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Predictions For Five San Francisco Giants Players In 2014

The 2014 Major League Baseball season is set to begin tomorrow night and most writers, bloggers and fans are throwing out their predictions for what will happen with divisions, wild card and eventual World Series Champions. Our very own Stuart Jones gave his prediction this morning, Dodgers Will Win The NL West.

I am here to share five of my most bold, and maybe not so bold, predictions for the 2014 San Francisco Giants. These five predictions rank from not so bold to most bold.

5. Pablo Sandoval will be healthy all season and have a career season entering free agency.

By now every Giants fan, or baseball fans in general, has surely heard about Sandoval’s high contract demand. Incase you have not heard about it yet, I wrote about it last weekend Sandoval’s High Contract Demands.

As I mentioned in the above post, Sandoval has averaged just 130 games the past 4 seasons due to various injuries.

During the 2009 season, his best season by far during his 6 year career, Sandoval hit 25 home runs with 90 RBI while posting a .330 average and slash line of .387/.556/.943.

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2009 22 SFG NL 153 633 572 79 189 44 5 25 90 5 5 52 83 .330 .387 .556 .943 144
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 3/29/2014.

I do not expect Sandoval to duplicate that average, on base, slugging and OPS but I am predicting him to set career highs in both home runs and RBI. This season Sandoval will finish the year with 29 home runs and 102 RBI while batting .288 with a slash line of .340/.493/.833 and if not re-signed by the Giants during the season, will end up with 5 year contract worth somewhere in the area of $75m for a AAV of $15m per year.

4. Ryan Vogelsong will be out of the rotation by July 1st.

With Vogelsong struggling last season and throughout Spring Training, many have wondered if he can still be an effective starter or if he bound for a swing man job in the bullpen. This is one prediction of the five that I hope I am wrong about, but I just don’t think I will be. After two successful seasons in 2011 and 2012, Vogelsong was possibly the Giants best starter during the 2012 post-season.

Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
2011 33 SFG NL 13 7 .650 2.71 30 28 1 1 1 0 179.2 164 62 54 15 61 139
2012 34 SFG NL 14 9 .609 3.37 31 31 0 0 0 0 189.2 171 76 71 17 62 158
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 3/29/2014.

Vogelsong struggled during the 2013 season, and missed quite a bit of time being on the disabled list.

Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
2013 35 SFG NL 4 6 .400 5.73 19 19 0 0 0 0 103.2 124 73 66 15 38 67
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 3/29/2014.

Following the 2013 season, the Giants declined Vogelsong’s $6.5m option making him a free agent. The team re-signed him in early December to a one-year $5m contract. During the spring, its looked like the Giants should have let Vogelsong go elsewhere.

Year Tm Age GS W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
2014 SF 36 4 1 2 .333 9.00 6 4 0 0 0 0 19.0 33 22 19 5 4 12
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 3/29/2014.

If 2013 and Spring Training are any indication to what we see from Vogelsong to start the season, this prediction will dead on. If Vogelsong does in fact struggle and is removed from the rotation, I would expect his replacement to be #2 Prospect (according MLBPipeline.com) Edwin Escobar. Escobar spent last season split between San Jose (High A) and Richmond (AA) and will begin the upcoming season in Fresno (AAA).

Year Age Aff W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
2013 21 SFG 8 8 .500 2.80 26 24 0 0 0 0 128.2 112 51 40 5 30 146
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 3/29/2014.

I am very excited to see what Escobar can do in the big leagues.

3. Brandon Belt will break out this season.

If his last two months in 2013 are any indication of what we can expect from Belt this season, then I truly believe that we will see his most phenomenal season yet.

Split G GS PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
August 28 26 114 100 23 35 7 3 5 13 0 0 11 18 .350 .421 .630 1.051
Sept/Oct 24 22 100 91 11 31 10 0 2 15 0 0 7 22 .341 .394 .516 .910
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 3/29/2014.

Overall Belt had a very good second half to the 2013 season.

Split G GS PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2nd Half 61 56 247 221 34 72 17 3 7 29 1 0 21 49 .326 .390 .525 .915
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 3/29/2014.
Belt’s overall numbers for the 2013 were respectable.
Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2013 25 SFG NL 150 571 509 76 147 39 4 17 67 5 2 52 125 .289 .360 .481 .841 142
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 3/29/2014.
My prediction for Belt this upcoming season: .272 batting average with 23 home runs, 84 RBI and a slash line of .365/.476/.841.
2. Tim Lincecum will have a rebound season with a minimum of 15 wins.

During this off-season, the Giants and the former two-time Cy Young Award winner agreed on a new two-year $35m contract. Many fans around baseball, more specifically Giants fans, wondered why the team would sign the former  Cy Young Award winner to such a high contract after struggling the last three seasons.

Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO H R ER HR BB IBB SO
2011 27 SFG NL 13 14 .481 2.74 33 33 0 1 1 176 74 66 15 86 5 220
2012 28 SFG NL 10 15 .400 5.18 33 33 0 0 0 183 111 107 23 90 3 190
2013 29 SFG NL 10 14 .417 4.37 32 32 0 1 1 184 102 96 21 76 8 193
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 3/29/2014.

I am not predicting a return to the 2008 and 2009 seasons though.

Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
2008 24 SFG NL 18 5 .783 2.62 34 33 0 2 1 0 227.0 182 72 66 11 84 265
2009 25 SFG NL 15 7 .682 2.48 32 32 0 4 2 0 225.1 168 69 62 10 68 261
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 3/29/2014.
What I do predict from Linecum this season is a 16-10 win/loss record with a 4.09 ERA and 186 strikeouts. As I have mentioned many times, I truly believe that the addition of Tim Hudson to the rotation will benefit Lincecum.
1. Madison Bumgarner will win the 2014 C y Young Award.

Bumgarner is entering his 6th season, 5th full-time season in the big leagues. The 2013 season was a good one for Bumgarner, despite it not translating in a lot of wins for the 6’5 lefty.

Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO
2013 23 SFG NL 13 9 .591 2.77 31 31 0 0 0 201.1 146 68 62 15 62 199
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 3/29/2014.

Pitching wins is something that a starter has zero control over and should not be considered the end all for starters. Unfortunately when most voters look at numbers from the season, this is one of the first stats that they look at. Looking over some of Bumgarner’s stats and some that jumped out at me more than others were run support.

Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO SO/BB BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP BAbip
0-2 Runs Scored 14 379 336 31 70 16 1 5 1 4 31 80 2.58 .208 .279 .307 .585 103 7 .256
3-5 Runs Scored 13 328 295 24 57 8 1 9 6 3 25 90 3.60 .193 .262 .319 .581 94 7 .244
6+ Runs Scored 4 96 89 13 19 2 0 1 1 0 6 29 4.83 .213 .263 .270 .533 24 1 .305
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 3/29/2014.
As you see above, over half of Bumgarner’s starts last season seen the offense score 0-2 runs in support of the lefty.
Bumgarner had a great spring training, having only given up 3 runs all spring (3 solo home runs in his last start).
Year Tm Age GS W L W-L% ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO
2014 SF 24 5 3 0 1.000 1.19 5 5 22.2 15 3 3 3 2 0 22
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 3/29/2014.

With the Giants 2014 offense projected to be much improved over last seasons, I  predict that Bumgarner ends up with 21 wins a 2.93 ERA, 213 strikeouts in 210 innings pitched and he will win the 2014 Cy Young Award.

What are some of your predictions for the Giants and their players? Do you agree with my 5 predictions? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

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