5 players the SF Giants need more from in the second half

SF Giants, Joc Pederson, Michael Conforto
SF Giants, Joc Pederson, Michael Conforto / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The SF Giants had a very positive first half of the season, heading into the All-Star break at 49-41, well within striking distance of the NL West lead, but despite this success, they haven't been getting contributions from everywhere.

5 players the SF Giants need more from in the second half

The story of the first half will no doubt be the incredible bullpen and the rise of Patrick Bailey, Casey Schmitt, Blake Sabol and Luis Matos, but given their age, struggles will naturally occur, so the veterans need to step up and lead the way.

While not all of the Giants veterans have been bad, some need to step up their game in a big way, and here are five Giants that the team need to get more from if they are to make another playoff push in 2023.

1. Alex Wood

The Giants came into 2023 without making a splash at the starting pitching spot this off-season, as they elected to trust some of their veteran arms, and unfortunately, Alex Wood has just struggled for consistency thus far in 2023.

After a stellar 10-4 record back in 2021, Wood hasn't gotten back to that level yet thus far, with a 4-3 mark and a 4.68 ERA through 50 innings, but his struggles got that bad in recent weeks that the team demoted him to the bullpen in favour of an opener like Ryan Walker.

He saw some success in Toronto in this role, so whether or not he stays in the pen or gets back into the rotation, the Giants need some quality innings out of him as the season rolls on if they are to make a big impact down the stretch.

2. Ross Stripling

One semi-big signing the Giants did make this off-season was to land former division rival Ross Stripling, who has been dealing with plenty of injuries this year, but when healthy, he's struggled in a big way.

In just 12 appearances, with 7 starts, Stripling is yet to pick up a win while posting a 6.38 ERA over 41 innings, and after a solid 3.01 ERA last season with the Blue Jays, the team were expecting him to be a solid 4/5 starter this year.

After missing six weeks, seeing a return in late June, Stripling has pitched in three games, allowing three earned runs over 8.2 innings of work, so if he can continue that in the second half, the Giants rotation can begin to take shape.

3. Austin Slater

The SF Giants under Gabe Kapler have proven to love analytics, and that's opened up a place on the roster for right-handed specialist hitters, with the most important of all being Austin Slater, but it's time for him to step up and prove he can be more of a contributor to the Giants team.

In 2023, Slater has played in just 35 games, seeing 90 plate appearances, and over that time he's managed a .342 batting average with 3 home runs and 13 RBI, and if given more of an opportunity, th belief is there that he can be a big contributor.

Sure, with Luis Matos, Michael Conforto, Joc Pederson, Blake Sabol and Mike Yastrzemski all patrolling the outfield and DH roles, it's tough to get Slater into games, but with his power and speed, he should be used more in the second half of the season. Plus, it is not so much a performance issue so much as it is a durability observation. Slater just needs to stay on the field.

4. Joc Pederson

The SF Giants have placed a lot of expectations on their biggest slugger in Joc Pederson, and after bringing him back this year following a solid 2023 campaign, many believed he could be just as good, if not better in a deeper, more talented lineup.

Unfortunately, he's managed just a .243 batting average with 8 home runs and 30 RBI, placing him in 7th on the team in big flies and 5th on the team in RBI, and if he can stay healthy for the rest of the year, the improvements are expected to come.

We've seen the best of Pederson in 2022 and now he's having a down year, but with the great personality, the marketability and the overall talent, he can be a key piece for a deep playoff run in San Francisco, so fans are expecting plenty for the rest of the year.

5. Sean Manaea

One of the biggest signings of the off-season for San Francisco was veteran starter Sean Manaea, who has spent much of his career by the Bay in Oakland, and after compiling a 50-41 record with the Athletics and a 3.86 ERA over six years, he was expected to put together another big season for the Giants.

However, he started the season as poorly as possible, allowing 16 earned runs through his first 22 innings, and has spent the rest of the season thus far coming out of the bullpen, but no matter his role, the Giants need him to produce at his normal pace as the season rolls on.

Over his last 8 innings, Manaea has allowed just 3 earned runs, showing vast improvement, and with the rotation needing a major boost, it could be his time to step up again, but regardless, the team gave him a nice contract in the off-season, and now they're desperate for his production.