Many Giants fans have not been satisfied with the lack of moves for the San Francisco Giants this winter. Actually, they’ve made moves, just not “sexy” moves. No Lester, no Panda, no Scherzer, no big names.
But, is that necessarily a bad thing? Clearly we’re heading into an odd-numbered year, so if the mystical powers have their way, the Giants will find themselves out of the playoffs and tuning up for another magical ride in 2016. Let’s review, by the numbers, if the Giants will actually be worse off than they were in 2014.
Let’s remember that the Giants WON THE WORLD SERIES with a team that, credit to getting off to a historic start of 41-20, rode through tremendous slumps catalyzed by a series of injuries. Brandon Belt could find no luck, breaking his hand and then getting his coconut smacked by a fellow player who was already on the DL. Of course, that player is Marco Scutaro, and his comeback lasted all of 11 at bats in 2014, which brings us to the horrendous situation on second base for the better part of the year, in which the Hicks/Uggla/Adrianza experiment failed miserably. Then you have Pagan in center, who couldn’t avoid another string of injuries, Morse, who was out for most of the last two months, Cain’s bone chips finally caught up with him…Jesus as I write this, how the hell did they even finish above .500?!
Many critics point out that Aoiki had only one homerun last year and Casey McGehee only four. Granted those power numbers undoubtedly will not go up playing at AT&T Park. But do they need to? The Royals came within a run or two of winning the World Series with the fewest home runs in the league, remember. Although those power numbers are down over the Giants corresponding position totals from last year, both Aoki and McGehee got on base at a much higher clip, and as a result, could score more runs (dependent on the lineup behind you, different for every team). Yes, McGehee is a downgrade from Panda, but the contract money saved has been spread in other areas, specifically Aoki, Peavy, Romo and Vogelsong. We also have to consider what the Giants could get back for close to a full season in 2015. Granted, this all relies on the bastard variable called “health,” but IF Cain and Belt can stay healthy, that means more production from first base and a starter, not to mention Peavy is in for a whole season. These in combination with a full season from Joe Panik at second base, to me, more than offsets the losses in left field and third base. Take a look at the projected numbers for Aoki, Belt and Panik, based on a projection of 550 at bats. McGehee is static at the 616 at bats he had last year:
Yes, please yell at me as you note the RED all over the power department, with dips in the 20 to 40 percent range. However, this can be tempered, to a degree with all the GREEN showing a projected rise in on base percentage, batting average and stolen bases. Runs are dependent on who’s hitting behind them, so I’d throw out the projected 8% drop in run production.
Bottom line, the redistribution of salary may have cost power, but that investment could potentially be reaped in other areas, such as men on base and contact percentage.
I know, but chicks still dig the long ball, right?
PS – We’ll be covering “Media Day” at AT&T Park on February 6, 2015. Be sure to look out for video and audio interviews with many of your SF Giants. If you have any specific questions for the players that you’d like to send in, email to chad AT torturecast DOT com.
You can view past video interviews from Media Day 2013 and 2014.