A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP THE GIANTS
If they can get to the playoffs, they can win it again with their pitching. But it won't be easy getting there. There are concerns.... Miguel Tejada doesn't have much range at shortstop—he's not moving well laterally. And he's lost his power.... Freddy Sanchez worries me too: He plays so hard, his body is falling apart. Having Mark DeRosa as insurance at second base is huge.... Brandon Belt is a great-looking hitter. He drives the ball to all fields and will hit for average and power. They can't keep him out of the big leagues for long. The kid reminds me of Don Mattingly.... They gave Aubrey Huff a two-year contract, and I think they regret it now with the way Belt, who's also a first baseman, is coming along. Huff had a miraculous season last year, and though he's had a good spring, it's going to be very hard for him to repeat. His future is in the outfield.... You wouldn't recognize Pablo Sandoval; he's thinner than he was in the minors. He's going to have a good year. Last year balls inside were tying him up. But he's got his bat speed back, and he's hitting the ball hard.... There were concerns about Madison Bumgarner a year ago, but it's clear he's the real deal. His breaking stuff is flat, and his arm slot is a little wide, but he's got such a great feel and makes adjustments. He could be a No. 1.... A year ago Tim Lincecum wasn't throwing as hard as he was this spring. He's back in the mid-90s. But if you told me I could have Lincecum or Matt Cain, I'd take Cain. He's big and strong with an easy delivery. A legit No. 1.... With a full season from Bumgarner and Belt in the lineup, they could be even better than last year.
WITH 2010 STATISTICS
MANAGER BRUCE BOCHY
5TH SEASON WITH GIANTS
Percentage of base runners inherited by Giants relievers that came around to score in 2010, the lowest in the majors. That's especially impressive considering that no bullpen inherited more runners: 278 were on base when a San Francisco reliever came in, and only 66 scored.
The Giants' big off-season signing was a 36-year-old whom two bad teams had rejected as a shortstop in the last year. Miguel Tejada rated as the third-worst defensive shortstop in baseball, by UZR, in 2009. The Orioles signed him and moved him to third base, where he was well below average defensively. A late-season stint as the Padres' shortstop confirmed the diagnosis: Tejada no longer has the range to play the position. Should San Francisco learn that it bought a lemon, it could turn to former No. 1 pick Emmanuel Burriss. After playing well in the majors in 2008, he broke his left foot in '09; rebreaking it last spring cost him much of his comeback campaign. Burriss is one of the few Giants with any semblance of leadoff skills (a .329 OBP with a 7% walk rate in the majors; 11/5 SB/CS at Triple A last year even after the foot problems), and despite spending some time at second base he is still the top defensive shortstop the Giants have who is anywhere near the majors. They should be prepared to make a quick change if Tejada continues to look done.
ROBER BECK (CAIN)
TIM DEFRISCO (BURRISS)