SF Giants: The 3 biggest surprises from the first half of the season

Milwaukee Brewers v San Francisco Giants
Milwaukee Brewers v San Francisco Giants / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages
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The SF Giants finished the first half of the season at 48-43. While the first half was disappointing and frustrating on many fronts, there were several pleasant surprises.

SF Giants: The 3 biggest surprises from the first half of the season

Health will be one of the biggest factors for the Giants in the second half of the season. All teams are dealing with injuries, so extended absences cannot be used as an excuse. That said, injury risk is often higher with a veteran team like San Francisco.

Despite their struggles in the bullpen and with the glove, the Giants will likely be playing meaningful games in September. With the trade deadline coming up in the next 10 days, the front office will be in a position to buy.

Their level of aggressiveness will depend on how the team performs. The Giants need to show more to give the front office the confidence it needs to be aggressive buyers. At this point in time, they look like they will be soft buyers at the trade deadline.

Despite the overall results, there have been plenty of pleasant surprises. Hopefully, these performances can carry over into the second half of the season.

1. Jakob Junis

When Jakob Junis signed a one-year, $1.75 million pact right before the start of the season, it was not a move that garnered a lot of attention. The 29-year-old pitcher had posted a 4.82 ERA, 4.74 FIP, 1.35 WHIP, 8.2 K/8, and a 3.25 SO/W ratio in six seasons with the Kansas City Royals.

Perhaps, one of the more appealing qualities that Junis brought to the table is that he had one minor league option remaining, so he gave the Giants extra roster flexibility.

That said, Junis has filled a pretty important role for the Giants in 2022. The front office rebuilt a rotation that carried good upside but it came with a lot of injury risk as well. Some of that risk has been realized as Anthony DeSclafani (ankle) will miss the rest of the season after making only five starts, whereas Alex Cobb has already made two trips to the injured list.

The Giants liked Junis' strike-throwing ability, but that has gotten him into trouble in the past as he has been prone to the long ball. However, they worked with him to simplify his pitch mix while increasing the usage of his slider, which has proven to be an effective pitch throughout his career.

These are changes that have paid immediate dividends. The veteran starter is having a career year on the mound, posting a 3.06 ERA, 3.91 FIP, 1.02 WHIP, 7.6 K/9, and a 4.20 SO/W ratio across 50 innings for the Giants.

Many Giants fans wanted the front office to be more aggressive last offseason but it bears mentioning that they have made some really solid signings. Junis has quietly been one of the best value additions of the offseason.