We drew straws to see who did the write up for the '08 Giants. I lost. However, I did find something very fascinating regarding Barry Zito, so please READ ON.
C- Bengie Molina
1B- Daniel Ortmeier/ Rich Aurilia
2B- Ray Durham
3B- Kevin Frandsen/ Rich Aurilia
SS- Omar Vizquel
LF- Jon Bowker/ Dave Roberts
CF- Aaron Rowand
RF- Randy Winn
Ace- Barry Zito
#2 -Matt Cain
#3 - Tim Lincecum
#4 - Noah Lowry
#5 - Jonathan Sanchez
Closer- Brian Wilson
Setup Men- Brad Hennessey, Randy Messenger, Tyler Walker, Steve Kline(lefty specialist)
Hitters to Draft
1) Bengie Molina- Has been underrated for years because his weight and physical stature received more attention than his ability to hit. With Barry Bonds gone, he is the only legitimate power bat that remains in the line up. That might be more of an indictment on the status of the Giants team more so than what he do as a hitter, but it does mean he should be in line to be hitting in the middle of the order and have many RBI opportunities.
2)Randy Winn- Expect him to go roughly 15/15 with 70RBI ad 70R. Nothing great, nothing I would draft in any early or even middle round. In fact he probably won't be drafted in any round, but can be a serviceable stop gap guy if you lose a player due to injury. He is a pretty popular name, and thats the only reason I put him up here.
Pitchers to Draft
1) Matt Cain- Pitched much better than his 7-16 record indicates, and was the victim of a poor Giant offense on more than one occasion. He finished with 200IP, a 3.65ERA and 163Ks. He will be entering his third season in the majors and if the Giants can muster some sort of consistent run support for him he will be a very nice pick, and will go later than he should, because of his poor record in 2007.
2) Tim Lincecum- The young starter came out of the minor leagues with a lot of hype and lived up to most of it during his stint in the majors in 2007. He struck out more than a hitter an inning, and managed to to finish 7-5 on a team that finished well below .500. He has all the potential to be a number 1 starter in his future. Just don't count on 2008 being the year. He will go sooner in the draft than he should, expect some occasional inconsistencies in 2008, but plan on seeing the best of what Lincecum can offer in 2009.
3) Brian Wilson- I draft closers like I buy cereal. I don't always buy the name brand. You can take your Mariano Rivera, Francisco Rodriguez, Joe Nathan or Jonathan Papelbon, they are the best and people are welcome to draft them early. Personally, I'll take a guy like Wilson later in the draft, rather than a dominant closer early. Wilson has a good shot to hold the closers role in San Francisco for the whole season because A) he is good and B) there is no one else to take his job.
Fantasy owners who drafted Rivera in head to head leagues last year with the expectations he would lead the way in saves, were screwed by the end of April when he only had 1 save and in even more trouble at the end of May he had 4 total. I feel saves is a stat you pile up by having a number a mediocre and "second rate" closers, rather than just 1 dominant closer. Guys like Brian Wilson are a perfect fit for this philosophy.
4) Barry Zito- Going from the American to the National League is generally a good thing for a pitcher. It seems as if no one told Barry Zito this. He was awful in 2007, and should expect to pitch better in 2008, mostly because he could not be much worse. Interesting stat for Zito, he has double digit wins AND LOSSES in each of the last 5 season! Generally an ace is a safe bet not to consistently lose double digit games in that many years.
5) Noah Lowry- The best thing about Lowry is that we know what he is. He is a decent starter who can battle to win a game. He went 14-8 for the Giants last season, (some how) despite not having the best stuff on the staff, and missing all of September with an injury. The injuries are becoming a bit of a problem as it seems like every season he gets nicked up a misses some time. He'll go later on in the draft, and that is where he should be drafted.
Players To Avoid
1) Aaron Rowand- Coming off a career season, the Giants signed Rowand to a 5 year, 60million dollar contract to patrol the vast center field at AT&T Park. Rowand hit 27 HR, to go along with 89RBI, 105R, a .309avg. and 6SB, very good numbers, that at first glance warrant decent consideration come draft time. However, keep three things in mind before drafting Rowand:
1. Goes from hitting a great hitter's parks in Philladelphia, to one of the worst in San Francisco.
2. Leaves a choice spot in the potent Phillies lineup to join an offense comprised of young players and over the hill veterans.
3. Played in a career high 161 games last season, and will be hard pressed to reach that again given how hard he plays center and how often he is nicked up.
2) The rest of the Giants' line up.
1) Kevin Frandsen- Should get the starting nod at 3B, and in most leagues should be SS and OF eligible. He put up decent numbers in the minor leagues, I saw one comparison that deemed him a Dustin Pedroia light. Looking at the minor league numbers that does not seem far off. He hit 5HR with 4SB, with 31RBI an 26R, in 264 at bats. Those aren't terrible numbers, and with some more at bats and major league experience he has the potential to put up some respectable numbers, for a middle infielder, if he has that eligibility.
2)Daniel Ortmeier- Hit 6HR in 157 major league at bats last season, which isn't anything terrific, but it was his first the majors. He doesn't yet draw a ton of walks, and at the age of 27 is old for a second year player. There might not be a ton of room for growth here, but if everything breaks the right way he could hit .280, with 20HR, 80RBI and 13SB. Nothing spectacular, but a decent late round flier on a guy who should get plenty of at bats, considering there s no one else to get them.