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A Giant(s)Step Forward

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Heading into the 2021 season, the Giants were an afterthought in the NL West given how the Dodgers and Padres were expected to be among the best teams in MLB.

But on this day, it’s the Giants who have the top record in baseball. They’ve been arguably the sport’s biggest surprise this season.

The Giants have done this with a complete team effort.

Their 181 home runs rank second in MLB but no player has hit 20. Nine Giants have hit at least 10 home runs, the most to do so on a team this season. The Giants are the most reliant on the home run of any team, with 51% of their runs scoring via home run.

Highest Percentage of Runs Via Home Run – 2021 Season

Team Home Runs Percentage
Giants 181 51%
Mariners 150 49%
Braves 176 48%
Twins 171 47%
Blue Jays 183 46%

The Giants’ pitching staff ranks third in the majors in ERA (3.32) and first in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.4-to-1).

The Giants starters, led by Kevin Gausman and Logan Webb, have been excellent. Gausman has a 2.40 ERA and ranks fifth among NL pitchers in Baseball-Reference’s Wins Above Replacement. Webb has a 1.64 ERA in his last 11 starts.

But this has also been a bullpen-intense effort. The Giants have six pitchers with at least 30 appearances and a sub-3.00 ERA, the most in MLB. Closer Jake McGee has a career-high 26 saves. Submarining setup man Tyler Rogers has 11 saves, 22 holds (one shy of the MLB lead) and a 2.02 ERA.

And the Giants defense has been stellar too. The team entered Thursday ranked ninth in Defensive Runs Saved with 43. That’s only two runs out of fourth place and six runs from first place.

The defensive success is the combination of player performance and coaching assistance. The Giants rank second in Defensive Runs Saved from their right fielders and tied for fourth in Runs Saved from their shortstops. They also have the most Runs Saved specific to how they’ve positioned infielders in defensive shifts.

The Giants’ best player this season has been 34-year-old shortstop Brandon Crawford, who has a .300 batting average, a team-high 19 home runs, and a .902 OPS. He’s also the team leader in Defensive Runs Saved with 8 (check out the great play he made against the Mets yesterday) and is 9-for-9 in stolen base attempts.

He’s been the most complete player on the most complete team in the major leagues.

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