San Francisco Giants: 5 Bold Predictions for the Next 3 Years
The San Francisco Giants have won two world championships in the past three seasons. After moving west in 1958, San Francisco fans suffered for 52 years before the 2010 team defeated the Rangers to win the World Series.
Only two years later, the Giants are again champions after sweeping the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 World Series.
The turnover of the roster from 2010 to 2012 occurred quickly. Only Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval remain as position players who made substantial contributions to both titles.
Change is inevitable in professional sports, and three years is an eternity. Let's take a speculative look at five bold predictions for the Giants from 2013 through 2015.
5. Gary Brown Will Struggle Offensively
The top non-pitching prospect in the Giants' farm system is Gary Brown. He is a speedy outfielder and fine defensive player.
It is not certain if Brown will hit consistently at the Major League level. Brown is expected to start the 2013 season with the Giants' Triple-A affiliate in Fresno. The Giants are hoping he will be ready to assume a large role in San Francisco, in 2014.
Brown had an outstanding season of A-ball in 2011, with San Jose. He hit .336 with 14 home runs, 80 RBI, 115 runs scored and 53 stolen bases.
Brown is projected as a potential leadoff hitter, and his .407 OBP looked ideal. He also has some pop in his bat, as he finished the 2011 season with an OPS of .925.
The 2012 campaign was an entirely different story for Brown. He started slowly, and although he came on in the second half of the year, he was not nearly the offensive player the Giants saw in 2011.
Playing for the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels, Brown's average fell to .279 and his OBP dropped to .347. In roughly the same number of at-bats as he had the year before, Brown hit only seven home runs, had 42 RBI and scored 73 runs. His OBP fell to .731.
If Brown plays in San Francisco in 2014 or 2015, as many expect, look for him to struggle offensively. Brown will hit under .270 with an OBP less than .335.
4. Tim Lincecum Will Depart After a Solid 2013 Season
Tim Lincecum is coming off his worst season in baseball. For an extended period in 2012, he had the worst ERA of any starting pitcher in baseball.
Lincecum rallied with a respectable second half, but his overall numbers were poor. He finished with a record of 10-15, ERA of 5.18 and WHIP of 1.46.
Lincecum has a lot of pride and his struggles bothered him greatly. His velocity was down and stamina was also an issue.
Look for Lincecum to work harder this offseason and arrive to spring training in the best shape of his career. This is also a contract year for Lincecum, so he needs to have a good season to cash in on a lucrative future contract.
Lincecum is certainly capable of a bounce-back season. Look for him to be decent in 2013, but the days of his Cy Young dominance are gone. Lincecum will likely finish 2013 with a record around 14-11 and an ERA of 3.95.
Lincecum will be the Giants' highest paid player in 2013, making over $22 million. With player salaries skyrocketing, Giants' GM Brian Sabean will not be willing to pay Lincecum what other teams will offer.
Enjoy him while you can, because Lincecum will not be in a Giants uniform after the 2013 season.
3. Two of the Giants' Top Pitching Prospects Will Be Starting in 2015
The San Francisco Giants and GM Brian Sabean have built their team around pitching. While there are only a few top offensive prospects in the Giants' minor league system, there are several top-flight pitching prospects.
The Giants are blessed with some outstanding young arms that will be making their way through the system. At least a couple of these pitchers should be ready to step into the starting rotation in 2015.
Kyle Crick, Clayton Blackburn, Chris Stratton, Martin Agosto and Chris Heston are names that any Giants fan should be aware of. They all have the potential to be quality big-league pitchers.
2. Buster Posey Will Win Another MVP Award
Buster Posey won the 2012 National League MVP award. He was also the Comeback Player of the Year after his return from a devastating ankle injury that ruined his 2011 campaign.
There are two reasons that Posey may not always have the most glittering offensive stats. He plays half his games at AT&T Park, which is very tough to hit in. He also plays the majority of his games at catcher, which will wear a player down both physically and mentally.
In 2012, Posey led the league in hitting with a .336 average. He also drilled 24 home runs and had 103 RBI. Posey's OPS was .408 and he had an OPS of .957.
However, Posey's value goes far beyond his offensive stats. He is a strong defensive catcher and also does a great job handling the Giants' pitching staff.
Posey has a great chance to win another MVP award before the close of the 2015 season.
1. The Giants Will Win One More World Series Title in the Next 3 Years
The San Francisco Giants will win another world championship between now and the end of the 2015 season. They have very good starting pitching and an excellent bullpen.
The Giants also kept free agents Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro in hopes of building consistent offensive production. The Giants' ownership group has also allowed GM Brian Sabean enough flexibility at the trade deadline, so he can make necessary moves to strengthen their squad.
The Giants are the definition of the old adage, "good pitching beats good hitting." With the emphasis the Giants put on pitching, they will always be in the hunt for a playoff berth. Once in, anything can happen, as the Giants proved in 2010 and 2012.
The Giants' Executive Team Provides Stability for the Franchise
The San Francisco Giants have attained a level of stability, which has paved the way for them to build a cohesive front office and strong management team.
AT&T Park is a jewel and is sold out for virtually every home game. This provides money for the Giants to make the moves they deem necessary to compete. In addition, the Giants' fan base is loud and boisterous, which energizes the team.
Larry Baer is the Giants' CEO and President. He guides the operation of the club and works closely with GM Brian Sabean.
The Giants' ownership group provides Sabean with his annual budget, but has allowed him to add payroll with midseason acquisitions.
Sabean's right-hand-man is Bobby Evans, who handles a lot of the contract negotiations for the Giants. The two work closely with manager Bruce Bochy to put the best possible team on the field.
Bochy handles all of the on-field moves and his calm guidance has proven perfect for the Giants.
The smooth functioning of the Giants' organizational infrastructure helps to ensure they will have a competitive team year-after-year.