San Francisco Giants Best Defensive Plays of 2016

BY Fansided and Michael Saltzman/FanSided via Around the Foghorn • June 30, 2017

The San Francisco Giants defense was one of the best in baseball in 2016. Catcher Buster Posey, second baseman Joe Panik and shortstop Brandon Crawford each won the Gold Glove as the best defensive player in the National League at their position. Unsung heroes also shown bright, specifically at third base.

MLB Network recently came out with their top 100 plays of 2016, and while three of the San Francisco Giants best defensive plays did make the list, there were no plays from any of the Gold Glovers.

Crawford not being included seems especially egregious. No Panik dive or catch made the list either. Also, nothing Posey did at catcher was deemed worthy.

Here are the Top 10 plays of 2016

10. Posey Snags Lead Runner at 2nd Thanks to Crawford

Posey was incredible this year at fielding bunts and this play showcased it beautifully as he nails the runner at second base.

Bonus play from that night: Crawford showed that he may have the best arm in the Bay Area.

9. Gorkys Hernandez robs Paul Goldschmidt of extra bases.

Hernandez didn’t play much in 2016, but when he did, he made it count. His defense was sensational.

8. Buster Posey Throw ‘Em Out, Crawford Throw ‘Em Out (Just in Case)

Especially with instant replay now, it makes sense that Brandon Crawford would throw home even if the umpire called the third out at second. That type of head’s up defense is what makes Crawford truly stand out.

7. Eduardo Nunez Running Down Pop Out Behind Home Plate

Buster Posey had no idea where the ball was and luckily for the Giants, Nunez saw it the whole way.

6. Brandon Crawford Charges Dansby Swanson Grounder in time

This might have been the most impressive play of the year from Crawford as he charged the ball from so far away, that making the throw in time seemed impossible.

5. Joe Panik Diving Stop and Toss from his Belly

Panik never seems to quit on a play in the field, and while he had many great plays in shallow right and up the middle in 2016, this play stood out the most. Amazing considering he wasn’t 100%.

4. Gorkys Hernandez Sliding Catch in Deep Left Center in NLDS

Despite not winning the National League Division Series against the Chicago Cubs, this play was still fantastic and kept the game scoreless.

More from Around the Foghorn

    None of those plays were considered good enough to be on the MLB Network Top 100 Plays of 2016 list. There were many other Brandon Crawford plays in particular that were not even showcased on this top 10 list. There were also some great plays this season from Denard Span and Angel Pagan in the outfield as well as Brandon Belt at first base. However, when making a top 10 list, you are forced to leave off some fantastic plays.

    The only three plays the San Francisco Giants did get into the MLB Network top 100 were in fact three of the most impressive plays of the season. Here they are in all their glory.

    3. Ramiro Pena Sprints into Shallow Left Field and Makes the Catch

    Pena’s injury hurt the Giants depth considerably, and it wasn’t just his bat that was keeping him in the lineup. This play in Fenway was one of the best defensive plays of the season. Not just for the Giants, but in all of baseball.

    2. Hunter Pence Crashes into the Wall in Right Field in Arizona

    The Giants struggled in the entire second half of the season. They were struggling in Arizona on this night as well. The emotion Pence shows after making this catch felt like a rallying cry moment for a team that needed a spark. Of course, there is nobody better than Pence to provide that spark.

    1. Conor Gillaspie Falls into Camera Well against the Dodgers in Game 162.

    Once again, Conor Gillaspie finds his way to the number one spot on a list of the best plays of 2016. It truly was an epic few months for Gillaspie. As a bonus, since the final game of the season was against the Los Angeles Dodgers and was Vin Scully’s final broadcast, Giants fans were able to hear Vinny describe our best play of the year.

    Be sure to check back every day to see the latest Hot Stove news about the San Francisco Giants with Around the Foghorn.

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