New York Giants: Projected starting offensive line in 2020

New York Giants, Nate Solder, Jon Halapio, Mike Remmers

The New York Giants‘ offensive line is the team’s kryptonite; it has been for the last five years. Finally, the Giants made improvements to the offensive line through the draft and free agency. As a fan, this makes me very happy, protecting Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley is the primary concern. All fans want to see these guys play for eight-plus years. There are a lot of questions that need to be addressed this offseason. Who will start at left tackle? Nate Solder, or Andrew Thomas? Who will win the starting center job, Spencer Pulley, Nick Gates, or Shane Lemieux?

I think the end of the preseason will answer all these questions. Joe Judge and the coaching staff want the best man to win the starting job. All these players are going to get a fair shot, and it will come down to who wants it more and who excels at their position.

The best players will play. I don’t care where you got drafted, I don’t care if you’re an undrafted free agent, I don’t care if you’re old, young, traded, whatever you got there for. Everybody will have an opportunity every day to compete for a job on our roster. Every day. If you want to be on the field, be the best player. Outwork the guy in front of you. Prove your value to us, show you can handle the job, and we’re going to put you on the field and give you an opportunity.”

Andrew Thomas starting left tackle

Andrew Thomas is going to be the starting left tackle week one. He is the best option and has all the skills to play at the pro level. The Giants drafted him to fix their blind side problem and protect second-year quarterback, Daniel Jones. As we all saw, Nate Solder was not at his best last season. I still think Solder will be apart of the offensive line, just at another spot. In 2019, Andrew Thomas was a Walter Camp All-American first team, and winner of the SEC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy, this was Georgia’s first recipient in 21 years!

There’s no question Thomas has the athleticism and skill set to become an All-Pro lineman; having a great offensive line coach is also huge for his development. There is no reason to move Thomas to right tackle, he played both in college but excelled at Left. Coming into the draft, Andrew Thomas was the purest left tackle; the Giants made the right decision with their fourth overall pick.

Will Hernandez starting left guard

Will Hernandez has been a reliable option since he was drafted back in 2018. Since drafted, Hernandez has started in every game (32), talk about a reliable offensive lineman! In 2019, Hernandez’s number of penalties went up (4), more than his rookie year (2). This is something that can be worked on and is not that big of a deal. He played 1067 snaps in 2019, and 1027 snaps his rookie season. The Giants’ offensive line needs a gritty guy like Hernandez, who will do all the dirty work in the trenches.

Spencer Pulley starting center

The New York Giants will have a competition battle at center. For starters, I believe Jon Halapio will be cut from the team; he has sustained too many season-ending injuries. I think the Giants have better options at center, Pulley, Gates, and Lemieux will all battle it out. I feel Spencer Pulley is going to win the starting job. He already has experience playing center, it is his primary position, unlike Gates and Lemieux. In 2019, Pulley only played in four games, he only recorded one penalty and was on the field for 95 snaps. If Pulley happens to get injured and can’t play for the remainder of the season, I want the Giants to give Shane Lemieux a shot at center. Several clips have surfaced of Shane Lemieux practicing snaps during his workouts. I feel like Nick Gates is more of a guard and would rather stay there.

Kevin Zeitler starting right guard

There is no mystery behind this one, Kevin Zeitler will be the starting right guard in 2020. He battled shoulder issues in 2019. If he is healthy, we will see a very productive right guard. I see Zeitler being the leader on the offensive line, a veteran who has a lot of experience in the NFL (eight seasons). He will be a great mentor for the young guys who were just drafted. In 2019, Zeitler started 15 games, he only missed one due to a shoulder injury. In those 15 games, Zeitler averaged 93% of offensive snaps, and only had one penalty all year! All in all, the Giants need Zeitler to be the leader of the offensive line in 2020, I think he has a few more years left to play before Shane Lemieux takes his position.

Nick Gates starting right tackle

In 2020, there will be a battle to see who plays right tackle. Most people think Nate Solder is a starter next season. I think he will come off the bench and be a fill-in type player. I think Nick Gates is the better option right now until Nate Solder can prove he can still protect and be effective in the run game. I think Solder will be a great mentor for the other offensive lineman; the Giants can’t rely on him. The Giants can’t let him play left tackle and be responsible for protecting the blindside. Nick Gates only started three games in 2019, I think 2020 could be a different story, and he could be a starter week one. He did well last season, the Giants’ offensive line was awful, and Gates was the only bright spot some games.

The Futility of Projections for Mets and Yankees Players

Simeon Woods-Richardson

We are less than 100 days away from Spring Training, so Mets and Yankees fans should be rejoicing everywhere. However, as is with every year, statistical projections are made for player’s offensive and defensive output well in advanced.

Can we just stop to take a look at how futile this is by looking at some Yankees and Mets players?

2019 vs 2020 Projections for Yankees Sluggers

Big things were expected of Miguel Andujar and Giancarlo Stanton in 2019. But, we all have eyes, we saw what happened. Both got hurt early, and both played next to no time during the regular season. For Andujar, it was his surgically repaired labrum in his right shoulder. For Stanton, it was a plethora of injuries. Let’s look at some of the projected offensive numbers for Miguel Andujar in 2019:

610 plate appearances, .283 batting average, 25 home runs, 85 RBI’s.

And now for 2020:

285 plate appearances, .279 batting average, 12 home runs, 40 RBI’s.

Who in their right mind predicted that Andujar was going to suffer from season-ending surgery in the FIRST SERIES of 2019? No one? Thought so. So who’s to say that Gio Urshela won’t suffer a similar injury, paving way for Andujar to fulfill those 2019 projections?

Now let’s look at Stanton’s 2019 projections:

560 plate appearances, .265 batting average, 42 home runs, 105 RBI’s.

Now, Stanton in 2020:

307 plat appearances, .266 batting average, 19 home runs, 48 RBI’s.

What is the absolute point in drawing up projections for the year after an injury? Especially when players haven’t even reported to Spring Training yet?

And Now the Mets

It’s equally convoluted for pitching as it is for hitting. Here are some projections for Syndergaard in 2019:

196 innings pitched 12 – 9 record, 3.50 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 200 strikeouts.

Not too far off the mark for where he ended up. His 2020 projections are:

174 innings pitched, 10-7 record, 4.03 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 179 strikeouts.

Why the spike in ERA, and drop in innings pitched and strikeouts? What has he shown to indicate that will happen in 2020? Are we predicting he’s going to get hurt when there was 0 prediction Andujar and Stanton would in 2019?

Things were even worse for Steven Matz in 2019:

He was projected to be below or right at .500, he finished above .500. He was projected to have less than 150 strikeouts (average), he had over 150 in 2018 and repeated the feat in 2019. Hell, one projection predicted he wouldn’t even post a record. The rest was pretty spot on for where he finished.

Projections Take the Human Element Out of Baseball

Analytical number crunching of baseball players is fine, but they are more than just numbers and equations. They’re people. Who’s to say that Thor or Matz won’t be better than Jacob deGrom next year? deGrom is going to be 32 next season and has pitched over 600 innings in the last 3 seasons. Why is he projected to give up only 19 HR’s next year? He’s going to not be as effective as he was the last 2 seasons because… HE’S A LITTLE BIT OLDER AND THERE WILL BE MORE SCOUTING DONE ON HIM!

After never hitting above .235 in a single season, Urshela is projected to hit .283 next year. What if Andujar wins his job back in Spring Training and is the opening day starter? And what if Urshela tears the labrum in his throwing shoulder, mimicking what happened to Andujar in 2019?

For the love of Pete, we all love playing MLB’s The Show, but even Madden gets wrong how good a football team is going to do each season, how well the stars of the league perform that season, and even who wins the Super Bowl. Just let the grown men play the game as the humans they are, not the AI programs we treat them as.