The 2012 San Francisco Giants lineup started to take shape Friday after the team’s first full workout of the spring.
Manager Bruce Bochy said Angel Pagan will be his primary leadoff hitter and center fielder, with Melky Cabrera playing in left field. Nate Schierholtz appears to be the front-runner in right field, but the Giants are staying “open minded”, Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reported.
Well, let’s first address the leadoff and center field issues by saying “Pheeeewww!”
There had been reports out earlier this month that Bochy was playing with the option of having Cabrera leadoff.
Pagan is the better option, even though he doesn’t walk as much as we’d like. He’s a career .279 hitter with a .331 OBP. But he has stolen an average of 34.5 bases a season each of the past two years, and only be caught an average of 8.0 times. Cabrera brings similar batting numbers, career .275 AVG with a .331 OBP, but he hasn’t stolen more than 20 bases in a season. Also, Pagan is a better defensive center fielder, despite a bevy of errors last season. Cabrera should see time there as a backup.
But if Pagan is in center and Cabrera in right, who else but Schierholtz could play right? Aubrey Huff? Please! No!
We’ve seen that before, and it was not pretty. The Giants said they expect Huff to play more in the outfield, opening up first base for Brandon Belt. But if that’s the case, please let it be in left field, where Huff is much less of a liability.
And while Cabrera is versatile enough to play right, AT&T Park’s right field is a challenge. We’re sure most Giants fans would be happy to Nate the Great manning Triple’s Alley in 2012.
So if Cabrera’s in left, Pagan in center and Schierholtz in right, where does that leave Huff and Belt?
Huff and Belt both worked out at first base, along with Brett Pill, during Friday’s first full team workout. But the Giants have talked about Huff playing more outfield in 2012.
Despite these early spring declarations, MoreSplashHits remains convinced that Bochy will mix and match lineups in 2012. Why? Partly necessity, partly because that’s what Bochy does. He’ll play the hot hand, play matchups.