On Wednesday I chronicled the least fun Giants to watch. I recommend reading it, mostly because you’ll undoubtedly disagree, and that’s the point of these silly articles. This is the point where I clarify that I love all ten of the players I listed, and adore watching them play baseball. They’re Giants. They’re fun. I love it.
They’re just unfun, relative to the rest of the team. It’s like pointing out that high quality milk chocolate is less delicious than dark chocolate; they’re all chocolate, dude.
But with that in the rearview mirror, it’s time for the most fun Giants to watch. And this list went 11 players deep, just to make sure the overall project offers more optimism than pessimism.
Let’s dive in:
11. Dereck Rodriguez
Why? Two reasons.
First: He throws heat, strikes out a good number of batters, and avoids walks.
I mean, come on.
10. Reyes Moronta
Why is Moronta the most fun reliever in the bullpen? I’m really not sure. But he is. Is it the slightly off-centered cap, or the fast pitches? The frequent strikeouts, or the ability to come into a sticky situation and find a way out? Or is it that beautiful baseball feature that allows players who don’t look like professional athletes to perform elite athletic skills?
I genuinely have no idea why Moronta is so fun. But he is.
9. Pablo Sandoval
The Panda is in a bit of a slump, so the timing of this article isn’t ideal. But he’s a former franchise icon in the midst of a mini-revival. He can swing at - and hit - anything, for better and certainly for worse. He plays with genuine joy, whether he’s making a pitching appearance or riding the bench.
The occasional monstrous home runs don’t hurt, either.
8. Joe Panik
Panik when he is in a groove is a lot higher up on this list. But Panik’s in his third consecutive year of being an average to below-average hitter, and that hurts.
But for someone who’s a below-average hitter, Panik’s swing is Yosemite levels of beautiful. And while he’s not the defensive highlight reel that his fellow middle infielder is, I could watch him turn two and field nasty one-hoppers all day long.
7. Alen Hanson
Baseball is not the most traditionally athletic sport. So when a player comes around who looks like they could excel at, say, soccer or basketball or track and field, it’s fun. Except when that player is Billy Hamilton or Dee Gordon playing against the Giants.
Speed in baseball is fun, and not the kind they used before drugs were outlawed.
6. Buster Posey
Gone are the days of Buster Posey, MVP candidate. But he’s still fun. His swing is what the baseball gods had in mind when they created the sport, his framing is a thing of beauty, and the way he guns down runners is one of the more exciting things any Giant does.
5. Andrew McCutchen
McCutchen is fun for all the reasons Hanson is, except that McCutchen has a longer history of being good and we all spent the last decade pining for him to be on the Giants so you can bet your darn butt we’re going to enjoy it.
4. Brandon Belt
Belt is number one on this list if you get to include the haters he tows behind him everywhere he goes. As it is, he hits home runs and sees the strike zone better than anyone else on the team, and genuinely does it all while being goofy.
3. Johnny Cueto
This one needs no explanation.
If you can pitch and dance at the same time, you’re awesome. If you can do both of those at the same time, while doing one at a truly elite level, you’re even more awesome. And if you can do all that, while spending your offseasons posting selfies on horses and at Costco, you’re just the best.
Johnny Cueto: The Best.
2. Brandon Crawford
First, Crawford is - against all odds - one of the top hitters on the team, with a gorgeous left-handed swing that always seems to barrel the ball.
Second, I’m not sure there’s a player in franchise history who has had high level defensive highlights with Crawford’s regularity.
I mean, come on.
1. Madison Bumgarner
Pitching ability? Check.
Strikeout ability? Check.
Home run hitting ability? Check.
Snot rocket ability? Check.
Put the team on your back in the World Series and do everything necessary to ensure that your team wins it all and secures a dynasty? Check.