A poor hitting team averages 4 runs per game. For a season, that's 648 runs. The Giants scored 657 runs in 2009. A good hitting team averages 5 runs per game. 810 runs in a season will put you among the league leaders. The 2009 Phillies scored 820 runs. The league average last year was 4.43, or 718 runs. Seven NL clubs managed to score more than 4.5 runs per game: Philadelphia, Colorado, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Florida, Atlanta, and St. Louis.
Baseball Musings has been running a series on team offense (see the Giants entry here). Mr. Pinto gives a breakdown of his procedure here. Mostly, he relies on Marcel the Monkey forecasts. The neat part is the Lineup Analysis Tool. You plug the player projections in to the lineup slots and see how many runs per game that combination creates. For the Giants, they score the most runs when the pitcher bats 8th! This, of course, will never happen. Tony LaRussa manages in St. Louis. But the following lineup projects to a little over 4.5 runs per game: DeRosa, Sandoval, Schierholtz, Huff, Rowand, Molina, Uribe, pitchers, Renteria. I can't argue with hitting DeRosa near the top, his lifetime .275/.343/.424 makes him our best hitter not named Sandoval. The Nate projections may be a tad optimistic, though. All of the idealized "best" lineups that compute to over 4.5 rpg involve Renteria hitting last, Molina no higher than 6th, Sandoval and DeRosa no lower than 3rd, Huff (mostly) at cleanup, and Rowand 3rd through 5th. And they expect a lot (.753 OPS) from Schierholtz. If the Giants score 4.5 rpg (or 9 runs every 2 games if decimal runs bother you), they will win the West.
This, though, is the Giants. And soon, it will be the real season and not the imaginary one. Aaron Rowand will lead off and Juan Uribe will hit second. This is because he is our second baseman, and our second baseman hits second. Please don't ask why, just accept. With Sandoval, Huff, DeRosa, Molina, Renteria, Schierholtz, and the pitcher following, LAT says 4.353 rpg. That's 705 runs, just about what the Cubs (707) scored in 2009, good for 10th place. Back in the real world, the team might get smart and put DeRosa at second base while FSanchez is out and bat him in front of Sandoval where his decent OBP skills will be of the most use. Since he's a "proven run producer" (Sabes-speak for "RBI guy") we will likely not see that. But it might be the best way to get either Fred Lewis (very unlikely) or John Bowker (certainly possible) into the lineup in left field. Uribe, despite his fine season last year (.824 OPS), is a Molina-like hacker and his low OBP (.298! lifetime) should NOT be at the top of the lineup. If we can find a way to get Mr. Upside Buster Posey into the lineup instead of Mr. Out-maker Bengie Molina, we just might have a league-average offense. Let's hope we figure out how to do that.