MoreSplashHits offers 2012 prediction for the Giants

It’s prediction time for MoreSplashHits. But first, a history lesson.

MoreSplashHits has predicted the Giants’ final record each of the past four seasons. And here they are, with the results.

2008: Prediction, 70-92; Result, 72-90

2009: Prediction, 83-79; Result, 88-74

2010: Prediction, 90-72; Result, 92-70

2011: Prediction, 94-68; Result, 86-76

The Giants exceeded our predictions in every year but 2011, when coming off a World Series victory filled us with a bit of optimism.

And the Giants could have reached 94 wins in 2011, if Buster Posey didn’t miss four months, if Freddy Sanchez didn’t miss almost four months, if Pablo Sandoval didn’t miss six weeks; if Brandon Belt, Miguel Tejada, Pat Burrell, Andres Torres and Aubrey Huff weren’t so gawd-awful.

So when you compare the 2011 opening lineup and the 2012 opening lineup, there aren’t many changes.

Here they are: 2011 starter/2012 starter

1B Brandon Belt / 1B Brandon Belt

2B Freddy Sanchez / 2B Emmanuel Burriss

SS Miguel Tejada / SS Brandon Crawford

3B Pablo Sandoval / 3B Pablo Sandoval

C Buster Posey / C Buster Posey

OF Pat Burrell / OF Melky Cabrera

OF Andres Torres / OF Angel Pagan

OF Aubrey Huff / OF Aubrey Huff

That would not give you reason for optimism. But MoreSplashHits is going off the premise that the 2012 offense CAN’T be as bad as in 2011. It CAN’T.

Belt HAS to be better. Huff HAS to be better. Crawford, Cabrera and Pagan HAVE to produce more than Tejada, Burrell and Torres. Posey and Sandoval HAVE to be healthier.

These aren’t lofty goals. The bar was set so low in 2011 that exceeding those expectations should not be difficult.

Plus, the Giants’ 2012 bench is deeper.

Nate Schierholtz was slated as a starting in RF in the offseason. Now, he provides solid depth. Gregor Blanco brings speed and defense that was sorely missing from the 2011 lineup. We like what Brett Pill could bring to the plate, and Hector Sanchez brings a ton of promise.

We’re not all that excited with Ryan Theriot, so we’ll set the bar low there.

But you add it all up, along with stellar pitching that returns, and THAT does give us optimism for 2012.

And are prediction is?

91-71

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