The struggling San Francisco Giants have wallowed through an underachieving season chalked full of disappointments. The pitching rotation has been mediocre at best; the usually rock solid Matt Cain has been the most puzzling, currently sporting at a 4.85 ERA for the season. Ryan Vogelsong has been on the 60-day disabled list since breaking his hand on May 22 against the Washington Nationals. Barry Zito has been inconsistent, pitching marvelously at home and terribly on the road. His home ERA sits at an astounding 1.98, whereas his bloated road ERA suffers at a 9.38. Tim Lincecum has continued his pitching struggles from last season, laboring with control issues during virtually every start.
The offense has had its share of ups and downs, shining in several categories while struggling in others. The Giants possess an overall batting average of .263, placing them 7th in the league. However, they have struggled to score runs and are 22nd in that category. The positive note on all of this is that several deserving Giants have been selected for this year’s All-Star game in July. Played in Citi Field, the Mets will host the inaugural celebration from the 14th until the 16th. The Giants will send three participants, with the chance of a fourth coming from the Final Vote.
Left-handed starter Madison Bumgarner earned a spot on the pitchers list making this his first All-Star game. Catcher buster Posey and second baseman Marco Scutaro have also made it on the reserves list for their impressive play. The five players in the Final Vote for the last National League roster spot are Washington shortstop Ian Desmond, Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and finally Giants outfielder Hunter Pence. Fans will have the chance to vote for the final spot and knowing Giants supporters, Pence will have a solid shot.
There is a solid case for each of the Giants’ All-Stars, beginning with Bumgarner. The southpaw has been the rotation’s most consistent starter all season. He currently sports a solid 3.05 ERA, nine wins, a miniscule .97 WHIP, and 116 strikeouts. If Bumgarner were to keep this pace, he would exceed 200+ innings and 200+ strikeouts, while possessing 17 wins. These are certainly numbers deserving of an All-Star, but his leadership in the rotation should garner more consideration. Bumgarner has been far and away the most consistent, most dominant, and most important pitcher for the Giants this season. A perfect example is his most recent win against the Dodgers this past Saturday that prevented a sweep. Last year Zito was the man who would come in and halt a losing streak; this year, Bumgarner has taken that position and put himself on the top of the rotation.
There could be legitimate arguments to be had regarding Scutaro’s place on the roster. That being said, Scutaro is still very deserving of a spot on the reserves list. His 2.1 WAR is good for third among second basemen in the National League, while his .310 batting average is second highest in the category. Chase Utley could have easily made the team as well, with a higher WAR and better power numbers. Scutaro’s defense, however, is what sets him apart. Posey is an easy second choice behind Yadier Molina, who is once again putting up remarkable numbers. His stat line boasts a .310 batting average, twelve home runs, 46 RBI, and a WAR of 3.3. These are just as good if not better than Molina, with the biggest difference gap being defensive capability. Molina is a one of a kind defensive catcher, who’s game elevates any pitcher he is working with. He and Posey will be All-Star staples for the coming years.
Pence is a great story, having a comeback year after a somewhat disappointing 2012 campaign. His power numbers are respectable and his defense has been a surprise. Pence’s batting average and OBP have dipped in recent weeks, which will make the coming series’ crucial towards his campaign for an All-Star spot. The rabid Giants fan base gives him a good chance at winning the spot, but that will have to overcome the massive popularity of the front runner, Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig.