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Showing posts from March, 2013

2013 SF Giants Preview and Predictions

Finally, we've reached the end of the exhibition season as the Giants will wrap up their game in Oakland with the A's then head off to LA where they open the season on Monday afternoon. Here is what the roster should look like come opening day, along with some player predictions for the starting positional players and pitchers 2013 season. Lineup: 1. CF Angel Pagan: 152 Games, .292 AVG., 11 HR, 57 RBI, 101 R, 25 SB, .762 OPS 2. 2B Marco Scutaro: 141 G, .287 AVG., 9 HR, 65 RBI, 84 R, .785 OPS 3. 3B Pablo Sandoval: 135 G, .305 AVG., 24 HR, 77 RBI, 69 R, .866 OPS 4. C Buster Posey: 152 G, .324 AVG., 27 HR, 109 RBI, 76 R, .965 OPS 5. RF Hunter Pence: 156 G, .279 AVG., 25 HR, 101 RBI, 86 R, .824 OPS 6. 1B Brandon Belt: 146 G, .284 AVG., 22 HR, 73 RBI, 68 R, 15 SB, .812 OPS 7. LF Gregor Blanco: 124 G, .252 AVG., 6 HR, 28 RBI,  50 R, 22 SB, .696 OPS 8. SS Brandon Crawford: 148 G, .256 AVG., 8 HR, 48 RBI, 53 R, .707 OPS Rotation:  1. RHP Matt Cain: 34 Starts, 16-8, 3.22

2013 MLB Previews: NL West

At last, we've come to the end of our MLB previews, winding up in NL West where we'll do a bit of a more expansive preview. For many, it's going to come down to the high-priced LA Dodgers and the reigning champion San Francisco Giants, but you never can forget about the D-Backs, even after they gave away Justin Upton. This is how we see things shaping out in the West this year. 1st Place, San Francisco Giants CF Angel Pagan 2B Marco Scutaro 3B Pablo Sandoval C Buster Posey RF Hunter Pence 1B Brandon Belt LF Gregor Blanco SS Brandon Crawford RHP Matt Cain LHP Madison Bumgarner RHP Tim Lincecum LHP Barry Zito RHP Ryan Vogelsong SU: Santiago Casilla CL: Sergio Romo So back are the Giants, the team that's one 2 of the last 3 World Series championships, and they're bringing back the same squad that thrived in October and became an unstoppable force. Expected rebounds out of Tim Lincecum and Hunter Pence, along with improvements from Belt and Crawford

Giants Notes: Belt, Sandoval and Lincecum

I just wanted to run down some quick notes before we started to break down the NL West as the Cactus League has come to an end and the Giants are back in town for these final few games with Oakland before heading to LA to start their World Series defense. One of the big topics, and main concerns over the last couple of weeks has been surrounding Pablo Sandoval, who was diagnosed with an inflamed nerve in his throwing elbow and was in jeopardy to start the season on the DL. However, the Giants got some good news on that front Thursday, and it looks like he may be ready for opening day after all. The injury wasn't considered serious 2 weeks ago when Pablo first felt it, but it hadn't gotten a whole lot better until Wednesday when Pablo was able to throw from 75 and 90 feet. I wouldn't be surprised to see him sit out the rest of the games vs. the A's, besides perhaps a pinch-hit appearance, but that's definitely a good thing that all signs are pointing towards a

2013 MLB Previews: NL Central

1st Place, Cincinnati Reds RF Shin-Soo Choo 2B Brandon Phillips 1B Joey Votto RF Jay Bruce LF Ryan Ludwick 3B Todd Frazier SS Zach Cozart C Ryan Hannigan RHP Johnny Cueto RHP Mat Latos RHP Bronson Arroyo RHP Homer Bailey RHP Mike Leake SU: Jonathan Broxton CL: Aroldis Chapman The Reds have improved the team that came without outs of knocking off the eventual World Champion Giants in last seasons NLDS, so they should once again be a force in the central. They added Choo to the top of the order to give them a dynamic hitter who will get on base and run. The real big change though should be with Joey Votto, who should return to MVP-caliber form if healthy and teams with Jay Bruce as one of the best 3-4 hitters in the game. The young pitching staff is finally getting their feet under them, as we've seen growth out of Bailey, Cueto and Chapman and all should just keep getting better. 2nd Place, St. Louis Cardinals CF Jon Jay RF Carlos Beltran LF Matt Holliday 1

2013 MLB Previews: NL East

On to the NL East, where the top three teams will all be competing for playoff spots. There's the young talented Braves, the veteran savvy Phillies and last season's winner the Nationals. Here's how we see things shaking out in 2013. 1st Place, Washington Nationals CF Denard Span SS Ian Desmond LF Bryce Harper 3B Ryan Zimmerman 1B Adam LaRoche RF Jayson Werth 2B Danny Espinosa C Kurt Suzuki RHP Stephen Strasburg LHP Gio Gonzalez RHP Jordan Zimmermann RHP Dan Haren LHP Ross Detwiler SU: Drew Storen CL: Rafael Soriano The Nats where the team everyone thought would represent the NL in the World Series in September, but after they shelved Strasburg, they were never quite the same team. Now they'll have a full year of the young phenom righty, and they also have themselves a legit leadoff man to hit in front of a strong group of 2-6 hitters. Their big strength though is that pitching staff. If Dan Haren returns to form and throws like he did when in Arizo

Battles Heating Up as Spring Winds Down

I know we've been spending a lot of time on our previews as we try and get everything in before opening day, so we haven't had much time to talk Giants stuff, but in a way, that's a good thing. Luckily, there hasn't been anything too serious to discuss, but the one thing that does have me worried a bit is the the bone spur that's occurred on the back of his throwing elbow. It was deemed minor to begin with, but now there are whispers of it possibly keeping him out of the opening day lineup and maybe starting the year on the DL. For a lineup that already lacks power, the Giants need their number 3 hitter healthy and ready to start the year, but if he needs to miss the first week or so to ensure that's the case, so be it. I'd hate to see this thing turn into an issue that requires surgery and shelves him for 6 weeks. On the positive side, Brandon Belt (.396/4/12 in 52 at-bats) and Madison Bumgarner (1.81 ERA in 15 IP) continue to dominate their

2013 MLB Previews: AL West

On we move to the AL West, which I think will be the most competitive division in the AL. There's the newly stocked out Angels, but the Rangers aren't going anywhere yet, even without Hamilton, and the A's are always good for a surprise run, especially with that pitching staff. 1st Place, Los Angeles Angels LF Mike Trout SS Erik Aybar 1B Albert Pujols LF Josh Hamilton DH Mark Trumbo 2B Howie Kendrick C Chris Ianetta 3B Alberto Callaspo CF Peter Bourjos RHP Jered Weaver LHP C.J. Wilson RHP Tommy Hanson LHP Jason Vargas RHP Joe Blanton SU: Ernesto Frieri CL: Ryan Madson The Angels have it all when it comes to that lineup: speed, average, power and consistency. They have the right mixture of youth (Trout, Bourjos, Trumbo) and players in their prime (Pujols, Hamilton, Kendrick) to be serious World Series contenders. Their pitching staff should be a strength too, once Tommy Hanson figures out the AL. The one question I have with them lies in their bullpen.

2013 MLB Previews: AL Central

1st Place, Detroit Tigers CF Austin Jackson RF Torii Hunter 3B Miguel Cabrera 1B Prince Fielder DH Victor Martinez SS Jhonny Peralta LF Andy Dirks C Alex Avila 2B Omar Infante RHP Justin Verlander RHP Max Scherzer RHP Anibal Sanchez RHP Doug Fister LHP Drew Smyly SU: Joaquin Benoit CL: Bruce Rondon The reigning League Champions are returning pretty much the same squad that took them to the Series' a year ago, they just hope their bullpen holds up a little better this time around. They're getting V-Mart back, so their offense will get a boost, but they don't have a ton of team speed, so they'll need those big hitters to be on their game. That pitching staff is one of the stronger ones in baseball, and should again have them in the running for the AL crown. I think the addition of Hunter and the return of Martinez have improved this team a lot, but they could still use some help at short and at the back end of the bullpen. Still, they're clear-cut

2013 MLB Previews: AL East

Since things are going along smoothly in Giants camp, and Brandon Belt continues to stick out as the star of the spring, I figured it would be a good time to start to get to know the enemy for the upcoming season with our annual divisional previews. As always, we'll start in the AL East, which is one of the tougher divisions to line up this year outside of Toronto being the consensus favorite. Here's how I see it playing out: 1st Place, Toronto Blue Jays Projected Lineup SS Jose Reyes LF Melky Cabrera RF Jose Bautista 1B Edwin Encarnacion 3B Brett Lawrie DH Adam Lind C J.P. Arrencibia CF Colby Rasmus 2B Maicer Izturis Rotation RHP R.A. Dickey RHP Brandon Morrow LHP Mark Buehrle RHP Josh Johnson LHP Ricky Romero SU: Sergio Santos CL: Casey Janssen Adding a bunch of payroll and big names didn't quite work for the Dodgers last summer, but things should be different north of the border. The Blue Jays new pieces all have time to mesh in spring training

Spring Training Notes

We're about two weeks into the exhibition season, and so far things have been running as smoothly as hoped for in Scottsdale, with just a few minor dings (injury wise) so far. The Giants have started out the spring 4-5 heading into play Wednesday, and since there are no real health concerns with anyone at the moment (fingers crossed), a lot of attention has been placed on the competition for the few remaining roster spots, which will only heat up in the coming weeks. But before jumping into that, I wanted to talk about the guy who's started out this spring at a torrid pace, and a someone who I'm really expecting big things from, and that's Brandon Belt. I did a small interview with at the start of spring discussing some of the issues for the Giants' season and I was asked specifically about Belt and my expectations for him this upcoming season. I really feel like this is the year Belt will start putting things together, and so far this spring, he