San Francisco Giants: Three Areas Where The Offense Can Improve
Yes, I’m Serious, Buster Posey
Buster Posey sometimes seems like he can be untouchable from criticism, right? And fair enough, he was the best player on the team last year (that doesn’t pitch). But still, that doesn’t make him exempt from critique and criticism.
It’s hard to measure how someone will do in clutch situations. You really have to rely on what they’ve already done in clutch situations to quantify how “clutch” a player is. And even then you can’t use that to expect when they’ll come through in the clutch. The big thing thing that I took away from my analysis of what the Giants issues were offensively in 2016 was how “un-clutch” Buster Posey was in 2016 compared to years past.
Don’t take this as me saying “Buster isn’t a clutch player,” because I’m not. I’m not into the “hot-take” business. And simultaneously, this isn’t a hot-take. The numbers don’t lie. Buster had his worst year in “clutch” situations. Let’s take a look at his “clutch numbers” from 2012-2016:
I created a little table for you to visualize what I’m talking about. It is sorted by year from 2012-2016, and displays his average when hitting with two outs and RISP, his average when batting in “Late and Close” situations from baseball reference, how many plate appearances in both situations, and his clutch rating from Fangraphs:
More from Around the Foghorn
- SF Giants activate Alex Wood, option Sammy Long, and DFA Chadwick Tromp
- SF Giants: Hard-throwing reliever could be key in playoffs
- SF Giants: Kevin Gausman’s sacrifice fly leads to walk-off win
- SF Giants activate 2B Donovan Solano, option Thairo Estrada
- SF Giants place closer Jake McGee on IL, recall Jay Jackson
Baseball Reference defines late and close situations as: if he comes to the plate in the seventh inning and the score is they are ahead by one, tied, or the tying run is at least on deck. Also, to help understand Fangraphs’ Clutch rating, an average rating is 0.0. If you would like more info on how their Clutch rating is calculated, go ahead and check out their explanation for it.
So what can we take away from this? Buster has been a sliver better than average in clutch situations his entire career. And even though he’s had worse seasons, last year was still not good. Not for a guy batting third or fourth in the lineup. Not for the star of the team. Not for the best player on the team.
Don’t expect Posey to return to 2014 and 2015 levels of “clutch.” It is fair, however, to expect him to be better than what we saw in 2016. Even if he returns to his career average, that could be the difference in maybe a win or two. A win or two would’ve put the Giants’ wild card game at AT&T Park, to help gain some perspective.
Next: Strickland Needs to Dominate in 2017
If you couple all three of these improvements together? The Giants offense *should click back into gear for 2017, and really be the type of offense we saw in the successful years past.