Grading Zaidi, Putila and the San Francisco Giants front office at the season’s midway point

Nov 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Francisco Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi answers questions from the media during the MLB GM Meetings at The Conrad Las Vegas. Mandatory Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Francisco Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi answers questions from the media during the MLB GM Meetings at The Conrad Las Vegas. Mandatory Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports /
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Patrick Bailey. Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Patrick Bailey. Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /

Farm system

To recast the Giants in their image, Zaidi and Putila have made extensive use of the team’s farm system. Nine rookies have done at least some time with the team in 2023, and most are still there.

By common consensus, the most promising is catcher Patrick Bailey. Although he’s played just 33 games since debuting in mid-May, Bailey is batting .322 with good power. He’s also producing extraordinary fielding numbers for a first-year catcher: seven Defensive Runs Saved and a 40 percent success rate throwing out potential base stealers.

That works out to a +1.2 WAA in less than two months. If Bailey keeps that up, the Giants will be comparing him to Buster Posey.

The rest of the Class of 2023 is less glamorous but functional.

The two most useful pieces have been relievers Ryan Walker and Tristan Beck, both at +0.4 WAA. Walker has a 1.80 ERA in 16 appearances, Beck is at 3.38 in 17 games.

Most of the rest are experiencing the usual rookie pains. Casey Schmitt is a backup infielder, Keaton Winn, and Sean Hjelle have done bullpen time, in Hjelle’s case with difficulty. None are running up especially positive numbers, and that fact brings the cumulative WAA of the rookie class (despite Bailey’s contributions) to a dead-even 0.0.