2016 Recap & 2017 Outlook
The Giants failed to win again on an even year. and will look to rebound in 2017. They were grouped with a few others, really behind the elite names of the Nationals, Dodgers, and Cubs. It is hard to see them breaking through again, but they should be on the cusp of a Wild Card appearance. Now the one thing the Giants can compare with those other teams, are there above average pitching staff. They ranked fifth last year in ERA, and have an amazing home ballpark for their starters. On the offensive side of things, they are subpar, ranking 19th in runs per game last season. They also ranked 18th in team wOBA, and as you could imagine in a tough ballpark for hitters, they ranked 27th in ISO. It is hard to see this offense generating top half numbers, so expect league average scoring to be their ceiling.
Subtractions: Angel Pagan
AT&T Park is heaven for pitchers, and heaven for us in DFS. Home runs are rare here, and generally when we see a big drop in home runs, extra base hits will take a rise. They do, but not as much as you would think. The ballpark limited doubles, and the only increase in extra base hits, came in triples on both sides. Yes it is only 309 down the right field line, but a heightened wall has killed numerous home runs. Needless to say, this ballpark won't host a lot of high total games. It will give bumps to opposing pitchers, and you will notice splits with Giants pitchers. For instance, Madison Bumgarner allowed a .241 wOBA at home last season, and a .296 wOBA on the road. 19 of his 26 home runs allowed came on the road as well.
|Lineup Order||Player||Position||2016 wOBA vs. RHP||2016 ISO vs. RHP||2016 wOBA vs. LHP||2016 ISO vs. LHP|
2016 Statistics Used
Pitching Outlook & Notes
DFS Rotation Grade: A-
DFS Studs: Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto
Madison Bumgarner is part of an elite group of DFS arms, especially when he is at home. The Giants had two sub-three ERA arms, with the other one being Johnny Cueto. Bumgarner had the significant edge in strikeouts, boasting the sixth best strikeout rate in the majors. Cueto ranked 27th (22.5%). After pitching years in Great American Ballpark, we expected Cueto to enjoy a friendly ballpark, and he did. Going on the road wasn't a problem for him either. He had a groundball rate jump from his career norm, by about 5%. His walks were slightly down as well. We should expect another solid season out of Cueto, and will be cash game viable in most starts. Bumgarner continues to dial up identical seasons, and it is always hard to believe his age (27). MadBum has a rising strikeout rate in three straight seasons, and has had a swinging strike rate above 11% in four straight seasons.
The secondary options in this rotation are also intriguing, and mainly when they play at home. After a horrendous 2015 season with the White Sox, Jeff Samardzija showed some impressive trends in 2016, but it wasn't anything to ride home about. His groundball rate came back to a career norm, and the strikeout rate was up 2% from the previous season. Samardzija still had a bit of a home run issue, but that settled when in AT&T Park. He allowed seven there, compared to 17 on the road. His strikeout rate rose over the second half of the season, and there are early talks about him finding his splitter again. Samardzija will be a fun tournament guy this season, and a slate dependent cash game guy.
You might find some optimistic about Matt Moore, which anytime a pitcher moves to a ballpark like San Francisco, I can see why. Moore has a solid curveball and changeup, but his fastball and cutter are rather lackluster. His strikeout rate did go up arriving in San Francisco, and did have a couple of strong outings for them. He had a one inning blowup against the Dodgers, and struggled in Coors. The walk rate is tough to stomach in cash games, but a 24% strikeout rate in the bay has me enticed in tournaments, especially when he is home.
The one thing worth noting here is, Buster Posey is a phenomenal defensive catcher. He is a strong game-caller, and a superb pitch-framer. He boasted a league best 26.8 RAA last season.
Lineup Outlook & Notes
DFS Stacking Grade: C-
The Giants offense lacks upside more often than not. Outside of some trips to Arizona and Colorado, this offense boasts mediocre daily fantasy potential. Hunter Pence has been battling injuries over the last two games, but is a respectable outfielder to consider moving into 2017. Pence has solid numbers against lefties, and that continued in 2016. He had a 36% hardball rate against southpaws, with a .239 ISO. If he can stay healthy, he can add a little juice to this lineup. It is hard to see him returning to 2013 numbers ever again.
Buster Posey is one of the better hitting catchers, but is slightly overrated when it comes to daily fantasy. He often carries a higher price tag, and catcher isn't a position to always spend up at. Posey ranked fifth in average among qualified catchers last season, and third in wRC+. He lacks power behind names like Jonathan Lucroy, Gary Sanchez, Brian McCann, and Evan Gattis. I have similar feelings towards Brandon Belt, who finished with 14th in ISO among qualified first basemen. Belt was a decent mid-range play in 2016, and will continue to be this year. Belt hit 11 of his 17 homers on the road, but did hit seven triples at AT&T Park. Belt's daily fantasy relevance depends on how the sites price him.
Secondary players like Denard Span, Brandon Crawford, and Eduardo Nunez will have their worth on some nights, but often will find themselves buried behind other talent. Nunez moved over to San Francisco at the deadline, finishing the season with a .316 wOBA and a 100 wRC+. His numbers weren't far off from what he did with Minnesota. After hitting 21 homers in 2015, Crawford saw a drop off in 2016. Crawford should hit double digit home runs again, but with now an excellent SS grouping, he remains a tournament hopeful. Oddly enough, Span had a career high in home runs with the Giants (11). Span hit right-handed pitching at a decent rate, but lacks upside of other outfielders. He had a 114 wRC+ against right-handers, compared to a 59 against lefties. Span like the others, will have his place on some nights.