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San Francisco Giants 2020: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

San Francisco Giants 2020: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

San Francisco Giants 2020: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

The Giants introduced dozens of former players, most of them wearing their World Series rings, as part of a festive and emotional sendoff for manager Bruce Bochy following the 2019 regular-season finale at Oracle Park. It was hard to interpret the occasion as anything other than the official end of a championship era. New president Farhan Zaidi had to put lipstick on the roster for Bochy’s final season while limiting the rebuilding effort to site prep and planning. But now, with polarizing hire Gabe Kapler succeeding Bochy along with an unconventional coaching staff, plus an offseason marked by the departure of legendary figure Madison Bumgarner, things are truly going to be different in San Francisco in 2020. The Giants might not win a lot of games, but the process won’t be boring.

Opposing Scouts Size Up the Giants

“They’re not going to punt — that’s never been ownership’s M.O. — so they’ll try to compete while knowing it won’t get them more than 74 or 76 wins. Buster Posey still has quick hands, but he looks like his legs are gone and he has no power anymore. Evan Longoria is a similar player in that sense. I like Mauricio Dubón [at second base]; he may not have the thump to be an everyday guy, but he should be a pretty solid major leaguer. They found some good outfielders last year in Alex Dickerson and Mike Yastrzemski, who deserve another long look this season. They might get something at the deadline for Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. This will be the year we find out if Tyler Beede and Dereck Rodriguez can become dependable mid-rotation starters or not. They have the makings of a very intriguing bullpen. Trevor Gott has a big arm, but he needs to get healthy, and I think Shaun Anderson has a good fastball/slider mix that would play well in relief.”

San Francisco Giants logo

Beyond the Box Score

Closing In After 20 seasons at their waterfront ballpark, the Giants are finally moving in the fences. The biggest change will be in center field, which will measure 391 feet instead of 399, and in Triples Alley, where the deepest point will go from 421 feet to 415. The center field fence will be reduced in height from eight feet to seven feet. The ballpark, with its cold breezes off the bay, is still expected to favor pitchers; the changes were made as a consequence of moving the bullpens from the foul lines to an area beyond the center field fence. The A’s and Rays are the only remaining major league teams that have bullpens in foul ground.

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2020 Athlon Sports Baseball Preview

And You Are…?

The Giants are one of few teams that do not feature names on the backs of home jerseys, which was an inconvenience as they endured a season of constant churn and waiver claims. The Giants used a National League-record 64 players in 2019 — three fewer than the Seattle Mariners did — and far surpassed their previous franchise record of 51 players used in 1990. Expect more of the same in 2020, if the embroiderer can keep up with the road uniform requisitions.

Younger Yaz As a 28-year-old rookie, Mike Yastrzemski didn’t need the baseball bloodlines to be a terrific story. He tied for the team lead with 21 home runs, had a three-homer game and became the first Giants rookie since Dave Kingman in 1972 to hit 20 in a season. He’s also the first Giants rookie since Orlando Cepeda in 1958 to hit 20 homers with an OPS of at least .850. What made the story so compelling is that Mike is the grandson of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, and one of those home runs came in an emotional interleague series at Fenway Park in September. The elder Yaz threw a ceremonial first pitch to his grandson.

Closure As much as the Giants will miss Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith might be the free agent loss whose departure will be most immediately felt. Smith was 48-of-55 in save chances since taking over as closer in the middle of 2018 and averaged a career-best 13.2 strikeouts per nine innings. The club’s lone All-Star in 2019, Smith finished the season as the major league leader in win probability added. He was the only MLB pitcher to be worth at least five wins — and was the main reason why such a mediocre team in transition was able to post a major league-best 38-16 record in one-run games. Flip that record around and the Giants would have been a 55-107 team last season.

Projected Lineup

LINEUP

CF     Mike Yastrzemski (L)

1B     Brandon Belt (L)

3B     Evan Longoria (R)

LF     Alex Dickerson (L)

C      Buster Posey (R)

SS     Brandon Crawford (L)

2B     Mauricio Dubon (R)

RF     Steven Duggar (L)

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BENCH

INF   Donovan Solano (R)

OF    Hunter Pence (R)

C      Joey Bart (R)

INF   Wilmer Flores (R)

INF   Yolmer Sanchez (S)

ROTATION

RHP     Johnny Cueto

RHP     Jeff Samardzija

RHP     Kevin Gausman

LHP     Drew Smyly

RHP     Tyler Beede

BULLPEN

LHP     Tony Watson (C)
RHP     Trevor Gott

RHP     Shaun Anderson

LHP     Wandy Peralta

RHP     Sam Coonrod

RHP     Tyler Rogers

RHP     Jandel Gustave

RHP     Logan Webb

2020 Prediction: 5th in NL West