Fresh off a franchise-best 107-win season, no one expected the San Francisco Giants to repeat as NL West champions in 2022. The departures of key players like Buster Posey, Kris Bryant and Kevin Gausman were going to be tough to beat. The Giants managed to replace Gausman by acquiring Carlos Rodón in free agency and the team hoped that former second overall pick Joey Bart would be a suitable replacement for Posey. The team never tried to replace Bryant. Rodon was great. Bart not so much, and he's been exemplary so far this Giants season. The Giants' pitching staff have been phenomenal, but their offense has failed to recapture the magic of 2021, largely due to their lack of home runs.

San Francisco struggling to replace production that keyed last season’s success

In 2021, the Giants finished the regular season second in MLB in homers (241; Toronto: 262). However, in 2022, the Giants are currently 12th at just 25 years old. They're averaging close to a home run per game, which is good, but nowhere near what the Giants need to compete. The threat of home runs is what rocked the Giants' offense last season. They hit hard (ninth in MLB in 2021), but made up for it with their ability to produce players up and down. This is no longer the case in 2022.

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The team is still batting at about the same rate (23.6% in 2021, 23.1% in 2022), but its home run rate has dropped from 3.9% in 2021 (third highest in MLB) to only 2.6 percent this year. Shortstop Brandon Crawford, who had a career year last season at age 34, hit 24 homers but only 2 homers this year. Brandon Belt has 4 and utility man Wilmer Flores has 2. Outfielder Darin Ruf is yet to hit a home run. The only players whose home run rates have increased in 2022 and who have played 20 or more games for the team this year are Austin Slater (only a 0.2% increase, but that matters) and Joc Pederson, who n has yet to get a hit in 14 at bats since his brief stint on the bench with an adductor strain in late April. I don't think it's a coincidence that the Giants have lost six of seven games since Pederson was forced out. Oh, they also averaged just 3.29 carries over that span, which would be the fourth-worst mark in MLB ahead of only the lowly Royals, Tigers and Reds. Oh!

You can blame the vastness of Oracle Park all you want, but the team has played 13 home and 13 away games this year and only scored two more runs than at Oracle, so it is clearly not a limited plague. at the city limits of San Francisco.

The Giants are a team built to succeed through the integrity of their roster and their ability to hit the long ball. The team crumbled during its five-game losing streak. In the team's first 18 games of the season (in which they went 13-5), they had hit 21 home runs. Despite their low walk rate and high rate of runners getting stuck during this stretch, they were winning because they could drop bombs. Since then, they've only hit five homers. They are 1-7 and currently sit fourth in the NL West, just half a game ahead of bottom-place Arizona. Even with the extra wild-card team in 2022, the Giants' path to the playoffs is rocky, and unless they throw the long ball again, they won't even come close this year.