The Giants were hitting against Chase Anderson at Chase Field. It was literally his field. His grandpa was probably a munitions baron or something, and that fortune allowed him to build his own ballpark and field his own baseball team. That's a heckuva home-field advantage.
However, the Giants are apparently a very talented group of hitters, just like we thought in the week before the All-Star break. Just like we thought a couple of weeks before the week before the All-Star break, skipping over the parts where the Giants couldn't score a run on an error and three balks. Just like we thought a couple of weeks before the couple of weeks before the week before the All-Star break.
Apparently, there were some gaps where we were convinced the hitters weren't very talented at all.
No matter. The Giants can hit, I'm pretty sure. It took them 32 games to have a game with eight or more runs scored. They've had three in their last five games.
Okay, but, still. When the hits are falling, the cosmos spins above us like the Laserium, and everything is beautiful. When the hits aren't falling, you probably reek of garlic fries because we call those games "home games." Still, appreciate that they can go into a hitter's park and assimilate into the native culture.
Hey @mccoveychron the Giants sure have a lot of guys batting over .300. Is our team batting avg higher than it's been in many years?— RichSC (@OriginalRichSC) July 19, 2015
Good question, Twitter user! We'll look at the Giants since they moved to San Francisco, since we've established that the years before that weren't canon.
Highest Giants team averages since 1958
1. 2000 (.278)
2. 1962 (.278)
3. 1993 (.276)
4. 1998 (.274)
5. 2015 (.272)
Yeah, I know that batting average is more of a relic than a statistic that smart people use to analyze baseball these days, but I'm still smitten with the backs of my baseball cards. Giants player get hit: good. Giants player not get hit: bad.
Except it's misleading to compare raw batting average to those teams. The 1998 and 2000 teams had Barry Bonds and ... help from various scientific disciplines, from the lineup to the bench. The 1962 lineup was one of the finest of all-time, with three future Hall of Famers. The 1993 lineup also had Bonds, and they also had a gaggle of players having career years.
The 2015 team plays in a windy seagull temple, and offense around the league is as low as it's been in decades. The Giants are hitting 20 points above the league average right now, the highest mark since moving to San Francisco. There are limits to average, sure. It doesn't tell you how the team is doing when it comes to on-base percentage (leading the league) or home runs (just seven behind the league average, which you'll excuse them for, considering the park). They're five doubles away from the league lead, and of course they lead the league in triples.
Mike Krukow: They can hit.
They can hit! Last year at this time, they were messing around with Dan Uggla and had a third baseman who had apparently already decided to leave. This year, they're as good offensively as they've ever been in the Buster Posey Era.
I'll never understand this sport.
Remember, at the end of May, Buster Posey was hitting .263/.333/.388. He'd hit three homers and one double. Was he Jason Kendall now, that stupid voice in the back of my head or car kept asking? Catchers don't last forever, you know.
Instead, he's still clearly one of the best players in baseball. I know that Mike Trout is more valuable by every metric, for good reason, but there's still an extra layer of satisfaction that comes with watching Posey with every pitch when he's in the field. While Posey is framing pitches and doing good things, Trout is thinking about steak. That isn't to say the difference makes up the gap in value, but rather that it's a lot of fun to watch Posey contribute so much to every aspect of the game.
He's a streaky fella, too. When he's seeing the ball well, it's like he invented hitting. It's like he's playing without a second baseman in the field, and the pitcher's throwing a rubber ball. When he's slumping, well, it's not pretty. But it's not as ugly as other folks' slumps, either. They're worth putting up with to get to the hot streaks, because the hot streaks are so ridiculously hot.
For the last 15 games, entering Saturday night: .429/.452/.661, with three homers and four doubles. He was three-for-four tonight, too, so the average goes up. Really, what I'm trying to say is that Buster Posey has a bright future in Major League Baseball, so look out for this kid.
I'm not sure if I've ever compared Joe Panik to Bill Mueller before.
Oh, nice. Well, there's no sense stopping now.
Except, I think there's a part of me that's conflating Mueller's Giants years with his unexpected Red Sox years. For example, he won the batting title in 2003, but that's when he hit over 30 points higher than he ever did in a full season with the Giants. That wasn't the normal Mueller. He wasn't some consistent Wade Boggs-type hitter, slashing his way into MVP consideration every year. He was pretty good.
Pretty good is what I thought Panik's ceiling was. I was sure hoping for pretty good this year. He's obviously exceeded that. But here's where I break from the traditional Mueller comps that satisfy me so. Panik is 24, and he's already an All-Star. He's one of the better offensive second baseman in the game right now. When Mueller was 24, he was doing the same thing ... between Double-A and Triple A. The stats are similar between the two at age-24, except Mueller was taking more walks and hitting for less power in the minors.
Which is all to say: Maybe Mueller isn't the best career comp for Panik. Maybe the best comparison is ROBO-MUELLER, NOW WITH DOUBLES POWER. The 2003 version of Mueller, the fluky MVP candidate for the Red Sox? Maybe there's a way Panik can sustain that for a couple years, making it his career peak. Maybe he can do the things Mueller did, but better and for longer, while playing solid defense at a more difficult position.
Or maybe I'm just high on Panik dust. If that's wrong, I don't want to be right. Never comin' down.
Jake Peavy is not the miserable pitcher that the Red Sox were so eager to dump last year. He isn't the outstanding, run-preventing fool he was after the Giants acquired him. He isn't the liability that he was in the postseason.
He was, well, that. He was that right there. He'll give you a quality start in a hitter's park, but you don't want to push him. He'll do more good than bad, but if he's the #2 in the rotation, the rotation is messed up.
Peavy belongs in a major league rotation, still. There were a dozen or so starts from September through June that did their best to convince you otherwise, but he's probably cool. If you're looking to turn the 2015 Giants into a juggernaut, there are about a dozen holes to patch first.
Andrew Susac is out for a couple weeks after sliding into third base like a pitcher. Welcome back, Hector Sanchez.
No, it's okay. We're still talking about the backup catcher, here, and the Giants don't think Susac has serious ligament damage in his thumb. More than that, Sanchez has been hitting in the last month. At least, he was before getting concussed, and he hit a little after coming back from the concussion. I'll just ignore that we're still talking about Hector Sanchez concussions in July, 2015.
Mostly, this is just your annual reminder that it would have been pretty cool to see what kind of prospect Sanchez would have been if he were in the minors this whole time, getting regular at-bats and catching everyday. I'm not saying he would be Posey, but he's still just 25, almost a year younger than eternal catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud. He's had about a full season's worth of plate appearances in the majors, spread over three years as a backup, during the most formative time of his career.
On the other hand, Nelson Cruz, Miguel Cabrera, and Salvador Perez. Second-guessing is expressly forbidden.
Still, though, I want a peek into the alternate universe! Also, I want Susac to come back healthy, and soon. He was looking like the asset the Giants were hoping all winter, and it's a shame to lose him right now. Hopefully Sanchez is irritated and has some he-can-hit up his sleeve.
Okay, so the Giants have to make the following trades:
- Prospects to Milwaukee for Gerardo Parra
- Prospects to Miami for Martin Prado
- PTBNL to the Angels for young catcher Carlos Perez
- PTBNL to the Brewers for infielder Hernan Perez
These moves make sense in terms of depth. Parra helps the outfield. Prado is like Joaquin Arias, but overqualified.
However, those players also allow a potential starting lineup that looks like this:
- Pagan - CF
- Panik - 2B
- Parra - LF
- Posey - 1B
- Pence - RF
- Prado - 3B
- Perez - C
- Perez - SS
- Peavy - P
Don't you see how important this is? DON'T YOU SEE HOW IMPOR