For me it's Brandon Belt.
How 'bout trying to go the other way with that fastball to the outside corner?
A walk isn't bad; but in relation to your (current) spot in the order, waiting for Crawford, The Pitcher, or Blanco/Christian to drive you in doesn't seem like a high percentage bet.
That means it's on you to produce XBH's, particularly with ducks on the pond...(That dog from "Duck Hunt" is laughing at you, Kid. Make good on those RISP chances.)
PS: I know the personal catcher/ no real "off-day" for Buster thing is screwing with you; gotta hang with 'em...
PPS: Pagan may not be a #5 hitter...
I agree about Belt.
I love me some Melky, but I have doubts that he's going to hit .350+ for the rest of the year. He might, but I'd sure like to see Belt start hitting for power consistently just in case.
I would love for Melky to continue hitting .350+, the only problem is that puts him in the AL East next season...
I guess we'll jump off that bridge when we come to it.
There are 3 for me.
Belt for the reasons you and others have mentioned.
Tim because we ain't going anywhere without him at his best.
But the big one for me is Pablo.
In a team bereft of power, we need our best slugger jacking a few more out than once every 10 games.
The average is there.
We just need the power to return.
Timmy. He must improve if we want to consider ourselves a legit playoff caliber team.
Our lead off hitter. Whoever is batting lead off needs to do better at getting on base. It's night and day when we got a lead off guy working counts and getting on base.
Posey. He must continue to be the clubhouse leader and cut down on those GIDP's.
Pablo. Show more a little more plate discipline. He was doing it pre surgery so we know hes capable.
Melky. Stay hot. Even though I don't think he can sustain his current numbers, he must continue to contribute regularly with this meager offense.
All seriousness for me, though: Pablo
I seem to recall too many times watching Belt wiff at a fast ball right down the happy zone.
I don't think he's not getting some good pitches to hit. I just don't think he can hit much of anything right now.
I can't just say there is one key player.
Tim has to pitch at or below 4.00 ERA for the rest of the season.
Somebody has to start hitting HRs! Pablo, Posey, Belt???
They have to get better in the bottom of the order! As pointed out in another thread, that's where the LOBs are killing us.
Pitching is always the priority. With Zito bound to trail off, Timmy's progress becomes that much more important. However, if Cain, Madbum and Vogey stay on point, that's all we need once we make it to the playoffs. Timmy will be key in getting us there, for sure, but getting some production out of our first baseman or shortstop is pretty important.
If all thing stay the same, some more offensive production from Belt will really make a huge difference. I'd say that's the key at this point, with Timmy and consistency from the bullpen in the 9th a close second and third.
As far as Belt goes, he and Theriot should swap in the lineup until Belt starts displaying more power. His ability to get on base is much better served in the 2 hole, while Theriot's ability to get a base hit more important deeper in the lineup.
...how has no one said Casilla yet? Barring overpaying for a closer in a trade he is going to make or break our bullpen. We already lost our closer, we cannot afford to lose another reliever and have everyone else shift up...again.
Anyways...if going with the current team makeup I'd pick:
Our team is basically structured around having a bunch of high average players in the middle of the lineup. Since we have little power, this means we need the guy at the top of the lineup getting on base so that the guys in the middle can knock them in with singles/doubles. The bottom two in our lineup are going to be guys you walk the 6/7 guys to get to anyways so we really need the guys at the top getting on consistently.
Next up after those two is definitely Lincecum.