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2015 San Francisco Giants Team Preview: Fantasy 30 For 30

The Giants are such a funny amalgam: They don’t score that many runs, their pitching often seems to be piecemeal and major parts of their roster shifts from season-to-season. That said, they still have the best Fantasy catcher (Buster Posey), one of the best pitchers (Madison Bumgarner), and one of the most consistent power/speed outfielders (Hunter Pence). That is the good news.

The bad news is the Giants, who do have World Series titles over three of the past five years, are on one of those Saberhagen-metric jags. By that, I mean since we are in the odd year of 2015, if the pattern holds, the Giants are not due for another World Championship until next year.

However, as noted, this is a team who has three World Series titles over the past half-decade, so someone — read Bruce Bochy — must be pushing the right buttons. What that means to us is that there are indeed just the right type of Fantasy bargains hiding beneath the gloss of Posey, Madbum, and Pence to help push our Fantasy teams to a title with some undervalued bargains. And, well, for that it doesn’t matter what year the calendar says it is.

We took the projected lineup, rotation and bullpen from

2015 San Francisco Giants Projected “Go-To” Lineup:

  1. CF Angel Pagan
  2. 2B Joe Panik
  3. 1B Brandon Belt
  4. C Buster Posey
  5. RF Hunter Pence
  6. 3B Casey McGehee
  7. LF Nori Aoki
  8. SS Brandon Crawford

Giants Projected Pitchers:

Starting Rotation
  1. LHP Madison Bumgarner
  2. RHP Tim Hudson
  3. RHP Matt Cain
  4. RHP Jake Peavy
  5. RHP Tim Lincecum
Giants Bullpen
  • RHP Santiago Casilla (closer)
  • LHP Jeremy Affeldt (setup)
  • RHP Sergio Romo (setup, closer, should Casilla struggle)
  • RHP Yusmiero Petit (No. 5 starter, should Lincecum struggle)
  • RHP Ryan Vogelsong (swing man)

2015 San Francisco Giants Fantasy Studs: Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner

Surely, Buster Posey is, as noted, the best catcher going, and usually merits, at worst a second-round selection. Posey has spelled Brandon Belt at first, and the Giants would like as much longevity out of his bat as they can get, so, they might consider moving their franchise guy to third base should Casey McGehee not pan out (think Josh Donaldson). But, as long as he is healthy, Buster will give you a .300-20-90 line in an off-year, no matter where he parks his glove.

By the same token, southpaw Madison Bumgarner, the World Series MVP of 2015, has now taken the mantle of Ace in the San Francisco rotation, which featured Matt Cain in that role in 2012, and Tim Lincecum as the man in 2010.

While it is true that Timmy and Cain have suffered their struggles since leading their team to post-season Nirvana, Bumgarner, did throw 270 innings in total last year, which is a lot. But, at age 26, I’d give him the benefit of the doubt and figure his best season still lies ahead, and everything seems poised for 2015 to be that season.

Breakout Candidate: Brandon Belt

We have heard it over and over, that Brandon Belt is the next big thing both at first base, and in Giant-land, but just when the spotlight appears, Belt’s bat goes phhhhht. Well, that or he breaks a bone or something. Ideally, after his highly anticipated 2014, after his (.326-7-29) second half of 2013, Belt moved up the first base prospect list, only to disappoint after breaking his thumb a month into the year. Belt never did get on track, and that means his stock has fallen. He’s undervalued now (Belt has been going near Round 14 in mixed mocks.) This is likely, however, the Baby Giraffe’s last chance at breaking out.

Sleeper Candidates: Angel Pagan, Joe Panik, Yusmeiro Petit

Angel Pagan has a hard time staying healthy, with 2012 being the last time the center fielder could muster a full complement of games. Still, Pagan offers 10/25 power/speed possibilities, if he can indeed keep off the disabled list. In preseason mock drafts, even in mixed formats with 15-teams, Pagan’s surname barely musters a whisper. That means he makes a great fifth outfield gamble, and as a reserve pick, off the charts.

Similarly, second sacker Joe Panik receives virtually no recognition in those 15-team mixed mocks. That is a mistake, as Panik is a very good line-drive hitter who might only hit a handful of homers, but could post 30-plus doubles, hitting out of the two-slot, meaning he will also get some chances to score runs while providing a batting average north of .285.

Finally, Yusmeiro Petit pitched very well for the Giants down the stretch, going 5-5, 3.69 over 117 innings with 133 strikeouts. Petit would probably get the first shot at the rotation in the event of injuries or ineffectiveness.

Bust Candidates: Casey McGehee, Matt Cain

Casey McGehee had a pretty nice bounce-back season in 2014, hitting .287-4-76 for the Metropolitans, but that was the first hint of any kind of offensive production since 2010. McGehee surely got his timing right, getting a one-year deal with the Giants for more than $5 million, including incentives, but the truth is they probably need more pop out of the corner than he can muster.

Matt Cain is due back in the rotation after a series of maladies, but I would not stake much on the former Giants anchor. Cain might regain his command of his body, and even his pitch assortment, but I scored a lot of Cain for over his career. As he has struggled over the past two seasons, it has looked like Cain did not have that “I have your number” look in his eye when he needed a big out (note that same malady seems to be plaguing Lincecum). Let someone else take the risk of a rebound.

Top Rookies: Andrew Susac, Gary Brown, Hunter Strickland, Clayton Blackburn

Andrew Susac, a second-round selection in 2011, filled in admirably over the final six weeks of the season hitting .273-3-19 over 39 games. The better Susac can produce, the more flexibility the Giants will have.

Outfielder Gary Brown was San Francisco’s first-round pick in 2010, out of Cal-State Fullerton. Brown has a .277-44-236 line over five minor-league seasons, the last two at Triple-A Fresno. Brown might not be a bad handcuff to Pagan (although, there still is Gregor Blanco to leapfrog), as the Giants will want to at least see if their first-round pick has anything to offer at the big league level.

2015 Team Previews: NL West
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Hunter Strickland, 25, was a Red Sox draftee in 2007, out of high school, who was traded to the Pirates, and then claimed as a free agent by San Francisco in 2012. As a Giant, Strickland, whose fastball is in the high-90s, has moved exclusively to the pen, earning 20 saves while striking out 79 over 59.6 frames, and allowing just nine walks. Should Casilla, and then Romo have trouble getting the final out, Strickland becomes a serious option.

Clayton Blackburn, 22, spent 2014 at Fresno (5-6, 3.29 over 18 starts) and he has some serious talent. But with Petit and Vogelsong on the big league roster it might take something for the right-hander to get much of a major league look in 2015.

What Should We Know About the 2015 San Francisco Giants?

As noted, manager Bruce Bochy knows how to use his players, and as such, gets good performance out of them. The Giants certainly have some “iffies” behind their stars, but any one of those guys — Aoki, Pagan, Panik, and especially Brandon Crawford — could be serious Fantasy bargains in the coming year. And, well, Brian Sabean might not have thought of moving his catcher to third, but he does have an arm worthy of the hot corner, and Posey’s career could be stretched out nicely without getting dinged on a regular basis, perched behind the dish.

Madison Bumgarner Photo Credit: Art Siegel

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