Publish date:

4 GIANTS

Author:

ENEMY LINES

A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP SAN FRANCISCO

Nobody is scared of the Giants anymore.... They don't have a legit centerfielder. If Austin Jackson is starting on Opening Day, that's a problem.... I'm not sure this is the right park for Andrew McCutchen. I could see him getting traded at the deadline. And Hunter Pence? They've gotten everything out of him that they possibly can.... I have no idea how this pitching staff is going to sort itself out. Madison Bumgarner is healthy, but he's got some mileage on him. Johnny Cueto has been injured and looked like he stopped having fun last year.... There is a lot of concern in the bullpen. Mark Melancon was supposed to be the finishing touch, and he was a disappointment. After that, it's no-name guys with no real success in the big leagues. You don't win a playoff game because of Tony Watson....Evan Longoria can just hit. He's got a great swing, is not afraid to hit the ball the other way, a smart hitter. It's too bad he spent his career in Tampa; if he had played for a big-market team he'd be considered a Hall of Fame guy.... They damn near killed Bruce Bochy last year with their terrible defense. Pablo Sandoval? I like the guy but come on.... They almost lost 100 last year. What's to make me say the Giants will be better? A healthy Bumgarner? They're a middle-of-the-pack team at best.

THE PAYOFF PITCH

In a lost season by the Bay, few players were more disappointing than starting pitcher Johnny Cueto. After a sixth-place finish in the Cy Young voting in 2016, the righty posted the second-highest ERA of his career (4.52), lost a full mph off his fastball, and missed seven starts with blisters and then forearm tightness. The bad year, coupled with the injury, encouraged Cueto to decline his opt-out clause, leaving him and the Giants together for four more years at $87 million. Cueto is now the most consequential player on the team. GM Bobby Evans patched the offense with trades for Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria, but the starting pitching remains thin and heavily reliant on Cueto to be the starter he was from 2011 through '16.

OVER / UNDER

81.5

Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria aren't the game-changers they once were. After winning just 64, jumping .500 is a massive leap for a crumbling roster.

THE LINEUP

1. RIGHTFIELD

Andrew McCutchen

.363 OBP/24 HR/11 SB

2. SECOND BASE

Joe Panik

.284 BA/11 HR/4 SB

3. CATCHER

Buster Posey

.372 OBP/15 HR/5 SB

4. THIRD BASE

Evan Longoria

.271 BA/.460 SLG/23 HR

5. FIRST BASE

Brandon Belt

.260 BA/20 HR/4 SB

6. LEFTFIELD

Hunter Pence

.426 SLG/16 HR/3 SB

7. SHORTSTOP

Brandon Crawford

.258 BA/15 HR/4 SB

8. CENTERFIELD

Austin Jackson

.264 BA/6 HR/8 SB

THE STAFF

1. LH STARTER

Madison Bumgarner

13 W/3.73 ERA/1.18 WHP

2. RH STARTER

Johnny Cueto

11 W/3.92 ERA/1.27 WHP

3. RH STARTER

Jeff Samardzija

13 W/3.83 ERA/1.19 WHP

FANTASY BREAKOUT

4. RH STARTER

Tyler Beede

2 W/4.38 ERA/1.41 WHP

The top 100 prospect with a mid-90s fastball has the biggest upside among the Giants' young starters.

CLOSER RHP

Mark Melancon

22 SV/3.32 ERA/7.9 K9

THE SKIPPER

Bruce Bochy