KFFL answers some important fantasy baseball questions for each Major League Baseball team as spring training approaches. What must fantasy baseball players know about the San Francisco Giants?
Will Buster Posey exceed 2010 in 2011?
Posey wasted no time showing he's ready. He hit just one homer through June but exploded after. He'll need to keep making the most of his flies, though. His high grounder rate casts some doubt on his ability to leave the park consistently. He made do in the dinger column under similar farm circumstances, but he had only 631 minor league at-bats, so there's risk of a drop-off as more tape comes out on him.
Even if he doesn't match his power, his contact rate and all-around second-half improvements give him a well-rounded, polished backstop base. Since his rookie contributions were huge, it's highly unlikely he'll exceed what you spend for him, but there's enough reason to bet he'll put up similar numbers.
How fluky were the seasons from Pablo Sandoval and Andres Torres?
High expectations for Posey
Pablo Sandoval lost the punch in his swing, had trouble working around his plate flaws and saw fewer hittable pitches (but didn't stop swinging at them). Sandoval's GB/FB probably will prevent him from topping his 25-dinger 2009.
Positives: He has shed nearly 20 pounds. His August blowup and improved second-half liner rate offer some optimism. Maybe if he attacks fastballs more he can turn things around. Targeting a cheap mixed CI or value NL third sacker? It'll be hard to find someone with his BA potential for his price, but his crash factor resembles his belt size.
Torres is still capable of double-digit homers to go with his helpful swipes contribution, and his BB/K in the bigs has steadily improved. Full-time work helped him blossom, along with taking his ADHD medication. His D will keep him in the lineup. Buy, as long as you temper the tater expectations. Doubt will keep his price low.
Who's the best draft value of the Giants' lefty arms?
Sorry, Barry Zito. You can leave now.
Jonathan Sanchez kept his skills profile but benefited from a .267 BABIP; his career performance says that's an outlier. Though the dominant Sanchez showed improvement in each, Sanchez still gives up too many free passes and fly balls for you to invest in 2010 results. His playoff performance might inflate his draft room price despite his growth potential being somewhat limited.
Madison Bumgarner will probably get less love but has the better makeup. He used his complete arsenal and kicked his MLB velocity back up, which makes his sidearm delivery nastier. Bum isn't as dominant as Sanchez, but his more helpful control, grounder prowess and upside make him a better pickup for the price.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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