Since the Giants seem to be going through quite the rough stretch, getting swept by the Pirates and all, let’s take a look at the Fresno Grizzlies to see if they have anybody who can possibly help in this time of offensive need.
San Francisco should get one addition tonight or tomorrow from Fresno: Omar Vizquel. He’s only gone 1-for-5 in two games with the Grizzlies, but the Giants didn’t sign him for his offense, right? If any team can afford to fill its roster with weak-hitting 40-year-olds coming off knee surgery, it’s the squad that plays their home games at 24 Willie Mays Plaza.
Offensively, there are two guys hitting for significant power so far this season, first baseman Scott McClain (7 HR) and outfielder Justin Leone (9). Unfortunately, those two are hitting .254 and .234, respectively. Pretty poor for the Pacific Coast League, which traditionally has been a place where offensive stats tend to be fairly inflated.
There are a few guys hitting for decent average, discounting catcher Eliezer Alfonso, who was hitting .306 when he got suspended 50 games for juicing. Outfielder Brian Horwitz is doing alright, hitting .306 with 3 homers, but he only has one double and no triples in 85 at-bats. Julio Cordido plays second base, and he’s hitting an absolutely powerless .301 (only 2 of his 28 hits for extra-bases).
The only guy who seems to do it all is Nate Schierholtz. Schierholtz played some right field last year for the Giants, and was actually guy who fared the best of all the “young” position players (including Fred Lewis, Dan Ortmeier and the since departed Rajai Davis). But since Schierholtz is the youngest of those guys and still had minor league options (meaning he can get sent down to Triple-A without getting snagged by another Major League team), he started this year in Fresno.
So far Schierholtz, who went to San Ramon Valley High School in Danville, has pretty much mirrored his Fresno stats from last year. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hitting .300, with 3 homers, 6 doubles and 3 triples. He also leads the team in stolen bases with seven, getting caught once.
(Side note: Isn’t the fact they lead the league in stolen bases one of the best things about the Giants this season? They currently have 39, two ahead of the Dodgers. I never thought I’d see that during my lifetime. Steals allowed, maybe, but this team has been one of the slowest in the Majors for years, ever since Barry Bonds’ knee prevented him from running or sliding.)
Just one last point on the Giants and their offensive struggles — out of their eight players on this year’s All-Star Ballot, only two players would warrant a selection by even the most homerish of Giants fans: Bengie Molina and Aaron Rowand. The rest of the Giants on the ballot? Randy Winn (.268, 0 HR), Rich Aurilia (.264, 3 HR, and it took a mammoth hot streak to get to this level), Ray Durham (.253, 1 HR, injured), Dan Ortmeier (44 AB, but he is hitting .295), Dave Roberts (17 AB, injured) and Vizquel, who hasn’t played in a Major League game yet.
Hopefully when the Giants make their first selection in the First-Year Player Draft on June 5, it will be a position player who can hit. Preferably one who can get to the bigs as fast as Tim Lincecum did, since besides Schierholtz there doesnt look to be too much assistance coming from Fresno.