This is the first of a two-part preview that'll cover the Giants offense. There will also be much more tomorrow to complete our series preview, so be sure to look out for that. Be sure to also check out the Q&A we did with Giants blogger Grant from McCovey Chronicles. Now onto the preview...
As you know, the Giants play at the beautiful (and spacious) AT&T Park. Seriously, it's the nicest park I've ever seen. It should be a rocking atmosphere, and you can expect 43,000+ each night. The weather should actually be pretty nice, and it's supposed to be in the mid-50s with no humidity or rain. A small breeze is expected, but nothing to really impact the game.
San Francisco finished the year with an impressive home record of 49-32 and were 43-38 on the road. The Giants' strength is undoubtedly their starting and relief pitching, but there offense isn't horrible. Let's take a closer look, shall we?
Runs: 697 (9th)
BA: .257 (7th)
OBP: .321 (9th)
SLG: .408 (6th)
HR: 162 (6th)
SB: 55 (16th)
GIDP: 158 (16th)
K%: 20.0% (4th)
BB%: 7.9% (13th)
As a whole, they're below average. The Giants do have more power than most give them credit for; they have two guys who hit 24+HRs, and seven who hit double figures on the season. One thing the Giants don't do is steal bases. They never run. Andres Torres actually stole 26 bases this year, but he's the only one. Aubrey Huff is 2nd on their team in stolen bases with seven, and just a few other guys have three or so. You'll see the Giants put the ball in play quite a bit; they don't really strikeout much, but don't walk either. One thing to keep an eye on are the double plays. The Giants hit into the most double plays in baseball, and they led it by a mile. The Braves are actually 15th in the league in GIDP, and they had 22 less than the Giants. That's crazy. With our bevy of ground-ball pitchers, the Braves could really use that as an advantage on the mound. Besides that, there's not really too much left. They're a decent offensive club, and if you can keep the ball in the park, you have a good chance of slowing them down.
Now, we'll take a look at each player in their projected lineup.
1. Andres Torres - #56 - CF
|2010 - Andres Torres||139||507||84||136||43||8||16||63||56||128||26||7||.268||.343||.479|
vs. Righties - .283/.354/.527
vs. Lefties - .262/.313/.346
September Stat Line - .161/.161/.357
Despite not hitting anything in the final month of the season, Torres has been fantastic for the Giants this season. Torres is is 32-year old journeyman who finally got his chance this season in San Fran. It's safe to say he didn't disappoint. When you see his OPS in May (.967) and July (1.027), you'll see that he's pretty capable of putting his team on his shoulders and carrying them for a while. Andres led the Giants in steals (27), has an impressive ISO of .212, and has been one of the better leadoff men in baseball this year. One thing to keep an eye on is how Bobby handles his lefty relievers against Torres. He's pretty awful against them and we could really neutralize one of their better hitters as long as Venters and Dunn are throwing strikes. Still though, without this breakout year for Torres, the Giants don't come close to the playoffs.
2. Freddy Sanchez - #21 - 2B
|2010 - Freddy Sanchez||111||431||55||126||22||1||7||47||32||68||3||1||.292||.342||.397|
vs. Righties - .276/.327/.362
vs. Lefties - .343/.388/.500
September Stat Line - .310/.341/.524
Sanchez has been banged up all season, but when he's healthy, he's a decent offensive guy for the Giants. You may recall that Sanchez actually won the batting title in 2006, and he's a solid hitter. He (for the most part) won't give you much power and doesn't walk much, but can still affect the game with his ability to put the ball in play. To be honest, he kind of reminds me of Omar Infante. You'll see that Sanchez was great for SF down the stretch, and was even better in August (.905OPS). Still though, despite the recent hot streak, Sanchez isn't that great of a hitter and will make outs as long as you're around the zone.
3. Aubrey Huff - #17 - 1B
G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2010 - Aubrey Huff
vs. Righties - .287/.388/.506
vs. Lefties - .296/.378/.506
September Stat Line - .281/.361/.469
Aubrey Huff couldn't find a team last off-season. Hell, the Giants preferred Nick Johnson to Huff. Funny how these things work out sometimes. The 1st baseman ended up being arguably the best signing of the off-season and had a phenomenal year for the Giants. He led San Francisco in nearly every offensive category and has been an anchor in the middle of their lineup since Opening Day. Another thing that makes Huff so dangerous is his ability to mash both left and right-handed pitching. As you can see, he actually has a higher batting average against lefties. That's something to keep an eye on, as a typical LOOGY won't have much affect on him. Huff actually struggled a bit in August and September, but still continued to help carry the Giants offensively. The Braves will have to keep Huff under control if they hope to win the series.
4. Buster Posey - #28 - C
|2010 - Buster Posey||108||406||58||124||23||2||18||67||30||55||0||2||.305||.357||.505|
vs. Righties - .304/.353/.479
vs. Lefties - .309/.367/.588
September Stat Line - .256/.343/.533
Buster Posey, the NL's 2nd best rookie, had a fantastic season and is co-offensive MVP with Aubrey Huff for my money. Posey came up in the final weekend of May and hasn't looked back since then. The right-handed catcher features a .862OPS, .200ISO and .368wOBA and is solid behind the plate. The Giants were having an identity crisis during the first few months of the season, but Buster Posey changed everything. He's hit cleanup since Day 1 and has been on a power surge in recent weeks. One thing to keep an eye on is his home/road OPS splits. You'd think a young stud like Posey would thrive at home, but his OPS at AT&T Park is .723. His OPS on the road? .993. That's very interesting.
That concludes the first part of our preview. The 2nd part, which will cover the lower-half of their lineup and bench, will be posted tomorrow afternoon. Be sure to keep an eye out for that.