Originally posted on Seed Spitters  |  Last updated 2/6/12

Hello again, there is not much going on for the Giants this off-season, so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to start the 2012 position projections. Spring training is right around the corner and Fan Fest has come and gone. Starting with first base, these 2012 projections:

Aubrey Huff 

Huff, 35, is coming off a pretty lousy season with the Giants. After a terrific 2010 season (26 home runs, .290 avg., 100 runs, 142 OPS+ and a 5.8 WAR), he signed a generous two-year, $20 million contract to stay in San Francisco. After winning the World Series, expectations were high.

He finished with 12 home runs, a .246 average, 45 runs, 90 OPS+ and only -0.9 WAR in 2011. He played in 150 of the 162 games the Giants played, and he accounted for negative one wins. Truly a terrible season from a guy we called our cleanup hitter.

Now, he looks to start fresh from last seasons mediocrity, claiming he’s in “the best shape of his life” heading into spring. He has picked up a page from Barry Zito‘s book in starting a Pilates workout to help him get back into top shape (though I doubt that will turn him back into an all-star).

Projection (MLB):

.276 batting average, .331 on-base %, .415 Slug %

14 home runs, 66 RBI, 60 runs

Gives up starting position to Belt by the end of the season. Speaking of Belt…

 

Brandon Belt

Belt, 23, is an up-and-coming first base prospect the Giants have not seen since Will Clark back in the late 80′s. Last season, he was emotionally and physically abused by the Giants management after barely making the final cut for opening day in 2011. He cried, Bruce Bochy. Cried.

After being brought up, sent down, brought up, injured, sent down, and brought up again, he played a damn good season for the amount of stress put on his shoulders. In just his second year of professional ball, he hit .225/.306/.412 in just 63 games in the majors. In those 209 plate appearances, he hit nine home runs (three less than Huff, who played in 87 more games than Belt in 2011), 18 RBI with an OPS+ of 101.

He played pretty good defense at first and in the outfield as well (32 games in outfield, 31 at first base), putting together a dWAR of -0.7 . While that looks like a poor number, he did only play in about a third of a season while being yanked from the outfield to first, and then back to the outfield multiple times.

Projection (MLB):

.310 batting average, .338 on-base %, .439 slug %

20 home runs, 68 RBI, 72 runs, 14 stolen bases

We finally see some consistent playing time from the young gun (mostly in the OF until Bochy realizes Huff is not getting any younger).

 

Brett Pill

Pill, 27, played in only 15 games with the Giants while Belt was on the disabled list, and had a pretty good start. He homered in his first game, as well as in his second, both against the rivaled San Diego Padres.

In those few games he played in, he fared pretty well, hitting a clean .300/.321/.560 with two home runs and nine RBI. In the minors last season, he was awesome. Just awesome.

He hit 25 home runs, 107 RBI with a .312 batting average in 133 games with AAA-Fresno. He may break the major league roster after five seasons in the minors (708 games at first base, 114 games at second base). If they play Belt in the outfield, Pill has a good chance of backing up Huff on the major league roster.

Projections (MLB):

.305 batting average, .331 on-base %, .410 slug %

6 home runs, 28 RBI, 25 runs

I see him mostly pinch hitting, or a defensive replacement for Huff.

 

Angel Villalona

Villalona, 21, has spent that last two years in the Dominican Republic after being accused of murder in his hometown. After being signed for $2.1 million as a top prospect in 2006 at age 16, he spent three seasons in the Giants organization before he had his visa suspended and was not allowed in the U.S..

Now that all charges are dropped and the lawsuit is settled, he looks to begin his season in the Giants academy in the Dominican Republic to work his way back into shape while he figures out his visa issues.

His best season thus far, was when he was just 17 years old playing for single-A Augusta in 2008. He hit 17 home runs with 64 RBI while putting up a slash line of .263/.312/.435. A former #33 ranked prospect in baseball by Baseball America in 2008, has a long way to climb if he wants to make the big leagues.

Projection (minors):

.250 batting average, .315 on-base %, .395 slug %

12 home runs, 40 RBI, 38 runs

I do not see him making it to the U.S. anytime soon, but I’m hoping he has a decent bounce-back season in the Dominican.

 

Feel free to post comments describing your own projections for any of the players listed above. Don’t be shy, I want to see what you guys and gals think.

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