Three players to watch:
-Casey McGehee, 3B: All eyes will be on McGehee at third base considering the man he’s replacing. While McGehee had a solid season at the plate with the Marlins in 2014 (.287, 4 HR, 76 RBI, .712 OPS), he’s not Panda. He doesn’t have the power at the plate he once had early on while with the Brewers (52 HR’s from 2009-11) and it’ll have to be seen if he can hit for average, let alone play close to, if not, the entire season like he did a year ago as well.
The post-Panda era at the ballpark by the Bay has officially begun.
-The Giants starting rotation: Besides the dominance that was Madison Bumgarner in the regular season (18-10, 2.98 ERA, 219 K) and in the playoffs, the rest of the Giants starting pitching rotation was decent at best. The only other double-digit winner was Tim Lincecum (12-9, 4.74 ERA, 134 K) while Tim Hudson, Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain each recorded losing records. Cain didn’t pitch after July 9 due to an elbow injury that required surgery.
Outside of Bumgarner and even possibly Cain, the Giants starting rotations has a lot of questions entering 2015. Hudson is 39 and coming off surgery in January to remove bone spurs in his right ankle, Lincecum is getting another shot in the rotation as the fifth starter and should be on a tight leash especially with two viable starters in the pen in Vogelsong and Yusmeiro Petit and Jake Peavy should benefit from a pitcher-friendly ballpark, however he’s going into his age-34 season and has had a major-injury in the past.
While the Giants rotation wasn’t as solid last season, it’d be interesting to see if they can actually improve on their 2014 performance in 2015, or if they’ll continue their downward spiral.
-Hunter Pence, OF: One of the game’s most durable players, Pence hasn’t missed a game in the last two seasons. Last year, he hit .277 for the orange and black, knocking out 20 homers and notching 74 RBI’s. However due to an injury he suffered after being hit by a pitch early in spring training, Pence will miss time for the first time in the last two years as he’s expected to miss all of April. It’ll be interesting to see how he performs when he comes back from the injury, let alone how either NLCS hero Travis Ishikawa, Justin Maxwell and/or Juan Perez cover his place in the lineup while he’s gone.
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