The SF Giants offense has been inconsistent at times despite averaging 4.44 runs per game. That said, there is one surprising area where the lineup has struggled and this should be an area of focus in the offseason.
SF Giants lineup struggling in key offensive area
If you have not noticed, the Giants like to deploy platoons whenever and wherever possible. By design, the roster was constructed to give them leverage in platoon matchups. This has worked well against left-handed pitching, but not so much against right-handed pitching.
On the year, the Giants have posted a 111 wRC+ against left-handed pitching compared to 96 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. They have faced righties 69 percent of the time compared to 31 percent against southpaws.
I realize that the timing of this article is not ideal given that the offense has scratched seven runs across the plate against right-handed hurler Kyle Gibson of the Philadelphia Phillies. But, the message remains that the Giants just have not received enough production from many of their key, left-handed bats.
Not surprisingly, Joc Pederson has led the way with a 144 wRC+ against righties in 302 plate appearances in 2022. Luis González (112 wRC+) and LaMonte Wade Jr. (110 wRC+) have contributed in platoon matchups as well.
However, for a team that leans heavily on platoons, this is not nearly enough production from their crop of left-handed hitters. Mike Yastrzemski (101 wRC+), Brandon Belt (100 wRC+), Brandon Crawford (84 wRC+), and Tommy La Stella (82 wRC+) have all struggled to give the Giants meaningful production against righties, which is concerning when you consider that baseball is disproportionately in favor of right-handed pitching.
The Giants have some decisions to make this offseason. Pederson and Belt will both be free agents and there appears to be interest in bringing the former back. González, Wade Jr., and Yastrzemski are all under team control next season, whereas Crawford and La Stella are under contract for $16 million and $6.25 million, respectively, against the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT).
The Giants will need to think critically about whether it makes sense to bring back all of those players or if they can find better value elsewhere. In terms of free agency, there are a handful of intriguing options that could help them against right-handed pitching.
Kolten Wong (136 wRC+), Andrew Benintendi (131 wRC+), and Josh Bell (130 wRC+) have all excelled against righties in 2022. On the other hand, Michael Conforto has recorded a 136 wRC+ against right-handed pitching in his seven-year career.
It feels like Wong and Conforto fit their risk appetite given that the former will not command a substantial contract and the latter missed the entire 2022 season following shoulder surgery. There is going to be plenty of interest in both Benintendi and Bell in free agency, but Bell, in particular, feels like a nice fit for the Giants.
The offseason is still a couple of months away but the Giants will have a lot of holes to fill. Finding players who given them leverage against righties feels like it should be a priority and there are plenty of candidates who fit that description.