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Predict the Giants' lineup in 2019

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Baseball America did it, so you should have the chance to be just as right or wrong.

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I got my copy of the 2016 Baseball America Prospect Handbook in the mail today, which is always one of the best February traditions. The first thing I do is flip to the lineup they project the Giants to have in three years, and I'm not sure why. It's comforting. For example, here's the lineup they projected for the 2010 Giants in the 2007 Prospect Handbook.

C - Eliezer Alfonzo
1B - Travis Ishikawa
2B - Kevin Frandsen
3B - Angel Villalona
SS - Emmanuel Burriss
LF - Eddy Martinez-Esteve
CF - Fred Lewis
RF - Nate Schierholtz

Would that lineup have won the first World Series in San Francisco history? I guess we'll never really know.

These lineups aren't Baseball America trying to look into the future. It's a shorthand way to describe the farm system and how it might mesh with what the roster looks like at the time of publishing. That doesn't mean they aren't amazingly fun to look back on.

For example, get a load of what they predicted for the Giants back in 2013:

C - Buster Posey
1B - Brandon Belt
2B - Joe Panik
3B - Pablo Sandoval
SS - Brandon Crawford
LF - Angel Pagan
CF - Gary Brown
RF - Hunter Pence

No. 1 Starter - Matt Cain
No. 2 Starter - Madison Bumgarner
No. 3 Starter - Kyle Crick
No. 4 Starter - Tim Lincecum
No. 5 Starter - Chris Stratton

Closer - Heath Hembree

Ha ha ha, those fools. They ... wait. They nailed six out of the eight players in the lineup, and they got two of the starting pitchers. I've been reading these things for over a decade, and they never get that close. Not because they make bad picks, but a) because they don't factor in trades and free agents, and b) because projecting three years into the future is always silly. The 2003 Tigers lost 119 games. The 2006 Tigers won the pennant. Every top-100 prospect list from three years ago is absolutely filled with what-were-they-thinking non-prospects. To get three-fourths of an entire lineup is absurd.

Maybe we should have seen this coming, then. Maybe back in 2013, we should have looked at Posey, Crawford, Belt, Cain, Bumgarner, Panik, and Pence, and assumed this bunch would have been contending indefinitely. Maybe you did do that. I didn't, though. I'm beholden to the ANYTHING-CAN-HAPPEN philosophy, which posits that it's always ridiculous to look three years into the future. In retrospect, it seems like a great way to miss out on the steady, low-drama players.

The real reason that Baseball America nailed the 2016 projected lineup, though, is that the Giants were ridiculously young. Did we make a big deal of this at the time? Seems like we didn't make a big enough deal. Posey/Crawford/Belt/Bumgarner was a dynamite head start to any roster, and that's before Crawford molted into a 20-homer hitter. No, Sandoval didn't stay, and Matt Duffy was just a dude hitting .247 in the Northwest League, but it shouldn't have been that surprising to see the core of the Giants stick around.

Your job now is simple. Predict the Giants' lineup in 2019. You can cheat and use free agents or trades. One of you jokers already has plans to put Bryce Harper in the lineup, and I can say without reservation that you are a very amusing person.

Here's what BA says about 2019 (and remember, they don't use free agents or trades):

C - Andrew Susac
1B - Buster Posey
2B - Joe Panik
3B - Matt Duffy
SS - Brandon Crawford
LF - Brandon Belt
CF - Lucius Fox
RF - Christian Arroyo

SP - Madison Bumgarner
SP - Tyler Beede
SP - Phil Bickford
SP - Sam Coonrod
SP - Chris Heston

Closer - Ray Black

All reasonable, considering the assets on hand. I'll go in a different direction, though.

C - Buster Posey
1B - Chris Shaw
2B - Joe Panik
3B - Manny Machado
SS - Brandon Crawford
LF - Matt Duffy
CF - Ronnie Jebavy
RF - Jorge Soler

SP - Madison Bumgarner
SP - Adalberto Mejia
SP - Sam Coonrod
SP - Jeff Samardzija
SP - Wade Miley

Closer - Random dude drafted this year

Is there logic behind that? No. Not really. I just wanted to pick a lineup for 2019 and laugh about it in three years. Pretty sure I won't be close. Though I enjoyed using my not-Bryce-Harper loophole on Machado.

But you should have a chance to laugh at yourself like that. Here's a blank:

C - 
1B - 
2B - 
3B - 
SS - 
LF - 
CF - 
RF -

SP - 
SP -
SP - 
SP -
SP -

Closer -

Copy, paste, and knock yourself out.