The San Francisco Giants got past the New York Mets with Bumgarner’s continuing dominance in the postseason and Gillaspie’s magical three-run homer, which led them to a dog fight that ended with a painful loss to the Chicago Cubs and ending the Giants miraculous even-year championship streak.
Now, after many ups and downs from the 2016 season, the San Francisco Giants are a couple of months away from Spring Training. After 30 blown saves, the most in MLB last season, the Giants were able to get their closer in Mark Melancon. Not only will Melancon solidify the closer role, but Derek Law, Hunter Strickland, and the rest of the bullpen will now know their roles as either the set-up man, seventh inning, and so on.
The San Francisco Giants are certainly one of the best teams in the MLB, but let’s take a look at three questions marks for the 2017 season.
The Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson platoon
Mac Williamson was starting to get in a groove in left field, showing confidence at the plate and fielding, before suffering a quad injury, ending his season. Jarrett Parker struggled at times, but also showed his potential when given regular at-bats. Expect Williamson to start and go from there, but it should be interesting to see how Williamson and Parker do with regular at-bats, considering their struggles the last couple of years.
Can Joe Panik stay healthy?
Joe Panik is an all-star, World Series champion, and could be one of the best second basemen in the league, when healthy. The key words here are when healthy. Panik has had some serious back issues, affecting his play, both in the batter’s box and in the infield. Batting becomes harder with the constant turning, while diving for balls up the middle and to the left are painful.
If Joe Panik stays healthy, he adds another dimension to this team, making it a possible an entire all-star infield, to go along with Hunter Pence and Denard Span in the outfield.
If Joe Panik is injured for most of the season, it will challenge Bruce Bochy to find another second baseman, possibly putting Eduardo Nunez at second, forcing Conor Gillaspie to play third. The Giants lineup is much better when Panik hits after Denard Span and in front of Buster Posey, so hopefully for the Giants’ sake, he stays healthy and cashes in a ticket to go to Marlins Park for the 2017 All-Star Game.
Who is the fifth starting pitcher?
The San Francisco Giants have one of the best, if not, the best, starting rotation in baseball. The front three of Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, and Matt Moore are fantastic, while Jeff Samardzija stands to be a solid number four. This leads to the fifth, and last, spot in the rotation. As of now, it will most likely be Matt Cain, both as of respect and see if he can get back on track. There is also Ty Blach, a 26-year old southpaw who pitched the biggest game of his life, outdueling Clayton Kershaw in an 8-inning, 3-hit win that helped the Giants get into the wild card game.
Any team would take Matt Cain as their fifth starter, which the San Francisco Giants will most likely do and after a month, evaluate his progress and go from there.
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