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MLB Insights


July 30, 2009 4:22 AM

San Francisco Giants Acquire All-Star Second Baseman Freddy Sanchez; My Choice For The NL Pennant

While it was generally accepted that the Giants would be a team to be reckoned with in 2010, GM Brian Sabean started the party early, acquiring first baseman Ryan Garko from the Indians and second baseman Freddy Sanchez from the Pirates.  My prediction is that these two players will help the deliver the Giants an NLCS championship.  They are huge upgrades over the production that the Giants are currently getting from these positions.  At first base, the Giants received a .747 OPS, ranked 25th in the league, and at second, a .601 OPS, good for a rank of 28. 

Sanchez brings to the table a .776 OPS, and will probably give the giant an extra fifteen runs above average based on weighted on-base average.  Garko owns a .826 OPS, and based on the same statistics, should give the Giants an extra five runs over their current production.  Over the course of 61 games, twenty runs is nothing to shake a stick at.  An extra .33 runs per game would move them from the 27th ranked offence in runs scored to 23rd, a significant increase.  If you add .33 runs per game to their current statistics this season, their Expected Pythagorean Record winning percentage would jump from a pedestrian .532 to .615.  To put that in perspective, the Yankees and Dodgers are leading the league with a .614 winning percentage. 

Already leading the Wild Card Race, the Giants, barring a serious injury to Tim Lincecum or Matt Cain, should slide comfortable into the postseason.  This is when they will be the most dangerous.  Lincecum and Cain form the most dangerous 1-2 punch in the NL, and will be extremely effective in a post-season series.  Let's take a look at the Giants new and improved roster.

Lineup

C - Bengie Molina (80 OPS+)

1B - Ryan Garko (114 OPS+, 12.1 UZR/150)

2B - Freddy Sanchez ( 109 OPS+, 6.3 UZR/150)

3B - Pablo Sandoval (142 OPS+, -1.07 UZR/150)

SS - Edgar Renteria (65 OPS+, -1.9 UZR/150)

LF - Fred Lewis (93 OPS+, 3.0 UZR/150)

CF - Aaron Rowand (102 OPS+, 8.4 UZR/150)

RF - Randy Winn (86 OPS+, 15.1 UZR/150)

Utility IF - Juan Uribe (94 OPS+, 7.38 UZR/150)

On average, this line-up has an OPS+ of 98.3, barely below league average.  When you combine that with their stellar pitching, they will be a force to be reckoned with.  They are also an above average defensive squad, with a cumulative UZR/150 of 49.31 among these nine players.  This is 49 runs that the Giants will save on defence alone. 

Pitching

SP - Tim Lincecum (2.30 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 1.99 FIP)

SP - Matt Cain (2.27 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 3.81 FIP)

SP - Barry Zito (4.54 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 4.37 FIP)

SP - Jonathan Sanchez (4.92 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 4.33 FIP)

SP - Randy Johnson (4.81 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 4.91 FIP)

Bullpen - (3.37 ERA , 1.32 WHIP, 3.74 ERA)

While starters three through five leave much to be desired, Lincecum and Cain are so dominant and throw so many innings that the Giants still have second best starting pitcher ERA in the league.  The bullpen is ranked third.  Even when you factor out the excellent fielding; the starters and relievers rank third and fourth respectively in FIP.

Even though Sabean gave up a big part of the future in Tim Alderson to acquire Sanchez, it was well worth it.  So there you have it folks, the 2009 NL Champion San Francisco Giants.

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