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Will a Giant finally hit 30 homers this year?

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It’s been 14 years since a Giant has hit 30 home runs in a season. Will this be the year the drought ends?

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at San Francisco Giants
Do this 20 more times, please.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

There were 37 players who hit 30+ homers or more in 2017. It’s easier than ever to reach this seasonal milestone. A player doesn’t even have to be good. Two of them, Adam Duvall and Rougned Odor, reached that mark despite being below average hitters according to wRC+. Odor was also worth -1.0 fWAR.

The Giants, of course, did not have a player hit 30 dingers. They didn’t even have a player hit 20 dingers. The Giants, in case you need reminding, have not had a player hit 30 homers in a season since Barry Bonds hit 45 in 2004. They’ve had players come close. Hunter Pence hit 27 in 2013. Aubrey Huff hit 26 in 2010. Barry Bonds hit 28 in 2007.

Could 2018 be the year a Giant finally swats 30 dingers?

Maybe!

The Giants aren’t last in home runs this year. In fact, they’re 20th in the majors ahead of the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. They’ve mostly been led by a couple of guys, too, which is probably bad for team performance but good for things to root for if/when the Giants fall out of contention.

Here are the best candidates to do it. One of these is not a strong candidate. He’s just stronger than the rest of his teammates.

Brandon Belt

How many homers has he hit?

10

How many home runs is he on pace for?

37

What’s the most he’s hit in a season?

18. Twice.

What does it look like when he hits a dinger?

What kind of pace would he need to maintain to reach 30?

Belt is projected to get 400 more plate appearances according to PECOTA. He could get more now that Bruce Bochy has realized he needs to keep Belt in the lineup when Buster Posey starts at first. PECOTA thinks he’ll hit just 13 more homers for the rest of the season. That would still be a career high but that would leave him with 23. 23 is less than 30, so we don’t care about that for the sake of this exercise. He would need to hit a home run every 20 appearances. For his career, he’s hit a home run every 30.8 plate appearances, so he would need to sustain an above average pace for the rest of the season.

If someone on the Giants is going to do it this year, it will more than likely be Belt. The key will be to not be struck by any more baseballs in the noggin.

Evan Longoria

How many homers has he hit?

8

How many home runs is he on pace for?

27

What’s the most he’s hit in a season?

36. He’s also hit 30 home runs four times over his career.

What does it look like when he hits a dinger?

What kind of pace would he need to maintain to reach 30?

Evan Longoria would need to hit a home run once every 19 plate appearances, and PECOTA also projects him to hit 13 more home runs. Over his career, Longoria has homered once every 23.5 plate appearances. He’s two homers behind Belt, but he wouldn’t have to hit at a much higher rate than what he’s done for his career.

Andrew McCutchen

How many homers has he hit?

3

How many home runs is he on pace for?

10

What’s the most he’s hit in a season?

31. The only reason he’s being included is because he’s the only other healthy Giant who has done this before. Also, no one else has more than four and Mac Williamson is concussed.

What does it look like when he hits a dinger?

Hell yeah.

What kind of pace would he need to maintain to reach 30?

Okay, there’s another reason McCutchen is being included. PECOTA also projects him to hit 13 more home runs over the course of the season, which I find weird. Over his 431 projected plate appearances, Andrew McCutchen would need to hit a home run every 16 plate appearances. For his career, he’s homered every 29.2 plate appearances, so yeah, that’s not going to happen.

Honorable Mentions

This is a little like saying a guy is on pace for 162 homers after they hit a dinger on Opening Day, but if Alen Hanson kept up his pace of homering every thirteen plate appearances, he would hit 50 over the course of a full season (650 plate appearances.) Nick Hundley would similarly hit 36. Mac Williamson would smash Bonds’ single season record with 103.

Of course, none of them will get the proper playing time because of injuries, depth, and how time works.


There you have it. The Giants have one guy on pace for 30 homers and one guy who’s close. Neither is a shoo-in. For any other team, this wouldn’t be interesting, but for the Giants, this is a veritable cornucopia of dingers. We could break the position-player pitching and 30 homer droughts in the same season, y’all.