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SF Giants: Three biggest surprises from the first half of 2021

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 11: Kevin Gausman #34 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Washington Nationals in the top of the first inning at Oracle Park on July 11, 2021 in San Francisco, California. The Giants are wearing an alternate uniform called City Connect. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 11: Kevin Gausman #34 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Washington Nationals in the top of the first inning at Oracle Park on July 11, 2021 in San Francisco, California. The Giants are wearing an alternate uniform called City Connect. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 27: Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants bats during the game against the Oakland Athletics at Oracle Park on June 27, 2021 in San Francisco, California. The Athletics defeated the Giants 6-2. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)

SF Giants: Three biggest surprises from the first half of 2021

3. The veteran core’s shocking production

The SF Giants have the best record in baseball thanks in large part to the production they have received from the veteran core. Just a couple of years ago, Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Evan Longoria, and Brandon Crawford all looked to be on the downhill of their respective careers.

However, each player is showing that he still has plenty of good baseball in front of him. In fact, both Crawford and Posey earned National League All-Star bids.

The Giants have the most home runs in baseball and they have the highest OPS (.764) in the National League to go along with the second-highest OPS+ (109). They are third in baseball in walk rate (10.3%) and they have the highest ISO (.190), which is a good measure of raw power.

In a lot of ways, the veteran core has carried the Giants on offense:

  • Posey: .328/.421/.547 line (165 OPS+), 8 doubles, 12 home runs, 28 RBI, and 2.3 WAR in 233 plate appearances.
  • Crawford: .289/.364/.556 line (149 OPS+), 15 doubles, 1 triple, 18 home runs, 58 RBI, and 4.0 WAR in 302 plate appearances
  • Belt: .253/.363/.512 line (138 OPS+), 7 doubles, 2 triples, 11 home runs, 28 RBI, and 1.2 WAR in 201 plate appearances
  • Longoria: .280/.376/.516 line (143 OPS+), 11 doubles, 9 home runs, 30 RBI, and 1.7 WAR in 186 plate appearances.

Of course, all four players stabilize the defense as way, so their impact is on both sides of the ball. In the case of Belt and Longoria, they have been productive players when healthy but both have spent significant time on the injured list as well.

The hope is that they both return early in the second half of the season to give the Giants a jolt comparable to a midseason trade acquisition. Giants manager Gabe Kapler is following Longoria’s sage advice by letting the old guys play and that has paid dividends.

Related Story. SF Giants: Grading the 2021 draft class

San Francisco would not be in the position it is in without the veteran core. And, they will need continued production from these four players to have a shot at making the playoffs. A lot can change between now and the end of the season, but plenty of Giants players are proving that they have a lot left in the tank.

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