We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2012 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2012 San Francisco Giants Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Trevor Cole from Giants Baseball Blog and their GiantsCast.
1) I’m slightly crazy with my Madison Bumgarner fantasy this year. I know it’s a lot to ask a Giants fan to temper my enthusiasm, so I won’t! What’s your prediction for Bumgarner this year?
Your excitement is completely justified. He’s legit and I really expect him to come into his own this season. It’ll be his second full year in the bigs and judging by the way he ended 2011, he’s in for a real breakout this year. He really only had one abysmal start in 2011, vs. the Twins in June during interleague play, in which he was knocked out in the first inning. All he did was come back his next outing and strike out 11 in a dominant win over Cleveland. In 2011, he wound up at 13-13 with a 3.21 era, a 1.21 WHIP and roughly a strikeout per inning while cracking the 200 innings barrier. And as solid as those numbers were, I expect further improvement in 2012, especially if the Giants offense improves. I think 15 wins, a sub-3.00 era and 200+K’s are certainly attainable for the 22 year-old and that’s about what I expect from him. He get’s overlooked a bit because he’s in a rotation with Cain and Lincecum, but I think 2012 has some big things in store for “MadBum.”
2) How’s Buster Posey’s rehab going? Better yet, will he play more than 50 games this year?
Yeah, I think he’s a pretty safe bet to play in over 50 games this year. I’d look for him to get a lot more time over at first base, just to ensure he doesn’t have too heavy a catching load, too early on. Buster will be fine and will be out there behind the plate on opening day, barring a drastic set-back. The real question is, what kind of form he’ll be in.
3) If you look at Aubrey Huff’s year-in and year-out numbers he tends to alternate good and bad years. This held true in 2010 and 2011 too. Besides this anecdotal flimflammery is there any reason to think Huff is good in 2012?
Well, the Giants are surely banking on him returning to form, and it’ll be awful tough for him to be worse than he was in 2011. The thing that really rubbed Giants fans and his teammates the wrong way last year was that it didn’t seem to bother Aubrey that he was struggling so badly. In fact, he was quoted in September saying “some years you’re good, some years you aren’t”, which in other words says ” oh well, I’m not having a great year this year, but we won the Series last year so it’s OK”. That has kind of fueled Huff this winter, and he’s supposedly worked harder this offseason than any other in his career. One of the major complaints about Huff was that he showed up completely out of shape in 2011, and now he’s trying to get back to that 2010 form. He even has sent the Giants management and training staff weekly updates and pictures of the progress he’s making, and he appears to be in much better shape this time around. I expect Huff (in a walk year) to be around .275 with 20 homers and 80 RBI’s by seasons end, not great numbers but a marked improvement over last season.
4) How many at-bats does Nate Schierholtz see and what kind of numbers does he put up?
I think this is a question yet to be determined. The Giants have kind of been hush-hush on what their outfield plans are, but general consensus is that Nate will enter the year as the starting right fielder. However, if Brandon Belt and Aubrey Huff are each hitting, come the end of spring, the Giants could end up moving one of them to left field and re-shuffling the outfield accordingly. I really like Nate, but he’s a very streaky player, and I’m not sure he’s cut out to be an everyday, 500+ at-bat player. I think he’s the ideal 4th outfielder because of his defensive flexibility, that cannon of an arm and his streaky good bat. At times in 2011, he looked as if he’d be go on to hit .300 by the end of the year, then he’d hit a slump and drop back down, then get hurt. No matter what, Nate will get his at-bats though, and if he does take advantage of getting the starting job early on, he could certainly entrench himself into that right field gig full-time. In a lot of ways, he reminds me of former Giant Randy Winn, and Winn didn’t really come into his own and become an all-star player with Seattle until his late 20′s. The same could hold true for Nate Schierholtz.
5) What semi-plausible scenario would upset you more as a Giants fan?
A) Brian Wilson reveals a crystal meth addiction.
B) The Giants name Barry Bonds as hitting coach.
C) Pablo Sandoval trips over Bruce Bochy’s enormous head and falls on Tim Lincecum.
The only one of these things I’d actually like to see happen is Barry return as the hitting coach for this team, and I think any Giants fan would be on board with that as well. This offense has been a rough one to watch the last few years, even when they won the series, they didn’t have a top-notch lineup. I mean, Bonds was one of the best all-around hitters of his era before steroids became a factor, and there’s no doubt he’d be an asset at teaching the approach he took at the plate to the young Giants hitters. Now, unlike Mark McGwire, Bonds would probably never consider taking a lowly hitting coach job, but it was actually bantered about quite a bit on sports talk radio and Bay Area sports tabloids last summer when the team’s offense was sputtering. Barry Bonds is still a huge part of the Giants family, so who knows, maybe he does re-join the organization in some capacity…. I guess, pertaining to this question, B or D would be the worst scenario for the Giants.