3 biggest SF Giants surprises through the first 40 games of the season

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants / Suzanna Mitchell/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages
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Earlier this week, we looked at the three biggest disappointments from the SF Giants season so far. However, it has not been all bad. There have been some promising stories to follow as well.

3 biggest SF Giants surprises through the first 40 games of the season

The Giants are past the 40-game mark, so we are tardy in putting this together. They have a 22-25 overall record while sitting in third place in a tough NL West division. They are 0.5 games ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks who also have playoff aspirations after reaching the World Series last season.

Oddly, the NL West expected to be a very tough division. That could still be the case, but the Los Angeles Dodgers are the only team in the division with a winning record.

1. Jordan Hicks

Jordan Hicks has not only been the biggest surprise on the Giants so far, but he has been one of the biggest surprises from last year's free-agent class. It was a surprise when the Giants landed him on a four-year, $44 million pact with the intention of converting him into a starter.

In fairness, Hicks was drafted as a starter by the St. Louis Cardinals but he was shifted to the bullpen as that was the fastest way for him to reach the majors. The Cardinals did try to stretch him out again in 2022, but the results were mixed.

There were several questions that Hicks needed to answer in being able to become a starter. The first was simply whether he would throw enough strikes. The 27-year-old has flashed a high-90's sinker with a good sweeper. More recently, he has added a splitter to his arsenal. Perhaps, to better hone his control, Hicks' sinker sits comfortably in the mid-90's.

The other question was durability. Hicks has never thrown more than 77.2 innings in a season, so the Giants will have to consider how many innings he can realistically throw down the stretch. Through 48 innings, he has posted a 2.44 ERA, 3.23 FIP, 1.14 WHIP, 7.3 K/9, and a 2.44 SO/W ratio. This includes a 56.2 percent ground ball rate.

The early returns on this deal have been promising and a quietly shrewd move by the front office. This experiment is likely to entice to try this out with other relievers even if the Giants did not start this trend.