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 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Giants Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Trevor Cole from Giants Baseball Blog.
1) Razzball projects a line of 70/20/88/2/.308 for Buster Posey in 2014. Do you think the young catcher will meet or surpass this projection?
I’d expect him to be in that area. I’m hoping for maybe a slightly higher average and a few more RBI, but 20 HR and a .900 OPS should be expected. He tailed off a bit last year due to his large workload in 2012, and he added strength this winter to help him endure the rigors of a full season. Plus, the Giants lineup should be a little bit better this year and should provide him with more opportunities to drive in runs. He may not get back to his 2012 MVP status, but I certainly expect an improvement from 2013. My guess, health permitting of course, would be a line of 75/22/95/.315 by seasons end.
2) Brandon Belt is still just 25 years old and finished 2013 with 17 homeruns and a .289 batting average. Should fantasy owners be buying Belt in 2014 and do you think he can hit over 20 dingers this year?
I’m definitely buying into Belt. He’s really come a long way over the last two years, and I think 2014 could be a big breakout campaign for him. He’s got that uncanny power to where he can get hot and hit 5 homers in a week, but he’s also gone into power slumps where he doesn’t hit one for a month. If the 2nd half of last season is any indication though, I think his consistency issues are a thing of the past. I would say 20 is more than in his reach. It’s a little tougher on lefties to hit at AT&T than it is for right handers, but he’s got the power to overcome that. His average and OBP keeps improving and I expect to see his power do the same in 2014. My guess is he finishes somewhere between 20-25, with solid RBI total, average and even a handful of steals to help fantasy owners.
3) What are some reasons to believe that Matt Cain can bounce back in 2014? His 4.00 ERA and 184 strikeouts were underwhelming given where he was drafted last season.
Yeah, Cain, and much of the Giants starting rotation outside of Madison Bumgarner, had a real tough go of it in the first half of last season. It was the tale of two halfs for Cainer last year as he was dreadful in the first, then got back to his ace-like ways in the second (2.36 ERA). Cain should return to form in 2014. He’s never really been a guy that gets a ton of wins, just because he never seems to get great run support, but a 3.50 ERA, 175 K’s and 12-15 wins is about what I expect from Cain in 2014. Not a fantasy ace, but plenty good if you can get him in the mid-rounds.
4) Which prospect should fantasy players be most excited about from the Giants’ farm system for 2014 and beyond?
Kyle Crick, the teams number one prospect, looks like the real deal and is garnering the type of hype that Cain, Tim Lincecum and Bumgarner all did. He’s still got some command issues to work out though and probably won’t make an impact until 2015. As far as a sleeper for this year, I like Edwin Escobar. He’s a polished 22 year-old lefty with very good stuff and has had success at every level he’s pitched at, including AAA. If one of the Giants 5 starters go down at some point this year, Escobar could have some real value!
5) Pablo Sandoval‘s weight fluctuates more than my credit score. What do you prefer.. skinny Kung Fu Panda or fat Kung Fu Panda?
Well, in 2011 we got a good dose of “skinny Panda” and I really liked what I saw. His weight doesn’t really effect him at the plate, but a leaner Panda should help keep him on the field more, which in turn should help his numbers. He can flat out hit! He’ll add some of those pounds back on throughout the course of the season, but he seems motivated as ever and he should be as he prepares to hit free agency for the first time! A big season like in 2009 or 2011 could land him a huge multi-year deal. So long as he avoids any prolonged DL stints, I’m expecting a big things from the third basemen.
Mike’s on Twitter @643ball