San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants are a Major League Baseball team based out of San Francisco, CA. The Giants compete in the National League Western division.
The organization was originally founded in New York as the New York Gothams in 1883. But they dropped the Gotham nickname in 1885 and became the Giants. However, it was not until 1958 headed out west to San Francisco.
The Giants have called Oracle Park home since the year 2000. The franchise has won eight World Series championships and earned 23 National League Pennants.
San Francisco Giants Last Season Performance
The Giants were baseball’s best team during the regular season, posting the best record in the MLB with 107 victories. San Francisco narrowly edged out the favored Dodgers by one game to win the National League West.
San Francisco utilized a complete team effort during the season. They were the second-ranked team in home runs and the second-ranked team in ERA. Their overall balance propelled them to their league-leading amount of victories.
Despite being limited to under 100 games due to injury, Brandon Belt led the team in home runs with 29. Mike Yastrzemski and Brandon Crawford were second and third on the team with 25 for Yasztrzemski and 24 for Crawford.
Crawford was the catalyst for the team all season long as the shortstop was a jack of all trades. He enjoyed a resurgent campaign in his age 34 season with .298/.373/.522 slash line to go along with his aforementioned 24 home runs. Crawford continued to lock it down at shortstop en route to his fourth career Gold Glove award.
Crawford was selected to his third career all-star game and finished fourth in MVP voting for his efforts.
The starting rotation was built around veterans who held strong. Kevin Gausman led the charge with a 2.81 ERA and 227 strikeouts over 192 innings pitched.
Logan Webb broke out to the tune of a 3.03 ERA while Anthony DeSclafani and Alex Wood finished with ERA’s in the 3’s.
The bullpen was excellent. Tyler Rogers, Dominic Leone, Camilo Doval, and Caleb Baragar were all vital parts of the relief corps. Jake McGee enjoyed a strong season as the team’s closer with 31 saves and a 2.72 ERA.
The bullpen also posted the league’s best bullpen ERA.
San Francisco overcame the odds during the regular season as many experts had them pegged to finish in third place in the division at best.
But the Giants ended up falling to the Wild Card winning Dodgers in five games during the NL Divisional series.
However, it was still nothing short of an impressive campaign for San Francisco and they will look to turn their strong performance into a dynasty for years to come.
San Francisco Giants Off-Season Changes
The Giants shocked the baseball world with their incredible 2021 regular season. They overcame a team that most people considered to have the best overall roster in the Dodgers.
But their goal entering 2022 will be to prove that their success was not a fluke. And achieving that goal begins in the offseason.
The greatest change the organization endured was the retirement announced by longtime catcher Buster Posey. Posey had spent his entire 12-year career in San Francisco and enjoyed an all-star caliber season in 2021. His retirement surprised many and the Giants will look to stay competitive without a player many consider the heart and soul of the franchise.
San Francisco also had other star players hit free agency such as Kevin Gausman and Kris Bryant. They had to decide if they should try and re-sign those players or look to replace them in other ways.
But the Giants will look to contend once again in 2022. However, it will not be easy since the Dodgers still have arguably the best roster in all of baseball and the Padres will be destined for a rebound season after their underwhelming 2021 campaign.
San Francisco Giants Key Additions
The Giants’ first noteworthy transaction during the offseason was re-signing utility man Wilmer Flores and relief pitcher Jose Alvarez. They also extended a qualifying offer to Brandon Belt who accepted the offer and will be under contract for the 2022 campaign.
Re-signing Belt was an important move. While San Francisco’s offensive results were impressive in 2021, they don’t feature a lot of starpower in the lineup. The belt is a quality hitting power bat that can produce runs in the middle of the lineup.
Placing Belt in the lineup next season will be highly beneficial for the team if he is able to stay healthy. He is also a longtime Giant who has been with the team through many ups and downs.
San Francisco then had questions to answer on the pitching side of things. Four out of their five-man starting pitchers entered free agency including; DeSclafani, Wood, Gausman, and Johnny Cueto.
The Giants were able to address these concerns by re-signing both DeSclafani and Wood. However, Gausman signed a five-year deal in Toronto with the Blue Jays. The Giants will also be willing to let an aging and declining Cueto walk in free agency.
The team still has their emerging young star Logan Webb in the rotation as well. If they can add one more reliable arm to the rotation we could see them feature one of the better pitching staffs in baseball for a second consecutive season.
San Francisco re-signed a couple of impactful relievers in John Brebbia and Jarlin Garcia. Both pitchers offer depth potential and are low-cost, decent reward options.
San Francisco Giants Key Subtractions
The Giants saw multiple vital players enter free agency this offseason. We already discussed how they were able to re-sign players such as Belt, Wood, and DeSclafani. However, some other crucial players may not be returning.
RHP Kevin Gausman already signed with the Blue Jays. Gausman had the second-lowest ERA through the first half of the 2021 campaign behind only Jacob DeGrom, but some late-season regression led to his numbers dropping.
But he still finished sixth in the Cy Young voting while striking out over 220 batters. He was the ace for the team all season long and he will be missed in San Francisco.
Kris Bryant was acquired from the Cubs prior to last season’s trade deadline.
Bryant started off his Giants career with a bang by homering in his first game at Oracle Park. But Bryant was far from excellent during his tenure with the team. He hit .262 with a .788 OPS and seven home runs over the span of 51 games with San Francisco.
While those numbers are not awful by any means, they are far from the MVP level that Bryant once played at. Rumors circulated after San Francisco was eliminated that the Giants were unimpressed by his performance and they may allow him to walk in free agency unless they can get a discount for his services.
We will have to wait until after the MLB lockout to find out where Bryant ends up signing.
Other notable players who entered free agency include; Donovan Solano, Tony Watson, and Scott Kazmir.
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San Francisco Giants Head Coach Analysis
When the great Bruce Bochy retired as manager of the Giants, the team had huge shoes to fill. They brought in former MLB outfielder Gabe Kapler to manage the team in 2020 and he has done a tremendous job without question.
Kapler began his coaching career in Philadelphia where he led the Phillies to back-to-back mediocre seasons. But Kapler was then signed in 2020 by San Francisco. His debut season was underwhelming, as the team finished 29-31 during the shortened campaign.
But the Giants and Kapler both found their stride in 2021 en route to 107 victories. But even more, than winning is the culture which derived from Kapler. Players seem to enjoy playing for Kapler and the chemistry seems like it is positive throughout the organization.
Kapler will likely remain in San Francisco for the foreseeable future.
San Francisco Giants Injured Players at the beginning of the season
Tommy La Stella endured an Achilles injury and his status for the beginning of the season is up in the air. However, the Giants are confident that he will be fully healthy for Spring Training.
First baseman Brandon Belt has dealt with a number of injuries over the past few seasons. Last year, Belt endured a thumb injury and he was forced to miss the postseason which hurt the Giant offense. San Francisco is hoping for a healthy 2022 campaign from their veteran first baseman.
Expect them to ease Belt into action at the beginning of Spring Training.
San Francisco features a mostly healthy roster entering the year. Since they are more limited on depth than the Dodgers, it will be imperative that their stars stay healthy this season.
San Francisco Giants Prediction for the 2022 Season
The Giants are a difficult team to figure out entering 2022 MLB odds. On paper, the Padres and Dodgers should be better. But that was also the case in 2021 and yet San Francisco took the entire MLB by storm.
But regression could be in store for veterans such as DeSclafani, Wood, Crawford, and Belt. They are undoubtedly a talented team but their ability to maintain pace with San Diego and Los Angeles is in doubt.
At the same time, I am skeptical about betting against a team that finished with the best record in the majors in 2021. I would place their ceiling at first place in the NL West and their floor at third place in the division.
I will be interested to see what kind of additions they can make once the lockout comes to an end. If they can add two more capable starting pitchers that could make them a contender to win the division again. They would also benefit from adding two or three more hitters to the lineup.
A player like Nicholas Castellanos would be a tremendous fit for the team. I could also see the Giants making a run at a player like Nelson Cruz if the universal DH is implemented for the 2022 season.
As things stand right now, I would expect the Giants to finish in third place in the NL West. With that being said, they will still make a Wild Card run and could easily clinch the second WIld Card spot. You can preview the MLB lines for this season.
San Francisco Giants Final Thoughts
Despite the prediction, the Giants are more than capable of upsetting the odds as they demonstrated a season ago. They will be an intriguing team to keep tabs on this year.
The performance of Logan Webb will also make an enormous difference. Webb looked like an all-star caliber pitcher during the divisional round against the Dodgers, and his ceiling is high entering 2022.
He is someone who could emerge as a true ace and might end up being a Cy Young contender.
The Giants will look to utilize their overall balance once again to consistently win games and make another postseason run.