According to FiveThirtyEight’s preseason MLB predictions, the SF Giants rank as the 21st best team in Major League Baseball, the fourth-worst team in the National League, and the fourth-best team in the National League West. Per 538’s simulations, the Giants’ average record is projected to be 74-88, a far cry from the team’s expectations. The simulations had the team reach the postseason in 8% of their sample while winning the division just 1% of the time.
While it’s easy to see lower projected win-loss records for the Giants than fans might hope, given their difficult schedule in the same division as the juggernaut Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, 538 also lists a team rating, which is meant to compare rosters in different contexts. Even by that metric, the Giants are ranked as the ninth-worst team in MLB. Given the roster’s strong depth offensively and in the bullpen, 538 seems far more bearish on the team’s prospects than most.
FiveThirtyEight ranks the SF Giants the eighth-worst team in MLB.
Granted, 538 is far from the first projection system to come out low on the Giants’ prospects in 2021. FanGraphs was similarly low on the collection of offensive talent in San Francisco. Still, there are other algorithms bullish on the Orange-and-Black. Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA projections considered the Giants the deepest offensive team in the National League but wondered how far the lineup could go without true star power. Of course, the lack of recent success by most of the team’s starting rotation makes it easier to see why so many projections do not see a path to contention for San Francisco.
While FiveThirtyEight may rank the SF Giants the eighth-worst team in Major League Baseball, most fans of the Orange-and-Black would find it difficult to rank 20 other rosters above the team in San Francisco. Of course, there’s a 162-game season just around the corner that cannot wait to sort everything out.