The San Francisco Giants spent much of 2023 in a strong position to make it back to the MLB Playoffs. However, a late-season collapse led to a managerial change and likely some roster re-alignment come the winter. Here’s our recap of the Giants’ 2023 campaign.
The Giants’ pitching staff did relatively well last season and was arguably the reason why San Francisco hung around in the NL playoff race.
Once again, Alex Cobb was excellent. The veteran righty owned a 3.87 ERA over 151.1 IP (28 GS) and had a number of dominant efforts for the Giants last season. But the staff was led by NL Cy Young award finalist Logan Webb, who led the NL in IP (216), BB/9 (1.3) and owned a strong 3.25 ERA.
San Francisco made significant use of the opener last season, which gave the likes of John Brebbia and Ryan Walker a chance to shine. The two were part of a strong bullpen, one that also included Taylor Rogers, Tyler Rogers, Jakob Junis, and closer Camilo Doval.
Doval notched 39 saves and struck out 87 over 67.2 IP.
Offensively, the Giants were carried by a pair of former Mets: J.D. Davis and Wilmer Flores. The 2023 campaign was a year for Flores, who hit a career-high 23 home runs and posted the highest OPS (.863) of his eleven-year run in the Majors.
Two other nice finds by the front office in Thairo Estrada and Blake Sabol also made an impact. Estrada hit 14 home runs and 42 extra-base hits in 120 games, while Sabol hit 13 home runs in his first MLB season. However, a sky-high K% (34.0%) was not impressive.
Now, let’s move on to the part of our 2023 Giants recap that focuses on what went wrong.
Just two seasons after a career season, SS Brandon Crawford hit .194/.273/.314 over 93 games. It was a rough 2023 for Crawford and a season that was likely his last as a Giant.
Crawford’s season — one that featured injuries and a sluggish run at the plate — was a microcosm of the Giants’ 2023 season offensively. Outfielders Mitch Haniger and Michael Conforto also missed time, and the former only played 61 games in his first season with the Giants.
And for as good as Patrick Bailey was with his defense, the bat went cold during the second half. Bailey posted the league’s lowest OPS (.514) among hitters who had at least 200 plate appearances after the All-Star break.
The offense was a big reason why the Giants didn’t make the playoffs, although 147 runs conceded over the last 28 games (5.25 R/G) didn’t help. The Giants scored just 94 runs (3.4 R/G) in that span, one that saw San Francisco go 9-19. For reference, the Giants started September with a record of 70-65 and in the final NL Wild Card spot.
What to Look For in 2024
Could that mean the Giants make a run at Shohei Ohtani? San Francisco does have the financial muscle to make such an acquisition, and the Giants’ front office did pursue Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa last winter.
We do know based on Farhan Zaidi’s comments that the Giants will look for outfield help and starting pitching, the latter of which makes sense given a deep market of starters and lack of depth on the Giants’ front. Just two starters from San Francisco last season — Cobb and Webb — made at least 20 starts thanks to openers and injuries.