MLB Team News & Rumors: San Francisco

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San Francisco Giants

Our expert from,Shawn Childs, helps you prepare for your big fantasy baseball draft.

San Francisco Giants Team Projection

The Giants are the 2nd winningest team in baseball history with 7 World Series titles (2 in San Fran). Last year, they had their first losing season since 2008, finishing 21st in the majors in runs (629), 29th in HR's (107), and 22nd in SB's. Their pitching staff took a major step backward as they finished 22nd in the league in ERA (4.00). In terms of offseason moves, their only 2 losses were OF Andres Torres and the overpaid P Barry Zito. San Francisco also signed a pair of free agents (OF Michael Morse and P Tim Hudson), while the overall core from their 2012 World Series remains intact. Their offense has been short in 2 of the last 3 seasons, but it has a chance to be much improved this year if a slimmer Pablo Sandoval plays at a high level and Brandon Belt can take a step forward. However, the Giants pitching staff has regressed in back to back years. They can't have success without bounce back years from Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. Furthermore, San Fran's bullpen has plenty of question marks behind Sergio Romo.

1. OF Angel Pagan

Angel Pagan fantasy baseball

Pagan missed 3 months of last season with a hamstring injury. In mid June, he had a platelet-rich plasma injection. Angel hit .262 over the first 2 months of the season with 3 HR's, 24 RBI's, and 6 SB's in 187 at bats. When he returned in late August, he hit .323 in his last 93 at bats. His K rate (11.8%) was just off of his career best, while his walk rate (7.5%) came in at his career average. Additionally, Pagan has had a low HR/FB rate (6.0%) over the last 5 years. Angel has done enough over the last 3+ years to know his skill set. He has possible 10 HR power with 30 SB ability and his approach is strong enough for his batting average to be an asset. Last year, he was a better hitter with runners on base (20% RBI rate).

2. 1B Brandon Belt

Brandon Belt fantasy baseball

Overall, Belt had some growth in 2013, setting career highs in multiple categories. His K rate (21.9%) improved, but it is still below the major league average. However, his walk rate (9.1%) has been asset during his short career. Brandon played his best ball over the last 2 months of the year (.346 with 7 HR's and 28 RBI's in 191 at bats - 18.7% K rate). He was a much better hitter against RH pitching (.297 with a .495 SLG %), but he held his own against lefties (.261). His HR/FB rate (10.6%) went up by more than 50% from 2012 (9.2%). Belt is more of a FB hitter (41.3%) with a solid LD rate (24.3%). In addition, he was a career .343 hitter in the minors with a stronger K rate (17.8%). His only negative is that Posey will steal some at bats from him at first base, unless the Giants decide to let him play in the outfield (which didn't happen in 2013). Upside player that is really close to being a fantasy asset. This year, he will finally hit 20+ HR's with 80+ upside in RBI's. He'll even throw in double digit steals.

3. C Buster Posey

Buster Posey fantasy baseball

Posey just wasn't an elite catcher last year. Maybe it was just the lack of a supporting cast. His K rate (11.8%) is elite with a solid walk rate (10.1%), and he was a better hitter against LH pitching (.320 with a .497 SLG %). Over the first 3 months of the season, he was on a pace to repeat his 2013 success (.322 with 12 HR's and 48 RBI's in 276 at bats). Over the second half of the year, Posey faded off into the sunset (.262 with 3 HR's and 24 RBI's), and appeared to wear down. During the offseason, he has added 10 lbs. of muscle to help add length to his season. His HR/FB rate (10.0%) was a huge step down from 2012 (18.8%). Furthermore, Buster continues to be a GB hitter (47.3%). For 18 months, Posey posted elite numbers from the catching position, while his production in runs was short due to a weak back end of the Giants lineup. The 2014 team has enough talent to be a much better offensive team. Overall, he is an edge at the catcher position and gets added value by playing first base. If you believe in hitters with high batting averages, Posey is an contender for the NL batting title with a 25/100 skill set.

4. 3B Pablo Sandoval

Pablo Sandoval fantasy baseball

Sandoval has sucked in fantasy players for 4 straight seasons. His power has been short in 3 of the last 4 years. He missed 2 weeks in June due to a hairline fracture in his left foot. Over the first 2 months, Pablo hit .288 with 8 HR's and 37 RBI's. He appeared to be on a pace for a 25/100 season, but struggled to hit for power over the next 2+ months after returning from his foot injury (2 HR's and 27 RBI's in 255 at bats). Sandoval finished the year on the upside (.322 with 4 HR's and 15 RBI's). Over the summer, Pablo lost 22 lbs. due to a new diet created by his brother. In the offseason, his desire to get in shape continued. Heading into 2014, he will be in some of the best shape of his life. His K rate (13.5%) has been in a tight area during his entire career, while his walk rate (8.1%) is just below the league average. Sandoval had no power batting from the right side of the plate (1 HR in 148 at bats). Furthermore, his HR/FB rate (8.3%) has declined in 2 straight seasons. Overall, Pablo has been an above average run producer (17% RBI rate during his career). A fantasy player now has to decide if his power was for real and if the extra weight was a factor for his lack of success. His K rate suggests his batting average has upside and if he gets 550+ at bats, I have to believe he is a lock to be a 20/80 player with upside in both areas. Possible all in candidate due to his low price point.

5. OF Hunter Pence

Hunter Pence fantasy baseball

Pence was an absolute steal in drafts in 2013. His poor finish in 2012 after getting traded to the Giants (.219) created a buying opportunity. Hunter will out grind many players by just sheer volume of at bats, and he has only missed 22 games over the last 6 seasons. Over the last 2 years, Pence has come to the plate with 990 runners on base. His K rate (16.7%) was near his career best and a big improvement over 2012 (21.1%), while his walk rate (7.6%) was in line with his career average. Hunter crushed LH pitching (.309 with a .611 SLG %), and had the same success at home (.283) as on the road (.283). However, he hit 17 of his 27 HR's on the road. After a slow July and August (3 HR's and 25 RBI's), Pence had a monster September (.293 with 11 HR's and 32 RBI's). His HR/FB rate (14.6%) has been in a tight range during his entire career, while his bump in power was due a career high FB rate (35.8%). Solid 25/90 player with added value due to his speed. This year, his price point will be higher, so a fantasy player has to decide if his skill set is an edge and if his success repeatable.

6. OF Michael Morse

Michael Morse fantasy baseball

Morse started the year with a small fracture in his pinky finger on his right hand, but he was able to hit 9 HR's with 14 RBI's in 101 at bats through the 1st of May. He then suffered a quad injury in June, which led to almost 6 weeks on the DL. In August, he suffered a left wrist injury that led to a failed month (.103 with no extra base hits) in September after being traded to Seattle. Mike ended up having surgery on his wrist in early October, but he is expected to be ready for the start of the spring training. His K rate (25.8%) has declined over the last 3 years, while his walk rate (6.2%) has been short during his entire career. However, Morse has struggled with injuries in back to back seasons. He has 30 HR upside, which was supported by his start in 2013 and his success over the previous 2 seasons. His batting average won't be .215 in 2014, but it will have downside. Overall, Morse has a chance to be a nice backend outfielder this year.

7. 2B Marco Scutaro

Marco Scutaro fantasy baseball

Scutaro was able to hit for a positive batting average, but his AVH (1.241) was in the Judy range. This makes him a no power or speed player, which equals no value. He was hit by a pitch in June that forced him to miss a week with a tendon issue in his left hand. At the time, Marco was hitting .332 with 2 HR's and 19 RBI's. He then struggled with a slight back issue mid summer. His season ended in mid September when his tendon issue flared up, which required surgery. While his K rate (6.2%) has been one of the lowest in the game over the last 2 years, his walk rate (8.2%) was just below his career average. Overall, Scutaro has no fantasy value in 10 or 12 team leagues. He hits in the right part of the batting order, which gives him a slight pulse in 15 team leagues as a middle infielder as long as he hits close to 10 HR's with possible double digit speed. At age 38, his upside has passed him by.

8. SS Brandon Crawford

Brandon Crawford fantasy baseball

Crawford is a low upside player, and the Giants are happy with low production as long as he plays well in the field. His K rate (17.5%) was lower than 2012 (20.0%), and his walk rate (7.6%) showed some growth. He was a career .266 hitter in the minors with 21 HR's, 98 RBI's, and 22 SB's in 988 at bats and showed double digit power in 2009 in the minors. Overall, he was a stronger hitter against RH pitching (.269). Additionally, he regressed against LH (.199) pitching and had a 23.4% K rate against them. Crawford is a GB hitter (49.3%) with an improved HR/FB rate (7.0%). His skill set is improving and he may chip in with a couple of steals down the road.

9. OF Mac Williamson

Mac Williamson fantasy baseball

Williamson had a very nice season at High A last year, showing plus power and some underlying speed. His K rate (22.0%) was a bit high, while his walk rate (8.5%) was about the league average. Mac is a career .298 hitter with 34 HR's, 121 RBI's and 10 SB's in 651 at bats. He should start the year at AA and could move quickly to the majors if Morse has an issue. Looks like the Giants future right fielder.

10. C Hector Sanchez

He is a solid backup catcher with some upside if he could get full time at bats. For now, he is a part time player and will only play when Posey needs a day off behind the plate. He is a career .267 hitter with 6 HR's and 54 RBI's in 378 at bats in the majors.

11. MI Joaquin Arias

In 2012, Arias proved he wasn't a full time major league player. He may see time against LH pitching at short and will be the backup middle infielder. Also has some underlying speed.

12. MI Tony Abreu

He is a career .256 hitter in the majors with 6 HR's and 60 RBI's in 575 at bats. He is expected to compete for a backup middle infield job.

13. CO Tony Villalona

He struggled at High A and AA in 2013 (.231 with 22 HR's and 70 RBI's in 480 at bats). His lack of success should lead to another run at Double A.

14. OF Juan Perez

He hit .258 in 89 at bats with 1 HR, 8 RBI's, and 2 SB's with the Giants in 2013. He is career .279 hitter in the minors with 47 HR's, 260 RBI's, and 93 SB's. Will compete with Blanco for a backup outfield job.

15. OF Gregor Blanco

He has had 835 at bats in the majors over the last 2 seasons (.258 with 8 HR's, 75 RBI's, and 66 SB's). His skill set isn't strong enough to be a full time player. With the addition of Morse, Blanco will be pushed to the 4th outfield position and provide speed off the bench.