3 biggest SF Giants surprises from the first half of the season

Some things have actually gone right for the Giants this year, and here are three of the players that have been pleasant surprises so far.
Jun 19, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; San Francisco Giants outfielder Heliot Ramos (17) grounds into force out against the Chicago Cubs during the sixth inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 19, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; San Francisco Giants outfielder Heliot Ramos (17) grounds into force out against the Chicago Cubs during the sixth inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports / Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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Heliot Ramos
San Francisco Giants v Atlanta Braves / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

3 biggest SF Giants surprises from the first half of the season

2. Heliot Ramos

It seems like a long time ago Heliot Ramos was one of the top prospects in the Giants’ system, and he had to bide his time in Sacramento after not breaking camp with the Giants on their Opening Day squad.

After injuries to Jung-Hoo Lee, Jorge Soler, and Austin Slater, however, there was playing time to go around out on the grass, and Ramos took full advantage of the opportunity. He has burst onto the scene with a .294/.368/.508 slash line, carrying the offense at times when it was desperately needed.

In just 48 games he has already been worth 2.0 WAR, which ranks third among the team’s position players, and his 10 homers rank him second behind only Chapman’s 11. His sterling 149 wRC+ trails only Wade’s, as well. He has written his name in the Giants’ plans for next year in permanent ink with his performance so far.

3. Jordan Hicks

Signed to a four-year deal over the offseason, it was an open question as to how long he would last as a member of the rotation before reverting to his old role as a setup option. Playing with a chip on his shoulder, Hicks has proven that he can and should be considered a reliable starting pitcher going forward.

His average fastball velocity, which sat no lower than 100.1 in each of his previous five seasons, has fallen to 95.6 this year as he has learned how to pitch deeper into games and not have to rely on blowing the ball by hitters.

The veteran pitcher has been a stabilizing force in his starts, pitching to a 3.36 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in his 85.2 innings. Worryingly, those 85.2 innings already represent a career-high for him, so the Giants will have to start micromanaging his workload to keep him healthy for the rest of the season and into next year.

Hopefully, that won’t be much of an issue when other arms like Robbie Ray and Alex Cobb's return. Hicks has done a nice job in the meantime.