After a one day siesta we get back to the 2011 Fantasy Baseball Team Previews by taking a look at the San Francisco Giants. The defending World Series champions have done a remarkable job developing their own talent as they arguably have the best stock of home grown players in the game led by Buster Posey, Brian Wilson, and every starting pitcher. There is quite a bit of top shelf fantasy baseball talent on this team so lets get to it. As always each fantasy baseball relevant players is rated from 4 stars to 1 star.
4 STAR PLAYERS:
Tim Lincecum: Lincecum once again was a strikeout machine with 231 last season but for the first time in recent memory, he struggled a bit. August was a complete mess as Lincecum compiled a horrid 7.82 ERA and 1.82 WHIP. The Freak saw a sharp increase in walks and his fastball readings were down a few ticks. Many began to question Lincecum’s preparation as its no secret he never ices his arm after games. He quickly put those fears to rest though with a dominant September and playoffs to once again cement his status as a top 4 starter in fantasy baseball. That is a slight step back from last seasons as he was the easy number one choice but this is still a dominant ace for any staff this season.
Matt Cain: I just cant criticize Cain anymore and so I will finally give in and give the guy his due. I have routinely donwgraded Cain the last few seasons as he has continually posted lucky BABIP’s year after year but yet no correction ever seems to come. Cain could be an anomaly in this stat for some reason but beyond advanced metric, Cain has proven to be a top shelf starter, highlighted by his ridiculous run in the postseason. He has sharply curbed his walk rate and he also has one of the lower hit rates in the game. On top of all this, Cain has been very durable so this is as safe an investment as you can make for 2011. The strikeouts wont hit the 200 mark like many thought earlier in his career but Cain still has the goods. Draft him without hesitation.
Brian Wilson: The best closer in the game in my book. Wilson brings high heat and racks up tons of strikeouts as a result. As tough to hit as any pitcher in the game and another 40 saves with good rate stats is a given.
3 STAR PLAYERS:
Buster Posey: Sorry but you got to do it at least two years in a row before you get 4 star status. Be that as it may Posey is the real deal combining a high batting average with better than expected pop. The dual eligibility is nice and the kid already seems very comfortable in all facets of the game. The sky really is the limit here. The power may decline a bit as his home run rate was a little out of whack last season but with the additional at-bats he will get this season, the 18 homers he hit last season are a given.
Jonathan Sanchez: The guy has quite possibly the best stuff on the team and that’s saying a ton as he shares a locker with Lincecum and Cain. The problem of course are the walks which are among the worst in the majors. He more than offsets that with 200-plus K’s but Sanchez also benefited greatly last season from a lucky BABIP and strand rate. Since he still walks the ballpark, Sanchez definitely will see some increase in ERA and WHIP. He is good but don’t overdraft him based on last season’s stats.
Pablo Sandoval: Word is Sandoval has lost almost 40 pounds while reducing his body fat in half. That’s a significant drop in weight and shows how serious Sandoval took the team’s warnings to get in shape or else. The guy is a tremendous hitter who clearly screwed himself last season. He is still very young and deserves another shot at a shallow position. I will buy.
2 STAR PLAYERS:
Aubrey Huff: At least for another season, Huff makes a better than you think bat. He retains dual eligibility at 1B and OF and two of the last three seasons he has hit over 25 home runs. Don’t look for anything crazy but Huff is the kid of boring later than he should be value that always yields a profit.
Madison Bumgarner: Upward and onward with the latest hotshot pitcher to come down the pipe for San Francisco. Like Cain, Bumgarner has ice in his veins as he showed with the gem of a game he tossed during the World Series. Bumgarner doesn’t have the rocket fastball that the other guys the rotation have but he does fool more than enough hitters to post a decent strikeout tally. He also has impeccable control which will lead to a low WHIP.
Andres Torres: Tough to gauge this guy as he didn’t do much of anything until last season when he was 32 years old. No doubt 16 home runs and 26 steals will get the attention of every fantasy baseball player but this line reeks of regression this season. Don’t expect 2010 again.
Miguel Tejada: Yeah he is older than dirt but Tejada still qualifies at shortstop and is coming off a 15 homer season. He also has third base eligibility for what its worth. Great career but the air is leaking everywhere.
Barry Zito: Zito has actually made himself pretty useful the last two season but he is strictly a home start and that’s it. The strikeouts are hit or miss (pardon the pun) but he is nothing but a fifth starter in all fantasy baseball rotations.
1 STAR PLAYERS (better left on waivers):
Freddy Sanchez: Guys that are known more for their batting average than anything else don’t belong on fantasy baseball rosters. Enough said.
Pat Burrell: Pat the Bat did some nice things back in the NL last season so you could ride him out when he gets hot. Still the average is terrible and he is getting older.