The Giants just finished getting humiliated by the Miami Marlins, and they’re about to begin a four-game series with the San Diego, so I figured now would be a good time to look at worst hitters who have torn apart the Giants in 2018. For every Bryce Harper or Kris Bryant or Max Muncy that the Giants have been able to contain, there’s a JT Riddle or a Cameron Maybin or any other Marlin the Giants haven’t been able to get out.
These hitters all had high tOPS+ and sOPS+ against the Giants. tOPS+ measures how well a player performed in a split relative to his normal performance. sOPS+ measures a player against the league in that split. So each of these players not only did better than they normally did, they did better than the league normally did.
The Giants graciously turned these replacement level players into superstars if only for a week’s worth of games.
Old friend Adam Duvall has the highest wRC+ of anyone on this list (84, not great but not terrible). I hesitated about including him because what he did against the Giants is what you would expect him to do: mash dingers. But these small sample numbers don’t lie. Among batters with 10 plate appearances against the Giants, he has the highest tOPS+ (302) and third highest sOPS+ (292) behind Mike Trout and Paul Goldschmidt. The two home runs he hit in a three-game series earlier in the year nearly matched the three he hit in a Giants uniform.
Ian Desmond is the original inspiration for this article. Against all other opponents, Desmond is hitting .198/.265/.419. That’s a 68 wRC+. Against the Giants, however, he’s hitting .346/.438/.538. He’s had four multi-hit games against the Giants even though they’ve only played each other seven times. In those seven games, he’s driven in seven runs and scored seven times. Somehow, he’s done this while still hitting 65% ground balls.
Chase Utley isn’t a bad hitter. His 65.2 career WAR puts him ahead of four other Hall of Fame second basemen including Craig Biggio. But he hasn’t been good this year because he’s 39. He’s hitting .216/.302/.324. Of course, he still kills the Giants. He’s 9-for-25 with a home run, four doubles, and two stolen bases. You probably could have guess this, but those are the only bases he’s stolen all year. If Utley could hit like this against the Giants but continue to decline normally against everyone else, the Dodgers would find a roster spot for him. In his age 46 season he’d set a record for strikeouts, but he’d still hit a pennant-clinching grand slam off Sean Hjelle.
Pirates fans have an affection for Sean Rodriguez. Some Pittsburghians refer to the super-sub as SeanRod which is stupid because (A) all nicknames ending with Rod are tired and (B) Baseball Reference lists his nickname as Serpico and why wouldn’t you call someone Serpico? Serpico has a .682 OPS in his eleven-year career. Since having a 3.7 bWAR season in 2010, he’s been average to replacement-level ever since.
In three games against the Giants this year, he went 2-for-7 with a double and three walks. He has the ninth highest tOPS+ against the Giants this year, and he’s enjoyed hitting against them. He has a 137 career tOPS+ and has hit .286/.375/.429 lifetime.
You knew he would be here. Lewis Brinson killed the Giants in more ways than one. He killed them on the field and he killed the narrative that Hunter Strickland had gotten himself together. Someone was bound to do the latter eventually. All Brinson did was do a good baseball thing and be happy about it.
Brinson will be good eventually, and his performance against the Giants is proof of that. His performance against every other team is proof that he should still be in the minors. He has a 30% strikeout rate and his on-base percentage is a major’s worst .226. That’s lower than Chris Davis! It’s not good to be trailing Chris Davis in an offensive category.
JB Shuck has apparently been in and out of the majors since 2011, and he’s gone completely unnoticed by me. He played for the White Sox in 2015 and 2016, and I lived in Chicago during that time and went to Sox games. Still, I never noticed him. Maybe I heard his name but thought somebody was talking about a family-oriented oyster restaurant.
At any rate, JB Shuck has not been a good major leaguer. In his career, he’s been worth -1.3 bWAR, and he’s hit .246/.295/.319. He’s been even worse than that this year. Not against the Giants though! He went 6-for-15 with two doubles against the Giants.
I could have put just about any other Marlin here including Cameron Maybin, JT Riddle, or Yadiel Rivera. But Shuck’s 292 tOPS+ against the Giants really made him stand out. As bad as the rest of the Marlins have been, they still haven’t been as bad as Shuck.
I’m as surprised as any that there isn’t a Padre on this list. Matt Szczur could have been included, but he has fewer than 100 plate appearances on the season. But looking at the Padres roster there sure are a lot of bad hitters who are going to hit like Mike Trout this weekend. Manuel Margot, Freddy Galvis, Cory Spangenberg, the list goes on.