2024 SF Giants team improving in key area that has frustrated fans for years

Pittsburgh Pirates v San Francisco Giants
Pittsburgh Pirates v San Francisco Giants / Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages

The SF Giants offense has been a middle-of-the-pack group, slashing .245/.311/.383 (99 wRC+) on the year. They have not quite clicked yet, but they have improved in one area compared to prior Giants teams - strikeout rate.

2024 SF Giants team improving in key area that has frustrated fans for years

Giants hitters have posted a 21.8 percent strikeout rate, which is the 12th-best mark in baseball. The league average rate is 22.5 percent.

This comes with some caveats as well. The Giants are not walking as much. They have an 8.4 percent walk rate, which is in the bottom half of baseball. Plus, they have a .138 ISO, so they are not hitting for a lot of power, either.

Contact in baseball is generally a balancing act. Teams will tolerate a high strikeout rate if it leads to better power numbers. However, if the strikeout rate is too high relative to power, then they will try to re-calibrate by adding more contact to the lineup.

The Giants are in the quadrant of possibly making too much contact and not hitting for enough power. That said, good things happen when teams put the ball in play. The focus in today's game is on exit velocity and launch angle but teams find holes in the defense just by putting the ball in play.

Plus, it has been all too common of an occurrence in recent seasons where the Giants have struck out with runners in scoring position. They are still doing that, but there has been some improvement.

Last year, the Giants had the sixth-highest strikeout rate in baseball at 24.5 percent. That is just way too high for an offense that did not produce nearly enough with the bat. In 2022, they tallied a 23.9 percent strikeout rate. The swing-and-miss issues have been one of the biggest criticisms from the fan base for the past several years.

The improvement in contact was to be expected given some of the additions they made in the winter. Jung Hoo Lee has proven to be one of the toughest hitters to strike out in baseball. The lefty bat has an 8.5 percent strikeout rate followed by Wilmer Flores (11.5 percent), and Nick Ahmed (18.0 percent).

Strikeout and walk rates tend to stabilize relatively quickly, so this could be part of the Giants' identity in 2024. That said, they still have a problem with the strike zone, but at least they are making contact.