2013 Hot Stove - Giants

Overall Assessment: After a team wins the World Series the players go on the banquet circuit and sponsorship opportunities increase.  The players became slaves to their success.  When they go back to playing baseball in the spring they are just a tick off from what they were the year before, enough to make it difficult to repeat.  That is a big reason why teams do not repeat as often as they did in the past, that and free agency.  The Giants should not expect to get the same results from Barry Zito but they have to hope they get a better year from Tim Lincecum in his free agent year.  Buster Posey is the rock in this lineup and needs to stay healthy for the Giants to play well.  Perhaps this would have been a three peat if Posey had not had his season end early in 2011.

Hot Stove Season: The Giants decided to let Melky Cabrera go as a free agent and in his place they re-signed Angel Pagan and signed former Giant Andres Torres.  Those two were part of a trade last year with Torres going to the Mets.  An interesting signing is Javier Herrera, who at one time was a top prospect with the Athletics.  He played in the Independent League last year but is slugging the ball in the Venezuelan League.  They also resigned free agent Marco Scutaro.  Entering the 2013 season the Giants will have the same cast of charcters.  As they report to spring training we’ll see what kind of banquet circuit they had after their World Series victory.

Strength: Buster Posey is one of the best catchers in baseball.  They will continue to get him a number of games at first base to keep him fresh while talented Hector Sanchez fills in behind the plate.  He is probably the most critical player in the lineup.  The starting pitching is historically strong, but without a recovery from Tim Lincecum this staff does not seem overly impressive.  Matt Cain is the key.  If he pitches strong from the ace position the other starters will roll into place.

Weakness: The outfield is short on power.  Hunter Pence can hit a few over the fence, but the other corner Gregor Blanco is more of an on base percentage type of player.  Brandon Belt is also lacking in power at a position that traditionally looks for power.  The offense may be better with Posey at first and Sanchez behind the plate.  Brandon Crawford excels on defense but his bat is weak.  This would not be so bad if the team was strong in other areas, but the Giants may not be able to afford to keep his weak bat in a weak lineup.  Alternatives are slim as prospect Joe Panik is still more than a year away.  This team will go only as far as their pitching takes them because their offense continues to be weak.

Top Position Prospect: Gary Brown has the potential to take over the centerfield position if Angel Pagan and Andres Torres stall.  He covers ground in centerfield and steals bases but he won’t hit for the power the Giants need.

Top Pitching Prospect: The Giants are usually pretty good with coming up with some good pitchers to put in the rotation.  Myworld is not enamored with this group.  Lacking choices myworld will have to go with 2012 number one pick Chris Stratton.  He had a good first year with Salem Keizer in the Northwest short season league.  The true test to his effectiveness will be his success as he rises to the higher levels.  He throws hard and just needs to enhance his secondary pitches.

Watch out for: If they want to add some pop to their lineup Javier Herrera could contribute before the year is out.  He needs to continue the pop he is showing in the Winter League in Venezuela, although after a hot start his bat has started to cool off.

Rookie of the Year Prospect: If the Giants want to add more offense Francisco Peguero could also fit into a corner outfield spot.  Either he or Herrera could end up as the starter in left field if Blanco’s offense stalls.

Projected On Paper Finish: The Giants need their pitching to continue to have success to keep up with the Dodgers. They will fall short but still do well enough to squeeze into the playoffs as one of the two wild card teams.

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