Must Own Fantasy Player: Madison Bumgarner
Potential Fantasy Bust: Brandon Crawford
Prospect to Watch: Clayton Blackburn
The San Francisco Giants had a decent 2015 season winning 84 games, but ultimately failed to make the playoffs thanks to an improved National League as a whole. Now that it is an even year, and armed with a revamped pitching staff, the Giants looked poised to battle it out in the N.L. West for the division crown.
The crux of the Gigantes success the last handful of years, has been on the shoulders of Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey. They make up one up the best duos in baseball as both players are the catalysts in determining just how good the team will be each season.
Now I would usually deem Posey as the teams must own player thanks to the position he plays and the production you receive, but MadBum’s production since 2011 has been astounding. He has 200+ innings each season over the last five years, steadily increased his K each season to now sitting firmly in the 200 range, and is one of the few pitchers left in the league that still tosses complete games.
Posey is terrific not doubt, but Bumgarner is one of the most bankable options in all of baseball and it is scary to think he is only entering his age, 26, season. While Buster and Bumgarner are familiar fixtures on the team, the Giants knew that they had to revamp their team because simply, their competition in the division got better.
They brought in Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to anchor the middle of the rotation and they both should be options that can excel in San Fran. Cueto will be just fine even though he struggled after the move to KC. He has the track record and was dominant the first half of 2015 with the Reds, so put him in AT & T Park with a solid defense behind him, and he should be a great co-ace in 2016.
Most people saw the Samardzija deal, and were amazed that a guy could get $90 million after being awful the season prior. But, the upside is there and I think that Dave Righetti can get him back to what we saw in years prior. He will be an interesting buy-low candidate this season because his value will not be any lower heading into the draft.
Jake Peavy and Matt Cain certainly have the name recognition, but they have struggled the last two seasons. Cain cannot seem to stay on the field and with his diminishing stuff, it seems as though he may remain waiver wire fodder in 2016. The same goes for Peavy who still battles on the mound, but does not stay on the rubber enough to be draftable option in 2016.
Transitioning to the outfield situation, we have another new face in Denard Span manning center. Who if healthy, could be a great value pick this season atop a solid top to bottom lineup, as the counting stats could be aplenty. Drafters should look at Hunter Pence’s 2015 as an aberration, he just could not get over nagging injuries all season, but his track record speaks for itself. It looks as though Angel Pagan will be in left field, but his fantasy value has plummeted thanks to him missing time every season due to injury.
The Giants infield is one the best in the league as Joe Panik, Matt Duffy, Brandon Crawford, and Brandon Belt, form a solid bunch. Panik and Duffy seem to basically be the same type of fantasy player, they are not going to blow you away in any statistical category, but their floors are too valuable to pass up when filling out a fantasy team.
I will concede that I am not a real believer in Belt breaking out any further than what he has already shown and that does not take into account his injury history. There is a 25 homer season in him, but I would not bet on it. Bradon Crawford is listed as a potential bust in 2016, because the 21 homer barrage was nothing anyone expected nor could have projected. He is a great defender at has shown to be adequate with the bat, but drafters should not bet on 20+ homers again in 2016.
Out of the bullpen, Santiago Casilla has stepped into the closer’s job and has been great. The Giants are going to win their fair share of ball games, so the save opportunities should be there. He shapes up to be in the second tier of RP in 2016, but he could rise if he can strike out more batters. For those in holds leagues, target Sergio Romo as he has done well moving back into the setup role.
With the Giants being pretty set at every position heading in 2016 and with them lacking a prospect forcing their way onto the team or being blocked by another starter, finding a specific prospect for fantasy owners to watch was difficult. But, if we look at the team, the weakest part of their team is the backend of the rotation.
While Chris Heston would be the first option to fill in, they do have a prospect, Clayton Blackburn, who looks as though he could step in as well. Armed with a nasty curveball, Blackburn had a great 2015 season in AAA posting a, 2.85 ERA/99 K line, over 20 starts in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League.
The Giants have the talent to win the improved N.L. West, as long as their newly added rotation pieces perform like they are capable of. This Giants lineup is one of the deepest they have had in a while, so it would could as no surprise to see them fighting it out in October again.
Looking for more team Previews?