Why the San Francisco Giants went from 107 wins to less than .500

A year ago at this time, San Francisco Giants was the biggest surprise in baseball as they went through the 2021 regular season with 107 wins in the MLB. This year? Not much. Instead, San Francisco is entering the final weeks of the 2022 season looking up to the .500 mark – not to mention the NL West lead Los Angeles Dodgers.

When the Giant is about to play Chicago Cubs on Sunday Night Baseball (8 ET on ESPN), we asked MLB pros Bradford Doolittle, Alden Gonzalez, Tim Keown and Buster Olney to break down San Francisco’s slump – and come up with the moves the Giants made should take to help get back to the top of the rankings.

After a season of 107 wins, what is the biggest reason for The Giants’ decline this year?

Doolittle: The Giants threaded a lot of needles to hit 107 wins last year. It’s not a criticism but a tribute. Repeating that has proven difficult. Since Farhan Zaidi took over, the roster has changed constantly. One edge upgrade after another.

Last season, the Giants got a lot of value out of this melee. This season, not so much. Then you’ve got a lot of players performing near the upper range of last year’s forecast probabilities coming back to the row, and you’ve got it. An overactive team slipped out of the stratosphere and landed right in the middle of the road. It seems like a disappointment but this is still better than what we had envisioned the Giants would be at this point when last season started.

Keown: This is what happens when a team built on depth is gone. Gabe Kapler is mixing and matching and playing by percentages like he did last year, but the lack of production across the system – up and down the roster, in the boost cycle – turns the alchemy of the season the previous league becomes useless this season.

Olney: In 2021, the future Hall of Famer Buster Posey had one of the best seasons of his career – and then retired; at the age of 34, Brandon Crawford had his best offensive performance ever; a 33 year old person Brandon Belts beat 29 homepages and posted OPS just under 1,000. And all three were very solid defensively. If you weren’t expecting a significant setback, well, you weren’t paying attention, and the Giants took a big step back, especially in defense.

Gonzalez: Bullpen is certainly one of the most prominent reasons. The Giants Relief Corps went from first or second in the majors in ERA, WHIP, and head-to-head strike rate last year to last third in all three of those categories this year. . No man personifies that better Jake McGeewho went from co-creator closer to 2021 to a mid-season release in 2022. Tyler Rogerswho shared the mission of the ninth round with McGee, also took a step back, like that Dominic Leone. However, it should be noted that the Giants’ team benefited from a lot of luck in the ball last year and not so much this year.

Which team better showcases the true level of San Francisco: the club’s 107 wins last year or this year hovering around 0.500?

Doolittle: This season, no doubt. Again, that doesn’t detract from what the Giants achieved last season. The victories are already in the books. But that team played above their collective heads. The Giants’ current record is roughly within what you’d expect based on quantitative-based forecasts.

Keown: A bit of both, and I say that because they are two different teams in both vibes and personnel. Everything went perfectly for them last year; very few have gone right this season. This year’s edition has sometimes had to scramble to come up with just nine reps. At one point, they were forced to trade a short step (Dixon Machado) because both their minor league majors and top two short runs were injured. It’s strange. So in short, both seasons are aberrations, making cogent analysis almost impossible.

Olney: The Giants have been playing to their peak potential in 2021, and without Posey and without a healthy Crawford and Belt, they are exactly who they are supposed to be in 2022. They desperately need players who can. platform position.

Gonzalez: This is who they are. Last year, The Giants exceeded expectations in large part because, as Buster pointed out, Posey, Crawford, and Belt exploited something we didn’t think they were still in. Now, the giants seem to be facing an identity crisis.

ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel ranked their farm system 14th in his latest rankings last month, and their best prospects aren’t necessarily close to majors. Joey Bart still not successful, Mike Yastrzemski are having a bad year, and going forward, the Giants will head into the season with some holes in their entire roster. However, the good thing is that they have some financial flexibility.

Who is a player who did not perform well this year but you expect more in the future?

Doolittle: When a 35-year-old like Brandon Crawford plunges like that, you’ll have to wonder if he’s simply done. While I wouldn’t expect him to have another MVP season like he did in 2021, I think it’s reasonable that the Giants can expect to get at least one season on another average from Crawford. His knee problems have undermined his form this season and dented his ability to cover the field and knock off much. But he was better in the second half and hopefully a period of rest and recovery will see him back in 2023.

Gonzalez: I’ll be going with Mike Yastrzemski, who has yet to replicate the breakout attack he showed during the shortened COVID-19 2020 season. Yastrzemski has a slumping year in 2021, but he’s still hitting 25 runs at home, providing an elite right-wing defense and running strong points. This year, everything went downhill. But he still plays above the substitution level and the Giants still seem to see him as a central member of their team. He’s still only 32, and he should be better.

Keown: The easy answer here is Brandon Crawford; he played near MVP last year and almost replaced this year. But since the question includes “future”, I will LaMonte Wade Jr. I thought he was headed for a breakout season this year, but injury slowed him down early and he never seemed to fully recover. I still think he’s a 25 year old guy who can be an anchor in the squad.

Olney: This is where it’s very difficult to predict what the Giants will do as they move up – it’s very hard to look at their roster of position players and see what age-old pieces they’ll be building. I would say Joey Bart, because he is a relatively young player (25) in a squad with a lot of older players.

What is one move you would make this season if you were running the Giants?

Doolittle: This group has enough resources to spend big, and if there’s one thing I want to save on, it’s the production slugger so large that Gabe Kapler could just jump in and walk away alone. And yes, Aaron Judge is the first name that comes to mind.

Gonzalez: Sign Aaron Judge. The giant has the financial resources – and Farhan Zaidi has enough – to add to the large alliance team while building the farm system. And both are needed right now. Of course, The Giants need more than just Judge; they need a baseman first, a baseman third, some bullpen help and they might want to re-sign Carlos Rodon. But Judge makes headlines for a combo offense, and combining the best of them when the right pieces immediately make this team a threat.

Keown: If we’re talking about the overall philosophy – which we’re not, but whatever – then the Giants need to commit to being younger and more athletic. This can mean coming to the harsh realization that a short-term rebuilding process can be done. If Farhan Zaidi isn’t interested in that approach, he’ll have to use his persuasion skills to get team owners to open wide checkbooks for Northern California native Aaron Judge. I’m betting on rebuilding.

Olney: I’m repeating the chorus here: Aaron Judge. He’ll give them everything they need in this moment – a face of the franchise, a power beater, a leader, someone who will help sell tickets.

When will the next Giants make it to the knockouts again?

Doolittle: I will secure my bets and say that for the next two years. It is a difficult division. The Dodgers are not going anywhere. Padres has an elite core to remain a factor for the foreseeable future. Diamondbacks are getting better fast. But the giants are run intelligently, willing to adapt their processes (or repeat them might be a more appropriate term) and have significant economic influence. And the minor league system is fertile, if not quite elite. There’s no reason for this team to be anything more than an annual contender in the 12-team knockout universe.

Gonzalez: The Giants have one player contracted through 2024 (Anthony DeSclafani) and no one but that. This headquarters has done a good job of not tying itself into long-term deals before the team becomes a legitimate title contender, which means… The real giants can spend this winter. If they do it right, and some of their key players return, and Joey Bart goes one step further, I think they can make it post-season as early as 2023. They might not. better than the third-placed team in their division, but that could still put them in, of course.

Keown: Being one of the top six out of 15 isn’t a big deal, but the Giants run the risk of letting NL West run away from them. It’s not just Dodgers and Padres, it’s also Diamondbacks now. So: 2024.

Olney: Assuming they pick the right players and make the right moves over the next two years, I’d say 2025. Right now, they’re miles behind the Dodgers’ rogue, in the respective run of the two. team, they are not as prepared to face off in 2023 as the Padres and they are even behind the Diamondbacks in rebuilding. But they have a lot of flexibility in their payroll and it is dangerous to choose wisely.

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