We're probably past the point where we can dismiss defensive stats just because there are so many of them and they occasionally disagree. Be wary of small samples, sure, but the best metrics are established and it's okay to pay attention to them. Unless they say bad things about your team, then, pfft, stupid defensive stats.
This is not one of those cases! According to DRS (defensive runs saved), the Giants are tops in the National League.
MLB Teams ranked 1-30 in Defensive Runs Saved with special bonus ... runs saved due to use of defensive shifts pic.twitter.com/8VGnqQy3zL— Mark Simon (@msimonespn) July 1, 2015
The Giants have been less aggressive with the shifts this year, but they're still a net positive. That's not what's driving the ranking, though. The Giants are saving runs because they catch ball good and throw ball good. Also, because they get to where the ball is going. A breakdown of every regular (and semiregular) from FanGraphs:
Defensive Runs Saved
Brandon Crawford, 8
Justin Maxwell, 6
Buster Posey (C), 6
Matt Duffy, 5
Brandon Belt (1B), 5
Buster Posey (1B), 4
Norichika Aoki, 3
Joe Panik, 2
Gregor Blanco (LF, RF), 0
Gregor Blanco (CF), -1
Hunter Pence, -1
Brandon Belt, (LF), -2
Angel Pagan, -6
The only surprises: That Justin Maxwell has been that good in limited time, and maybe that Duffy has been a plus-defender at third, not just an okay one. Other than that, everything is more or less what you might expect. Crawford is excellent, as is Posey. Panik and Aoki aren't Gold Glovers, but they're solidly above average. Blanco is solid, no matter where he is, as long as he's not flipping the ball wildly to ghost teammates.
Angel Pagan has great hair and makes fun gestures when he gets on base. Though, to be fair, his ranking is more below-average at this point than awful.
As expected, not all stats agree. FanGraphs cumulative rankings has them in the middle of the pack. as does Ultimate Zone Rating. It should be noted that Buster Posey's superior pitch-framing ability isn't fully accounted for in any of those, which could make a difference.
The Giants probably don't have a great pitching staff. After Madison Bumgarner, they might be very, very far from a good pitching staff. We notice, sure, but not as much as we could. Let's thank the defense for that.