Thursday, December 12, 2019

Uncustomed Heroes of 2019: Giants

What a weird year of Giants baseball this was.

The team sucked in April, sucked in September, but was surprisingly great in June and July, confusing the hell out of everyone they had to play against. The big stars of the team weren't the guys who were signed to be the big stars of the team, like Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey and Brandon Belt, but fringe guys like Alex Dickerson, Will Smith and Pablo Sandoval.

Brandon Crawford at least had that 8-RBI game, but that was his only real season highlight. This was Crawford's weakest year since his callup, with a .228 average and only 59 RBIs.
Why Him in 2019: That 8-RBI game.
2020 Prediction: A more consistent year, possibly his last full one in SF.

 Brandon Belt fared slightly better, hitting .234 with 17 homers, but for a guy who'd been more powerful in previous years, it just felt very pathetic.
Why Him in 2019?: Started the most games of any SF Opening Day starter.
2020 Prediction: 25-homer year with less strikeouts.

 As the Steven Duggar experiment failed, Austin Slater was launched back into the outfield picture, and while he also batted in the .230s, he at least managed 21 RBIs in 68 games.
Why Him in 2019?: Seems to be an answer in the outfield, along with Yaz.
2020 Prediction: Breakout year upon a full season, and will lead the new youth movement in SanFran.

 The biggest surprise for the Giants was the addition, and subsequent explosion, of former Padres farmhand Alex Dickerson, who hit .290 in 56 games, outdoing any previous SD-based numbers. He also had a .529 SLG,
Why Him in 2019?: His arrival signaled a change from ineptitude to brute force in Oracle Park.
2020 Prediction: The magic wears off.

 In a year of rotation disarray, the Giants turned to Shaun Anderson, who sort of alternated with Dereck Rodriguez as long haired inconsistent flamethrowers. Anderson had a 5.44 ERA in 18 starts, with 71 strikeouts.
Why Him in 2019?: Proved youth pitching has a place on the Giants
2020 Prediction: Starts the year in the 'pen, moves up and has some nice starts down the stretch.

 If you want a more consistent option instead of Anderson, take Tyler Beede, who came later on in the year and impressed, starting 22 games and notching 112 strikeouts...despite also garnering 10 losses.
Why Him in 2019: Rare homegrown, young pitcher fitting right in with Shark and MadBum in the high points of the rotation.
2020 Prediction: Will be a strong, low-rotation presence that might get some spotlight if the bigger guns tank.
 One of the best young players to come out of this season for the Giants may have been Mauricio Dubon, a guy they got in a trade for Drew Pomeranz. After landing in the Bay, Dubon had 29 hits in 28 games, batting .279, as well as easing into the 2nd baseman role post-Gennett.
Why Him in 2019?: Proved to Giants fans that life at 2nd can do on after Joe Panik's departure.

 Stephen Vogt is one of those guys you always root for, and after missing a year due to injury, I worried he wouldn't come back to the majors. After doing well enough in the minors, Vogt came in as a backup for Buster Posey, replacing Erik Kratz, and impressed the fans, hitting .263 with 10 homers, and bringing back his bay-area Goodwill.
Why Him in 2019?: Backed up Buster Posey like a pro.
2020 Prediction: Will provide similar power numbers as backup for Carson Kelly in Phoenix.

The Giants were one of two teams to call up a reliever whose sibling was already an established MLB name- Tyler Rogers' brother Taylor has been closing games in Minneapolis, while Brian Moran's bro Colin is 3rd baseman in Pittsburgh. Tyler Rogers had the more memorable year, though, showing off his memorable submariner-style pitching, and posting a 1.02 ERA in 17 games down the stretch.
Why Him in 2019?: Probably the best relief pitching news since Pomeranz, Dyson and Melancon left the bay.
2020 Prediction: Stronger, more consistent relief numbers. In fact, in the wake of Will Smith's departure, Rogers might be looked at for the ninth inning job.

Coming Tonight- They didn't make the playoffs, but they still made for a memorable, resilient 2019 season in Cleveland.

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