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The Giants completely missed out on all those 2016 home runs

You knew the Giants didn’t hit a lot of homers last year, but the numbers are still a little stunning.

Wild Card Game - San Francisco Giants v New York Mets Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Last season, 111 different players hit 20 home runs or more. If that seems like a lot, it’s because that’s the most 20-homer players in any season in baseball history. Not even in the steroid-fueled ‘90s, when everyone was supposed to be getting fat against expansion pitching, did more players get to 20 homers or more. In just 2014, there were only 57 players who passed that mark, so you can appreciate how special this last rabbit-ball season was. It boggles the mind. One hundred and eleven players hit 20 homers or more. That’s 45 percent of all players who got more than 300 at-bats. Man.

The San Francisco Giants had exactly zero of them.

There are some good reasons for this, of course. The ballpark, for one. Also, the Giants play in AT&T Park, which suppresses home runs. Then there’s the part where it’s hard to hit home runs in the ballpark where the Giants play 81 games every season. This is called “context,” and it matters. Don’t forget about the time missed by Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt, too. Also, the ballpark.

It’s still stunning, though, that in what might have been the homer-happiest season in baseball history, the Giants had just one player who hit more than 15 homers. But it’s not as if the numbers for the pitchers spiked up as well.

Homers in AT&T Park, by year

Season Giants' AT&T Park HR Opponents' AT&T Park HR Difference
Season Giants' AT&T Park HR Opponents' AT&T Park HR Difference
2000 110 61 49
2001 97 49 48
2002 72 42 30
2003 82 61 21
2004 88 77 11
2005 64 69 -5
2006 61 68 -7
2007 54 64 -10
2008 45 75 -30
2009 65 64 1
2010 75 64 11
2011 42 39 3
2012 31 53 -22
2013 44 67 -23
2014 53 54 -1
2015 53 56 -3
2016 55 64 -9

Side note: Barry Bonds was good.

While it’s tempting to suggest that Johnny Cueto fixed everything, he was a de facto package deal with Jeff Samardzija, who ... didn’t fix everything, at least when it came to home runs. For whatever reason, AT&T Park wasn’t affected by the home run spike at all.

But the Giants didn’t benefit from the homer-happy league on the road, either.

Homers away from AT&T Park, by year

Season Giants' away HR Opponents' HR away from AT&T Difference
Season Giants' away HR Opponents' HR away from AT&T Difference
2000 116 90 26
2001 138 96 42
2002 126 74 52
2003 98 75 23
2004 95 84 11
2005 64 82 -18
2006 102 85 17
2007 77 69 8
2008 49 72 -23
2009 57 76 -19
2010 87 70 17
2011 79 57 22
2012 72 89 -17
2013 63 78 -15
2014 79 79 0
2015 83 99 -16
2016 75 94 -19

The Giants were unaffected on both ends by the new dinger-happy league. They allowed about as many homers as before at home and on the road. They hit about as many homers at home and on the road. They spent the entire season pretending like the home run spike didn’t exist.

This is a very weird team.

This is the part where I’m supposed to come up with a conclusion that makes this an opinion piece instead of a “Look what I found” article, think, dammit, think. Uh, let’s see, uh ...

Oh! I have a thesis! It goes like this: The further we get from Game 4 and the radioactive bullpen, the more I’m regretting the Giants’ decision to make a very expensive closer their only move of the offseason.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very much into Mark Melancon as a pitcher. He should make for a lot of mellow ninth innings, and that is what we’re alllllll craving these days. But I was fairly sure that move was going to be accompanied by another move. A trade for an outfielder. A signing of a free agent whose price dropped in a crowded market. Something.

Instead, that really was the offseason. The Giants had x amount of money to spend, and it all went to a closer. That’s understandable, considering how last season went. At the same time, it feels so final. And considering that they could have had Brad Ziegler and Jose Bautista (for one or two years!) for a similar price, I’m wondering just how much the Giants should regret their single-issue voting. Maybe the goal of the offseason should have been to get a player equipped to take advantage of the new homer-happy league, or at least get some power to allow the Giants to keep up with the Trumbos.

For perspective: If the Dodgers trade for Brian Dozier, their infield will have hit more homers last season than the entire Giants roster. Seems like that’s a disparity that’s worth addressing.

As is, the Giants are still a strong team with a strong roster, and they should contend next year. They’re replacing Angel Pagan with some combination of Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson, which means their power will increase substantially at one position, at least.

Still, this is a team with a stunning lack of power. You knew that, but when you see it in comparison to the rest of the league, it’s even more egregious. More players are hitting homers than ever. Just not the Giants. Not at home. Not on the road. We’ll see if 2017 will be any different.

RON HOWARD (VO): It will not be different.