Season Preview: 2023 San Francisco Giants

Season Preview: San Francisco Giants
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The San Francisco Giants entered the 2022-23 off-season with high hopes of making a big splash in McCovey Cove for the 2023 season. It ended with a few minor ripples. The Giants tried to land high-profile free agents Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa before each re-signed with their respective teams. The Giants hope to rebound in 2023 with the additions of Michael ConfortoSean ManaeaRoss StriplingTaylor Rogers, and Mitch Haniger. Haniger and Conforto hope to replace some of the lost production while also making up for the loss of first baseman Brandon Belt.

Back to Earth

The Giants needed to jumpstart an offense that dropped from 31 WAR in 2021 to 15 WAR in 2022. This led to a drop from 107 wins to barely making it over .500. While several players were expected to come back to earth after overperforming in 2021, the crash the team experienced was unexpected as ten players had their WAR drop from their 2021 numbers. This put more pressure on the pitching staff which was unable to compensate.

Pitching is Key

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The Giants’ 2023 season will be led by a deep starting rotation led by Logan Webb. The addition of Stripling and Manaea should provide extra depth at the backend of the rotation. Holdovers Alex Cobb,  Anthony DeSclafani, and Alex Wood will round out the rotation. The bullpen is anchored by the young fireballer Camilo Doval who could potentially lead the league in saves. The Rodgers twins, Taylor and Tyler will set up the late innings for Doval.  San Francisco’s starters led the Majors with a 3.10 FIP in 2022, and they will once again be relied upon to lead the team in 2023. If the pitching staff sputters out of the gate, top prospect Kyle Harrison should make his Major League debut.

Power is back

With an outfield consisting of Conforto, Haniger, and holdover Joc Pederson, the Giants look to have some power in the lineup not seen since Barry Bonds patrolled leftfield. Brandon Crawford will once again headline the infield that will see new blood at the corner with the departures of Belt and third baseman Evan Longoria. Manager Gabe Kapler is hoping that some of their young farmhands can step in and fill the void left by the departing veterans.

Questions

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One of the biggest questions for the Giants entering 2023 is the corner infield positions.  With Longoria in the desert and Belt north of the border, the Giants do not have an established corner infielder. They will count on a hodgepodge of outfield converts and middle infielders. Prospect Casey Schmitt could get a look at the hot corner. Joey Bart hopes to have a strong sophomore season after taking over for Buster Posey in 2022. Bart has yet to put it all together at the big league level and will have to show he can put the ball in play more consistently to entrench himself as San Francisco’s starter. Veteran Roberto Perez, a two-time Gold Glove Award winner, will likely serve as Bart’s backup, but there are questions about his durability after he appeared in only 65 games over the past two seasons due to injuries.

Predictions:

While Haniger and Conforto are not Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa, they should help add some power to a lineup that desperately needs a boost, but it won’t be enough to overcome the loss of Belt and Longoria. The Giants will struggle to keep up in a highly competitive National League West. The Dodgers and Padres will make it hard for the Giants to compete. The Giants will barely make it over .500 ball with their MVP being closer Doval.

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