2023 first half review: Top 5 takeaway from the SF Giants

SF Giants, Logan Webb, Blake Sabol
SF Giants, Logan Webb, Blake Sabol / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

The SF Giants first half has been way more than anyone could have expected, with the lead in the National League West well within striking distance, and with a fun team, there's certainly plenty more big games to come this season.

2023 first half review: Top 5 takeaway from the SF Giants

Even in a year that see's San Francisco sitting eight games over .500 heading into the All-Star break, not everything has been perfect, and if they want to match up against the elite teams in the National League, changes will certainly need to be made.

So as we roll into the All-Star break with the Giants sitting three games back of the lead in the division, let's take a look back on the first few months of the 2023 campaign with five takeaways from the Giants season thus far.

1. The future is very bright in San Francisco

While the focus of this piece will be on the success the Giants have had at the big league level, it would be a mistake to ignore the incredible play of some Giants in the minor leagues, with the likes of Heliot Ramos, Kyle Harrison, Carson Whisenhunt, Marcuo Luciano and plenty more making major strides in 2023.

Just last weekend, Whisenhunt starred in the futures game at MLB All-Star weekend, showing off his signature changeup and striking out two in one inning of work, including last year's No. 1 overall pick, Jackson Holliday.

It's not likely that we see any of those names, except for potentially Harrison in the big leagues in 2023, but with some key arms and position players with star power written all over them, the future is no doubt bright for the Giants.

2. The SF Giants rotation needs a big makeover

The starting pitching has been a strength of the SF Giants for years now, and while Alex Cobb has made his first All-Star game and Logan Webb has been as consistent as ever, the returns beyond that have been underwhelming, to say the least.

Plenty was expected of Sean Manea, Ross Stripling and Alex Wood, but unfortunately, they've all underperformed and/or dealt with injuries to this point, and if the Giants want to turn a promising start into a potentially deep playoff run, they need a major makeover.

Thankfully, the trade market is full of starting pitchers with Marcus Stroman, Shane Bieber and Lucas Giolito at the top of the class, and if San Francisco can find a way to keep their top prospects, a move for a long-term starter makes sense.

3. The youth movement is taking over

If the players down in the minor leagues are showing that the future is bright in San Francisco, then they've been producing even more at the big league level, with Luis Matos, Blake Sabol, Casey Schmitt and Patrick Bailey all making their mark on the big club.

They've all had their ups and downs in their rookie campaigns, with Schmitt and Sabol especially struggling at points, but all four play fantastic defense and have shown plenty of talent at the plate, playing big roles in the Giants success.

Joey Bart may have disappointed in his time at the big league level, but the likes of Thairo Estrada and Lamonte Wade Jr. have also stepped up into becoming everyday players, so even if the Giants fall short in 2023, they've got a core that they can build around for years.

4. Gabe Kapler continues to have this team contending

When franchise legend Bruce Bochy left the Giants, many criticized the decision to have Gabe Kapler be his replacement, and while they've had two below-average seasons, he's once again got them in a position to contend.

No one expected anything of the Giants back in 2021 before they went on to set a franchise record for wins, and while they aren't at that level in 2023, they appear ready to battle for the NL West crown, even if the baseball world is largely overlooking them.

Kapler has been solid in his role, with a 266-208 record while taking home 2021 Manager of the Year honors, and if he continues to have them competing, he will be the Giants manager for a long, long time to come.

5. The SF Giants bullpen has been one of the best in baseball

The Giants bullpen has been a strength for years, and after a down season in 2022, they've managed to bounce back in a big way, with Camilo Doval being named an All-Star after a fantastic year that's seen him convert 26 saves in 28 attempts, all while showing the velocity and flair we've come to love.

On top of that, San Francisco has seen a bounce-back year from Tyler Rogers, as well as the arrival of his brother Taylor, and with some young names stepping up in big moments, this is a deep group that can be considered one of the best in baseball.

A good bullpen can't win a Championship alone, but if the Giants can improve the starting pitching and continue rolling at the back end of games, they will be a nightmare to play down the stretch, especially come playoff time.