I make fun of Bruce Bochy a lot, but there’s no way I’d actually want his job. The Giants have enough players of similar talent that just deciding who goes on the lineup card every night must be something of a headache.
Happily, I am relieved from the responsibility of having my opinions make an impact on the team. This probably explains a great deal of why I enjoy giving these opinions. Today, let’s talk about the outfield.
Aaron Rowand – Well, last week I noted that Aaron Rowand was hitting like Aaron Rowand, career. The early games being what they are, and a week later Aaron Rowand is hitting like Aaron Rowand, 2010. He’s still a useful piece to have around at the moment, but Bochy shouldn’t strain himself writing Rowand into the lineup when Torres comes back. Rowand should basically never bat leadoff, as even at the best of times he’s an out-intensive hitter. His inability to get on base as the guy comes up most often has been one of many factors driving the Giants awful offensive performance of late.
Cody Ross – It’s way, way too early to write off Cody Ross. 60 PAs is too soon to write off a rookie, and it’s way too soon for a guy with an actual track record. I don’t know if Ross’s struggles have anything to do with lingering injury issues or what. I don’t mind not playing him everyday, but for God’s sake he should get his days off against right handed pitching. Ross doesn’t have one of these namby-pamby one to two seasons and a handful of at-bat platoon splits. His split is deep and consistant – he hits like fringe MVP candidate against LHP and fringe starting catcher against RHP. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in CF a few days a week.
Nate Schierholtz – Schierholtz has been okay, and I’m sorta buying it. I’ve never really seen how he’s going to work out as a big league hitter. Nothing personal, but it’s hard to take anyone seriously who swings at that many balls at that hit him. The projection systems all seem to think he can give you Shea Hillenbrand type hitting coupled with good defense from a corner. That’s not a bad thing, especially when you haven’t even traded Jeremy Accardo for it. I don’t mind him taking at-bats against RHP away from Ross and Rowand. He’s gotten a decent number of at-bats in the big leagues already, though, so I don’t think there’s any reason to give him a ton of rope if he starts struggling.
Darren Ford – Ford is a pinch runner and defensive replacement – end of story. He doesn’t do enough of anything else to justify a roster spot when the other players get healthy. His caught stealing attempts have come on some pretty perfect throws, but I can’t help but think that maybe they should just put him in there to take the extra base that Pat Burrell can’t and not have him steal so much.
Pat Burrell – It seems to me like people don’t like Pat Burrell enough. Yes, he strikes out a ton and has all the range of a wet bag of sand. But other than No. 3 Hitter Mike Fontenot he’s the only hitter who’s been working the count and he’s also one of the few reliable sources of power in the Giants’ lineup. Take him out after the 7th inning with a lead, but otherwise the team needs his offense. When Torres comes back, I hope that he loses the fewest at-bats of these guys.
Mark DeRosa - DeRosa confuses me. Bochy wasn’t treating him like an outfield option when he was healthy. I’m not sure if that was because of Rowand’s hot start or because they were saving him to be an infield sub. It’s been mentioned that he put on some extra weight over the last year. I’m sure that won’t help his mobility, but could he really have had less range than Pat Burrell or Aubrey Huff in the outfield? Either way, DeRosa’s main virtue was to be a league average hitter at just about whatever defensively nonessential position you need to slot him into on a given day. If they can’t play him in the outfield, he could provide value at not being Miguel Tejada until Sandoval comes back and not being Emmanuel Burris when Freddy Sanchez needs a day off. The outfield is really crowded these days, so maybe that’s all they’ll need from him.
So here’s my preferred order of outfield playing time when Torres returns:
3. Ross, Schierholtz
6. DeRosa (mostly playing in the infield)
Aside from Torres, (who I have no idea what to expect from) and Ford (who I expect very little from) these guys are all 1 to 3.5 WAR players. It’s pretty much anyone’s guess as to who’s going to draw the 1 WAR year and who is going to draw the 3.5. So reasonable minds can differ on their preferences.