2018 San Francisco Giants Depth Chart
The acquisitions the Giants made in the 2017 off-season set the table for a deep squad heading into 2018. Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen joined the team in hopes of bolstering a more complete offensive attack. Longoria and McCutchen were both seasoned players that came onboard as franchise talents at their previous organizations. McCutchen would eventually be traded to the Yankees and Longoria would never get the ball rolling in 2018. The Giants might finish with a 10-game increase in the win column in 2018, but their down-trotted numbers will leave them near the bottom of their division.
|Catcher||Nick Hundley||Aramis Garcia|
|1st Base||Brandon Belt||Ryder Jones|
|2nd Base||Joe Panik||Alex Hanson||Chase d'Arnaud|
|3rd Base||Evan Longoria|
|Left Field||Chris Shaw|
|Center Field||Gorkys Hernandez|
|Right Field||Austin Slater||Hunter Pence|
The main telling-point for the rotation heading into the season was the health of Madison Bumgarner. This off-season marked the first time that Bumgarner would be recovering and rehabbing from a major injury. His development was halted and featured setbacks, which decreased his effectiveness on the mound this season. The lack of a true ace placed pressures on guys like Chris Stratton and Derek Holland. Both featured heavy usage rates and shorter rest periods. Holland tamed his ERA, while Stratton struggled in that department. Neither of the two had impressive records, but this also can be attributed to limited run support from a stacked lineup. Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto also spent much of the season on the DL, severely handcuffing the options the Giants had to slot guys into their correct positions in the rotation.
Coming up in the Giants farm system paid dividends for Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik in year’s past. This year, both are trailing the top offensive bats by a wide margin, combining for a batting average that barely eclipses the .250-mark. Buster Posey has also spent a long period of time on the DL, limiting the production that can be found near the top and middle of the order. The infield back-ups won’t wow anyone in terms of power and on-base percentage. The team’s collection of infield players spans a depth of aged and seasoned players, most seeing their playing days on the decline. To improve infield consistency, the team will need to fluctuate younger players in and out of their lineup. Relying on guys to produce at levels they once achieved is an unrealistic ask for any team.
Chris Shaw finally broke the ranks of the minors to climb to the big-league level. Shaw was a late-bloomer being drafted in the first round of the draft by the team in 2015. His best minor league numbers came in the 2017 season where he produced at the plate above the .300 batting level. Shaw spent half of the season in the minors, barely eclipsing the .250 batting mark before being called up to face heavy duties. This high usage rate has handcuffed his production on the big stage, which is a development that must takeoff in the off-season. Hunter Pence is another outfield talent that continues to hold this group in place. His roles have changed from everyday player to a relief option and pinch hitter. He is at the stage in his career where heavy usage diminishes his effectiveness as a batter and defender. The Shaw move bodes well for the future rebuild of this outfield with the loss of McCutchen.
In terms of starters, this team has created many different lineup combinations. Most players are called to be flex options, covering multiple infield and outfield positions. Guys like Andy Slater and Gregor Blanco have been forced into Swiss Army knife roles. They could be slotted within the infield one day and return to outfield roles the next. This flexibility has tampered with the batting order. The team lacks a powerful bat, which is something Pence, Longoria, McCutchen, and Posey used to possess. These guys can’t hack it like they used to. The team has struggled to move towards a small-ball lineup, favoring high strikeout totals. The limited on-base percentages greatly impacts the run production this offense is to own, something that must be worked on to favor future success in the National league.