Good afternoon. The last time another NL West team won the World Series, Barry Bonds and Rich Aurilia combined for as many homers as a typical Giants team of today. You don't have to worry for the rest of the postseason. There, there. There, there.
Which means we have to find things to talk about.
Alright, I'll start. Here are some spray charts from FanGraphs. My hypothesis is that the Giants are nearly impossible to shift against, and considering that the shift is one possible reason for depressed scoring, this might be a reason why the Giants were so successful offensively.
These same players are coming back next year. Maybe other teams will STOP THROWING BASEBALLS AT THEM. Let's look at where they hit the ball this season, and see if it's something we can expect next year.
One of the most un-shiftable players on the team, if not the league. He's a slasher, which makes it surprising that he ever hits fly balls, much less pulled home runs.
He was also the weakest link in the lineup for most of the season, and I could see the Giants dealing him in the final year of his contract rather than convince him to play left field. The way he ended the season -- healthy! quick! rejuvenated! -- gives me hope, so a trade doesn't have to be necessary.
I love the line drives. He's not trying to pull outside pitches that would fall into an AT&T Park grave. It's like he unsealed a manila envelope with the "Optimal Joe Panik Spray Chart" written on it, found this, and then tried to emulate it.
I miss Joe Panik.
It's the reverse Joe Panik! Duffy has the power to yank more baseballs to left, and he will over time. For now, he's making a career out of letting fastballs get deep, where he can swat them to right field.
His next step is to walk as much as he strikes out (which I'm assuming will happen, just because), but even if he doesn't improve a lick, he's still one of the steadiest young hitters I've ever watched.
It's not just the infield shifts that are taken away from opponents. They can't get creative with outfield alignments, either. There's no way for other teams to recreate what Juan Perez did to Norichika Aoki in Game 7 last year. Except with Norichika Aoki.
Posey hits the ball everywhere. He's incredible. Where did he go? Feels like he was right here. Baseball? Hello?
He's the first one of the bunch not to hit a pitcher with a line drive apparently. Pence's swing is so unorthodox, he could hit a ball into the on-deck circle that careens back into play. He must drive bench coaches mad.
Here's the first shift candidate, and he gets it a lot. He's also been better about poking the ball to the left side, too, at least compared to 2014.
This offseason: A pitching machine in his backyard, and an hour of bunting practice every day. Come on. Make it happen, Giants. Operation Sneak Attack.
Almost shiftable, but it's not like there's a ton to be gained by putting someone up the middle and leaving third base exposed. I love the red in the outfield, just peppered all over the place. That's what makes me think that this is the Crawford we should expect going forward, not a temporary burst that's going to regress toward the mean.
He might not be back, but he's included just in case. For $5.5 million, he makes sense on a roster, even if the Giants want more power from their left fielder. Even if they get Ben Zobrist to be their left fielder/super rest-providerer. Oh, my stars, I just gave myself an idea, hold on, i need to write 1,000 words about Ben Zobrist being the Giants left fielder and super rest-providerer.
The Giants were supposed to be mostly shift-proof before the season. They were. The core is coming back. Just reading all of those names in a row made me quite happy. The Giants might augment their lineup with a Marlon Byrd-type hitter, or they might stand pat. Either way, this seems like a solid group of hitters that teams can't be too clever with.