Admit it - the Giants 2011 batting order wasn't exactly thrilling. Even before losing Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez to injury, San Francisco was still counting on improbable seasons from a few different players in order to stay competitive offensively. If you bought an Andres Torres jersey after the 2010 season, shame on you. He was a great guy and a hell of an outfielder, but the 34 year old journeyman was simply to erratic at the plate to build on his success.
It was the same story for Aubrey Huff. His career statistics show that Huff should have an up year in 2012, but after being awarded a 22 million dollar "thank you" contract, he failed to improve upon an unlikely 2010 season in 2011.
So here we stand with 2012 looming. Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez are poised to return, but if you're counting on the same offensive clutch that you saw from the other Giants in 2010 then you’re probably praying at the same alter as Brian Sabean.
Carlos Beltran left San Francisco after only half of a season with the club for greener pastures in St. Louis, and so be it. I wasn't much of a Beltran guy myself - he was a hell of a hitter but he didn't jive with the Giants clubhouse formula. Cody Ross is gone and he took the illusion of his offensive prowess with him - have fun with that, Beantown. Pat Burrell was never healthy last year and now he's retired his talents to Chestnut Street. So what's left?
For starters, Freddy, Buster and Pablo - Okay, so these are our three best hitters, which is why they bat in the 2, 3 and 4 holes. Freddy won't take you yard much, but he'll get on base pretty often. No Giants fan can complain about that. Buster will move him over consistently, and Pablo should knock him in on a regular basis. This trio constitutes our best offensive threat.
The rest of the team has been patched together using duct tape and prayer beads from Brian Sabean's nightstand, and that's pretty alarming.
Angel Pagan will bat lead-off, replacing Torres with a more polished version of Andres' skills. We would like to think that he'll repeat last year’s success (.262 avg, 56 RBIs) but I wouldn't bank on that it if I were you. That theory rarely works for us Giants fans.
Joining our crowded (and average) outfield is Melke Cabrera, who also had a pretty good 2011, boasting a .305 average while knocking in 87 runs. I expect Melke to be our most successful trade acquisition. He should provide some pop to our offense, assuming he stays motivated and healthy.
Beyond that, it's nothing but doubt. Can Nate Schierholtz build up a clutch 2011 season? He's most comfortable playing right field, and now that Carlos is gone he can return to that comfort zone.
They'll trot Huff back out to first base (probably to bat in the five hole), but on a considerably short leash. History says that Aubrey's due for an up year, but his offensive deficiencies in 2011 were pretty startling.
I hope Bochy will find some way to fit Brett Pill and Brandon Belt into the mix. That would probably serve him well, as both these kids provide the Giants their best option when it comes to young offensive fire power.
The Giants weak spot yet again will be short stop. Brandon Crawford, Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot will share time here, but even then, these three amount to just a little more than offensive inconsistency. Short stop was a position that the Giants leaned on hard during the 2010 season - don't forget where Edgar Renteria was playing when he hit that home run in game five - and yet they haven't found a replacement for the pop that Juan Uribe and Edgar once provided.
This is all the sort of tragic speculation that only a good pessimist could provide before the season actually gets underway, but Giants fans shouldn't avoid thinking about it. San Francisco's line-up contains more question marks than it does exclamation points right now, and while it may be "torturous," it's not exactly the formula for a winning season.
Photo Credit: Bleacher Report