The 2022 season is officially in the books. The SF Giants finished with a respectable 81-81 record, but this also represents a 26-win drop from last year's team. Despite the disappointing season in some respects, there were certainly some bright spots. And, some players really improved their stock with a strong finish.
3 SF Giants players who improved their stock the most with a strong finish
The 2022 season saw keystone players like Camilo Doval and Logan Webb further cement themselves as one of the better closers and starting pitchers, respectively, in baseball. As a whole, the rotation was a strength headlined by Webb and Carlos Rodón with a strong finish by Alex Cobb and some nice moments from Alex Wood and Jakob Junis.
The defense was abysmal and there were too many instances where miscues led to a heavier workload from the pitching staff. This is one area that the Giants will need to address in the offseason as this year's roster had too many defensively-limited players.
The lineup will be another area to address. Oddly enough, the Giants handled left-handed pitching to the tune of a 106 wRC+ but were less productive against righties with a 99 wRC+. I do think that is one area that they should be able to address with relative ease. However, they can pencil a few righties like David Villar and J.D. Davis after both had a strong finish to the year.
1. Third baseman David Villar
There is no one in the Giants organization in 2022 whose stock rose more than Villar. The right-handed bat began the year in Triple-A and played his way into a midseason promotion after he torched Pacific Coast League pitching to the tune of a 1.022 OPS in 366 plate appearances.
His first stint with the Giants had some nice moments but he faded pretty quickly. By the beginning of August, the 25-year-old had recorded a .175/.338/.286 line with one home run, seven RBI, and eight runs in 80 plate appearances. This came with a solid 16.3 percent walk rate against a rough 35 percent strikeout rate.
He was demoted in the first week of August but returned in September as rosters expanded. The coaching staff seemed motivated to get him as much playing time as possible and he rewarded that decision.
The corner infielder recorded 25 hits in 93 at-bats with eight home runs to finish out the season. This included a two-homer game against Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers in early September and another two-homer game against the San Diego Padres in an 8-1 victory in the final game of the season.
He finished the year with a 124 wRC+ in 181 plate appearances and should head into next season as the incumbent starter at third base. The only curve ball is what the Giants decide to do with Evan Longoria's $13 million option. The veteran third baseman is still a productive player, but it felt like Villar's audition was intended to guide the front office on how to handle Longoia's option and I think the young infielder made this a tough decision with his strong play.