Fresh from a franchise best After a 107-win season, no one expected the San Francisco Giants to repeat themselves as NL West champions in 2022. The departures of key players like Buster Posey, Kris Bryant and Kevin Gausman would be difficult to overcome. The Giants managed to replace Gausman by taking on Carlos Rodón in free agency, and the team hoped that former second draft pick Joey Bart would be a suitable replacement for Posey. The team never tried to replace Bryant. Rodon was great. Bart not so much, and that’s been kind of exemplary for the Giants’ season so far. The Giants’ pitching staff has been phenomenal, but their offense has failed to recapture the magic of 2021, largely due to a lack of home runs.
In 2021, the Giants ended the regular season Second in MLB in home runs (241; Toronto: 262). However, in 2022, the Giants currently sit in 12th place with just 25. They’re averaging nearly a home run per game, which is good but nowhere near what the Giants need to last. The threat of the home run kept the Giants’ offense buzzing last season. They’ve hit a lot (ranked 9th in the MLB in 2021) but made up for it with their ability to produce round travelers. That will no longer be the case in 2022.
The team is still hitting at about the same rate (23.6 percent in 2021, 23.1 percent in 2022), but their home run rate is up from 3.9 percent in 2021 (third-highest in MLB). only 2.6 percent fell off the table this year. Shortstop Brandon Crawford, who had a career year last season at the age of 34, had 24 homers but only 2 homers this year. Brandon Belt has 4 and Utility Man Wilmer Flores has 2. Outfielder Darin Ruf has never hit a home run at all. The only players whose home run rates have increased in 2022 and who have played 20 or more games for the team this year are Austin Slater (only a 0.2 percent increase, but it counts) and Joc Pederson, who yet to land a hit 14 at-bats since his brief tenure on the bench adductor strain In late April. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Giants have lost six of seven since Pederson was forced to miss time. Oh, they also only averaged 3.29 runs in that span, which would be the fourth worst mark in MLB, ahead of only the Royals, Tigers and low red. Oops!
Blame the sprawl of Oracle Park all you want, but the team has played 13 home and 13 away games this year while scoring just two more runs away than at Oracle, so it’s clearly not a limited scourge to the city limits from San Francisco.
The Giants are a team built for success because of their well-rounded lineup and ability to hit long balls. The team was found out during their five-game losing streak. During the team’s first 18 games of the season (which went 13-5), it had hit 21 home runs. Despite their low walking rate and high rate of stranded runners during this stretch, they won because of their bomb-dropping ability. They’ve only hit five home runs since then. They are 1-7 and currently fourth in the NL West, just a half game ahead of bottom-placed Arizona. Even with the extra wildcard team in 2022, the Giants’ road to postseason is a tough one, and unless they get the long ball going again, they won’t even come close this year.