The San Francisco Giants are the best team in baseball. Although not widely considered a pre-season favorite for the playoffs, they were the first team to win 80 wins this season, at a pace of winning 105 games until Friday.
They broke through from major contributors in their mid-30s (such as catcher Buster Posey and shortstop Brandon Crawford) to lesser-known players (Kevin Gausman and Tyler Rogers) enjoying their career season. Young players (utility man La Montewade Jr. and starting pitcher Logan Webb).
Most of their success comes in a fairly typical way, with the Giants leading the major in home runs. But still, not only was their home stadium, Oracle Park, traditionally one of the hardest to hit the ball over a wall, but because there was only one player with 20 home runs (outfielder). ), It’s like a unique achievement. Mike Yastrzemski).
Rather than getting home runs from a few strap sluggers, as the team did in the past at Barry Bonds and Matt Williams, the Giants are collecting round trippers from a corps of solid batters. Beginning Friday, they had nine major league-leading players, with a double-digit home run total.
No one is as aware of this as Ron Wotus’ third base coach.
Wotus, the longest-serving coach in franchise history, has seen the Giants send 195 balls to outfielders this season from a vantage point on the field. Then, as the player jogs around third base, Wotus greets each with a high five, a fist bump, or even a much more elaborate move.
“I love you,” said Wotus, 60, who returned to his old home on third base after serving as a bench coach for the 2010, 2012, and 2014 World Series championship teams in the 24th season with the Giants Major League Baseball staff. Said. 2018 base. “I want to send a guy with a positive arm outfield home and worry more about what kind of handshake I’m doing than if I need to fight a match. It’s easier to work.”
The Giants had so many players breaking Homer that Wotus had quite a few routines to remember. In most cases, he offers one organically based on the player’s personality. But sometimes it requires a little instruction from the player.
After first baseman and outfielder Darin Ruf joined the Giants last season, Watas said they had a hard time exchanging. They tried high five and then low five until they finally settled on a slap.
“It took me a while to adjust it,” Wotus said.
The 35-year-old Ruf is an example of an unreleased player who blossomed at this year’s Giants. A former Philadelphia Phillies prospect finally found himself during a three-season run in South Korea and signed a minor league deal with the Giants before the 2020 campaign.
Under the Giants’ head of baseball, Farhan Zaidi, Raff finds time to play in first baseman, left fielder, and right fielder because the team likes to take advantage of the strengths of the players and their opponents. I did. He led the team with 14 home runs in 95 games until Friday, hitting .274 with .941 on-base and slugging percentage.
Players like Ruf and Wade Jr., who spattered with Minnesota Twins and short stints before being traded to San Francisco and now crushed 17 home runs due to swing changes, explained some of the home run giants surge. I am. Another possible factor is the series of changes made to the dimensions of Oracle Park prior to the 2020 season. (For example, the center-field wall has been moved from 399 feet to 391 feet to make room for the bullpen that was once in the foul area.)
It also helped me get back to the form from a star player on the team. The longest-serving giant, 34-year-old Posey, is back after opting out of the 2020 season, when the pandemic was shortened. And a clever fielder, Crawford, 34, has created the best fly ball and home run rate of his career, with a swing that offset too many ground outs in 2019 and 2020. I changed it to.
Most home runs in Major League Baseball are the season set by the Minnesota Twins at 307 in 2019, and these Giants and other teams are unlikely to threaten this season. The ball used in the previous year, when home run records seemed to be broken each season, is no longer in use after many complaints about the contradiction. However, the Giants are at a pace to break their own franchise record of 235 home runs set by Bond and his teammates in 2001 before MLB tested steroids.
The power of the entire lineup is a change for the Giants, whose World Series titles have been strengthened by more robust defense and pitching than attacks. This season, the team was able to find a way to get the most out of their players, Watas said.
“Most of the players Farhan brought in already had plate discipline,” he said. “That’s what they’re looking for — people who look closely at the plates, and it was probably a matter of adjusting their swings to help them get more.”
Wotus has long known Posey, Crawford, and first baseman Brandon Belt. With the three players winning the 2012 and 2014 World Series together, there is no doubt what he will do when he overtakes him on third base. In the case of Crawford (19 home runs), Watas does a belt high hand slap and says “Way to go!”. — It’s a pretty routine celebration for players who say Wotus is “always in control”. For Posey (15 Homer), Wotus does a hand tap, but Pizzas is less. Posey is the type of player who “does something, as he did before”.
And about the 6-foot-3 230-pound belt (19 home runs), Watas said, “Because he’s a big boy, I put out my fist and he hits a hammer.”
When you name the rest of the Giants’ home run hitters, Watas instantly rattles the salute. Yastrzemski likes knuckles above his head. Third baseman Evan Longoria, whom Watas calls the “old pro,” likes the traditional handshake “your dad taught you.” Left fielder Alex Dickerson likes plain high touch.
“I once tried low five with him, and he was almost tense on his back, so we had to go to the top,” Watas said with a laugh.
Wotus said Wade Jr. claps his hands as low as possible (“way down low”) and shouts “Let’s go Wo!”. every time. Wade Jr. said it only took four or five home runs to figure out what Watas liked.
“I remember everything because he’s so good and smart,” said 27-year-old Wade Jr. that. “
Second baseman Donovan Solano, a religionist, points to the sky while jogging, and so does Watas. Infielder Mauricio Dubon likes to give high fives. Kris Bryant, a slugger from the Chicago Cubs due on July 30th, has 24 explosions during the season, but the Giants only have 6 explosions, and he likes quick-stretched hand slaps.
But the most unusual celebration comes from infielder Wilmer Flores, who has 16 home runs. He likes to make a fist with his right hand and stick it out like hitting someone in his intestines. Wotus does that too. “Of course we miss each other,” he said.
reason? Flores, 30, said he first came up with it at the Giants last season, but he never explained it to Watas. Flores, a right-handed batter, said it represents a complete extension of the bottom hand on his swing. This is a type of movement that sends the ball to the stand.
“I have a lot of home runs, so I have to do something fun on third base,” Flores laughed.