The 2021 San Francisco Giants were the biggest surprise in baseball this season. A team that was projected to finish below .500 by just about everyone had one of the best seasons we have ever seen. They were unfortunately not able to get it done in the playoffs, but having one of the best regular seasons ever sure is exciting no matter what. I had my own predictions before the season started, and I was higher on the Giants than most, but even I was way off on my predictions so let’s revisit those.
“Two of the biggest impact signings were Anthony DeSclafani and Alex Wood.” I am very proud of this precision here since these two guys were probably the two actual biggest impact signings that the Giants had last offseason. Anthony DeSclafani proved to be probably the best offseason signing for the value the Giants got from him. Disco made $6 million dollars last year and put up a 3.17 ERA, 129 ERA+, and a 3.62 FIP in 31 starts. That’s pretty darn good for a guy that was not super highly sought after last offseason. Alex Wood was also excellent for the Giants this season. Wood was signed for only $3 million dollars last year and put up a 3.83 ERA, 107 ERA+, and a 3.48 FIP in only 26 starts. These guys really filled out a rotation that was mostly lost after all of the offseason movement of starting pitchers before 2021.
The preseason predictions did not like the Giants at all, they were as follows:
FanGraphs Projected Record: 77-85, 3rd place NL West
PECOTA Projected Record: 75-87, 4th place in NL West
I personally predicted the Giants at 81-81, finishing 3rd in the NL West. Everyone was on the Padres hype train last offseason, and rightfully so. The Padres had put together one of the most exciting rosters in baseball that just simply was not as good as everyone thought. Jayce Tingler got the boot from San Diego because of their underperformed season. The Giants got amazing years from many of their vets in Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, and Evan Longoria. Those performances allowed the Giants to have the best record in baseball finishing 107-55. Guys like Darin Ruf and LaMonte Wade Jr. also burst onto the scene to be rockstars and some of the most dangerous hitters in baseball, especially in the big moments. The Giants exceeded expectations by every definition, and it was incredible to watch.
Just about everyone who played for the Giants last year could win some sort of team accolade but here are my picks for the Giants accolades that we here at Diamond Digest are doing for every team.
Team MVP: Brandon Crawford
Team Cy Young: Logan Webb
Team Disappointment: Mauricio Dubon
Team Breakout: Darin Ruf and LaMonte Wade Jr.
Bradon Crawford had an actual MVP type season, and I truly believe that he should finish top 5 in National League voting. Crawford had a career year and even earned himself a 2-year extension from the Giants, so let’s hope he can keep it up next season. Logan Webb was my pick for Cy Young as he also had an incredible breakout year. If Webby had stayed healthy all season, he would have been in the actual Cy Young discussion. The world got to see what he can do in the playoffs and now everyone knows his name. Don’t be surprised if he puts up the numbers next year to win the NL Cy Young. The biggest disappointment of the season was Mauricio Dubon, as he was expected to be the Giants’ everyday center fielder and occasional middle infielder, but he simply could not get it done at the major league level this year. His defense was sloppy and his offense was hard to watch. He got sent down halfway through the season and never got called back up full time. For team breakout, I had a hard time trying to pick between Darin Ruf and LaMonte Wade Jr. Ruf ended up with the 6th most WAR for the best team in baseball. Wade Jr. just became the guy for the Giants in late innings and was the Willie Mac Award winner for the Giants as well. These two guys just made Giants fans across the country smile and excited every time they played and what more can you ask for?
If I had to grade this season on a scale from 1-10 it would be an easy 10. The Giants blew everyone out of the water and were just so much fun and so exciting all season. This season was something special, and I was just glad I got to be along for the ride.
Featured Image from @SFGiants on Twitter