Cockcroft: San Francisco Giants preview

With age comes experience.

Doesn't that sound like a perfect slogan for the Giants? Consider that all but 971 of their 5,472 at-bats as a team in 2006 were accrued by players who had already celebrated their 30th birthdays, while all but 698.2 of their 1429.2 innings as a team fell into that same category. And on opening day 2007, not one of the Giants' eight projected position-player starters will be under 31 years old, and three will be at least 35. Sure, the team shed two of their oldest starters from 2006, Moises Alou (39 this coming opening day) and Steve Finley (42), but then the team's most prominent offensive additions, Rich Aurilia (35), Bengie Molina (32) and Dave Roberts (34), really aren't that much younger.

And as we all know, in fantasy, with age comes a lack of upside. The one skill that has been proven to improve with age is pitch selection, but it's not like an Aurilia, Roberts or Ray Durham is likely to amass better numbers than he did in 2006. Most Giants hitters, being on the wrong side of 30, have a far greater chance at regressing in performance, which means a lot of risk in that lineup. Really, for the Giants, 2007 will be all about Barry Bonds' chase at Hank Aaron's all-time home run record. Beyond that, this team isn't much more exciting than the one that ranked 22nd in runs per game (4.63).