Tuesday, March 29, 2011

MLB 30 in 30: San Francisco Giants

The final team preview is fittingly the World Champion Giants. They have everyone gunning for them, and to be certain, they are the team to beat in the entire league. Will they be able to repeat?

What they Have: They still have the pitching that took them to a title last year. Maybe only the Phillies have a better rotation than the Giants do. Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner and Sanchez are a formidable group of 4, and Barry Zito isn't terrible, but still has quite the contract to live up to. The bullpen is still the best in all of baseball, lead by enigmatic closer Brian Wilson, who will spend time on the DL to start the season. Behind him, Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez, Sergio Romo and Ramon Ramirez headline a very good bullpen, which is one of the many strengths of this amazing pitching staff who finished first in all the major categories sans wins. Offensively the only major change from last season was World Series MVP Edgar Renteria going to the Reds, and he's now been replaced by Miguel Tejada. He's not a bad replacement, and should fit in nicely to the Giants lineup featuring predominantly situational hitting. They still have C Buster Posey, 3B Pablo Sandoval and others to keep the lineup in tune with the pitching.

What they Don't Have: Not much, as the World Champions shouldn't have many deficiencies. The hitting is as it was last season is suspect, but the Giants won without a great hitting lineup last year anyway. The major issue is injuries, and aside from Brian Wilson, there are no major injuries to speak of as of now.

Any Help Coming? 1B Brandon Belt has risen unexpectedly to the top of the Giants farm system, and can hit and field with ease. RHP Zach Wheeler has 2 plus pitches, and has good maturity on the mound. OF Gary Brown  has amazing speed for the outfield, and can hit too.

Outlook: There is no reason to suspect why they can't repeat as NL West champions, and challenge the Phillies for the NL crown, and the best of the AL for the World Series. The makeup of this team is exactly the same as it was last season, and if it worked then, why can't it work now?

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