The San Francisco Giants lost arguably their three best players from last season. Who will step up and be the team's most valuable player in 2020?
Once the 2020 MLB season finally gets underway, the San Francisco Giants are looking at a likely rebuild year.
That said, they still have a number of exciting young players who could wind up being key contributors for years to come. They also have plenty of veterans who could turn things around after disappointing 2019 campaigns.
It begs the question: Who will be the most valuable player for the Giants in 2020?
Last season, an argument could have been made for Kevin Pillar, who led the team in several major offensive categories. There was also a case for closer Will Smith, who was the team's lone All-Star and was excellent in the ninth inning.
But with both of those players gone, someone else will need to fill in and replace their lost production in a season where some projections have the Giants winning fewer than 70 games.
One immediately things of some of the young players who stood out last year, as well as some prospects who have yet to make their MLB debut but seem primed to do so in 2020. Then there are the veterans who the team will be leaning on heavily with a roster that has a number of holes from the lineup to the rotation to the bullpen.
It will be interesting to see who steps up, and in the following slides, we are going to take a look at five players with the best chance to be the most valuable player for the San Francisco Giants in 2020.
Late last season, Mauricio Dubon was impressive both with the bat and with the glove. Heading into 2020, expectations will be high for the 25-year-old and he seems primed to meet or even exceed them.
Dubon tore it up at the plate during spring training, going 10-for-29 with three doubles and two home runs.
Not only was he impressive with a bat in his hand, but he played all over the field, spending time at shortstop, second base, third base, and even in center field.
In today's game, the more positions a player can play, the more valuable they are. That means that while Dubon may not be the offensive leader in home runs or RBI, the fact that he can play so many positions and hit well makes him extremely valuable.
Not to mention the fact that Dubon is currently making the league minimum, which means that the Giants will be getting a steal for all that he brings to the table for the team in 2020 and beyond.
Dubon is a great athlete and fun to watch, and I think there is a good chance that he could end up being the most valuable player on the team.
In addition to the aforementioned Kevin Pillar and Will Smith, a strong case can also been made for Mike Yastrzemski as the most valuable Giants player in 2019.
He was one of the offensive leaders of the team, posting a 123 OPS+ and hitting 21 home runs in a rookie season that nobody saw coming.
Now, heading into 2020, Yaz will have a lot of eyes on him and that means higher expectations. He will be relied on heavily in a lineup that has lost one of its best hitters in Pillar, and still has a number of holes.
The fact that he is athletic enough to play all three outfield positions also boosts his value, but more than anything the Giants need him to hit like he did last year. There is a good chance that he could be regularly used as the team's lead-off hitter, so if he can be a productive table setter, that boosts his value even higher.
Like Dubon, Yaz is making the league minimum. If they can get another season out of him like the one he put together in 2019, he would be a steal considering what others are paid to put up similar numbers.
In a bullpen competition that is wide open, Tyler Rogers has a good shot at being one of the team's go-to late-inning options, based on his performance last season and in spring training.
He looked very sharp in his MLB debut last season, recording a 1.02 ERA in 17.2 innings pitched. This spring, he allowed just one hit and one walk with seven strikeouts over 4.1 scoreless innings.
His submarine delivery makes him extremely difficult for right-handed hitters to pick up, and his splits from last year show that left-handed hitters actually performed worse against him that righties.
That effectiveness against both left- and right-handed batters becomes even more important with a three-batter minimum for relievers in place starting in 2020.
He too is making the league minimum, which adds to his value if he can establish himself as an effective and reliable reliever.
Left-hander Jarlin Garcia is yet another reliever who is making the minimum and who impressed during spring training. He could end up being the go-to lefty reliever in the Giants bullpen this season, especially with Tony Watson battling injury.
The bullpen competition is wide open and his strong spring should go a long way. He allowed only three hits and one walk over five scoreless innings, striking out eight batters along the way.
The lefty was effective last season with the Marlins, recording a 3.02 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 50.2 innings. However, he struck out just 39 batters on the year for a less-than-stellar 6.9 K/9 strikeout rate.
If the strikeout numbers he posted during spring training carry over to the regular season, the Giants may be leaning on him heavily this season.
Giants fans will have to wait until after Opening Day to see top prospect Joey Bart.
However, he has done everything in his power to reach the big leagues sooner than expected.
As the heir apparent to Buster Posey and the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft, expectations are extremely high for Bart. If he can live up to them in his first few seasons, he could quickly emerge as the most valuable player on the team.
He went 7-for-16 with one double and two home runs this spring before he was optioned to the minors.
From there, it's only a matter of time before he forces his way into the starting lineup and pushes Posey to another position.