The San Francisco Giants have struggled since the 2016 All-Star break to win games. This has led to some major changes in the front office as well as the way in which the Giants do business.
As the team heads towards opening day, it is clear that the every day lineup will not look much different in 2019. How then, will the Giants perform better on the field after struggling to score runs much of the last two and a half years?vIt starts with the improved depth, that includes building up the minor leagues, the 40 man roster and ultimately the depth on the 25 man roster.
Farhan Zaidi has brought in several players that are competing for jobs in spring and could push out some of the incumbent Giants from the last few seasons. In the meantime, most of the position players will be the same.
Injuries were a huge factor in how so many Giants saw their 2018 production drop. Duggar missed the last 28 games to a shoulder injury. Williamson missed the final 85 with his concussion. Posey missed the final 32 after deciding to shut it down for the season and have hip surgery. In Posey’s case, it was clear he had been playing injured for several months. The same happened with Crawford, who only missed 11 games in 2018, but recently admitted he played injured the entire second half of last season. Belt missed another 50 games in 2018 and Panik missed 60. Longo, in his first season with the Giants, missed 37.
Buster Posey, the team’s franchise player, is coming off an injury filled 2018 and his return to health could do wonders for the rest of the lineup as well as the pitching staff. His ability to hit in the middle of the lineup, when healthy, and help the entire pitching staff behind the plate, is invaluable to the team’s success.
Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria will each return to their regular jobs in the infield. All four had injury concerns and missed several games in 2018. Not only do all four appear healthy in 2019, but their ability to all be strong two way players could give the Giants the best defensive infield in the major leagues. That, combined with a possible return to consistency at the plate, could change everything for the Giants.
Williamson may have had the worst 2018 of the group with a severe concussion that sidelined him for much of the year. Duggar also ended his season on the injured list. Parra, who has spent much of his career in the National League West, provides upgrades in the field as well as in the locker room. If he can also be a strong left handed bat, the entire outfield will improve from last year.
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Will all these incremental improvements lead to a playoff run in 2019? Hard to say, especially with so many strong teams in the National League and specifically the NL West.However, if literally every single starter has a better 2019 than 2018, its hard to imagine the Giants not being significantly better this season.