San Francisco Giants: 5 Things We’ve Learned Halfway Through 2014

San Francisco Giants: 5 Things We've Learned Midway Through 2014

Marco Scutaro San Francisco Giants
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco Giants are considered one of the best teams in baseball as the 2014 MLB season reaches the midway point. Although the Giants have scuffled as of late, they remain four games ahead of the rival Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. San Francisco is a well-rounded ball club, but recent injuries have disabled its ability to sustain consistency, prompting GM Brian Sabean to enter the trade market in order to improve its chances.

5. Matt Cain is a No. 4 Starter At Best

Matt Cain San Francisco Giants
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

5. Matt Cain is a No. 4 Starter At Best

Matt Cain San Francisco Giants
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The bounty of rumors bubbling to the surface around MLB frequently involve top-tier pitchers who can help propel contenders to the Fall Classic. Chicago Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija is no exception. The hard-knock loser has been linked to the Giants by Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports. San Francisco could be in need of another starter because of Cain's inconsistency. The 10-year veteran is just 1-6 with a 4.82 ERA in 71.0 innings across 12 starts.

4. Buster Posey Has Limited Time Remaining at Catcher

Buster Posey San Francisco Giants
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

4. Buster Posey Has Limited Time Remaining at Catcher

Buster Posey San Francisco Giants
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

There isn't an MLB team more familiar with the dangers of taking foul tips off the mask than the Giants. Current Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was forced to retire as a result of taking numerous blows to the head while with San Francisco. The Giants will protect their franchise player at all costs. Posey will eventually make the switch to first base, a transition that could happen sooner rather than later.

3. Brandon Crawford Can Flat-Out Hit

Brandon Crawford San Francisco Giants
Kelley L. Cox-USA TODAY Sports

3. Brandon Crawford Can Flat-Out Hit

Brandon Crawford San Francisco Giants
Kelley L. Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The average fan might think of web gems and run-preventing defense when hearing the name "Brandon Crawford." The fourth-year player is beginning to change that perception in 2014. Crawford is probably never going to be a .260-plus hitter, but the dude can flat-out rake. More than 11 percent of his at-bats result in extra bases. He's on pace to break the single-season triples record in the SF era (15) and could drive in more than 75 runs.

2. The Giants Can't Contend Without Angel Pagan

Angel Pagan San Francisco Giants
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

2. The Giants Can't Contend Without Angel Pagan

Angel Pagan San Francisco Giants
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants' leadoff hitter is the definitive key to their success. San Francisco plummeted out of contention when Pagan suffered a season-crippling hamstring injury that eventually required surgery in 2013, and has been mediocre at best without him in the lineup this season. San Francisco owns a 60.3 win percentage in games where Pagan makes at least one plate appearance in 2014, whereas it's just 7-6 in games that he doesn't play.

1. Marco Scutaro Will Have Minimal Impact in the Second Half

Marco Scutaro San Francisco Giants
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

1. Marco Scutaro Will Have Minimal Impact in the Second Half

Marco Scutaro San Francisco Giants
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The 2012 NLCS MVP hasn't seen the field in 2014, and likely won't have a major impact on the Giants' potential run at a third World Series title in five seasons. Scutaro remains in relentless pursuit to get healthy enough to play, but Giants executives have already ruled him out as being an everyday player upon return. Sabean and co. are hopeful that rookie Joe Panik is the answer, but a possible trade for Mets infielder David Murphy is rumored.

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