sanchez needs to miss some time, but he certainly wasn't my first choice and I saw this coming from a mile away. The Giants should have made it a priority to get a premium utility guy, a Jerry Hairston Jr. or someone who you wouldn't be afraid to hand an everyday job to. Theriot's a nice player but his role with this team should be to focus on shortstop only, and 2nd base as a secondary position. Now, it looks as if either he or Mike Fontetnot will go through most of the Cactus League at 2nd, which does not bode well for Crawford and Sanchez's double-play compatibility, pop-up coverage, cut-offs and numerous other tedious things that players go through early in spring. Bruce Bochy is already planning to play much of the Cactus League without his 2nd basemen and said he could move Melky Cabrera into the 2nd spot in the lineup. I don't mind that move, but if Theriot is indeed the 2nd basemen on opening day, I'd think about hitting him 2nd and keeping Cabrera down in a run-producing spot.

Brings me to my next topic, the good that's gone on in Giants camp. Watching Buster Posey early on, you wouldn't even know he suffered that brutal injury last season. He and Panda have put on tremendous displays in batting practice and I for one, cannot wait to see this tandem together at full-strength. Remember, Sandoval was over-weight and out of shape in 2010 so he didn't play every day and wasn't an impact player. Posey was that year, but in 2011, Sandoval got it in gear just after Posey went down with that season-ender. These guys may not be the Jose Canseco and Mark McGuire of the 80's, but the Giants are hoping they become their own version of the "Bash Brothers" and a motivated Panda and healthy Posey make that a certain possibility. But the key for the Giants this year will be the guys around those two. We know what Buster is, we know what Pablo can be (his legs look a little chunky here in this pic took yesterday, hopefully he's in good shape), but which Aubrey Huff is going to show up? Supposedly, Huff's in the best shape since his mid-20's when he was putting up .300/30/100 seasons in Tampa. The Giants don't need quite that, though they'll take it, but just a resemblance to the 2010 Huff would be nice. As I said in my predictions, a .270/20/75 line would be palatable for Giants fans regarding Huff. If Cabrera is going to the top of the lineup, the Giants will absolutely need Huff relevant in that five hole to get Buster and Pablo some pitches to actually hit!
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3 Comments:

  • At 12:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Good to hear Panda is raking but yeah, he looks fat in that picture there and almost looks like it's hard for him to move... I know how quick he is but jeeze, lose some of that excess baggage in the thigh department Panda!

    What about Cabrera, all the talk was what kind of condition he arrives in? Haven't really heard nothing on KNBR, or anything about Pagan yet, other than he's going to leadoff. Are they fitting in with SF? Are they in good shape?

     
  • At 1:05 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Cabrera and Pagan are each in good shape according to what I heard... And I trust that prognosis. I don't think Giants fans need to be worried about Melky or Angel. I think both will have nice years as long as they have health on their side, seeing as both guys future depends on it. A bad year for both means 1 year contracts again next year, a really good year means multi-year, big dollar contract next winter, especially since both can leadoff and do different things!

    But Giants fans should be focused on whether Huff is being the 2010 Huff, or if Sanchez and Posey each getting healthy! Those are the three guys I'm really counting on turning this offense around!

     
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