San Francisco Giants 2019 Betting Odds, Preview: A Trying Time for an Aging Club

San Francisco Giants 2019 Betting Odds, Preview: A Trying Time for an Aging Club article feature image
Credit:

D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey.

  • The Giants won 73 games last year and failed to sign Bryce Harper this offseason, but that's just the least of their troubles.
  • Their roster is full of aging stars whose performances have been declining. Injuries have also kept them off the field altogether.
  • Their farm system also ranks at the bottom of the league, which is why they'd be wise to try and sell as many veteran pieces as they can to rebuild, even if that means getting rid of some beloved faces.

Original analysis published on Mar. 1. 

Earlier in the decade, the Giants were the best team in baseball. Now they’re not even the best team that begins with the word “San.”

The Giants still have a bunch of familiar faces from their 2014 World Series squad, but don’t go thinking that they’re still a contender. They’re not. Signing Bryce Harper would’ve helped, but without him, this franchise is entering a dark time. They’re old, their farm system is trash and they’re not getting back to their World Series contending days anytime soon.

2018 Results

  • Record: 73-89 (-7. 4 units),  79-83 ATS (-7.0 units)
  • Over/Under Record: 69-86-7
  • Preseason World Series Odds: 33-1
  • Win Total: 79.5
  • Most Profitable Starter:  Chris Stratton (14-12, +4.6 units)

Oddsmakers weren’t buying the Giants’ fluky 64-win season in 2017, as they were expected to be a near-.500 team last year. Though they did win nine more games, they still fell well short of their win total.

They definitely tried hard to win last year, though. They traded for Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria in the offseason, but sold McCutchen to the Yankees while they could still get something in return for him. Meanwhile, Longoria had his worst season at the plate in his career and is still under contract for several more seasons.

Injuries also took their toll, as Buster Posey played through one and eventually was shut down for the season. Madison Bumgarner missed the first couple of months with a broken finger. Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija made just 19 combined starts. Not much went right for San Francisco last year.

2019 Odds

  • World Series Odds: +10000
  • Division Odds: +4000
  • Win Total O/U: 73.5
  • Playoff Odds: Make +900, Miss -1600

Oddsmakers basically expect the Giants to tread water this year, setting their win total at 73.5. Although they tried to get Harper, they failed, and didn’t do much else in terms of making their club better. Drew Pomeranz is basically their biggest addition of the offseason, while several other notable names were inked to minor league deals.

I honestly think the Giants should try and sell off the entire barn this year to replenish their really bad farm system, but their front office hasn’t really shown that they’re in that mindset quite yet. If they were, I’d like the under on their win total, but as of now, I’m not playing any Giants futures.

Roster Notes

  • Additions: Drew Pomeranz, Pat Venditte, Breyvic Valera, Mike Gerber, Hanser Alberto, Trevor Gott, Erik Kratz, Williams Jerez, Tom Murphy, Yangervis Solarte (minors), Gerardo Parra (minors), Stephen Vogt (minors), Jandel Gustave (minors), Keyvius Sampson (minors), Donovan Solano (minors),
  • Subtractions: Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, Nick Hundley, Hunter Strickland, Gorkys Hernandez, Kelby Tomlinson, Chase d’Arnaud, John Andreoli, Chris Stratton
  • Potential Lineup
    1. Steven Duggar – CF
    2. Joe Panik – 2B
    3. Buster Posey – C
    4. Brandon Belt – 1B
    5. Evan Longoria – 3B
    6. Brandon Crawford – SS
    7. Gerardo Parra – RF
    8. Mac Williamson – LF
  • Projected Rotation
    1. Madison Bumgarner
    2. Derek Holland
    3. Dereck Rodriguez
    4. Drew Pomeranz
    5. Jeff Samardzija
  • Prospect Watch: Shaun Anderson (Unranked, RHP), Chris Shaw (Unranked, OF), Ray Black (Unranked, RHP)
  • Key Injuries: Johnny Cueto (Tommy John, possibly late 2019)
  • MVP Candidates: Brandon Belt (+8000), Evan Longoria (+30000)
  • Cy Young Candidates: Madison Bumgarner (+2000)

Analysis

Player to Watch: Buster Posey

You know what you don’t want your star catcher to do? Undergo hip surgery. Well, I suppose he should get the surgery if he needs it, but it’s an unpromising development nonetheless.

Posey played in just 105 games last year due to his hip injury and had the worst production as a hitter in his career — a 106 wRC+. Above-average, but not Posey-esque.

He’s looking solid in terms of his recovery, but the Giants will obviously be cautious. Catchers and hips are somewhat of a dangerous combination, so they won’t want to overwork him.

With a wRC+ of 82, the Giants were the worst offensive team in baseball last year. They generally count on Posey to be the team’s best hitter, and he generally has been throughout his career. If he’s just average, the entire lineup is going to take a hit.

I’d be very concerned about him returning to form if I were the Giants, though. This goes for both production and staying healthy.

He’s about to turn 32, has seen diminished power over the past few seasons and is coming back from major surgery. I think it’s safe to say Posey’s best ball is behind him.

Pitcher to Watch: Madison Bumgarner

MadBum — one of the best hitting pitchers in the game, an owner of a Chevy Colorado and a World Series legend.

The Giants should trade him. Seriously.

Entering the final year of his contract, Bumgarner has been slipping over the past two seasons. Both have been injury-shortened years, but not up to ace-snuff nonetheless.

If you just look at his ERA, you wouldn’t really be able to tell, as he’s still been in the low-3s. If you look under the hood, though, you’d see that he’s been quite lucky that his ERA hasn’t been considerably worse

His walks went way up last year, while his strikeouts dropped considerably for a second consecutive season. His FIP suggests that his ERA should’ve been pushing 4.00, which is what some projection systems are … projecting … for him this year.

Similar to Clayton Kershaw, batters are also hitting him harder than they ever have. His hard-hit rate last year was an astonishingly high 41.6%. Before 2016, he’d never allowed that number to eclipse 30%, but since then, it’s gone from 31.6% to 35% to 41.6%.

With the current state of the franchise looking glum, the Giants need to do a bit of rebuilding. Most of their other veterans are under contract for a while so trading them could be hard, but Bumgarner could fetch a fine price on the market and the Giants’ dreadful farm system needs some restocking.

Summary

San Francisco is a baseball city. The fans love their Giants and they were surely happy with the three World Series titles earlier in the decade. Unfortunately, they’re in a really bad spot right now.

Their pitching staff is old and battered. MadBum is getting worse, Cueto is probably out for the year with Tommy John and Samardzija has been injured and/or bad over the past couple of seasons. With the latter two already under contract for at least a couple more seasons, the Giants need to take a long look at Bumgarner and ask themselves whether they want to gamble on another aging pitcher, or get rid of them while they can.

They do have a few young arms that will be featured in their rotation, but none are expected to perform at an above-average level.

Meanwhile, their offense is absolutely anemic. Their infield has some good all-around players, but their outfield is terrible.

Did you know that there have been zero Giants hitters with a 20-home run season in the past THREE years? The last man to achieve the feat was Brandon Crawford in 2015 with just 21. Their last player to hit 30 home runs in a season is Barry freaking Bonds way back in 2004.

They obviously had some success in the past without a true slugger in their lineup, but with this game becoming so strikeout and home run heavy, it’s tough to score if you don’t have guys that can knock out a dong or two. That’s why their offense ranked dead last with a wRC+ of just 82 last year.

I wish I had better news for you Giants fans out there, but I don’t see this team turning around and becoming a contender again anytime soon.


All odds via Westgate SuperBook as of Mar. 1

Transactions accurate as of Mar. 26. Free agents deemed subtractions until they re-sign

Advanced data via Fangraphs.com, prospect ratings via MLB.com, prospects in prospect watch expected to be MLB-ready in 2019

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