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“In Lou Of”- 2016 San Francisco Giants

Happy Weekend everyone! Well, it’s an even year so we all know what that means, the Giants are going to be crowned World Champions come October. It also doesn’t hurt that they added two big name SP in free agency to slot in right behind Mad Bum. Yes, the D-Backs are much improved and the Dodgers are bound to be competitive, however, come playoff time, this is the team to beat. 
San Francisco Giants: 88-74 (2nd in NL West, Wild card team):
The Key Hitters:
C: Buster Posey:
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Without a doubt, Posey is the best all around catcher in MLB. He is fantastic behind the plate, manages the pitching staff incredibly well and is a force at the plate. With no DH in the NL, expect  Posey to get days off from behind the plate but still find his way into the lineup as a 1B. He’s a .300 hitter, will hit 20+ HR and drive in over 90. It is rare to see that type of production for the catcher position, which also makes him a fantasy gem.
1B: Brandon Belt:
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Belt continues to improve year in and year out. The power is starting to come and in 2016 I expect him to set career highs in HR and RBI. He’s quietly becoming a star at the position and gets overlooked quite a bit because of how deep 1B is. You can get him at great value on draft day and like I mentioned above, it’s an even year and everything seems to go right for the Giants when that’s the case.
 
2B: Joe Panik:
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He made a name for himself late in the 2014 season and all throughout the post season as well. He dealt with some injuries last season which may hurt his draft stock, however I see him as a very consistent contributor to the Giants lineup and fantasy rosters. He likely won’t be drafted unless you play on deep formats but should provide depth at the very least.
 
SS: Brandon Crawford:
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2015 was easily the best season of Crawfords career. He is entering his prime and has established himself as a power hitting shortstop. In non keeper/dynasty leagues, he should be the 5th or 6th shortstop off the board. In my opinion, he’s a safer pick and more of a value pick than guys like Francisco Lindor and Corey Seager.
3B: Matt Duffy:
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If not for Kris Bryant, Duffy likely would have been named 2015 NL ROTY. He burst onto the scene and made Giants fans quickly forget about Pablo Sandoval. I don’t believe that last season was a fluke and at the very least he should be able to duplicate his 2015 numbers. You can get him in the latter stages of drafts as well, which only adds to his value.
CF: Denard Span:
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I believe that his best years are behind him, however he will provide the Giants with a legitimate lead off hitter who can play solid defense in CF and add some speed on the base paths. At this stage, I think his fantasy value is limited, but as a MLB he still has more than enough to offer the Giants. Keep an eye on him because there is a potential for a lot of runs to be scored.
 
RF: Hunter Pence:
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Besides Buster Posey, Pence is the heart and soul of this Giants squad. He’s a hard nosed player who gives it his all and really completes their lineup. He’s a low end OF 2 and slots in perfectly as an OF 3. He’s a steady contributor and typically goes un noticed until the mid rounds. The Giants are a much better team with him in the lineup so it is crucial that they keep him healthy.
Projected Batting order:
1. Span CF
2. Panik 2B
3. Posey C
4. Belt 1B
5. Pence RF
6. Crawford SS
7. Duffy 3B
8. Pagan LF
9. Pitcher
The Pitching Staff:
SP1: Madison Bumgarner:
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The 2014 playoff and World Series MVP is still one of the top SP around and is the anchor of the Giants staff and any fantasy rotation. He’s almost a lock for 200 innings, 200K, 15+ wins and a sub 3.00 ERA. It only helps him that the Giants added to 2 more reliable starters this offseason and it should certainly relieve some of the pressure put on him come playoff time. He’s arguably a top 5 pitcher in fantasy and could be taken anywhere from the 2-7th SP.
 
SP2: Johnny Cueto:
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After joining the Royals in 2015 for their playoff push and World Series run, Cueto was nothing but a disappointment. It still didn’t deter the Giants from giving him a very lucrative free agent deal. Personally I wouldn’t worry about his poor performance in the American League. He has shown time and time again that he is dominant in the NL and he now goes to a pitcher friendly park in SF rather than the hitter friendly park in Cincy. He’s falling relatively low in drafts so you should be able to get him at solid value.
 
SP3: Jeff Samardzija:
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No one can argue with the fact that Samardzija really struggled in his time with Oakland in 2014 and even more so with the White Sox in 2015. With that being said, he, like Cueto has had plenty of success in the NL and is a very solid 3rd starter in any rotation. I expect him to full bounce back in 2016 and I’ve seen him go after pick 200 in certain drafts. That’s amazing value for a guy who should get 180 K’s and 15+ wins.
 
SP4: Jake Peavy:
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Of course he is not the same guy who won a CY Young award years ago with the Padres. It is worth noting though that since returning to the NL west, he’s been a very productive pitcher and is a very solid option as your 5th or 6th starter on your fantasy roster. You can get him late, and if he can stay relatively healthy, you will be happy with what he gives you. I compare him to a guy like John Lackey. They are both up there in age but are extremely productive still and are on great ball clubs.
 
SP5: Matt Cain:
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It was just a few years ago that Cain was the ace of this pitching staff and a top pitcher in fantasy. Times have changed and he’s been dealing with injuries and in consistencies ever since. He is still worthy of a draft pick in fantasy, however I’d advise against it, seeing that he has been more of a detriment to rosters over the last couple of years. Draft him with caution and very low expectations.
 
Swing Man: Chris Heston:
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Heston did a terrific job last season filling in for injured starters. I think he surprised a lot of people and will have value if one of the starting pitchers goes down with an injury. At the very least, he provides the Giants with depth and a reliable arm who can give them multiple innings if they are forced to go to the bullpen early on in games. He likely will go un drafted but is worth watching out for if he finds his way into the starting rotation.
SU: Sergio Romo:
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The former Giants closer is still a very productive pitcher. He is not as dominant as he once was but is still the 2nd in line for save opportunities and will reward owners in leagues that have IRS and Holds. If Cassila struggles or gets hurt, he should be your waiver wire acquisition.
 
CL: Santiago Cassila:
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He may be getting up there in age but Cassila had a fantastic year in 2015. I think he is very reliable and should see plenty of SV opportunities this season. He is going later in drafts and will fit very nicely on your roster as your number 2 CL.
Top Prospects:
SS: Christian Arroyo: 
He is only 20 years old and likely won’t see time at the MLB level until 2017. With that being said, he’s already a solid defender, with great arm strength and tremendous bat speed. He’s still a work in progress offensively and will need to work on pitch selection before he is ready to make the next step to the big leagues.
 
RHP: Tyler Beede:
This 22 year old righty is also expected to make his big league debut in 2017. He has a mid 90’s fast ball, a fading change up and a power curveball in his arsenal. Scouts say that his biggest asset is the change up because his arm speed is extremely similar to when he throws his fastball, making it a very deceiving pitch. If the Giants rotation suffers more than one significant injury, Beede could get the call to the majors in 2016, especially if he gets off to a hot start in the minors.

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Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly: Join Lou Landers and Kyle Amore live on Thursday March 31st, 2016 from 8-10pm EST for episode #7 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly. We will discuss player positions and help prepare you for the coming draft season. This will run every Thursday as a live broadcast that will take live callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This week we will discuss everything fantasy and MLB related in the N.L. Central.

Our guest this week is Calvin Martin, Jr. Calvin is the commissioner of Major League Fantasy Baseball 3 and solid contender in our leagues.

Come join a lively debate!

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