Leading up to the start of the 2017 Regular Season, Diamond Hoggers will preview each of baseball’s 30 teams . Today’s preview features the San Francisco Giants. Stay tuned until Opening Day as Diamond Hoggers previews every team one by one until the beginning of the 2017 season.
Man the San Francisco Giants sure are a pesky group, always. It was an even year of course, so everyone thought the Giants would do their thing and somehow have this great uprising to once again win the World Series. They didn’t have a single player in their starting lineup that homered more than 17 times. They were constructed around a particularly boring brand of baseball – even by Giants standards. And yet they won 87 games and knocked off the Mets in New York in the NL Wildcard Game.
Finally, someone did the job on this. The Cubs exorcized a huge demon in beating the Giants in the NLDS; although it wasn’t easy. Even when they beat them late in the series and finally sealed it to advance, it still felt like the Giants weren’t really dead. It was a very weird feeling.
They’re never an easy out and Bruce Bochy figures to once again have a team that fails to excite but definitely competes. And man, are these guys boring to write about. Anyone can admit that. I mean they’re usually filled with Pagan’s, Blanco’s, and all their dopplegangers. Those guys are thankfully gone but they’re never that far removed in San Francisco. Connor Gillaspie and Mac Williamson are now on the roster, so it’s the same thing.
Major Off-season Moves:
Projected Starting Lineup:
This group remains largely unchanged from last year, and like I said before; man are they boring. Denard Span is like the perfect, pesky lead-off hitter for the Giants. Their entire lineup takes on this form. They grind out at bats, move runners, play the prototypical NL style baseball. The main threats in the lineup are looking to recover health to see if they can again be in elite form (Posey, Pence).
Brandon Crawford is a pretty good and underrated player. He actually hit .276 against LHP last season as compared to .274 against righties. He’s never an easy out and has a knack for the clutch hit. For a team without a lot of power – and this should come as no surprise because they’re as boring as a turkey sandwich – they don’t steal a ton of bags. Some thought that the addition of Eduardo Nunez was to give them a stolen base threat. Nunez did steal 13 bags as a Giant, but only hit .269 in the Bay Area.
Joe Panik should certainly rebound from last season’s disappointment, and who really knows what Jarrett Parker could be playing every day. Things go for the Giants similarly as they do the Cardinals. Things seem to pan out. So Parker will probably end up a good player.
Projected Pitching Staff:
This is what the Giants are built around. I think if there’s a reason that we hate them the most, that reason is Madison Bumgarner. He’s the cornerstone of the franchise, the identity of the evils in the black, orange, and cream white. There’s seemingly no end in sight with this guy; as he never pulls up with a sore arm and now all of the sudden he’s hitting bombs and starting a movement to allow a pitcher’s Home Run Derby.
Johnny Cueto would be the ace of most other staffs, and went 18-5 quietly last season. From there, we’re pretty high on Matt Moore and Jeff Smardzija. Matt Cain has some darkness creeping in for him for that fifth spot; and it’s getting late fast.
The signing of Mark Melancon was a great move, no one can knock that. He’ll be one of baseball’s best closers in that town. Derek Law, Will Smith, Hunter Strickland, and George Kontos are all pretty solid options to have in that pen around Melancon that can shorten a ballgame. And this team wins a ton of 2-0, 2-1, and 3-2 ballgames. That’s just what they do.
FanGraph’s Depth Charts team projections has them going 87-75, which sounds about right at the least; a very Giants-esque year where they need dealt with again, and they’re a fixture in the division and Wildcard races. It’s going to be yet another year where you can forget about this group just flat bottoming out (like we want them to). As long as the veteran presence remains, they’ll be a team that is solid enough to remain in contention. And like the bad guy in every horror film that you’ve ever seen – even if they fall out the third story window and they’re laying there on the street – they’re still alive until you go out and make sure they’re completely dead. Still alive enough to recover, walk, and kill again.