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MLB San Francisco Giants

Opening Day 2014: San Francisco Giants Season Outlook

Opening Day 2014: San Francisco Giants Season Outlook

Hunter Pence San Francisco Giants
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco Giants enter the 2014 season with serious potential, but aren't touted as perennial contenders. The Giants underachieved on a massive level last season, specifically because of roster-crippling injuries and poor starting pitching performances. San Francisco's staff finished the season with a stunning 4.00 ERA on the heels of a World Series title. The Giants are bound for a turnaround in 2014, signified by career averages.

Top 5 Hitters

Pablo Sandoval San Francisco Giants
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Top 5 Hitters

Pablo Sandoval San Francisco Giants
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants' top hitters in 2014 are projected to be the usual suspects: Angel Pagan, Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval.

All five players are integral to the Giants' potential success on offense. San Francisco averaged an inefficient 3.9 runs per game in 2013, and must improve to contend. Sandoval is key; after dropping a rumored 40 pounds over the offseason, most pundits think he's due for a big season statistically.

Top 5 Pitchers

Madison Bumgarner San Francisco Giants
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Top 5 Pitchers

Madison Bumgarner San Francisco Giants
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants' starting pitching staff performed horrifically in comparison to career averages last season. Fatigue was a glaring factor in the wake of a World Series title run in 2012. The Giants' starting five is improved in 2014, featuring Madison Bumgarner, a Cy Young candidate, Matt Cain, Tim Hudson, Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong. Lincecum is the Giants' x-factor, and they will win the NL West if he is able to post solid numbers all season.

Top 5 Newcomers

Mike Morse San Francisco Giants
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Top 5 Newcomers

Mike Morse San Francisco Giants
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants readopted a failed strategy this offseason, remaining stagnant in free agency while re-signing in-house players and filling voids with stop-gaps. San Francisco's top newcomers include slugger Mike Morse and veteran hurler Tim Hudson, but also include recurring reserve Juan Perez, reliever Heath Hembree, and catcher Hector Sanchez, who was injured for most of 2013. Morse must post monstrous numbers at the dish for the Giants to contend.

Top 5 Rookies

Erik Cordier San Francisco Giants
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Top 5 Rookies

Erik Cordier San Francisco Giants
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants' list of top rookies includes players whom could make a significant impact in 2014. Each of the following players will likely see action with the big league club this season -- relievers Derek Law, Heath Hembree and Erik Cordier, starter Edwin Escobar, and infielder Ehire Adrianza.

The most intriguing name on that list is Cordier, who is capable of registering 100 mph on the radar gun and could prove to be a valuable bullpen arm.

Final Record/Divisional Standing Prediction

San Francisco Giants Sergio Romo
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Final Record/Divisional Standing Prediction

San Francisco Giants Sergio Romo
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

This season is no different for the Giants in regard to how they perceive their chances of winning a World Series. If all goes right, the Giants could upend the arch-rival Los Angeles Dodgers to win the NL West. The Giants are a solid team that flaunts some glaring flaws though, specifically on the bench. They have the talent needed to finish second in their division, while also claiming a Wild Card spot and ideally contending for another title.