Saturday, March 22, 2014

Let's get this show on the road

Baseball Musings takes a look at the Giants offense. I like this part:
The Giants might end up less dependent on their pitching this season, a more balanced team. That would make their third world title in five years a bit more likely.
The 2012 team was more balanced than the 2010 team. The 2010 team allowed 3.60 runs per game, second only to San Diego's 3.59, but the Giants rated a 117 ERA+, best in the game. The 2009 club ruled the charts as well, finishing first in runs allowed and ERA+. That kind of dominance doesn't need much help, and unfortunately that's what they got: their 4.06 runs scored per game was the 5th worst, and their 82 OPS+ was dead last. Offensively the 2010 team was just a tick below average (4.30 to 4.38 rpg), but flashed a bit of power (162 HR, 10th) to make up for it. Their 98 OPS+ rated 14th. It was enough, as we saw.

In 2012, the pitching was good but not great (4.01 rpg, 8th, and a shocking 20th--96--in ERA+), but had the depth, experience, and star power to compensate. The offense, despite a lack of home runs, was 4th in baseball in OPS+ at 106, and 12th overall at 4.43 rpg, well above average (4.32). The Giants were the best road offense in the game after the All-Star Break. That team relied on putting the ball in play, good baserunning, and productive outs. I thought of it as a "death by a thousand paper cuts" offense, and it sure worked. They got big performances as well in the post season from the entire staff, best exemplified by 2010 ├╝ber-ace Tim Lincecum finding his mojo in relief.

I think the 2014 team will pitch more like the 2010 team but without the league-leading dominance. There are a lot of clutch guys who can take the ball, and some studs waiting in the wings as well. I think the 2014 team will hit like the 2012 team but have more pop. In short, I think we will see a well-balanced club. The Dodgers are the front-runners, and the consensus pick in the West, but the Giant have two things in their favor. One is team defense. I think we will see better fielding in San Francisco than in LA. That can make a difference--at least a couple of wins--over the long haul of 162 games. The other is the manager. Bruce Bochy is probably worth at least a half a win and perhaps even one win per month over the average manager. One projection has the Giants at 85 wins and the Dodgers at 91, and if six games is all the team needs to make up, I think we should feel pretty good.




nomisnala said...

I sure hope the giants make the playoffs. Your article is mostly conjecture and speculation based on feeling, and some previous history. I think what you state is possible if the team stays healthy. But the part about our defense being better than the defense of the bums is questionable. I would like to see a reasonable analysis to support your conjecture. I really enjoyed watching Vogelsong pick apart batters for a couple of years, but I have serious doubts about his ability to consistently get back to that level. The guys waiting in the wings, may not be waiting for long.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Yeah, I'm a fanboy! I have not done the analysis, but the smell test tells me the Giants will field better than the Bums. Belt is younger and more mobile than A-Gon. Sandoval looks good, more svelte than last year, he can flash some leather. B-Craw can run circles around most guys in the league. Posey can play his spot as good or better than anyone. Pence is underrated in right. Pagan, despite his critics, is solid. Morse is scary (we assume), but we know Blanco can run anything down. LA has some serious talent, but I think Giants put more of a premium on D, organizationally speaking. I didn't mention second base as both clubs have some question marks: can Gordon hit enough to stay on the field and can Scutaro stay healthy.

Half-assed analysis to be sure, but I've yet to see good defensive stats that I can depend on, unlike, say, all the great pitching and hitting stuff.

I AM willing to go out on a limb and say the Giants will pick it better than the Dodgers!

And I meant it when I said "let's get on with it." Man, I'm sick of meaningless practice games!

M.C. O'Connor said...

DJ Short takes on the 2014 Giants at Hardball Talk.