The San Francisco Giants currently sit at 30-18 and in first place in the National League West. They’ve had some very good performances by players like Angel Pagan and Michael Morse in the field, and Tim Hudson has been the Giants’ best pitcher so far this season. However, the honor of the best Giants player so far goes to Pagan.
Why Pagan? It’s simple, he’s batting 316 so far this season, best on the Giants. That batting average is second in the National League among leadoff hitters behind Colorado Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon. Pagan’s OPS of 804 is also second among leadoff hitters behind Blackmon and fifth among National League center fielders. Pagan also leads the Giants in stolen bases with 9. His 9 steals are tied for fourth in the National league among center fielders and leadoff hitters. Pagan’s defense also has been spectacular. So far this season he’s playing Gold Glove caliber defense; only committing 1 error so far this season, which comes out to a 991 fielding percentage. His range factor of 2.68, which illustrates how much ground a particular fielder covers, is sixth in all of baseball and also first in the National league at his position.
Pagan was one of the many driving forces of the Giants World Series team in 2012. His energy, swagger and defense gave the Giants that special edge. They were in position for a run at the playoffs last year until Pagan went down. Once he went down their whole offense changed for the worse.
He’s the guy who drives the Giants attack. If he’s healthy and playing well the Giants offense goes to a whole new level. If he’s not playing than the Giants offense struggles mightily.
There’s also been a number of players who have exceeded expectations at the plate and in the field. Players like Brandon Crawford and Brandon Hicks come to mind. However, the player who has exceeded expectations the most has been Morse. It’s not extremely surprising to see Morse performing well, as he is a career 280 hitter and has had a 30 home-run season. However, when the Giants signed him after coming off of a bad-injury-plagued 2013, it was seen as a low-risk high-reward kind of a signing.
Expectations were low for Morse coming into the season. The Giants were hoping that Morse would have a Pat Burrell 2010 impact on the team ( i.e a guy who hit a lot of home-runs but didn’t necessarily do anything else). Morse has not only hit 10 bombs so far this year, but he’s been hitting around 260-270 for most of the season and playing well defensively. Defense was seen as a serious weakness in Morse’s game coming into the season, but he’s done a great job of putting those concerns to rest. At least so far.
With Morse performing the way that he is, the season looks bright for the Giants. Buster Posey hasn’t started hitting yet, however, Pablo Sandoval is getting his swing back, Hunter Pence is rediscovering his power that he had last year, and Brandon Belt is coming back in about a month. If the Giants can get all of those bats hitting at once, as well as get their pitching staff to be consistent, they are due for another long playoff run.