It has been quite some time since I posted, and I apologize to anyone who happens to read my blog for the delay. Seeing as Spring Training is wrapping up and the regular season is set to begin I thought I would offer some thoughts on what the opening day roster should look like.
The first thing that Giants fans should be aware of is that Freddy Sanchez is injured. The ever brittle Sanchez was originally set to return to the team for opening-day. Then, we were told, Sanchez would not make opening day. Now, it is up in the air. When will Sanchez return? Who knows. The second thing is that, despite the fact that he is one of the few players on the team who has a decent OBP, Fred Lewis seems to have no future with the club. The Giants are reported to have been trying to trade Lewis for a back up middle-infielder. While I think this move is absurd, and yet another sign that the Giants have absolutely no idea how to organize a club offensively, it is what it is. The only positive from the supposed Lewis trade and Sanchez's injury is there might be more room to let some of the youth get a chance to make the opening day roster.
One man that deserves such a position on the team is John Bowker. Aside from Buster Posey, John Bowker is probably the best major league-ready player in the Giants' farm system. At the AAA level Bowker owned a .447 wOBA, a 1.047 OPS (!), and .451 OBP in 2009. That is absolutely amazing. Clearly, Bowker has nothing more to prove at that level. Bowker was briefly called up during the 2009 campaign, but the Giants sent him packing citing a "lack of offensive production." Bowker hit wiht a .271 wOBA at the major league level, however that was in a paltry 67 at-bats. Someone needs explain to the Giants front office what statistical significance is.
Entering the 2010 Spring Training, most of those who follow the Giants knew that, with the departure of Randy Winn, the RF position was wide open, and ready for one of the youngster to snatch it up. Nate Schierholtz seemed like the most likely choice, as Schierholtz is a superb defender and showed much promise during the 2009 campaign. The only other person waiting in line for the position seems to have been Bowker. Luckily for those of us who would prefer to see Bowker in RF, which includes yours truly, the Spring Training campaign has showed a Bowker who has excelled behind the dish, while Schierholtz has continued to struggle.
Bowker has proven throughout Spring Training that he is in fact ready to bat at the major league level. While I do not find much significance in RBI as a stat, Bowker does lead all of Spring Training players in RBI. Bowker has homered numerous times, and has played very well offensively, which is what this team needs if they are to be considered true contenders in 2010.
Naturally, Bruce Bochey, when asked abotu Bowker, continues to pull his normal nonesense, wherein he shows his utter disdain for young players:
"We know Johnny can hit . . . . That's a great bat there. It's a matter of what is best for the ballclub. The ball is jumping off his bat, but there are other things you consider."
If I know Bochey, this means he will probably not start Bowker. Why? Would it not make sense to play an offensively productive player on a team that has absolutely no thunder in the lumber? It is completely absurd how Bochey seems to completely ignore those players available who are offensively productive. Bochey has relegated Lewis to the bench, depsite being a fairly quality players, and the second most offensively productive Giants in 2009.
Luckily, however, Freddy Sanchez's injury might give Bowker the opportunity to play on opening day. If Bochey decides to give Schierholtz the starting position, he will still have a hole in 2B, with Sanchez out. The Giants do have Juan Uribe, however Uribe's offense is nothing special. A wise decision would be to move Mark DeRosa over to 2B, where is capable of playing, and start Bowker in LF. Such a lineup could produce something like this:
(1) Aaron Rowand CF
(2) John Bowker LF
(3) Mark DeRosa 2B
(4) Pablo Sandoval 3B
(5) Aubrey Huff 1B
(6) Edgar Renteria SS
(7) Nate Schierholtz RF
(8) Benjie Molina C
Not a terrible line-up in my opinion. Bochey seems intent on putting Rowand in the leadoff spot, where he did excel last year, albeit briefly, and he has done well during Sprin Training. Putting Sandoval in the four spot allows him to be surrounded by DeRosa and Huff. If Bowker continues his offensive production, the first five of our lineup could provide some decent offense.
Afterall, if the pitching remains in top form in 2010, the Giants only need an average offense to make a deep run for the playoffs. Make it happen Giants!