By: Adam Pasternak
After an incredibly eventful offseason, Spring Training is finally here! The players have all reported to their respective Spring Training facilities and the 2016 MLB season is only a month and a half away. Over the next couple of weeks we will cover all 30 MLB teams and talk about what’s in store for the coming season. Today, we talk about the San Francisco Giants!
The San Francisco Giants enter this year’s Spring Training with MLB fans wondering if the saying is true. Will the Giants win another World Series ring in yet another even year? They did it in 2010, and then again in 2012 and 2014 – so it must be true…right? Well after a busy offseason, the G-Men are looking primed and ready to go after yet another World Series Championship. With the additions of Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Denard Span (and subtractions, including one time face of the franchise, Tim Lincecum) – they are as deep as ever and their hopes at a title are extremely realistic.
Apart from the mentioned additions, the core players are mostly the same as in past season’s. Leading the starting staff is none other then the giant lefty himself, Madison Bumgarner. The playoff and World Series hero in 2014, Bumgarner will have to lead yet again if the Giants want to make a run again this year. Slotted in behind him are the two high profile additions – Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. Although Cueto was recently hit by a line drive, all signs point towards a speedy recovery and he should be available by Opening Day. The duo looks to provide much needed rotation depth, and both have the potential to go deep into every single game. If they can stay healthy, the Giants just might have one of the best rotations in all of baseball. But again, the three previously mentioned teams in the NL West (the Dodgers and D-Backs) also have great rotations as well. This division is so good and so tight and good, consistent pitching is going to be the difference in the battle for a playoff spot. Filling out the rest of the rotation for San Fran are the veteran’s, Jake Peavy and Matt Cain. Youngster Charlie Heston is right there behind them, but unless he blows Bruce Bochy and Co. away over the course of the spring, he will be put in a long relief role to start the season. He does add to the great depth of the rotation though, and he should be the first person called upon if there are any injuries to the rotation. The Giants bullpen is once again anchored by Sergio Ramos and Santiago Casilla. It will be interesting to see who ends up closing by season’s end, but to start out it looks to be Casilla’s job to lose. Hunter Strickland, Javier Lopez and George Kontos are all returning as well, which makes this bullpen incredibly experienced. They can all be relied upon in late game situations and will become extremely valuable in the postseason.
The infield for the Giants remains similar to last season’s, with Brandon Belt and Matt Duffy manning first and third base respectively. In between them are Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford and second and short, with Buster Posey catching of course. This is one of the best infields in baseball defensively, and if they can put it all together – it could be offensively as well. Posey is a star in this league and a yearly MVP candidate when healthy. Joe Panik, in my opinion, is one of the leagues best young second basemen in the game, and Matt Duffy is a great utility man to have on a team as well.
The outfield for the Giants this year is slightly different, with the addition of Denard Span taking over in centre this season. Coming over from the Washington Nationals, Span brings years of experience and great lead-off skills to the Bay Area. He’s been known to steal a base or two, and usually hits around .300 every year. He’ll fit in great and definitely make use of the big outfield in San Francisco. To the left of Span will be Angel Pagan, and to the right will be the best guest star on Fuller House, Hunter Pence. There truly are no holes in this lineup, and the Giants are once again poised to make another run.
In a division with three deep and skilled teams, it’s really hard to predict who is going to take the crown in the NL West. If the “Giants Myth” is true, then you can’t go wrong picking the Giants. It is an even year after all!
What did you think of the Giants busy offseason? Will this additions workout for them? Will they win in yet another even year to prove the myth right? Comment below!
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