Giants

The biggest fear of Giants' frighteningly bad offense is their future

The biggest fear of Giants' frighteningly bad offense is their future

When the San Francisco Giants run silent, you can hear gnats mating at a thousand yards, but at least the lack of sound they are producing is happening faster.
 
With Wednesday's 2-1 loss to Atlanta, the local Wiffle Ball team has amassed 40 runs in 16 games, an average of 2.5 that is so preposterous that the San Diego Padres would bully them in the schoolyard. In fact, in those 16 games, they had two games in which they scored 15 runs, making the real number 25 runs in 14 games.
 
Extend the season back further and you get barely more than the same – 111 runs since July 31, an average of 3.3 runs. Since the MLB average per team per game is 4.45, the Giants are losing by a run every day.
 
This, however, is not news to those of you who have followed this team as it barrel-rolls into Lake Oblivion. These are the same numbers they caked up in 2011 when the Buster Posey injury obliterated their collective will and and sent them careening into much the same position they are in today.
 
Bereft of hitters and at a complete loss as where to find others.
 
The positive here is that they are playing faster games. At a neat 3:00 per game, they have shaved four minutes of their average time from 2017 and a full 10 off 2016. Commissioner Rob Manfred would be proud – if he was watching, which he probably isn’t.
 
What is more distressing though to those who find the Giants irresistible despite all their attempts to be repellent, their offense has gotten worse as their minor leaguers have come to display their wares. That may seem logical based on the fact that minor leaguers don’t tend to thrive against big league pitching the first they are confronted by it, but dropping from 3.3 runs to 2.5 is borderline frightening for the future.
 
Therein lies the problem with optimism for the future. It has to be manufactured out of scorecards that are littered with routine grounders to short. There is no phenom lingering at the edge of promotion, no Ronald Acuna just waiting to break. Indeed, the names that have been offered you by the Giants over the years have almost uniformly failed to stick, especially if they play the outfield.
 
The trick for Brian Sabean, Et. Al., thus becomes having to (a) develop their way out by doing something they haven’t done in a quarter-century – create a homegrown outfielder or two. Indeed, the most accomplished outfielder the Giants have drafted in this decade plays for the Detroit Lions – wide receiver Golden Tate.
 
And we only restate the problem because the lack of an answer is years old. They have struck a variety of valuable ores in the infield, true, but the issue of age is now a profound one from Buster Posey to Evan Longoria and all points inbetween, and the outfield production is essentially an unfounded rumor.
 
Compared to the A’s, who are winning with everything but starting pitching, the Giants are losing with nothing but starting pitching. The comparison will gall Giants fans who regard the A’s as unworthy of notice, but people notice. They notice now.
 
And if this isn’t true, then the only other explanation as to why the Giants have become such an easy collective out is that they have given up on the season and are going to take their 75 wins and 3.8 runs per game and call it improvement – which it won’t really be.

Unless you really do have a fetish for time of game, in which case you may want to take up bowling. That goes by very quickly, and you can drink during the game.

Why Giants GM Scott Harris wants Joey Bart to learn another position

Why Giants GM Scott Harris wants Joey Bart to learn another position

Buster Posey still is mulling over his plans for the 2020 MLB season, but the Giants do have a young catcher on the cusp of the majors in Joey Bart.

The top catching prospect was expected to start the season in Triple-A Sacramento, however, with the minor league season canceled, Bart is a part of San Francisco's 60-man roster. 

That doesn't mean he will start in the big leagues, though. No matter what Posey decides, the Giants don't want to force Bart up

Before the No. 2 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft makes his debut, general manager Scott Harris would like to see two key parts of development grow for Bart.

“A couple of developmental priorities for him will be first to improve the game calling," Harris said Thursday on KNBR's "Murph & Mac" show. "Not that we’re at all concerned about his game calling, I just think there is a critical mass of games you need to catch at the minor league level before you’re fully prepared to call a game in the big leagues."

Bart actually called games at Georgia Tech, something that even Matt Wieters wasn't allowed to do from the same college coach. Harris is right, though. Calling games is a skill that catchers must continue to grow and the Giants hoped that would happen for Bart in Sacramento. 

The second part to Harris' answer might be even more important for Bart and the Giants.

“The other thing we talked about quite a bit is we want to expose him to other positions on the field," Harris said. "Not because we are concerned about his catching at all, we already think he is a plus receiver and thrower, but because one of the main tenants of our developmental philosophy is versatility.

"We want to give our major league manager as many opportunities as possible to get our best bats in the lineup. We think the demands of the catching position are such that that it is a benefit of both the player and the team to be able to play multiple positions.”

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Since the Giants drafted Bart, he hasn't played anywhere on the field other than behind the plate. The same goes for his college career. Learning a new position would have been a perfect opportunity for Bart in the Arizona Fall League, but he fractured his thumb hitting in the AFL.

Now Bart will have Summer Camp to learn a new skill, making the name of spring training 2.0 that much more fitting. He will be in camp with Patrick Bailey, a fellow catcher who the Giants took in the first round of the draft this year. It wouldn't be a surprise if the Giants had Bailey work on another position as well. 

[RELATED: Why Bart, three Giants pitchers are intriguing Kruk, Kuip]

Versatility is the name of the game for the Giants and the rest of baseball right now. Bart currently is lacking it, though that soon could change. He has a strong arm behind the plate and moves well for his 6-foot-2, 238-pound frame. It will be interesting to see if the Giants simply hand him a first baseman's mitt, or if he learns another position like third base or the outfield.

“The more that Joey can move around, the more options that his major league manager is going to have to get his bat in the lineup, and I think that’s really important for his career and for the future of the Giants," Harris said. 

Bart could find his way to a major league game during this 60-game season. The Giants will make sure they feel he is 100 percent ready first, though. There's no doubt he holds a key to San Francisco's future success, and there's no reason to rush and open that door too soon.

Matt Duffy gives 'never say never' answer to future Giants reunion

Matt Duffy gives 'never say never' answer to future Giants reunion

The Giants have brought back many players for a second rodeo in the past.

Hunter Pence was their latest example this past offseason when the Giants signed the two-time World Series champion to a one-year contract, and he certainly won't be the last player to come back for Round 2 in San Francisco. Perhaps there could be another reunion for a fan-favorite in the future. 

"Never say never," Matt Duffy said Wednesday to KNBR's Mark Willard. 

Duffy, 29, signed with the New York Yankees on June 28. He signed a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers, but they released him before announcing their 60-man roster for Summer Camp. New York quickly swooped in and signed the infielder. 

The Giants called to "check in" over the offseason as well. But there is no reunion in place. At least, not yet.

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

"We did have some dialogue with the Giants this offseason, but it just didn't seem like the interest was there and as mutual as some other opportunities," Duffy said. "But yeah, like I said, never say never."

Duffy made his big league debut with the Giants in 2014, and instantly became a fan-favorite. He hit .267 over 34 games that year, then starred as a rookie the next season. Duffy finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting after he hit .295/.334/.428 with 28 doubles, 12 homers and 77 RBI in 149 games.

Unfortunately for Duffy, that has been his only full season in the big leagues. In 2016, Duffy was hampered by an Achilles injury and played in 70 games for the Giants. Then on Aug. 1, 2016 the Giants traded Duffy with prospects Lucius Fox and Michael Santos to the Tampa Bay Rays for left-handed pitcher Matt Moore.

[RELATED: Posey, Belt face inevitable risk amid coronavirus pandemic]

Duffy played 21 games for the Rays in 2016, but underwent season-ending Achilles surgery and missed the entire 2017 season. He hit .294 for the Rays in 2018, and only played in 46 games last year. 

Injuries have hampered Duffy throughout his career. However, if healthy, Giants fans certainly would welcome a reunion in the future.