2017 Fantasy Recap: The San Francisco Giants
A 98-loss season was not the follow-up to an NLDS loss that the San Francisco Giants were hoping for.
That many defeats tied with the Giants’ 1943 season for second-most in franchise history. They avoided the ignominy of 100 losses, which has happened just once in their history (1985). This is the first time since 2007 that the Giants finished in last place in the NL West; 2007 was manager Bruce Bochy’s first season with the Giants, and Barry Bonds’ last, a year that transitioned from Bonds to Tim Lincecum.
There was a lot to not be excited about with the Giants this year.
For instance, it might sound like good news that Johnny Cueto will stick around the bay area. The 31-year-old right-hander indicated that he likely won’t opt out of the $130 million, six-year contract he signed before the 2016 season and become a free agent. However, Cueto is coming off a disappointing season, where he finished with a 4.52 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP through 147 innings. He gave up almost two more runs per start compared to last year, and had his fewest total wins (eight) since 2013.
Cueto wasn’t the only pitcher who struggled for the Giants this year. Lefty Matt Moore wrapped up a disappointing campaign that mirrors the Giants’ season as a whole, posting a 5.52 ERA, 1.53 WHIP and 148:67 K:BB through 174.1 innings while setting a new career high in losses. In his last start of the season against the Arizona Diamondbacks, he coughed up up eight runs (seven earned) on five hits and three walks over only 1.1 innings; he left the game after giving up a grand slam home run. Since June 20th, Moore accumulated a grand total of three wins, en route to his 6-15 record this year.
Right hander Jeff Samardzija alternated between good and poor starts in September, ending things on a positive note by notching his third quality start in five tries this month. The lone run he conceded in his last start against Arizona came from a Jake Lamb homer, but aside from that, he was able to stymie the potent Diamondbacks offense. He deserved the win, but closer Sam Dyson conceded three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to blow the contest. Samardzija will finish the season 9-15 with a serviceable 4.42 ERA to go along with his 1.14 WHIP and 205:32 K:BB. The big guy also finished the year having pitched the most innings (207.2) in the National League.
It wasn’t all about bad pitching for San Francisco this year. Take shortstop Brandon Crawford, for example. With his Gold Glove defense and enough offense for a shortstop, Crawford ranked 23rd among all position players in WAR over 2015 and 2016. He’s stopped hitting this year, however, as his OPS has dropped over 120 points. His defensive metrics are still solid but not spectacular. A lot has obviously gone wrong for the Giants, but Crawford’s decline from underrated star to mediocre veteran is also potentially problematic because his salary increases in 2018 to $15.2 million — which he’ll make for the next four seasons.
San Francisco clearly has a lot of work to do this offseason, though it’s certainly not realistic to expect them to address all their problems in one winter.