The San Francisco Giants are always one of the more competitive teams in MLB. If they fail to qualify for the postseason, they at least are typically in the hunt for the playoffs at the end of the regular season. They hardly ever bottom out and when the expectation is for them to be among the bottom of the league, they usually find a way to drastically exceed those expectations like they did in 2021 when they finished the regular season 107-55 and lost in the NLDS.
That was a couple of years ago. Since then, the Giants haven't experienced those highs. In 2022, they finished 81-81. This season, they fell even below that, ending the year 79-83. The Giants once again failed to make the postseason and, because of that, elected to shake things up by firing their manager Gabe Kapler. How did this happen? Who is most responsible for this disappointing San Francisco Giants season? Two areas in particular stand out as places the Giants could stand to improve in the offseason heading into the 2024 season.
2) Starting pitching consistency outside of Logan Webb
Logan Webb has steadily proven himself to be an ace for this Giants franchise. This season, he posted a 3.25 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP, 5.6 WAR, a solid 8.1 K/9 ratio, and a great 6.3 K/BB ratio. He posted career highs in strikeouts (194), WHIP, K/BB ratio, and WAR this season while also pitching the most innings in a season (216) in his young MLB career. He posted a great season, a much better season than his 11-13 record would indicate. But he didn't get much help from the rest of his fellow starting pitchers.
Seven San Francisco Giants made at least ten starts for the club this season. Of those seven, only four posted an ERA below four: Alex Cobb, Ryan Walker, and John Brebbia. However, Walker and Brebbia are primarily relief pitchers who made appearances as starters in games the Giants relied on their bullpen to carry them through a game in lieu of a starting pitcher doing so. They pitched a combined 99.2 innings this season. That means that Cobb was really the only other starting pitcher outside of Webb that was consistently delivering solid outings for the G-Men.
To add more context to this: the Giants posted 51 quality starts as a team this season, which was tied for 18th in the big leagues. 24 of those belonged to Logan Webb. The Giants were in the top half of the league in team ERA and WHIP but in the bottom half in opponent's batting average and quality starts. Their bullpen was mostly solid, but their starting pitching did not do much for them outside of Logan Webb.
1) Giants' bats
It is hard to find many positives when it comes to the Giants' offense. Only three players with at least 250 at-bats posted a batting average of at least .250: Wilmer Flores, Thairo Estrada, and LaMonte Wade Jr. Flores was the only player on the team to hit at least 20 home runs. Only four players registered at least 50 RBI: Flores, JD Davis, Michael Conforto, and Joc Pederson.
As one would imagine after reading that, the Giants did not fare very well in team hitting stats. Only the Yankees and Athletics posted a worse team batting average than the Giants' .235 mark. The Giants were also in the bottom third of MLB in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS as well as runs scored and RBI.
The Giants simply could not score, and it was their ultimate undoing. That's how Logan Webb had a losing record despite putting together a stellar season. The Giants have to find a way to get better bats on the team for next season or the 2024 campaign could finish similarly to how the 2022 and 2023 seasons did.