2024 San Francisco Giants O/U: How the Giants Hit the Under

Following a disappointing 2023 season, the San Francisco Giants enter the 2024 Major League Baseball (MLB) campaign with multiple new coaches and players. Yet, the team does not seem much better, questioning their ability to produce better results than last year’s 79-83 record.

Why the San Francisco Giants Will Falter in 2024

New Manager and Batters: Reason for Optimism

Bob Melvin, a former Giants’ catcher, is the team’s new manager, looking to return the Giants to prominence after leading the San Diego Padres the past couple of seasons.

As a manager, Melvin was most successful during his decade-long tenure with the Oakland Athletics. He led the low-payroll team of rising young or unknown players through two cycles of multi-year playoff contention. Giants’ President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi, who helped lure Melvin this offseason, knew him during those years as Zaidi got his start assisting longtime A’s executive Billy Beane. Zaidi has taken the A’s approach to building the Giants, which currently have several talented players but lack a superstar. As a result, the franchise hopes that the three-time Manager of the Year can work his magic again.

Yet, doubts linger regarding whether the team has enough talent to compete in a division featuring the defending National League winner Arizona Diamondbacks and the loaded Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Giants have been active in free agency, boosting up a roster that lacks star power except for ace pitcher Logan Webb. In the wake of their primary target Shohei Ohtani choosing the Dodgers instead of them, San Francisco pivoted to other offensive upgrades. 2022 Korean Baseball League (KBO) Most Valuable Player Jung-hoo Lee will serve as the team’s new center fielder and leadoff hitter in his first MLB season.

Lee’s job is to provide a spark atop their lineup, while fellow free-agent signees — designated hitter Jorge Soler and third baseman Matt Chapman — bring proven power-hitting, run-driving-in ability to the middle of their new team’s starting lineup.

Reasons to take the Under

The additions of Lee and Soler make sense as they both fill areas of need for this roster, with Soler replacing Joc Pederson and Lee bringing his dynamic athletic ability to an outfield mix in dire need of an upgrade.

However, it is harder to see the on-field fit that Chapman brings. The perennially elite defender at third base started last season on fire at the plate before slumping the rest of the year, which likely forced him to settle for a free-agent contract below his initial asking price. He may raise his offensive game now that he reunites with his former manager, and his all-around skills may increase the Giants’ floor.

However, his arrival impacts the roster as Chapman will take playing time away from the team’s 2023 third baseman J.D. Davis and third base prospect Casey Schmitt, who displayed flashes as a rookie last season. With Chapman’s acquisition, Schmitt could shift to challenge Marco Luciano for the squad’s open shortstop position vacated by the departed Brandon Crawford.

Then, the Giants could pivot by trading Davis or infielder Wilmer Flores for badly needed pitching help. With the start of the season looming a few weeks away, the team’s bullpen looks in good shape, anchored by the Rogers twins (Taylor and Tyler) and flamethrowing closer Camilo Doval.

On the other hand, San Francisco’s projected Opening Day rotation is currently full of question marks behind the ever-reliable Webb. The Giants plan to start the season with Jordan Hicks, their marquee free-agent pitcher acquisition, in their starting rotation, a risky move for a 100 mph pitcher who has spent his entire career pitching out of the bullpen in the late innings of games. Their second-best starter last season, Alex Cobb, is recovering from offseason hip surgery and will not be available for at least the first month of the season.

Similarly, off-season trade acquisition Robbie Ray will not return from Tommy John surgery rehab until sometime in the middle of 2024. Rookie left-handed pitcher Kyle Harrison, projected to be the team’s second starter, shot through the minor leagues and is full of potential, but also carries uncertainty and durability/injury risk like many young pitchers.

Speaking of injuries, two other young pitchers in the mix for the rotation, Keaton Winn and Tristan Beck, are sidelined with arm injuries. Beck was recently diagnosed with an especially scary arm aneurysm. Given that acclaimed starting pitchers Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery remain on the free-agent market, one wonders whether the Chapman signing takes the Giants out of the sweepstakes for these players and if another pitcher would have been a better use of their resources instead of another position player.

In a division where every team but the Colorado Rockies expects to compete for the division and the playoffs, the Giants can only afford to make a few mistakes. At this point, their roster has too many doubts, making it hard to envision them winning more than the 79 they racked up last year. Although it would be nice to see veteran Bob Melvin lead this team to victory, a bet on the under is a safer wager.

Main Image:  Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

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Tim Bernal

While I hope he’s wrong on the Under, Ben Wiley is a dawg! Great stuff!

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