Well, it’s an even year, and you know what that mean. The San Francisco Giants are due to win a World Series. If they did so this year, it would make the 4th straight even year in a row they accomplished the feat. The cool thing is that it looks like they may be in a position to do just that. It seems like in each of their most recent World Series wins, people didn’t pick them to go all the way at the beginning of the year.
This might be the best the team has looked on paper in spring training in a while. The biggest obstacles for San Francisco this year are the Dodgers, who have lead the league in payroll the past several seasons, and the Diamondbacks, who have attempted to breathe new life into their team this offseason.
Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Denard Span, Kyle Blanks, Vin Mazzaro, Grant Green, Ramiro Pena, Hak-Ju Lee, Junior Arias, Carlos Moncrief, Albert Suarez, Mike Kickham
Tim Hudson, Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong, Mike Leake, Yusmeiro Petit, Jeremy Affelt, Nori Aoki, Hector Sanchez, Alejandro De Aza, Marlon Byrd, Cody Hall, Marco Scutaro
Biggest Strength - Winning Atmosphere
The Giants have made it apparent that they come to play every year, but they play for keeps in even numbered years. All of the superstitions are in their favor as they have been all but expected to win in all even years in recent memory. This team is balanced and has proven that they know how to win, and that’s their biggest strength heading into this season.
Biggest Weakness - Offense
Every year this offense appears to be a little lackluster, but it looks a little better this season. It is probably the weakest part of the team, but their lineup hits for a fairly good average from top to bottom. Outside of Buster Posey, they don’t really have an intimidating player, and that is something that brings them down a peg offensively. Some underrated guys who could get a shot to improve this team offensively are Kyle Blanks and Jarrett Parker, so watch for them to get call-ups and be excited for what they can produce offensively if you are a Giants fan.
Something To Keep An Eye On - Starting Pitching Depth
Since San Fran cut ties with so many pitchers this off-season (Vogelsong, Lincecum, Hudson, Leake, Petit), there could be some questions about the starting pitching depth. Obviously the acquisitions of Cueto and Samardzija are the answers to fill two of those gaps right away, but there are several guys that may need to be relied upon throughout the season. With only Jake Peavy and Matt Cain in the way of their path to the big leagues, the top guys on the list to watch include, but aren’t limited to, Clayton Blackburn and Adalberto Mejia.
Projected Lineup (Lefties*, Switch Hitters^)
- Denard Span* - CF
- Joe Panik* - 2B
- Buster Posey - C
- Brandon Belt* - 1B
- Hunter Pence - RF
- Brandon Crawford* - SS
- Matt Duffey - 3B
- Angel Pagan^ - LF
Andrew Susac ,Kyle Blanks, Ehire Adrianza^, Kelby Tomlinson, Gregor Blanco*
Projected Rotation (Lefties*)
- Madison Bumgarner*
- Johnny Cueto
- Jeff Samardzija
- Jake Peavy
- Matt Cain
Santiago Casilla - Closer, Sergio Romo, Hunter Strickland, Josh Osich*, George Kontos, Javier Lopez*, Chris Heston
Fantasy Bargain - Hunter Strickland
Have you ever drafted a relief pitcher who isn’t a closer? Maybe it’s time to start. Usually more than half of MLB teams go through closer changes at some point during the season. Since the top two guys in San Francisco (Casilla and Romo) are starting to get up there in age, it’s time to start thinking about who the next guy is. Next in line is Hunter Strickland. He’s a very good pitcher who will get you great percentage numbers and lots of strikeouts whether he’s closing or not. Grab him late in your draft.
Overrated Fantasy Option - Brandon Belt
We're not fans of first basemen who aren’t expected to hit 20 homers. Belt should be considered a poor man's Eric Hosmer, and that’s not really a compliment. He's a pretty good real-life player, but an overrated fantasy player.
This team is going to contend. As mentioned before, they have some pretty good teams to compete with in the division which could make it hard for them to 4-peat in even numbered years. The acquisition of a couple of top-of-the-line starting pitchers could do them wonders this year. Mix that with the fact that they really don't have any big holes in this team and you could very well have a highly successful team yet again. As long as Buster Posey is healthy and in his prime, this team has to like their chances. This team should approach the 90-win mark in 2016 and compete with the Dodgers and Diamondbacks for the NL West.