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Friday, March 1, 2013

MLB 2013 Team Preview: San Francisco Giants

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MLB 2013 Team Preview: San Francisco Giants
By Wild on Sports Baseball Analyst Aaron Dorman


SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
2012 Record:
94-68, won WS
The Giants won the World Series for the second time in three years. Buster Posey won the MVP. They had a good year.

NOTABLE ADDITIONS: none
NOTABLE LOSSES: none

Keys to Success: Can Tim Lincecum rebound from his awful 2012 season? What kind of pitcher can they expect this year? His 3.83 ERA in the second half of the season is still not vintage Lincecum, but it would sure be a welcome improvement. Can they adequately replace Melky Cabrera’s production? Is Gregor Blanco an everyday player? Will Pablo Sandoval ever be healthy and productive in the same season again? Who is their sixth starter/backup in case of injury?

Prospect Watch:
Prospect Key
TBD= Work in Progress
X= Posses the Tool
XX= Excels at Tool

GARY BROWN, OF:
Power
Speed
Hitting
Plate Discipline
Defense
Arm
x
TBD
x
x
Brown look liked he may be a star after a .336/.407/.519 2011, but it turned out to be a result of the good hitting environment in the California League. Brown’s AA trial was a lot less impressive: he hit .279/.345/.385 with 7 HR and 33 SB (but 18 CS) in 538 AB and needed a strong finish to get there. Brown was a first-round draft pick but he’s starting to look like a fourth outfielder; if he can’t improve his base-running, he’s just a defensive extra. His plate discipline is solid but not spectacular and he has gap power, so there is still a chance that he can be an everyday player.
JOE PANIK, SS:
Power
Speed
Hitting
Plate Discipline
Defense
Arm
x
x
x
Panik is another high draft pick, but unlike Brown, he makes the most of his more limited skill set. Panik offers only gap power and average speed, but he has hit well in the minors and his contact ability is exemplary. With High-A San Jose, Panik hit .297/.369/403 with 7 HR and 76 RBI. He also walked more times (58) than he struck out (54), and hit .370 in August. It is still difficult to determine how strong of a hitter he is and he might have to move to second base. Some scouts still doubt he is an everyday player. But Panik works hard and plays hard, so don’t be surprised if he plays above his perceived talent level.

2012 Top Draft Pick: Chris Stratton, RHP 

Sleeper MLB Contributor: ROGER KIESCHNICK, OF, could get playing time if Gregor Blanco falters; he offers one-dimensional power, it’s too bad he and Blanco couldn’t simply combine into one player. 

2013 Outlook and Projection: Brian Sabean is a perplexing GM. His record is littered with some pretty big duds: high-profile free agent signings that have failed (Zito, Rowand), blocking prospects (Ben Molina over Posey), retaining Giants past their expiration date (Molina, Aubrey Huff). Nevertheless, the Giants have won two World Series in three years, and they look strong going forward. This winter, Sabean repeated his flawed plan of two years ago in simply working to retain the exact championship team: Marco Scutaro, Jeremy Affeldt, and Angel Pagan were all given generous contracts to stay Giants. That strategy backfired in 2011, as players like Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell could not duplicate their success from the previous year. Although keeping Scutaro is questionable, this year may be different as the Giants success seems less reliant on fluky performances. They have a well established core and it’s hard to see them not being competitive. How does Sabean do it if he’s such a mediocre team builder? I hesitate to say he’s lucky, although acquiring the career years of Cabrera and Pagan for magic beans seems more fortuitous than premeditated. Overall, he relies on a strong group of talent evaluators at the minor league level, and a great development team. That is to his credit, as it represents a major change from the Barry Bonds years. The Giants have drafted extremely well-Posey, Bumgarner, Cain, and Lincecum were all top picks-and that has formed an elite core that can thrive amid even adequate complementary players. Dumpster diving has yielded them gems like Ryan Vogelsong and Gregor Blanco. Who will be this year’s hero? Boof Bonser?
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