Brief Team History:
After winning 5 world championships in New York (1885-1957) the Giants have not won a World Series since moving to San Francisco. They lost to a stacked A's team and an earthquake in 1989. The Reds beat an even better A's team in 1990 but had the advantage of not having to deal with natural disasters. In 2002, the Giants should have won but the Rally Monkey thwarted their plans. That series was also memorable because Dusty's 3 ½ year old son served as a bat boy...and was almost destroyed. The Giants have had some great players through the years including Bonds, Will Clark, Mel Ott, Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey,and Juan Marichal. I think at least 75% of those players were on steroids though.
sMarty began broadcasting for the Reds in 1974. He replaced Al Michaels who left to work for the Giants. Al Michaels is a Traitor!!!!!!!
- 72-90 (.444)
- Scored 640 Runs, Allowed 759 Runs, Pythagorean W-L 68-94
- 29th ranked offense w/ respect to runs scored, 28th in OPS (.703)
- Pitchers 2nd in league in K/9 (7.74); 16th best ERA (4.38)
- Payroll $76,594,500
- Manager: Bruce Bochy; General Manager: Brian Sabean
2009 Projected W-L:
The 2009 Team in Brief: Pitching is good. Offense is bad.
- Randy Winn RF (.281/.341/.412 CHONE). Winn is definitely one of the team's top hitters (projected +2.9 wins leads offense). Unfortunately, that has more to do with the team's underwhelming offense than with Winn's abilities. He's 34 years old but has some speed left, swiping 25 bags last year. Consistent, durable, and boring are other words that describe Winn.
- Edgar Renteria SS (.283/.345/.408 CHONE). Renteria signed a 2 year, $18.5 million contract with the Giants this past offseason. The Giants are hoping the NL treats Renteria like it has in the past. He was really good for the Cardinals for a few years, including a .874 OPS in 2003). Renteria had a disappointing season with the Tigers last year (.699 OPS). I think he looks like an alien.
- Pablo Sandoval 3B (.283/.315/.426 CHONE). Sandoval is creating a buzz in San Francisco. He moved from A+ all the way to the show last year as a 21 year old. Sandoval does not take a lot of pitches; instead, he employs a swing really hard at everything approach. More about him below.
- Bengie Molina C (.276/.314/.435 CHONE). Molina, now 34, led the team in HR (16) and RBI (95) last year. He is known for being an extremely slow runner. He has to be the most boring cleanup hitter in baseball.
- Fred Lewis LF (.262/.346/.404 CHONE). Lewis, 28, has played well in 10 games against the Reds (1.089 OPS). He has some speeding, stealing 21 bases last year. His season was cut short because of bunion surgery.
- Aaron Rowand CF (.273/.338/.421 CHONE). Rowand signed a 5 year/$60 million deal with the Giants during the winter of 2007. His numbers slipped last year and he is now 31 years old. Known for his defense, he disappointed somewhat last year (-7.8 UZR). GM Brian Sabean blew this one.
- Travis Ishikawa 1B (.248/.322/.432 CHONE). According to John Sickels, this guy is the 8th best prospect in the system (C+). He had a good 95 bat stint with the Giants last year (.768 OPS). His upside is considered limited.
- Emmanuel Burriss 2B (.270/.331/.347 CHONE). At the age of 22, Burriss stole 51 bases in A ball. Last year was Burriss's rookie season, and the then 23 year old played fairly well in 77 games(.686 OPS, 13 SB, 23:24 BB/K). He should be the team's starting second baseman this year.
- Potential Bench: Nate Schierholtz, Rich Aurilia (Former Red and a Traitor!!!!!!), Euginio Velez, Juan Uribe, Steve Holm, Kevin Frandsen, Andres Torres, John Bowker, and Jesus Guzman.
2009 Projected Rotation:
- Tim Lincecum (3.21 ERA/1.23 WHIP CHONE). Has never won against the Reds. Until then, he will not get my respect. I guess others are more easily impressed though, as evidenced by Lincecum's Cy Young award. He led MLB with 265 K's last year. Lincecum also gives up his fair share of walks, which when combined with the K's and Bruce Bochy, leads to some high pitch counts. Lincecum threw the 5th most pitches in baseball last year. He will never get hurt though because he is a robot.
- Randy Johnson (3.96 ERA/1.27 WHIP CHONE). Johnson has a 1.51 ERA against the Reds, his lowest ERA against any other MLB team. Johnson is now 45, but still has the skills (173 K/184 IP). He needs 5 more wins to reach the 300 club. I think Sabean made a nice move with the 1 year/$8 million contract.
- Matt Cain (3.76 ERA/1.32 WHIP CHONE). This 24 year old already has 3 full major league seasons under his belt. His W-L records in 2007 and 2008 were 7-16 and 8-14, respectively, despite an ERA's of 3.65 in 2007 and 3.76 in 2008. Clearly, this kid doesn't know how to win and should not be anywhere near a major league ball club. Cain threw the 7th most pitches in baseball last year.
- Barry Zito (4.70 ERA/1.55 WHIP CHONE). Zito has a 10.03 ERA in 5 games against Reds, the highest ERA he has against any team. Too bad he wasn't signed by an NL Central team. Zito is in his 3rd year of a 7 year/$126 million contract. According to Fangraphs, Zito's fastball averaged 84.9 mph last year. Signing Zito definitely wasn't one of Sabean's best moves.
- Jonathan Sanchez (4.05 ERA/1.39 WHIP CHONE). This 26 year old lefthander didn't pitch all that well last year (5.01 ERA) but showed a lot of promise (157 K's in 158 IP). Many consider Sanchez to be an injury risk because prior to last year, he had not pitched more than 70 innings in any major league season. In 2 lifetime games (both starts) against the Reds, Sanchez is 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA and 17 K's in 13.2 IP.
- Closer: Brian Wilson (3.88 ERA/1.38 WHIP CHONE). He saved 41 games last year for a team that only won 72 games. His 2008 ERA was 4.62 while his WHIP was 1.44. CHONE obviously predicts some improvement in those numbers but I doubt he saves as many games. I was a big fan of his until "Kokomo."
- Other potential bullpen arms: Jeremy Affeldt (former Red and a Traitor!!!!), Bob Howry, Sergio Romo, Jack Taschner, Alex Hinshaw, Keiichi Yabu, Noah Lowry, Billy Sadler, Merkin Valdez, Ramon Loiritz, Luis Perdomo, Justin Miller, Francis Beltran, Brandon Medders, Osiris Matos, and Ronnie Ray.
- The Giants bullpens should be improved after the signings of Affeldt (2 years/$8 million) and Bob Howry (1 year/$2.75 million).
The Giants have a top 10 farm system. According to John Sickels, the following players are the tops:
- Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner is a 6'3" LHP pitcher who struck out 164 in 141.2 innings in Low A last year. He did not turn 19 until August of 2008. Many consider Bumgarner to be one of the top 10 prospects in the game.
- Buster Posey. Posey was the 5th overall pick in last year's draft. This catching prospect is expected to advance quickly and should be Molina's replacement in 2010. He won the Golden Spikes award last year.
- Tim Alderson. The RHP is just 20 years old. He was a 1st round draft pick in 2006. He struck out 124 batters over 145.1 innings last year in A+.
- Angel Villalona. Played in low A as a 17 year old for most of 2008. He had a .747 OPS last year, which is impressive considering his age. Most are high on his potential but don't know if he will ever reach it.
- Conor Gillaspie. He is a 21 year old, left handed hitting, third basemen. He started last year in Rookie ball but ended up with 5 at bats in the show. He is described as being polished.
1. What are the team's biggest strengths and weaknesses?
You heard it here first: The Giants' biggest strength is starting pitching, and their biggest weakness is their offense. Use that little piece of inside information for your fantasy drafts.
2. Which players have the potential to breakout this year? Which players do you think might decline?
As unstainable as Pablo Sandoval's low-walk/high-rope ratio seems, he's a candidate to go nutty on the league. He hit in A-ball, he hit in AA-ball, he hit in the majors, he hit in winter leagues, and he's hitting this spring. Until he stops, I'll tell my brain to hold off on worrying.
3. The Giants should contend...how bad are you going to freak out when Sabean trades away Bumgarner, Alderson, and Villalona(i.e., Sabean Special II)?
I'm not sure that it would be automatically awful to trade young pitching for hitting. If Bumgarner and Alderson both pitch well this year, Lincecum, Cain, and Sanchez pitch well, and the Giants are leading the division in July, Sabean should look to trade young pitching for a hitter who's a couple of years from free agency. The system shouldn't be gutted for Garrett Anderson, but if there's a chance to have Prince Fielder or Dan Uggla around until 2011, there's no way the Giants should just sit back, cross their arms, and say, "rebuilding!"
But as to something like a Villalona, Bumgarner, and Alderson for Matt Holliday deal...yeah, the only way I come down from that freakout is if a World Series flag is flying over AT&T Field. It's a moot point, I'm thinking, because I'm skeptical about the Giants' ability to contend this season.
4. Are you worried about Lincecum's health due to his age, size, and his stupid ass pitch counts from last year? I thought Dusty Baker managed the Reds in 2008.
I'm not too worried. Lincecum threw the 5th-most pitches in baseball, and everyone freaked out over his 138-pitch outing, but what's crazy is that was the only start by anyone in either league with more than 133 pitches. Ten years ago, a pitcher went over 133 pitches in a start 85 times. Things have changed, for sure. Lincecum's 2009 would have ranked 19th in Pitcher Abuse Points in 1999; his stress score would have ranked 26th. He led the majors in both categories last year.
The funny part about all that is that I'm not sure that pitchers are any healthier now. I worry about Lincecum because he's a pitcher, not because he's short or because Bochy was slagging his arm last year. I would have handled him differently, for sure, but I'm pretty sure that he wasn't abused to a pitchforks-and-torches level.
5. What do you think about Zito? Do you have any hope? How bad does he get booed at the stadium?
I try not to think about Zito. Hope? Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane....
Like Jamie Moyer and Tom Glavine, Zito doesn't need to throw much harder than 86 to get outs. The curve is still good, and his change is solid when it's on. Unlike Moyer and Glavine, Zito doesn't know where the ball is going half of the time. If he finds the magic Jeff Nelson/Randy Johnson suddenly-I-have-better-control-talisman, he'll be fine. There's about a 2% chance of that happening, though.
He doesn't get booed that bad, to be honest. If this continues for another couple of years, it isn't going to be pretty, but almost everyone wants the guy to succeed.
6. How awesome is it going to be to see almost 7 foot tall Randy Johnson winning his 300th game with "Giants" spelled out across his chest? Do you think the Giants should sign more really tall players?
I'm definitely in favor of tall players, especially if they stand next to Lincecum at every opportunity. I don't really care about #300, to be honest. I've thought about it, like, twice since the signing. It's a Wade Boggs/Devil Rays kind of association that's just going to get weirder as time goes on. I love the signing, though. He's looked good this spring. Well, his pitching has, at least.