Giants

Giants season in review: Triples Alley hosts hand out superlatives

Giants season in review: Triples Alley hosts hand out superlatives

Editors note: The last episode of "Triples Alley" for the 2019 season will air Sunday, Sept. 29 following the Giants' season finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Catch Therese, Cole and Carmen on NBC Sports Bay Area after Giants Postgame Live.

The sun will set on the 2019 season for the Giants on Sunday, and it will mark the end of Bruce Bochy's tenure as manager.

While the Giants missed the MLB playoffs for the third straight season, they finished with a better record than they had last year.

Triples Alley hosts Therese Vinal, Carmen Kiew and Cole Kuiper looked back on the 2019 season and have handed out their Superlatives to the most deserving players.

Here's how it played out:

Best Newcomer

Carmen: I’m going to go with the obvious choice, Mike Yastrzemski. Not only does he have the heritage (hey, does everyone here know that Carl Yastrzemski is his grandfather? Not sure if that’s been mentioned enough) but he also just plays with a calm and cool demeanor that I like. He acts like he’s been in the big leagues all his life. Not to mention, the guy can hit more than 20 home runs in a season. We need those. Desperately. What a find. Good job, Farhan. 

Therese: I’ll match your 20 home runs with another player who was in the 20-homer Club this season. I’m going with the clubhouse choice, this year’s Willie Mac Award winner: Kevin Pillar. Since joining the team this season, he played in over 154 games which is insane to think about considering how many times he has crashed into walls and sacrificed his body for so many defensive plays. He leads the team in RBI, runs, and stolen bases. His work ethic is contagious.

Even Best Newcomer candidate Mike Yastrzemski said: “That's a guy everyone in this locker room should aspire to be like.”

Cole: How quickly we all forgot about July. That magical month where, for the brief blink of an eye, it looked like the Giants were contenders. And all that excitement, inarguably the most excitement of the season, was on the back of one man: Alex Dickerson. When Dickerson was on, boy was he ON. The entire dugout looked like a different group of guys.

Unfortunately, health issues kept him from sustaining that excitement. But the team turned a gruesome season around, even if temporarily, due to one dude. So he gets my vote. Simply for the gift of one very happy month.

Biggest Giant Killer

Cole: I know you both are going to go with offensive picks and I don’t blame you. When you think “Giant-killer” you think guys like Troy Tulowitzki who always have that clutch hit to devastate the team. But there are a few pitchers who have ownage, too! Jack Flaherty of the Cards faced the Giants twice this season, and was lights out both times. Had a good look at no-hitting our boys TWICE, taking goose eggs to late innings both times.

Flaherty's had an incredible year against the entire league but with just three hits given up to the Giants over 15 innings this season, plus a hit of his own on offense, he is definitely my 2019 Giant-killer. Wouldn’t mind seeing him shipped off to the AL eventually, because he could be an issue for years to come.

Carmen: This season, the unassuming Wilmer Flores has my vote. The guy with the gentle face and who uses the ‘Friends’ theme song as his walk-up music has racked up an impressive stat line against the Giants this season. In eight games and 11 at-bats, Flores has an impressive .583/.615/1.083 slash line. Oh, did I mention he has three home runs too? The biggest foes are always the ones you can’t spot right away and Wilmer fits the bill. 

Therese: I’m going with an oldie, but a goodie - wait, he’s not good for the Giants but you know what I mean. I’m picking Paul Goldschmidt. Doesn’t matter what team he is on or how his season is going, he always surges when facing the Giants. Even this season with the Cardinals, he still was living up to his nickname as the Giant Killer.

In seven games against the Giants this season, Goldschmidt hit .391, had a 1.343 OPS, and a slugging of .826 which included two doubles, a triple, two home runs, and 12 RBI. Yikes. Once a Giants Killer, always a Giants Killer.

Best Comeback Story

Therese: There wasn’t a player the fans were more excited to see back in a Giants uniform this season than Johnny Cueto. For a year after his Tommy John surgery, we hung on to any and all hopes of any status reports. Through his Instagram account, we were all able to see the work he was putting in as well as his horse riding and “fishing.” The man worked hard during his rehab -- even trimmed down 20 pounds!

When he finally made his 2019 debut with the Giants on September 10 at Oracle Park, he received a loud ovation. Fans and myself could not be more happy to have the Shimmy back at Oracle Park. 

Cole: We’ve had a sneaky comeback story right under our noses this season, but haven’t really noticed. He’s not coming off as huge of an injury as some of the other guys, but Jeff Samardzija re-invented himself and rolled STRONG. 2018 was a rough year for Mr. Shark, both on the mound and on-and-off the IL, but he was Ol’ Reliable for the Giants in 2019. Especially in the second half of the season, Samardzija has had his strongest stretch in a Giants uniform.

I guess the “story” element of “comeback story” isn’t as strong as some of the other guys we’ve talked about on the show this season, but I still feel like he deserves a shout-out for this category.

Carmen: What if I veered off the beaten path and picked #GoodGiant, former Giant, and resident fun-loving weirdo, Hunter Pence? Not only is he ACTUALLY nominated for the Comeback Player of the Year award by MLB, his 2019 resurrection is truly inspiring. Before scooting into the sunset last season, everyone’s assumption was that Hunter would retire. Instead, he completely rehauled his swing, took himself to the Dominican Republic to play winter ball, and signed a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers going into Spring Training.

Pence won himself a spot on the big league roster and raked, forcing himself into an everyday role. Not only that, the guy won a starting spot in the All-Star Game. While he’s been on the injured list for the last few weeks, he’s still rocking an impressive .297 batting average and has 18 home runs. He even has six stolen bases. I’d say that’s a pretty great comeback story, don’t ya think?

Player You'd Most Like To Get A Beer With

Cole: This question was a no-brainer to me. Ever since putting on the Giants uniform, Stephen Vogt has become a big part of the soul of this team. From his trademark referee “T” celebration, adopted by the rest of the team when they get an extra-base-hit, to his ear-to-ear smile in the dugout, he has been a joy to watch. But the main reason I’d like to sit down for a brew with Vogt is because he seems like such a fan!

Growing up in Visalia, Vogt was towards the southern end of the Giants’ territory, but bled orange and black nonetheless. He has spoken in interviews about being awestruck at catching Madison Bumgarner, or being shocked to share the same position as Buster Posey. And those are the kind of stories I’d want to talk about if I got a chance to bro-out with a player.

Therese: I know it’s supposed to be a player, but if I am going to have a beer with anyone on the team it would have to be Bruce Bochy. I can see it now: me and Boch, having a beer while playing golf in Pebble Beach, sharing jokes and stories, and capping it off with a bottle of wine -- maybe if we are lucky, good friend Rich Aurilia could join and bring a bottle of his Red Stitch wine… Plus it would be epic if Bochy would turn to me during the round and say: “You need a beer, grab a beer.”

Carmen: To absolutely nobody’s surprise, I will be selecting Brandon Belt for this coveted superlative. First of all, I can be pretty sure he would be down to order some fried food (or at least pit stop at Olive Garden). Second of all, he seems like just a generally cool dude to potentially kick around some weird conspiracy theories (I’m assuming he’s into these or he wouldn’t have built a custom bunker for hiding in his new home) or just making dumb jokes about nothing (this seems like a strong suit for Belt).

Lastly, I’m pretty sure he would be down to go to a dive bar so I could school him in foosball.

Most Likely To Star In A Head & Shoulders Commercial

Carmen: It’s allllll about the flow, baby. That’s why D-Rod is my guy. I think everyone else has great hair, but when it comes down to clean, voluminous locks, Rodriguez takes the cake.

Cole: Wait, can we pick the same person twice? Too bad. It’s happening. This is a goofy category, so I’m going with a goofy guy. There are plenty of “long-hair” choices on the Giants roster this season. But Shark has that smile that I could see on TV. Confident, unique, always laughing. Maybe it’s him, maybe it’s Maybelline. Wait, that’s the wrong brand.

Therese: This has to go to the OG of luscious locks: Brandon Crawford. He is known for his Gold Glove defense and his hair. It is Soul Glo quality hair folks. (That’s a reference to Coming to America which is a classic Eddie Murphy movie... in case I lost any of you young kiddos out there.)

[RELATED: Triples Alley hosts debate Oracle dimensions]

Best New Oracle Park Food

Cole: Right behind home plate on the main promenade level, Oracle Park’s new lumpia spot is incredible. Definitely not something that comes to mind when you picture “ballpark food,” but let’s be honest, it’s fried finger-food. It’s perfect for sitting square in your seat, watching the game. Delicious Filipino grub at a very reasonable price - you gotta check it out. Plus, the Lumpia Company was co-founded by E-40. So just tell me when to go.

Carmen: Shoutout to the ever delicious Super Duper. Yes, the burgers, fries, and shakes are delicious. But mostly, I am very encouraged by the pricing. You can get a full box of fries for $5!! FIVE DOLLARS! I think it’s one of the more affordable meals in the ballpark and it’s still satisfying and falls squarely in the “ballpark” food category. Super Duper definitely has my vote. 

Therese: I hate to sound so San Francisco with this choice, but it has to be the Poke Nachos. Da Poke Man is doing it right! We are talking FRESH ahi tuna drizzled in spicy sauce served over tortilla chips. What other sporting venues could you get something so fresh and delicious? Don’t get me wrong, I love to indulge in the traditional ballpark food, but the Da Poke Man is serving up delicious food I can eat at Oracle Park and feel good about my choices after.

Fantasy baseball 2020: Rankings, sleepers for Giants, A's this season

Fantasy baseball 2020: Rankings, sleepers for Giants, A's this season

Baseball is back, with MLB's Opening Day scheduled for July 23 and 24. Before we know it, bat flips will make everyone furious in a fanless ballpark. Even better, countless amounts of people are about to spend way too much money on a game they have no control over. 

We're of course talking about fantasy baseball, which will be much different this year. 

Everything about the game changes this season. Instead of a 162-game marathon, this will be a 60-game sprint. Instead of pitchers embarrassing themselves in the batter's box, the NL has adopted the DH this year. That could have a big impact on both the Giants and A's. 

So, what does this mean for Giants and A's players? First and foremost, the experts like the A's a lot more, a whole lot more. The A's have 11 players ranked ahead of the Giants' top player when it comes to fantasy baseball going into the season.

We looked at both Yahoo and ESPN's fantasy rankings for the top 250 players ahead of the upcoming season. Here's where the Bay Area's best rank, sleepers for each team and more. 

A's top-ranked players 

Matt Olson: (ESPN 51, Yahoo 89)
Matt Chapman: (ESPN 53, Yahoo 71)
Marcus Semien: (ESPN 57, Yahoo 72)
Liam Hendriks: (ESPN 89, Yahoo 91)
Ramon Laureano: (ESPN 98, Yahoo 92)
Khris Davis: (ESPN 103, Yahoo 150)
Sean Manaea: (ESPN 165, Yahoo 173)
Frankie Montas: (ESPN 198, Yahoo 111)
Stephen Piscotty: (ESPN 214, Yahoo N/A)
Mark Canha: (ESPN 226, Yahoo N/A)
Mike Fiers: (ESPN 250, Yahoo N/A)
Jesus Luzardo: (Yahoo 149, ESPN N/A)
A.J Puk: (Yahoo 165, ESPN N/A)

Giants top-ranked players

Jeff Samardzija: (Yahoo 249)

That's it ... 

Brandon Belt (299) ranks in ESPN's top 300, and Tony Watson (257) and Mike Yastrzemski (261) both made Yahoo's top 300.

A's sleeper

All the hype on the A's pitching staff is around Luzardo and Puk, and understandably so. They are two of the best left-handed pitching prospects in baseball, and should be AL Rookie of the Year candidates. 

If Luzardo and Puk can stay healthy, they quickly can become Oakland's aces. But Luzardo still hasn't joined the A's after testing positive for the coronavirus. That brings us to perhaps the A's current ace. 

Montas at 111 and 198 feels low. The 27-year-old went 9-2 with a 2.63 ERA over 16 starts last season. He was suspended 80 games, but when on the field, he was dominant. The big right-hander struck out 9.7 batters per nine innings, and has been praised for the shape he showed up to Summer Camp in. 

There's a real chance Montas establishes himself as a star this season, and can finish the year ranked much higher than he currently is. 

Giants sleeper

Evan Longoria couldn't have started off last season much worse. He hit just .212 in March/April and .215 in May. That number rose to .241 in June, but between July and August, he was back to his All-Star self. 

Longoria hit .400 with six homers and 12 RBI in just nine games in July. Then in August, he hit .345 with four homers, 20 RBI and a .901 OPS. Over 31 games combined in July and August, the Giants' third baseman hit .359 with 10 home runs, 32 RBI and a 1.065 OPS. 

With Buster Posey out, Longoria will be relied upon as a veteran leader. Gabe Kapler will platoon his lineup nearly every game, and Longoria should be one of the only everyday players. If he's the player he was last summer, the Giants have a star.

Division foes

This is your reminder the Los Angeles Dodgers really did trade for Mookie Betts. Along with Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers might have two of the top five fantasy players in the game.

Nolan Arrenado and Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies might be in the top 15 as well, and San Diego Padres infielders Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado could find themselves in the top 25 or 30. That doesn't even bring us to Madison Bumgarner. 

The former Giants ace, now in his first season with the Arizona Diamondbacks. ESPN ranks MadBum as their 110th-best fantasy player, and Yahoo has him lower at 136. 

Oakland will face plenty of star power in the AL West, too. Mike Trout always will be near the top of rankings, fellow two-way Angels star Shohei Ohtani is a fantasy anomaly. The Angels also added Anthony Rendon, who could be in the top five. 

Love them or hate them, the Houston Astros are full of stars, with a long list of highly ranked fantasy players. Joey Gallo will hit dingers for the Texas Rangers, and maybe a healthy Kyle Lewis will live up to his potential for the Seattle Mariners. 

No matter what, though, it's hard to find a team with as many fantasy stars as the A's.

MLB rumors: Yasiel Puig signing with Braves, not Giants, as free agent

MLB rumors: Yasiel Puig signing with Braves, not Giants, as free agent

Yasiel Puig reportedly will not be wearing orange and black next season and will be joining the Atlanta Braves.

MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand was first with the news on Tuesday.

The Giants, in the beginning, reportedly were one of the teams in the running for the free-agent outfielder, and despite his knowledge of the NL West having spent six seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers -- he will be going elsewhere.

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said on the Tim Kawakami Show that they weren’t “really having any active conversations with anyone outside the organization,” when asked about possibly acquiring Puig.

Puig to the Braves makes perfect sense as outfielder Nick Markakis has opted out of the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic. He felt uneasy about playing without fans and was swayed a bit with Braves’ All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman testing positive for the coronavirus.

[RELATED: Buster Posey's leadership will be missed, but not forgotten]

This will put Puig in the outfield with Ender Inciarte, Marcell Ozuna and Ronald Acuña Jr. which shapes to be a rather strong outfield. 

For now, Puig still needs to pass a physical and a COVID-19 test before the deal becomes official. 

Puig enters his eighth season in 2020 and earned one All-Star selection in 2014. Across seven seasons and three teams, Puig accumulated a .277/.348/.475 average with 132 home runs and 415 RBI which is good for a career .823 OPS.