San Francisco Giants are hitting fewer home runs and winning fewer games

Brandon Crawford and the Giants are hitting far fewer home runs than last year.

Brandon Crawford and the Giants are hitting far fewer home runs than last year.
Picture: Getty Images

Fresh out of a franchise 107-win season, no one expected the San Francisco Giants to repeat as NL West champions in 2022. The departures of key players such as Buster Posey, Kris Bryant and Kevin Gausman were going to be difficult to overcome . The Giants managed to replace Gausman by acquiring Carlos Rodón in free agency and the team hoped that former second draft pick Joey Bart would be a suitable replacement for Posey. The team never tried to replace Bryant. Rodon was great. Bart not so much, and that’s kind of exemplary of the Giants’ season so far. The Giants’ pitching staff have been phenomenal, but their offense has failed to recapture the magic of 2021, largely due to their lack of homers.

In 2021, the Giants finished the regular season second in MLB for home runs (241; Toronto: 262). In 2022 though, the Giants are currently 12th with just 25. They’re averaging almost a homer per game, which is good, but far from what the Giants need to struggle. The threat of the home run is what kept the Giants’ offense buzzing last season. They hit a lot (ninth in MLB in 2021), but made up for it with their ability to produce outbounds. This is no longer the case in 2022.

The team is still hitting around the same clip (23.6% in 2021, 23.1% in 2022), but their home run rate has dropped 3.9% in 2021 (third highest in MLB), just 2.6 percent this year. Shortstop Brandon Crawford, who had a career year last season at age 34, hit 24 homers but only 2 homers this year. Brandon Belt has 4 and utility man Wilmer Flores has 2. Outfielder Darin Ruf has yet to hit at all. The only players whose home run rates have increased in 2022 and who have played 20 or more games for the team this year are Austin Slater (only a 0.2% increase, but that matters) and Joc Pederson, who n has yet to get a hit in 14 at-bats since his short stint on the bench as a nurse adductor pain end of April. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Giants have lost six of seven games since Pederson was forced to miss time. Oh, they also averaged just 3.29 carries over that span, which would be the fourth-worst mark in MLB ahead of only the Royals, Tigers and humble reds. Ouch!

You can blame the vastness of Oracle Park all you want, but the team has played 13 home games and 13 on the road this year while scoring just two more runs than at Oracle, so this doesn’t is clearly not a plague confined to the San Francisco city limits.

The Giants are a team built to succeed thanks to their well-balanced roster composition and ability to hit the long ball. The team was figured out during its five-game losing streak. In the team’s first 18 games of the season (in which they went 13-5), they had hit 21 home runs. Despite their low walk rate and high rate of runners getting stuck during this stretch, they were winning because they were able to drop bombs. Since then, they’ve only hit five homers. They are 1-7 and currently sit fourth in the NL West, just half a game clear of last-place Arizona. Even with the extra wild card team in 2022, the Giants’ road to the playoffs is rocky, and unless they get the long ball rolling again, they won’t even come close this year.

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