Everyone else is doing it this time of year, so I thought I’d throw my hat into the ring. I included each player’s ESPN and ZIPS projections, but know that I had completed my own analysis long before I looked at either of the other sources. Instead, I used the 2012 and 2013 seasons, as well as career averages in coming up with my projections. Initially, I wondered if I was being a little too optimistic, but a look around the web at different projection systems shows that I wasn’t too far off base.
So, if the computers think the Giants will have a solid offense, and the fans think the Giants will have a solid offense, does that mean we’re in for a treat this season? I sure hope so, and I do think it’s very possible that 3 or 4 of these guys will have 20-HR seasons. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Anyway, here they are, for your viewing pleasure.
Angel Pagan | Age 32 | 618 PA, .276/.331/.423, 7 HR, 54 RBI, 23 SB
ZIPS: 508 PA, .266/.316/.388, 6 HR, 47 RBI,
ESPN: 498 AB, .265/.319/.386, 5 HR, 55 RBI, 20 SB
Outlook: Pagan is one of the keys to Giants success this season. Can he stay healthy? If so, I don’t see any reason why he won’t perform near his career averages at the plate. He seems to alternate injury-plagued years with productive ones, so I’d like to think he’ll be back to his old self this summer.
Marco Scutaro | Age 38 | 515 PA, .281/.338/.359, 2 HR, 38 RBI
ZIPS: 547 PA, .283/.332/.370, 4 HR, 44 RBI
ESPN: 525 AB, .288/.339/.366, 4 HR, 49 RBI
Outlook: Scooter is still a productive 2-hitter, but his health is another key to success this year. I certainly don’t think we’ll see him on the field as much as he was in 2013, so 500 AB’s might be pushing it. But the options behind him aren’t exactly stellar, so maybe Scutaro won’t get as many days off as I’m anticipating this summer.
Brandon Belt | Age 25 | 600 PA, .297/.375/.485, 20 HR, 83 RBI, 7 SB
ZIPS: 562 PA, .264/.349/.441, 16 HR, 70 RBI
ESPN: 511 AB, .278/.355/.474, 19 HR, 75 RBI, 9 SB
Outlook: Belt was a completely different hitter toward the end of 2013, and I think those adjustments he made at the plate were more than just a temporary fix. He tends to go into mini-funks during the season, but if he can avoid doing so in 2014, I honestly wouldn’t be shocked by a 25-HR campaign. Either way, I think it’s a breakout year for the Giants’ hopeful 3-hitter.
Buster Posey | Age 27 | 588 PA, .306/.383/.479, 21 HR, 91 RBI
ZIPS: 583 PA, .293/.367/.467, 18 HR, 83 RBI
ESPN: 541 AB, .312/.386/.488, 19 HR, 85 RBI
Outlook: I’m going to assume that we’ve seen both Posey’s ceiling (2012) and floor (2013) as a big league hitter in the past two seasons. His commitment to strength training this winter has him looking beefed up heading into spring camp. I fully expect a return to normalcy at the plate in 2014.
Hunter Pence | Age 31 | 675 PA, .273/.331/.477, 23 HR, 96 RBI, 16 SB
ZIPS: 665 PA, .264/.319/.425, 20 HR, 93 RBI
ESPN: 623 AB, .274/.331/.441, 22 HR, 91 RBI, 10 SB
Outlook: The Pence deal was the steal of the offseason, and a very wise decision on the part of the front office. I don’t think he’ll have a career year by any means, but that streaky son of a gun always finds a way to get his 20 HR and a respectable average. He’s in tremendous shape, so I’m sure he’ll be running just like he was last year. All in all, he’s another above average hitter in the middle of that Giants lineup.
Pablo Sandoval | Age 27 | 604 PA, .297/.353/.470, 23 HR, 87 RBI
ZIPS: 555 PA, .279/.335/.448, 17 HR, 81 RBI
ESPN: 552 AB, .290/.346/.467, 21 HR, 90 RBI
Outlook: The Giants went hands-off with Pablo this winter, and so far it appears to be working. How much weight did he actually lose? Who cares, as long as he’s in shape? Unless Sabean decides to give him a major contract extension this spring, the Panda simply has to perform this year. I don’t think he’ll make it all season without getting nicked up, but I do think he’ll be motivated to put up big numbers. No guarantees here, but I’ll say this: If Pablo hits .300 with 20+ HR from the 6-hole this summer, the Giants will have one heck of a tough lineup.
Mike Morse | Age 32 | 465 PA, .254/.297/.445, 17 HR, 54 RBI
ZIPS: 427 PA, .253/.304/.415, 14 HR, 47 RBI
ESPN: 459 AB, .257/.308/.440, 21 HR, 59 RBI
Outlook: Morse’s season was a mess in 2013, so he’s got a lot to prove this year if he wants to be a relevant major league hitter going forward. There was a lot of griping and moaning over his signing, but you know what? I’m excited to see the dude hit. His health is certainly no sure thing, but I’ll tell you what: if he’s on the field, he’s got a chance to knock one out of the park. I have a hunch I’m low-balling him here, but I’m an optimist. 17 HR and a league-average offensive campaign from Morse would be A-OK with me.
Brandon Crawford | Age 27 | 538 PA, .262/.324/.361, 7 HR, 50 RBI
ZIPS: 500 PA, .238/.301/.351, 7 HR, 46 RBI
ESPN: 505 AB, .251/.311/.372, 10 HR, 52 RBI
Outlook: I have thought there was more in Crawford’s bat, since his first action in the bigs back in 2011. He showed flashes of that potential last year, adding some pop to the equation before slipping below .250 to close the season again. His batting line has been incredibly consistent the past couple seasons, but if the Giants give him some time off against lefties and he stays healthy, I think he’ll approach .260 for the first time. Is there a .270 season in his future?
Gregor Blanco | Age 30 | 403 PA, .261/.342/.349, 3 HR, 31 RBI, 16 SB
ZIPS: 441 PA, .238/.319/.333, 4 HR, 33 RBI
ESPN: 247 AB, .255/.335/.332, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 12 SB
Outlook: Blanco held his own at the plate for the most part last season. If I were to give him a monthly performance overview, it would look something like this: April/May – fine; June – superb; July/August – terrible; September – excellent. Essentially, two-thirds of his season was average or above (for his standards) offensively, while the other one-third was very poor. That seems to be the norm for him, and ideally he won’t get close to 500 AB this year. If Morse and Pagan stay healthy, I think Blanco will be a weapon off the bench, and may even hit for a higher average than we’re used to.
Joaquin Arias | Age 29 | 284 PA, .268/.289/.358, 3 HR, 23 RBI
ZIPS: 311 PA, .259/.282/.350, 3 HR, 28 RBI
ESPN: 151 AB, .265/.285/.358, 2 HR, 16 RBI
Outlook: Arias just signed a two year deal to stay with the Giants, and he should be another productive player off the bench for Bochy. At the plate, he doesn’t offer much for power or on-base abilities, but I think he does enough to hold his own in a spot-starter role. He’ll start the year as a defensive replacement for Pablo, but I could see him getting some time in a mini platoon role with both Crawford and Scutaro if the Panda proves he’s in good shape at third.
Hector Sanchez | Age 24 | 208 PA, .271/.305/.398, 5 HR, 28 RBI
ZIPS: 377 PA, .250/.291/.362, 6 HR, 47 RBI
ESPN: 142 AB, .268/.323/.380, 3 HR, 16 RBI
Outlook: Sanchez came to camp overweight and out of shape last year, and was never really able to get in a groove before being sent back to Fresno. He did look good in his late-season action though, and I think he could have a nice bounce back season. People often overlook his 2012 contributions, but Hector was a valuable asset for that team.