The 2014 World Series champions got hot at the right time. They won one of the Wild Card spots and battled their way through the playoffs. Madison Bumgarner’s ring should be a little bigger than the rest of the team’s rings, since he was so dominant in October.
The Giants lost long-time third baseman (and postseason hero) Pablo Sandoval to free agency. Boston threw a lot of money at him and it was a smart long-term decision to let him walk. He’s had weight issues in the past, so spending nearly $20 million a season on him doesn’t sound like be a smart fiscal decision.
Tim Lincecum is in the last year of his deal. Can he bounce back from a few rough seasons in a contract year?
Here is the 2015 MLB season preview for the San Francisco Giants.
2014 Win/Loss Record: 88-74
Key Additions: OF Norichika Aoki, OF Casey McGehee & OF Justin Maxwell
Key Losses: 3B Pedro Sandoval, OF Michael Morse & OF Tyler Colvin
Interleague Schedule: AL West
Projected Starters: Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Casey McGehee, Brandon Crawford, Norichiki Aoki, Angel Pagan & Hunter Pence
Projected Starting Rotation: Madison Bumgarner, Tim Hudson, Matt Cain, Jake Peavy & Tim Lincecum
Closer: Santiago Casilla
Fantasy Sleeper: OF Norichika Aoki – There aren’t many sleeper candidates on the Giants. Aoki is only a slight sleeper due to his average draft position. He’s going in the last round of the draft and is going undrafted in many leagues. Aoki gives you the potential for 20+ stolen bases with a .280 batting average. I’d rather have him over Angel Pagan, Dexter Fowler or even Torii Hunter at this point.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: SP Kyle Crick – The Giants have a plethora of young arms in the minors. Not many are MLB-ready and Crick is probably the closest. He’ll start the season in Triple-A and there’s an outside shot of him get called up at some point this season. He needs to cut down on his walks if he wants to have success in the Majors. He will be stretched out this season after only pitching 90 innings in 2014. The most likely scenario is for Crick to be on the Giants roster in 2016.
Team Analysis: The Giants are coming off an improbable World Series win last season. They beat the Pirates in the Wild Card play-in game and just got hot. Madison Bumgarner was unhittable. They beat Kansas City in seven games to win their third World Series ring in five seasons.
The Giants will be without Pablo Sandoval and Michael Morse this season. They signed Norichika Aoki and Casey McGehee to replace them. They are serviceable fill-ins, but the Giants will miss the power Sandoval and Morse brought to the lineup. They will need to see more extra-base hits from Posey and Belt, especially since Pence will miss the first month of the season due to a broken arm.
The pitching staff will need to put the team on their backs this season. They have one of the strongest rotations in the National League, but the Dodgers have an edge on them in that department. It will be very difficult for the Giants to contend in the NL West. The Dodgers just appear to be a monster and the Padres upgraded their roster so much in the offseason. San Francisco tends to only win titles in even years, so I guess they were due for an average season.
2015 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 84 (Prediction: UNDER)
2015 Projected Win/Loss Record: 79-83 (3rd in NL West)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.