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The Sharks Break Down the NL West

San Francisco Giants

Mark’s Take

Scott’s Take

Lineup

1) Andres Torres. He’s going to get a long leash … and he’s earned it.

2) Pablo Sandoval. Not to start off the year, but eventually.

3) Buster Posey

4) Aubrey Huff

5) Pat Burrell

6) Freddy Sanchez. He’s rarely healthy and not that good when he is. How his teams haven’t figured out he’s not a No. 2 hitter yet is beyond me.

7) Miguel Tejada. The Giants and their old guys …

8) Cody Ross. Beware of the platoon.

9) Pitcher

Someone from this outfield is going to be traded before the deadline. The Giants need to make room for Brandon Belt’s bat as soon as possible.

Lineup

1) Andres Torres

2) Freddy Sanchez

3) Buster Posey

4) Aubrey Huff. Starting in left field.

5) Pablo Sandoval. I’m counting on a huge rebound year here.

6) Cody Ross

7) Brandon Belt. Pat Burrell’s near the end, and the future is now.

8) Miguel Tejada

9) Pitcher

Top of the lineup here is very meh. But I like the upside of a few of these guys.

  Don’t overpay for Aubrey Huff’s production last year, and don’t discount guys like Andres Torres and Cody Ross deep into drafts. In deeper leagues especially, Torres presents enormous value.

Rotation

1) Tim Lincecum. Poor offseason conditioning caught up to him in 2010. Not this year.

2) Matt Cain. He laughs at stat heads continually calling for his regression and repeatedly being proven wrong.

3) Jonathan Sanchez. Injury risk for sure, but like Cain don’t be alarmed about his peripherals – they’re in line for a pitcher like Sanchez.

4) Madison Bumgarner. Still moderately priced, strong profit potential here.

5) Barry Zito. Expect him to come falling back to Earth.

Rotation

1) Tim Lincecum

2 ) Matt Cain

3) Jonathan Sanchez

4) Madison Bumgarner

5) Barry Zito

Zito’s hanging on by a thread here, but the Top 4 is arguably the second-best rotation in baseball. Lincecum is due to bounce back from a subpar (for him) 2010.

  Bumgarner’s only going to get better, as is Cain. Sanchez is the Wild Card here. If he continues to step forward, this team is going to be very tough to stop.

Bullpen

Closer – Brian Wilson

R – Sergio Romo. With Wilson’s oblique issue there’s some cheap save potential here.

L – Jeremy Affeldt

R – Ramon Ramirez

L – Javier Lopez

R – Santiago Casilla

L – Dan Runzler

Bullpen

Closer – Brian Wilson

P – Sergio Romo

P – Jeremy Affeldt

P – Javier Lopez

P – Ramon Ramirez

P – Santiago Casilla

P – Dan Runzler

Very strong lefty-right at the back here. Wilson’s oblique will allow for those who drafted Romo in their leagues to get a few cheap saves, but overall, there’s not much value in the middle relievers on this team. Still, this bullpen should keep a lot of leads intact.

Most overrated player

Buster Posey. Don’t pay for the name. Young catchers are always risky bets, and while he will hit for a solid average the limited power ceiling will be difficult to overcome at his current price.

Most underrated player

Pablo Sandoval. I’m not buying the weight loss until in-season, but regardless he hit when he was heavy two years ago. Buy him at his post poor season discount. The law of averages looms, people.

5 Questions

1) No one believed this team could come close to last season’s success and the same is going to be true this season, so what are the chances they’re competing for a title again in October? About 10 percent. No one is arguing the pitching, but the bats have to get hot at the right time again because they’re still a weakness.

2) What will Brandon Belt’s effect on this team be? He’s the X-factor. If he steps up and breaks out as many think, this team has the legit middle-of-the-order guy it missed last year.

3) This team is old, so is the fear of them breaking down? Less so than others, since the bench is full of other veterans, too. They’ll rotate in and out the old guys throughout the year to keep them fresh.

4) Can Andres Torres repeat? If he stays healthy. That’s why he didn’t break through until he was on the north side of 30. There are no other major league ready options available at lead off, so he’s the one player that must repeat 2010.

5) Brian Wilson’s injury, anything to worry about? Not at all. “Fear the beard.”

What this team needs to win

See 2010. Elite pitching and the bats to get hot at the right time again.

Most overrated player

Miguel Tejada. I know he’s not being drafted until very late in drafts. I know people don’t consider him a viable option. But there are too many times where I’ve seen him being drafted. Tejada’s done, and he presents no real value to your team whatsoever. Take a player like Jed Lowrie instead. There’s upside there. Not here.

Most underrated player

Andres Torres. Seemingly coming out of nowhere last year, Torres proved an extremely valuable asset to fantasy teams. He hit .268 with 16 home runs and 26 stolen bases last year. Those numbers are very respectable line for an outfielder in deep leagues, and likely for a player taken off waivers. Still available late in drafts, Torres could put up similar numbers (I think the power will subside a bit). Expect 25-30 stolen bases from him, and a good source of runs atop this lineup.

5 Questions

1) What type of growth can we expect from Buster Posey this year? Listen, I’m typically not one to draft catchers early in fantasy leagues (I’ve wound up with Jorge Posada on just about every team I own). But I’d make an exception for Posey. I’m near positive that this kid will be in the Most Valuable Player discussion at the end of the year.

2) Will Pablo Sandoval bounceback from his dismal 2010 and perform like he did in 2009, or is it off to the scrap heap with him? “The Panda” has a great track record throughout his minor league career, and should be a strong bounce-back candidate in 2011. The weight loss will certainly help him. From what I’ve seen of him this spring, he looks strong and quick. He could present significant value this year.

3) How good could this rotation be? With all of the talk about the Philadelphia Phillies’ stellar rotation, the Giants have been lost a bit in this shuffle. But let me tell you something – this rotation is every bit as dangerous, especially if they sign them all long term. The scariest part here? Aside from Barry Zito, the oldest guy on the staff is Jonathan Sanchez, and he’s only 28.

4) What type of impact will Brian Wilson’s injury have on the success of the team? “The Beard” is an elite closer and will certainly be missed. But Sergio Romo can certainly fill the void in the short term, and this team is good enough to win games even without him.

5) Can they repeat as World Champions this season? I know there are doubters in them, but I’m not one. The pitching staff is too strong.

What this team needs to win

What every team does, to stay healthy. They’ll also need someone other than Buster Posey to step up. I think they have that in Pablo Sandoval this year. I think it’s a good possibility that the Giants sweep the postseason awards (MVP – Posey; Cy Young – Tim Lincecum; Rookie Of The Year – Brandon Belt).

About Fantasy Sharks

FantasySharks.com began in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is, or has been, home to some of the most talented and best known fantasy writers on the planet. Owned and operated by Tony Holm (5 time Fantasy Sports Writer Association Hall-of-Fame nominee,) Tony started writing fantasy content in 1993 for the only three fantasy football web sites in existence at the time.