Giants

A simulation has Giants signing Bryce Harper and ending up on the Yankees

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USATSI

A simulation has Giants signing Bryce Harper and ending up on the Yankees

The "what ifs" of MLB free agency have made for some very interesting conversations -- especially when it comes to young superstars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. 

What if I told you someone created a strategic simulation game that allowed people to play GM and run teams themselves? Well, look no further.

FiveThirtyEight worked with Out of the Park Developments to create scenarios in which Machado and Harper sign with certain teams -- and project how they would perform with said teams.

Since Harper is gaining so much traction toward the Giants, let's take a look at the "what if" for the six-time All-Star landing in an orange and black uniform.

The "frequency" of Harper ending up with the Giants was at 64%, with an average contract with San Francisco worth $175 million over seven years.

Here's what the article states:

"According to OOTP, San Francisco would pay about $15 million to $20 million more over a seven-year deal than Harper’s other potential suitors, and they wouldn’t get much postseason success out of it. They are projected to average 85.5 wins per season over the first four years of Harper’s deal, finishing second in the NL West (and out of the playoffs) each year."

Remember, these are just simulations. A formula, like the favorite toy, is an estimation we could use to estimate the probability a player could achieve a certain statistical goal: i.e, 3,000 hit club, home run records, etc. But this is more specific, as it delves into how they could perform on different teams -- and creates specific scenarios.

The results also indicate his WAR numbers would be the "classic inconsistent" Bryce at a 5.7 WAR in his first year with the Giants, then 4.4, then 2.2 -- then followed by a possible 0.6 WAR. 

Yikes. But the Giants ending up with 85.5 wins per season is at least an improvement. 

"After six up-and-down seasons by the Bay, Harper would sign a four-year, $116.8 million deal with the Brewers. He is projected for a strong season on a playoff-bound Milwaukee team in 2025 but then just 2.1 WAR per year over the next two seasons before opting out early yet again to join … yes, the Yankees."

The possibility of him eventually landing on the Yankees isn't a crazy notion, but the specifics to this are pretty amazing:

"During his inevitable run in pinstripes, Harper would boast an .821 OPS as his Yanks make (and lose) the ALCS in 2028, but he would put up negative WAR over the next two seasons. He would retire at age 38 after being released by New York (and briefly rejoining the Giants). Harper’s final JAWS score of 49.9 would put him right on the edge of the Hall of Fame relative to other right fielders."

[RELATED: Farhan Zaidi says 'mutual interest' between Giants, Harper]

But these simulations, according to the article, are intended for "fun gameplay." So relax for a moment before you bombard the comments.

So there you have it. A possible scenario where superstar Bryce Harper gets signed by the Giants and "inevitably" ends up on the Yankees.

Former Giant Hunter Pence makes Rangers roster after successful spring

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AP

Former Giant Hunter Pence makes Rangers roster after successful spring

SAN FRANCISCO -- A few hours after an emotional goodbye at Oracle Park last season, Hunter Pence started working on his swing.

It paid off.

Pence will make the Texas Rangers’ Opening Day roster, according to TR Sullivan of MLB.com. He was in camp with his childhood team as a non-roster invitee and had a huge spring.

Pence, 35, is batting .356 in Cactus League play with three homers and five doubles, with an OPS over 1.000. He has six stolen bases in as many attempts.

Pence looked just about done last year while batting just .226 with four homers for the Giants. But he vowed to remake his swing in the offseason by working with renowned instructor Doug Latta in Los Angeles, and he took the unusual step of playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic as an established veteran.

That all led to a tryout with the Rangers, who valued what Pence could bring to their young spring clubhouse. He ended up adding right-handed pop, too, and he beat out several, including young prospect Willie Calhoun.

[RELATED: Pence's inspiring winter ball speech

On Thursday morning, a few hours before the news became public, Pence tweeted out a short message: “It’s Thursday and I’m thankful.”

These four Giants can hit 20 home runs in 2019, Mike Krukow predicts

These four Giants can hit 20 home runs in 2019, Mike Krukow predicts

Only one team stood in the way of the Giants earning the coveted crown of least home runs in baseball last season. Thanks a lot, Marlins. 

Not one Giant finished the season with 20 home runs. Evan Longoria led the team with 16 long balls in 2018, which was a career-low for the third baseman. 

With spring training wrapping up, it's time to turn the page and move on to 2019. And broadcaster Mike Krukow is optimistic there can be a power resurgence in San Francisco. 

“Well, I think Evan Longoria is going to hit twenty plus,” Krukow said Wednesday on KNBR. “Last year he hit sixteen and missed a month. He was so out of whack the first couple of months of the season, after coming over to a new team after spending the first ten years of his career with one team. I think he’s in the comfort zone now, he’s had a great spring, he’s in great shape.”

Longoria, 33, is off to a strong start this spring. Going into Thursday's slate of games, he's batting .324 with two home runs. After getting a full season of the National League under his belt, the three-time All-Star could be a candidate for a bounce-back year.

Speaking of Belt ... Krukow believes the first baseman can finally crack the 20-homer mark, too. 

"We keep waiting for Belt, he’s always had a chance to hit twenty," Krukow said. "He’s having a great spring and swinging the bat well right now, but when he got to camp, he kept the same weight as last year but with six percent less body fat."

Belt has been limited to only 104 and 112 games the last two seasons due to injuries where he's knocked 18 and 14 home runs. The power has always been there, though his health has been a concern. 

Now that Buster Posey is presumably healthy after hip surgery, Krukow sees the catcher flirting with 20 home runs for the first time since he hit 22 in 2014. The big name to watch, however, is Mac Williamson. 

"I think those three guys can do it, but wouldn’t it be something if Mac Williamson got into that same groove as last summer? There’s a guy who can put up thirty," Krukow said.

[RELATED: Brandon Belt reveals how he accidentally cut off half of his eyebrow]

Williamson might have the most raw power on the Giants' roster. A concussion cut down what should have been the best year of his career last season. While he's still competing to win a starting job in left field, a hot Williamson can produce some big power numbers.

The Giants has struggled mightily hitting the ball over the wall for years now. Is 2019 the year it's bombs away in the year? Until proven otherwise, there's always reasons for optimism.