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

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

2. Thairo Estrada

It feels odd calling Thairo Estrada's start to the season a surprise. After all, he has been one of the team's more valuable players over the past few seasons.

However, Estrada sustained a hand fracture midway through last season. There is a stark contrast in his numbers before and after the injury. The right-handed bat posted a solid .762 OPS with nine home runs in 315 plate appearances in the first half of the season. He slumped to a .688 OPS with five home runs in 215 plate appearances following the injury.

Hand and wrist injuries that occur during the season can be tricky. Estrada healed from the fracture and was able to make it back, but I do wonder how a mid-season injury like this affects a player's numbers once they return. There is seemingly a loss of strength that is tough to recover right away.

That slump appears to be a thing of the past. He is slashing .250/.274/.435 (102 wRC+) with a 2.9 percent walk rate, 18.3 percent strikeout rate, and a .185 ISO. The walk rate is way too low, but that has rarely been a strength.

The righty bat has a .269 BABIP in 2024 compared to a league norm of a .300 BABIP. It is fair to assume that his batting average should trend upward even if he has seemingly overperformed his .231 expected batting average.

Perhaps, the encouraging part is the .185 ISO. He is hitting for more power than he has in the past. Not surprisingly, he has already reached seven home runs, which is halfway to his career-high of 14 set in 2022 and 2023.

Plus, Estrada continues to play excellent defense. He has been worth +6 Outs Above Average (OAA) at second base in 2024. Only Marcus Semien (+10 OAA) has a better mark among second basemen.