San Francisco GiantsManager: Bruce Bochy
Stadium: AT&T Park
2007 Record: 71-91 (5th in NL West)
Team Page | Roster | Schedule
2007: Batting Stats | Runs Scored (ranked 15th in NL)
|2008 FANTASY PROJECTIONS|
|OFF THE BENCH|
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Rowand, who signed for five years and $60 million, adds life to an offense that ranked 14th in the NL in average and 15th in runs despite Barry Bonds' presence. Durham swung well in the spring (.218 last season) and reclaimed the second-base job from the injured Kevin Frandsen. Once station to station, the Giants should be more effective on the bases if Velez (spring training stolen base leader), Davis, Fred Lewis and Ortmeier get enough time. Veterans Roberts and Aurilia seem healthy after being hurt most of last year.
Most hitters in the lineup wouldn't start on other teams, and the 3-4-5 presence is subpar. Molina was a nice clutch hitter last year, but Bonds' lineup replacement is not exactly suited for the cleanup spot. The Giants were hoping organizational players Ortmeier and Frandsen would win infield jobs, but both struggled in spring training and Frandsen is out for the season. Despite all the talk of a youth movement, the Giants could start the season with just one or two players in their 20s, including Bocock. The regular shortstop, Omar Vizquel, hopes to return in the season's second week.
HITTER TO WATCH:
It appears that the Giants are going to hand their shortstop job to Brian Bocock, who hit .220/.293/.328 in 345 at bats in high Class A ball last year. Good luck with that.
PITCHER TO WATCH:
No pitcher is ready to come out of the Giants' farm system yet, although hard-throwing and oft-injured Erick Threets could make an appearance, and Kelvin Pichardo, the player San Francisco acquired for Michael Tucker, is a probable September call-up.
-- Keith Law, Scouts Inc.
JUST THE FACTS
• Only six years left on the deal. Of the first 67 hitters Barry Zito faced this spring, he struck out none. "He's not in the high 80s; he's in the low 80s," says one scout. "And his curveball doesn't have the bite it used to have."
• The lineup is barren. The only guys with a chance to hit 20 homers are Bengie Molina and newcomer Aaron Rowand. And wait until Rowand sees how much harder it is to hit it out of AT&T Park than Citizens Bank.
• Third base is a black hole. Rich Aurilia is manning the hot corner, which might have been a good idea in 2001.
• Unfortunately, you have to stay until the end. Brian Wilson proved last year that he has the moxie to close. Too bad he won't have many leads to protect.
"The Giants aren't as bad as you've heard," an opposing scout says. "They're worse. They don't have a plan, and management hasn't given GM Brian Sabean the money he needs to keep the farm system going."
-- Tim Kurkjian
How many games will the Giants win in 2008? Do they have the top lineup, rotation, bullpen or manager in their division? Did they do the best job improving their team in the offseason with the acquisition of Aaron Rowand? Register your vote.
Injuries may give Eugenio Velez the opportunity to start the season with the team, and his speed (14 steals this spring alone) will keep him around.
Aaron Rowand will be exposed as being a product of his former surroundings. All things considered, he was far better off in Philadelphia.
-- A.J. Mass
Noah Lowry had a rough outing this spring that led some to question whether he had lost his touch. In reality, a drastic shift in a pitcher's delivery, especially when wild pitches are involved, may be the first sign of injury. As it turned out, Lowry was diagnosed with exertional compartment syndrome, a condition where pressure builds within a "compartment" (group of muscles surrounded by connective tissue called fascia) in response to exercise, resulting in compression of neural and vascular structures. The nerve compression Lowry experienced made his hand weak and unable to control ball delivery, thus explaining the erratic pitching. He since has undergone surgery to help alleviate the pressure, and is currently rehabilitating with a targeted return of late April or early May.
-- Stephania Bell