The Giants’ relatively meager projected win total says it all; San Francisco is projected to suffer through a tough campaign. At least in the case of 2020, the expected misery will be contained within a shorter period of time. An 85-loss team a season ago, the Giants lost franchise stalwart Madison Bumgarner to the division-rival Diamondbacks this offseason. Reliever Will Smith, who saved a career-high 34 games in 38 chances in 2019, departed for the Braves as well.
Then, an already middling lineup lost one of its better hitters in Buster Posey early in summer camp. The veteran backstop announced he’d opt out of playing this season due to COVID-19 concerns. Posey didn’t really resemble the player he was in his prime last season while producing a pedestrian .257/.320/.368 line over 114 games. However, he still represented somewhat of a threat in the middle of the lineup. Tyler Heineman, who made his big-league debut in 2019 with the Marlins, will step in behind the dish.
The remainder of the Giants lineup is a haphazard collection of names that have carried some cache in the past but that also have struggled to live up to past accomplishments in recent years. Hunter Pence proved to be an exception to that with his resurgent performance during his one-year Rangers stint last season. However, it remains to be seen if his surprising .297/.358/.552 line and 18 home runs were largely a byproduct of frequently playing in Texas’ hitting-friendly environment. Pence will certainly get a significant downgrade in that department this season with his return to cavernous Oracle Park. Meanwhile, the likes of Brandon Belt, Evan Longoria and Brandon Crawford are still all certainly capable of having their moments; they’re just not expected to be anywhere near frequent enough to keep the Giants a consistently contending squad. The one ray of hope is Mike Yastrzemski, whose perseverance over seven minor-league seasons paid off in the form of a .272/.334/.518 with 21 home runs and 55 RBI across 107 games.
The now Bumgarner-less pitching staff isn’t in great shape either, although it too has some recognizable names with solid resumes. The most intriguing component will be Johnny Cueto. The big right-hander has started only 13 games over the last two campaigns due to injury. San Francisco will hope to see the pitcher that once won 20 games in Cincinnati (2014) and that went an impressive 18-5 with a 2.79 ERA in his first Giants season back in 2016. No. 2 Jeff Samardzija turned in another one of his trademark tough-luck efforts in 2019 where his won-loss record doesn’t truly reflect the overall quality of his pitching. Given the state of the team this season, he could be in for a similar fate. The rest of the projected rotation – vets Kevin Gausman and Drew Smyly plus unproven Logan Webb – is fraught with uncertainty. Tony Watson and Tyler Rogers are expected to handle the expected amount of modest save opportunities that present themselves.
Similar to the likely fellow NL cellar-dwelling Marlins, the Giants outlook is bleak enough that even longshot wagers at highly appealing prices are likely a moot point. Both the back end of the starting rotation and the majority of the lineup appear set to underwhelm significantly. San Fran is also projected to take it on the chin frequently with an overloaded division schedule this year that will have them seeing the much more talented Dodgers and Diamondbacks for a heavy dose of their games. A futures bet on San Fran paying off would turn a handsome profit, but it unfortunately looks completely out of the realm of possibility.
An example of how a wager on the Giants winning the NL West would pay out at the current odds listed is as follows:
Wager amount: $10.00
Division winner odds: (DraftKings Sportsbook): +8000
Payout: $810.00: ($800.00 + original $10.00 bet amount)
Giants odds: Futures
San Francisco Giants
San Francisco Giants
San Francisco Giants betting breakdown
2019 record: 77-85
Key losses: LHP Madison Bumgarner, LHP Kyle Barraclough, CF Kevin Pillar, LHP Will Smith, 3B Yangervis Solarte
Injured: RHP Tyler Beede (Tommy John – Out for year); C Buster Posey (COVID-19 precaution)
Key additions: LHP Drew Smyly, 2B Yolmer Sanchez, RHP Tyson Ross, OF Hunter Pence, OF Billy Hamilton, RHP Kevin Gausman, IF Wilmer Flores, RHP Trevor Cahill, LHP Jerry Blevins, LHP Tyler Anderson
- RF Mike Yastrzemski (L)
- 1B Brandon Belt (L)
- 3B Evan Longoria (R)
- LF Alex Dickerson (L)
- DH Hunter Pence (R)
- SS Brandon Crawford (L)
- CF Mauricio Dubon (R)
- 2B Yolmer Sanchez (S)
- C Tyler Heineman (S)
Projected rotation: RHP Johnny Cueto, RHP Jeff Samardzija, RHP Kevin Gausman, LHP Drew Smyly, RHP Logan Webb or LHP Andrew Suarez
Projected closer: LHP Tony Watson
Bullpen strengths: Trevor Gott is the other likely lock besides Watson after going 7-0 with a 4.44 ERA with 57 SO over 52.2 innings in 2019. Offseason acquisition Jarlin Garcia could be a solid relief option for the Giants after a 2019 with the Marlins during which he generated a 3.02 ERA and 39 SO in 50.2 innings. Jerry Blevins could make the roster as a veteran presence after posting a 3.90 ERA with 37 SO in 45 Games (32.1 innings). Nick Vincent is back with the Giants on a non-roster invite after SF traded him to the Phillies in 2019. Vincent performed well after the trade, posting a 1.93 ERA with 17 SO in 14.0 innings.
Bullpen weaknesses: Tony Watson is one of few certainties for the Giants bullpen, which is not saying much. The projected closer is coming off a 2019 with a decent 4.17 ERA and 41 SO in 60 games, but he only finished four games overall. Watson will have to fill closer responsibilities, something he has not done since 2017. Trevor Cahill is a veteran on a non-roster invite coming off a down year in 2019 in which he posted a 5.98 ERA over 102.1 innings
Key stats from 2019
- Center field will move from 391 ft to 399 ft and Triples Alley will go from 421 ft to 415 ft. at Oracle Park this season.
- The Giants used an NL-record 64 players in 2019.
- Mike Yastrzemski, grandson of legendary Carl Yastrzemski, hit 21 homers as a 28-year-old rookie in 2019. His 21 HRs tied for highest on the team.
- The Giants lost closer Will Smith, who converted 48 of 55 save opportunities since taking the closer role during 2018. Smith led the MLB in win probability added in 2019 and was the only pitcher worth at least five wins.
- 1B Brandon Belt struggled against lefties in 2019, hitting .211 with a .664 OPS.