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Is the San Franciso Giants' Early Success Legit?

LaMonte Wade Jr on the San Francisco Giants; CC by License 2.0

The San Francisco Giants are winning a lot of baseball games. This squad has won nine of their last 11 games, with the majority of those wins happening on the road. What is interesting about this recent success is that it has come after some brutal injury luck for the would-be stars of this team. 

Jung-Hoo Lee, the Giants’ biggest offseason signing, went down to a season-ending shoulder injury. Michael Conforto, the hottest Giants hitter through the first month of the season, has been sidelined by a hamstring injury. Blake Snell, the reigning NL Cy Young winner, just came back from a groin injury and has been a shell of his former self. 

Still, with all of this bad luck, the Giants sit in second place in the NL West with a .509 winning percentage (their best since being 2-1 to start the season in March). Ask any Giants fan and they would tell you that this team felt lost in the early part of the year. March and April were full of games that were extremely difficult to watch, as the team lacked any sense of identity on the field. All of this has turned around in the last few days, as the Giants seem to be firing on all cylinders with the hope of making the postseason for the first time since 2021. This article will examine a few key pieces that have contributed to this hot streak. 


Patrick Bailey

Patrick Bailey has taken a huge step forward this season compared to his 2023 campaign. Bailey is quickly becoming a fan favorite with his reliable bat and extremely deadly defense behind the dish. In the first game of the most recent Giants-Mets series, the SF squad found themselves down 6-3 in the 8th inning. Patrick Bailey stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and rocketed a ball over the fence to give the Giants a lead they did not surrender for the rest of the game. At bats like this have been extremely common with Bailey as of late. In fact, no one else on this team at the moment would be wanted at the plate with runners in scoring position more than Bailey. He has been thriving in the clutch, a quality that the Giants have been missing from any hitter in the last two seasons. 

Taking a look at the offensive numbers, Bailey’s Baseball Savant page has more red than Rudolph on a foggy Christmas Eve. Bailey is in the 75th percentile or higher in all of the stats worth mentioning, most notably the 94th in expected batting average, 93rd in average exit velocity, and 100th in launch-angle sweet-spot percentage.

Just as impressively, Bailey is thriving on the defensive side of the ball, too. Of course, impressive defense is how he introduced himself to the league last season, as he earned a Gold Glove nomination in his rookie season. However, it is very encouraging to see that he is maintaining his reputation as one of the league’s best behind the plate. His pop time percentile ranks in the 98th. His caught-stealing rate lands in the 98th, with his framing in the 81st and overall fielding value in the 93rd. 

There are so many good things to say about what Patrick Bailey has been doing on the field lately. Be on the lookout for Bailey to establish himself as the captain of this Giants team. His continued success at the plate and the reputation he has earned on defense are giving hints of what Buster Posey offered the Giants during his playing career. 


Matt Chapman

Perhaps the most underrated signing of the offseason from the Giants has found his swing in the last few games. Matt Chapman is awake and is finally getting the results on the field he deserves. After spending so much time across the Bay with the A’s, Chapman is on the right team to make an immediate impact. In the same game that Patrick Bailey hit his grand slam, Matt Chapman shined, in a way that he always has, with his glove. 

Giants closer Camilo Doval had two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning against the Mets. The bases were loaded in the 8-7 game in Queens. A slow roller is hit up the third base line on the 3-2 pitch. Chapman bare-handed the ball and made an insane throw to LaMonte Wade Jr., who scooped the throw out of the dirt and saved the game. That play might have been the most impactful one made in Chapman’s career, as the stakes were about as high as they could get in the regular season. 

The start of Chapman’s 2024 was not the best. Watching him play, he was able to drive the ball to all fields, but he never had the counting stats to show his good approach. Chapman’s last few days have been extremely successful, as he homered multiple times in the series in Pittsburgh and has been driving in runs in the games since then. The Baseball Savant numbers back up his success, as he boasts a 92nd percentile in average exit velocity and a 74th in batting run value. Another impressive statistic of his is a 97th percentile in the new Bat Speed metric. Baseball fans can start calling him Batt Chapman from now on. 

A surprising bonus about Chapman’s game has been the decisions he is making on the basepaths. He ranks in the 94th percentile for baserunning run value. He passes the eye test in this regard as well, as he always seems to be taking extra bases and scoring from second with his sneaky 86th percentile in sprint speed. 

Chapman has been the reliable veteran this team needs him to be. As the season progresses, it is very likely he will be a cornerstone in the Giants’ success. He needs to keep showing up like he has been, and the Giants will continue to collect wins with him in the lineup every day.


LaMonte Wade Jr.

LaMonte Wade Jr. has been Barry Bonds Jr. in the 2024 season. His value cannot be overstated. What he has done for the Giants in his at-bats has been extremely important. Unfortunately, that unlucky injury bug mentioned earlier has taken another victim in Wade Jr. In today’s game against the Phillies, Wade Jr. suffered a hamstring injury that will sideline him for the next few days (possibly weeks). Still, his production is worth talking about today.

Wade Jr. has an on-base percentage of .470. Mookie Betts in second place has a .431 OBP. LaMonte’s OBP is higher than his slugging percentage (.426), which is just ridiculous. Unfortunately, Wade Jr. is technically not qualified for the leaderboards, but he is right on the cusp of reaching the plate appearances per game that he needs to qualify. Although now that he is hurt, Wade Jr. won’t appear on those leaderboards for the foreseeable future. 

LaMonte’s plate discipline is what got him where he is today. His Baseball Savant page tells the story of a player with an absurdly good eye who smokes the ball when he decides it is a good time to swing. He lands in the 99th percentile for chase percentage, 100th for walk percentage, and 96th in launch-angle sweet-spot percentage. This production has not been a stroke of luck, as Wade Jr. is in the 97th for expected batting average and 98th for expected wOBA. As a role player on this Giants team, his ability to get on base and drive in runs has been extremely valuable. 


Look for LaMonte to be right back in the action as soon as he recovers from his hamstring strain. His advanced discipline at the plate and ability to perform when his team needs him the most are qualities that should be recognized by more baseball fans. Wade Jr. is working his way to becoming one of the most undervalued players in baseball.

The Giants need to ride the momentum they have built during this hot streak for the rest of the season. Bob Melvin and his staff have finally found a combination of players that have been able to secure win after win for this club. Two other players worth noting are Luis Matos and Heliot Ramos. These two rookies have stepped up big time with the number of injuries to the outfield, and Matos even won Player of the Week with 16 RBI in his games last week. This team’s solid pitching and newly awakened offense have a chance to go far in this 2024 season. Be on the lookout for these Giants to be right in the mix for the playoffs come October.


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