Remember the days when Barry Bonds would be the lone bright spot in a San Francisco lineup? Sure, he had Jeff Kent for a while, but toward the end would have to hit in front of the likes of Bengie Molina. It’s a different story today. The Giants currently sit four games behind the Padres in the NL West, a difference that can’t make the Friars all that comfortable. The Ginats, meanwhile, are tied for first in the NL Wild Card race. With a rotation that includes Lincecum and Cain, a hot offense could allow them to rack off a bunch of wins consecutively and quickly.
The biggest shot in the arm for the Giants offense has clearly been Aubrey Huff. After a miserable 2009, Huff has put up a .395 wOBA this season, providing the team with a legitimate power threat in the middle of the order. But the guy Huff has been knocking in, Andres Torres, has done more than hold his own: Torres has a .382 wOBA (139 wRC+); a slash line of .288/.370/.496 from your leadoff hitter and speedy centerfielder can do wonders for your club.
Don’t forget the new guys, either. Well, the newer new guys. Since being called up, Buster Posey has been everything advertised and then some. The rookie catcher is hitting .338/.386/.516, good for a .387 wOBA and 2.8 WAR in just 68 games. His performance has sent Bengie Molina, who was hitting .257/.312/.332, to Texas. ZiPS likes Posey for a .345 wOBA the rest of the way, although that may be a conservative estimate given his season thus far. Another new guy has been Pat Burrell, who apparently just needed to come back to the good ol’ National League. Since being released by the Rays after struggling for far too long, Pat the Bat has found his stroke by the bay, hitting .285/.378/.527 as a Giant. His power presence in the lineup shakes everything up and provides another threat to opposing teams.
Finally, there are the role players. Juan Uribe‘s .327 wOBA has been solid for a middle infielder, and has made things easier with Edgar Renteria (.316 wOBA) struggling. Freddy Sanchez, meanwhile, still isn’t right since coming back from injury, and ZiPS’ projection of a .314 wOBA for the rest of the season isn’t all too promising. Still, he is capable of hitting .320 for the rest of the season. Oh yeah, and remember when Pablo Sandoval was the only dangerous bat in the lineup? The big guy is having a really rough year with a .312 wOBA after a .396 mark last season; his BABIP, however, is .55 points lower than last year, and he, like Sanchez, could turn it up real quick. Finally, the addition of guys like Mike Fontenot and Jose Guillen give the bench some depth.
If you were to ask what the Giants lineup for 2010 would look like at the start of 2009, I doubt many people would throw names like Huff, Burrell, and Torres your way. But these guys are getting it done, and it hasn’t been a fluke either. The Giants can hit.
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