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Article:SF Giants: Early Analysis

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The San Francisco Giants have looked sloppy through the first week of spring training, but there have been a some bright spots. Eugenio Velez and Fred Lewis, two guys who are fighting for an opening day roster spot, have absolutely torn up the cactus league thus far. Lewis is leading the Giants with a .500 average and 4 RBI through his first 4 games. Velez has been on base seven times, scored 6 runs and stolen 5 bases. Both of these players are out of options so they can no longer be sent to the minor leagues without first clearing waivers. It's a pretty safe bet that neither player would clear waivers, so it would be in the Giants best interest to have them on the team come March 31st in Los Angeles. Lewis has thoroughly outplayed Nate Schierholtz and Rajai Davis so far this spring, and if he keeps it up, it's likely that Schierholtz will start the year in Fresno as he still has an option year left. A couple young players who won't make the team right away but have stood out so far have been John Bowker and Travis Denker. Both are likely to start the year in Fresno, but they have definitely put themselves on the mind of Bruce Bochy and co. could be among the first big league call-ups as soon as someone gets injured or starts struggling. The cool part about having low expectations like the Giants look to have, is that you get to experiment with the younger players and see exactly who can play in the bigs and who doesn't quite belong.

While the Giants offense has been a pleasant surprise through the first games of the spring, the pitching, especially relief, and defense have been very inconsistent. The Giants have made ten errors through the first 4 games, but have also failed to make a lot of fairly routine plays that most big leaguer's make which haven't been counted as errors. Dan Ortmeier has been less than impressive at first base so far this spring, and Kevin Frandsen hasn't looked great at shortstop either. The outfield defense has been solid, but without Omar Vizquel and an MLB caliber defensive third basemen, the Giants infield defense is probably the worst in all of baseball.

As far as the ptiching goes, not many guys have thrown very well yet. Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum looked very good in their starts, but Noah Lowry and Barry Zito looked horrible in theirs. It's still way too early to determine the bullpen spots, but if the season started tomorrow, the deserving 7 would be closer Brian Wilson, set-up man Tyler Walker, right handers Brad Hennessey and Merkin Valdez, and left handers Steve Kline, Jack Taschner, and Eric Threets. Hennessey hasn't been very good this spring, but he's proven himself over the last few seasons so I'm not worried about him. Threets was very impressive in his only outing so far, and Merkin Valdez finally looks like he's settling in. I think that Vinny Chulk and Merkin Valdez should be in a battle for a spot, and the Giants shouldn't hesitate to go with Valdez if shows he deserves it. He's another guy who's out of options and likely wouldn't clear waivers without at least 1/3 the league looking to scoop him up.

The Giants Baseball Blog-http://giantsbaseballblog.blogspot.com/

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