A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP THE GIANTS
Matt Cain has thrown well: He was up to 94 mph, pitched at about 92. The slider was tight. I don't know that he'll be what they once thought, but he can be a middle-of-the-rotation guy.... Madison Bumgarner is a horse. His early spring was rough, but when the bell rings, he'll be ready.... I'm not sold that they'll get a whole lot out of Tim Hudson. His stuff is so-so, mid-80s. The splitter is his out pitch, if he commands it.... Tim Lincecum probably gets the fifth spot. I think Bruce Bochy saying in February that he expected Lincecum to be in the rotation was a confidence thing for Timmy. He is a bit fragile, let's put it that way.... Yusmeiro Petit is so valuable because he can throw in multiple roles. His stuff holds up on short rest.... I have concerns about Sergio Romo. He's so slider-dependent. If he hangs it, it's going to get hit out, and his fastball is often up.... Brandon Belt is just tapping into his power potential. You watch this guy take batting practice, and he can hit them out there with the big boys.... Joe Panik is not flashy, but he's solid on both sides of the ball. He's another arrow-up player.... Andrew Susac is going to be a regular one day. He has arm strength behind the plate. There's some length to his swing, but he has power and keeps getting better. There's a logjam at catcher, but Buster Posey could see more days playing first.... They're a little suspect in the outfield with Hunter Pence hurt. I would try Belt in the outfield. He's athletic enough that it might be an option for him.
Three years ago Tim Lincecum helped push the Giants through the playoffs by allowing one earned run over 13 postseason innings out of the bullpen. Those innings have helped fuel the idea that Lincecum, one of six candidates for five Giants rotation spots, might eventually find a home as a reliever. Yet a look at his troubles doesn't back up that idea. Over the last three years Lincecum has allowed a .270 BA and a .492 SLG in the first inning, with just a 23% strikeout rate and a poor K/BB ratio of 98/58. In his first time through the lineup, usually a pitcher's strongest innings, Lincecum has allowed both a higher OBP and a slightly higher SLG than he did the second time through. He doesn't come into the game breathing fire and then lose his stuff over time; he comes in and struggles, then settles down. That's a recipe for disaster as a reliever, so as long as he can handle a starter's workload, he needs to be in the rotation.
LEAGUE RANK 6
MANAGER BRUCE BOCHY 9TH YEAR WITH GIANTS
2015 PROJECTED STATISTICS BY ROTOWIRE.COM
ROBERT BECK/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (BUMGARNER)