The Giants entered Thursday’s game with the Arizona Diamondbacks at 62-77, 21 games behind the first place Dodgers, and struggling with the San Diego Padres to see who will finish last in the division. So, by the record, it would seem that the Giants season is over which it is. However, the Giants still have things they need to do.
First, they want to get momentum going into the 2014 season. They are capable of now that they have Angel Pagan back at the top of the lineup and their rotation pretty much in tack with Matt Cain coming off the disabled list shortly. The Giants have shown flashes of a good offense even in this dreadful season. If the Giants are completely healthy and have everybody performing up to their capabilities they have a lineup that will be pretty good 1-7. They still need to add a starting left-fielder, more depth in the outfield, infield and pitching.
The Giants should try to add a starting pitcher or two in the offseason to ensure that they have a solid five who will rival what the Dodgers have. Right now, they have 2 aces with Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain. After that you have questions about Tim Lincecum, even though he will be better than a 4.5 ERA pitcher, Ryan Vogelsong, and Chad Gaudin.
The Giants are at their best when Pagan and Scutaro are doing their jobs; like getting on base, stealing bases and setting the table for Belt, Posey, Pence and Sandoval. Usually this would mean that good results will happen. That hasn’t been the case the this year though.Pagan has been injured; Posey, Pence and Sandoval had sub-par seasons. The overall numbers have been padded somewhat during the last month when the Giants were out of the postseason.
Next, the Giants want to evaluate players that they brought up to the big league club for either the first time or are recalling. The Giants are taking a look at players like Heath Hembree, Juan Perez and maybe talented defensive shortstop Ehire Adrianza as well as catcher Johnny Monell to see if any of these players have a chance to be on the big league club and make an impact next year.
Of the four players mentioned, Hembree has the best chance to either be a fixture in the Giants bullpen for a lot of years or become the Giants future closer if that’s the direction the Giants decide to go. All throughout the Minor leagues the scouting reports on Hembree was that he had an electric fastball and slider that were able to produce a lot of strikeouts. But, the numbers the last few seasons in Triple A Fresno didn’t add up to the stuff that he possesses. He had a 4.74 ERA in 2012 and a 4.07 ERA this season. However, the strikeout numbers were still there as well as a decent walk rate. Hembree was impressive in his debut with the Giants recently against the San Diego Padres as he had a low 90’s fastball, but had much better control of it and also mixed in the slider. If he keeps pitching that way he will certainly be a fixture in the Giants future bullpen.
Even though the Giants are disappointed with their season, they have to be happy to see two young hitters Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford continue to improve and become quality big league hitters. Belt, who has been unfairly scrutinized by a few Giants fans made a change to his stance and grip and that has helped him flourish into one of the better first baseman in the National League as indicated by Average, On Base Percentage, and Slugging Percentage or OPS. That’s pretty good for a guy that a lot of people wanted traded a few months ago. Belts only going to get better in the years to come. He is still relatively new to hitting and will be only 26 years old next season which means he isn’t even in his prime yet. That’s another reason for the Giants to be optimistic that they can bounce back.
There’s an old saying that “you can’t win em all” and that’s how the Giants are feeling right now. It’s been disappointing to watch this team underachieve, but September gives the opportunity to build momentum toward next season as well as evaluate some young players that could be a fixture for the Giants next year.