Time to Play 'Guess the Giants Lineup'

January 12, 2010, 8:35 pm
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Jan. 12, 2010GIANTS PAGE

Based on recent comments by general manager Brian Sabean and president LarryBaer, the Giants seem fairly comfortable with the notion of Buster Posey beingthe starting catcher on Opening Day. So lets assume, for the sake of todaysexercise, that the latest round of "interest" in Yorvit Torrealba doesnt leadto anything.In other words, were assuming that the team the Giantshave now, offensively, is the team with which theyll try to snap their playoffdrought.Whats the lineup? Heres the way I think it might shake out:1. Aaron Rowand, CF
Hes obviously notthe prototypical leadoff man, but its the spot in which he was most productivelast season, primarily because he made subtle approach changes when leadingoff. When he wasnt leading off, he was a straight hacker, and nearly anautomatic out. Besides, there is no prototypical leadoff man on this teamunless Eugenio Velez or Andres Torres is starting, and in this lineup theyrenot.2. Freddy Sanchez, 2B
A No. 2 hitter should be a high-average man who can handlethe bat well. He needs to hit behind runners when appropriate, drop down somebunts, run a little bit and be something of a gap-to-gap RBI guy in the eventthat the bottom of the order sets the table for him after the first inning.This is Sanchez to a T.3. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
The third hitter should be your best hitter, and Panda isthat for the Giants, hands-down. You want him to bat in the first inning, everygame. This is the biggest no-brainer in the lineup.4. Aubrey Huff, 1B
Your cleanup hitter need not be a high-average orhigh-on-base guy, but he needs to be a good RBI guy with above-average pop.Huff, even in a down year, drove in 85 runs last season, and that would havemade him second in RBIs on the 2009 Giants. He should at least be able to dowhat Bengie Molina did last year, and unlike Molina, he can score from secondon a single more often than not. 5. Mark DeRosa, LF
The No. 5 hitter should be a decent RBI guy, too, of course.Ideally, hed have more pop than DeRosa, but its not like DeRosa is a Punch-and-Judy type. Hes a smart, experienced hitter who has a decent track recordwhen it comes to situational hitting. 6. Nate Schierholtz, RF
I still cant figure out why the Giants dont think morehighly of this guy. Hes a very good hitter, and hes proven it at every level.Hes not a big power guy, but hes an excellent all-around player who drivesthe ball on occasion and runs well and runs smartly. Its time to plug him inand leave him alone. If he can get his OBP up, hed be a good No. 2 hitter --with Sanchez leading off -- if Rowand falls flat up there. 7. Edgar Renteria, SS
Heres hoping that his struggles last year really were tiedto his failing health, because hes been a very good hitter at times during hiscareer. If he gets back to being that, youre looking at a nice bottom of theorder.8. Buster Posey, C
Nobody doubts this guys talent, and Im all for startinghim right away. The dude was the Minor League Player of the Year, for cryingout loud. Cut him loose, bat him down low to minimize the pressure hes likelyto place on himself, and let him take whatever lumps come his way. The kidsthe real deal. Lets see it right now.So there you go. Not all that bad, is it? Not amazing, but probablybetter as a whole than last years offense -- as long as certain guys pull moreweight than they did last year and others make modest improvements. My lineup is just one option, though. What do youthink? Id love to see this turn into a raging debate, so leave your thoughtsbehind. If you havent registered, it only takes a minute. So haveat it. Tell me Im dumb and why youre smarter. Tell me Im smart and whyyoure smarter. Or just tell me what you think. Looking forward to hearing fromthe die-hards.
-- Mychael Urban