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.