Fantasy Baseball

2021 Fantasy Baseball Statcast Deep Dive: San Francisco Giants


Welcome to another edition of the 2021 Fantasy Baseball Statcast Deep Dive. This week we feature the San Francisco Giants!

The Giants have started the 2021 season on a high note with an 11-7 record and second place in a tough NL West Division. They finished the 2020 season with a respectable 29-31 record and almost snuck into a wild-card spot for the expanded playoffs. Although, the expectations for this season were not very high, especially with the Dodgers and Padres in the same division.

However, they seem determined to make waves in the National League and build on the success from last season. But when you look at individual statistics, there are only a few players who are having productive seasons thus far.

That leaves us with the all-important question: can the Giants sustain their success throughout the season?

Let’s take a look at a few players on San Francisco Giants and try to make sense of everything.

2021 Fantasy Baseball Statcast Deep Dive: San Francisco Giants

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Evan Longoria

Longoria was known as the face of the Tampa Bay Rays for the decade that he played there. He managed to slash .270/.341/.480 with 261 home runs in his tenure with the Rays. However, the team decided to move on and dealt him to the Giants before the 2018 season.

He was not able to find the same offensive success in the first three seasons with San Francisco. His best season came in 2019 where he slashed .254/.325/.437 with 20 home runs and 69 RBIs. His struggles with the Giants made him an afterthought in the minds of Fantasy Baseball managers before this season.

Whatever Longoria has done to improve his approach at the plate has seriously paid off. He has started the 2021 season with a strong .291/.371/.582 slash line with four home runs and that is attributed to a major increase in exit velocity. His average EV is 96.1 MPH and his HardHit percentage is 68.3 percent, which are well above his career averages and ranked in the 98th percentile among the entire league.

It is hard to imagine that he will keep up these power numbers for the entire season, but you should take advantage of this hot streak if your team is lacking power. The Giants have moved him up to third in the batting lineup and he has a chance to remain productive if the power stroke is legitimate.

Buster Posey

The former MVP has looked like his old self after opting out last season for COVID concerns. Posey was always considered an elite option at a thin catcher position, but his 2019 campaign suggested that he may be slowing down. He recorded the lowest batting average (.257) and OPS (.688) in his career during that season.

The decrease in offensive production and opting out resulted in Posey being mostly forgotten heading into this season. But managers who may have dismissed him were quickly reminded about his abilities at the plate. He is currently hitting .310/.370/.619 with four home runs, two of those coming in Tuesday’s game versus the Phillies.

Much like Longoria, Posey’s average exit velocity this season is the highest of his career. His Sweet Spot percentage is another metric that has increased and that has contributed towards a weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) of .433, which currently sits in the top six percent of the league.

Posey is playing in the twilight of his career, and his future beyond this season is unknown with a club option for 2022 and prospect Joey Bart waiting in the wings. Although, he is a capable hitter in the past and could provide some relevance at the catcher position for the remainder of the season.

Tommy La Stella

La Stella can almost be considered a journeyman playing for his fourth team in as many seasons. He signed a three-year deal with the Giants in the offseason and has found a nice home atop their batting order. Ultimately, he is an underrated hitter and does not get the recognition that he deserves.

His ability to get on base and avoid strikeouts is one of the best in the entire league. For his career, he owns an incredible walk-to-strikeout ratio (BB/K) of 0.9 and finished his 2020 season with 27 walks and only 12 strikeouts. In his inaugural season with the Giants, he is slashing .282/.349/.436 with one home run and two RBIs.

He does not have appealing power numbers that managers might gravitate towards. But his personal power metrics are higher this season, which seems to be a commonality among the productive hitters on the Giants. And because of this, La Stella’s expected batting average (xBA) currently sits at .363 and his expected slugging percentage (xSLG) is .648. Both of those rank near the top of the league in their respective categories.

If La Stella can develop some more power in his swing, he will shortly become a hot commodity on the waiver wire.

Mike Yastrzemski

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Yastrzemski is the one player in this group whose season has started in a disappointing fashion. There were high expectations heading into this season and his FantasyPros average draft position of 110 reflects that. His slash line of .182/.270/.364 has definitely left a bad taste in the mouths of the managers who drafted him.

According to his numbers on Statcast, his slump is not primarily due to bad luck. The power numbers are significantly down this season and his xBA ranks near the bottom of the league. Also, his launch angle is 10 degrees lower than his career average, which is possibly leading to more outs. Unless he makes an adjustment to his swing, this slump may continue well into the season.

Aside from the three previous players listed, many other Giants players are slumping to begin the season. Manager Gabe Kapler keeps placing Yastrzemski second in the batting lineup, which suggests he could eventually turn it around. There is no guarantee that it will happen, but he could be a cheap buy-low target if you believe that he can return to form.

Check out the rest of our 2021 Fantasy Baseball content from our great team of writers

About Jordan McDonald

Jordan McDonald is a sports journalist located in Toronto, Ontario. He has a decade of experience playing fantasy sports and specializes in baseball and football. Follow him on Twitter: @DonaldMcJordan

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  1. Pingback: 2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 4 xwOBA Targets - Fantasy Six Pack

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