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 2013 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2013 Giants Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Trevor Cole from Giants Baseball Blog.
1) Other than news that Tim Lincecum no longer adorns long, Mitch Kramer locks, the fantasy community hasn’t heard much about a player who was a disappointment for many in 2012. What kind of bounce back, if any, should we expect from the still relatively young Lincecum and should owners be buying into Tiny Tim for 2013?
I think we’re going to see a rebound from Lincecum for sure. Will he ever be the same guy that won those two Cy Youngs a few seasons back? Probably not. Lincecum appeared to have a “dead arm” for much of 2012, and you saw it come back to life in the postseason a bit after he was moved to the pen and his workload decreased. He’s working this winter on adding some weight and muscle which in turn should help his endurance and performance out on the mound. What will be key for him is his command though. He’s still got that nasty split-fingered changeup, and even though he’s lost a few miles on his fastball, when he’s got command of his arsenal, he’s still one of the tougher guys to face in the league. My guess is he bounces back to something like 15-10 with an ERA in the mid-threes and that excellent strikeout rate staying intact.
2) Hunter Pence was yet another fantasy disappointment for owners, finishing with a career low .253 average last year after his numbers really tanked when he landed with San Francisco (59 games, .219 average). Was this the case of someone who was putting too much pressure on himself after the trade and can we expect a more typical Pence season for 2013?
Pence was undoubtedly pressing early on after arriving in San Francisco, then he got hot for about a week, then cooled back down. I think it was making the adjustment to the new, bigger park and getting his feet under him out on the West Coast that hindered his performance, and I think we’ll see closer to his career norm in 2013. Now, AT&T Park will hurt his power numbers a bit, he’s not going to hit 30 jacks, but with the guys the Giants have lined up in front of him in the order, he’s going to have ample RBI opps. That’s one area he was very successful in with the Giants. He didn’t get many hits, but when he did, they seemed like big, RBI hits. He’s right in the prime of his career, and playing in a place he really enjoys being in, so I expect his performance to reflect that this season.
3) After being a waiver wire surprise for fantasy owners in 2011, Ryan Vogelsong kept the train rolling in 2012 with an increase to his K/9 and an extra win to boot. Many sites – you can count ours in there – really thought this song should’ve ended in 2011 but he’s pulled a Matt Cain with his ERA vs xFIP over the last two years. So my question to you is, does he keep the good times rolling in 2013 and if you say ‘yes’ how can you be so sure? Are you a part of the Matrix?
Vogey has gotten by with terrific command. I was surprised in my drafts last season that he fell so far, and I was able to get him late in both cases. I think everyone was expecting somewhat of a drop-off in 2012, but he looked even better than he was in 2011 for the most part. He did cool off down the stretch like he did in 2011, and that’s something he’s got to address going forward. He’s getting up their in age, so expecting him to keep improving each season would be unrealistic. If I had to guess, I’d say he’s due for a slight drop in 2013, but he’s one of the hardest working guys on the team so it won’t be because of lack of preparation. As long as his body holds up, he’s going to continue to be an above-average pitcher.
4) Seven HRs and 12 steals. That’s what Brandon Belt did in 411 at-bats last year at the age of 24. Tell me with 500 at-bats we have something better than me just prorating his first numbers over 500 at-bats. Hrm, I guess that’s not a question…please tell me we have something better than me just prorating his first numbers?
Honestly, Belt is one of the guys I’m most excited to see in 2013. I think this kid is really starting to put it together, and being a big part of a Championship team should only boost his confidence. As a matter of fact, in my upcoming season’s preview, I have Belt lined up to be the Giants breakout player in 2013. The only area I’m concerned about with him is his power numbers. Every other aspect of his game has improved with the more time he’s gotten at the big league level, but his power numbers have been dwindling. As long as he keeps driving the ball, getting on base at a .340 clip or better, the power will come and he’ll continue to be an asset to the lineup. Plus, his glove is so good, that he’s a tough guy to remove from the lineup.
5) It’s the Summer of Love all over again as Americans revolt against ‘the man’ in 2013 as Haight & Ashbury gets inundated with the smell of patchouli and the sounds of Jefferson Airplane all over again (or more than the usual now). What will these damn, dirty hippies most remember – if anything – about their 2013 San Francisco Giants?
A) Lincecum quits baseball and starts his own head shop but of course says he no longer smokes and his paraphernalia is strictly to be used for tobacco…that’s grown in Washington or Colorado.
B) San Fran wins back-to-back World Series.
C) Pablo Sandoval finally realizes that his hamate bone issues stem directly from his eating the ham in it and stops doing so, leading to his first 30-HR season.
D) Buster Posey is the NL MVP.
E) Sergio Romo quits baseball after sales of his brand name T-Shirts ‘I Only Look Illegal’ make him a millionaire.
F) Madison Bumgarner finally puts together a full season and finishes with at least 1 Cy Young vote this year.
You know, it would kill the people of San Francisco if either A or E happened, so hopefully those things don’t occur for many more years. I could see MadBum getting Cy Young hype with a strong year too, and we know another World Series and Posey MVP award is well within striking distance, but If I had to guess on just one, I’d say this will be the year of the Panda. His 3-HR game off Verlander in game one of the World Series really set the tone for that series, and I think Pablo will be coming in as focused and hungry (figuratively speaking) as ever. So long as he keeps that weight in check and can avoid those DL stints, I think 30 home runs is a very strong possibility.