Before we begin spring training, let’s take a look at who we think will be in the Opening Day lineup for the San Francisco Giants.
Baseball is the most difficult sport to predict because you never know what’s going to happen. That’s why it’s fun to make predictions before spring training, and then see how different they are on Opening Day in just a month and a half.
Even the Opening Day lineup will most likely be vastly different than what we see in June.
I think I have a pretty good idea right now of who will be on the Opening Day roster, but I can bet you things will be different by the end of March.
First we’ll take a look at what I think the lineup will look like, and then I’ll explain each pick.
Denard Span – CF
Joe Panik – 2B
Buster Posey – C
Brandon Belt – 1B
Hunter Pence – RF
Brandon Crawford – SS
Mac Williamson – LF
Eduardo Nunez – 3B
One thing you can count on for Opening Day is Denard Span being in the leadoff spot – unless he’s injured of course. He’s hit in the leadoff spot in 1,022 games and has a career average of .282 from that spot with a .347 on-base-percentage.
The two-hole is where we see a lot of controversy. A lot of people think Panik deserves to be here, while others will fight for Belt. When Panik is healthy, I think he has proven that he’s capable of hitting in the two-whole with a career average of .288 and an on-base-percentage of .346.
Another given should be Posey in the three-hole. Some people like to tinker with the idea of him hitting fourth, or even first, but I still think you put your best hitter third. I don’t like putting him fourth because I think you want your best hitter to hit in the first inning, and hit more often.
Brandon Belt has proven that he can get on base from either the second or fourth spot, but fourth is the only spot where he has an on-base-percentage over .400. The only issue with this top four is that it’s very left-handed heavy with Posey being the only right-handed bat.
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Hunter Pence should be setup for plenty of RBI opportunities with all of those on-base guys in front of him. While I’d love to have his bat higher in the lineup, I think this is the best run production spot for him.
Brandon Crawford is an interesting player because he can literally hit anywhere in the lineup; therefore, we stick him in the awkward sixth spot.
The next spot is one that could definitely be different on Opening Day. I’m going with Mac Williamson because I believe there is more upside there. Plus, the Giants lineup could use another right-handed hitter.
Nunez has spent the majority of his career hitting eighth where he has a career average of .294 and an on-base-percentage of .418. I think he’ll do a good job of flipping the lineup and clearing the pitcher.
And I hope that the pitcher stays in the nine spot this year. It’s hard to knock the team that won the World Series, but I saw too many Cubs games – and Giants games for that matter – where there was an RBI chance with the eight spot coming up.
Like I said, this is all just fun to think about now as spring training begins, but we’ll most likely see something totally different on Opening Day. I can’t wait to see what lineup developments we see throughout spring.