The 2020 edition of the San Francisco Giants might be the most intriguing team in recent memory. But could they be the most surprising team of the season and make the postseason? Never say never.
The 2020 San Francisco Giants are slowly, but surely, getting a roster makeover.
They decided to let their franchise’s most prized pitcher Madison Bumgarner walk away in free agency. Closer Will Smith also decided to bolt from the Bay Area and fan-favorite outfielder Kevin Pillar opted to head back to the east coast to sign with Boston.
With all these changes you’re probably telling yourself “there is no way these Giants can make the postseason.”
What if I told you there’s a chance they could make the playoffs? It’ll be a long shot, most likely, however, this team has just enough talent to make things interesting in the National League Wild Card race.
The Giants haven’t made the postseason since they made a small run in 2016.
During their unexpected mini-run, they defeated the New York Mets in the NL Wild Card game before losing to the eventual World Series Champions in the Chicago Cubs during the NL Division Series. They were led by Bumgarner, catcher Buster Posey, outfielder Hunter Pence, and pitcher Johnny Cueto.
This year’s Giants are much different — sort of. They still have Cueto who was recovering from Tommy John’s surgery in 2018. If Cueto can find his form from 2016, the Giants will be in great shape.
They also have pitcher Jeff Samardzija who finished the 2019 season with a team-high 11 wins. Samardzija also had the lowest earned run average on the team with 3.52. Both of these pitchers will be leaned on to be leaders in the dugout.
San Francisco boasts a fairly well-rounded outfield with a mix of young stars and veterans. The organization and fanbase welcomed back outfielder Hunter Pence a couple of weeks ago. He’ll be a much-needed energizer in the dugout and on the field.
In 2019 Pence reached numbers he hasn’t seen in a few years. He was voted in as an All-Star with Texas last year, but he had to miss the summer showdown due to injury. He should work pretty well with Mike Yastrzemski who knocked in 55 RBIs and hit 21 home runs.
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Yastrzemski was a nice diamond in the rough for the Giants last season. The Baltimore Orioles traded him to the Giants for pitcher Tyler Herb in March.
As of right now, the deal looks fantastic for the orange and black team from the Bay Area. Yastrzemski has a lot of upside and potential at the plate and in the outfield.
The Giants and their fans are going to expect a lot more out of both players, which makes the return of Pence even more valuable.
The infield is locked down with Brandon Crawford at shortstop, Evan Longoria taking his spot at third base, Brandon Belt at first base and Mauricio Dubon at second base. Behind the plate, as usual, is catcher Buster Posey.
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If Dubon and Crawford can form a solid defensive pairing, they’ll set the Giants up for success. We all know Crawford is a Gold Glove winner and his defensive IQ is extremely high, but can he and Dubon create the same magic as he had with former Giant Joe Panik?
Last season the Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Nationals faced off in the National League Wild Card game. The Brewers grabbed the final Wild Card spot with 89 wins.
It’ll take at least that many wins again this season, if not more if the Giants want to make another run at an “even year.” But the Giants can do it. They have a lot of talent and could certainly make a lot of noise in the Wild Card race.
Baseball is a weird sport in which the best team in the league could lose to a squad just like the San Francisco Giants. Look for them to make a postseason push in September.