The San Francisco Giants embark on the 2015 campaign with one goal in mind: They want to defend their World Series title and win it again.

The baseball season is a long, arduous process, which makes the Giants’ three world championships in the past five years a tremendous accomplishment.

On paper, there are teams that look better than the Giants, but that was also the case in 2010, 2012 and 2014, when the Giants won it all. Fortunately, the game is not played on paper, and there are injuries and other intangibles that factor into whether a team is ultimately successful.

Looking at the 2015 team, two key players, Pablo Sandoval and Michael Morse, have departed. The Giants have replaced Sandoval with Casey McGehee, who was acquired in a trade with the Miami Marlins. McGehee is a solid hitter and decent defensive player, so the loss of Sandoval is minimized.

McGehee does not have Sandoval’s power, as he hit only four home runs last season, compared to Sandoval’s 16. However, McGehee actually had more RBI, as he contributed 76, compared to 73 for Sandoval.

The Giants will miss Morse, however, as he carried the team early in the season and came up with some huge hits in the postseason. Morse hit 16 home runs and drove in 61 runs during the regular season.

Nori Aoki was signed as a free agent and will get the opportunity to replace Morse. He is a completely different type of player. Aoki has good speed, is a good contact hitter and gets on base. His OBP last year was .360. Although not great, Aoki is a better defensive player than Morse.

The Giants hope the assets that Aoki brings to San Francisco will offset his lack of power in comparison to Morse.

The key for the Giants, however, will come down to pitching. If the Giants pitch well and play good defense, they have shown an uncanny ability to win close games.

Let’s take a look at five key reasons to be optimistic heading into the 2015 season.

Begin Slideshow