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San Francisco Giants

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Projected WARMarket Value

20.2 182

Lineup

12.4 112

Rotation

3.0 27

Bullpen

Projected WAR by grouping is from Fangraphs’ depth charts.
Historically each win is worth ~$9 million on the free agent market

Projected Team

Lineup
  • Joe Panik, 2B
  • Brandon Belt, 1B
  • Andrew McCutchen, RF
  • Buster Posey, C
  • Evan Longoria, 3B
  • Hunter Pence, LF
  • Brandon Crawford, SS
  • Austin Jackson, CF
Rotation
  • Madison Bumgarner, LHP
  • Johnny Cueto, RHP
  • Jeff Samardzija, RHP
  • Ty Blach, RHP
  • Chris Stratton, RHP
Manager
  • Bruce Bochy

Health Check

“There are justifiable concerns when it comes to the collective age of the lineup, as only Joe Panik is under 30. But those concerns should have more to do with ouchies and nicks and fatigue-based injuries and less with production declines. Other than Hunter Pence, the over-30 crowd is just over 30, with only Evan Longoria even getting to 32. While players get worse when they enter their 30s, on average, the research suggests that 30-, 31-, and 32-year-olds typically hold off the most serious declines. Which is to say that the 2018 Giants should feel confident that they’ve built a more productive lineup for this season.

Which is good, considering that there will be no 2019 Giants. Much less 2020 Giants. This is it, the final season of Giants baseball. What a ride, right?

If you’re concern-trolling the Giants because of how old their lineup is, ask yourself if you’re similarly pessimistic about Paul Goldschmidt and Jose Abreu, Kyle Seager and Justin Upton, Brian Dozier and J.D. Martinez. Are you expecting all of those players to crater this year because of age, or are you mostly expecting them to be the same players we’ve all become used to? They’re all 30 or older, and I don’t see why Rockies fans should be optimistic that Charlie Blackmon is on their team if the Giants are supposed to be worried that Andrew McCutchen is too old.

So I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that the health of the 2018 Giants is strong. Note that we’re talking about “health” in a metaphorical sense, as in the overall strength of the 25-man roster. If we’re talking about actual health, well, we have no idea, other than accepting the fact that a team filled with 30- and 31-year-olds is less likely to stay healthy than a team filled with 27-year-olds.”

—McCovey Chronicles

Key Player

Madison Bumgarner fell off a dirt bike like a big dummy, but he returned later in 2017 and looked like himself. There aren’t a lot of reasons to be pessimistic about him this year because he demonstrated why he’s still one of the better starting pitchers in baseball, and he did it just a few months ago.

Johnny Cueto gave fans no such assurances, and it’s why he’s easily the key player on the 2018 Giants.

The Giants put a lot of effort into revamping their lineup, but none of it will mean a damned thing if they can’t pitch. Bumgarner and Cueto (and, to a lesser extent, Jeff Samardzija) sure look like a deadly top of a rotation, and the computers and their fancy projections seem to agree. But if Cueto is really trailing off into that Matt Cain distance, the Giants will have no shot this season.

So far, the returns on his spring are good. Last year, he didn’t even have a spring, coming to camp late because he stayed in the Dominican Republic to be with his ailing father. The lack of spring training might have been connected to his blister problems, and the blister bone might have connected to the elbow bone, and all of it might have been responsible for a pitcher who didn’t have the pinpoint command he’s used to.

This year should be different, but the only concern is that it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes 32-year-old pitchers aren’t as good as they once were, and they don’t have to rebound from balky elbows and decreased effectiveness. Sometimes, they stay bad.

The Giants can’t have that, so they’ll be keeping an eye on Johnny Cueto. They were secretly relieved when he didn’t opt out of his contract last year, but that doesn’t mean they won’t hold their breath. All of their plans this season hinge on the idea that there will be quality pitching at the top of the rotation. Most of that will depend on Cueto.

—Grant Brisbee, McCovey Chronicles

Best Case

Listen, we know the Dodgers are like, really, really good. But the Giants could dethrone them, and maybe even have the best chance of anyone out in the NL West to do so. That doesn’t mean their chances are good, but, hey, this is the space for these thoughts. Basically everything went wrong in 2017, but that doesn’t mean it’ll all go wrong again, and now Andrew McCutchen, Evan Longoria, and Austin Jackson are here, as well as, barring another dirt bike incident, a full season of Madison Bumgarner. Maybe that could mean an NL West title, assuming some things go very wrong in Los Angeles. At the least, though, that NL wild card sure looks like it’s in reach. “Worst to the NLDS assuming you survive a one-game playoff” doesn’t have the same ring to it as “Worst to first,” but hey, coming out of the Baseball Thunderdome alive is basically the same thing.

Worst Case

It’s the 2017 Giants all over again, except now they’re a year older, even more expensive, and we wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we forget to tell you that they aren’t in a position to rebuild, either.

Sorry, Grant.