Monday, April 4, 2016
San Francisco Giants Preview
The easy thing to say is the even numbered year means the Giants will win it all because they have won the championship in each of the last three even years.
The Giants should make another run with the off-season shoring up of some weaknesses,but are they good enough to get by the Dodgers in the division?
Buster Posey stars at catcher as the best catcher in the game.
There may be guys a little better defensively,but there isn't a better all around in the game than Posey.
The Giants will spot Posey at first base on occasion to keep the bat in the lineup and lessen the load from behind the dish everyday.
Rookie Trevor Brown took advantage of a injured Andrew Susac to win the backup job behind Posey.
Brandon Belt mans first base as part of a homegrown Giant infield.
Belt recovered from a injury in 2014 to return to form and might be sitting on a career year with free agency beginning to loom.
Joe Panik will start at second base after back problems last season and Brandon Crawford had his career year last season at shortstop as he established career highs in all categories.
The surprise player of 2015 returns at third as Matt Duffy came from the minors to post surprising offensive numbers (.295,12 and 71) in filling the void leftt by Pablo Sandoval.
Ehire Adrianza and Kelby Tomlinson both fill the role of utilitymen with the ability to play multiple positions...
The outfield sees Angel Pagan moved from center to left after a pedestrian 2015.
Pagan will be a free agent as seasons end,so perhaps that will perk up his bat a bit.
The team signed former National and one of my favorites in Denard Span .
Span brings all that the Giants need-speed,defense and hitting,the only concern for me has been Span's health of late.
If that is in order-the Giants will be thrilled with the addition.
Hunter Pence brings his unique skills back to right field after missing 110 games last year.
Just having Pence back in the lineup should be good for a offensive jolt.
Gregor Blanco is the 4th outfielder and can play all three defensive outfield positions.....
The starting pitching is where the Giants put most of their off-season dollars to upgrade beyond their ace in lefty Madison Bumgarner.
Bumgarner,who continues to be under one of the best contracts in baseball went 18-9 with an ERA under three in 2015 and solidifies the top of the rotation,
The middle was the issue last season and the Giants added Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija in fre agency.
Cueto had dominant numbers in the NL with the Reds,before winning a world title with the Royals,where his numbers weren't as good.
Samardzija was a disappointment for the White Sox (11-13 4.96 ERA),but has the stuff to bounce back strongly.
I'd think both righhanders will benefit from pitching in AT&T Park,one of the better pitcher parks in the game.
Veterans Jake Peavy and Matt Cain complete the rotation,but if either struggles watch out for Clayton Blackburn to get a call up from Sacramento to receiver his chance after winning the 2015 Pacific Coast League ERA crown...
The bullpen that ended last season returns almost intact as Santiago Casilla brings his 38 saves back along with former closer and current setup man Sergio Romo.
The situational setups return as well with lefty Javier Lopez and right George Kontos.
Both of those pitchers were tremendous with both appearing in over 70 games with Kontos notching an ERA of 2.33 and Lopez even better at 1.60.
Closer in waiting Hunter Strickland brings his 100+ MPH gas back as well with spot starter Chris Heston and lefthanded Josh Osich handling the long to middle relief work,
The only reasonably new face is righthanded Cory Gerrin,who appeared in seven games in a late season cameo...
The Giants have addressed their rotation and added a potent bat to the lineup.
Is it enough to get the Dodgers in the rear mirror?
Not sure,but it's enough to create an intriguing race and at least a playoff berth.....