The 2015 MLB season has officially begun for the San Francisco Giants, as Spring Training just started with the pitchers and catchers reporting earlier this week.
It seems like just yesterday that the Giants won Game Seven of the World Series in Kansas City and were crowned World Series champions for the third time in five seasons. 2015 is upon us though, so it’s time to look forward to the upcoming season. Let’s start by examining the offense.
The Giants have made a few moves this offseason to round out their starting lineup. Even though the lineup will definitely look different than it did last season, the Giants still have a well-rounded group of starters. With a healthy Angel Pagan and more games from Brandon Belt, the Giants’ starting lineup in 2015 could be even more potent, just in a different way.
Casey McGehee will be manning third base and Nori Aoki will be manning left field, but these two won’t be expected to fill Pablo Sandoval‘s or Michael Morse‘s shoes by themselves. Both McGehee and Aoki provide different skillsets than Sandoval or Morse did, and they will have to find their own niches on the Giants.
The Giants’ projected starting lineup for the 2015 season is: Pagan, Joe Panik, Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, Belt, McGehee, Brandon Crawford, and Aoki. Crawford and Aoki could be switched around, or Belt could move up to the third spot with Posey and Pence each moving down a spot.
Off the bench, the Giants have solid options in Gregor Blanco, Travis Ishikawa, and Joaquin Arias. The Giants will most likely have one bench spot open, and this competition will be sorted out in Spring Training. The main candidates for the spot are Ehire Adrianza, Matt Duffy, Juan Perez, and Brandon Hicks. Adrianza will most likely win the last spot, as he is out of minor league options.
The Giants also have some intriguing prospects in Spring Training this year, and some of them (Adam Duvall, for example) could potentially see some at-bats at some point during the 2015 season as an injury replacement or a September call-up.
With that being said, let’s take a look at some basic statistical projections for each Giants player for the 2015 season, courtesy of Fangraphs.com and the Steamer projections:
There are some interesting takeaways from these stat projections. According to the Steamer projections…
- Belt will lead the Giants in home runs with 20.
- Aoki will have the second highest batting average on the team.
- Susac will see more at-bats than Sanchez.
- Arias will have more plate appearances than Blanco.
- Pence will lead the Giants in plate appearances (followed by Belt, Crawford, and then Panik), runs, and RBI.
- Posey will lead the team in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OBP, and WAR.
- Pagan will lead the team in stolen bases (18), followed closely by Aoki (17).
- Perez will have more plate appearances than the other candidates for the last bench spot. He will even have more plate appearances than Ishikawa.
- Adrianza will have just one plate appearance in 2015.
- Susac will hit just three home runs.
- McGehee will hit just eight home runs.
- Panik and Crawford, who are expected to increase their power numbers this year (according to Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean), will combine for just 14 home runs.
Next, let’s take a look at Fangraph’s “Fans” projection. This stat projection only includes 10 players, and based on this projection, the two key bench players will be Blanco and Susac:
According to the Fans projection…
- Belt will again lead the team in home runs with 22.
- Posey will lead the team in runs, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, and WAR.
- Pagan and Panik are tied for the second best batting average on the team, followed by Aoki, Pence, and then Belt.
- Pence will lead the team in plate appearances (followed by Crawford, Panik, then Posey) and RBI.
- Aoki will lead the team in stolen bases (17), followed by Pagan (16).
- Susac will hit seven home runs in 277 plate appearances, whereas McGehee is expected to hit six home runs in 562 plate appearances.
- Panik and Crawford will again combine for just 14 home runs.
There were some interesting conclusions in both of these projections, and some of them were pretty similar. According to both projections, Belt will lead the team in home runs in 2015, Posey will lead in the percentage categories (batting average, on-base percentage, etc.) and WAR, Panik and Crawford’s power numbers won’t significantly increase in 2015, Pence will lead the team in plate appearances and RBI, and Pagan or Aoki will lead the team in stolen bases.
What do you think of these projections? Which projection do you think is more accurate? Let us know in the comment section below.