2020 Fantasy Baseball: San Francisco Giants Team Preview

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San Francisco Giants

The Giants need to hit rock bottom before pushing their way up the World Series mountain. They picked up three championships over the last decade with one other postseason appearance. San Fran missed the playoffs in each of the previous three years. They lost their longtime ace in the offseason, and Bruce Bochy retired after the season. In the team’s 137-year history, San Francisco has eight World Series titles (1905, 1921, 1922, 1933, 1954, 2010, 2012, and 2014) while making the postseason 26 times.

San Fran finished 15th in ERA (4.38) with 41 saves. They fell to 28th in runs (678), 26h in home runs (167), and 27th in RBI (655).

In the offseason, the Giants didn’t sign any hitters to improve their starting lineup. They did add three bats to their bench – C Rob Brantly, IF Wilmer Flores, and OF Hunter Pence. San Fran took a pair of fliers on SP Kevin Gausman and SP Drew Smyly claiming RP Jarlin Garcia off waivers.

Vegas gave San Francisco an over/under of 68.5 win in 2020. Their offense lacks a leadoff hitter and two premium middle of the orders, pointing to a low scoring season. The Giants’ bullpen is a mess with plenty of questions in the starting rotation. They are trending toward the worst record in baseball while lacking the needed prospects to build a new foundation of hitters and pitchers.

Starting Lineup

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1. 2B Mauricio Dubon

The Brewers had an overflow of options at 2B and SS, which led to them shipping Dubon to the Giants last July for Drew Pomeranz. His 2018 season was cut short by a torn ACL in his left knee. Last year his bat made a step forward at AAA (.302 with 20 HRs, 56 RBI, and 10 SBs over 503 at-bats), leading to a call-up to the majors in late August. Dubon hit .279 over 104 at-bats with four home runs and nine RBI in San Fran.

Over seven seasons in the minors, he hit .300 with 46 home runs, 285 RBI, and 127 steals over 2,371 at-bats. His walk rate (6.3) in the minors needs work while being tough to strikeout (12.8 percent). Dubon has developing power, but his AVH (1.586) suggests closer to 15 home runs out of the gate unless he gets stronger. 

With three seasons on his minor league resume with 30 stolen bases, he looks like an excellent cheat at middle infield based on his ADP (453). Possible .270 with 80 runs, 15 home runs, 60 RBI, and 20 steals. The signal here is a bright shade of green.

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2. OF Alex Dickerson

Dickerson missed 2017 and 2018 with a back issue and TJ surgery. His bat played well over the first 24 games at AAA (.360 with five HRs and 19 RBI over 86 at-bats), which led to a call-up to the majors in early May. The Giants barely gave him playing (3-for-19 at-bats with no HRs and two RBI) before landing the injured list with a wrist issue for two weeks. After three weeks back at AAA (7-for-25 with no HRs and two RBI), Dickerson earned his second chance with San Fran (.386 with six HRs and 23 RBI over 88 at-bats). 

He suffered an oblique injury that led two weeks on the IL while also missing time in September with the same issue. His bat came home with a quiet 64 at-bats (.164 with no HRs and three RBI). Over seven seasons in the minors, Dickerson hit .311 with 63 home runs, 346 RBI, and 26 steals over 2,040 at-bats. His walk rate (8.1) and strikeout rate (18.4) were favorable in the majors. 

An injury-prone player with the talent to shine if he could find a way to stay healthy. With 500 at-bats, possible .280 with 80 runs, 20 home runs, and 80 RBI. Worth bench spot for a team looking for an out in the outfield.

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3. 1B Brandon Belt

The dream of Belt being a productive fantasy or major league player seems to be over. His RBI rate (11) has a Judy smell with fade in his CTBA (.308). He finished last year with the best approach of his career (strikeout rate – 20.6 and walk rate – 13.5) with a rebound in his AVH (1.724). 

Belt struggled with lefties (.211 with three HRs and 12 RBI over 133 at-bats). His bat didn’t have value in any month. Belt had a low hard-hit rate (35.8) while still having a fly-ball swing (48.7 percent), but his HR/FB rate (8.8) was his lowest since 2012. The only bright spot was a full season of at-bats. 

The Giants have weak options to bat in the middle of the starting lineup, which means Belt will get a mulligan in 2020. Belt has two checkmarks from last season – approach and loft. If he hits the ball harder, his stats would be playable. Nothing more than a flier.

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4. 3B Evan Longoria

Longoria had a rebound in his game in 2019 while missing a couple of weeks in July with a left foot injury. His strikeout rate (22.1) pushed over the league average for the first time since 2009 while seeing a move up in his walk rate (8.5). He had growth in both his AVH (1.722) and CTBA (.337). 

Longoria played well over 117 at-bats in July and August (.359 with ten HRs and 32 RBI over 117 at-bats) while struggling in April (.212 with three HRs and 11 RBI), May (.215 with three HRs and eight RBI), and September (.205 with three HRs and ten RBI). He did play better against lefties (.286 with six HRs and 24 RBI over 140 at-bats). His hard-hit rate (40.8) ranked 127th while having his best HR/FB rate (15.5) since 2016. 

A 20/80 type player with some batting average risk and a waiver wire ADP (530).

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5. C Buster Posey

Posey turned into a big hole in a fantasy roster over the past two seasons, especially when adding his draft value. His AVH (1.398) barely has a pulse with a fading RBI rate (13). He finished with his highest strikeout rate (16.0) since 2011, with a sharp decline in his walk rate (7.6). 

Posey no longer has an edge against lefties (.230 with no home runs and nine RBI over 126 at-bats). His fly-ball rate (28.4) is trending down with weakness in his HR/FB rate (7.4). Over the past two seasons, he hit .270 with 90 runs, 12 home runs, and 79 RBI over 803 at-bats. 

This ship is lost in the night, with his only attraction being his name. Don’t be tempted by his ADP (267) unless he’s holding an orange in spring training. This once sure Hall of Fame has a lot to prove going forward. 

To view the full starting lineup, bench & top prospects, which also includes player analysis for Mike Yastrzemski, Brandon Crawford, Steven Duggar, Joey Bart, Austin Slater, Wilmer Flores, Chris Shaw, Tyler Heineman, Donovan Solano, Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence, subscribe now to FullTime Fantasy.

Use coupon code EDGE25 to receive 25% off your monthly season-long subscription. Shawn Childs is a 5-time high-stakes fantasy baseball national champ. Gain a cash-winning edge with FullTime Fantasy.

READ MORE: 2020 San Francisco Giants Team Outlook

Pitching Staff

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SP1 Johnny Cueto

After a down season in 2017 (4.52 ERA and 1.446 WHIP), Cueto looked better the next year over 53 innings (3.23 ERA), but his season ended with a TJ surgery on his right elbow. In 2019, he returned to the mound in August. After six appearances in the minors (3.28 ERA, 0.9844 WHIP, and 21 Ks over 21.1 innings), Cueto made four starts for the Giants in September (nine runs, 20 baserunners, and three home runs over 16 innings). His AFB (91.2) came in well below his peak in 2011 (94.2). He continues to feature a four-seam, sinker, changeup, and slider combination of pitches. 

In his last good season, Cueto gained his edge with a plus changeup (.214 BAA) and riding four-seamer (.226 BBA). San Fran owes him $42 million over the next two years with a $22 option for 2022. The Giants would love him to pitch well to help his value in the trade market. Cueto has an ADP of 315 in mid-February as the 123rd pitcher drafted. 

Reasonable gamble based on his career resume (126-87 with a 3.35 ERA and 1,556 Ks over 1,856.1 innings), but I would think more along the lines of a 3.75 ERA and 1.25 WHIP.

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SP2 Kevin Gausman

Over six seasons with Baltimore, Gausman failed to live up to his expected value after getting drafted in the first round in 2012. With the Orioles, he went 39-51 with a 4.22 ERA and 697 strikeouts over 763.2 innings. The move to Atlanta didn’t go as expected. Gausman didn’t look far off after his first ten starts (4.33 ERA, .228 BAA, and 56 Ks over 54 innings), other than a rise in his walk rate (3.5). He exploded in a bad way over his next three games (17 runs and 28 baserunners over 8.1 innings), which led a month on the injured list with a right foot injury (plantar fasciitis). 

After two most pastings (11 runs and 20 baserunners over 10.2 innings), the Braves traded him to the Reds. Gausman posted a 4.03 ERA and 29 strikeouts over 22.1 innings out of the bullpen. On the year, his walk rate (2.8) and strikeout rate (10.0) will draw attention from fantasy owners, but he allowed more hits than innings pitched for the fifth straight year with a career battle with home runs (1.3 per nine). Gausman lost some value off his fastball (94.1) in each of the four previous years. His best pitch is a split-finger fastball (.234 BAA). For some reason, he dumped his slider in 2019, which left only his four-seamer (.322 BAA) to battle hitters. 

Looking more like a bullpen arm, but the Giants need him to eat innings this season. Wrong kind of gamble even with an upgrade in ballpark and a high ADP (337).

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SP3 Jeff Samardzija

Samardzija out-pitched his strikeout rate (6.9) and HR/9 rate (1.4), which led to surprising help in ERA (3.55) and WHIP (1.108). He allowed two runs or fewer in 18 of his 32 starts, with his best run coming in July and August (1.99 ERA, 172 BAA, and 54 Ks over 68 innings). Samardzija did have five poor starts in May and June (5.75 ERA, 1.432 WHIP, and 11 HRs over 51.2 innings). 

More of his problems in home runs came against left-handed batters (.233 with 17 HRs over 339 at-bats). His AFB (91.9) was 1.4 MPH lower than 2018 (93.3) and miles away from his peak in 2012 (96.1). He had success with his four-seam (.183 BAA), slider (.234 BAA), and cutter (.177 BAA). Samardzija struggled with his sinker (.289 BAA) and lost the feel for his split-finger fastball (.279 BAA). Even with some favorable stats and strength in his walk rate (2.4), he still has no draftable value based on his ADP (354) and expected direction. 

Tons of disaster waiting here with no life left in his fastball to bail him out of trouble. Samardzija would only make sense if he pushed up his velocity this spring.

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CL/RP Tony Watson

Watson was a top left-handed reliever for the Pirates for seven seasons (31-16 with 2.68 ERA and 380 Ks over 433 innings). He picked 25 saves between 2016 and 2017 before a midseason trade to the Dodgers. Last year his strikeout rate (6.8) was 3.0 lower than in 2018 (9.8) while struggling with home runs (1.5 per nine). His ERA (4.17) and WHIP (1.259) are no longer assets. Watson lost his way over the final three weeks in August (11 runs, 18 baserunners, and three home runs over 7.1 innings) before going on the injured list with a broken left wrist. His AFB (93.5) was league average. He still threw a changeup (.225 BAA) of value with success with his low volume four-seamer (.143 BAA). Watson lost the feel for his sinker (.291 BAA) and slider (.474 BAA). 

More of a placeholder closer for me as I expect another option to emerge as the season moves on for the Giants.

To view the full pitching staff, which also includes player analysis for Drew Smyly, Tyler Beede, Tyler Anderson, Conner Menez, Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos, subscribe now to FullTime Fantasy.

Use coupon code EDGE25 to receive 25% off your monthly season-long subscription. Shawn Childs is a 5-time high-stakes fantasy baseball national champ. Gain a cash-winning edge with FullTime Fantasy.

READ MORE: 2020 San Francisco Giants Team Outlook