2015 Fantasy Outlook: San Francisco Giants

Madison Bumgarner

The San Francisco Giants enter the 2015 season as the defending World Series Champions. While the roster took a bit of a hit during the offseason, especially with the departure of Pablo Sandoval, there is potential here not only in terms of star power but also in value later in drafts. Hunter Pence, Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain are all guys owners should target heading into drafts.

Buying:

Pitching, pitching and more pitching

The San Francisco Giants continue to produce quality arms. This year they have a few names that you should target in your draft.

Madison Bumgarner

Madison Bumgarner was virtually unhittable in last years, postseason. Coming into this season he is a true ace and will be a solid anchor to any staff. If you are not inclined on grabbing Clayton Kershaw or Felix Hernandez in round one, Bumgarner may be a good alternative. He has 200 plus strikeout potential, which he showed last season. Although last season was the first season he hit the 200 K plateau, the prior three seasons he was above the 190 mark. He should win between 15-20 games and have an ERA under 3. ESPN projects him for a K/9 around 9 once again.

Matt Cain

While last season was not the one Matt Cain envisioned when the season started, he took the second half of 2014 to get healthy and prepare for 2015. Cain said “I feel like I’m 18 again” per San Francisco Chronicle. While Cain isn’t a staff ace, at his best he is a K/9 will be close to 8, a 15-18 win potential and an era in the high 2’s. ESPN has him ranked in their top 50 among starting pitchers, but just barely. He will likely go later than he probably should in most drafts. If he doesn’t make the comeback i assume is coming, the waiver wire will have plenty of replacement potential.

Giants Bullpen

While the bullpen in San Francisco is seeming unclear of how the roles may play out, there is potential for productivity from the closer role. There are three names to watch during spring training as potentials suitors to claim the role: Santiago Casilla, Sergio Romo, and Hunter Strickland.

Santiago Casilla will likely start the season as the closer. He took over the closer role last season and was solid. He had 19 saves in 23 opportunities. His WHIP was under 1 and had a 3/1 strikeout to walk ratio.

Sergio Romo started the 2014 season as the Giants closer. At the end of June, Romo was only able to convert 2 of 5 saves in a one week span leading to him being replaced. His slider became a problem as it would float up in the strike zone. As the season went along Romo found the control he needs to be effective in the setup role.

The Giants gave Romo a 2 year and $15 million deal this offseason. The potential for Romo to regain the closer role is a very real proposition.

Hunter Strickland is the dark horse in this bullpen. While he likely will not start the season in the role, he is worth keeping an eye on. Bruce Bochy put him in big spots during the playoffs last year. He is a big guy that throws hard. Bryce Harper showed his ability to give up the long ball but the strikeout potential is also there.

 

Hunter  Pence

(Elsa/Getty Images)

Hunter Pence

I’ve come around significantly on Hunter Pence. Not only will Pence likely be in your lineup for 160+ games, including playing all 162 the last two seasons, but he will provide production too. He should get owners 20ish home runs, 80ish RBI, 90 runs scored, and double-digit steals. He will produce value in every category and allow owners to be more aggressive or take chances in other points of the draft.

 

Not Buying:

 

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(AP Photo)

Buster Posey

Buster Posey is a fantastic player, who is key to what the San Francisco Giants do. He is consistently around a .300 average. His power numbers are solid but not earth shattering by any means. He will likely approach the 30 home run mark but his RBI total will be in the 70-80 range. He did reach the 100 RBI plateau once but that year was more of an outlier than what you should expect.

While Posey will come into this season as my number one catcher, the expected value based upon where you will have to draft him, is minimal. Posey is likely to go somewhere between the end of round 2 and the beginning of round 4. By selecting Posey in this range you will be passing up on talent at another position and potentially cornering yourself later in drafts. You will likely have to reach at other positions to fill the spot.

Devin Mesoraco, Brian McCann, and Yan Gomes are all players I like quite a bit for 2015 and can be found several rounds after Posey. While you will likely be unable to find a catcher that can hit .300 and supply the power numbers, owners should be able to find numbers that will be close enough to while gaining more potential at another position. Waiting on catcher also gives you flexibility as the draft goes along. You may feel your team needs power potential and can sacrifice batting average. In this scenario you can draft Evan Gattis or Mesoraco at least 4-5 rounds later.

Finding value is always key to winning your league.

Brandon Belt

Brandon Belt continues to get thrown into “This years breakout columns” but it still hasn’t come to fruition. Belt has been with the Giants for three full season and has reached the 500 at bat mark once. He has yet to break 20 home runs or 70 RBI. His average is typically in the .260-.270 range. Expecting more than 15 home runs and 70ish RBI while batting in the .270’s seems unrealistic. Belt will be 27 when this season starts and he is, who he is at this point.

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