Giants' Prospect Roundtable: Hitters 

Or, as they're often called once they reach San Francisco, "People who swing at first pitches and produce weak ground balls and pop-ups." The final installment of the spring roundtable discussion is on Fogball.

A couple notes from last night's game:

* Lance Niekro vs. Trevor Hoffman was like watching Elmer Fudd match survival skills with James Bond. Lance: it rhymes with "no chance."

* In Bull Durham, Kevin Costner famously told his pitcher that strikeouts were boring and fascist. I offer the corollary: swinging at first pitches is bad for the entertainment dollar. No build-up of suspense, no backlighting of the mano-a-mano confrontation at the heart of baseball. Where's the drama, mama? It's even worse when you know the batter (hello, Moises) is going to swing at the first pitch, and you know the crafty veteran pitcher isn't going to make it very hittable. Result: 5-4-3 double play, soul-sucking end of rally.

* I think I have heard the Padres singing: "Nothing could be finer than to hit off Al Leviner..." Three batters, a sharp single, and two very loud outs. Moises made a nice catch against the right-center field cushion to avert a total disaster. Still, I applaud the move in demoting Williams and promoting Levine. With the 40-man roster space vacated by Torcato, there's no risk in giving Levine a shot to continue his hot streak this spring. The extra bullpen arm helps, and Jerome could use some time to get his head together -- my guess is his father's illness isn't helping his concentration.


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