Giants

MLB power rankings: A's better 2022 team than Giants, Bleacher Report says

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MLB power rankings: A's better 2022 team than Giants, Bleacher Report says

Even if you possessed a crystal ball, it's difficult to determine the future of any organization -- especially in baseball. You've seen how some of these trade deadlines can be. 

But let's have some fun.

For a moment, let's predict the future. And the future looks bright for the Bay Area teams, but one could shine brighter ... and it's the Oakland A's.

Bleacher Report's Joel Reuter developed power rankings as he sees them in 2022 for each MLB team. He projected the rosters by player's contracts, arbitration-eligible players and top prospects to name a few. Reuter also added the notable free agents, player/club/vesting options as well as financial flexibility.

He truly thought of it all.

The Baltimore Orioles rounded out at the bottom of the power rankings which is sad to know considering that's about where the team is currently. The Atlanta Braves' young squad holds the top spot which isn't too surprising considering Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies are just a fraction of the talent they possess.

The A's and Giants find themselves right in the middle of the power rankings. 

Oakland was projected ever so slightly above San Francisco at the No. 16 overall spot. And look how strange the lineup looks: 

Oakland A's, 2022

Jorge Mateo, LF
Ramón Laureano, CF
Matt Chapman, 3B
Matt Olson, 1B
Stephen Piscotty, DH
Sheldon Neuse, 2B
Sean Murphy, C
Austin Beck, RF
Nick Allen, SS

Pitching Staff

Jesús Luzardo
A.J. Puk
Frankie Montas
Sean Manaea
Chris Bassitt
Lou Trivino

Puk probably will take on a starting role and in 2022 Luzardo will have been in the league a while after his heavily anticipated debut. And of course, Montas will have been back from his 80-game PED suspension for a while once the yearly calendar flips a few times.

The Matt's will continue to shine at the corners of the infield and at the plate, so there are no worries there. Chapman isn't a free agent until 2024 -- that should make A's fans happy.

Reuter does mention that there is a lot to think about when it comes to the development of Puk and Luzardo. And as much as we don't want to put this out in the universe, the two did struggle with injuries recently and those don't get easily erased from your history. 

Allen was mentioned in Reuter's roster, which probably has some asking, "Well, what about Marcus Semien?" That's fair. The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser reported Marcus Semien not only wants an extension but would love for his family to live in the Bay Area year-round. He just changed agencies so the thought is fresh on his mind. 

That could change some things.

And as for the Giants, the roster looks completely different.

San Francisco Giants, 2022

Alexander Canario, LF
Marco Luciano, SS
Heliot Ramos, RF
Joey Bart, C
Hunter Bishop, CF
Logan Wyatt, 1B
Evan Longoria, 3B
Mauricio Dubon, 2B

Pitching Staff

Logan Webb
Sean Hjelle
Seth Corry
Tyler Beede
Shaun Anderson
Melvin Adon

A lot of new names fill the roster, which would appear to be what president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi would want. But people would be curious to know what happened to the big names. Reuter said the assumption would be the Giants declining options on Buster Posey and Johnny Cueto -- that frees up around $75 million heading into the 2021-22 season. And remember, Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith will hit free agency after the 2019 season.

Young Marco Luciano recently told MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez he wants to play in the MLB in just three years. He's 17 years old, so you do the math. And in his defense, he's having a very strong Rookie League campaign so that confidence is well-warranted.

The crystal ball proves both teams will be successful if all goes well, but the A's do have a slight edge. 

Giants announce changes to Oracle Park, move bullpens to outfield

Giants announce changes to Oracle Park, move bullpens to outfield

On the first day of the Winter Meetings, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi joked that Brandon Belt might often be checking his phone these days for updates on exactly how much the Giants would be chopping out of Triples Alley. On Thursday the Giants finally made their new dimensions official, with changes that aren't all that drastic and still will keep Oracle Park as a pitchers' park with a deep alley in right-center.

It still will be difficult for left-handed hitters to yank the ball out in Triples Alley, but the Giants did change enough that offense should get a slight boost. 

With the bullpens moving from foul territory to the outfield, Triples Alley will be cut from 421 feet to 415. The wall will be five feet closer in left-center and eight feet closer in straightaway center. The bullpens will be situated in center field on either side of the garden that already exists out there. 

"Obviously it's something that started off really as a safety issue with some of what we've seen over the last couple of years, but there's going to be a fun baseball element," Zaidi said earlier this week. "We've done a lot of studies on how we think it's going to impact things but until you actually start playing games and the ball starts flying, you're never quite sure how it's going to go. It'll be a fun and exciting time."

It'll also be a much different look for relievers and fans who sit out in the bleachers. The Giants announced that several bleacher seats will directly overlook the bullpens and they will have two new standing-room terraces out there for fans. The garden in center field will also provide a direct view into the Giants' bullpen. 

[RELATED: Giants announce eight additions to coaching staff]

For the players, the bullpens will have padded chain link openings in the wall so they can watch the game. The centerfield wall will also be one foot shorter, going from eight to seven feet, which could aid a hitter or two every year but may also make it easier for the centerfielder to rob an opposing batter. 

The Giants expect a touch more offense from the new look, but as they ran studies in recent months, they discovered that the weather was actually the main factor in knocking down potential home runs. The heavy air will still be there at night, protecting pitchers and frustrating hitters. 

That'll be good news for Giants relievers. The press release continued one more bit of important news for that group. Both bullpens will have their own bathroom for players. 

Giants add interesting arm on way out of Winter Meetings

Giants add interesting arm on way out of Winter Meetings

SAN DIEGO -- It'll be easy to tell when the Giants once again are elite on the field, but when it comes to the health of the minor league system and back end of the 40-man roster, the indicators aren't as clear to the public. One good measure of success will be the yearly Rule 5 draft, which provides an opportunity for struggling clubs to add talent to their big league roster by raiding loaded systems. 

The Astros lost three prospects in the first 10 selections Thursday morning. The Yankees, Nationals and Rays also lost players during the first four picks. That's a sign of health for those organizations, of depth the Giants hope to build. They've made strides but they're still far behind, so on Thursday they once again were on the selecting end. 

A year after they took two players in the Rule 5, the Giants used their lone open roster spot on Dany Jimenez, a 25-year-old right-hander who pitched in the Blue Jays' system last year. Jimenez has a live arm and better command than you usually see from Rule 5 picks. The Giants will throw him in the bullpen mix but must return him to the Blue Jays if Jimenez is not on their big league roster.

"We were happy he fell to us," general manager Scott Harris said. "As we talked about all week, we're trying to find talent. We're trying to find new creative ways. This isn't the most creative way but we got an arm we like."

The Giants selected Drew Ferguson and Travis Bergen last December and later acquired Connor Joe, who was their opening day left fielder. Ferguson was sent back to the Astros during the spring and Joe ended up back with the Dodgers after a few games. Bergen lasted a few months but eventually was sent back to the Blue Jays. 

Jimenez has a strong shot at making the opening day roster and has a better shot than most Rule 5 picks of surviving. It's easier to hide a pitcher in your bullpen all year, particularly with the rosters expanding and the Giants able to carry 13 arms throughout the season. Jimenez also has more experience than Bergen did. He reached Double-A last season and dominated, posting a 1.87 ERA and striking out 46 in 33 2/3 innings. 

Harris said Jimenez has a fastball in the upper 90s. He has averaged 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings in the minors and has kept his walk rate on the high end of what's acceptable. That might play in the big leagues, giving the Giants a free reliever at a time when their bullpen is undergoing massive changes. 

[RELATED: Three winners, three losers from the MLB Winter Meetings]

The Giants did not lose a player in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. In the Triple-A phase, they added Brewers catching prospect Bryan Torres to the River Cats' roster.

There was one other pick of note. Starting pitcher Stephen Woods was the fourth overall pick of the draft, going from the Rays to the Royals. Two years ago, the Giants sent Woods to Tampa Bay in the Evan Longoria deal.