The Giants really should not win very many games in 2019 and for the third straight season they should miss the playoffs. However, the played the Dodgers tough last season (see the aforementioned 9 wins they stole against LA last year), and their pitching will only improve, as they will see full seasons from rookies Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez and from veterans Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija.
Beyond their pitching improvements, the Giants will need much more out of their franchise’s face, Buster Posey. Posey led them to the World Series in his rookie year, and is going into a contract year in 2019. Against the Dodgers last season, Posey hit just one home run and went 10/50, striking out nine times while walking just five.
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If he can perform like he had in the seasons previous to 2018, the Giants should win a few more games than they did last season. His 0.98 ISO last season marked the first time Posey failed to pass the .100 mark in any major league season, and if this decline continues, Posey’s future in San Francisco could be in jeopardy.
Fangraphs projects the Giants to go 77-85, a four-win increase from a year ago.
While this projection seems reasonable, I feel like the Giants could win more like 80-85 games if the Giants’ starters outperform their projections. Bumgarner is only projected to be worth 2.1 WAR in 2019, and the entire Giant rotation is expected to be worth just 7.4 WAR next season. Even though they are likely to be without Johnny Cueto for most of the season (Tommy John Surgery), Bumgarner should be good for more than a 3.92 ERA with a modest 8.1 K/9 as Fangraphs projects.
All in all, no matter how well Bumgarner pitches and Posey hits next season, the Giants are my overwhelming favorite to finish at the bottom of the NL West in 2019.