While we continue the frustrating wait to see who the San Francisco Giants might add to their roster in 2019, it is worth noting that much of the team’s fate, for the 2019 season is tied up in players already on the roster.
Specifically this applies to the San Francisco Giants “Big Three Bats” of Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, and Evan Longoria. However, rather than looking only at more scientific data, perhaps it is best to look at what Fantasy Baseball has to say with regard to their projected 2019 performance.
But before anyone scoffs at using gaming projections as a basis for analysis, it is important to note that modern probability theory actually came about as a result of Chevelier de Mere complaining to his friend, the philosopher Blaise Pascal, about the trouble he was having losing at cards.
FanGraphs has Buster Posey in 2019 hitting .287 with 13 home runs and 62 runs batted in as opposed to his .284/5/41/ 2018 campaign. They also have him getting 551 at bats as opposed to 398 in 2018. While there certainly is a good improvement here, I think some might argue that these statistics are perhaps conservative. The at bats projections also suggest that Buster Posey will play quite a lot of first base as the Giants seek to help him recover fully from hip surgery yet keep his bat in the lineup.
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FanGraphs has Brandon Belt in 2019 hitting at a .252/20/74 clip as opposed to his .253/14/46 2018 effort. While this is certainly a good improvement some forget that Belt was actually on his way to a monster season in 2018 until his appendix intervened in early June. As Belt is currently the Giant’s primary first baseman, and these numbers are perhaps conservative, there is good reason to believe that Brandon Belt will be playing quite a lot of left field in 2019 (thus helping to solve part of the team’s outfield depth issue).
FanGraphs has Evan Longoria in 2019 hitting at a .255/21/68 clip as opposed to his .244/16/54 2018 effort. I think the argument can be made that Longoria suffered both from the change of leagues and high expectations in 2018 and is still capable of getting closer to his .270/26/88 career per season numbers.
Therefore, the “Big Three Bats” of Posey, Belt, and Longoria all seem primed for good improvement in 2019, and the Giant’s outfield depth problem) is perhaps not as bad as advertised.
It is interesting to note that FanGraphs also has Joe Panik having a .276/9/60 2019 campaign (along with a nice .343 on base percentage). So perhaps rumors of his demise have also been greatly exaggerated.
What does this all mean in the grand scheme of things? If you are wondering why Farhan Zaidi has not moved players like Belt, Longoria, and Panik (although rumors are strong to this effect) the answer is simply that in sound Economics one does not sell when their assets are low and buy when other’s assets are high but quite the opposite. And there is good reason to believe that simply by waiting for the market to turn in his favor, Zaidi will create more value for the San Francisco Giants.