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This year’s Giants might be the worst offensive team in San Francisco history

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There’s evidence for this claim.

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Giants scored nine runs on Monday night. This was a positive development, and I welcome it. Not only did it put them just one win away from avoiding 100 losses, but it pushed their overall team numbers up. Which is good. Because they have work to do.

Back in August, I wrote about how the Giants were faring when it came to adjusted OPS. There’s a primer included there if you aren’t familiar with the stat, but I use it all the time.

So instead of OPS, it’s better to use OPS+, also known as adjusted OPS. There are probably stats that are better than this one (wRC+, for example), but OPS+ is easy and it’s on Baseball-Reference.com, and their Play Index allows me to search throughout history. The benefit of OPS+ when it comes to evaluating the Giants is that it takes AT&T Park into consideration already. It’s park-adjusted. You can compare adjusted OPS for the Giants directly with other teams in the league.

In that post, I focused on how many players had an OPS+ better than the league average. At the time, there were six. Two of them got there with a laughably small sample size. Two of the other ones were there because of a notably small sample size. And then there were two starters. I made sure to point out that the sample sizes likely meant there were going to be changes.

There were changes. There are just three batters on the 2017 Giants with an OPS+ better than the league average now:

  • Buster Posey, 125 (556 PA)
  • Brandon Belt, 116 (451 PA)
  • Joe Panik, 103 (551 PA)

Panik is probably safe even with a five-game slump, but there are no guarantees. As of now, this means that of the 27 position players the Giants have used this year, 24 of them have hit worse than the league average. That means there haven’t been random relievers getting one plate appearance and a walk, like Santiago Casilla. There hasn’t been a single backup or call-up who hit just a little better than expected, only to get sent down because of a roster shuffle. There’s been Posey, Belt, and, lately, Panik. That’s been it.

Instead of focusing on the number of Giants hitting better than the league average today, though, I’d like to focus on the entire team. Back when I wrote that original post, the Giants’ team OPS+ was 81, which is awful. As of Tuesday morning, though, their team OPS+ is ... 81. Which is still awful. It’s bad enough that I went searching for the worst team OPS+ in team history. I found it!

Giants team OPS+, 1958-2017

Season Team OPS+
Season Team OPS+
2017 81
2016 97
2015 101
2014 99
2013 100
2012 106
2011 91
2010 98
2009 82
2008 83
2007 82
2006 90
2005 86
2004 104
2003 99
2002 110
2001 112
2000 115
1999 104
1998 108
1997 98
1996 93
1995 95
1994 92
1993 108
1992 90
1991 97
1990 101
1989 104
1988 101
1987 102
1986 96
1985 85
1984 100
1983 97
1982 98
1981 94
1980 84
1979 93
1978 97
1977 90
1976 85
1975 91
1974 87
1973 102
1972 95
1971 101
1970 104
1969 96
1968 94
1967 96
1966 89
1965 94
1964 93
1963 110
1962 110
1961 102
1960 99
1959 97
1958 100

It’s right here. This is a worse offense than the 2008 Giants, with Bengie Molina hitting cleanup and Aaron Rowand protecting him. Worse than the 2009 Giants, which wasted one of the greatest team pitching seasons ever. It’s worse than the 2011 Giants, who had Rowand leading off for 46 games before he was released. Worse than the 1985 Giants that lost 100 games. All of them. It’s worse than all of the teams since the franchise has been in San Francisco.

It can get worse, too. All of those marks up there include the Giants’ pitchers, who aren’t expected to hit. When they don’t hit, it isn’t a surprise. It’s almost by design. So Baseball-Reference also has the Giants’ OPS+ numbers with the pitchers completely removed. They won’t get to take credit for Madison Bumgarner and Ty Blach, in other words.

How do the 2017 Giants fare when you take the pitchers out of the equation?

Poorly.

Giants team OPS+ without pitchers, 1958-2017

Season OPS+ without pitchers
Season OPS+ without pitchers
2017 86
2016 102
2015 105
2014 106
2013 107
2012 112
2011 96
2010 105
2009 87
2008 88
2007 88
2006 95
2005 90
2004 111
2003 106
2002 116
2001 117
2000 121
1999 110
1998 114
1997 105
1996 100
1995 102
1994 97
1993 115
1992 97
1991 102
1990 109
1989 110
1988 108
1987 110
1986 102
1985 89
1984 108
1983 102
1982 105
1981 100
1980 91
1979 98
1978 106
1977 95
1976 90
1975 99
1974 92
1973 109
1972 102
1971 110
1970 115
1969 104
1968 103
1967 103
1966 94
1965 102
1964 102
1963 117
1962 118
1961 108
1960 105
1959 107
1958 107

There are a couple teams that can compete. The aforementioned 2009 team. The 100-loss team of ‘85. Still, none of them have been worse than the 2017 Giants. And when you remove the pitchers, you can see just how hard it usually is for the Giants to find a roster full of hitters who are dramatically worse than the league average. Even in the oddest of years, they’ve usually avoided embarrassment.

There are five games left. There’s still a chance the ghosts of 2009 will take back their rightful crown. Hitting like Monday night would be preferable, then. While OPS+ might be an inscrutable stat to you, which takes away some of the impact this bizarro record would have, all you need to know is this: There’s a stat that purports to evaluate how a team hits, and it makes sure that league-wide offensive levels and park effects are taken into account. According to this stat, this team has a chance to be the worst collection of hitters in the 60 seasons the team has been in San Francisco.

The good news is that almost everyone is under contract next year, so don’t worry Giants fans. This is all probably going to work out.