Why are SF Giants hitters not swinging the bat at strikes?

San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

If you feel like the SF Giants are just not swinging the bat at strikes, you are not alone. In fact, the numbers support that idea. They just are not swinging at pitches in the zone.

Why are SF Giants hitters not swinging the bat at strikes?

It is a frustrating trend to see. Opposing teams are doing damage at pitches in the middle of the zone, whereas the Giants are watching those pitches go by.

The good news is that when they are swinging the bat, they are making contact. The Giants have posted a 21.7 percent strikeout rate in 2024, down from 24.5 percent last season. Last season's mark was the sixth-highest in baseball, whereas they are 12th in 2024.

They are making more contact and not sacrificing much in terms of raw power. That is usually the tradeoff when balancing contact and power. The Giants' .138 ISO in 2024 is slightly lower than the .149 ISO they tallied in 2023.

These are encouraging trends, but there have been plenty of odd trends as well. They are only chasing out of the zone in 30.1 percent of their swings. Limiting chase rate has been a hallmark of Farhan Zaidi's tenure as the head of the front office. Swinging at pitches outside of the zone is bad because they are just tougher to hit.

On the other hand, they are only swinging at 64.8 percent of pitches in the strike zone. That is the lowest mark in baseball and it bears mentioning that some of the best offenses such as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves rate in the top-third of that category.

There is a sizable talent gap between the Giants and those two teams. However, while the Giants' lineup does not feature a Shohei Ohtani or a Ronald Acuña Jr., you would think that they can make up for some of that talent deficit with a better approach.

If swinging out of the zone is bad, then it is fair to assume that the opposite is true. The Giants should be attacking pitches in the zone, but they are not. Plus, the Giants have the highest called strike percentage at 19.0 percent. Those pitches in the zone are not only good pitches to hit, but they are being called strikes as well.

The Giants have posted a .698 OPS so far in 2024, which is the 12th-lowest mark in baseball. There is still plenty of time for them to turn it around. That said, it seems evident that they have an approach issue. Perhaps, the patience is part of what the organization is asking from its hitters or it could be a sign that the hitters are just not seeing the pitches well. Maybe it is a communication or preparation issue. Hitting is hard.

The Giants have good hitters. There is no doubt about that. They will not be able to compete with teams like the Dodgers or the Braves, but they can put together competitive at-bats. And, those hitters are getting good pitches to hit.

If you were looking for an explanation for why they are so passive at the plate, you have come to the wrong place. I am as confused as you are.