25 questions as Giants open 2nd half of season
SAN FRANCISCO — Heading into the month of June, the last-place San Francisco Giants appeared destined to sell off their veteran assets prior to the trade deadline and offer more opportunities to unproven or inexperienced players during the second half.
That still might happen, but a 19-14 stretch and a 7-2 run heading into the All-Star break has temporarily forced president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi to reconsider.
How can you break up a team playing its best ball of the season? Zaidi will either wait until the Giants regress or watch as they surge up the standings.
What questions must the Giants answer during the second half of the season? We assigned one to each of the 25 active players on the roster, plus pitcher Tyler Beede, who will start Sunday’s game in Milwaukee.
1. Where will Madison Bumgarner spend the last two months?
The story of the second half starts and ends with Madison Bumgarner, whose tenure with the Giants could be coming to an end. With three weeks to go before the trade deadline, it’s still unclear whether the Giants will receive an offer that makes them seriously consider parting with one of the franchise’s legends.
2. Is this the new Buster Posey?
After undergoing season-ending hip surgery in August, 2018, Posey was expected to hit for more power in 2019. Instead, his power numbers are insignificant and his average and on-base percentage are drastically lower than they were a season ago. Posey may not have been completely healthy to start the year, but he’ll need to have a much better second half to give Giants fans hope regarding his future.
3. Will Brandon Crawford be an everyday player beyond this season?
Crawford has two seasons left on his contract after this year, but without a strong second half, it’s possible Zaidi will look to find a platoon partner for one of the most beloved Giants players this offseason. Crawford’s 68 weighted runs created plus (wrC+) is tied with teammate Joe Panik for the third-worst mark among qualifiers and his .635 OPS is more than 60 points below his career average. He’s shown signs of improvement of late, but a hamstring injury kept him off the field for much of the final week before the break.
4. Will the Brandon Belt wars stay this heated?
There’s a famous divide among Giants fans when it comes to first baseman Brandon Belt, a Gold Glove-caliber defender and an analytics darling. Some fans see Belt’s high strikeout total and low average and wonder why he’s not producing more. Others look at his team-best on-base percentage and OPS and believe he’s the most valuable hitter in the Giants lineup. In 2019, his average is bordering on a career low, but his on-base percentage is one of the highest marks he’s ever posted.
5. Did Evan Longoria find a permanent solution for his swing?
The Giants haven’t had many Player of the Week candidates, but Longoria thrust himself into that conversation with five home runs in the six games leading up to the break. He’s right around league average in a few key offensive categories and if he can continue swinging like he did last week, the Giants may not need to be as concerned about their long-term future at the hot corner.
6. How much longer will Pablo Sandoval be a Giant?