We Are All Giant
- Updated: June 10, 2014
It is June 10th and the San Francisco Giants are in first place in the National League West. A team spending $80,000,000 less than its division rival and most likely no fan voted All-Stars, has the best record in the league at 42-22; the first to 40 wins in the MLB for the first time since 1973.
The Giants roster is solid by league standards, but giving it a quick look through, the average fan might come away unimpressed by the lack of star power. Buster Posey is arguably the best player on the team, but the team is still waiting on his bat to come around as he’s only hitting .271. That is .033 lower than his .304 career average. Pablo Sandoval’s bat hasn’t been great either. He’s hitting .244 (career average .294) and his OPS is down to .694. So where is the production coming from?
Let’s start with the leadoff spot, Angel Pagan. Pagan gets on base at a .371 rate. He’s also hitting for a .321 average, with 17 extra base hits, 18 base on balls, and 11 stolen bases. The guy knows how to get on base, get into scoring position, and get runs on the board. He’s hustling as hard as anyone out there right now; sprinting to first after a ball hits the dirt that he’s struck out on, and also scoring from first on balls to the outfield. However, Pagan’s health does raise questions. He’s battled nagging knee injuries this year, dealt with back problems, and you can’t forget when he jammed his shoulder a couple weeks back diving for a ball in the outfield. If he can stay healthy and in the lineup, the Giants should continue to put runs on the board for their dominant pitching staff.
Of course, it helps that right behind Pagan in the lineup is the hot bat of Hunter Pence. Pence can be found near the top of the N.L. statistics leaders, as he is in the top 10 in Offensive WAR (Wins Above Replacement), third in Runs Scored (46), sixth in hits (73), and eighth in Runs Created, a formula designed to estimate a players total contributions to a team’s run total, with 44.
Having Pagan and Pence performing well at the top of the lineup has led the way for the Giants to score runs. Most of these runs have come via the bat of first year Giant, Michael Morse. Morse was signed in the offseason to be the team’s everyday left fielder but has helped fill in at first since Brandon Belt went to the DL with a broken thumb. Morse leads the team in both Home Runs (13) and RBI (42). He’s sixth in the National League in Slugging Percentage, and also top five in both RBI and Home Runs for the N.L.
Morse has been terrific this season, but perhaps the best offseason move made by any team in the league was the Giants’ signing of Tim Hudson. The soon-to-be 39 year old right hander has a WHIP (Walks + Hits per Innings Pitched) of .960 and an ERA of 1.97, good for second place in all of baseball. Hudson is even the first Giants pitcher in the San Francisco era to have his ERA under 2.00 through his first 12 starts of the season.
If the team can continue its way of getting the leadoff guys on base and knocking them in, the starters put up low ERA’s and WHIP’s, then the team can pass the game on to closer Sergio Romo who leads the league with 20 Saves. Although his 3.12 ERA and four home runs in 26 innings leaves much to be desired, there’s no denying the Romo is still one of the top closers in the league in one of the top bullpens. Matt Cain also just came off the DL to pitch a gem, and Brandon Belt should be back in the lineup in a few weeks (barring setback) to provide more power. The team currently boasts an 8.5 game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the N.L. West, and will have to keep up their heightened play to run away with the National League Pennant.