Potential New-Look Giants O

The San Francisco Giants have been quite active so far in the off-season. They made a very early splash when signing Jeremy Affeldt to pitch out of their bullpen and added some reinforcement today, inking Bobby Howry to a deal. Brian Sabean has also been reportedly pursuing Edgar Renteria, a deal that could come to fruition very soon. Additionally, Sabes has been linked to Jorge Cantu, he of the 29 home runs for the Marlins in 2008. With the potential for a very new-looking Giants offense in 2009, I decided to compare their starting lineup from 2008 to what it may look like for the season opener.

First, if any Giants fans out there read this and would like me to factor in partial seasons for some players who received playing time due to an injury to a starter, let me know. Also, if you have reason to believe that they will feature a different starting first baseman in 2009, I will make the correction. For the 2008 lineup, I took those with the most starts; therefore, certain players with a small sample of playing time were not included.

2008 Giants        RAR     WAR
Bengie Molina     +35.0   +3.50
Rich Aurilia       +3.0   +0.30
Emmanuel Burriss  +22.4   +2.24
Jose Castillo      +4.0   +0.40
Omar Vizquel      +23.2   +2.32
Fred Lewis        +25.3   +2.53
Aaron Rowand      +10.0   +1.00
Randy Winn        +38.5   +3.85
John Bowker        -4.4   -0.44

Put together, these ten players combined for +157 runs above replacement, or +15.7 wins. Now, how does this stack up with the potential lineup in 2009 if they ink Renteria and Cantu?

2009 Giants         RAR     WAR
Bengie Molina      +31.2   +3.12
John Bowker         +5.0   +0.50
Emmanuel Burriss   +15.5   +1.55
Jorge Cantu        +15.0   +1.50
Edgar Renteria     +23.5   +2.35
Fred Lewis         +21.8   +2.18
Aaron Rowand       +19.5   +1.95
Randy Winn         +31.0   +3.10
Pablo Sandoval (3B)+33.0   +3.30
Pablo Sandoval (1B)+16.0   +1.60

Now, the above projections are based upon Bengie Molina sustaining about a half-win above average defense and slightly improving his offense to league average for a catcher; on Aaron Rowand improving offensively; and on Renteria bouncing back on both offense and defense. These projected wins amount to 16.3 above replacement, a half-win greater than a year ago. Therefore, adding Renteria and Cantu, and giving a full year’s worth of playing time to Burriss and Bowker will add just a half-win above what they accomplished last year.

Pablo Sandoval needs to be added to the mix. His weighted projection calls for a .362 wOBA in 419 PA in 2009. Assuming he is -5 runs defensively, since we don’t know much about his defensive prowess other than it is about average or below average at 1B, we’re looking at +11 runs on offense, -5 on defense, we’ll say -10 as a positional adjustment since he could split between 1B/3B, and +20 for replacement. The total of +16 runs, or +1.6 wins. This would bring the potential 2009 Giants offense to 17.9 wins above replacement, close to three wins better than this past season.

However, if we substitute Cantu for Sandoval at 3B, and remove Bowker for Ishikawa/Phelps in a platoon, things look much better. Sandoval would improve to +3.3 wins, and the Phelps/Ishikawa platoon would be worth +1.2 wins. This would result in +18.8 wins above replacement for the 2009 Giants offense, higher than if they get Cantu, and go with Sandoval/Bowker at 1B. Therefore, it would seem like the best bet for SF would involve signing Renteria, going with the Ishikawa/Phelps platoon at first base, and letting Pablo be the everyday third baseman.

Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.

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14 years ago

Pablo Sandoval!