Who Are the Giants?

The Giants were eliminated by everyone before the season started. Yet here they are, not in last. They even started the season by splitting a series with World Series favorite Dodgers.

So who are these Giants and how are they staying in the competition with a bunch of no names? How are they playing without starting pitching? Is this a fluke? Or the beginning of a new Giants era trying to create a new 3 time championship team?

Highlights

  • 2020 Standouts
  • The Hitting
  • The Pitching
  • The Future
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2020 Standouts

  • Mike Yastrzemski

He was never supposed to be this good. The expected stats said it wouldn’t last. But Yaz is proving them all wrong. He’s currently one of the best hitters in baseball across the board. Some players just seem to outperform their expected stats consistently and it seems Yaz is the newest member of the club. Best answer we have is this kid just knows how to take quality at bats day in and day out. His OBP is in the top 5% and his walk rate is in the top 2%. He just sees the ball well. We wouldn’t bet against this breakout. If he ups his defense he’ll be a star. Everyone will start knowing his name soon.

Donovan Solano

It’s not often you see a 32 year old breakout, but here we are. Solano showed massive improvement last year and it seems to be carrying over to this year. Her’s currently the Giants best hitter. Actually by average, he’s the best hitter in the league hitting .465 and he’s still getting hotter. His xBa is obviously less but it’s still at .352 which is in the top 7% of hitters. This isn’t a fluke.

In fact, he’s probably the only player left with a chance at hitting .400 for a season. If he hits .333 for the rest of the year, roughly 50 hits out of the 150 ABs he probably has left, he has a real shot at it. He hit .500 his last week. This could be the next Justin Turner. It seems some Dodger magic carried over with Farhan Zaidi.

Logan Webb

This 6’1″ RHP debuted at the end of last year as one of the Giants top pitching prospects and showed promise of being a solid rotation piece. He had a few exceptionally bad starts however that ballooned his stats and ended with an ERA of 5.22.

But this year Webb has started 3 games not allowing more than 1 earned run. He’s second on the team in ERA right now and number one amount the starts. It’s also worth noting his first start was against the full Dodger lineup, and his last start was in Colorado. Not easy to keep those lineups to 1 earned run at all.

However this seems to be very lucky right now. He’s still struggling with control, leading to a WHIP of 1.50, but has managed to limit the damage. His expected stats look horrific, but every pitcher has growing pains.

He came into the year with two new pitches in his arsenal. He now has a 4-seamer, a change, a slider, a sinker, and a cutter and uses all of them. Although 85% of his pitches are those first 3. Webb is looking like a mainstay for these new Giants. And the way he dominated the minors, and shot up the system, means this could be a budding ace. But at worst it looks like the Giants have found their 3rd to 5th starter for years.

Conner Menez

Here’s another top 30 prospect coming up an impressing. He leads them team currently in ERA and unlike Webb, his expected stats support it. If he can limit his walks without it translating to more hits, he may actually become elite out of the pen or truly transition into the starting rotation, which is his natural role.

He has a 3 pitch arsenal centered around his 4-seam, and using a curve and slider to keep hitters off balanced. He’ll never be a strikeout king with his current stuff, but for some reason hitters can not get behind the ball against him. He’s in the top 10% of the league in hard hit%.

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Trevor Gott

Giants have a new closer and so far so good. For the most part, Gott just challenges hitters with his upper 90’s fastball and his massive curveball. He’s a good strikeout pitcher

The Hitting

  • Catching
    • Chadwick Tromp
    • Tyler Heineman
    • Rob Brantly

This was originally Buster Posey of course, and Joey Bart will be the long term catcher, but in the meantime the Giants seem to have found average to above average catchers to keep them competitive this year. Tromp however has come out hot and may be earning plate time in the future, even over Bart.

  • 1st Base
    • Brandon Belt
    • Pablo Sandoval

They provide solid hands at first as well as a veteran presence in the clubhouse. They both have the rings to prove their experience and now understand their roles well.

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  • 2nd Base
    • Donovan Solano
    • Wilmer Flores

Again, Solano may be Farhan Zaidi’s first darling since leaving the Dodgers. Ironically he was signed as a free agent coming out of the Dodger’s OKC team. Zaidi has obviously seen this potential for a long time. Wilmer Flores is also providing an over .300 average with some power. Overall, great undervalued producers with a possible late blooming star in Solano.

  • Shortstop
    • Brandon Crawford
    • Mauricio Dubon

It must be saddening to see Crawford benched against left handers but Dubon is exciting for the long term. If he can lock into his power he has the potential to be a 5 tool infielder.

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  • 3rd Base
    • Evan Longoria

He was supposed to be a killer addition to the Giants a few years ago, but has been plagued by injuries that have overshadowed his production. But this could be the year. His 2020 stats so far have been average, but his expected stats say he should be OPSing over 1.000. If that stays true, Longoria could be the bounceback player of the year and possibly push the Giants into playoff potential. Here’s a reminder of what made him a star.

  • Outfield
    • Mike Yastrzemski
    • Alex Dickerson
    • Austin Slater
    • Jaylin Davis
    • Steven Duggar
    • Joe McCarthy

We already mentioned the budding star in Yaz, but Dickerson may be another star in the making. Dickerson looks like a a talented hitter in making contact, taking walks, and hitting for power. He’s OPSing close to .900 and his statcast says he should be even better. But like Yaz, he needs to work on his defense before he can be an all around stud.

  • DH
    • Hunter Pence
    • Darin Ruf

Pence is struggling out of the gate but we all saw what he was able to do last year. And the return of Darin Ruf is looking like a pleasant surprise.

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The Pitching

  • Starters with a big question mark
    • Johnny Cueto
    • Logan Webb
    • Tyler Anderson
    • Kevin Gausman
    • Jeff Samardzija
    • Drew Smyly

Cueto is always fun to watch. Webb is blooming. Tyler Anderson is trying to add to a strong start to make this his breakout campaign. But for the most part, this team doesn’t use their staff like regular starters. The goal of most of these pitchers is to eat up innings and throw up as many 0’s as possible in short but often stints.

  • The Pen For Winning Games
    • Trevor Gott (Closer)
    • Tyler Rogers (Setup)
    • Tony Watson (Setup 2)
    • Conner Menez (MRP)

Most of the bullpen has the same role. Be ready whenever, and be ready to throw some innings. The Giants are using their entire pitching staff every week to piece together games. Only one starting pitcher has even seen the 6th inning this year, for one out.

But these four pitchers are their pitchers of choice to handle the end of games when they’re up. Gott has performed his way into the closer role, Rogers is a great submariner, Watson was the favorite to close, and Menez is pushing for more responsibility.

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The Future

Joey Bart (C)

Giants fans are screaming for his promotion by they forget he’s only seen 79 Double-A at bats. He needs time. They see him as the next Buster Posey and want to make sure his career gets off on the right foot. The only week spot in his game thus far is lackluster speed, but hey, he’s a catcher. He’s big, he’s powerful, and he’s still good behind the plate. Hard to fault him for not being fast too.

Marco Luciano (SS)

The kid is only 18 so he’s a couple years away, but wow. They already think he could be a perennial .300 hitter with 40 HRs. He’s a shortstop for now but may make the transition to 3rd or the OF later on. Either way, the tools are there for a superstar.

Heliot Ramos (OF)

He was the 2017 first round pick and seems to just be an all around plus player. He comes from a family of athletes which is always a good sign, and he really doesn’t have any blaring weaknesses. But any guy that can be good at everything is better than a guy thats elite at one thing.

Hunter Bishop (OF)

Bishop is also a first round pick but from 2019. He has a big frame at 6’5″, 210 lbs. He strikes out too much for the scouts liking but his plus speed and power help him make up for that deficiency. But overall, Bishop seems like a raw talent who hasn’t even come close to his potential. His size and skills actually remind us the grades Bellinger was receiving before his explosion to superstardom.

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Seth Corry (LHP)

It’s not easy having the off brand name of Seth Curry in the bay, but that doesn’t seem to bother Corry. He was an all state safety in high school but a knee injury turned him down the baseball path instead.

The Giants have been ramping him up very slowly on purpose. They think they have something special here and rightly so. Corry winning the South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year Award wasn’t a fluke. His ERA of 1.76 in 26 starts is ridiculous, but his 172 strikeouts in almost 123 innings is other-worldly.

His best pitch is his curveball, and he recently added a slightly above average changeup to go with it and his fastball. Probably one of the biggest reasons for the massive leap forward this last year. If he can develop another pitch or improves another one of his offerings nothing will hold this left hander back.

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