UNITED STATES—Baseball in the Bay Area hasn’t been much fun over the past few years and although we are desperately hoping for a change this season, the forecast calls for more dark and gloomy. It’s always darkest before the dawn as they say but “they” have never had to endure six months of pitch black with no glimmer of a sunrise on the horizon. The best sports betting sites at SportsBookReview.com are dealing San Francisco as longshots at odds of 100-1 to win the World Series, 60-1 to win the National League pennant, and 40-1 to win the NL West. Nevertheless, as Giants’ fans we are always looking for that silver lining because to wave the white flag before a shot has even been fired is just downright cowardly. Practical, maybe, but wimpy most definitely.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at why last season’s nine-game improvement from 64-98 in 2017 to 73-89 in 2018 may be an upward trend that unfortunately comes to a screeching halt. Some say this team needs a heart transplant and Bruce Bochy is the old ticker that’s just not pumping enough blood into this critical care patient. It’s a moot point really, because Bochy has announced that 2019 will be his last as an MLB manager, and it’s only fitting that the man who guided the Giants to three World Series titles should be able to walk away on his own accord. But the best jockey in the world can’t cross the finish line first without a fast horse, and the truth be told, some of Bochy’s horses are getting too long in the tooth to compete with the young stallions of the world.
- Steven Duggar (CF) – The twenty-five-year-old Clemson product will patrol center field for the Giants after sustaining a torn labrum last season with just 41 games under his belt, a pair of dingers, and a .255 batting average. I’m not sure if there’s any reason to believe Duggar will be much more than what he showed in his abbreviated rookie campaign but you never know (Psst, we know).
- Joe Panik (2B) – I guess we’re supposed to drink the Kool-Aid and believe that Joe Panik will somehow morph from a career .277 hitter, averaging about six home runs per season, to a .300 hitter with, what, maybe eight dingers this season? Control your excitement.
- Buster Posey (C) – Posey underwent hip surgery and had a torn labrum repaired last season after playing 105 games and hitting at a .284 clip with five long balls. He will be 32-years-old in a few days and catchers north of 30 don’t improve with age, unlike their wine collections.
- Brandon Belt (1B) – Injury prone Brandon Belt will begin the season as the starting first baseman but whether he will be there in September is another story entirely. Belt has a little pop in his bat but a career-high 18 home runs (twice) won’t strike fear into opposing pitchers.
- Evan Longoria (3B) – Longoria’s first season as a Giant was not quite as successful as we had all hoped. It appeared he had difficulty acclimating to his new environs after spending his entire career with the Tampa Bay Rays. It wasn’t a complete bust as Longoria swatted 16 home runs but his .244 average tied a career low. Still silky smooth with the glove, he is now 33 with his best offensive days behind him.
- Brandon Crawford (SS) – Crawford is another infielder, like Longoria, with soft hands and can hit for power at times. Last season he was an All-Star but predicting anything much more than him hitting above his career .252 average is a bit much to ask after he’s had eight years to prove otherwise.
- Mac Williamson (LF) – The 28-year-old has flashed glimpses of power but in what was supposed to be a pivotal year last season, Williamson sustained a concussion that put a wrap on his season. How he will respond this year is anyone’s guess but as hopelessly devoted Giants fans, we can only hope for the best.
- Gerardo Parra (RF) – The 10-year veteran with a cannon arm has bounced around a bit but he is a nice fit for the Giants. But once again, this is a team that desperately needs offense and although Parra has hit above .300 twice in his career, he’s no longer that guy.
- Madison Bumgarner – The ace that needs to stay healthy if the Giants are to have even a prayer at respectability this year.
- Jeff Samardzija – Injuries hampered the veteran right-hander last season which led to a 1-5 record and a 6.25 ERA. A bit alarming that he could be the Giants No. 2 man when the season opens.
- Derek Holland – The veteran southpaw is a workhorse and welcomed a return to San Francisco after a decent, although unspectacular, 2018 season in the Bay Area.
- Dereck Rodriguez – Pudge’s kid had a breakout season for the Giants last season and could be the spark that lights the fuse in a rotation devoid of anyone substantial behind their ace.
- Drew Pomeranz – When his curveball is working it can be devastating but Pomeranz is the ultimate crapshoot and he’s not much more than a back of the rotation guy who can dazzle on occasion.
So, that is pretty much the long and short of the San Francisco Giants this season, a team that has done little to remedy their dearth of scoring production and with a pitching rotation that, outside of Bumgarner, will evince a collective yawn. One thing the Giants do have is a better than solid bullpen but if you can’t put runs on the board then losing low scoring games is not much of a consolation. We must endure one more season of futility before management takes a wrecking ball to this roster and rebuilds, instead of simply sitting still.