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Saturday, June 06, 2015

Duffy/Aoki outplaying Sandoval/Morse

Remember when everybody was worried about how the Giants would replace the offensive production they got from The Panda and Michael Morse when both departed as free agents over the winter? Well, a third of the way through the first year post-Sandoval, and without Morse's presence from 2014, the incumbents have outperformed their predecessors.

First off we'll take a look out in left field, where Nori Aoki took over for Michael Morse and allowed Bruce Bochy the flexibility to drop Angel Pagan (who, let's face it, isn't the world's best leadoff hitter) down in the order and it's worked out for both. Although Pagan's power has yet to show up, he's been at or above .300 for most all the season and has adapted well in his move down the order. I'd like to see a little more pop and a few more free passes but I do like the average. Also, Nori Aoki has taken the leadoff spot by the reigns and hasn't looked back. Although he's had a few small down periods, he's been pretty solid throughout, sporting a solid .314/.385/.401 slash with 12 swipes and 24 runs scored. He's been a rock at the top of the lineup and sure-handed (and footed) in left field as well, so much so that I mentioned here in our last post that the Giants seriously ought to approach him about a possible extension for 2016. It's nice when your leadoff guy has a OBP north of .350 (no offense Angel)... Oh by the way, if you were wondering how 'ol Michael Morse was doing in his new digs over in South Beach, you'll feel even better as the big 1B/OF'er is slashing a petty .211/.268/.289 with just 2 long balls and 10 RBI in 50 games. So far, major win for Aoki and the Giants in this one.

Now onto the hot corner where nobody expected that Casey McGehee, who played a season in Japan because he had very little Major League interest just two seasons ago in 2013, would be able to replace postseason hero and long-time Giants' fan favorite, Pablo Sandoval. Well, McGehee didn't, but in stepped Matt Duffy, who has indeed outperformed the former Giants' third basemen through the first 1/3 of 2015, and he's done so with 3/4 the playing time. While Pablo Sandoval carries a pedestrian .239./.306/.352 line with 5 homers and 17 RBI in 198 plate appearances (playing in a hitters haven and a top lineup mind you), young Duffy has put up a respectable rookie slasher of .277/.318/.404 coupled with 4 HR and 23 batted in less than 150 plate appearances. Not only is he outhitting Sandoval, he's driven in more runs, gotten on base at a higher clip and probably would be out-homering the Panda as well with another couple dozen at-bats. Again, I'd say advantage Matt Duffy, and by a long-shot thus far. When you throw in the fact that Pablo's raking in roughly $19 million this year while Duffy's under team control till 2020, just puts icing on the cake.

EXTRAS: Losing Streak Snapped: The Giants finally snapped that 5-game skid, as getting out East and playing in front of literally handful of Phillies fans may have allowed them to loosen up a bit. Tim Lincecum was decent, although he made a couple of mistakes and they each accounted in long balls, which accounted for 3 of the 4 runs charged to the Giants' right-hander, yet he still escapes with a 6-3 record and a decent 3.29 ERA. I'd really like to see him get that WHIP down around 1.20 rather than in the 1.3's but so long as he keeps the ERA sub-4 that's all that really matters... As far as the bats, Matt Duffy and Justin Maxwell each had big flies and multi-hit games while Buster Posey hit number 9. The Giants just recalled Casey McGehee with Duffy sliding a bit the past week, but he immediately showed he's nowhere near ready to reliquish third base to McGehee. I like having Casey up there as a bat of the bench though with the ability to play both 2nd and 1st as well as 3rd, in a pinch, but eventually he's going to have to start hitting... Also, with Hunter Pence suffering from tendinitis in his left wrist and Nori Aoki battling the flu, Gregor Blanco and Maxwell could see themselves back in there for Saturday's game and possibly even Sunday's finale, although if I were to bet, I'd assume Pence will do his best to work himself into one of those games, whether it's pinch-hitting or starting in right, I think Boch wants to give him an at-bat back in Philly.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 4:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think Duffy has been great but something tells me he still needs some more seasoning. Had a nice game in Philly on Friday but was struggling bad before that and if he continues maybe they send him back down to work on some things cause I think he;s gonna need some more tuning for the stretch run. Hope we can get McGehee going or else I think Sabean will be looking for infielders. Just my 2 cents! Good article. Glad to see Pablo seating crow after bat mouthing us before the seasons.

  • At 6:51 AM, Blogger MosesZD said…

    So I'm not the only who knows McGehee spent time as a utility infielder and can play 1B & 2B.

    I don't the Giants would want to do that at 2B over Arias. After all, when McGehee did most of that 2B work he was much younger and more mobile. BUT, it's nice to have an emergency player.

  • At 10:23 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Yeah,I really hope Mcgehee can start contributing because if he does, he can be a damn valuable guy off the bench. Can still play 2nd or 1st in a pinch and let's not forget, the dude had 200 hits and 76 RBI last season, so he's got some life left in that bat somewhere. Just glad he doesn't have the pressure of being "The Guy" to replace Pablo. Duffy's outperforming Panda anyway so both guys should just relax and play their game.

    Only thing that kills me with Casey is that double play ball. Those are rally killers and that was getting old quick. Hopefully he gets those balls up this time around.

    I still think 3B could be an area Sabean looks at in July. I think they like Duffy, but would probably like him being that super utility guy at his age and possibly getting a guy who's used to the hot corner and has played there their whole career. Duffy can make the point moot if he keeps ascending, but that's about the only spot on the roster where this team may be able to upgrade offensively.

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