For example, Scutaro hit .362 with the Giants after he was acquired from the Colorado Rockies. Melky Cabrera, as artificially enhanced as it was, carried the team in the 1st half of the season with his .346 average. Buster Posey (.336, 24, 105) was every bit the MVP we saw last season. Pablo Sandoval (.283, 12, 63) had the 3 HR game in game one of the World Series and is hoping to be healthy this entire season. Hunter Pence struggled in the regular season after he was acquired from the Phillies hitting just .219, but was a force in the postseason and is playing for a contract after this year. Pagan (.288, 8, 56, 29 SB) should remain on about the same level. Having Scutaro playing every day at 2B should give the team more offensive production than they got from Ryan Theriot. Scutaro enjoyed his best season in 2012, hitting .306, 7, 74 with 190 hits. While the 1-5 in the lineup is solid, the same cannot be said about 6-8. The team is hoping for a lot out of Brandon Belt (.275, 7, 56 in 145 games). I think he can have that breakout season especially with the depth throughout the first 5 in the order. Gregor Blanco (.244, 5, 36) and Brandon Crawford (.248, 4, 45) are just in to play defense. Expect the Giants to look for a LF at the deadline like they did in RF the past two season with Carlos Beltran and Pence. As I said, Pagan CF, Scutaro 2B, Posey C, Sandoval 3B, Pence RF, Belt 1B, Blanco LF, Crawford SS is one of the more set lineups in MLB. Belt will be the key for how dominant the offense can perform.
The bench will be led by their backup catcher Henry Sanchez (.280, 3, 34). The switch hitter will spell Posey and allow Posey to play 1B. Ideally, the Giants would like to increase the offense by catching Sanchez, playing Posey at 1B and using Belt in LF. Joaquin Arias and Andres Torres will be on the bench with veteran Wilson Valdez having a chance to make the team. OF prospect Gary Brown is probably a year away from joining the show while trying to make his presence felt in big league camp.
While it does not come as a surprise, the Giants only used two additional pitchers, Eric Hacker and Yosmeiro Petit (1 games each) outside of their five regular starters. Matt Cain (16-5, 2.79) and Madison Bumgarter (16-11, 3.37) anchor the staff going into this season. Two time NL Cy Young Winner Tim Lincecum (10-15, 5.18) is coming off a terrible season but is poised for a rebound. Barry Zito (15-8, 4.15) is on the final year of his 7 yr, $126 million contract. I disagree with the thought that it was a bad signing being the Giants won 2 WS during his time here. Ryan Vogelsong (14-9, 3.37) rounds out what usually is one of the top rotations in the game.
The pen has finally become Sergio Romo's. He got the last out in the World Series, after having taken the closer spot from Santiago Casilla, who had taken over from the injured Brian Wilson. Left handers Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez and Jose Mijares team with hard throwing RHP Greg Kontos to form the pen. Ramon Ramirez stands a chance to grab a spot in the Giants bullpen.
I like this team, but not as much as most. Vegas agrees with me, setting their over/ under at 86. Kind of low for the defending WS Champs. I see them finishing the season under, but close, at 85-77, 2nd place in the NL West.