San Francisco Giants: 5 bold predictions for the second half of the season
Three San Francisco Giants players will reach 20 home runs
The San Francisco Giants rank 27th in the majors this season with 88 home runs as a team.
However, they have hit 12 home runs in six games in July, and it was starting to look like a switch may have finally flipped in the heads of some of the team’s hitters heading into the All-Star break.
Heading into the second half, there are four players who appear to have a legitimate shot at reaching 20 home runs on the year—Evan Longoria (12), Kevin Pillar (12), Pablo Sandoval (11), and Brandon Belt (10).
While there is always the possibility of a bad slump or an injury, these four guys and maybe even late-surging Alex Dickerson (6) could all conceivably reach 20 long balls this year.
The updated Steamer projections from FanGraphs have Longoria (21) as the only San Francisco Giants player on pace to reach 20 homers. Belt (19) and Pillar (19) both fall just short, while Sandoval (15) falls well short since the system takes into account the fact that he’s not an everyday player.
It’s fitting that Belt is projected for 19 home runs since he’s still searching for the first 20-homer season of his career. He’s reached his career-high of 18 twice and he’s averaged 16 per year over the past six seasons. Coming up short has often been a result of injuries, and he’s managed to stay healthy so far this year. Still, history is not on his side, and we’ll say he comes up short again in 2019.
Meanwhile, while Longoria and Sandoval are no strangers to a 20-homer season, it would be the first of Pillar’s career. If Sandoval sees an increase in playing time at the corner infield spots and Pillar continues to be an everyday player in the outfield, I believe that trip will all reach 20 homers.
This doesn’t mean the Giants will suddenly be one of the best power-hitting teams in baseball, but for a club that hasn’t had a 20+ home run hitter since Brandon Crawford in 2015, it would be a welcome change of pace.