The Top Of The Lineup
One key production area has come out of the first two spots in the batting order. For a lineup like the Giants, with well rounded hitters, not necessarily sluggers, the players from the first two spots in the lineup need to produce. By the time we get to the middle of the order (3-6 in the lineup), the ideal situation is having one of them on, if not both, in scoring position. Let’s take a look at their two of their three world series years, 2012 and 2014 (since it’s as similar of a team makeup as we’ll get).
In 2012, the Giants slash-line from the first two lineup spots combined was: .282/.340/.406/.746.
In 2014, the Giants slash-line from the first two lineup spots combined was: .277/.325/.408/.733
In 2016, the Giants slash-line from the first two lineup spots combined was: .262/.323/.393/.715
In just looking at the slash-lines here, the 2012 and 2014 teams were more productive in their plate appearances. While walks and getting on base from them is nice, the hits usually help runners advance to third, especially from the second guy in the order. Joe Panik was definitely not himself last year. He had a rough start to the season at the plate, then got concussed and didn’t return to normal until the postseason.
Hopefully the postseason performance from Panik shows that he’s got his groove back. If Panik can return to 2014/2015 form, and Denard Span can be consistent, the top of the Giant order will feed really well into the heart, and bottom half of the Giants lineup. Why do I say that? Well, the 7-9 hitters in the Giants lineup had a better OPS+ than the first two hitters last season, an 89-110 difference (above 100 is good). That’s completely flip flopped from 2012 and 2014.
So that’s one massive area for the Giants offense to improve upon. What’s the next?