The San Francisco Giants—and their fans—had plenty to cheer about in 2009, and as the 2010 season approaches, both the team, their loyal fans, and Fantasy owners have much to consider when looking at the Giants.
Their 2009 campaign afforded the club—and their fans—their first winning season since 2004 and a placing of third in the NL West.
A lot of this success was riding heavily on the shoulders of the pitching squad the Giants have built over the years.
The almost unhittable Tim Lincecum was supported, admirably, by his rotation that consisted of Matt Cain, Barry Zito and the young Jonathan Sanchez.
Now, in 2010 the Giants will add another year of experience to this four headed monster, as well as, another up and coming pitching star in Madison Bumgarner.
The young Bumgarner pitched only 10 innings in the majors last year posting a 1.80 ERA, but his 12-2 record and 1.85 ERA in the minors have been enough to convince most he will win the starting role.
That same pitching staff was afforded a solid bullpen for all of 2009 with guys like Brian Wilson, Jeremy Affeldt, and Dan Ruzler, to name a few. But this bullpen was unique in the sense that, they were competent enough to handle multiple situations providing a greater flexibility than their divisional counterparts.
The hitting staff of the Giants was widely viewed as a staff that struggled to rise to a dominate level, rather, hovered just above mediocrity.
Some of the obstacles standing in the way of this were injuries to Edgar Renteria and Freddy Sanchez, inconsistent play from Aaron Rowan, and the void of another power bat outside of Pablo Sandoval; obstacles that made it nearly impossible for the club to put together a stable batting lineup for much of the year.
But now, with the addition of Aubry Huff and Mark DeRosa, and the introduction of Nate Schierholtz, the Giants are convinced they will enjoy some much needed batting stability and additional power.
With Aubry Huff taking over the cleanup duties in the four spot, the Giants can now move Pablo Sandoval to a more opportunistic role at the 3 hole giving the Giants an expected one two punch, while riding the hopes that Schierholtz will rise to the occasion and embrace his new starting role.
But as we often see in Fantasy Baseball, an improvement to a team in the Majors, doesn’t always translate to the Fantasy realm.
The Fantasy Breakdown:
Tim Lincecum is almost a sure thing to be taken in the early goings of the second round, and with good reason. The kid can just flat out pitch, will undoubtedly make a run at a third straight NL Cy Young Award, and averages out at around 8 SO/G with a career 3.03 ERA.
Pablo Sandoval has enjoyed some increased value now that the Giants have brought in Aubry Huff, affording owners another quality consideration at third base in the early goings of the third round; where he currently hovers in ADP.
“Kung Fu Panda” hit an impressive .330 while knocking in 25 homeruns and 90 RBI, with 44 doubles and an anemic strikeout total of 68, making his contact rate very impressive; this all coming in a batting role that wasn’t the best situation for Sandoval.
But aside from these two players, there really isn’t anyone else that owners are considering hot pickups.
Aaron Rowan could get some tentative looks considering he will once again lead off, but Rowan has developed a serious penchant for slumping for long period of times over the years.
Freddy Sanchez and Edgar Renteria—both in their thirties—are coming off of surgery, and really don’t offer anything exciting to owners; especially considering the growing sea of second baseman and shortstop options in 2010.
Aubry Huff and Mark DeRosa, however, do offer a bit of intrigue to owners looking to explore their options at first base and outfield respectively.
Aubry Huff is very familiar with the cleanup role as he has batted 2,238 out of 5,444 at cleanup, and while he will probably give more OBP and run production than Bengie Molina provided in 2009, it won’t be enough to convince owners to take him no earlier than the back end of the most drafts.
The 34 year old Mark DeRosa has always had an air of high expectation surrounding him no matter where he played. But his time with Chicago and St. Louis showed that his best years are clearly behind him. Still, most mock drafts have him as an average 12th rounder. He could make good as a quality utility option for your roster, but certainly not an elite bat to rely on.
The Potential Sleepers:
Madison Bumgarner is an almost shoe-in to fill the fifth spot in the rotation, and the scouting reports say his ability to shut down hitters, and low ERA, in both the minors and the majors—albeit a short 10 inning stint—are more than enough proof. The consensus is Bumgarner has a ton of sleeper value, and could be worth a look around the 17th round.
Buster Posey is highly regarded as the future catcher of the Giants, and the club is very high on him and his abilities. The problem with Posey is this: he has seen a ton of work in the offseason, and most feel he has seen too much. Add in the Giants constantly flip-flopping on him being ready, and you have a risky situation.
Still, with the resigning of Bengie Molina, we could see Posey eased into the starting role as time moves forward ala Matt Wieters. Posey is more of a watch list consideration so long as you keep a discerning eye on him.
Nate Schierholtz is the Giants new toy in right field and there is a lot of talk surrounding this being “the year” he finally puts it all together.
The Giants feel he can hit somewhere around .280, and also feel he can elevate himself to hitting around 25 homeruns a year, but to do this the kid will need to better manage the strikezone.
But consider this.
In three years combined, Schierholtz has only had 472 at bats producing these types of numbers:
Now, if this were a stat line for a single year’s performance, this kid would be talked about a lot more in Fantasy. So if you’re loaded up on outfielders in the later rounds—and if he is still available—you might find yourself a true sleeper in Schierholtz.
The Giants will offer their fans another exciting season filled with not only promise, but definite improvement. But for Fantasy owners, the best thing the Giants can offer at this point is a couple of really good players, and a watch list full of “maybes”.