The San Francisco Giants were unable to continue their “even year” streak of winning the World Series in this decade. They had previously captured the title in the 2010, 2012 and 2014 seasons.
The Giants actually went through a bit of a tale of three seasons in one campaign.
Prior to the MLB All-Star break the club went 57-33 and held a 6.5-game lead in the NL West Division.
But after the break the club collapsed, going 30-42 and finding themselves passed by the arch-rival Los Angeles Dodgers.
They recovered just in time, winning eight of their last 12, including the final four games, to edge their way into an NL Wild Card playoff berth.
That hot ending carried over to the playoffs, where San Francisco defeated the host New York Mets in the NL Wild Card Game at Citi Field.
Then in the NLDS, the Giants stayed tough. After fighting hard, they dropped the opener to the Chicago Cubs by a 1-0 score.
They dropped the next game as well, and had their backs to the wall down 0-2 in the series. But the Giants fought back for a 6-5 walk-off win in Game 3 to stay alive, and then took a 5-2 lead into the ninth inning of Game 4, looking to tie it up and send the series to a winner-take-all fifth game.
But then the Cubs put together one of the great rallies in recent postseason history, scoring four times in the top of the ninth to pull out a 6-5 victory, advancing to the NLCS en route to their first World Series crown since 1908.
Who were these Giants? More importantly, who are these Giants heading into the 2017 season? The first half juggernauts? The second half also-ran? The end of season and postseason toughies? It’s really hard to say.
GIANTS 2016 STATISTICAL LEADERS
The San Francisco offense failed to produce anyone with a .290+ batting average, 20 home runs, 90 RBI, or 20 stolen bases this season. The struggling offense was the reason that they fell apart in the second half and nearly missed the postseason.
Pacing that offense was first baseman Brandon Belt, who hit for a .275/.394/.474 slash line with 17 homers, 41 doubles, and 82 RBI and made his first NL All-Star team.
Team leader and catcher Buster Poseywas an NL All-Star for the fourth time, and won his first Gold Glove Award. Posey produced a .288 average and .362 on-base percentage with 14 homers, 80 RBI, and a team-high 82 runs scored.
Middle infielders Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford each won Gold Glove Awards. Shortstop Crawford hit for a .275 average with a dozen homers and 84 RBI.
Hunter Pence played in just 106 games due to injury, but banged 13 homers with a .289 average and .357 on-base percentage.
Left fielder Angel Pagan led the squad with 15 stolen bases. He scored 71 runs with 12 homers and 55 RBI in just 129 games as he, too, battled injury this season.
Righty starter Johnny Cueto was outstanding, making his second All-Star team and finishing sixth in the NL Cy Young Award voting. He went 18-5 with a 2.79 ERA and 1.093 WHIP over 32 starts. Cueto allowed 195 hits over 219.2 innings with a 198/45 K:BB ratio.
Jeff Samardzija won a dozen games while striking out 167 batters over 203.1 innings, allowing 190 hits. Santiago Casilla recorded 31 saves, allowing 50 hits over 58 innings with a 65/19 K:BB ratio.
BUMGARNER TAKES PLAYER OF THE YEAR
The Giants’ top player this season was left-handed ace starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner. He made his fourth consecutive NL All-Star team, and finished fourth in the NL Cy Young voting.
Bumgarner went 15-9 with a 2.74 ERA and 1.028 WHIP. He allowed just 179 hits over 226.2 innings in his 34 starts, registering a dominating 251/54 K:BB ratio.
A broadcaster now with the Giants, Mike Krukow was a former successful big league starting pitcher himself. Per CSN Bay Area, Krukow commented to a local radio station on the consistent greatness of Bumgarner.
“He’s never had that one year where they just got a lot of runs for him either,” Krukow said on KNBR 680. “The thing about him is that you take him for granted. He’s just so steady. There’s not a lot of fluff. He goes out there every fifth day and gives you a chance to win — eats up six, seven, eight innings.
“It’s just consistency … you’re striking 200 or more people out, you definitely got an argument to how good your stuff is. But somebody is always gonna have, it seems, a little more fluff in the stats.”
This was the fourth straight season finishing in the top 10 of Cy Young voting for the pitcher. While others seem to always have just a bit more “fluff” in their pitching stats to keep him from the top pitcher honor, no one kept Madison Bumgarner from being named the San Francisco Giants 2016 Player of the Year.