Friday, October 21, 2016

Scouting the Offseason: Left Field

With the almost certain departures of Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco, the Giants have an opening for a new left fielder, a position that has been something of a revolving door since Barry Bonds played it.  I believe the Giants have this one covered.  In his end-of-the-season pressor, Bobby Evans as much as said that Mac Williamson and/or Jarrett Parker would get a shot at the job.  He went so far as to bring Adam Duvall's name into the discussion and went on to say that the Giants believe Mac and Jarrett have more power potential than Duvall.  OK, Bobby.  Then put your money where your mouth is.

Sean Bialaszek over on GGS-Giants makes the case for Mac to win the job.  Mac led the Giants last year in Average Exit Velocity off the bat.  He also hit about 30 HR's if prorated to 600 PA's.  Did you also know that Mac was the 13'th best defensive LF with at least 100 PA's in all of MLB, admittedly a SSS.  Mac's time has come.  He deserves the shot.  You could make a case for a platoon with Jarrett Parker and I'm OK with that to start the season.  I think Mac will gradually take over the position full time as the season goes along.

It's not like the Giants are working without a net by committing to the kids.  If both Mac and Jarrett tank, they could turn 3B over to Conor Gillaspie full time and move Eduardo Nunez to LF.  Nunez would not give you the power you crave out of LF, but he has decent power and is the top SB threat on the team.  He is obviously fast enough to cover the ground out there.  The Giants also have Austin Slater over in Sacramento who deserves a shot if nobody else steps up to take it.

But OK, maybe you still want the Giants to kick a few tires out there?  Here's a rundown on what's available by FA or trade.  It's actually a surprisingly strong list albeit with just one elite name.


Yeonis Cespedes, 31 yo.  Cespedes will opt out of his contract with the Mets, but he's…..not coming here!  I don't know if the Wilpons have the caishish to re-sign him, but someone will, and it won't be the Giants although I see the Giants brought up in connection with him in almost every Q/A out there.  He seems to want to stay in NY so the Mets may find a way to keep him or he could go to the Yanks, Dodgers, Cardinals, Nationals or some mystery team.  It won't be the Giants.  BTW, I'd be A-OK with the Giants signing Cespedes and forgetting about Mac and Jarrett, but I don't think they will.

Ian Desmond, 31 yo.  Desmond found the second half of his career in Texas as an OF.  He actually played mostly CF and played it well.  He went 20/20 again.  I would not expect that to translate well to AT&T Park and hope he doesn't come here.

Matt Holliday, 37 yo.  The Cardinals will buy out his option.  This would be a very Giantsy move to bring him in on a 1 year or 1 year+option in the tradition of Pat Burrell and Michael Morse.  He's a shell of his former self but could probably be a passable 6 or 7 inning option.  I would not be shocked if this actually happened, but again, my preference is to stay in house.

Michael Saunders, 30 yo.  Saunders had a nice season for Toronto, whose ballpark is not like AT&T Park.  He is also playing on glass knees.

Dexter Fowler, 31 yo.  Signing another CF and then putting one of them in LF is a very Giantsy move. They've had their opportunities to go after Fowler and have passed in the past, though.

Carlos Gomez, 31 yo.  I suppose he's an attractive bounceback candidate and should not cost a lot after the last 2 putrid seasons.  He showed he still has some toonder in the bat with a big September.  Extremely streaky, though, and I'm pretty sure the Giants do not need more streakiness in their lineup.

Jose Bautista, 36 yo.  Another attractive bounceback candidate even at 36 yo, but only at the right price and Bautista seems to have wildly unrealistic expectations about his value.

Josh Reddick, 30 yo.  Reddick is probably good enough defensively to take over RF and move Hunter Pence to LF, but I'm not sure how that would go over.  I also don't think the Giants need another LH bat in the lineup.

Mark Trumbo, 31 yo.  Hit 47 dingers this year and the Giants do need dingers.  Trumbo is a fairly one dimensional player, though, and the dingers might not be nearly as plentiful in AT&T Park.


Ryan Braun, 33 yo, Brewers.  Braun had a great offensive season, hitting .305 with 30 dingers.  He might not cost that much in prospects for a team willing to take on his full salary obligations.  Comes with well known baggage.

Khris Davis, 29 yo, A's.  Davis hit 42 HR's for Oakland.  He's up for arbitration and Trader Billy might let him go for the right return.  He's also fairly one dimensional and the power may not play in AT&T.

Justin Upton, 29 yo, Tigers.  Tigers GM Avila basically said the team needs to rebuild.  I'm pretty sure Upton has at least a partial no-trade and he hates AT&T Park.

Matt Kemp, 32 yo, Braves.  Kemp keeps getting traded with the trading team picking up part of his salary which may eventually make him a good value.  Hit 35 HR's for the Braves but basically can't play in the field anymore.  Probably needs to go to an AL club where he can finish his career as a DH.

JD Martinez, 29 yo, Tigers.  See Justin Upton above.  Martinez' D went off a cliff this year but he can hit.

I still want the Giants to give Mac the shot.  Worse case scenario?  Make a midseason trade for a power hitting LF.


  1. Agree with you thoughts on this. Big Mac was just starting to hit his stride when he got injured. I always wondered why some would say he wasn't a good fielder. He made some really good catches last season. Maybe he took a couple bad routes, but when you don't see the field everyday your instincts aren't as sharp. I wouldn't be surprised to see around a .270 AVG, .460 SLG, with plus 20 plus homeruns. In July before he got hurt, when he was starting in place of a injured Pagan, his line was .264 AVG, .371 OBP, .528 SLG with a .899 OPS. He makes great in game adjustments at the plate. His batting average goes up about 170 points after seeing a pitcher the first time and his OPS goes up almost 700 points.

    1. Even Fangraphs has Mac as a plus fielder, again with SSS. If you go to the granular level, he made 2 out of 3 plays that were deemed "unlikely", 1 out of 1 even odds, 5 out of 5 likely and 96.4% of routine plays. In addition, he might have the best OF arm on the team. So yeah, Mac is a good fielder.

  2. Mac and Parker both look like capable big league corner guys. Plenty of power and solid D. I'd prefer to keep them both on the roster. If it fails, trade for Braun mid season.

  3. If I recall, Holliday is not a big fan of the Giants in general, so wouldn't expect him. I can see the Giants making a run at Braun though with Mac as the fall back guy. Need depth and Mac would probably get a lot of AB's ala Blanco even with a Braun trade.

    Billy Baseball

  4. We cannot assume we will get anywhere close to 162 games from Span and Pence, either. I expect the Giants to sign some OF to minor league deals.

  5. Duvall's average exit velocity: 89.90 and was filled with the normal peaks-and-valleys over the season but was, over-all, fairly consistent in it's variation. Williamson was (small sample size) 93.9. Parker was 92.2 in 2015 and was averaging (small sample size) about 93 until July when his power collapsed and he fell to under league average.

    Anyway, exit velocity be that as it may, I mentioned Mac's defense earlier. He did a very good job when he was out there. And in his 'season highlight' reel on YouTube there were nearly as many excellent defensive plays as excellent hits. So I think Mac probably has the inside track.

    For our OF I'd like to see: Pence, Spann, Williamson with Hernandez and Parker on the bench.