Posted By Jeff Fletcher on March 29, 2011 11:05 am
Called one of my scouting friends today to get his impressions on the Giants heading into the season. This scout spent his whole spring covering all five NL West teams in Arizona, so he has a pretty solid basis for his opinions.
“The Giants are the strongest team in the division,” he said. “I would pick them to win it going away.”
He said the Rockies would be his No. 2 team, because “their rotation isn’t as good as they think it is.” He picked the Dodgers third, because of the rotation hole left by injured Jon Garland and their front office “turmoil.” San Diego “will probably overachieve again” and their bullpen is good, but “starting pitching will be a problem… and the offense is a problem too.” And Arizona? “They were awful.”
Now, back to more specifics on the Giants.
On Pablo Sandoval: “His bat speed was back for me. I thought he was solid.”
On Miguel Tejada: “He’s a battler. He’s going to be OK. he doesn’t have great range, but it’s not like the Giants had great range there last year with Renteria and Uribe… I think he’ll hit fine.”
On Brandon Belt: “He was really solid all spring, everything I saw. If you put Belt in the lineup, you improve the defense, the offense and the baserunning.”
The scout also said that he thought Belt seemed mature enough to handle it if he slumps initially. (One of the reasons that teams like to err on the side of caution with prospects is that they don’t want their confidence to be shattered if they start slowly.)
On Andres Torres: “He’s a solid major league center fielder. What you saw last year you can expect to see again.”
On Pat Burrell: “The Giants seem to like Burrell better than most baseball people. He doesn’t run very well. He’s a power right-handed bat off the bench for me. I think the Giants would prefer he be that, but they don’t have a choice. I think DeRosa will fight Burrell for that spot.”
On the bullpen: “That’s scary not to have Brian Wilson. There is no one in that bullpen like him. That’s a big hit if you don’t have Wilson.”
On the rotation, in general, he didn’t see anything alarming or surprising. He basically felt that all five guys could repeat what they did last year.
So, there ya go. Take all that for what it’s worth.