Quick thought and then some links: after last night’s thrilling — or heart attack inducing — win over the Cardinals, one in which Nate Schierholtz had not one but two key hits, the Giants find themselves up 2-1 in a four game series against one of the better teams in the National League. Schierholtz always seems to confuse and perplex me. His success at hitting in AAA is just so long ago, but his 105 wRC+ right now makes him one of the better hitters on the team. He’s basically on par with Burrell (107) and Nate’s defense is above and beyond anything Burrell can bring to the field.
I wonder if he’ll always be one of those guys that will have flashes of success, but ultimately never play up to his potential-slash-talent. He’s already 27-years-old and chances are he’s at, or near, the peak of his game physically. The Giants will have to continue to juggle the OF spots between Cody Ross — who also had a nice game, going 4-5 — Schierholtz, Belt, and Burrell.
My heirarchy of OF needs rates as follows: Torres, Belt, Schierholtz, Ross, and Burrell
It’s a hard sell to make for some, I think. But the team has to find playing time for Brandon Belt and LF seems like the appropriate spot for him right now. At the end of the day, to drop a Sabeanism on you, he’s probably a top-three talent on offense on this team right now. Ross should always get starts against LHP and the occasional start against RHP so he’s not totally rusty. Torres needs to play as much as he can. Burrell has looked lost lately and he might be moving himself back onto the bench; it’s a role we all envisioned he would be filling originally when the Giants picked him up.
Schierhotlz is making the case that he should be the starter in RF. As long as he’s hitting and playing terrific defense, he should get the starts. Still, he’s going to continue to frustrate and perplex me. Guys that swing at pitches that actually hit them will do that to you.
Now, for some links.
* Ian, from Productive Outs, has a nice post on the Giants and BP’s playoff odds predictor thingy. The quote to take away:
The Giants offense is miserable. Like, second- or third-worst in every important offensive category. Yes, many of their hitters are due some positive regression, and hitting savant Pablo Sandoval will be back in the lineup soon. Replacing Miguel Tejada with someone with a pulse will also give them a slight bump. And of course their pitching is among the best in baseball. But they just lost a (conservatively) 5 WAR player in Posey. Is the NL West really that bad??
* RHP Marc Kroon has decided to stay at AAA Fresno. Kroon had a June 1st clause in his contract where he could opt-out if he wasn’t on the major league team. I expect we’ll see him in San Francisco sometime this year. Kroon’s stats in AAA: 20.1 IP, 20 H, 10 BB, 25 SO. That’s a 11.1 K/9 and a 4.4 BB/9. The stuff is great, the control is iffy.
* Ex-Giant, Kevin Correia, won his 8th game of the year last night. That’s the most wins for a pitcher in the majors. Under the surface, Correia is having an interesting year. He’s only striking out 3.99 batters per nine, but he’s not walking many at 2 batters per nine, and he’s upped his groundball rate to a career high 50%.
* Offense is down this year in baseball. But did you know that the HR rates are at their lowest level since 1993? League average OPS is currently at .710. In 2000, a huge year for offense, the league average OPS was .782 — that’s nuts.