The Giants, as currently constructed, are a fantastic defensive team. There's still some question as to Denard Span's mobility after his hip and core problems, and his injury on Wednesday just raised more questions. But the infield is filled with Gold Glove candidates, and the outfield should be at least average, especially if Angel Pagan takes well to left field.
There's one thing to be worried about, though. They can't throw. At least, not compared to the rest of the league. And it's not just me saying this: It's science.
Over at MLB.com, Mike Petriello used Statcast to rank teams in order of how hard their outfielders threw. He used current rosters (so Span is included), and he set the bar low enough to include the Giants' fourth outfielder, Gregor Blanco. The results?
Dead last. And it wasn't even close.
We're talking almost 10 mph slower than the top team, the Astros, and a healthy chunk of arm lower than the 29th-hardest throwing team in the league.
Now, arm strength doesn't always translate into outs, so let's not get carried away. These were based on the average of their 90th-percentile throws, so maybe the Giants have a slow-and-steady thing going on, and they're more concerned with accuracy. FanGraphs has a stat called ARM, and they have the Giants in the bottom-half of the league, but not dead last with a rock tied around their torso.
What does this all mean? Well, not a whole bunch. Arms are an important part of a balanced outfield defense, but it's pretty hard for them to be the collective difference between first and second place. It's just a curious fact about your 2016 San Francisco Giants.
Thank goodness for Hunter Pence, in other words. Though we should be saying that most days, anyway.