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San Francisco Giants 2022: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants

Brandon Crawford and the Giants look to show that least year's surprising NL West title was no fluke

The Giants began the 2021 season with little fanfare in a division that was supposed to be dominated by behemoths in Los Angeles and San Diego. All manager Gabe Kapler's team did was obliterate every projection system, win a franchise-record 107 games and stop the Dodgers' eight-year streak of NL West titles — and because the Dodgers won 106 games, the epic division race went down to the last game of the regular season.

Although it stung to lose to their archrivals in a controversial NLDS Game 5, the Giants enter this season with plenty of belief and momentum. But they'll have to replace their unofficial soul and franchise catcher, Buster Posey, after he announced his surprising retirement.

Opposing Scouts Size Up the Giants

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"I still can't figure out how they won 107 games; they're very good, but they're due for a regression, especially without Buster Posey. Joey Bart has been the heir apparent, but he's a polarizing player around the league; there's a lot of swing-and-miss there, and how well can he handle a staff? They did a great job using the whole roster to keep everyone fresh, and they'll have to rely on that formula again with mid-30s guys like Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Evan Longoria and Darin Ruf. Alex Cobb was the right kind of pitcher for them to sign; he's a bright veteran who is receptive to their ideas, and this regime works wonders with guys like that. Logan Webb has tremendous command, keeps guys off-balance and has that old-school bulldog mentality. If Camilo Doval has his command, he'll be a dominant closer for a long time. Their other bullpen guys don't strike out a ton of hitters, but Gabe Kapler always seems to put them in position to succeed. That's the job of a manager, and he's evolved into one of the best."

Beyond the Box Score

Out on top Few players in MLB history have retired at the heights that Buster Posey did. After opting out in 2020 to care for prematurely born twins, Posey reestablished himself as one of the game's top hitters this past season. His 18 home runs were the most he had hit since 2015, and his .889 OPS was his best since his MVP season in 2012. Perhaps an even bigger contribution was his defense and leadership. Why step away? "I went into this season feeling it might be my last," Posey said. "I gave myself some space in my mind to be OK with deciding otherwise. And I just never really wavered. I think it allowed me to really, really empty the tank like I never have before."

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More on Buster He added to his legacy and might have solidified his Hall of Fame candidacy with a strong final playoff series that included catching two shutouts in the Giants' two victories. Posey retires as baseball's all-time leader with 14 postseason shutouts caught, well ahead of Yadier Molina (eight) and Yogi Berra (seven). Posey caught a shutout in nearly a quarter (24.1 percent) of the 58 postseason games that he started behind the plate.

Stepping up One reason the Giants could afford to pace Posey in 2021 is because they hardly ever lost when his backup was in the lineup. They were 42–13 in Curt Casali's starts — a pace that would result in 124 victories over a full season. Casali caught nine shutouts, including five consecutive from April 11-22, becoming just the fifth catcher since 1900 to accomplish the feat. Even more impressive: He was the first of that group to catch five different starting pitchers in those shutouts.

Late Night LaMonte That was an apt nickname for LaMonte Wade Jr. He collected six game-tying or go-ahead hits in the ninth inning, the most by any major league player in at least 40 years. His 13 game-winning RBIs were tied for sixth most in the NL, and he ranked sixth in the NL in Win Probability Added, behind only Bryce Harper, Fernando Tatís Jr., Juan Soto, Freddie Freeman and Brandon Crawford. He hit a mind-boggling .565 in the ninth inning and .407 on the season with runners in scoring position and two outs. The clubhouse voted Wade the recipient of the Willie Mac Award, which is the highest honor the players can bestow on a teammate.

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Money's worth Righthander Zack Littell said the Giants had "the best bang-for-your-buck bullpen in the league." The Giants made no major investments while overhauling their relief corps, and at any given point during the season, their combined salaries were well below $8 million. For that money, the Giants became the first team in National League history to feature six relievers who threw at least 50 innings with a sub-3.00 ERA.

Projected Lineup


2B    Tommy La Stella (L)
1B    Brandon Belt (L)
DH   Darin Ruf (R)
SS    Brandon Crawford (L)
RF    LaMonte Wade Jr. (L)
3B    Evan Longoria (R)
LF    Joc Pederson (L)
CF    Mike Yastrzemski (L)
C     Joey Bart (R)


C     Curt Casali (R)
INF  Wilmer Flores (R)
OF   Austin Slater (R)
INF  Thairo Estrada (R)


RHP    Logan Webb
LHP    Carlos Rodón
RHP    Anthony DeSclafani
LHP    Alex Wood
RHP    Alex Cobb


LHP    Jake McGee (C)
RHP    Tyler Rogers
RHP    Camilo Doval
LHP    Jarlín García
LHP    José Álvarez
RHP    Dominic Leone
RHP    Zack Littell
LHP    Matthew Boyd

2022 Prediction: 3rd in NL West