Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Busts: San Francisco Giants

Potential sleepers and avoidable busts for the San Francisco Giants.

Last season didn’t go as well as San Francisco hoped. One of the main reasons for the middling (81-81) season was the lack of offensive production. So, what do they do? Try to bring in some long-term-big-ticket-free agents. Although, the club missed out on Aaron Judge and couldn’t come to grips with the potential injury question marks surrounding Carlos Correa. Instead, they settle on a slew of shorter-term deals.

This begs the question: Will quantity work over quality? The lineup looks a bit longer on paper, and the rotation is loaded with an abundance of depth. Furthermore, they’ve even bolstered the bullpen. All in all, the Giants had a productive offseason and revamped the roster.

We can say the team should have more fantasy relevancy in 2023!

 

Sleepers

 

Alex Wood

 

2022 stats (130.2 IP): 5.10 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 131 K, and 8 W

Oof! Don’t look at Wood’s 2022 stat line and jump to conclusions, as it was a mess. Furthermore, that’s potentially what your league mates might do and overlook Wood’s potential. A surface stat like ERA comes with a bit of noise and doesn’t really do an outstanding job of predicting future success. Instead, let’s dive a little deeper:

Woods’ Unlucky Season

For starters, throughout 1121 IP of 3.69 ERA suggests Wood’s been a viable SP for quite some time. Unfortunately, as shown in red, his most recent ERA ballooned while the other underlying metrics (FIP, xFIP, and SIERA) didn’t. To put the icing on the cake, Wood enjoyed the best walk rate of his career and had an uncharacteristically low LOB%. For reference, 73% LOB% is also the league average for all qualified MLB starting pitchers.

In summation, regression is a two-way street. In Wood’s case, if he can continue pitching as we’ve expected, the ERA will get chopped down, and much-improved stat lines will emerge.

 

Mitch Haniger

 

2022 stats (247 PA): .246 AVG, 31 R, 11 HR, 34 RBI, 0 SB

As stated earlier, the Giants’ lineup lacked thump. Consequently, they signed the former Seattle Mariner OF, whose only a year removed from a 39-HR season. 2022, however, wasn’t as kind to Haniger since he spent most of the season on the IL and only appeared on the field for a mere 57 games last season.

The good news is, even in the small number of plate appearances, Haniger was crushing the ball (11.8% barrel rate). Furthermore, his 30.6% HC% was 56th among all batters in the MLB. Undoubtedly, Haniger is a premier source of power infused in the lineup.

We saw HRs drop by a little more than 700 last season, affecting most fantasy squads. Snagging an OF like Haniger for his power potential and ability to drive runs could be a tougher commodity to find than you realize.

 

Sean Manaea

 

2022 stars (158 IP): 4.96 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 156 K, and 8 W

Much like Wood, Sean Manaea suffered similar misfortune in his 2022 results. The final results might suggest Manaea is giving up too many base runners. His 1.30 WHIP and inability to strike out a batter per nine innings aren’t helping Manaea escape the more challenging situations. Furthermore, his 67.5% LOB% means those base runners crossed the home plate more than the MLB average (73% LOB%).

However, Manaea’s lousy luck is slightly different. His SIERA (3.90) and xFIP (3.96) point to the gaudy ERA as a fallacy. Although, where it gets dicey is the 4.53 FIP. Now, the most significant difference between FIP and xFIP is the HRs. Manaea gave up ten HRs with his changeup, his second-most thrown pitch. Oddly, before 2022, Manaea hadn’t allowed more than three HRs via the offspeed offering.

Should the changeup return to normalcy, and the rest of the repertoire remain intact, it’ll be a bounceback 2023 for his new ball club.

 

Busts

 

Joc Pederson

 

2022 stats (433 PA): .274 AVG, 57 R, 23 HR, 70 RBI, 3 SB

Before last season, Pederson had been a member of three teams (LAD, CHC, and ATL) in the previous two years. In that timespan, he failed to finish the entire season with a wRC+ north of 100. And then, voila,  the Giants come calling, and he puts up a productive season. Although, the success may not be so easily repeatable.

The notable disparity is his .274 batting average, nearly 40 points higher than his career mark (.237 BA). One of the main driving benefactors to the surprising BA is the .310 BABIP, which is also a tad higher than Pederson’s usual (.268 BABIP). Indeed, if the BABIP returns to normalcy, so will the BA.

Lastly, Pederson is a platoon bat, through and through. Now, he could be viable in a daily moves league. However, if you cannot shuffle him between your lineup, he’s a much tougher player to keep on the roster. If you don’t believe me, take a look at his splits from last year:

Pederson’s Splits from 2022

 

Joey Bart

 

2022 stats (291 PA): .215 AVG, 34 R, 11 HR, 25 RBI, 2 SB

The tarnish has faded from the team’s 2018 #2 overall draft pick. Sure, he’s shown a glimpse here and there, but Bart’s continued struggles at making contact are noticeable. The results are mega-inflated strikeout rates(2020: 36.9%, 2021: 33.3%, and 2022: 38.5%). Below, the chart depicts the difference between Bart and the league average.

 

 

If you’re in a one-catcher league, cross Bart off your list. The MLB was infused with a crop of terrific backstops in 2022. Even in a two-catcher league, Bart might start the season on the waiver wire. Until the contact improves, he will only harm your team. Let someone else deal with the headache.

 

Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Redler (@reldernitsuj on Twitter)

Dave Swan

Dave Swan is an avid Chicago Cubs fan that enjoys all aspects of fantasy baseball-especially DFS. He would trade his right arm for a GIF library of Greg Maddux pitches. Swan's baseball thoughts are available at @davithius.

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