Giants fans, rejoice.  We have made it back to baseball’s promised land, otherwise kn..."/> Giants fans, rejoice.  We have made it back to baseball’s promised land, otherwise kn..."/> Giants fans, rejoice.  We have made it back to baseball’s promised land, otherwise kn..."/>

San Francisco Giants: 5 Players Who Will Come Up Huge in the Playoffs


Giants fans, rejoice.  We have made it back to baseball’s promised land, otherwise known as the postseason.  Winning the National League West title for the second time now in three years, the Giants have shown they can hang with the best of the league, standing tall as division champs with a cool 89-65 record.

The team has a roster full of names who have been pulling their weight in one way or another all year, but what about the other guys? Does this Giants team have players they might soon call for off the bench in high pressure situations as we approach the end of the season?

The answer is yes.  With names like Marco Scutaro, Angel Pagan, and Buster Posey, most Giants fans are accustomed to the everyday starters, and are aware of what each member of this great squad can do.

But there are, however, other members on the team that many may have forgotten about, or not considered to be an option at helping the team.  That would be wrong, because there are a handful of players that will help San Francisco as the playoffs inch ever closer.

One must also consider that the starting rotation has been slightly out-of-sync, as Madison Bumgarner and, more pressingly, Ryan Vogelsong have both been out of whack as of late.  This means step-up-time for everyone else.

Here are some key players that will come into some important situations in the last stretch of the regular season and into the playoffs:

1. Xavier Nady- Where better to start off than the X-Man?  Now, when the team first picked him up and sent him to the minors, most didn’t think very much of it.  He got off to a slow start there, but then picked up some heat and got the call-up, making his September 1st debut as a Giant with a statement as he racked up three RBI in that first game.

Since becoming a full-fledged Giant in the month of September, he’s gone 9 for 29 (a .310 average) with six RBIs (including three doubles) while striking out only six times.

He’s a decent outfielder, but doesn’t have the range or speed of a Gregor Blanco.  Bringing him into a game late would benefit the club, as sacrificing defense in left field early in a game often proves costly, so getting his bat in the lineup around the 6th or 7th inning might bode well for the team.  He should get a couple more starts to prove himself further before the first round of the playoffs.

2. Aubrey Huff– To some, just hearing the name is enough to count the guy out, and to be fair, his production in the last two seasons (for which the team is paying $22 million) has pretty much warranted the reaction.

To put it simply, out of eleven at-bats in June and July, he collected one hit.  However, to be fair to Mr. Huff as well, his numbers post All-Star break have been better, and is grinding out some good at-bats.

In fact, this September, he’s already collected five hits in nine at-bats off the bench, while striking out only once.  As long he stays AWAY from the outfield, Huff’s left-handed bat off the bench will definitely prove useful for the club.

3. Brandon Belt– It looks as though Belt has finally put both his solid defense and newly found offensive stride together.

Though he’s not the biggest hitter on the team, he is slowly putting together a good season and has escaped from venturing towards the Mendoza line.  Going the first two months of the season without a long-shot, Belt broke out of his funk and launched four bombs in June.

The next month, he dropped off drastically, seemingly losing his swing to strike out a whopping thirty times.  Again, he bounced back in August, collecting thirty hits in eighty-nine at-bats, only striking out eleven times, and has been hitting very well ever since.

He’s a great infielder, get’s a bunch of doubles, and when he’s hot he launches the ball as well as anybody.  Being one of very few lefties on the Giants roster, his bat will be counted on heavily in the playoffs.

4. Ryan Theriot- He’s no longer an everyday starter, but he has been one of the happier stories of this year.

Theriot got things going after the first month of the season, and quickly cemented his way into the lineup.  His hitting has been clutch, not hitting for average (.275 pre All-Star break, .252 post All-Star break), and his masterful defense has unquestioningly rubbed off on youngster Brandon Crawford.

It’s no secret that Marco Scutaro has swooped in and taken over Theriot’s everyday role, and for good reason, but Theriot will prove to be on the top of the list to come in and pinch hit in high-pressure situations come the playoffs, hitting especially well off of right-handers.

5. Jose Mijares– In the past two seasons, the Giants bullpen has been one of their highlights, featuring the likes of Brian Wilson, Sergiro Romo, Javier Lopez, and Jeremy Affeldt.

This year, however, the relief staff seems to have taken a slight step backwards, pitching not as effectively as they have been in recent years.  Jose Mijares has been one of the better pickups the team has made, as Brad Penny and Clay Hensley have not been as good as they were in earlier parts of the season with the team.

Mijares is the opposite, boasting an ERA of zero in the month of September, surrendering only three hits, giving up two walks, while striking out ten.  This hard throwing lefty is a definite plus for the bullpen, and will undoubtedly help keep things under control late in games.

I would like to include Marco Scutaro on here, but I’m almost positive every Giants fan with a brain and two eyes are fully aware of the value this guy holds.  He’s been the best pickup of the season by any team, and will continue to produce for his new team.

October is almost here, and there are only eight more games to go.  Our boys have won the west by mathematically eliminating the competition, but by no means does this mean they can become complacent.  Every game still counts, if not for record, for character.  Though we are guaranteed postseason play, now is the time San Francisco must show the baseball world why they got here.  The heart, chemistry, and passion for fun and the game must continue to shine through in this final week of the regular season, as it will be imperative in creating the teams momentum for what looks to be some stiff competition in a first-round playoff against either Cincinnati or Washington.

Look for Bruce Bochy to use that giant brain that he has, and pump out one secret weapon after another.

Let’s go Giants.