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 2009 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2009 Giants Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of McCovey Chronicles.
1) Is Ishikawa the Giants 1st baseman for 2009? If not, who? If so, what can we expect from him? “Better than Ryan Klesko” isn’t an answer.
He should get a bulk of the at-bats against right-handers, as his minor league history suggests he’s pretty useless against lefties. If the season were to start today, a lot of the at-bats at first would go to Josh Phelps, but I expect that the Giants will sign a right-handed hitter who can play both first and third. That will probably be Rich Aurilia, but there’s always a chance that the Giants will get Ty Wigginton or Nomar Garciaparra.
I wouldn’t expect a whole lot from Ishikawa. If I were to give an optimistic projection, it would be .260/.340/.450, with 18 HR. The pessimest in me says .230/.290/.390, and a trip to Fresno around June.
2) Do the extra innings that Lincecum put on his arm in 2008 worry you? Why or why not? (If necessary, feel free to include crazy anecdotes about how Lincecum’s father taught him to throw with an anvil so Lincecum will never break down.)
They don’t worry me more than the workload of any other young pitcher. Lincecum’s velocity was consistent late in games at the end of the season, so until there’s a data point other than “pitches thrown” to get me worried, I won’t be. Plus, as he can bend space and time, I’m sure he can control chaotic processes within his own genetic code. If he tears something, he’ll just make a new one with his mind.
3) Please convince me Burriss or Velez will win the 2nd base job.
While either would make a cheap source for fantasy steals, the best real-life option would be Kevin Frandsen. Burriss’s value to the organization would probably be at its highest if he were a starting shortstop, so he needs defensive innings in AAA. Velez is a fast bag of antlers, I’ll give him that, but he’s pretty baseball-clueless. His defense is shoddy, at best, and he’ll never hit for average or power. He’ll make a good 25th-man someday, but that’s about it.
4) What can we expect of Fred Lewis in 2009?
More of the same, I’d think. His batting average on balls in play was unusually high, so some folks think he’s due for a fall, but there still some room for growth to counteract any sort of regression to the mean. He took an awful lot of first pitch strikes, and might benefit from being a little more aggressive. Now that he’s a “middle-of-the-order threat” instead of a leadoff hitter, he’ll probably try and jump on first pitches more often to try and hit for a little more power, but I think any power improvement will be marginal. I’ll guess .280/.350/.470, with 14 home runs. If he bats third in the Giants’ lineup, though, he’ll get a fair number of RBIs.
5) I think Brian Wilson will lose his job at some point in 2009. Am I talking gibberish like the other famous Brian Wilson or are you concerned too?
I’m not too worried about Wilson. His stuff is nasty enough to make up for his wonky control. Unless his velocity dips, he’ll stick around. If he can cut his walk rate, he’ll become an elite closer. You could write that about 30+ relievers, but it’s especially true for Wilson. He has a 96-MPH fastball and an 89-MPH slider; if he has even average control, he’ll be a beast.