As the 2019 MLB season gets underway, fans may be wondering how their team stacks up against the rest of the competition. At the same time, it is also fun to see how the experts feel about one's favorite team and what their projections are for their possibility of success.
Most fans are somewhat experts on their own teams, their players, and their strengths and weaknesses as a team and as individuals. However, in the incredibly busy lives of 2019 America, most do not have the ability to (if they even possess the interest or motivation) comprehensively scout every team throughout the rest of the league.
This is where relying on experts' picks and projections become crucial. It helps fans understand where their team fits in with the rest of the league. To that end, there is a vast array of sources available to fans who may be seeking such information. Without any further ado, the following is what some of those experts are saying about the Bay's teams.
The present and future for the Giants seems to be cloudy and bleak, according to ESPN's Bradford Doolittle:
"It was good while it lasted. Under Bruce Bochy, the Giants clawed and gritted and gutted their way to three titles in five seasons with largely the same core of beloved veterans. Some of those -- Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Brandon Crawford -- are still around, but the architect of those teams (Brian Sabean) has been replaced by new analytics-age exec Farhan Zaidi, and Bochy is entering the last season of his storied managerial career. The path between one prolonged period of contention and the next one is usually not too scenic, and the one the Giants have just started across is unlikely to look anything like the Golden Gate Bridge."
Here is Doolittle's A's 2019 outlook, a bright and encouraging picture:
"After the Moneyball heyday of the early 2000s, Oakland's front office has managed to open up contention windows for two or so years a couple of times, before being forced to strip down and begin again. This time, coming off a 97-win playoff season with a roster featuring very young stars like Olson (who begins the season on the injured list) and Matt Chapman, we may be looking at the dawn of another era of sustained winning in Oakland. Bolstering those hopes are the improving prospects for a long-awaited new ballpark by the bay."
Giants fans shouldn't get too excited or anxious about the team's recent struggles, nor should they expect the G Men to seriously compete any time soon, according to the above source. Yet, the fact still remains that Bruce Bochy still has command of a top notch bullpen and a very capable starting rotation, anchored by Madison Bumgarner. Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, and Joe Panik still have plenty left in the tank, and the farm is beginning to show signs of long-awaited life.
San Francisco fans need only remember that no expert worth his salt would have predicted that the Giants would go on to win the 2010 World Series. That team, if you remember, was a merry band of misfits–Aubrey Huff, Cody Ross, Pat Burrell, Pablo Sandoval, among others–plus a spry, young, and powerful Buster Posey, headlined by an incredibly talented pitching staff that included: 2-time Cy Young Award winner Tim "The Freak" Lincecum, perennial-Cy Young candidate Matt Cain, and the rookie phenom-version of Madison Bumgarner. Add to that the remarkably solid bullpen work of the "core four" (Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez, and Sergio Romo) and closer Brian "B-Weezy" Wilson. Any team can get "figure it out" and get hot, heading into the postseason. While it's best not to assume the 2019 Giants will be any of that, they shouldn't be counted out.
Now, as far as the cross-Bay rivals of those Giants are concerned, Oakland fans have a lot to be excited about. Not only are they coming off of a 97-win season, as ESPN's Doolittle rightfully points out, they are returning essentially the same team minus their 2018 All-Star second baseman Jed Lowrie. Their elite core of bullpen arms–Blake Treinen, Lou Trivino, Ryan Buchter, and Yusmeiro Petit–is still intact and their high-powered offense still boasts sluggers Khris Davis, Matt Chapman, Mark Canha, and Stephen Piscotty (Matt Olson is currently on the injured list). There are plenty of questions surrounding the ability and endurance of their starting rotation, and deservedly so, but that rotation is made up of a nice mix of veterans with solid track records and promising young arms.
All of the speculation can be fun; it can be infuriating. It depends on how you handle the information they provide and, of course, where your team stacks up against the rest of the league. So, for the Bay Area, the Giants are in the process of rebuilding, but they still have enough pieces to compete within the NL West. The A's, on the other hand, look like legitimate contenders for not only a postseason berth but possibly a trip to the October Classic, as well.