11-game losing streaks are a time for reflection. It’s very difficult to lose that many games in a row, even if it’s difficult to win a Major League Baseball game. Even the least talented Major League Baseball players have enough talent to be Major League Baseball players.
Even with injuries, the Giants expected to field a competitive team and the players on that team expected to be competitive with their major league peers. That hasn’t been the case, but what’s true now might not be true tomorrow. With that in mind, let’s look at what the Giants players have done this season and find a statistic for each of them to hang their hat on even after this rough stretch.
A caveat: I kept this list to just the primary starters and relievers on the team and not players who should just be happy to be here, like Chris Shaw, Chase d’Arnaud, Aramis Garcia, Abiatal Avelino, Kelby Tomlinson, Gregor Blanco, Casey Kelley, Pierce Johnson, Ray Black, and Steven Okert, and none of the players who’d been traded away or are on the disabled list for the rest of the season. So, with all that in mind, here we go.
12 intentional walks is, like, 4 games’ worth for Barry Bonds, but it’s a career high for Brandon Crawford. This is encouraging enough because it means that at some point, he was considered a more dangerous offensive threat than the dude hitting behind him, and that comes in a season where he had only 49 plate appearances in the 8th spot. Six of those 12 IBB came from when he batted fifth.
He’s also tied with Pablo Sandoval for the second-highest total on the Giants since 2010 (Buster Posey had 13 intentional walks last season; Sandoval also had 13 in 2009). So, with just two more intentional walks, Brandon Crawford would be come the single-season leader since Barry Bonds had 43 in 2007.
108 OPS+. Not only is that 8% above league average, he’s the team leader in this category following Andrew McCutchen’s departure (Buster Posey’s season ended at 104). Sure, that’s the second-lowest total of his career, but he’s got a knee thing.
42 extra base hits (23 doubles, 4 triples, 15 home runs) — 1 shy of team lead for triples (Alen Hanson has 5) — makes him the team leader (just 1 extra base hit behind the departed Andrew McCutchen). He suffered a broken hand and another year of age-related decline BUT, he’s still hitting the ball hard.
He’s 27 years old. He’ll be 28 in October and this is by far the worst year of his career, but still, he’s got time to figure things out.
1 double play in 200 plate appearances
Double plays weren’t tracked until 1933, but since then, there have been 21 seasons in which a Giants player (or players) hit into 1 or 0 double plays in 200 or more plate appearances. 11 of those have come in the San Francisco era, and 5 times since AT&T Park opened in 2000:
2000 - Calvin Murray | 229 PA | 108 G | 82 OPS+
2002 - Ramon E. Martinez | 200 PA | 72 G | 101 OPS+
2012 - Gregor Blanco | 453 PA | 141 G | 94 OPS+
2013 - Angel Pagan | 305 PA | 71 G | 113 OPS+
2004 - Joaquin Arias | 204 PA | 107 G | 67 OPS+
15 home runs after hitting 0 last season. Remarkable. ReGorkable? No. Gorkmarkable.
63 games played (career high).
90 OPS+ and wRC+. This ranks him as the #20 catcher in MLB (minimum 250 PA), 10 behind Buster Posey. That reminds me of this tweet:
MLB catchers are hitting .233 this season, the lowest in 50 years (1968 - .231) and 4th lowest since 1910 (98 years).— CJ Nitkowski (@CJNitkowski) September 12, 2018
But not Nick Hundley — he’s hitting .237!
.444 slugging percentage leads the team.
3.77 FIP, good enough for 28th in MLB among qualified pitchers (reminder: a “qualified” pitcher is a pitcher who’s pitched at least as many innings as total games played by their team). It’s also the second-best figure of his career (he had a 3.44 FIP back in 2013, when he pitched 213 innings and posted an ERA+ of 120).
5 (wins) - 1 more than last season! WTG, Mad Bum.
39 walks. That’s in 145.1 innings pitched and translates to a 2.42 BB/9, which is 30th out of all pitchers in MLB who’ve pitched at least 140 innings. With his 121 strikeouts pitched, he’s got a 3.10 K/BB ratio, good for 43rd in MLB (minimum: 140 innings). The next five pitchers on the list after Suarez are Mike Foltynewicz (3.05), Charlie Morton (2.98), Tanner Roark (2.98), Dallas Keuchel (2.88), and Tyler Anderson (2.76).
168 ERA+ / (translates to a) 60 ERA-. He doesn’t “qualify” among MLB starters, so adjusting the minimum to 100 innings makes him 6th in MLB, behind Chris Sale (44), Jacob deGrom (45), Blake Snell (49), Trevor Bauer (50), Max Scherzer (56). Actually ties him with Aaron Nola (60). Clayton Kershaw? 63.
11 quality starts (at least six innings pitched, 3 earned runs or fewer allowed). That’s tied for 38th in Major League Baseball and last in the Giants’ starting rotation, but it ties him with the likes of Noah Syndergaard, Mike Foltynewicz, Clay Buchholz, and Stephen Strasburg. That’s something!
3.97 FIP. That’s third on the team (behind Holland and Rodriguez) out of pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched.
49 swinging strikes on his 4-seam fastball (which averages 96.8 mph). Out of all pitchers with a minimum of 1,000 total pitches thrown, Moronta (who’s thrown 1,037 total pitches) ranks as #101 in MLB. The only other pitchers with fewer total pitches but more swinging fastballs are the Pirates’ Richard Rodriguez (1,007) and Craig Kimbrel (1,020).
11 saves. He had all of one previous to this season and it’ll net him a nice raise in arbitration, should it get that far with the Giants. He’s been mostly reliable as a reliever this season and after a long rehab after Tommy John surgery, no matter how it winds up for him statistically, the season has been an overwhelming success.
0.5 fWAR. That’s a 0.1 improvement over last season, and this season still isn’t done. Also, by fWAR alone, he’s the Giants’ 9th-most valuable pitcher, tied with Chris Stratton. He’s ahead of such staff fixtures as Johnny Cueto, Sam Dyson, Ray Black, and Pablo Sandoval.
7.27 strikeouts per nine innings is a career high. He’s had a really solid bounce-back season.
14 saves is a career high and will net him a huge pay raise if the Giants wind up keeping him. An arbitration case might net him around $4-$5 million just based on the saves, but the Giants might be able to negotiate something closer to $2-$3.5 million.
0.28 HR/9. He’s allowed 1 home run in his 32.1 innings, and the rate hasn’t been that low since his 2013-2014 seasons. He’s not the pitcher he once was, but his home runs allowed this season, his groundball rate, strand rate, and home run to fly ball rates have all trended back towards his career numbers as compared to last year when it looked like he was toast.
See what happens when you look for the positives?