Monday, August 22, 2011

Who Has the Better September Offense: Giants or Diamondbacks?

This might seem like a ridiculous question. The Giants are a horrible offensive team, while the Diamondbacks have Justin Upton and 10 other guys that can hit 450 foot home runs. The Giants team wRC+ is 79, while Arizona is at 93. But a closer look at the individual parts that will make up both lineups in the final month of the season reveals that there potentially isn't much of a gap.

San Francisco's ideal lineup would include a healthy Carlos Beltran and Brandon Belt playing, either at 1st base or in left field. Mike Fontenot gets the nod over Tejada and Cabrera at shortstop. The only decision is whether to play Belt at first base and Ross in the outfield, or Huff at first and Belt in left field. I went with Ross. Here's the lineup and their 2011 wRC+:

Ross - 96
Schierholtz - 105
Beltran - 145
Sandoval - 132
Fontenot - 89
Keppinger - 102
Belt - 91 (before his 4 hit game on Sunday)
Whiteside - 74

Now here is Arizona's:

Parra - 103
Young - 95
Upton - 147
Roberts - 114
Bloomquist - 76
Johnson - 89
Goldschmidt - 132
Montero - 107

Let's remove Goldschmidt and Belt for a moment. They both have a small amount of plate appearances, and I am pretty confident in saying Belt is the better hitter. That's an advantage for the Giants. But let's pretend it's even, and look at the rest of the lineup. Looks pretty even as well.

This is all dependent, of course, on the health of Carlos Beltran. If he isn't part of that San Francisco lineup, it changes everything. And just because the Giants might be as good as the Diamondbacks or possibly have an edge offensively doesn't mean they'll perform better, especially in the short period of a month.

Cap of the tip to Curse of Benitez for his close reading of Baseball Rulebook, Page 1, invaluable insight that guided my work and made this post possible.

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