The 2017 Giants have scored 265 runs, which is the third-worst mark in the National League. They’ve also played more games than either of the teams below them, so they’re actually worse than that. They’ve hit 57 homers, which is the worst in the NL. They have the second-worst batting average, the second-worst OBP, and the worst slugging percentage. And if you’re thinking AT&T Park is to blame, note that they have the worst adjusted OPS in baseball, even after park effects are considered.
It’s not your imagination: I get a sick thrill from paragraphs like that. Look at how bad this team is. Look at how bad!
The Giants lead the league in sacrifice flies, though, and they have the second-highest total of runners left on base, too, so things aren’t all bad! And they even hit a three-run homer when I was on vacation, which means they’re just three behind Melky Cabrera. But I’m going to proceed under the assumption that the 2017 Giants are not having a very good offensive season.
I want to put this into context. Is this the worst offensive Giants team we’ve seen in years? Is it just a garden variety kind of bad, the likes of which we’ve seen before and will see again? I have no idea. To the stats!
The Giants’ .240 team batting average is the worst since ...
The 1985 season, when they lost 100 games. If I had to guess why that team lost 100 games, it would be because they were even worse at getting hits than the 2017 Giants. But I’m not a baseball expert.
The league average in 1985 was .252, which was two points lower than the current average in 2017, so this doesn’t need a lot of context
The Giants’ .302 on-base percentage is the worst since ...
The 1992 season, which was so dreary that the team was going to move to Florida and make Brandon Crawford cry. The Giants had Will Clark (.384 OBP), sure, but the next highest OBP was Willie McGee, who was never known for his selective hitting.
There were just two Giants with 40 walks or more that season. This year’s Giants could have two by the All-Star break. So it could be worse?
The next year the Giants won 103 games. So what I’m proposing is this plan:
- The Giants should acquire a hitter as productive as Barry Bonds
- See step 1.
If you can’t see the logic in that, buddy, you’re too far gone.
The Giants’ .368 slugging percentage is the worst since ...
The 2011 season, which means this isn’t an especially bad season for dingers and doubles. Not compared to ‘11, at least, when Pablo Sandoval lead the team with 23 homers, Cody Ross was second with 14, and Aubrey Huff was third with 11.
Nate Schierholtz and Brandon Belt were tied for fourth, with nine. Now those are some dark times.
The Giants’ 128-homer pace would be the worst since ...
The 2013 season. It would be just two homers off last season, in which the Giants made the postseason. It seems odd to type, but they’re actually hitting a fair amount of home runs. For them.
And, yes, the park is a big deal when it comes to homers. There is no denying that. Maybe we should take it easy on them lol just kidding.
The Giants’ 79 OPS+ would be the worst since ...
The 1902 season.
Good gravy, what?
[cartoonishly rubs eyes]
The 1902 Giants hit six home runs all season, and two of them were from their ace, Christy Matheson. So there are parallels! Of course, teams didn’t hit as many home runs back then, so it’s not exactly a perfect comp. But OPS+ looks at a team’s ballpark and the production from the entire league, so this is the best way to account for AT&T Park and the juiced balls of 2017.
And according to this metric, this is the worst Giants offense since powered flight and tea bags were invented.
The good news: It’s unlikely to stay this bad. Just like you know a player hitting .400, even for a month, is likely to regress toward the mean, the Giants won’t be this bad for another three months*. The Giants probably won’t have the worst adjusted OPS since 1902. Maybe just the worst adjusted OPS since they lost 100 games. That should comfort you.
Mostly, though, there isn’t anything here that should surprise you. The 2017 Giants have not been hitting the baseball very well. Perhaps you’ve noticed.
* Four months if they make the postseason