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MLB San Francisco Giants

Ranking the 5 Biggest Difference-Makers for San Francisco Giants in Early Action

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Ranking the Biggest Difference-Makers for San Francisco Giants in Early Action

Angel Pagan San Francisco Giants
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco Giants are off to a confusing 10-6 start. Their bats have stalled after an explosive 66-run spurt in their first 12 games, averaging 5.5 runs per contest. San Francisco is fortunate to hold first-place status in the NL West, especially considering the fact that their five best players have struggled to date. The Giants' fast start can be attributed to five players who have risen to the occasion.

5. Brandon Belt (1B)

Brandon Belt San Francisco Giants
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

5. Brandon Belt (1B)

Brandon Belt San Francisco Giants
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Belt exploded onto the scene of 2014 MLB action after blasting five home runs in the Giants' first eight games of the season. He cooled off to some extent thereafter, but remains the Giants' best run producer. Belt crushed a one-out bomb against the Padres in a losing effort against Huston Street on Friday to bring his HR total to six. He owns a .941 OPS in 71 plate appearances this season, the type of success the Giants need at first base.

4. Santiago Casilla (RHP)

Santiago Casilla San Francisco Giants
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

4. Santiago Casilla (RHP)

Santiago Casilla San Francisco Giants
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants' bullpen has been fantastic in early action, posting a cumulative sub-2.00 ERA through the first two-plus weeks of action. Casilla is one of the biggest proponents of the Giants' success in the later innings, refusing to allow a run in 10.2 innings pitched. San Francisco has played eight consecutive one-run games for the first time since the Giants moved to Northern California. They're 6-2 over that stretch, largely because of Casilla.

3. Tim Hudson (RHP)

Tim Hudson San Francisco Giants
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

3. Tim Hudson (RHP)

Tim Hudson San Francisco Giants
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Hudson was easily the most decorated free-agent pitcher on the open market over the offseason, but a majority of teams detracted from the idea of signing the 38-year-old "dinosaur," despite him owning more wins than any other active pitcher in baseball (207). He is the Giants' most reliable pitcher. He's posted a solid 2-0 record in three starts so far in 2014 with a 2.35 ERA in 23.0 innings of work. He's the anti-Zito, helping the Giants win.

2. Mike Morse (LF)

Michael Morse San Francisco Giants
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

2. Mike Morse (LF)

Michael Morse San Francisco Giants
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants acquired Morse in order to ensure their regular lineup with a legitimate power threat. Morse hasn't disappointed, as his wrist injury from 2013 is obviously a thing of the past. He owns a solid .300 average with two bombs and 10 RBIs in 50 official at-bats. Giants' left-fielders managed just five home runs in 2013. Morse will possibly eclipse that marker by early May. Their offense is more efficient as a result, lengthening the order.

1. Angel Pagan (CF)

Angel Pagan San Francisco Giants
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

1. Angel Pagan (CF)

Angel Pagan San Francisco Giants
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest reason why the Giants were unable to win the NL West and defend their second World Series title in three seasons was because of Pagan's absence from the lineup. Pagan is a true catalyst. He brings energy and athleticism to the Giants' order. After cooling off a bit, the Giants' leadoff hitter is hitting a sizzling .385 with 10 RBIs. He's clutch at the top of the order, helping San Francisco to a 4.3 runs per game average.