Monday, March 31, 2008


Last Minute Tweaks and Some Predictions

Last night I watched meaningful baseball for the first time in like five months and it was a big breath of fresh air after a sordid winter. It's been too long. The new Nationals park looks nice, but it's hard to differentiate it from all of the other new, retro-looking parks that have opened since 2000. The Braves-Nats contest turned into a thriller, though watching Nick Johnson slide feet first trying to leg out a double, after missing all of last year to a broken leg, had me covering my eyes. He's one of the key players on my fantasy team and I won't be able to watch Nationals games without cringing every time the injury-prone NJ takes two steps.

In Giants news, the team set their 25-man roster, with a couple of surprises. Keiichi Yabu made the team as a swingman, and little-known minor league vet Steve Holm beat out Eliezer Alfonzo and Guillermo Rodriguez for the backup catcher job. Merkin "pubic wig" Valdez and Erick Threets also earned spots in the bullpen, with Steve Kline getting a long-deserved jettison.

Yabu was a non-roster invitee whose only major league experience came in 2005 with the A's, when he served as a mop-up man and performed at about league average. He's around to serve in the same role again, and to toss some innings in case the young guys falter. Plus, he's 39, so he'll surely fit right in with this Giants team. There might be the potential for something more, and you know how much I love those CHUBs.

Holm impressed the Giants with his defense behind the plate and that enabled him to steal the backup job in the wake of Alfonzo's horrendous spring training performance. Holm's minor league hitting numbers don't look too impressive (.719 career OPS), but at the very least it seems as though he can take a walk and knock one out of the park once in a while, so he shouldn't be a complete loss at the plate. Any time an organizational soldier like Holm gets a shot in the Show it's fun, so he should be an easy player to root for. Plus, he's a Sactown boy, so I have to give him extra props for that.

Valdez (otherwise known as "Not Damian Moss") has had a tumultuous, injury-laden career, but he still throws hard as hell and the Giants had to stick him on the 25-man roster because he'd have been snapped up off of waivers in a nanosecond by some other team. If he ever learns where home plate is, he could be special, though it'll be interesting to see what his fate is once Vinnie Chulk comes off the DL this month.

Dumping Kline was the right thing to do because 1) he sucks and 2) it enabled the Giants to keep Threets as a left-handed reliever. Threets throws hard and is a bit of a project, but if he straightens out his control, he could be a good LOOGY. Kline's performance had deteriorated substantially in the past few years and his main contribution last season was providing me with a belly-laugh after he got dissed by Yorvit Torrealba in the press. Since he can't even get lefties out anymore, his role has gone from "LOOGY" to "worthless".

--We're almost at first pitch. Here's what the Giants' Opening Day lineup is going to be:

LF Roberts
1B Aurilia
RF Winn
C Molina
2B Durham
CF Rowand
3B Castillo
SS Bocock
P Zito

I'd make with the snide comments, but we've been down that road one too many times. Let's just root for a little upset city down in L.A., and for Bocock! to go Mike Benjamin '95 on the Dodgers over this three-game set. I won't jinx the Giants by predicting a score, but I will say that Rich Aurilia will hit the team's only home run today. No reason for it really, just the goatee love.

Here are some quick predictions for the Giants' 2008 team leaders, so when the season ends we can all come back to this post and bask in the glow of my genius. Or something like that.

BA: Randy Winn, .295
R: Winn, 80
2B: Winn, 36
3B: Dave Roberts, 9
HR: Aaron Rowand, 17
RBI: Rowand, 71
SB: Roberts, 43
BB: Ray Durham, 61
OPS: Durham, .825

Yeah, I obviously don't expect much offense from this group, and even those projections could be considered optimistic. Durham's team-leading OPS is more wishful thinking than intelligent prognostication, and if Eugenio Velez ever hits his way into the starting lineup he'll easily lead the team in steals.

W: Tim Lincecum, 12
K: Lincecum, 205
IP: Matt Cain, 223
ERA: Lincecum, 3.12
SV: Brian Wilson, 23

Lincecum's projection is probably a tad unrealistic, but I do think he'll be the best pitcher on the staff, with Cain coming into his own as the team's resident workhorse. There won't be a lot of wins for Wilson to save, but any Giants victory will probably be low-scoring, so if he can handle the closer's role, a 30-save season isn't out of the question.

I'm going to get my projected standings for all of baseball up in the next few days, so until then, Go Giants!

Labels: ,

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?