Giants

Giants vs. Braves lineup: Bruce Bochy goes back to left-handed hitters

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Giants vs. Braves lineup: Bruce Bochy goes back to left-handed hitters

After going right-handed heavy against Braves left-hander Max Fried, Giants manager Bruce Bochy is placing his lefties back at the top of the order on Thursday for the series finale at Oracle Park. 

With right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman on the hill for Atlanta, three of the Giants' first four hitters will be lefties. Ironically, lefties (.205) are hitting worse than right-handers (.258) against Gausman this season. 

Madison Bumgarner will be on the bump for the Giants. And the Braves will be watching him closely as they think about potentially trading for him later this season.

[RELATED: Potential trade partner set to get up-close look at MadBum]

First pitch is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming on the MyTeams app.

Here are the lineups for both teams:

San Francisco Giants (21-27)
Joe Panik, 2B
Steven Duggar, CF
Buster Posey, C
Brandon Belt, 1B
Evan Longoria, 3B
Kevin Pillar, RF
Mac Williamson, LF
Donovan Solano, SS
Madison Bumgarner, LHP (3-4, 4.21 ERA)

Atlanta Braves (27-23)
Ronald Acuña Jr., CF
Dansby Swanson, SS
Freddie Freeman, 1B
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Austin Riley, LF
Ozzie Albies, 2B
Charlie Culberson, RF
Tyler Flowers, C
Kevin Gausman, RHP (2-3, 4.31 ERA)

Giants forgoing Yasiel Puig sweepstakes has team focusing on next wave

Giants forgoing Yasiel Puig sweepstakes has team focusing on next wave

A few minutes after word leaked that Yasiel Puig will sign with the Braves, a hitting group took the field at Oracle Park that showed exactly why he wasn't necessary in San Francisco this year. 

Mike Yastrzemski took his swings with Darin Ruf, who has been a camp revelation and is being counted on to fill the role of right-handed masher in the lineup this season. Yastrzemski, though, is the one who really is indicative of why the Giants are keeping it in-house as the season approaches. 

The Giants did something simple with Yastrzemski last year. They gave him a chance. 

Yastrzemski, 107 games and 21 homers later, might now be Farhan Zaidi's best big leaguer, and the hope with the front office is that the 2019 discovery is just the start. 

Yastrzemski is likely to be an everyday player for Gabe Kapler, and the Giants are hopeful that Jaylin Davis, 26, joins him. Mauricio Dubon, 25, looks headed for a meaty role in the outfield, too, and 27-year-old Austin Slater is going to get another look. The staff also likes Joe McCarthy, a 26-year-old who was acquired at the deadline last year and boasts a .376 OBP in the minors. 

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Much of the attention over the last two weeks has been on the younger kids, the Lucianos, Toribios and Canarios of the organization. But the Giants have a slightly older class of hitters, primarily outfielders, who are looking to prove they're part of the future, too, and they don't have a Triple-A season to get them ready. Every at-bat given to a free-agent outfielder is one taken away from Davis or Slater or maybe Dubon. 

Of course, the Giants aren't just here to develop players. They hope to compete this season, and Puig -- for all the headaches he brings -- is a proven right fielder. He is no longer, however, a proven star. Puig's OPS+ last year was a league-average 100 and he has just one three-WAR season since 2014. He was not going to be a game-changer for the Giants, and realistically, there's nobody out there who can change their fate too much now that Buster Posey has opted out. 

[RELATED: Fantasy baseball rankings for Giants, A's]

This season is what it is, but the Giants do honestly look headed for a much brighter future. The teenagers are coming fast, and Heliot Ramos and Hunter Bishop should arrive in the outfield in the next year or two. The hope is that when they do, Yastrzemski has company in the lineup, that a Davis or Dubon or Slater has locked down a permanent role. 

As the Giants proved last year, the only way to find those guys is to give them a shot, give them some "runway" to succeed or fail, as Zaidi has said many times in his two years here. That wasn't going to happen with another veteran joining the group nine days before the opener. 

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 is 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.