People fail to recognize just how successful the San Francisco Giants organization has been in the past decade. No team had a hotter start to it. Winners of the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014, the Giants were the miraculous dynasty of the 2010s.
Much of their past success came out of nowhere. The Giants were at their most dangerous when expectations were low. While expectations weren’t quite at rock bottom for 2019 the bar was still set incredibly low.
Committed to Mediocrity
The San Francisco Giants finished up the 2019 season at 77-85. An up and down season that was all over the place from start. It started with the Giants’ sudden involvement in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes. It then mutated to settling for a few over the hill veterans. The despair of missing on Harper set in. Fans were set for another mediocre Giants season.
Missing out on Harper certainly tamed the expectations for this ball club. An average and aging roster with no trade capital certainly left more to be desired. It left the Giants smack dab in the middle of the pack heading into 2019. A place, as mentioned, a few very special Giants teams had been before.
The Giants’ front office again refused to blow up their former dynastic core and build from the ground up in 2019. As much of a legend that Madison Bumgarner had built up through postseason lore he wasn’t that guy anymore. Not to mention he was in a contract year.
Buster Posey‘s body was another year older behind the dish. He was nowhere near where he used to be offensively. The pitching staff was made up of a bunch has beens and players that never really experienced any success.
Not all of the offseason was lost though. The Giants acquired Mike Yastrzemski from the Orioles for a minor league pitcher, Tyler Herb. They also signed pitchers Derek Holland and Drew Pomeranz to one year deals. While the latter may not have been instrumental to the limited success the Giants had they would bring in some prospect capital in late July.
Expect the Expected
The San Francisco Giants’ early season performance matched up perfectly with their expectations. At the end of May they sat dead last in the NL West at 22-34. The one positive coming out of the early season was the promising debut of Mike Yastrzemski. He hit his first career home run on May 31st and it was about the only thing Giants’ fans had to look forward to at that point.
At the midway point of the season the San Francisco Giants still sat in the basement of the NL West at 35-46. Yastrzemski had yet to find a groove through his first full month in the bigs. If we are looking for bright spots the Kevin Pillar trade wasn’t actually looking awful. He was hitting .291 with 5 homers and 18 RBIs in the month of June. Anytime Pillar can contribute with the bat it’s a huge plus and he was swinging one of the Giants’ hottest bats in the month of June. Will Smith had also become one of the most dominant closers in the MLB at this point in the season as well. Not that he had that many save opportunities. At least it looked the Giants had some pieces to move at the deadline.
The Miraculous Run
As bad as the San Francisco Giants had been in 2019 they miraculously put together a terrific run of baseball. Through the month of July the Giants put together a season high 7 game winning streak. The July 31st trade deadline came around and they sat 3rd in the NL West and right in the middle of the NL Wild Card hunt.
The Giants were 55-53 and suddenly selling at the deadline wasn’t an option. How could they sell being one of the hottest teams in baseball? There was an odd sense of familiarity with Giants teams of the past. It was starting to feel like another year of the San Francisco Giants being THE team of destiny.
Reality Sets In
For as special as this Giants team was starting to feel that great feeling was very short-lived. The Giants would deal Pomeranz away at the deadline for infield prospect Mauricio Dubon. Relievers Sam Dyson and Mark Melancon would also be dealt away. They would also acquire Scooter Gennett to round up a busy Giants trade deadline.
The Giants would put together a dreadful start to the beginning of August. For all the hype of what could’ve been a special run they pretty much almost immediately killed all hope of it coming to fruition. Even with the career month that Mike Yastrzemski put together the Giants fell to 66-69. Yaz slashed .250/.317/.609 with 9 homers and 17 RBIs.
September came around and it was another brutal start with a 4 game losing streak. It was followed up by steady mediocrity which caused the Giants to officially be eliminated from the playoffs on September 20th. The Giants finished up with a 77-85 record. A record which Giants fans have to fear most. They were able to build up the farm system though and give valuable big league reps to Mike Yastrzemski and some other notable prospects such as Dubon and Beede.
Awards and What the Future Holds
Team MVP – Mike Yastrzemski
The future for the San Francisco Giants looks very bright with the grandson of the great “Yaz” set to be in the middle of their order for years to come.
Most Surprising – Kevin Pillar
Pillar put together arguably his best season as a pro with the Giants. We know what he can do with the glove. Anything he can do with the bat is a plus and 21 HRs, 88 RBIs, and a .259 average while playing gold glove caliber defense is more than acceptable.
Most Disappointing – Buster Posey
The drop off of Buster Posey has been pretty consistent in recent years, but no one could have foreseen the stinker he threw up this year. Career lows in batting average and on-base percentage. A second consecutive year with a sub .400 slugging percentage. It is safe to say we have seen the best of Buster Posey. Possibly the last of him in a San Francisco Giants’ jersey.
The San Francisco Giants Moving Forward
While the 2019 San Francisco Giants certainly left more to be desired, the season wasn’t a total bust. Adding players like Pillar and Yastrzemski are enormous additions. Also adding a player like Scooter Gennett who is a former all-star is also a huge plus. Beede is an impressive pitcher who has got off to a less than stellar start to his career. Expect a bounce back second year from him.
With Madison Bumgarner hitting free agency the Giants are expected to be front runners for Gerrit Cole this upcoming winter. A tough season all in all, but the Giants pieced together a small young core with a veteran supporting cast that has won and knows how to win. If the Giants add Cole and are able to resign Will Smith don’t rule out another miraculous Giants’ run in 2020.
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