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2010 MLB Predictions/Previews: San Francisco Giants
Hard to believe that the Boys of Summer are almost back. But it’s true; teams have reported to 2010 Major League Baseball training camps and it’s time to start our team-by-team baseball gambling previews for the year. I for one can’t wait to start MLB betting online with the expert picks from CappersPicks.com.
MLB Team Preview – San Francisco Giants
They say pitching, not hitting, is the key to building a championship team in Major League Baseball. If that statement is true, the San Francisco Giants are on the right track. Only four teams scored fewer runs than they did in 2009 – including the lowly Pirates and Padres – but San Fran more than made up for the lack of pop with stellar pitching.
It ranked second in the majors with a 3.55 team ERA. We know the pitching is for real. The question is whether the Giants can ramp up their offense enough to improve on last season’s 88 wins.
The Giants may have the National League’s best top four in a pitching rotation. Tim Lincecum, fresh off back-to-back Cy Young Awards in his first two full major-league seasons, is arguably the league’s most dominant pitcher. Close behind him is Matt Cain, who always had bigtime talent but never got run support until last season.
Barry Zito has devolved from ace to innings eater but he’s certainly no slouch in the middle of the rotation. At No. 4 is Jonathan Sanchez, a strikeout artist who was stellar after the All-Star break. If he can harness his control for a full season, he’ll be dynamite.
It looks like Todd Wellemeyer will fill out the rotation. But watch out for Madison Bumgarner – yet another blue-chip pitching prospect in the Giants’ system. He’ll start the year in the minors but he looked good in his cup of coffee last fall (10 IP, 1.80 ERA, 10 K).
San Francisco doesn’t have the deepest bullpen in the majors but it did well to lock up its two key late-inning guys, Jeremy Affeldt and Brian Wilson, with contract extensions. Affeldt led all pitchers in holds last season and Wilson saved 38 games despite sometimes making Giants fans sweat and pitching out of jams.
The key to the Giants’ season is the offense. Can it improve? If the glass is half full, it can. Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval was one of baseball’s absolute toughest outs last season – a true bad-ball hitter who makes violent contact. He exploded for a .330 average and 25 homers; his power could still improve, as he’s just 22 years old.
But Sandoval may be the only given in San Francisco’s lineup. Can the Giants really count on brittle Aaron Rowand and Freddy Sanchez? Aging Edgar Renteria and Bengie Molina? Hacker Juan Uribe? Even Aubrey Huff and Mark DeRosa, though they should drive in a decent amount of runs, are on the wrong side of 30. If rookie catcher Buster Posey eventually gets his shot, he could be a nice midseason shot in the arm for the offense.
What you see is what you get with San Francisco: great pitching and subpar hitting. It’s still a recipe for decent success in the NL West and the veteran bats at least won’t embarrass themselves. But, in the end, I’m not convinced the Giants will improve their offense enough to reach the postseason. A win total similar to last year’s sounds about right.
Giants Prediction: Second, National League West
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