Are the Giants for real?
In the first full season since COVID cut short the MLB season in 2020, the San Francisco Giants are off to a blazing start — good enough for the best record in the National League.
The 2021 National League West race was supposed to be neck and neck between the reigning World Series champs, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the young, newly large-market franchise San Diego Padres. Prior to the beginning of the season, The Ringer ranked the Dodgers atop the MLB and the Padres at number three, only behind the generational super team that is the New York Yankees. With the Giants being ranked as the 25th worst team in baseball out of the 30 total teams, no one, not even a fan such as myself counted them in for a playoff push, much less a division lead atop the Dodger blue and the San Diego Padres.
However, the universe has apparently decided we have been sent back in time, somewhere between 2010 and 2014, when the San Francisco Giants were a team to be feared, not laughed at.
A large part of why the Giants have been as hot as they are can be attributed to two veteran former superstars, third baseman Evan Longoria, and catcher Buster Posey. In The Ringer article ranking MLB teams prior to the beginning of the season, writer Michael Baumann wrote, “Unless Buster Posey goes off this year and forces the Giants to pick up his $22 million option for 2022, this could be his last year in San Francisco. The Giants have spent two of their past three first-round picks on catchers, which would seem to indicate that Posey at the very least isn’t going to hang on to the starting catcher’s job very long.”
And Posey has done just that. With nearly half of the month of May over, Posey is hitting .362 with 8 home runs through just 27 games, more than both of his last two seasons, (5, and 7 respectively) in which he played in more than 100 games. With the resurgence of former MVP Buster Posey, the Giants now have a legit middle of the lineup guy that pitching staffs are afraid to throw to, not to mention former Rays superstar Evan Longoria hitting right behind him. Longoria, who started the year competing for the home run title and hitting in the mid .300’s, has since hit a slump that has tanked his average below .300. However, Longoria has been a clutch hitter at the plate and a stellar glove at third for the Giants, not to mention his veteran presence in the clubhouse.
Another longtime Giant that has played like he is in his prime is Gold Glove shortstop Brandon Crawford. While his average, (.239) might not reflect it, Crawford has been one of the Giant’s most consistent hitters. With nine home runs, 22 RBIs, and an ungodly .362 batting average with runners in scoring position, Crawford has been the definition of clutch. While Crawford has not been known for his bat in his career, he has certainly deserved his billing as one of the best defenders in the MLB. Crawford is one of only two shortstops in the National League that has not committed a fielding error to this point while continuing to make highlight-reel plays at the age of 34.
Can the Giants do it? Can they continue their dominance over the power-filled National League West? Only time will tell.