My SF Giants 2013 Preview….for a Cardinal Blog?
I was asked by a fellow member of the BBA (Daniel Shoptaw who is, coincidentally, a Cardinal fan featured prominently in Pawlie’s book “Baseball’s Starry Night”) to write a preview of the upcoming Giants season. Apparently, he does this for all the mlb teams before the season starts in the words of the bloggers for each team. It’s a very creative idea and I look forward to following his blog series titled “Playing Pepper” at his blog: http://www.cardinal70.com . His SF Giants preview doesn’t come out till March 21st but I thought we could just bang this out today.
Now, I think it’s important to note that the Cardinals are one of my all time disliked baseball teams. I’d say *most hated* but I just don’t have too much hate left in me. Winning 2 World Series in 3 years will have a softening effect on any fan. I’d like to say I hate Jose Oquendo, and I did tear up his baseball card and post it at the Flap before the 2012 post season vs the Cardinals. But that was just a silly ceremonial act by a juvenile fan designed to somehow influence the baseball Gods in our favor. Matt Holliday? Ok, I think I hate him a little bit. But truly, all of my past negative feelings related to the Cardinals were *washed away* by the storm in Game 7. As Scutaro said (courtesy of Bozo): “I spent four years in Oakland and I’d never seen rain like that in the Bay Area,” he said. “I’m playing deep at second base, two strikes away, one strike away from the World Series, and all of the sudden you feel this rain coming down. You think, `Is that a message?’ That’s the reason I did that. It came without notice, like, pow! It’s cool that people took a lot of pictures.”.
For me, seeing Matheny stand motionless on the steps of the dugout in the pouring rain completely soaked to the core of his soul was enough to get me to move from *hate* to *sympathy* for the team from St. Louis. And what Giants fan doesn’t love Mike Matheny? So, the past is the past and bygones be bygones, all that jazz, and I’m looking forward to writing this preview for Mr. Shoptaw. I am hoping all of you could take the time to offer a similar preview in the comment section. Hopefully it will paint a broader picture of how we see our team (winner of two of the last three World Series. And since this is for a Cardinal blog I’m gonna try to get that in as many times as possible)
Here are the preview questions:
1) How would you grade the off season?
2) Will Brandon Belt have a full time job this year?
3) What are the chances that Marco Scutaro regresses? (no bitterness from a Cardinal’s fan, why do you ask?)
4) what rookie will make the biggest impact in 2013?
5) What will be the final record of the Giants and where will they finish?
6) What one thing from your team are you most looking forward to watching?
I’ll just answer these and correlate them to the number above.
1) I would grade it a B+. We brought back every critical player from last season. And, unlike our post-2010 World Series win (the first of 2 out of 3 years ) Sabean brought back a team that isn’t old and declining (and no, I don’t consider Scutaro *old and declining*, more on him later). Sabean also gets a B+ for NOT bringing back Bee Wheezy (who I didn’t want back anyway) and focusing instead on keeping together one of the best bullpen’s in either league. I also liked the Torres signing. His numbers weren’t as bad as they looked last year. His LD%, contact rate and bb % were all up last year. It looks like he’s finally abandoning his love of the long ball and if he can keep his legs healthy I think he will be a nice compliment to Gregor Blanco in a platoon role. Of course, we all wanted the right handed power bat to go out in LF but realistically that wasn’t ever going to happen.
2) Of course Belt will have a full time job this season. I think Posey gets a lot more games behind the dish in this second season removed from his surgery year. When Posey does play first base I think Belt is going to get a fair number of starts in LF. He’ll get his share of time off vs tough lefties but he’ll be a starter all year and I expect a solid year from him with more power.
3) Scutaro got hot at the right time last year and the Giants were the huge beneficiaries. He’s probably the main reason we were able to win our 2nd World Series in the last 3 years. Now, do I think he regresses? We live in an age where any player who has a spike in production is automatically thought to also be spiking something else into their body. I wouldn’t be shocked to find out that Scoots was on the juice last year but I don’t think he was. And while he is 37 I am going to consider him a *young* 37 since he spent the first half of his career as a utility guy. He doesn’t have a lot of miles on that body. And he’s obviously in great shape. So while I don’t expect him to hit .362 in 2013 (as he did for the Giants last year) I do expect him to continue to be a line drive hitting machine and one of the great leaders of the clubhouse. I’ll say he hits .285 in 2013 and I’d be fine with that……
4) This is a long shot, but I’m going to go with Kensuke Tanaka. Now, Tanaka might not even make the team. But I like his story and he’s easy to root for. He left a 3 million dollar guaranteed contract on the table in Japan to come try and latch on with the Giants. He became a fan of the team in 2010 after attending Game 1 of the World Series (a game I also attended). After watching them win their 2nd World Series in the last 3 years in 2012, he decided it was his dream to play for the Giants and he’s now in camp on a minor league deal. He’s 32 and he’s had some severe injuries in his career. He’s also, at best, going to snag the final utility spot on the team and the fact that he only plays 2nd base is not going to give him an advantage. But who couldn’t root for a guy like Tanaka? Plus, we don’t really have too many spots for a rookie to shine. At least, at this point.
5) I think we win 95 games this year and the NL West. And against all odds, since it’s really, really hard to do, I’m going to say we win our 3rd World Series over the course of 4 years.
6) I’m most looking forward to seeing Andres Torres in a Giants uniform again. He was the spirit behind the 2010 World Series win and he’s returning to a team that just won their 2nd World Series in 3 years with almost an entirely different cast of position players. That’s hard to do. Just seeing him in the dugout will be awesome and I’m rooting for him to cobble together one final decent season for the team he loves so much.
Oh, and did I mention that we’ve won two of the last three World Series?