Underrated Player: Ray Durham

With the Giants doing decently well and all the talk about Barry Bonds and his importance to the lineup, Ray Durham has become a thought in the back of every Giant fans' mind, hopeful that he will return soon, but hanging on while he's recovering, and holding their breath whenever he chooses to make his return.

It seems that being on the DL this season is a requirement to be a Giant, and some are on more so than others. Unfortunately for the Giants, Ray Durham is under the list of ‘more than others.'

It cannot be stressed enough that Durham's presence in the lineup, and arguably in the lead off spot, is very important to the Giants and is a vital part of the Giants' success. How significant is Durham to the Giants when he's in the starting lineup? He has reached base in 73 of the 84 starts he made with the Giants, scoring in 41 games. In those 41 one games, the Giants have a 34-7 record.

Durham is the ideal leadoff man. He has the speed and provides to be a base stealing threat while he's on base, he does a good job of GETTING on base, and he has power. Not many leadoff men have the power that Durham has, where he can give the team an early 1-0 lead with one swing of the bat. Most of the time, he'll just get on base and let the guys behind him finish the job, which is what a leadoff man is suppose to do.

Offense is important, and Durham gives that to the Giants, but his defense is more underrated than his offense. He is part of a great infield that has solid gloving all around, and even though substitutes of Neifi Perez and Eric Young are very decent replacements, they make errors and mental mistakes more often than they should, and some proved to be costly.

Durham is a fun loving guy who gets along well with... well... everyone. He is all smiles in the dugout and in the clubhouse, and when he's on the field, he just enjoys playing baseball. He goes out, works hard, and does whatever he can to help his team win... Even sacrifice his own body, as we've all painfully seen too many times this season.

I'm sure everyone can agree with me here when I say that I'm glad Durham's been out for so long, taking his time to heal, before coming back to play September baseball. The last thing anyone wants to see is Durham back on the DL when crunch time comes around.

He will definitely play a very important role in the postseason for the Giants, and with him back in the lineup, the Giants can go back to having the likes of Perez and Young coming off the bench as sparks for the Giants, instead of having their starting roles where they are both mediocre at it.

Hopefully, Ray from across the Bay will return to this side of the Bay soon, because the Giants need his presence. They just need him to BE in the lineup, simple as that.

On Deck: Yorvit Torrealba

Sara Kwan was born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area. She currently writes game recaps, other articles, and is the Giant Prophet for SFDugout.com. Any comments or questions about the article, baseball, or the meaning of life can be sent to Sara at kwanchino@alpha-q.net

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