Last year, the San Francisco Giants were unable to defend their 2010 World Series Championship. although they finished with a winning record of 86-76, that wasn’t good enough to win their division as they were 8 games back of first place behind the Arizona Diamondbacks. This year, the Giants have added outfielders Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan, which gives them enough firepower on offense to have a shot at going back to the World Series in 2012. Here are the projected starting lineup, starting rotation and closer situation.
Buster Posey (Catcher) – Posey played just 45 games last year due to a devastating ankle injury. San Francisco really missed his bat in the middle of the lineup after he got injured. in 160 big league games, Posey has hit.294 with 22 home runs and 88 RBI. The Giants expect similar numbers from him when he gets back in 2012.
Aubrey Huff (First Base) – After hitting.290 with 26 home runs and 86 RBI in 2010, Huff really disappointed last year, with just a.246 average to go along with 12 home runs and 59 RBI in 150 games. at the age of 36, it is hard to expect him to bounce back after a poor showing, but with his track record, you never know.
Freddy Sanchez (Second Base) – Sanchez has been in and out of the lineup thanks to injuries since coming over from the Pirates in 2009. he has the ability to hit around.300 with 10 home runs and 75 RBI if healthy, but that’s a big if, as he has played in just 111 games in 2010 and 60 games last year. at the age of 34, he isn’t getting any younger, either.
Brandon Crawford (Shortstop) – The Giants are hoping Crawford’s defensive proficiency can offset his offensive inadequacies. he hit just.204 in 66 games last season, and the 25-year-old hasn’t shown any progress toward be anything more than a passable offensive player at best.
Pablo Sandoval (Third Base) – A horrible 2010 season had some people doubting him, but after losing 40 pounds in the offseason, he proved the doubters wrong by posting All-Star numbers last year. he hit.315 with 23 home runs and 70 RBI in just 117 games. as long as he stays fit and motivated, Sandoval has what it takes to be even better in 2012.
Melky Cabrera (Left Field) – Cabrera is coming of a career year in which he hit career highs with a.305 average, 18 home runs, 87 RBI and 20 stolen bases with the Kansas City Royals. It is safe to assume that last year will not be just a fluke for Cabrera, as he is only turning 27 in August.
Angel Pagan (Center Field) – Pagan will be looking to erase a sub-par 2011, as the outfielder hit just.262 with an OBP of.322 after posting a.290 average and.340 OBP in 2010. he was able to steal 32 bases in just 123 games, which gives him a total of 69 steals over the last two seasons.
Nate Schierholtz (Right Field) – The expectations for Schierholtz in 2012 are relatively tame, as he hit just.278 with 9 home runs and 41 RBI in 335 at-bats last year. The Giants are hoping he can hold his own in the right field this season, but they are no longer hoping for a breakout season from the guy.
Tim Lincecum (RHP) – A poor record of 13-14 last year doesn’t hide the season he had, as he registered a 2.74 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. in Lincecum’s starts, the Giants scored a whopping 2.8 runs. he is still one of the elite starters in the game today and he is ready to put up a much better record in 2012.
Matt Cain (RHP) – A lack of run support also ruined Cain’s record last year. he finished just 12-11 last season, but he posted a solid 2.88 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. Cain has been as consistent as they come early in his career. he has now thrown at least 200 innings in each of the last five seasons.
Madison Bumgarner (LHP) – in 18 starts in 2010, Bumgarner went 8-8 with a 3.00 ERA. he then followed it up with a pretty impressive full season as a starter, going 13-13 with a 3.21 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 33 starts last year. The 22-year-old has gobs of potential and really gives the Giants a potent 1-2-3 punch at the top of the rotation.
Ryan Vogelsong (RHP) – Vogelsong was one of the big surprises in 2011. The 34-year-old posted a pretty impressive 13-7 record with a 2.71 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 28 starts after spending the last three seasons in Japan. The question now is whether or not the veteran can replicate that success in 2012.
Barry Zito (LHP) – After going 16-10 with a 3.86 ERA in 2006 with the Oakland A’s, Zito has absolutely bombed in his tenure in San Francisco. in five seasons with the Giants, he hasn’t finished with an ERA below 4.00 and is just 43-61 over that stretch. There are times where it seems as though he can go back to his 2006 self, but at this point in his career, you can’t expect anything more than an average season from Zito.
Brian Wilson (RHP) – although Wilson wasn’t quite as effective as he was in previous seasons, he was still able to save 36 of 41 opportunities last year. He’s ERA was just 3.11 last year, the highest it has been since 2008, but I wouldn’t worry too much. with the starting rotation capable of going deep into games and an offense that should improve from a year ago, Wilson could easily save 45-plus games in 2012.