SF Giants 2020 Statcast Review: Home Run Luck
Unluckiest SF Giants Home Run Hitter: Evan Longoria (-2.2)
At this point, I am firmly on the Evan Longoria renaissance bandwagon. During the season, there was an argument that Longoria was playing like one of the best third basemen in the league. While he finished the season in a bit of a slump, Statcast still believed he was a far more productive player than his final numbers suggested.
Longoria’s 2020 season also made a strong anecdotal argument for using expected home runs as a predictive tool. In 2019, Longoria finished third on the team with 20 home runs. However, Statcast expected him to only have 17.8 homers based on his balls in play. His 2.2 home runs above expectation in 2019 was the exact inverse of the 2.2 home runs below expectation he produced in 2020.
There are other metrics that reaffirm the case for Longoria next season. But even just looking at home runs, if just two of the five flyouts that Statcast classified as possible home runs had traveled over the fence, his OPS would have jumped by 50 points this season. Crawford may seem in a position to see some offensive regression next season. Longoria, though, seems poised better than anyone to counteract those losses with a resurgent performance of his own.
The SF Giants offense showed plenty of positive growth in 2020. Looking at expected home runs, some players, like Brandon Crawford and Austin Slater seem to have an uphill battle to replicating their power output in 2021. However, there is reason to believe players like Brandon Belt could maintain their success and Evan Longoria could be prepared for a big bounceback next season.