Brandon Crawford

Baseball Prospectus loves the San Francisco Giants

Buster Posey Madison Bumgarner

Earlier this morning Baseball Prospectus released their years projections known as PECOTA. Normally the projection systems don’t particularly like the way that the Giants go about constructing their teams, but this year I was surprised by how well the projection system rates the Giants.

I don’t know if it’s that the Giants have changed the way they build their team from focusing heavily on elite pitching with a middling offense to one that’s more balanced, but if the Giants are able to live up to (or even beat) these projections they should be in for a nice season.

Normally most of the best nuggets of the projections are behind the pay-wall but luckily for those that don’t subscribe the Giants depth chart projections are the free example this year and available for all to take a look at.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • The Giants best player is projected to be Buster Posey. His 4.3 WARP (a description of this metric can be found here) is projected to be the 8th best in all of the National League.
  • Six of the Giants’ eight starting position players have a projected WARP of at least 2.0.
  • Continuing on that note, five of the eight starting spots have a league average projection for their respective position. The only spots that miss the cut were second base, shortstop and left field.
  • Four out of the five starting pitchers project to at least a 2.0 WARP. They are the only team in the NL with that distinction (the Nationals just missed out with Doug Fister projecting to 1.9).
  • The Giants have the third best offense in the National League according to Baseball Prospectus’ True Average measure, which adjusts for park effects.
  • The Giants are projected to have the fourth best run differential in the National League.

And now for some of the lowlights:

  • The Giants’ bench is not very good. Their two best bench players are projected to be Roger Kieschnick and Gregor Blanco, with neither expected to provide much of anything offensively.
  • The Giants starting pitching depth is not very good. Ryan Vogelsong is projected to be a replacement-level starter and beyond that there really isn’t much better currently on the roster.
  • Behind Sergio Romo, the bullpen doesn’t look very impressive. None of the projected members of the bullpen project to more than 0.4 WARP, but the one optimistic bullpen projection is Brett Bochy with a 0.7 WARP.

Overall the projection is kind to the Giants. PECOTA has the Giants as fourth best team in the National League and earning a playoff spot via the Wild Card. The team has talent spread pretty evenly through out the roster, with average or better players starting at nearly every position and filling 80% of the rotation. The Giants lack depth, both on the 25-man and the high minors.

For a team that won just 76 games and didn’t do a ton to change the roster this is a very rosy projection. We’ll see if the Giants can stay healthy enough to live up to these statistical expectations and challenge for a playoff spot.

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