I already reviewed Pablo Sandoval‘s season, but here’s a look at the rest of the infielders; most of them didn’t accumulate many plate appearances with the Giants throughout the season, whether because of injury or because they were with a different team for most of the year. None of them, unfortunately, had anything near the kind of success that Pablo had in 2011. So it goes…
Mark DeRosa: Ah, DeRosa. There was a time when we thought his career was over — I certainly did. When DeRosa came back from the disabled list, rendered nearly useless with his paper wrist, the Giants opted to send Brandon Belt down to Triple-A in favor of him. It was one of the most mind-boggling moves in a season that had plenty of them. I was outspoken in my criticism of DeRosa, who I felt had no value at that point. And I was wrong, as it would turn out. From that point forward, DeRosa was used pretty sparingly, but managed to get over 50 plate appearances, and he hit quite well (.367/.439/.388). He didn’t hit the ball with much authority, as 17 of his 18 hits were singles, but he was surprisingly useful. I don’t think he’s got much left at this point, but I would not be the least bit surprised if he signs a minor-league contract with San Francisco this offseason.
Conor Gillaspie: Gillaspie’s contributions at the major-league level this season can mostly be summed up in one photograph. He has one career home run to this point, and it’s an inside-the-parker.
Brett Pill: Pill was exciting to watch in September and frequently put a jolt in the ball; he actually slugged .560 in 15 games, which was the highest mark on the team (if you set an incredibly low minimum for playing time). In any event, he walked just twice in those 53 plate appearances. If the 26-year-old is ever going to be a useful major-league player (and he’s probably not, at this point), he’ll need to show some better plate discipline.
Brandon Belt: The most mishandled prospect in all of baseball in 2011, Belt was yo-yoed around,and never really a got a chance to settle in at the major-league level. In particular, his strikeouts (57 in 209 plate appearances) were a bit concerning. Nevertheless, he was essentially a league-average hitter (98 wRC+) on the year, and even managed nine home runs in 187 at-bats.
Bill Hall: One of the most forgettable midseason acquisitions in recent Giants history, Hall hit .158/.220/.211 in 16 games. I don’t know that there’s much else to add.
Freddy Sanchez: As I noted in the recent Sanchez extension post, 2011 was not Freddy’s year, as he only played in 60 games before his season came to an end. When he did play, however, he provided the decent production at second base that was expected of him.
Jeff Keppinger: Keppinger gets the “2011 Empty Batting Average award” for his special inability to a) draw walks, and b) hit for power. This, in addition to his incredibly bad defensive skills. He played second base like Dan Uggla, except without any redeeming offensive skills. In all fairness, I’m probably a bit too harsh on Keppinger — it was a reasonable acquisition, but he just wasn’t a fit as an everyday second baseman. I’m hoping the Giants don’t bring him back next season.
Emmanuel Burriss: 152 plate appearances. One extra-base hit — a double.
Brandon Crawford: He got things off to a nice start (with a grand slam off Shaun Marcum in May), but ultimately proved futile with the bat (.204/.288/.296, 60 wRC+). His defense, however, somewhat made up for it, and he did show promise in one aspect of his offense: 23 BB/31 K. If he is in fact the Giants’ starting shortstop next year, I’m hoping he can show some more improvement in his hitting.
Orlando Cabrera: Awful batting average. Awful walk rate. Awful power numbers. Mediocre defense. The most inexplicable trade the Giants made all season.
Mike Fontenot: Of all the players listed here, Fontenot probably had the best season (for better or for worse). In 85 games, he played passable defense at short (along with solid defense at second), got on base at a respectable clip, and actually showed some good power. I’m hoping the Giants tender him a contract, because it’s really in their best interest to do so.