2011 National League West Previews: Giants

Today’s Focus: San Francisco Giants

2010 Record: 92-70, World Series Champions

The San Francisco Giants scratched and clawed through a division that was pretty evenly matched in 2010. The Giants were 38-34 against the NL West, the Padres were also 38-34, the Rockies were 37-35, and the Dodgers bested them all going 40-32. They limited their injuries to Mark DeRosa, Freddy Sanchez and Edgar Renteria. Their pitching got them to the playoffs and their offense caught fire at the right time for them to win it all.

With the exception of Miguel Tejeda, the offense is the same. The lineup has an acceptable amount of power throughout as they were 6th in the NL in 2010. I’m excited to see how well Buster Posey will produce over a full year. Brandon Belt will have to wait until June to avoid “super 2” status unless he needs to step up as an injury replacement. When Belt does get called up, I expect him to get most of his work at first base. This should force Aubrey Huff to left field and sit Pat Burrell on the bench where he belongs. We expect Pablo Sandoval to have a bounce back year. Freddy Sanchez feels ok coming off of shoulder surgery. Sanchez was key down the stretch, hitting .371 AVG in his last 31 games. The Giants have zero speed. They tied the Chicago Cubs for last place in baseball with 55 stolen bases.

According to Fangraphs, their defense surprisingly was very good in 2010. Andres Torres led the way with a 21.2 UZR rating. Cody Ross was the only regular who had a negative UZR rating with -2. Even though Miguel Tejeda is a downgrade from Juan Uribe at SS, expect their defense to be above average.

The pitching is the strength of the team. They ranked 1st in the NL in K/9 and 2nd in team ERA. They have a solid 1-5 featuring Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, Madison Bumgarner and Barry Zito. The only starter injured in 2010 was Todd Wellemeyer but he was soon replaced by Madison Bumgarner. Matt Cain is currently experiencing right elbow inflammation but he was able to throw 47 pitches in a simulated game on Thursday, March 10th. If Cain needs extra time or has a set back, Jeff Suppan and Ryan Vogelsong will battle it out for the 5th spot in the rotation. The bullpen remains very strong and they are led by Brian Wilson and Jeremy Affeldt.

Notable Losses: Juan Uribe, Edgar Renteria, Chris Ray

Notable Pickups: Miguel Tejeda, Jeff Suppan

2011 Prediction: 93-69, 1st Place N.L. West

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