2018 San Francisco Giants Expert Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
The San Francisco Giants have won three of the last eight World Series trophies, with the last triumph coming in 2014. For most franchises one World Series would be enough in that time frame. However, for the Giants, the disappointment of missing the playoffs in two of the last three seasons weighs on them more than the euphoria that three World Titles in the last eight seasons.
Because of that the Giants were major players this offseason by acquiring a few key pieces that will fit nicely into a lineup that has had its problems and into a park that should play right into their strengths. In order for the Giants to succeed this season, they will need to have some luck in the injury department. Last year, the Giants had several key players miss extended time due to injury and because of that won less than 75 games for the first time in 10 years. The Giants also have the "even-year" trend going for them heading into 2018. Maybe, just maybe, the Giants can recapture some of that magic from 2010, 2012, or 2014 and stun the world by capturing their ninth World Series Crown.
The Giants will open the regular season with a four-game road series at Dodgers Stadium against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Barring any injury setbacks, we should be in for quite the pitching duel between Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw. The overall outlook of the Giants season is 81.5 wins, with the "over" set at -190. They are also +2000 (eighth favorite) to win the World Series, +1000 to win the NL Pennant, and +500 to win the NL West.
All odds are courtesy of Bovada.
Giants 2018 Projected Lineup
To say the San Francisco Giants made a splash this offseason would be an understatement. In my opinion, they were able to win the offseason by acquiring two players that will have an immediate impact on their lineup without having to trade away or lose any of last year's key contributors. As of writing this, the projected lineup looks like this:
1. Joe Panik
2. Andrew McCutchen
3. Buster Posey
4. Evan Longoria
5. Brandon Belt
6. Brandon Crawford
7. Hunter Pence
8. Nick Hundley
9. Pitchers Spot
Even if you are a casual baseball fan, you will be able to quickly point out the inclusion of two all-star caliber players in McCutchen and Longoria. McCutchen comes over from Pittsburgh and will instantly add some speed and power to the top of the lineup in front of the power hitters like Posey and Longoria. McCutchen had a bounce-back year last season, posting 28 home runs and 88 RBIs while hitting .279. He will play a major role in how this season shapes up for the Giants. Behind him, Posey and Longoria should form a lethal three-four combination. Posey accounted for 12 home runs and 67 RBIs while batting .320 last year, while Longoria is much better than his 20-home run, 86 RBI line from last season. A change of scenery and a new challenge could be just what the doctor ordered to get Longoria back on track.
Behind them, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford account for the five and six-hole, respectively, and they combined to hit 32 long balls and 128 RBIs. They are also both better-than-.260 hitters, which could serve as some protection for the players in front of them. To round out the lineup, Hunter Pence slots into the seven-hole and Nick Hundley bats in front of the pitcher's spot.
Giants 2018 Projected Rotation & Closer
The Giants will once again have the luxury of trotting out two bonifide
aces in Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto. Bumgarner struggled last year to the
tune of a 4-9 record with a 3.32 ERA. He also missed several months due to
injury that caused him to appear in only 17 games. Cueto, on the other
hand, finished with a record of 8-8 and a 4.52 ERA. As a betting man, I am
willing to place money on both of these all-star-caliber pitchers having
big bounce-back seasons.
What I'm not confident in is the rotation behind them. Jeff Samardzija, Ty Blach and Chris Stratton don't exactly strike fear in the eyes of opposing lineups. Samardzija posted a 9-15 record with a 4.42 ERA, while Blach and Stratton combined for a 12-16 record with an ERA over four.
Samardzija has had just one season since 2011 with an ERA under 2.90, and I find it hard to believe this will be the season he gets back on track. He is also now in Year 2 of his 5-year, $90 million contract, so another bad season could mean the Giants busted on this deal. The lone positive I see with him is that he will be able to eat up at least 200 innings barring an injury.
The Giants bullpen doesn't exactly strike fear into the eyes of opposing hitters. They went out and acquired Mark Melancon from Washington prior to the 2017 season, but he posted a 4.50 ERA last year with just 11 saves and a 1-2 record. Part of the reason Melancon saved only 11 games was because the Giants very rarely had a lead heading into the ninth. It was usually a Giants blowout loss or a blown setup opportunity by one of the following three pitchers: Sam Dyson, Hunter Strickland or Tony Watson.
Giants 2018 Predictions
FanGraphs projects the Giants to finish with an 83-79 record, which has them in second place in the NL West, 11 games back of the Dodgers. I really like what they did in the offseason to acquire proven players like McCutchen and Longoria, but I don't think it's going to be enough to knock the Dodgers off their perch atop the NL West. If the pitching staff holds up and returns to form, the Giants could very well sneak into a wild-card spot, which is why I would take them "over" there season win total of 81.5 despite the hefty price tag.
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