It's as solid as any foursome in the league, including Philadelphia's, but Zito has been a weak link for most of the first five seasons of his seven-year, $126 million contract. Lefty Eric Surkamp is insurance in case any of the five get hurt, but he has just six big-league starts to his name.
Lincecum and Cain are hard-throwing right-handers and might be split up by Bumgarner so teams are presented different looks on consecutive days. Off the field, Cain will be in the news because the Giants want to extend his contract (he can be a free agent after this season). Lincecum can be a free agent after the 2013 season.
All eyes will be on Wilson, who ended last season with a bum elbow and rehabbed throughout the winter. GM Brian Sabean re-signed Affeldt and Lopez, both free agents, to keep the bullpen deep in case Wilson isn't 100 percent.
Hembree is destined for Class AAA Fresno but is expected to impress the staff in spring training with his overpowering repertoire.
Manager Bruce Bochy could move Sanchez to sixth and Cabrera to second because Sanchez is considered a clutch hitter and Cabrera could be a good fit atop the lineup as a switch-hitter with speed. Either way, the big question is whether the Giants can improve after scoring the NL's fewest runs last year.
The bottom of the lineup, which last year produced next to nothing, needs to contribute. Huff is coming off a down year after helping the Giants to the 2010 World Series title. Schierholtz is a top-notch defender and was the Giants' most effective outfielder before falling to injury late last season. Crawford is a whiz on defense but must prove he can hit in the majors -- or else he could be playing behind Ryan Theriot.
Outfielder Gary Brown is the Giants' best hitting prospect after he batted .336 with 14 homers, 80 RBI, 34 doubles, 13 triples and 55 steals at Class A San Jose. Did we mention a .407 on-base percentage and .519 slugging percentage? The Giants say they won't rush Brown and intend to start him in Class AA Richmond.
Reliever Heath Hembree will get lots of attention in spring training because of his sizzling fastball. He pitched in the minors the past two years and averaged 14 strikeouts per nine innings while posting a 1.60 ERA and collecting 41 saves. Last year at San Jose, he had a 0.73 ERA and 21 saves in 26 appearances and was promoted to Class AA Richmond, where he had a 2.83 ERA and 17 saves in 28 outings.