SF Giants: Why is defense such a big problem in 2020?

Brandon Crawford #35 of the San Francisco Giants bobbles a ball in 2019. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Brandon Crawford #35 of the San Francisco Giants bobbles a ball in 2019. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

SF Giants defense remains a problem, but what’s the culprit?

Heading into the shortened 2020 MLB season, there were a number of concerns for the San Francisco Giants. Chief among them were the team’s ability to score runs as well as how effective the bullpen and starting rotation would be.

Strangely enough, the biggest on-the-field concern through two weeks of the season has been the defense.

With Gold Glove defenders like Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria in the infield along with a great defensive first baseman in Brandon Belt, it is a bit puzzling as to why the Giants have struggled thus far, but a quick check under the hood reveals why the team has shot itself in the foot so far.

Starting with infielders, Donovan Solano and Wilmer Flores have both committed two errors each this season. The reason they have played so much is because of the injuries to Belt and Longoria to begin the year.

Neither Solano nor Flores are very solid defenders. Both should really only be playing on the right side of the infield, but both had to spend time at third to start the season.

Since they have also been two of the hottest hitters for the Giants, the Giants are assuming that they will make up for whatever defensive liabilities they have with production at the plate. While that has proven to be true thus far, if their defensive woes continue and their offensive production drops off, they may find themselves on the bench more often than not.

Another defensive position that has seen a number of defensive mistakes has been the catcher position. With Buster Posey opting out of the season, Tyler Heineman and Chadwick Tromp have done the lion’s share of catching this season.

Heineman has committed two errors thus far, and Chadwick Tromp made a mental mistake in Monday’s game when he did not cover home plate and allowed a run to score. While Posey is missed in many ways on the Giants, his Gold Glove caliber defense may be the most glaring absence behind the plate with him not playing.

SF Giants suffer mental errors, too

Speaking of mental errors, Alex Dickerson made one last night by making the wayward throw which set the stage for Tromp to make his mental error by not covering home.

These are just a few of the mistakes that have been made by the Giants so far this season. Henry Schulman of the Chronicle goes deeper into every single error the Giants have made to start the year.

So what can we chalk up all this defensive mayhem to? Players being rusty after a long layoff? Guys having to play positions they aren’t familiar with? Crazy defensive shifts forcing guys to make unnatural plays?

Probably all of those things are to blame. The good thing is that it is still fairly early in this shortened season, so the Giants still have time to improve defensively. If they can tighten up the webbing on their gloves and still hit the way they have thus far with a respectable pitching staff, then they could be a formidable team coming down the stretch.