The end of the season is approaching and the San Francisco Giants stand 23.5 games back in the NL West and eight games back in the wild-card standings.
With just 10 games remaining in manager Bruce Bochy’s tenure, a playoff appearance is not in the cards in 2019.
But is the season over? No.
Some will see this time as dead baseball, and maybe, for the everyday players that fans saw during spring, it is.
There are, however, some different names to consider.
Along with a handful of others, these are the players that will occupy the roster chopping block heading into next season. With the so-called everyday players spending more and more time on the bench, the spotlight shifts from October baseball directly onto the young bats and gloves.
The importance surrounding every pitch to players like Davis, Shaw, Garcia, and Gerber is higher than that of their fellow rookie Mike Yastrzemski, who now sits at 20 home runs and 53 RBI in 98 games. “Yaz” has proved his worth and secured his spot on the 2020 roster in the process.
So what should fans be seeing from these young guys?
With the season no longer leading to the orange and black October people may have seen glimpses of in July, San Francisco Giants fans shouldn’t be surprised to notice unfamiliar names in the starting lineup. Instead, they should find excitement at the notion that they are peeking into the 2020 season.
In order to fully envision this near future, a look that goes deeper than the box score is required.
Striving to improve numbers isn’t by nature a bad thing, but getting stuck on a batting average can become a mental block.
These young players should strive to make solid bat to laces contact, even if it results in an out. A 95 mph line drive to the second baseman has an entirely different impact than a slow dribbler to the shortstop, even if they appear the same in the box score.
Fans can’t and shouldn’t expect Davis and Garcia to end the season batting above .300. The young rookies of this team should showcase promising approaches every time they step foot into that batter’s box, proving in these final games that they know how to carry themselves at the big league level.
Composure is one of many things in baseball that has no stat. Without watching the game, there is no way to know if it’s clear that an outfielder is stepping into the batter’s box for the third time, or if they could pass as a player that’s been in the league for three years.
Something as simple as laying off a pitch on the edge can separate those who are ready from those who are not.
With this assuredly being the last season for Bochy, the stress for all Giants players increases as new management means a new approach with no personal attachments.
Nobody is safe.
The bottom line is that there are less than two weeks left in the season. Every player sporting the SF, especially those with fewer than 30 at-bats, need to be demonstrating their value.
Garcia’s calls behind the plate must bleed confidence just as Shaw’s at-bats must display a sense of both patience and authority.
Every catch, every throw, every hit, and even every out must leave San Francisco Giants fans needing to see more of them in 2020.
Dead baseball? Never.