What do all of these San Francisco Giants have in common (aside from the obvious fact that they are all members of the Giants)?
Answer: They have all played first base for the Giants in 2012.
You may ask, "Well David, we already knew that they all played first base this year, what's the big deal?"
Well devoted reader, I will tell you exactly what the big deal is: The Giants can't seem to nail down a particular player at first base. No matter how insignificant that may seem to the everyday fan, those of us who put a little more emphasis on the game realize the impact the inconsistency places on the entire lineup.
First off, as I grew up learning the game, I was taught that your power-hitters should be playing in the corner outfield and infield spots -- left field, right field, third base, and first base. The Giants however -- or should I say Bruce Bochy -- likes to shuffle around his lineups and play to matchups when doing so, leaving players wondering from day-to-day whether or not they will be in the next game's lineup. The position that receives the most shuffling, at least from where I stand, is the position of first base. (That, and the Giants don't really have a power-hitter to play first base.)
Believe it or not there are teams out there that have played more players than the Giants have at first base this season, but that doesn't mean the Giants are doing better than those teams at generating some offense from that position. The Giants by and far have struggled all year offensively (especially with RISP) and one of their weak spots has been first base -- except perhaps when Buster Posey plays there.
Normally, I wouldn't make a gripe about such a situation. The Giants haven't found a player to truly harness playing first base and hitting the ball consistently. It's not like they haven't tried and it's not like we haven't noticed. What brought this situation back to my attention was Pablo Sandoval being brought off the DL on August 13 and Brett Pill being optioned to Triple-A Fresno. Well, not so much that particular action than Bruce Bochy saying that down the line Sandoval would continue to help out with the duties at first base.
I'm not sure what Bochy's next big plan will be in regards to first base, but if I were in his shoes I would start Brandon Belt -- even though I will admit he is lost up at the plate. Belt offers the best defensive option at first base and has a high OBP, something that should hold more value than it does for the Giants' organization.
So if no one else is hitting well at first base, why not let Belt be the outright first baseman and see if he does come around with the bat. At least he places a strong defensive presence at first base, which can only help secure victories in the way the Giants have become accustomed to -- with defense and pitching. (Now if they could only straighten out their bullpen in tandem with figuring out first base the team would be in business.)
Food for thought: Can the Giants rely on Brandon Belt -- or anyone else for that matter -- to provide adequate offense at first base without losing much defensively? Or do the Giants need to look outside of their organization this offseason for a permanent solution at first base?
David is co-founder of wrapupp sports blog where fresh content is posted daily and present sports blogs and sports opinions - all with a West Coast bias. Growing up in the Bay Area, David is a huge supporter of all the local sports teams; the Giants, Athletics, Warriors, Sharks, 49ers, and Raiders. His one fault, admittedly, as many of his friends and family would say, is his love for the Los Angeles Lakers. Growing up, Magic Johnson was his favorite basketball player and he fell in love with the team. He chalks it up to, "Not knowing any better". Now his love for sports has turned just as academic as it is intuitive and he follows most all sports all over the nation.
You can follow David on Twitter: @officialwrapupp
SFGiants.com. Sandoval comes off DL; doesn't start vs. Nats. MLB 2012.
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