It’s good to be the champs. While most don’t think of the San Francisco Giants as a dynasty or even a top contender for this year’s World Series title, two of the last three years they’ve brought the hardware back to the bay. How does their title defense look for this season and how can it help us in fantasy baseball?
Those kind of questions have been the focus of our ongoing Starting 9 series (archive here). We’ve tapped into the knowledge and insight of the Fansided network editors for each team, and today we’re privileged to be joined by Bryan R the Senior Editor for Around the Foghorn, a great resource for coverage of the champs.
Here’s his take on the Giants this season:
1. Did your team do a good job this offseason?
I tend to think so. They didn’t really bring in any new talent, but much like the 2010 San Francisco Giants, it’s a team built off of chemistry. I know that sounds cheesy, but, it’s true. And after all they went through to get to the World Series and win it last season, I’m not sure that’s something you want to break up. Add in that Hunter Pence was absolute trash during his few months in San Francisco, if he returns to anything like his former form – it’ll be a big help. Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt also look much more confident with the stick, so that should help the offense as well. Losing Melky will hurt, but, he wasn’t around during the Summer or during the postseason, so I think they’ll survive the loss. They returned all their key free agents, so, I think they did as well as they could given their payroll limitations.
2. Who is the key player to your team’s success this year?
If we’re looking for a key player – I’d say Buster Posey. Not so much statistically, but, staying on the field. He’s the captain of the Giants’ ship. Honestly though, a semi-return to form of Tim Lincecum would do wonders for the Giants. He doesn’t need to be Cy Young Tim, but, a 3.20-ish ERA would be wonderful for the Giants.
3. Who is a position player many people may not know about who is going to have a breakout season?
I think it’ll be between Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt. Belt is more thought of as the offensive talent between the two, but between the confidence issues and being yo-yo’d in and out of the lineup by Bochy, I think it hampered him. He’s been tearing the cover off the ball this Spring and as long as he’s given a shot at the job and isn’t constantly looking over his shoulder, I think he’ll take it and run with it. Crawford should be VERY serviceable too – though, not the offensive impact player Belt is, he’ll still get a solid year in, #’s wise, for a shortstop.
4. What starting pitcher is going to have a surprisingly good season?
I’m not sure there is a starting pitcher on the Giants who would surprise people if they had a good season. I guess if I had to pick one, it would be Barry Zito. Zito’s worked hard to become a true pitcher in the last few years and it finally started to pay off. He’s far from perfect and he’ll have his inevitable outings where he gets drilled and can’t get anybody out, but, he’s slowly starting to turn in some pretty dominant starts from time to time.
5. How does your team’s bullpen look going into this coming year especially at the closer position?
Relatively well. There won’t be a Brian Wilson in the Giants’ bullpen this year, but, there wasn’t last year either, other than his presence in the dugout sometimes. Romo will handle the closing duties, though, I think the Giants are a bit concerned with over working him and his tricky knee, so you’ll see guys like Casilla closing from time to time – maybe even Affeldt every once in a great while. It’s not a dominant bullpen, but, the back end should be solid as ever.
6. Who do you think is the most “over-rated” player on your team?
I’m not sure the Giants really have one, in all honesty. You don’t really look at the Giants and think “stars” outside of Posey, Sandoval, Cain and in the past, Lincecum. That said – none of them are really overrated. Lincecum’s awful year might lead some to say that, but, he was blasted pretty hard last year by pundits and some fans, so, I’m not sure overrated would apply to him either, especially given his history.
7. Are there any rookies that will impact the team from the beginning of the season or as a midseason call-up?
Doubtful on the rookie situation. Unlike 2010 when the Giants won it all with a roster full of mostly vets, this team is relatively young. The infield core of Posey, Belt, Crawford and Sandoval are all young – Scutaro the only “old” player in that mix. In the outfield, it’s Pence, Pagan and a combo of Blanco/Torres – again, relatively young across the board. Not as youthful as the infield, but, the Giants don’t have a team screaming of 34 and 35 year old players either, so, I don’t think you’ll see much in terms of callup’s throughout the year outside of injury.
8. What would be considered a successful season for your team?
9. What exciting things do you have coming up on your site this season?
We’ll continue to have our high quality San Francisco Giants coverage with a twist of wit, sarcasm, masochistic ways – so if you’re wanting to laugh when the Giants are going good and run infront of a city bus when the Giants are in bowls of a six game losing streak, you know where to go – Around The Foghorn.
Special thanks again to Bryan from Around the Foghorn for helping us with his insight on the defending champion San Francisco Giants. If you’re a Giants fan, make sure to add the Around the Foghorn coverage to your daily emails, or if you’re already getting their news make sure you’ve added FantasyCPR in the extras section.
Come back throughout the rest of spring training for more fantasy baseball previews from the baseball writers across the FanSided network.