The San Francisco Giants looked like one of the best teams in baseball before the All-Star Break last season, as they entered the break at 57-33 and had a 6.5 game lead in the NL West. Then it all fell apart. The Giants went 30-43 after the break and the offense crumbled.
Maybe it was naïve to think a team with as little depth as the Giants could play an entire season averaging nearly five runs and nine hits per game. Even with the second-half offensive slump, the Giants made the playoffs for the fourth time in seven seasons. San Fran could have made a deeper playoff run if they had a competent closer, but the team paced the MLB with the most blown saves in 2016.
This prompted the front office to bust open the vault and sign closer Mark Melancon to a four-year, $62 million contract. In the past two seasons, Melancon has recorded 98 saves in 104 chances while posting an ERA of 1.94. This signing should solidify the bullpen but depth is still a lingering issue for the Giants entering 2017.
World Series +1100
All-and-all, this Giants roster isn’t terribly different than the one that won the 2014 World Series. Buster Posey is still behind the plate, Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik are still patrolling the infield, Hunter Pence continues to roam the outfield and Madison Bumgarner is still the ace.
However, those guys are not getting any younger and the Giants have not been especially adept at filling the void with quality younger player. Last season, San Fran had the fourth-highest average age in the entirety of baseball and that’s not likely to change in 2017.
There are a few interesting younger bats on the Giants roster – Panik, Kelby Tomlinson and Mac Williamson come to mind – but this team will likely rest their World Series hopes on older hitters and an excellent one-two punch in the rotation.
That concerns me, especially considering some of the improving young players in the NL. Either the older guys who wore down last season need to pace themselves better or young guys will need to step up for the Giants to win the Fall Classic. Not impossible, but certainly take a cautionary approach.
National League Pennant +600
Winning the National League is a daunting task for anyone not named the “Chicago Cubs.” The Cubbies are a young ball team that is only improving who also sport one of the best rotations in baseball. Not exactly an easy out in the playoffs.
However, The Giants were just three outs away from pushing the Cubbies to Game 5 in last season’s NLDS. The reason for the implosion was, of course, the closing situation. San Fran allowed four runs in the ninth and the implosion saw them make an early exit from the playoffs. If the Giants close out that game, they get Bumgarner on the mound in Game 5 and they have a good chance of picking up the series.
With the bullpen, hopefully, shored up, the Giants at +600 to win the NL pennant may not be the worst way to invest some money.
National League West +240
The NL West is a two-horse race. Barring a miracle of biblical proportions, either the Giants or the LA Dodgers are going to win the division crown for the ninth time in 10 seasons. There isn’t a ton of analysis that can go into this section. The Dodgers probably have a better lineup than the Giants but not by a wide margin. However, LA offers little value as a -250 favorite. For a division that will basically be a coin flip, the Giants are likely worth a flyer.
OVER/UNDER Win Total 87.5
The Giants have won at least 84 games in seven of the past eight seasons, with the dreadful 2013 season being the lone blemish. If the bottom three teams in the NL West remain mediocre at best (that’s being generous) then you can chalk up a lot of divisional wins for the Giants. I very tentatively lean the under, but this is the definition of a 50-50 wager.
Madison Bumgarner To Win NL CY Young +900
It’s hard to believe that Madison Bumgarner has never won a Cy Young. If it wasn’t for Clayton Kershaw, there is a realistic chance MadBum would at least have one Cy Young to his name.
Last season, Bumgarner ranked in the top five in the MLB in ERA, strikeouts, innings pitched, complete games and adjusted ERA. In case you couldn’t tell, that means her was really good. However, the competition in the NL is just absurd. You have Kershaw, Bumgarner, Maz Scherzer, Johnny Cueto and Noah Syndergaard just to name a few,
Hate to say it, but I feel like Bumgarner is going to be one of the greatest pitchers to never win a Cy Young.
|National League Pennant||+600|
|National League West||+240|
Odds as of March 18 at Bovada