2012 Roster preview Part Four: Keystone Khaos
Picture it. San Francisco, 2001.* The Giants starting shortstop and second baseman post slash lines of .324/.360/.572 and .298/.369/.507, respectively, and combine to hit 59 home runs. Read that again. Let it sink in. I’ll wait.
Granted, Kent and Aurilia were outliers (and Richie was probably juicing). But it pays to remember the kind of production you can get out of the middle infield spots when looking at this year’s projected starters: a 25-year-old with fewer than 200 at-bats above AA whose stats so far compare eerily well to Brian Bocock’s; and a 34-year-old who hasn’t played more than 111 games since 2008 and whose shoulder is made of peanut brittle and wishes.
I’m actually a charter member of the Brandon Crawford fan club. I’ve written blog posts about how he should start and everything. But it’s kind of amazing to me that the Giants brass — the same group of guys who signed Molina and sent down Posey, started the ghost of Randy Winn over Schierholtz and are currently forwarding this link to Brandon Belt’s email (firstname.lastname@example.org) — thinks it’s a swell idea to hand the keys to a kid who hasn’t really hit at any level.
As for Freddy, well, he still hasn’t played in the field this spring and the DL is always a twinge away. Which brings us to the rest of the contestants on Who Wants To Be A Mediocre Starting Middle Infielder On A Team That Seriously Just Won the World Series, Like, Two Years Ago? (WWTBAMSMIOATTSJWTWW? for short)
- Mike Fontenot On the plus side, he was our number three hitter for a minute last year. Wait, actually that’s not a plus at all. Nice utility guy with a little pop, but if he’s starting for any significant stretch, we’re in trouble.
- Ryan Theriot Sign David Eckstein and we’d have the scrappiness market cornered. When it comes to actually playing baseball, however, things get a little dicey.
- Emmanuel Burris Changing his name to Manny didn’t change the fact that he’s hit five home runs in more than 2,000 career plate appearances (minors and majors combined). He’s got speed, yes, and a touching backstory for those who watched the Showtime series, but he’s a 25th man at best on a contending team.
- Joaquin Arias Honestly wasn’t even on my radar until Henry Schulman reported Arias “has injected himself into the discussion with his arm and range at shortstop.” Could be a good right-handed complement to Brandon Crawford…especially since his minor league numbers call to mind, um, a right-handed Brandon Crawford.
OK, so that’s the glass-half-empty take. On the plus side, Crawford’s a Gold Glove-caliber defender who has hit well in Scottsdale for what it’s worth (not much) and Sanchez, when healthy, is a reliable offensive contributor. In a best-case-scenario world, we could be alright. Not Kent/Aurilia alright, but alright nonetheless. Here’s hopin.’
* Yes, that was a Golden Girls reference. And?