Oracle Park is in turmoil again, one of the best free agent targets to watch in 2022, and more – Santa Cruz Sentinel

It was on July 17, 2017 that the longest sold-out streak in National League history officially ended.

It’s the date in the midst of a humiliating 98-game losing streak the Giants admitted they weren’t able to fill Oracle Park to the brim.

The Giants still sold 39,538 tickets for their 5-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians, but there weren’t 39,538 people in the stadium. There probably weren’t 30,000 fans in attendance that night. Come to think of it, 20,000 could also be exaggerated.

It does not matter.

The 530-game sold-out streak existed in an official capacity due to a rabid base of season ticket holders who eagerly signed up for seats during the Giants’ golden age, but the team knows that all the seats were not full. For more than six and a half seasons, however, every ticket was tallied, and for the most part, Oracle Park was filled with fans buzzing with the brilliance of the team’s championship.

The 2017 season was a huge buzzkill and affected the atmosphere around the stadium for the next two seasons. As the Giants’ subscription base began to shrink, the organization still advertised crowds of over 25,000 fans, but there were certain nights when Oracle Park felt like there were around 10,000 fans in attendance. .

With a capacity limited to 50% until June 25, when the Giants will begin operating at full capacity for the Bay Bridge series, the franchise has obviously not yet sold more than 20,000 tickets for any of its games.

Technically speaking, the Giants can’t do it yet.

Why spend time writing about crowd size and atmosphere? Because the buzz is finally back.

Maybe it’s a bit of a recency bias, or the fact that I watched the 2020 Giants play in an empty stadium, but it’s quite clear to me that there is a sense of passion. , energy and confidence from the fans that I have rarely seen in my time on the beat.

When I started covering the Giants in June 2017, they were bad. Historically bad.

They’ve kept their die-hard fans engaged throughout the slack seasons, but so far I haven’t covered a Giants side at Oracle Park that has always given their crowds reason to believe. There haven’t been regular occasions for fans to get excited and show up at the stadium hoping their team wins.

The 2021 Giants change that.

When I walk around the stadium there are still a lot of Bumgarner shirts, but there are now just as many Yastrzemski shirts. I see fans in fully vaccinated sections, sitting shoulder to shoulder, crammed in a way that wasn’t necessary when no-shows were important in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

For the most part, I see fans who stick around until the end of the game because the Giants are a winning club again.

Who knows how long this is all going to last, but the energy is back, the vibe is fun, and fans have good reason to be excited.

With Oracle Park opening at full capacity this month, the timing couldn’t be better.

Our latest readings

– Injuries have skyrocketed in majors this season and the Giants have not been immune. The club announced Thursday that right-handed pitcher Logan Webb is returning to the injured list with a shoulder injury and outfielder Mike Yastrzemski is placed on the IL with a sprained right thumb. For all the details on their absences and who the Giants have appointed to replace them, Click here.

– The use of foreign substances to “cure” baseballs by pitchers has become a prominent national scenario and a prospect from the Giants is at the center of the discussion. Right-hander Kai-Wei Teng is one of four minor league players who have been suspended this season for using a foreign substance as High-A starter Eugene Emeralds was kicked out of his last start after his glove was confiscated .

– In a world where Mets starter Jacob deGrom throws 102 mph fastballs and 93 mph cursors and Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff leads the majors in a wide variety of statistical categories, Giants right-hander Kevin Gausman has consistently appeared as the National League Pitcher of the Month in May. How did Gausman do it? Here is your answer.

– Before Webb and Yastrzemski were injured, the Giants made a flurry of roster moves on Tuesday to resolve depth issues in the box and at the receiver. With Curt Casali absent due to a wrist injury, we looked into why the Giants chose Chadwick Tromp to save Buster Posey instead of Joey Bart.

– The Giants announced Tuesday that they will become the first MLB team to incorporate the pride colors into their uniforms on the field during their annual Pride game on Saturday, June 5. For all the details on the celebrations expected to take place at the stadium in the next two weeks, Click here.

Down in the farm

The pitchers are on their way.

The path doesn’t yet lead in San Francisco, but a pair of pitchers who opened the year in a loaded Double-A Richmond rotation are already much closer to helping the big league club.

Right-hander Matt Frisbee and southpaw Sam Long are now at the majors’ door as both received promotions at Triple-A Sacramento where they will compete for the chance to help a Giants staff who have already seen four of his six best starters hit the injured list at various times this year.

Frisbee, a 15th-round draft pick from UNC Greensboro, was virtually untouchable in Richmond as he struck out eight while allowing a seven-innings hit in his most recent start and also pitched the first six. innings of a no-hit combined earlier this year.

At the start of the Giants’ season, baseball operations president Farhan Zaidi said he would closely monitor strike-to-strike ratios and that in 29 innings with Richmond, Frisbee struck out 32 batters and only one worked.

As for Long, the Sacramento State product got an even faster promotion to Triple-A because it has already made a big impression on the River Cats.

After striking out 22 batters and walking four in 15 innings with Richmond, Long made his Sacramento debut over the weekend and hit the first eight batters he faced in a dominant outing against the Las Vegas Aviators.

The Frisbee is built to win more innings while Long appears to have had a much tighter pitch count this season, but both have been impressive so far and seem on track to help the Giants at some point in time. 2021.

Statcast study

For over a year, everyone in the baseball industry has referred to the 2021-2022 offseason as the winter of the shortstop.

Corey Seager, Javy Báez, Trevor Story, Carlos Correa and Brandon Crawford are all set to become free agents and there could be a seismic shift in the shortstop landscape. With Crawford on the pending free agent list, Giants fans were understandably excited about the possibility of the team making a splash.

Crawford has exceeded expectations this season and has continued to swing the bat as well as he has at any point in his major league career, so it would also make sense for the Giants to keep him. Give Crawford another season or two and let potential superstar Marco Luciano continue to develop in the minor leagues.

Maybe the shortstop isn’t where the Giants will allocate the most resources. Maybe they’ll just sign the free agent that’s best for them.

It’s Kris Bryant.

The 2016 National League MVP is in action for the Cubs at Oracle Park this weekend and in Thursday’s series opener, no player had a profile that matches what the Giants are looking for. does like Bryant.

Aside from a 2020 season that was marred by injury, Bryant has consistently posted a walk rate that ranks in the top quarter of the major leagues. Patience is a virtue in the Giants’ batting area, and Bryant’s career based percentage of .381 is 25 points higher than Brandon Belt’s.

Bryant ranks in the top 20% of the major league hitters in batting average, base percentage, and expected hitting percentage, and he even improved his traditionally midrange chase rate to rank. in the 73rd hitting percentile this season.

Did we mention that he plays five different positions? It doesn’t matter who is on your list and which prospects are on their way to the big leagues, Bryant isn’t blocking any of them. He’s best suited for an inside or outside corner position, but he can play center in a pinch and will be a valuable DH down the line.

Like many Giants hitters, Bryant prides himself on being a badass. He’s hitting .322 against fastballs this year, .322 against broken balls and .267 against low speed offerings. No matter what a pitcher throws at him, he’s a threat.

With such a profile, expect the Giants to be in the market for Bryant this winter.

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