What the f*** is going on in the National League West?
Major League Baseball is no stranger to surprises and twisting storylines, but the NL West has been turned completely upside down in the year 2021! Not only have the reigning World Series champions not been in 1st for the majority of the season, but one of the worst teams from the 2020 season has had the best record in the league.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have been one of the most dominant forces in the baseball world for the past five years or so. They have constantly won the NL west title, they have constantly had one of the best records in the Major Leagues and they have constantly been the team to beat. The Dodgers were the world series champions in 2020, and they absolutely ran through the competition on the way there. So what could change in the 2021 season? They brought back all the all star players from the year prior and even added some new additions. They were the favorites to win it all at the beginning of the season.
The San Francisco Giants did nothing special in their 2020 season. They finished 2 games below .500 at 29-31. They didn’t compete for a wild card spot. They didn’t even finish 2nd in the NL West. So how with an almost identical team have they managed to not only lead the NL West for the majority of the 2021 season but also hold the best record in baseball?
The Giant’s success may come down to one stat that not many baseball fans know about. That stat is The Beane Count. The Beane Count sums up a team’s home runs hit, walks drawn, home runs allowed, and walks allowed. In the statcast era of baseball, this may seem excruciatingly simple, but it works. When a team performs well in all of these areas, they are proven to be successful. Last year’s World Series teams, the Dodgers and the Rays, ranked one and two in the Beane Count last season. The year before that? The Astros won the world series, and had the best Beane count in the American League. The Giants are first in home runs hit, fourth in walks taken, second-fewest home runs allowed, and have the fewest walks issued. This is a taylormade recipe for success.
The only question left is if the Giants can continue this success. They most definitely aren’t the most talented team in the league, but you don’t find yourself with the best record in baseball by being lucky. The team chemistry and development of players have led this team to the tremendous success that they have experienced this season, but will it be enough?
Everyone loves a good underdog story, so those pulling for those bay area bashers better cross their fingers. As we reach the final stretch of the season, we are going to see what this team is really made of. With competition as tough as the Dodgers and the Padres, we might just have a shootout on our hands.