Grab A Bat

August 5

Yup. The Giants don’t need a bat. Until they face the NL’s best pitchers in the playoffs.

On a few occasions this year the Giants have beaten the likes of Ubaldo Jimenez and Roy Halladay. On other days, the likes of Jimenez, Chad Billingsley and Anibal Sanchez have snapped one off against them.

The Giants offense is clearly better than last year, but don’t think they aren’t going to scour the waiver wire for another outfielder who can hit. Personally, I can’t bear the thought of Aaron Rowand getting any more regular playing time, so there has to be someone out there who can fill the bill. An extra bat is the one thing that could put the Giants over the top.

Despite my campaign for Adam Dunn, he isn’t coming here. I wouldn’t mind dealing Jonathan Sanchez for Dunn if I knew he was going to sign a contract extension. Sanchez was fantastic Tuesday but too many people are putting too much importance on one game.

It all comes down to what you think Sanchez will be. Some say Randy Johnson Lite, others say Sid Fernandez ( Very Lite ), and still others wonder if he’ll ever be more than a .500 pitcher.

Let’s split the baby, and say Sanchez becomes a solid #2 or #3 starter, IF he can find some consistency. I’ll trade that for an every day player in his prime — a 35 to 40 home run guy with a .400 on base percentage — any time, anywhere. It won’t guarantee me a ring but it will get me closer.

Anyway it’s a moot point. The Giants aren’t dealing Sanchez.

***

The Rookie of the Year award is often overrated, because it depends so much on the available crop of talent in a particular year. Look back at some of the top rookies and many did not really pan out: Todd Hollandsworth, the infamous “Super Joe” Charboneau, John Castino, Pat Listach, Bob “Dinner Bell” Hamelin, and Bobby Crosby to name a few. Other years there have been future HOFers such as Mays, McCovey, Cepeda, Seaver, Ripken, etc.

Buster Posey burst on the scene in July as NL Player of the Month and Rookie of the Month, batting .417 with a 21-game hitting streak. Once he got rolling the Giants became the hottest team in baseball and serious playoff contenders, with Posey playing the game’s most difficult position and doing it well. All that gives him the inside track on Rookie of the Year but it’s far from a lock.

Here are a few names that will certainly split the NL vote:

Stephen Strasburg … it looks like he’s coming back next week. Apparently Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo failed to heed my advice to shut him down for the season. After all, there are butts to put in the seats. Good luck with that, Mike. Revive the hype machine.

Jason Heyward … the Braves outfielder had a terrific start but slumped in June due to a wrist injury that eventually put him on the disabled list. Since he’s returned he’s hitting well over .300 but hasn’t hit a home run since mid-June. That could cost him the ROY award, but he might be the best all-around ballplayer of the bunch when all is said and done.

Jaime Garcia … forgotten in the hype surrounding Strasburg, he could sneak in and win the award. The Cardinals’ left-hander is further proof that a pitcher can come back stronger than ever in the second year after Tommy John surgery. Not just one of the best rookie pitchers in the league, one of the best pitchers, PERIOD, this year. The Cardinals have Carpenter, Wainwright, and this guy : 10-5, 2.53 ERA — top five in the league and one reason the Cardinals are in playoff contention again.

Starlin Castro … like Posey, he is playing a difficult position and doing it pretty well. Unlike Posey, his play has not thrust his team into contention. In any other year he’d be the top candidate for ROY: the Cubs’ shortstop is hitting a solid .309 with a .441 slugging percentage, great numbers for his position. Oh yes, and he’s only 20.

Ike Davis … the big first baseman has been a badly-needed spark for the Mets in the absence of Carlos Beltran this year, and he leads NL rookies with 53 RBI’s to go along with 15 home runs.

Jonny Venters … Middle relievers usually don’t get much run for these kinds of awards but the lefthander’s numbers are eye-popping. In 48 games a 1.17 ERA , 56 strikeouts in 54 innings, only 32 hits and one home run allowed. The Giants will see him this weekend in Atlanta.

John Axford … All he did was replace a future Hall of Fame closer in Trevor Hoffman. In 31 games he has a 6-1 record and a 2.83 ERA with 16 saves. Again, in weaker years he’d be a strong candidate, but in this group he’s looking very ho-hum, pitching for the also-ran Brewers.

Chris Johnson … No, he doesn’t have “getting away from the cops speed.” He’s got good bat speed, though. The Astros third baseman is late to the party but has been positively Posey-like, with 5 home runs and 28 RBI’s and a .350 average in 42 games.

Gaby Sanchez … the Marlins first baseman will fly completely under the radar in south Florida. He’s had a very solid year, hitting .288 with 12 home runs and 49 RBI’s. Similar numbers won the ROY for the Marlins’ Chris Coghlan last year, but probably won’t put the 26-year-old Sanchez in the top five this year.

Mike Stanton … Giants fans got to see the power that resides in his bat in a recent series at AT and T Park. He might not win the award this year but could end up having a better career than many of the candidates being mentioned here. A very tantalizing player at age 20, with 9 home runs in 166 at-bats.

( How many times have you seen three talented 20-year-olds in the same season ? Not often, I’d wager. )

Also mentionable: Giants’ pitcher Madison Bumgarner, the Phillies’ Domonic Brown, the Pirates’ Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker and Jose Tabata, and Tyler Colvin of the Cubs.

2009 just called. It would like to borrow some of these candidates. Oh wait, the American League is on Line 2.

***

Brett Favre ? Wake me when he does something. Thanks to him, however, I can never think of Crocs in the same way again.

***

My short attention span occasionally leads me away from sports to music, and I occasionally like to wander YouTube to find some gems. Last night I found one that really brought me back: Glen Campbell and Stevie Wonder singing a beautiful version of “Blowin’ in the Wind” on Campbell’s CBS TV show.

Two legends performing live. I know. I was there.

As a kid, I was privileged to view many tapings at Television City in Los Angeles, because my mom worked for CBS. We saw “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons,” “The Carol Burnett Show,” “Sonny and Cher,” “The Smothers Brothers,” and Campbell’s show. I didn’t know how good we had it.

Thanks Mom, for the memories.

Advertisements

One Response to “Grab A Bat”

  1. Giants vs. Braves: quieting the haters » Bay Area Sports Guy Says:

    […] the little guys but a little bit of pee comes out every time they face stiff competition. Just read this bit of Negative Nancyism. I have a hard time complaining about the whys and wherefores of a team with the highest run […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: