Originally posted on Seed Spitters  |  Last updated 2/27/12

Let’s dig into the Giant’s third basemen for the upcoming 2012 season. Since Edgardo Alfonzo and Pedro Feliz manned the position from 2003 through 2007, the Giants have had little offensive power coming from the “hot-corner”.

After Feliz hit 22, 20, 22 and 20 home runs from the 2004 to 2007  seasons respectively and Alfonzo hitting 13 and 11 home runs in 2003 and 2004, the Giants were left with little power after slugger Barry Bonds “retired” (still unsure if he is retired) after 2007.

During the years of 2003-2007, the third basemen position on the Giants accounted for over 1.2 WAR per year.

Jose Castillo was a disaster in 2008 – plain and simple.

Castillo’s production in his 115 games with the Giants in 2008 was a disappointing six home runs and a -0.8 WAR.

Then the Giants signed a chubby kid out of Venezuela, and they found their third base slugger and surprisingly decent defender.

Pablo Sandoval

Yeah, that chubby kid was a future all-star, fan-favorite, “Kung Fu Panda” also known as Pablo Sandoval.

After joining the Giants organization at the young age of 17, Sandoval excelled through the minors cracking the big league roster late in the 2008 season.

In Sandoval’s first full season on the Giants, he placed seventh in the National League “Most Valuable Player” vote while producing a 4.7 WAR. Not too shabby.

After eating one too many tacos down in his hometown, Sandoval suffered a setback.

After a mediocre 2010 season overshadowed by the Giants winning the World Series, Sandoval began “Operation Panda II” to help him get fit.

Last season, he returned to his old form on the field, hitting .315/.357/.552 with 23 home runs and 70 RBI.

Here is hoping for another good season:

Projection (MLB):

.324 batting average, .372 on-base %, .568 slug %

31 home runs, 93 RBI, 84 runs

14+ clips of Pablo doing a complex handshake with a teammate, 140+ games played and 1,400+ panda hats sold.

Conor Gillaspie

Gillaspie, 23, was drafted in the first round (37th overall) back in 2008. After moving up a league after each season, Gillaspie has developed into an experienced prospect after wrapping up last season in triple-A with the Fresno Grizzlies.

The most promising aspect of Gillaspie’s game is his ability to improve.

Over his first four seasons in professional baseball, he has inched his OPS higher and higher each season from .696 to .842. What is also impressive, is his increase (and new career highs) in runs (63), home runs(11), stolen bases(9), batting average (.297), on-base percentage (.389), fielding percentage (.965) and slugging percentage (.453).

Even though his minor league stats keep on getting better, his 23 games in the big leagues are about average. Used as mostly a pinch hitter in a meaningless ballgame, Gillaspie has hit a total .250/.357/.375 slash line with an average .732 OPS in just 24 at-bats.

A tiny sample size gives us little indication if this guy is ready for the big leagues, but I’d say he looks like a good back up for next season if he has a good spring (or Sandoval gets injured – knock on wood).

Most likely starting this season in Fresno, here is my prediction:

Projection (AAA):

.300 batting average, .391 on-base %, . 472 slug %

13 home runs, 68 RBI, 72 runs

I hope this guy has another good year in the minors because he could be a decent addition to any team’s roster when he joins the majors.

Chris Dominguez

Dominguez, 25, has spent the past three seasons with the Giants organizations, moving from Arizona’s Rookie League to double-A Richmond. Last year he spend half his time with the San Jose Giants and then was promoted to the Richmond Flying Squirrels to finish out the season.

Known for more of a power hitter, Dominguez has hit 11 (in only 52 games), 21 and 18 home runs over the last three years.

Last year, he hit .244/.272/.403 with seven home runs and 45 RBI in 78 games with Richmond. Most likely the starting third basemen for Richmond, here is my projection for Dominguez:

Projection (AA):

.274 batting average, .324 on-base %, .452 slug %

17 home runs, 87 RBI, 72 runs

Again, not a bad season for him, but still needs time in the minors

Be sure to post your own projections for any of these players in the comments below. Challenge me, I dare you. 

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