The San Francisco Giants are 21 games through the season. That is enough of a sample to make generalizations about this team. So far, the Giants are doing something they failed at miserably last season — they are hitting more home runs then they are giving up.
In 2017, the Giants pitchers gave up a whopping 182 home runs. That was pretty good relative to the rest of the league. However, in the context of home runs hit, relatively good is not good enough. The Giants anemic offense hit only 128 home runs.
That is a major gap between home runs given up, and home runs hit. This is not why they lost 98 games last season, but it is a factor. Teams cannot be competitive with such a large, negative home run differential.
However, there is hope. The hope is that the first 21 games are a big enough sample to make a judgment about the production of this team.
So far, the Giants have hit 22 home runs while only allowing 16 home runs. Mike Trout hit three of those home runs. So, do those even count?
Last season, the Giants pitching gave up over a home run per game, on average. This year, they are on pace to give up much less than one home run per game.
This is an encouraging trend. Especially, considering that the Giants were violently bitten by the injury bug as the season was starting.
The improvement in home run prevention is twofold. Not only are the Giants giving up fewer home runs, but they are hitting more. They have actually hit more than they have given up. This is not a perfect indicator of success. However, it can be a tool for progress and hope.
Both McCutchen and Longoria are on-pace to hit over 20 home runs this season. Not only that, but a healthy Brandon Belt can help as well. So far, Belt has 5 home runs on the season. He probably just hit another one while you were busy blinking. It is easy to picture him eclipsing the 30 home run mark this season, if he stays healthy.
The Giants may never be an offensive juggernaut with this roster. However, they have more home run hitters than in recent years. With this, they may be able to continue hitting more home runs than giving up.
It is still early in the season, but the Giants are making a good first impression. Sure, the hitting with runners in scoring position is still abysmal. Also, some players are still struggling. Regardless, the lineup and the rotation are showing some encouraging signs. If Giants continue to hit more home runs than give up, that would be swell.