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THE REALISTIC GIANTS FAN: Schierholtz Deserves a Shot


It seems that we are destined to begin this year with a powerless outfield, which is not exactly a surprise. I mean, we are coming off three of the most dismal offensive seasons I've seen, but it opens a surprising door: Your 2010 most productive outfielder may be Nate Schierholtz. Mark De Rosa seems to be the shoe in for that role, but not so fast I say. If I had to handicap who was gonna lead the outfield in homers, well then I would take De Rosa, but in this sabermetric heavy era we all know that production is more than homers. Nate will have another year under his belt, and, with the Giants seemingly going out of their way to stay off of Jermaine Dye's radar, he is being given a huge vote of confidence. During a stretch last year when Randy Winn was playing a lot of left field Nate was busy showing what he could do with regular playing time. It was easily his most productive stretch of the year. Krukow even mentioned that Nate looked different, like he felt he belonged. Then just as quickly the regular time was reduced as John Bowker, and then Eugenio Velez, were given shots in left, forcing Randy Winn over to right, as Bochy prefers his veteran options. It was at this time that his average started to decrease, which snowballed into less playing time, and finally, the horrid finish to last year's campaign.

Rowand's lack of patience doesn't exactly set him apart on this club. He is but a portion of an overall glaring problem. De Rosa seems a little more patient, but is more in the Freddy Sanchez vein, in that he doesn't strike out a lot, but he isn't exactly a walk machine either. That being said, they do both work counts, but not by taking pitches, rather by fouling a lot off. Sanchez, for example, finds himself in quite a few six and seven pitch at bats where the count is 1-2. I realize that Schierholtz OBP. doesn't jump off the page, but I saw him last year take some GOOD, PATIENT at bats. I am a proponent of anything done once can be by chance, but once done twice its been proven repeatable. There is a world of potential I see in young Nate, and he needs to step up and realize it. This is the season and, despite my earlier calls for Dye, I would be very happy to see Nate run out there on opening day. It would be full circle for a man who was more mismanaged than anyone else on this roster.

Our pitching is so good I think power at the two infield corners can be enough, as long as everyone else stops trying to hit homers. With Sanchez, Rowand, De Rosa, Schieholtz and Uribe you have hitters that should be aiming to send the ball the other way towards triple's alley. This is a team that would be served by homer numbers going down and doubles numbers going up. This team needs to find smarter ways for it to capably raise its slugging percentage, rather than just try to pluck non-existent round trippers out of thin air. A common knock on Nate is the power that has never surfaced, but perhaps doubles and stretched out triples are more the way for him to go. If Nate hits .275, has a .325 OBP, hits 25-30 2Bs and drives in 75 runs, all from probably the seventh spot in the lineup, I don't care if he hits 5 home runs. That being said, I expect him to surpass 5. I think 15 Homeruns and 75 RBI sounds sexier, but really the only intrinsic value is ten runs. All of those numbers would represent improvements from the right field spot, without a hitch in defense despite Winn playing right field at AT&T like they had built it for him. In fact, over time, Schierholtz may prove to be the superior defender and already posseses a much better arm. So I say throw your confidence behind Nate. It could be worse...management could gave re-signed Winn.

(The Realistic Giants Fan appears every Monday and Friday. Feel free to contact me at realisticgiantsfan@yahoo.com)


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