Hey everyone, Brady here, just gonna write about the most fun to watch players on the 2019 San Francisco Giants, a tremendously fun squad and whooooo boy I just looked at the roster for the first time all year and maybe I should rethink this article?
Oh well, too late. Here are the 12 Giants position players, ranked from least fun to watch, to most fun to watch.
12. Erik Kratz
Catchers are, by definition, rarely fun to watch. Backup catchers are, by definition, even more rarely fun to watch.
Kratz, while deserving of being a backup catcher, is kind of like a backup catcher’s backup catcher’s backup catcher’s backup catcher.
The backup was supposed to be Rene Rivera, who wanted a bigger opportunity elsewhere, then it was supposed to be Aramis Garcia, who they decided should play everyday in Sacramento, and all the while it could have been Stephen Vogt, but he needed time to round back into.
So now we get Kratz, who looks like a catcher, runs like a catcher, chews like a catcher, and hits like a backup catcher’s backup catcher.
He can frame and play defense, so he’s fine and valuable. I’m not trying to knock the guy. But flour is a valuable ingredient and I wouldn’t exactly call it interesting or fun.
11. Yangervis Solarte
Solarte is as easy as the come to root for. He has energy, he has pizzazz, he’s one of the happiest guys in the dugout when his teammates do something good.
He’s also a bad hitter against lefties, a worse hitter against righties, and a non-descript defender. As far as highlights go, you won’t find many here.
10. Gerardo Parra
Pretty much everything that I just said about Solarte can be said about Parra, except platooned. The difference is that Parra occasionally makes a great throw from outfield, so there are some potential highlights.
Gerardo Parra saving the day. pic.twitter.com/wX2ZFK1xo2— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) March 31, 2019
9. Evan Longoria
Longoria is great if you like the optimism that aggressively clings to sports. A handful of years ago he was one of the most entertaining hitters and fielders in the game, and he still shows flashes of each. He can barrel balls up. He can make exceptional defensive plays.
But both are few and far between, and the at bats are getting progressively worse. The powerful dingers don’t quite offset the depressing hacks.
There are reasons to be hopeful. He will recover a long way from his current slash line of .188/.204/.292, and his defense has looked good.
But watching for those occasional signs is not nearly as fun as watching him - or anyone - actually play well.
8. Steven Duggar
Duggar was a lot higher on this last after the first week of the season. He’s the Giants most exciting defensive outfield prospect to make the majors in a long time, and we’ve seen some exceptional highlights from him.
But the addition of Kevin Pillar moved Duggar to a corner, where, even at Oracle Park his defense is less important and less on display. Suddenly the doubles he was slapping while ripping around the basepaths are less exciting, since they come with the knowledge that he’s a disastrous offensive option for his position.
At center field he had a chance at a defensive highlight machine who hit at league average. In the corner he is neither of those things.
In conclusion, more of this please:
Duggar knew the second it left his bat pic.twitter.com/yFih4mzivn— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) April 4, 2019
7. Pablo Sandoval
If Sandoval is in last place on your list, I won’t argue it. He’s a non-modern player who hasn’t had a good season in half a decade. He plays no role in the future of the Giants, and his inclusion on the roster is the reason that neither Mac Williamson nor Connor Joe is on the team.
The context of Sandoval is decidedly unfun.
But I still find the player fun. He hits doubles all over the field, plays with childlike verve, is an enormous advocate for his teammates, and once a week hits a ball that has no business being hit.
It’s entertaining, albeit occasionally infuriating.
He’s also the only Giant with more than 10 plate appearances who has an OPS+ over 100.
6. Kevin Pillar
I don’t expect Pillar to stay this high as the season goes on, but sometimes you need to tip your cap and give someone some credit.
Pillar probably shouldn’t be playing in center field anymore, but still has highlights here and there. His offensive production is, to put it statistically, “I’m here for defense.”
That said, he’s had seemingly every big hit for the Giants this year. He leads the team in RBI with 10 - only two other players have even 4.
Still, he’s been fortunate with his timing. Despite those myriad highlights, he’s been a pretty bad hitter - his wRC+ with the Giants has been just 77.
We’ll be over him soon enough, but for now he’s responsible for the bulk of the team’s highlights, so what can you do?
KEVIN. PILLAR. GRAND. SLAM. pic.twitter.com/OrhejnHBuC— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) April 9, 2019
5. Joe Panik
He still has bat control, and that can be fun. And he can still do this:
Joe Panik with the diving catch pic.twitter.com/dDamYeaLny— Baseball Lifestyle™ (@BsbLifestyle__) April 12, 2019
4. Tyler Austin
If the Giants ever let Austin hit against righties, or play in the outfield regularly, he’ll plummet on this list.
Until then, Austin is a player who, in fewer than 300 plate appearances a year ago, had more home runs than any Giants player.
Have you heard that Khris Davis has as many dingers as the entire Giants roster? Dingers are fun, and on a team that has yet to learn of their existence, a player who hits the ball over the fence is entertaining.
3. Buster Posey
Let’s be clear: Posey has not been fun to watch this year. He has three extra base hits all season, with an on-base percentage and slugging percentage that are both swimming under .300 water.
The framing is still there. The defense is still there. And call me a Poseypologist if you will, but I’m not ready to accept that atrocious hitting is the new normal for Gerald.
2. Brandon Crawford
It’s abundantly clear that Brandon Crawford, 20 home run hitter and offensive force, is no more. These things happen.
He still makes some of the best defensive plays from the most exciting defensive position in baseball, and that’s worth a lot in my eyes. Maybe when the Giants learn that it’s okay to score three runs, you won’t hurt the other team’s feelings, I’ll stop stanning for below-average offensive players.
But until then, I am going to love every deep hole backhand that Crawford somehow gets to, plants from, and fires a perfect throw from.
1. Brandon Belt
Still the team’s best hitter. Still the team’s most disciplined hitter. Still a great fielder.
“Exciting” may not be the word most use for Belt, but in a game defined by minutiae, I think it’s an apt description. He doesn’t swing at pitches he shouldn’t swing at, and he does swing at ones he should. He’s happy to play chess against the pitcher until he earns himself a soft trot around first.
Call me old fashioned, but I love it.
Brandon Belt walked up to me the day before photo day and asked if it was noticeable that he had cut off half his eyebrow. He told the full story on the broadcast: pic.twitter.com/7PvS8gtL0I— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) March 21, 2019