San Francisco Giants 2015 Season Preview
San Francisco Giants Futures
Odds To Win Division: +350
Odds To Win NL Pennant: 8/1
Odds To Win World Series: 16/1
Regular Season Win Total: 83.5
Most Significant Offseason Changes
Nori Aoki, RF
Casey McGehee, 3B/1B
Justin Maxwell, OF
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Michael Morse, OF
Marco Scutaro, IF
Tyler Colvin, OF
They’ll Be Successful If…
… they break that nasty habit of following up a World Series championship season with a dud of a sequel. (See: 2011 and 2013) Aside from a few notable departures, the 2015 San Francisco Giants can still boast having the bulk of last year’s squad return. Skipper Bruce Bochy continues to have droolworthy assets like reliably fantastic rightfielder Hunter Pence, former NL MVP catcher Buster Posey and postseason pitching god Madison Bumgarner at his disposal, plus a sneaky good bullpen that was key to the Giants finishing last season with a remarkable 1.17 WHIP. The Giants also have the potential to dismantle foes with a starting rotation that could be much better this year. You’ve got the mighty Bumgarner (18 wins, 219 strikeouts, 2.98 ERA), plus the prospect of full seasons out of Matt Cain and Tim Hudson, as well as the presence of Jake Peavy who notched an insane 1.35 ERA in his last nine games. San Francisco can give opposing pitchers fits with its contact-minded approach to batting. The Giants won’t overpower opponents with the long ball, but a breakout campaign from a healthy Brandon Belt would definitely give the bats a boost. Make no mistake, this club knows how to win. If the starting rotation can offer quality starts beyond Bumgarner and the black and orange get hot at the right time, you could see this decade’s 4th San Francisco World Series triumph.
They’ll Be Unsuccessful If…
… roster depth issues leave the Giants exposed. Bruce Bochy can get a lot out of his players, but that’s no guarantee the holes in the lineup will get sewn up. The Giants enter 2015 with a significant downgrade at the hot corner. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval picked up his panda gear and left for Boston, taking his average 20 HR + 85 RBI output with him. San Francisco are relying on power challenged ex-Marlin Casey McGehee to close that gap and the depth chart is thin behind him if that doesn’t pan out. As we noted in the more optimistic side of this preview, the starting rotation is hinging on the starting rotation getting the Lazarus Pit treatment. Tim Hudson hits 40 this summer, Matt Cain’s quality is a question mark following elbow surgery, Jake Peavy is a DL regular and Tim Lincecum lost his spot last year when he turned in six starts that produced a 9.49 ERA. Even the club’s World Series hero is riddled with question marks going into this year. Who wants their superstar arm to have 270 innings of work to his name in the previous season? That’s the workload that was put on Madison Bumgarner in 2014. It worked out great then, but there could be hell to pay in terms of future damage. Speaking of damage, Brandon Belt, Angel Pagan and Joe Panik were all shelved for a troubling chunk of 2014. In 2015, the Giants will be without Hunter Pence for a stretch thanks to a broken arm.
Fantasy Bargain: Brandon Crawford, SS
The other Brandon in San Francisco, Brandon Crawford provides later round value for owners in the hunt for a shortstop. Crawford posted career high stats in 2014 thanks to a campaign with 10 homers, 69 RBIs and 10 triples. His defensive acumen is also something that’ll keep the 28-year-old in the lineup and stepping up to the plate. You won’t see Troy Tulowitzki stat lines from this guy, but you’ll be happy you snapped him up later in the draft if you’re aching for a shortstop.
The loss of Pablo Sandoval and the questions swirling around the Giants rotation doesn’t do much to inspire confidence in San Francisco finally snapping up back-to-back World Series championships. Still, this is a club that’s worked wonders when they’ve been counted out and underestimated. The returning talent and impressive backlog of big game experience might not bump off the Los Angeles Dodgers as the NL West favourite, but a slot as a possible Wild Card contender likely suits this team just fine.
Prediction: 2nd In NL West
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