Sunday, March 19

San Francisco Giants: AARP Certified

Head back to the home discussion

Starting Pitching:

There are a couple of bright spots on this staff, although they might not perform at their total peak this year. Noah Lowry and Matt Cain are the #3 and #4 starters this year, respectively. Both of them are young with a good amount of talent - Lowry was lights-out in the second half, and it's expected that he'll capitalize on having "figured it out" this season. As for Cain, he's the brightest pitching prospect in the organization - think Francisco Liriano lite, and if that confuses you, take 2 rungs down from Johan Santana and there you go. He's not there right now, but that's what kind of potential he has. In short, there'll be growing pains, but there'll also be days he just kills opposing offenses.

What happened to Jason Schmidt? Fantastic in 2003 and 2004 - fell off the face of the planet in 2005. Rumor has it he's rebounded from that horrible season, but there's still plenty of reason for concern. As of now, he's the ace in name - and if he rebounds, then he'll certainly be the ace in form, too. Behind Jake Peavy, he's probably the second-best pitcher in the NL West (and among the Top 5 in the NL). However, if he's not healthy, it's anyone's guess as to how effective he'll be.

Matt Morris is a recent transplant from the Cards. As #2 starters go, you could certainly do a lot worse. He's about what you'd expect, solid and unspectacular. Let the guys in front of and behind him have all the questions surrounding their performance. He'll do a little better numbers-wise thanks to the new park, but that's about the only change. Great complement to the roster.

As of now, Brian Hennessey should take over the #5 role. Quite honestly, I don't know a whole lot about, but his numbers indicate that he's about what you'd expect from a 5 starter. Should probably keep you in the game, unless he's going up against an ace, and won't actively try to kill you. What else do you need, really?

Rough Rotation Guess:
Ace: Jason Schmidt
2nd: Matt Morris
3rd: Noah Lowry
4th: Matt Cain
5th: Brian Hennessey

More information:
Jason Schmidt
Matt Morris
Noah Lowry
Matt Cain

Closer / Bullpen:

Look who's back. Armando "Big Game" Benitez returns after losing all of last year to injury. What's he like? Great numbers, will close a lot of games - with the exception of about 5 games a year he'll just utterly blow up in. Unfortunately, those tend to be the big high-pressure situations. As a result, everyone seems to think he sucks, when in reality, he's a lot better than people give him credit for. What's so wrong with that? Besides the bad big games, of course.

As for the rest of the bullpen, There's not a whole lot to like here - only 1 ERA below 3 in the bunch (Scott Munter), and he doesn't strike anyone out. Okay, that's not true - lefty specialist Jack Taschner has pretty good numbers. Tyler Walker is probably the Guy You've Heard Of, along with Jeff Fassero - both more or less suck. Walker strikes guys out, though. Honestly, if there's a weak link in the pitching staff, it's somewhere between where the starters end and the closer begins. Could make for an interesting season.

Rough Bullpen Guess:
Closer: Armando Benitez
8th: Tyler Walker
7th: Scott Munter
Sit. Right: Steve Kline
Sit. Lefty: Jack Taschner
Mop-up: Jeff Fassero

More information:
Armando Benitez


The keystone combination here is ...well, old is a charitable understatement. Ray Durham and Omar Vizquel are both approaching decrepit. I kind of hope that no body parts fall off while they're in the field. That'd just be awkward. The biggest problem with this is that dual positional backup Jose Vizcaino (what, he's still in the league?) is actually OLDER than Durham. Great. Angel Chavez might get playing time. Maybe. He's a little young for them, though (read: 25).

Pedro Feliz is what qualifies as an "offensive threat" in this lineup. That's kind of sad, but he is playing a corner spot, so it's hard to deny him that. He can play pretty much anywhere that's not in the middle of the field, though, so it's not like he's a corner hog. As for youngsters - well, relatively speaking - he's over at first. Lance Niekro (yes, son of that Niekro) is at first, and he's the ripe young age of 27. On the plus side, 27 = major offensive year. He might hit 20 HR. I wouldn't be too optimistic, though. Not if I were you.

Behind the plate, notable offensive stalwart (read: .240 hitter) Mike Matheny assumes catching duties again. However, to be fair, they're not playing him for his offensive contributions - he's great with the glove and good with the staff. His benefits there will outweigh the drain on the lineup that he is (and really, with this lineup, it's hard to pinpoint one fault).

Projected Infield:
C: Mike Matheny
1B: Lance Niekro
2B: (the rotting corpse of) Ray Durham
SS: (a propped-up and reanimated) Omar Vizquel
3B: Pedro Feliz


I remember Moises Alou back in '94 - I was a big fan of his, and I loved the idea that he was playing for his dad. Were you to tell me that he was still doing that 12 years from then, I'm not sure I'd have believed you. Now that that's the case, the more impressive part to me is that he's still offensively productive (relatively speaking - 19 HR, .321(!)). Defense is what you'd expect from someone who's 40.

Resident rookie Randy Winn (ripe and young at 32) returns in center. Chances are that he won't reprise his fantastic second half, but he'll still be better than throwing out ANOTHER 40+ guy in Steve Finley. Maybe these guys can dig up the rotting corpse of Satchel Paige if someone on the staff goes down to injury...

...or get a reanimated Babe Ruth to play in the outfield. Or keep him around just so Barry Bonds can spit on him. Eh, I've said my piece on him already. Rumor has it he might be investigated for steroid abuse in the past (go figure, right?), but I'm not sure what effect it'll have on him in terms of performance. It'll probably enhance his performance - oops, bad choice of words.

Projected Outfield:
RF: Moises Alou
CF: Randy Winn
LF: Barry Bonds

More information:
Barry Bonds
Randy Winn

Extra Stuff:

I like old jokes. There, I said it, and this is the only team I get to go to town on like that. Fun stuff.

There are two keys to the Giants success this year. Both, not surprisingly, are related to peopel getting older. The first is the maturation of the young pitchers - if Lowry and Cain can show significant progress, the odds that Bonds and company can string together enough offense to make this team at the worst competitive in the division is pretty high. What will help even more is if not everyone in the lineup falls apart - perhaps literally. If there was ever a team where hip replacement surgery was a potential concern, this is it right here.

All things equal, the NL West isn't really strong. Everything progresses as normal and these guys will be in it until the end.