Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Stage Set for Kevin Frandsen to Advance for Giants

Giants reserve Kevin Frandsen's long-overdue opportunity to advance to the status of full-time player at last has arrived with an injury to Gold Glove shortstop Omar Vizquel.

A former 12th round pick who batted only .269 with five homers in limited play last year, Frandsen doesn't look like much. But San Francisco fans seem to forget, this was the highly regarded prospect who just two years ago was thought to have nothing more to prove in the minors after hitting .387 in the Arizona Fall League.

As Frandsen comes into his prime at 26, look for the six-foot, 175-pound middle infielder to stake a claim to the second baseman's job while filling in for Vizquel in shortstop, likely outplaying veteran teammate Ray Durham who appears to be in decline at 36.

Though the team sees the 40-year-old Vizquel returning to play in as little as four weeks, expect him to miss at least six or more weeks before even considering the arduous challenge of reconditioning himself in minor league play. That will give Frandsen plenty of time to prove that if he cannot outplay Durham at second, he can surpass Rich Aurelia at third.

Though Frandsen has yet to find a power stroke, expect him to spray all fields with singles and occasional gap shots, somewhat comparable to former batting champ Freddy Sanchez of the Pirates. Though Franden's range is not exceptional, he makes up for it with excellent anticipation, intelligence, energy and hands.