Do the Giants have enough hitting, especially in the power department?
General manager Brian Sabean acquired one significant hitter in the offseason. One. That would be Michael Morse who hit with massive power in 2011 when he slammed 31 home runs for the Nationals. But his power production has declined since then and he's coming off wrist surgery. And that means he's no sure thing.
The Giants are depending on Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro to get things going in the one and two spots of the batting order. It's just that Pagan missed much of last season with a torn hamstring that required surgery. He turns 33 this season. Scutaro is 38 and will need many days off. Pagan and Scutaro are a risky proposition to set the table, as they say.
Obviously, Buster Posey will hit. And Hunter Pence (27 homers and 99 RBIs last season) will hit. And Pablo Sandoval probably will hit. Probably. The Giants need Brandon Belt to progress from supporting player to star — he hit 17 home runs and drove in 67 last season, good but not great for a first baseman. First base is a power position. Brandon Crawford is a brilliant shortstop but a limited offensive threat.
Last season, the Giants hit 107 home runs, next-to-last in the entire Major Leagues. They need more power. Where does it come from?
Is Pablo Sandoval serious about being a world-class athlete
The Panda can flat out play baseball. We know that. He is a natural hitter with power from both sides of the plate who can carry the Giants. It's just that his work habits are subpar.
Well, amend that. His work habits may be just fine. His eating habits are the issue. He is a lusty man in love with life and that includes all its bounties, food topping the list. At times last season, he looked blown up as if someone had placed a hose in his right ear and filled him with helium. He is said to be slim and ripped and motivated after playing ball in Venezuela this offseason. The Giants need him to be a world-class athlete and to stay slim and ripped and motivated.
He has a great throwing arm and soft hands, and it's embarrassing when manager Bruce Bochy takes him out for defensive purposes in the late innings because he's too heavy to bend over to correctly field his position. This is his contract year and the Giants expect — hope — he remains serious about his job. He hit 14 home runs last season with 79 RBIs. That won't cut it. The team must decide whether to give him a big contract, to go all in with him. Important season for the Panda.
Can Tim Lincecum pitch?
He used to be able to pitch. Not the past two seasons — his combined record was 20-29. Ouch. For this, the Giants lavished on him a two-year deal worth a cool $35 million. The Giants are confident — they say they are confident — Lincecum has changed. He used to be a power pitcher. He kept trying to be a power pitcher even when the power shorted out. And he got blasted.
Apparently all of that changed. He learned his lesson. He learned how to pitch, no longer depends on blowing away batters.