The baseball season is inching closer and the SF Giants are poised to make some noise as one of the under-the-radar teams for 2021.
Mike Petriello of MLB.Com identified three teams that you do not want to sleep on this season. Included on that list are the SF Giants, Tampa Bay Rays, and Milwaukee Brewers.
SF Giants are one of three teams under-the-radar for 2021
Petriello has been awfully complimentary of the Giants recently while recognizing the difficult circumstances of the division in which they play has two of the top teams in the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres.
This should not be too surprising. After all, with a team OPS+ of 115 in 2020, the Giants had the fifth-best offense in the National League. And, that was achieved without Buster Posey and Tommy La Stella.
This year’s Giants lineup looks unusually deep. The rotation has a lot of injury risk, but some of that risk can be mitigated with a bullpen that will have plenty of options.
Petriello believes that the Giants success will go beyond the win-loss record:
"“To get to what the Giants are doing, at least for now, you’ve got to look past the wins and losses. You’ve got to look at the smaller process improvements that might lead to greater things.”"
This premise is based on the expected continuation of finding unheralded gems in 2021 as they had in recent seasons with Mike Yastrzemski, Alex Dickerson, and Donovan Solano. Could Jason Vosler or LaMonte Wade Jr. be the next in line for players that the Giants make better? Time will tell.
Petriello really buys in to what the Giants are doing and suggests that there are few teams better positioned to strike in next year’s free-agent class:
"“The point is to keep improving the talent level and building up the depth. The point is that after this year, if they choose to do so, they’ll be free of about $100 million worth of Johnny Cueto, Brandon Crawford, Belt, Posey and Gausman, with Heliot Ramos and Marco Luciano on the way. It’s not about 2021 for the Giants in the standings, but that doesn’t mean you can’t see the plan here. It’s already happening, if you know where to look.”"
San Francisco narrowly missed out on the playoffs in 2020. Though, the playoff picture has been reduced from eight teams back down to five, the Giants should, at the very least, be on the periphery of the playoff picture.
For the past couple of years, the expectation was that the Giants’ competitive window would begin to push open with the arrival of Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos, and Marco Luciano. All three should be playing at Oracle Park within the next couple of years.
Until then, the Giants’ front office will continue to build up a competitive roster. Petriello believes in what San Francisco is doing. Sometimes, the competitive window opens up a year earlier than expected, and he seems to think that San Francisco might be a candidate for that to happen this year.