After the departure of Carlos Beltran for St. Louis, big bad manager Bruce Bochy has a number of options for building a more effective batting lineup for his SF Giants.
Success of any new-fangled lineup might depend most on the Giants regaining some of their 2010 flair.
While MLB.com writer Chris Haft believes that the newly-open number-3 spot in the batting order could be easily filled by Pablo Sandoval—hot off an insane 2011 season—let’s not forget the big Giants bats coming back from injuries.
Beloved backstop Buster Posey is set to return to the SF lineup this spring after the gnarliest leg injury of the 2011 baseball season. Posey had 46 hits with four homers and a .284 batting average before his early July exit.
If the catcher can quickly regain his offensive momentum, he could regain the clean-up spot in the lineup—where he thrived since his start with the Gigantes in 2010—and the Kung Fu Panda would definitely be rocking that number-3-spot.
Again, that’s depending on Buster’s recovery. Although Bochy is hoping to play him fulltime come Opening Day, Sandoval might still find himself in that clean-up spot in the batting order.
Another fave coming off the injured list? Freddy Sanchez. Balls-to-the-wall Sanchez was out for the season after diving for a ball and dislocating his shoulder. Diehard fans will recognize Sanchez as the base runner that rocked the number-2 spot of the lineup during the Giants 2010 post-season run.
Provided that Sanchez is back and healthy by Opening Day, he could be snug in that second spot, with the Panda carrying the heavy bat and Posey batting clean-up.
A fantasy line-up? Of course it is.
But even if Sanchez isn’t healthy, the newly-acquired Melky Cabrera could bat second.
And if—as Haft suggests in his most recent article—Posey bounces back from injury hitting for a higher average, he might end up batting third, with Sandoval batting fourth.
But none of us will know until after Spring Training. Count on an ever-changing lineup down in Scottsdale.