In a shocking development considering where they stood before the start of the season, the San Francisco Giants are leading the National League West division with a 4.5-game cushion over the favored Los Angeles Dodgers.
Not only that, but the Giants also have the best record in MLB, at 48-26.
Be honest: Did you expect San Francisco to have the best record in baseball after almost three months?
Neither did we.
But here we are, trying to explain how a team that was expected to be, at best, third in its division has managed to beat the odds and stay in the elite.
DeSclafani and Wood have been rotation stalwarts while McGee currently shares closing duties with Tyler Rogers.
But the primary reason why the Giants are dominating the NL West division (which also includes the very good San Diego Padres team, to be fair) is the career resurgences from several players.
Player Development And Coaching Staff Deserves A Huge Chunk Of The Credit
Just like the Dodgers and Padres, San Francisco deserves praise for getting the best out of its players in 2021.
Care to guess which are the two most valuable performers in the Giants’ lineup?
No, it’s not 2012, you can check your calendar and see it for yourself.
Haha yeah I can’t say I expected any of it. But it is really cool to see them playing so well. Especially Posey and Crawford. Last hoorah for the guys that remain from the championship days
— Jorge Montanez (@Roto_Nino) June 24, 2021
Both were having very underwhelming years in recent memory, but with some adjustments and some health, they have resurrected their careers.
Posey is hitting .322/.411/.556 with 12 homers, in a rebirth for the ages.
He has revived his already HOF-worthy career and is now leading the charge for the first-place Giants.
Posey is, among position players, leading the Giants in Wins Above Replacement, with 2.7.
Crawford, meanwhile, made adjustments with the help of the Giants’ staff and unlocked a level of offensive performance never seen before, not even in his best years.
In 2021, Crawford is batting .254/.343/.535 with 16 homers and five stolen bases.
Evan Longoria is another veteran who has resurrected his career thanks, in part, to Giants’ coaching.
Longoria is hitting .280/.376/.516 with nine homers.
In the last couple of years, the organization as a whole has worked to get the best out of their players, and it’s paying off.
Kevin Gausman Has Been Elite
Of course, the other big reason why the Giants are on top is Kevin Gausman’s ascent to the elite.
In 96.2 innings, Gausman has an excellent 1.49 ERA and a 2.40 Fielding Independent Pitching, or FIP.
He has done this by limiting walks and homers and striking out a lot of hitters.
For the season, Gausman has a 30.8 percent strikeout rate and a 5.5 percent walk rate, both elite figures.
If it weren’t for Jacob deGrom, he would probably be the strongest Cy Young candidate in the National League.
MLB ERA Leaders
1. Jacob deGrom, 0.54
2. Kevin Gausman, 1.51
3. Carlos Rodón, 1.83
4. Brandon Woodruff, 1.94
5. Trevor Rogers, 1.98
— Electro (@ImNotHuman123) June 20, 2021
If Gausman can continue to provide elite production on the mound, the Giants are probably in good hands and will be very tough to beat in the second half.