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Friday, March 31, 2017

2017 San Francisco Giants Preview

Well folks, that time has finally come, opening day is just a few short days away and the butterflies are already starting with me. While this team has plenty of question marks heading in, they still have their solid core that's been a main part of 2 out of their 3 championships and like they've shown so many times, you can just never count them out.

Here's a look at the projected opening day roster as well as some rough estimate stats based on past performance, health and age. We'll also give our expectations for 2017 as far as where they'll end up, what/who they may end up needing to trade for and really what we expect to go down throughout the 2017 season. It's not an even year, which has worked out so well for the Giants 3 of the last 4 times, but this team should still be a contender nonetheless and may be a player or two away from really making a push for a fourth ring in 8 seasons.

Projected lineup with projected slash line (all stat predictions are based on players playing a full season and not taking into account any injuries):

1. CF Denard Span- .282/8/51/.741 21 SB (solid spring, hopefully rebounds from sub-par '16 season)
2. 1B Brandon Belt- .276/22/68/.848 (primed for his first 20+ HR year & Giants need pop)
3. RF Hunter Pence- .281/18/79/.818 (huge key, has to stay on the field for this lineup)
4. C Buster Posey- .303/19/85/.840 (another guy needing to improve off mediocre '16)
5. SS Brandon Crawford- .285/15/86/.779 (has gone from offensive liability to solid run-producer)
6. 3B Eduardo Nunez- .278/16/65/.765 25 SB (hopefully builds off '16 breakout and stays on the field)
7. LF Jarrett Parker- .255/12/48/.735 (will likely share LF but should get majority of ab's vs. RHP)
8. 2B Joe Panik- .262/10/51/.715 (like Posey and Span, Giants hoping '16 was off-year)

Again, these numbers are projecting everyone stays healthy for the season, which we know is highly unlikely, but it will be fun to look back at the end of the year and see how close we actually come. Parker is the one real wild card as he could end up getting a ton of at-bats and running away with the job, or he could find himself in an old fashioned time share with Chris Marrero or even Michael Morse down the road... I really want to see Panik's resurrection in 2017 as I think that would be a huge shot in the arm for the offense. They need his .300 bat back and not the .237 he hit in 2016... Bochy will likely use Nunez in the 2-slot vs. left-handed pitching but seems to be favoring Belt there vs. righties this spring, so I expect that to carry over into the season.

Projected Rotation, set-up man and closer:

1. LHP Madison Bumgarner- 17 W, 3.02 ERA, 220 IP, 217 K's, 1.07 WHIP
2. RHP Johnny Cueto- 16 W, 2.97 ERA, 210 IP, 189 K's, 1.10 WHIP
3. LHP Matt Moore- 15 W, 3.55 ERA, 202 IP, 179 K's, 1.27 WHIP
4. RHP Jeff Samardzija- 12 W, 4.04 ERA, 209 IP, 166 K's, 1.29 WHIP
5. RHP Matt Cain- 5 W, 5.38 ERA, 105 IP, 74 K's, 1.45 WHIP

RH- Derek Law- 80 G, 2.57 ERA, 72 IP, 70 K's, 1.02 WHIP
CL-Mark Melancon- 76 G, 1.75 ERA, 46 S, 74 IP, 68 K's, 0.89 WHIP

The only uncertainty out of this bunch really is Matt Cain. The only reason he's being given a shot at retaining the 5th starter gig is because of his huge price tag in what is his final year of his contract. However, if he struggles out of the gate, I don't think the Giants are going to give him as much rope as they have the last two seasons. Ty Blach and Tyler Beede are waiting in the wings and many feel both are better options right now than Cain and it's hard to disagree with that. Hopefully Cainer bounces back but after a few seasons trending down and all the innings he's thrown the last decade-plus, it seems highly unlikely. As far as the pen, we've talked about how the roles are still undetermined, outside of Melancon closing and Law most likely setting him up, but should become more clear as we get a few weeks into the season.

If your looking for more about the bench and bullpen, we've talked a length about those spots in the last two posts so just scroll down, but overall, this is how we see the roster shaping up and things shaking out throughout the 2017 season. I do think the Giants will do what they have to do to make another playoff run, and if that means making another big deadline deal or two then so be it. The team's core is right in the prime of their career's and they only likely have another 2 or 3 real runs left with this core bunch before free agency and age take factor. I think this team, because of the rotation and strong closer can win 90 games, but they do need the offense to be respectable at least. It's not a high-powered offense by any stretch and will need to string together hits and base-runners in order to score runs.

I do not expect this team to look this way come August however. I think someone else will be in the fifth starters spot and something will have to give in left field. They're going to start with a platoon or Parker and Marrero, at least that's my guess, and hope one takes the reigns, but if neither step-up something will have to get done. Whether that's Michael Morse coming back or going out and trading for a bigger bat, they need offense out of that position and not just another .260 hitter with a below-average slugging percentage. They need run production out of that spot.

While this team is capable of 90 wins, I think they'll come in just under that. I see them going 88-74 and earning a postseason spot, most likely as a wild card. I think the Dodgers still have the slight edge, coming off the brink of a World Series appearance last fall and should be hungry to get back. However, if the Giants stay healthy and that bullpen works itself out between that outstanding rotation and Mark Melancon, then it's going to be one helluva race in the West in 2017.
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The Giants Baseball Blog
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1 Comments:

  • At 1:35 AM, Anonymous Jason Billingsley said…

    I was at Thursday nights game. Dude Marrero needs to seriously get looks in left, maybe not just lefties. That guy had 8 home runs in spring and the Giants need that bat.

    I think Ramirez has been better than Gearin but Bochy loves Gearin for some reason I don't get it. I don't trust HUnter Strickland in set-up it better be Derek Law's job.

     

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