San Francisco Giants face off against the Miami Marlins (Photo: Carson Dillon, Windsor High School)
by Luke Shimer, sports editor
The San Francisco Giants head into the 2022 season with tremendous optimism after outlasting the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 2021 National League West Division title. The Giants set a franchise high with 107 wins but were eliminated in the National League Division Series by the Dodgers in a well-pitched series of five games. This season will be different with the Giants losing key players and signing new ones, but I still predict they will be one of the best teams in the MLB and make the playoffs once again.
A strong rotation was crucial to the Giants’ success in 2021. In 2022, they’ll have it again. San Francisco keeps Logan Webb, who is coming off a fantastic playoff, Anthony DeSclafani, and Alex Wood; however, they lost Kevin Gausman due to his free agency departure. While the Giants also lost offensive stars, Kris Bryant and Buster Posey, they also made a big splash by signing Carlos Rodón, Alex Cobb, and Matthew Boyd, all of whom will only strengthen this rotation, as well as Joc Pederson and top Giants prospect Heliot Ramos to boost the offense. With Buster Posey’s retirement, Joey Bart will take over at home plate. Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, and Mike Yastrzemski are another three significant players in the lineup, and despite being 30 or older and not getting any younger, their bats didn’t appear to be slowing down any in 2021. The way the Giants play using strategic lineups depending on the opposing pitcher, as well as the use of the bullpen and bunts, expects some regression of the team, but the pitching will keep this as one of the best teams in baseball.
According to FanGraphs, the Giants entered last season with a 5.7% chance of making the playoffs, but they stunned the baseball world by emerging as the best team in Major League Baseball. FanGraphs predicts that coming off a great season, the Giants will get 86 wins, 76 losses and a 52.7% chance to make the playoffs. This is a significant 20-win drop from how the Giants finished the season last year, but this is because they drastically overperformed last year. They are still one of the top teams in baseball, but they won’t do as well as they did last year.
My prediction for the San Francisco Giants this season is 90-72, finishing second in the National League West behind the Dodgers. The team will be carried by a great pitching rotation and depth within the bullpen. Crawford is 35 years old, while Belt will turn 34 in April, so expecting them to match that kind of output on the offensive side is a stretch. Evan Longoria (36), Tommy La Stella (33), Mike Yastrzemski (31), and Wilmer Flores (30), the team’s top predicted hitters for next season, will all also be 30 or older. San Francisco has a lot of young talent as well, but with a core of players that are nearing the age where so many begin a decline in performance, there is an added degree of uncertainty for a club with high expectations to meet and a formidable division opponent to contend with.