Can the San Francisco Giants Sustain League-Leading Run Production?

By John Shea
Pablo Sandoval San Francisco Giants
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Through the first six games of the 2014 season, the San Francisco Giants are the second highest scoring team in baseball. To most, that realization might seem “fluky,” but the Giants’ offense is on the precipice of becoming formidable. San Francisco has scored 38 runs, fueling a 5-1 start. The Giants are averaging 6.3 runs per game, begging the question of whether their early offensive success is sustainable.

The Giants’ lineup is deeper than it has been in previous seasons. While San Francisco likely won’t lead the big leagues in runs scored come season’s end, they feature a much more potent batting order than in years past. Although the Giants boast a lineup that features several familiar faces, many players have greatly improved.

The best example of that is first baseman Brandon Belt, who owns three early season home runs to rank second in the MLB in that category. Belt came into his own in the second half of the 2013 season. After making two subtle adjustments at the plate, Belt exploded after the All-Star Break, recording a .326 batting average with seven home runs and 29 RBI in 72 games. Now, he’s on the verge of a breakout season and could potentially develop into one of the best power-hitting first baseman in baseball.

The Giants’ batting order is immensely more potent with center fielder Angel Pagan in the lead off spot. Pagan is a catalyst for the Giants. He missed extensive time in 2013 due to hamstring surgery, but appears to be fully capable of posting stellar numbers at the top of the lineup for San Francisco in 2014. Pagan has 11 hits in 27 official at-bats through six games of the 2014 season. He’s one of the best table-setters in baseball, frequently putting himself in scoring position for the beef of the order.

The overarching question mark hanging over the Giants is whether they can stay healthy. San Francisco suffered numerous roster-crippling injuries last year, which ultimately derailed their World Series defense. If the Giants can stay healthy, they’re capable of collectively registering their most impressive offensive numbers since the Bonds era. While it remains highly likely for San Francisco to mostly rely on its pitching staff in order to propel a pennant chase, their high-octane capacity to score runs in bunches is going to improve their win total.

San Francisco isn’t going to sustain a 6.3 runs per game average throughout the 2014 season, but they’re surely capable of averaging a solid 4.5 runs per contest, which would make them one of the most dangerous teams in the MLB.

John Shea is a San Francisco Giants writer for Follow him on Twitter @cutthroatpicks. “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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