Buster Posey is not one to call his shot or offer bold predictions, but when asked about the NL West race this spring, Posey did caution that outsiders shouldn't be so quick to deem it simply a matter of the "Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Diego Padres."
"I think you go into it with the attitude of you're going out there trying to finish on top of the division," he said of the Giants in February. "That's looking way in advance, but I think that has to be the goal."
That remains the goal, and while the Dodgers and Padres still are heavily favored, the Giants have turned this into a surprising three-team race, and it's no longer outlandish to see them sticking around through September. They seem likely to at least be in the playoff hunt until the end, as they were in 2020, and the computers and oddsmakers agree.
According to FanGraphs' projections, the Giants had just a 5.7 percent chance of making the playoffs on Opening Day, but the hot start has them up to 27.1 percent. FanGraphs gave the Giants a 0.2 percent chance of winning the West before the season, and has modestly bumped them up to 2.4 percent after the 22-14 start. FiveThirtyEight has the Giant at 25 percent to make the playoffs and four percent to win the West.
According to our partner, PointsBet, the Giants currently are listed at +2200 to win the NL West (meaning a $100 bet would win you $2200), after coming in at +5000 on Opening Day. They remain +5000 longshots to win the World Series, which has improved from +15000 before the season began.
Those numbers might sound low given that the Giants have been in first place for two weeks, but the computers are projecting for 162 games, and it's fair to expect the more talented Dodgers and Padres to put it together at some point. FanGraphs still gives the Dodgers a 63 percent chance of winning the West and has the Padres at about 35 percent, although the Giants have closed the gap.
At the very least, the Giants have made it clear that they're much-improved, and a threat to ruin a lot of preseason predictions.
"I think what's special is they've made people take notice, and now, once these people have taken notice, now these people are going to watch to see if this team is for real or not," Duane Kuiper said on Thursday's Giants Talk podcast. "It's going to take until June, July before people are going to believe whether this team has got it or not. I'm just glad they're off to a great start, because if you get off to kind of a slow start or a weird start then everybody is going to say, 'Well, yeah, that's kind of what expected out of this team.'
"But when you look at what (Anthony) DeSclafani has done, what Alex Wood has done, we knew what (Kevin) Gausman was going to do -- even Aaron Sanchez was a delight for a while and he still might be. All in all, it's just been really fun watching this team with all the moving parts, it's just been fun watching Gabe (Kapler) move these parts around."
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