Not because the Giants will be a star-studded team, mind you - they just play on July 16 in LA.
But the Giants will have at least one player participating in the All-Star Game, because MLB - despite being a league steeped in antiquated and silly definitions of masculinity that seem to shun things like “fun” and “participation” - insists on giving All-Star nods to a player from every team, instead of, you know . . . the best players.
Which means the Giants are guaranteed one player at Dodger Stadium for the midsummer classic. And they’ll almost surely have exactly one player, because let’s face it: They’re not likely to be good.
Who will that player be? Let’s break down the most likely candidates, in order.
1. Tony Watson (LHP)
Will Tony Watson be the team’s best player next year? Goodness gracious, even by the Giants grim standards, that would be unsettling.
No, Watson will not be the team’s best player. He won’t lead them in Wins Above Replacement. He damn well might be their All-Star representative though.
The bullpen is the default place to throw token All-Stars, because, honestly, who’s going to make a fuss?
The fifth through ninth-best starting pitchers in the National League last year, per Fangraphs WAR, were Hyun-Jin Ryu, Patrick Corbin, Jack Flaherty, Zach Wheeler, and Noah Syndergaard.
The relievers? Giovanny Gallegos, Wander Suero, Shake Milton, John Brebbia, and Luke Jackson.
Those first five are people who get Cy Young vote. The latter five are four whoevers and an NBA player, just to see if you actually had any idea who occupies bullpens in the big leagues.
On a side note, the tenth-best reliever last year, per fWAR, was Mark Melancon. Eleventh was Will Smith. Makes you think, I guess.
Anyway, the point is this: Smith was the Giants representative and no one batted an eye. He was a very good reliever. Maybe not an All-Star if the Giants weren’t required to have a selection, but did anyone care that Smith was donning the weird All-Star jerseys while Pedro Baez got an honest-to-goodness vacation? No.
Watson was bad last year, but he was spectacular in 2018. It’s quite likely that Shaun Anderson will start the year as the closer, but Watson will almost surely get his high leverage moments. If he’s anything like he was in 2018, and the Giants are anything like they were in 2019, you can pencil him in. With Reyes Moronta and Pablo Sandoval injured, Watson is quite likely the team’s best reliever.
2. Buster Posey (C)
Buster Posey should be an All-Star. Unequivocally. Why? I present all the evidence you need:
Baseball-related homicide notwithstanding, Posey actually has a decent chance at making the All-Star Game, despite some strong negative regression in 2019.
There were only two really good catchers in the NL last year: J.T. Realmuto, and Yasmani Grandal. And Grandal is now playing in the American League.
2018 Posey would have been third among 2019 NL catchers, if you removed Grandal. I realize those gymnastics would make Simone Biles jealous, but the point stands: Any positive regression from Posey immediately puts him near an All-Star level.
Add in Posey’s reputation, and the fact that he just might feel the heat from Joey Bart rising up behind him, and we could see Buster having one final July hurrah.
3. Johnny Cueto (RHP)
In case you forget, Johnny Cueto began his Giants tenure with 4.9 fWAR, a 2.96 FIP, and the starting nod in the 2016 All-Star Game.
Is he still that pitcher, post Tommy John surgery? Probably not. But he had some highly encouraging moments at the end of 2019 in shaking off the rust. And I mean, come on, just look at the guy and tell me you’re not optimistic. I don’t care if it’s illogical, just lead with your heart for once!
If I had to put money on who will be the most valuable Giants player in 2020, I’d vote Cueto. But it’s really hard to make the All-Star Game as a starting pitcher, so I’ll give him third.
4. Brandon Crawford (SS)
Brandon Crawford had a really bad 2019. And a really bad end of 2018. But he had a really great start to 2018, and was an All-Star that year; and not just a pity token All-Star, as he was joined by Posey on that year’s roster.
Should we expect a return to form from Crawford this year? Absolutely not. Should we be shocked beyond belief if he bounces back strong? Also absolutely not.
5. Evan Longoria (3B)
Evan Longoria might have been on his way to an All-Star bid last year before injuries derailed his season. After returning, he never found the rhythm that allowed him to rule June.
Look, Longo has been steadily declining for a while now, yet I keep getting the completely unfounded and illogical sense that he has one random bounce back year in him; the type of year that would cause someone to give him a massively oversized contract, if he weren’t already on one of those.
Might as well make it this year.
Oh, and while I have your attention: