The SF Giants are off to a good start at 14-9 due in part to excellent pitching and good defense, but the offense has not fully got it going. Two key bats are off to a slow start and those small samples are becoming concerning trends.
2 key SF Giants bats are off to a slow start
With Buster Posey's retirement and Kris Bryant departing via free agency, the Giants needed to get an added boost in 2022 from a handful of veterans including Brandon Crawford and Darin Ruf. That duo has struggled to hold up their end of the bargain through the first month of the season.
It bears mentioning that the Giants have endured a lot of injuries, so Ruf has played against some suboptimal matchups whereas Crawford rarely gets a chance to take a day off. Despite their struggles, the Giants offense has found ways to score runs as they lead the National League by averaging 4.78 runs per game.
The offense would look a lot better with more consistent production from the longtime shortstop and the power-hitting first baseman. Through 91 plate appearances, Crawford is slashing .215/.319/.304 (85 OPS+) with just one home run, nine RBI, and 11 runs. Ironically enough, the stat line does not include Crawford's box score from Wednesday night, which includes his second homer of the season.
The good news is that the left-handed bat continues to remain patient at the plate as he has posted a 9.9 percent walk rate in 2022. Plus, his launch angle (14.7 degrees) and barrel rate (9.8 percent) are not far off from what he produced in 2021.
The bad news is that his average exit velocity of 85.6 MPH is the lowest of his career by a considerable margin. It is still early but this is a trend to monitor as the season progresses.
On the other hand, Ruf seems to be a victim of some bad luck. The right-handed bat has registered a .172/.280/.195 line ( 43 OPS+) with zero home runs, four RBI, and seven runs in 87 plate appearances.
This includes a solid 12 percent walk rate. The Giants remain committed that the hits will eventually fall for Ruf. After all, the 35-year-old righty continues to post solid batted ball data including a 91.3-MPH average exit velocity and a 16.8-degree launch angle.
But, this includes a 4.8 percent barrel rate, which is much lower than the 14.2 percent rate he set just one season ago.
The caveat with Ruf is the same as it is with Crawford. It is still early. Offense is down across the league, so some regression from last season is expected. Nevertheless, the Giants will need these key bats to turn it around sooner rather than later.