Monday, March 27, 2017
San Francisco Giants 2017 season preview
Key additions: RP Mark Melancon, C Nick Hundley, SS Jimmy Rollins, 2B Aaron Hill, RPs Bryan Morris, Neil Ramirez, Cs Josmil Pinto, Tim Federowicz, OFs Michael Morse, Justin Ruggiano.
Key subtractions: SPs Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Joe Nathan, OF Gregor Blanco.
Biggest move: Remember when I said the Giants needed a closer? Well they got one in Mark Melancon. They signed him to a 4 year, $62 million deal. It was the highest contract a relief pitcher had signed in MLB history (well, for a week). He can really help them in 2017.
X-factor: The Giants made a couple of moves at last year's trade deadline. One was trading 3B Matt Duffy to Tampa Bay. To replace him, the Giants brought in Eduardo Nunez. Nunez, who hit career highs in 2016 in HRs (16), RBIs, (67) and ABs (553), needs to show management that they made the right move in choosing him over Duffy.
Biggest bounce back: Matt Cain was a Cy Young pitcher. But, now he's barely a starter. In 2017, he'll need to fight for the 5th rotation spot. He hasn't pitched in 100 innings since 2013. In the last 2 seasons, he has an ERA over 5.60. It's clear, Cain needs to put things together to save his career.
Biggest breakout: Two guys: Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson are fighting for the starting left field job. I think Parker will get it. He's yet to show what he can really do in the MLB, with his career high in ABs in a season being 127 (set last year). It would be nice for Parker to break out in 2017.
Guaranteed star: If it weren't for Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner would be the top pitcher in the MLB right now. His worst career ERA is 3.37 (which is still pretty good), something set in 2012. He's also a better hitter than most, taking Kershaw deep last season.
The Giants lineup should look like this.
1. CF: Denard Span
2. 2B: Joe Panik
3. C: Buster Posey
4. 1B: Brandon Belt
5. RF: Hunter Pence
6. SS: Brandon Crawford
7. 3B: Eduardo Nunez
8. LF: Jarrett Parker
Their rotation will probably be this.
1. Madison Bumgarner
2. Johnny Cueto
3. Jeff Samardzija
4. Matt Moore
5. Matt Cain
C Nick Hundley, 3B Conor Gillaspie, RF Mac Williamson (injured) and 2B Kelby Tomlinson will be on the bench.
Mark Melancon will be their closer, with Hunter Strickland and George Kontos setting him up.
Finally, for my prediction, I think the Giants will improve in 2017, but still finish in the Wild Card.