Homer frenzy, 90-plus win season among Giants bold predictions


The 2023 MLB season is here and the Giants look to exceed expectations after a rollercoaster of an offseason. 

After failing to sign a superstar free agent, the sentiment surrounding San Francisco's offseason was, at times, rather negative. However, the Giants made an abundance of moves, signing six notable free agents that should bolster a roster built to compete for a playoff spot. 

Here are four bold predictions for the Giants' 2023 season. 

Five players hit 20-plus home runs, but none hit 30

The Giants have not had a 30-plus-home-run hitter for 19-straight seasons. The last to do it was Barry Bonds, who hit 45 homers in 2004. That streak will continue in 2023, but San Francisco certainly will have no shortage of power

Looking at the Giants' roster, there are four players who should be able to eclipse the 20-home-run mark if they are able to stay relatively healthy this season. Those four are Joc Pederson, Mike Yastrzemski, Michael Conforto and Mitch Haniger. Four everyday players who have multiple seasons of 20-plus homers in their respective careers. 

The fifth player is a wild card. The first name that comes to mind is presumed starting third baseman David Villar, who flashed his eye-popping power to close out the 2022 season and will be given the opportunity to establish himself as the everyday third baseman. Villar hit a whopping 36 home runs between Triple-A and major leagues last season and has some of the best raw power on the roster. 

A few honorable mentions are infielders Wilmer Flores, J.D. Davis and Thairo Estrada. Flores hit a career-high 19 home runs last season as a consistent starter, but likely will see less playing time in 2023. After being acquired from the New York Mets midseason, Davis caught fire for the Giants and became a consistent power threat in the lineup, blasting eight home runs in 137 at-bats. Estrada hit 14 homers last season and came into camp this spring noticeably stronger, which should result in added power. 

Giants starting rotation leads the National League in ERA

The Giants' rotation has the potential to be either quite surprising or predictably disappointing. 

On the surface, replacing All-Star and NL Cy Young Award candidate Carlos Rodón with Sean Manaea and Ross Stripling is a downgrade atop the rotation. However, both of those moves added much-needed depth to the group and potentially could provide the Giants with two reliable veteran arms that can eat up innings. 

The Manaea signing, in particular, has the potential to be another Kevin Gausman-esque reclamation project success story.

If young ace Logan Webb and veteran Alex Cobb are able to replicate their success from last season, plus healthy bounce-back campaigns from Anthony DeSclafani and Alex Wood, the Giants' rotation, one through six, has the potential to be one of the most reliable units in baseball. 

Giants' starting pitching, according to FanGraphs, boasted a 3.68 ERA last season, good for third-best in the National League behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (2.75) and Mets (3.61). With an influx of reliable (and healthy) veteran arms, it's not crazy to think San Francisco could make the leap with additional depth and improved defense. 

Giants among finalists for four major awards

Cy Young: Logan Webb

He received the 11th-most votes for the award last season. It's pretty fair to assume his name will be in the mix again in 2023. 

NL Rookie of the Year: Kyle Harrison or Casey Schmitt

Two big prospects who should have an opportunity to break through early on in the season. If one, or both happen to stick, an influx of youth should provide a big midseason boost to a playoff-hopeful Giants team. That matters a lot for this award.  

Gold Glove: Brandon Crawford

A four-time winner of the award and a veteran who wasn't super happy about having to change positions after the Giants agreed to a deal with Carlos Correa. There's a chip on his shoulder and the 36-year-old is extra motivated to prove he still has it both at the plate and defensively. 

Comeback Player of the Year: Michael Conforto

After undergoing shoulder surgery that sidelined him for the entire 2022 season, Conforto should be a clear favorite to win the award if he can produce at or near where he has in his career. 

Giants win 95 games

If every prediction above comes true, 95 wins will be a conservative estimate. The Giants won 81 games last season, they were the epitome of mediocrity. Manager Gabe Kapler even said that with an improved defense alone the team could have added five additional wins. 

As frustrating and disappointing as the offseason was for many fans, there is no denying that the Giants got better this winter. How much better? That remains to be seen and largely hinges on the overall health of the roster. 

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It also is worth mentioning that the number of games against divisional opponents this season has been reduced from 76 to 52. That means there will be six fewer games against both the Dodgers and San Diego Padres. So yes, 12 fewer games against the two best rosters in baseball will benefit the Giants. 

Right now the Giants, on paper, probably are an 85-89-win team. However, if the 107-win 2021 season proved anything, it's that president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi is capable of squeezing every last drop of production out of a roster devoid of superstar names. 

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