If you love home runs, then you’ve probably already planned to watch tonight’s Home Run Derby on ESPN. If you love the Giants hitting home runs and nobody else, then you might want to reconsider that position, because you’ll see more home runs tonight than you will the rest of the season for our favorite team.
In fact, you’ll probably see more home runs tonight start to finish than you will have watching the entire 2018 season of Giants’ baseball. The average derby probably averages between 150-160 home runs. The 2015 contest, in particular, had 159. Here’s a breakdown of home runs the Giants have hit over the years (going back to 2010, MLB ranking in parenthesis):
2010: 162 (10th)
2011: 121 (22nd)
2012: 103 (30th)
2013: 107 (29th)
2014: 132 (17th)
2015: 136 (26th)
2016: 130 (28th)
2017: 128 (30th)
2018: 91 (25th) *-in progress, obviously
Knock out that 2010 tally and this year’s still incomplete number (both extreme ranges that skew the results), then you get a 7-year average of 122.43 home runs a season. You’ll notice, though, that the 3-year average (2015-2017) is 131.33, but either way you look at it, the Giants might hit only 30-40 more home runs this year.
Sure, some of that total is skewed by Belt’s freak appendicitis and Evan Longoria’s broken hand, but it feels like the dual emergence of Gorkys Hernandez and Alen Hanson ameloriated those losses. Brandon Crawford has been the best he’s ever been and Buster Posey and Nick Hundley combined have put up great numbers for the backstop position. Joe Panik has been a drag for most of the season, as has been the left field spot.
Then again, even at their best, most of the players aren’t mashers. It’s been five years since the Giants had a player who even hit 25 home runs or more and even longer since there’s been a 30+ home run dude. But we know from experience that a roster of mashers isn’t a prerequisite for winning a World Series.
Of the 91 home runs hit, 90 were hit by 12 players still on the 40-man roster (the other was by Gregor Blanco). Assuming no significant additions at the deadline or a call-up like Chris Shaw, let’s just basically go off the players we’ve already seen this year to project the rest of the way. And let’s be wildly optimistic and say they get to 131 for the season, so, 40 more.
I’ll start off by saying I think Hunter Pence will get 1 home run somehow. Maybe it’ll be an inside-the-park job. That would be swell.
Brandon Belt was my pick for the guy who’d be the first to hit 25 home runs in a season since 2013, but that’s looking less and less likely. He’s still leading the team with 13 home runs and has twice hit 18 in a season. I’ll predict he gets to 20, so 7 more.
Buster Posey’s sore hip has sapped him of power, but the entire point of him sitting out the All-Star Game is so that he can finally get a cortisone shot and rest it. I’m not sure how that will all shake out. I can imagine both events very clearly: he comes out of the break looking the same or he comes out of the break looking great for 7-10 days before slowing or breaking down again. He hasn’t had a single-digit home run season since 2011. He’s at 5 for the year right now, so, I’ll be optimistic and say he hits 5 more to get to 10.
Evan Longoria’s going to be on a quest to right his season when he returns and he’s sitting at 10 home runs right now. I think he’ll hit 8 more over the final 2 months of the season to give him a respectable 18.
My prediction for Gorkys Hernandez is that he tops out at 14. That’s 3 more.
Andrew McCutchen’s rate suggests he’ll raise his total at the break of 9 to 14 by season’s end. That’s another 5.
Give me 3 more for Nick Hundley to get him to 11.
But that’s 32 home runs already and I figured they’d hit 40 more as a team. It’s hard to believe a collection of Brandon Crawford, Pablo Sandoval, Alen Hanson, Joe Panik, Austin Slater, Mac Williamson, and Chase d’Arnaud will combine for, at most, 8 more home runs in 64 games. That list doesn’t factor in Madison Bumgarner, Jeff Samardzija, Dereck Rodriguez, Derek Holland, Reyes Moronta (shush — I can dream), or any wild-card callups or transactions. It feels like there’s maybe 15-20 home runs in here.
Sure, it’s entirely possible I’ve been too generous with that last chunk of players and it’s even more likely that I’m way off about how many home runs the Giants will wind up with this season — and that’s in either direction. They could hit way less than 131. After all, over the past month (since June 15th), they’re averaging just 3.78 runs per game and have hit only 18 home runs in those 28 games.
Even if I through those 15-20 home runs into the mix, the Giants will still trail the league substantially in terms of home runs hit. We know for sure that AT&T Park has a lot to do with that. Another sliver of the explanation comes from organizational philosophy. A bigger chunk is, of course, talent ceiling. The Giants win, but they don’t hit dingers.
But dingers are good. Tonight might be your last chance this year to see a heap of them, so you should tune in.
Who will lead the Giants in home runs over the final 64 games?
This poll is closed
Joey Bart / wild card