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Checking In On Baseball’s Lowest Scoring Offenses

The Giants won the 2010 World Series with an unspectacular offense and won 86 games in 2011 with one of the lowest scoring offenses in the game, but they're the exception, not the rule. Each of the five highest scoring MLB teams won at least 90 games in 2011, while the Giants were the only one of the five lowest scoring teams to avoid 90 losses.

Here's a look at what baseball's five lowest scoring teams have done to improve their offenses so far this offseason. Team name links go to a summary of the teams' moves on MLBTR's Transaction Tracker and 2011 run totals are in parentheses (for reference, the average MLB team scored 694 runs this past season):

  • Mariners (556) - GM Jack Zduriencik has added a number of former Major Leaguers on minor league deals and traded for John Jaso. The Mariners can expect more offense from Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak, Franklin Gutierrez and others in 2012 and they may make an addition or two before Spring Training.
  • Giants (570) - The Giants traded for Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera, who have both been above-average offensive players in the recent past. The Giants could improve considerably with a full season of Buster Posey and possible improvement from Brandon Belt.
  • Padres (593) - The Padres traded for Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal earlier this month. Both could conceivably add to the Padres' offense in 2012, and Alonso could have an impact from day one. GM Josh Byrnes has also added role players John Baker and Jeremy Hermida.
  • Pirates (610) - The Pirates signed shortstop Clint Barmes, catcher Rod Barajas and outfielder Nate McLouth and traded for infielder Casey McGehee. However, none of the four acquisitions posted an OPS+ of 100 or better in 2011, so it would be unreasonable to expect a surge in scoring based on these additions.
  • Astros (615) - Former GM Ed Wade added a handful of players on minor league deals and waiver claims and Jeff Luhnow traded for Jed Lowrie after becoming Houston's new GM.

The Giants are best-positioned to make a significant offensive jump in 2012, in my opinion. Not only do Pagan and Cabrera provide possible upgrades, Posey's return and Belt's upside will likely invigorate the offense that finished last in the National League in scoring in 2011.








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