ARLINGTON TX - OCTOBER 31: Buster Posey #28 (R) of the San Francisco Giants is congratulated by his teammates in the dugout after he scored on a solo home run in the eighth inning against the Texas Rangers in Game Four of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 31 2010 in Arlington Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

San Francisco Giants 2011 Preview: Outfielders Ready to Have Big Season for Giants

A stream previewing the San Francisco Giants upcoming 2011 campaign, breaking down the team in various aspects to give a comprehensive look at the entire group players & coaches.

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San Francisco Giants 2011 Preview: Outfielders Ready to Have Big Season for Giants

As the San Francisco Giants' title defense begins, the outfield is going to be a place that hopefully produces a lot of offensive and very few errors for the G-Men. Last year the outfield saw a number of players revitalize their careers while others had to take a back seat to those on their way up. Here's a breakdown of how it will look out on the grass this year for the Giants:

Andres Torres: With his breakout season last year with the Giants, Andres has now become the go-to lead off hitter as well as a lockdown defender in center field. Torres batted .268 last season with 16 HR and 63 RBI, pretty decent production out of the lead off spot. Torres showed some serious heart last year when he missed only 10 days after an appendectomy, proving to me and everyone else just how much of a boss he is.  Torres in essence took his starting job from Aaron Rowand, and is unlikely to relinquish it unless he takes a turn for the worse. I think Andres will have an even better season this year if he can stay healthy. 

Pat Burrell: The Bay Area native returned home last season when the Giants scooped him up off of waivers, and made an immediate impact with the team by getting clutch hits and showing some good defense in left field. Now Burrell is the starting LF this season, and hopefully can continue to produce all year long. His terrible postseason not withstanding, Burrell hit 18 dingers in 96 games for the G-Men last year, and with an entire season to be played this year (knock on wood) I think his production could go through the roof. If he has anything resembling his days as a Phillie, the Giants will be in good shape with LF this season.

Cody Ross: Although he is currently on the DL with a strained calf, Ross will be a staple on the Giants roster all season long when he returns. His postseason performance last year immediately made him a Giants legend, but the question will be can he be productive all year long? Cody had only 82 plate appearances in 33 regular season games with the G-Men last season, but with free-agency staring him in the face at the end of the year I think that Cody will have a great one, especially when he's looking for his next contract. 

Aubrey Huff: From his rally thong last year, to his sacrificial move to the outfield to make room for rookie Brandon Belt, Huff is easily one of the best guys in the Giants clubhouse and an important part of the glue that holds the team together. Huff lead the team last year in just about every statistical category on offense (165 H, 26 H, 86 RBI, .385 OBP) and will hopefully do so again this year. His role as right fielder will become a bit more cloudy when Ross comes off the DL, but skipper Bruce Bochy will not be leaving one of his best bats on the bench that is for sure. I can see Huff Daddy as a potential All-Star this year if he can keep up his production, and there's no one more deserving of the honor then him. 

Nate Schierholtz: An often used bench player and somewhat of a fan favorite, Schierholtz will be a late inning defensive substitution as well as a clutch pinch hitter/runner for the Giants all year long. Nasty Nate saw action in 132 regular season games for the G-Men last season (though he didn't get many starts) and will come in handy off the bench again this year. Players like Schierholtz will be important pieces for the Giants all season long. 

Aaron Rowand: The former All-star and Gold Glove winner has turned into a bench player for the Giants, and is a bit of an odd man out this year as the team is full with talented outfielders. His status with the team will be in question all year, and although he is still a great fielder, he hasn't seen the same success he had at the plate before arriving with the Giants (.230 BA in 130 games last season). Rowand could possibly be traded during the season if the team can find a suitor for his huge contract (2 years left on 5 year $60 million), or could be an expensive backup to Andres Torres. 

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San Francisco Giants 2011 Preview: New Faces in Giants Infield Could Have Big Impact

The San Francisco Giants didn’t have a lot of power with their infield players last year, but with the addition of a few new faces their may be an offensive upswing for the G-Men this season. Here’s a little breakdown of the infielders on the Giants roster for 2011:

Pablo Sandoval: Arguably the biggest story of Spring Training was how Kung Fu Panda transformed his body with a rigorous offseason workout regiment, but he also retooled his game. His his new physique Pablo will be more active at third base, be able to have freer swings at the plate, and might even steal a base or two. He will definitely be looking to improve on his .268 batting average and 63 RBI of last season, and I think he will by leaps and bounds.

Miguel Tejada: The veteran shortstop was acquried from the Padres during the offseason, and will be looking to bring some of the succes he had with the Oakland A’s earlier in his career back to the Bay. The 2002 AL MVP has definitely lost some pop at the plate and a step in the field, but can still be an active leader on the team and hopefully bring some clutch ABs to the team. Tejada hit .269 last year with 15 HR and 71 RBI, and I’m sure the team’s braintrust will be happy with similar production this year.

Freddy Sanchez: The 2006 NL batting champion is finally 100% healthy to start a season, and will hopefully bring some more production with the extra playing time away from the DL. Freddy always brings it with the glove, but could definitely improve his production as he had only 47 RBI last year (in 111 games). I think Freddy is ready to have a big season this year as long as he can keep away from the injury bug.

Brandon Belt: The rookie sensation was elated to make the regular season squad, and so was the Giants’ fan base. But the question is can he produce in the big leagues? Well he only hit a measly .352 in 136 minor league games with San Jose, Richmond, and Fresno last year as well as 23 HR and 112 RBI. Not too shabby huh? Everyone would love if the Giants had back-to-back rookies of the year, and I think it is a possibility this year.

Mark DeRosa: The Giants ‘super-utility’ guy this year, DeRosa is versatile enough to play any infield position as well as even fill in in the outfield. DeRosa has got to be chomping at the bit to get out there and play since his season lasted 9 games long in 2010, and with his wrist all healed (knock on wood) he will be a key component to the Giants success this year.

Mike Fontenot: Fontenot was another midseason pick up for the Giants last year, and played in only 28 regular season games for them. But he finished the season with a respectable .283 average for the season with the Cubs and the Giants, and will be a valuable addition as a late game defensive replacement, a fill in to give a guy like Tejada a day off, and a pretty clutch pinch hitter. Good guy for the Giants to keep stashed away.

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San Francisco Giants 2011 Preview: Giants 25 Man Opening Day Roster

The Giants regular season roster is set! Sort of.

With key parts of the team in Brian Wilson and Cody Ross starting the season on the disabled list, there will definitely be some movement within the lineup very early into the season. Not to mention who is going to play where and when, and what to do with the bullpen when Wilson returns? I don't envy skipper Bruce Bochy right now with all of those roster permutations undoubtedly floating around in his head right now, but I guess you could have bigger problems right?

The feel good story of the spring is most definitely Brandon Belt. I felt like everyone was pulling for him to make the squad for months, and now he's actually in the bigs. You know the kid wanted it when he started to cry in the locker room, got to be a great feeling. Good luck Mr. Belt, hope you come out swinging.  

Starting Pitchers:

  • Tim Lincecum
  • Jonathan Sanchez
  • Matt Cain
  • Madison Bumgarner
  • Barry Zito
Relief Pitchers:

  • Jeremy Affeldt
  • Santiago Casilla
  • Javier Lopez
  • Ramon Ramirez
  • Sergio Romo
  • Dan Runzler
  • Brian Wilson (DL)

Catchers:

  • Buster Posey
  • Eli Whiteside
Outfielders:

  • Cody Ross (DL)
  • Pat Burrell
  • Aubrey Huff
  • Andres Torres
  • Nate Schierholtz
  • Aaron Rowand

Infielders:

  • Brandon Belt
  • Freddy Sanchez
  • Miguel Tejada
  • Pablo Sandoval
  • Mike Fontenot
  • Mark DeRosa
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San Francisco Giants, 2011 Preview: Giants Bullpen Has Lots of Variety, Talent

Aside from their starting pitching, the San Francisco Giants’ second best asset is their relief pitching. As a unit they are one of the best in baseball, and with the diversity of styles and characters that comprise it, will hopefully have the same success as last year. Here’s a breakdown of who’ll be sitting out in the bullpen for the G-Men:

Jeremy Affeldt:
The big left hander is a great set-up guy and a good candidate to possibly make an extended relief appearance. He had a 4.14 ERA in 53 appearances last year, getting 4 wins and 4 saves in the process. The Giants definitely need a guy like Affeldt to have a good season.

Santiago Casilla:
This hard throwing righty will likely get Brian Wilson’s save opportunities until he returns from the DL, and with due cause. He sported a 1.95 ERA last season in 55.1 innings of work with a 7-2 record and 2 saves. Santiago is a good guy to have for situational match-ups and situations like Brian Wilson being on the DL.

Javier Lopez:
Lopez was acquired last July, and changed the Giants bullpen for the better from day one. His left handed, side arm delivery is tough to pick up on as a hitter, and Javy’s got the stats to prove it. He only made 36 appearances for the Giants including the postseason, but had an impressive 1.97 ERA during that span. Another situational guru that will play an integral part in the Giants success this year.

Guillermo Mota:

Mota is another guy that can eat up some innings for the Giants, finishing the season with a 4.33 ERA and a record of 1-3. He was a guy that had to battle to get a bullpen spot, and hopefully he will have a fruitful season for the G-Men.

Ramon Ramirez:
Another trade deadline pickup for the Giants last year, Ramirez is righty who is great set-up guy and always a candidate to be brought in to get important outs. In 25 regular season appearances last year he had a 0.69 ERA with a win and a save. Ramon could possibly be called on for extended relief appearances as well.

Sergio Romo:
The other bearded guy in the Giants ’pen, Romo is another great addition with his right handed, side arm style and some serious filth in his quiver. He had a 5-3 record with a 2.13 ERA in 68 appearances last year, as well as recording a win during the postseason. Romo and Lopez are great compliments to one another, and its always nice to have two gifted sidearms in the bullpen.

Dan Runzler:
Runzler is another big left hander stashed away in the bullpen, but is always ready to bring it. Dan had a 3-0 record last year with a 3.03 ERA in 41 appearances, and was in a dogfight with some of the invitees this spring to make the bull pen. He beat out veterans who had nice springs themselves like Jeff Suppan and Marc Kroon.

Brian Wilson:
The bearded savior himself. The 2010 All-Star led the NL in saves last year with 48, and had 93 strikeouts in 74.2 innings of work. And despite his stint on the DL to start the season, I don’t see it slowing him down too much. I’m predicting another All-Star appearance for B Weezy this year for sure.

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San Francisco Giants, 2011 Preview: Starting Rotation Set to Dominate Once Again

With the incredible success that the starting rotation had for the San Francisco Giants last season, the bar has already been set really high for 2011. And with 3 Cy Young awards, a no-hitter, and countless shutouts to their credit, the Giants starters are more than qualified to have high expectations then many rotations around the MLB. Here’s how the starting pitching shakes out for the 2011 season:

Tim Lincecum:
The 5’11" 170 pounder that is affectionately called the freak is set to lead this rotation to the postseason once again and hopefully even more. The 2 time Cy Young Award winner and three time National League All-Star will be looking to improve on his 16-10 record last season and the 3.43 ERA that came with it, hoping to get to the under 3.00 ERA range that won him his Cy Young’s. Timmy has been training hard and is focused on success, which will hopefully come to fruition in the form of an All-Star appearance, significant Cy Young votes, and a trip back to the fall classic.

Jonathan Sanchez:
The ‘Sanchize’ as I like to call him was an intergal part of the Giants championship season last year, and a move up into the second slot in the roation shows the confidence skipper Bruce Bochy has in the young left hander. His 13-9 record and 3.07 ERA were the best of the team last year, and his 205 strikeouts were only second to Timmy’s 231 on the team, the first time Sanchez eclipsed the 200 mark in K’s for his career. I’m hoping that the Sanchize can maybe pitch his way into the All-Star game this year, and will be vital to the success of the Giants the whole year long.

Matt Cain:
Cain has been a workhorse ever since he joined the club in 2006, and doesn’t look like he’s going to be stopping anytime soon. He’s been an All-Star in 2009, he’s been on the ballot for Cy-Young voting, and after his ridiculous streak he put together during the postseason last October, it’s safe to say that Cain could be an ace with another staff, but instead makes the Giants just absolutely stacked with starters. Cain finished last season with a 13-11 record and a 3.14 ERA, which he will also be looking to improve on, and the 223 innings he pitched last season were the highest of his career. Nevertheless, Cain is set to bring the pain on anyone who gets in the batters box.

Madison Bumgarner:
For a guy who doesn’t turn 22 until August 1st of this year, Madison Bumgarner has had himself one heck of a career already. His midseason call up last year was one of the best moves the Giants made, and his showing in the postseason showed the world that this youngster and poised and ready to be great in this league. He finished the regular season with only 18 starts and a 7-6 record to show for it, but his 8 scoreless innings in game 4 of the World Series is something that will be remembered for a long time, and has undoubtedly given the man the confidence to be a great starter in the MLB.

Barry Zito:
The zen master hasn’t really shown much of his form from his Cy Young days with the Oakland A’s, but is still one of the better 5th starters in the game today. With his 9-14 season last year and his well documented snub from the postseason roster, on could say Zito has something to prove this season to his team and the rest of the league that he’s still got his stuff and that he’s got the ability to be a postseason pitcher. You don’t win Cy Young’s out of luck, there is always some skill there, and if you ask me Zito still has it. He’s going to be an inning-eater for the G-Men this year, and any more wins he can snag for us all the better.

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