Boy, oh boy — what a difference a season makes. At this time last year, the Giants were fresh off of a shocking 107-win season that saw them raise the NL West pennant for the first time since 2012. With that being said, there were concerns that 2021 may have been an outlier season for San Francisco and sure enough, they fell back down to Earth with a .500 finish in 2022. So what’s on the horizon for our old friends Joc Pederson, Luke Jackson and the rest of the Giants?
Expectations for 2023
This is a solid enough roster that could very well be in the conversation for postseason baseball in 2023. FanGraphs’ ZiPS projection does like the makeup of this team and it’s not hard to see why. Their biggest problem is that they play in a division where they will have to find a way to topple both their hated rivals in Los Angeles and the Padres as well. Having Carlos Correa and/or Aaron Judge sure would’ve helped, but it sure looks like they’re ready to make do with what they’ve got and what they’ve got isn’t bad at all.
Overall, ZiPS projects the Giants to win 88 games with a nearly six-in-ten chance to make the playoffs; a Steamer-ZiPS blend is far less generous with 84 wins and playoff odds just above 40 percent. How many wins the Giants can eke out above the mid-80s will probably determine their fate for October.
Via Roster Resource:
- Thairo Estrada - 2B
- Mike Yastrzemski - CF
- Mitch Haniger - RF
- Joc Pederson - DH
- Michael Conforto - LF
- David Villar - 3B
- Brandon Crawford - SS
- LaMonte Wade, Jr. - 1B
- Joey Bart - C
Bench: Roberto Perez - C; J.D. Davis - 1B/3B; Wilmer Flores - INF; Austin Slater - OF
Rotation: Logan Webb, Alex Cobb, Sean Manaea, Ross Stripling, Alex Wood
Bullpen: Camilo Doval, Taylor Rogers, Tyler Rogers, John Brebbia, Anthony DeSclafani, Jake Junis, Scott Alexander, Sam Long
Having Logan Webb and Alex Cobb at the top of your rotation is a pretty big deal — Webb’s proven over the past two seasons that he’s a legit top-of-the-rotation starter and I’d agree with the ZiPS article that a serious breakout could be coming for him at any given moment. Alex Cobb is a really solid second option who’s been rounding into form these past couple of seasons. Ross Stripling and Sean Manaea are two of the best options they could’ve brought in for mid-level rotation help and Alex Wood’s a very solid option as a fifth starter. Considering how deep and dangerous the lineups are in Los Angeles and San Diego, this crew will have to be at their best if they’re going to have a serious chance at stopping those two teams.
The Giants are actually kind of odd in that they don’t really have any real standout area of their roster — they’re just relatively solid across the board. Their team ranks at the nine positions, then rotation and bullpen: 25th, 23rd, 18th, 19th, 13th, 15th, 13th, 11th, 11th, 15th. Webb and Cobb are the only guys projected by Fangraphs Depth Charts for 3 or more WAR, but they have a whopping 18 guys projected for 1 or more. If you had guessed that Thairo Estrada is somehow their highest-projected position player, congrats to you.
Again, the Giants don’t have a bad lineup by any stretch of the imagination. The main question is whether or not they have the horses to compete with the Dodgers and the Padres in that regard. If they had Aaron Judge or managed to hold on to Carlos Correa, that may have been the difference for them. Instead, they’ve ended up with a lineup that’s perfectly fine but not exactly one that could propel them to success. Michael Conforto is a solid signing but if he’s your crown jewel of the offseason then that’s not exactly ideal!
The combos of Joey Bart/Roberto Perez and LaMonte Wade Jr./J.D. Davis seem especially weak — they might be cost-effective pairings but they don’t offer much upside, and those four players combined for just 2.3 fWAR last year.
Reinforcements from the Farm
Keith Law has the Giants ranked as the 18th-best in all of baseball in terms of organizational depth, which is somehow fitting given their various roster ranks. San Francisco has been trying to rebuild since Farhan Zaidi took over a farm system that was pretty much bare in 2018. So while this farm system is currently middle-of-the-road, they’ve still got two Top-100 prospects (according to MLB.com) in the form of LHP Kyle Harrison and SS Marco Luciano. Those guys may not make their debuts this coming year — for midseason help from the farm, the Giants might be looking at reliever R.J. Dabovich and not too much else. Heliot Ramos appears to have seriously stalled out in Triple-A and there’s not a lot more near-MLB-ready stuff in their system that looks like it would make an immediate impact.
Braves history/outlook against the Giants
These two former divisional rivals ended that particular rivalry in a blaze of glory in 1993, which is when the Braves beat the Giants to the post in an incredible race for the NL West title. These two have seen each other much less since 1994, but it’s still always an interesting and usually tricky trip for the Braves whenever they get to visit Oracle Park and at least a guaranteed night of or two of Baseball After Dark for us local fans. Also, Buster Posey was out.
The Braves went 4-3 against the Giants in 2022, and haven’t dropped a season series to them since 2016. In 2023, they’ll see the Giants twice in two weekends: first, August 18-21, they’ll play host to them from Friday through Sunday; a week later, they’ll head out to San Francisco as the first stop in a three-city trip where they’ll again play the Giants in a Friday-Sunday set. (This is a phenomenon that’ll happen a few times this season, including a July set of consecutive weekends against the Brewers, seeing the Mets six times in 12 games in August, and then a very Nationals-and-Phillies heavy end to the season.)