SF Giants just might be able to bolster outfield with lefty bat currently on roster

SF Giants lefty bat LaMonte Wade Jr. is off to a hot start. One way to keep his bat in the lineup is by seeing time in the outfield while both Mike Yastrzemski and Austin Slater are off to a slow start. It is an easy and quick way to bolster offensive production from that spot in the lineup.

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With Slater and Yastrzemski’s struggles at the plate, fans have been clamoring to see top young outfielder Luis Matos. Of course, Heliot Ramos is off to a hot start in Triple-A and could be an option as well if his production continues.

For what it is worth, Matos is slashing .211/.311/.421 (82 wRC+) with two home runs, seven RBI, and four runs in 45 plate appearances with the Sacramento River Cats. The season is still young, so there is plenty of time for him to turn it around. That said, he is not necessarily knocking on the door for a promotion with his production just yet.

For the time being, the Giants are looking at Wade Jr. to get more offensive from the outfield positions. He is already making his ninth appearance in the outfield in Sunday’s game. This is an encouraging development given that he has played primarily first base over the past two years due in part to a knee injury he sustained early in the 2022 season.

SF Giants just might be able to bolster outfield with lefty bat currently  on roster

Plus, shifting Wade Jr. allows Melvin to get Wilmer Flores‘ bat in the lineup with more regularity. Flores was the best hitter on the club in 2023 as he posted an .863 OPS with 23 home runs in 454 plate appearances.

That was a career-year for Flores, so it would be a bit much to expect him to replicate those numbers. However, he has proven to be a very solid hitter in his 12-year career. The Giants lineup is better with him in it.

It feels like the Giants begin every season with some level of uncertainty on how to use Flores. They have coverage at some of Flores’ positions including Wade Jr. at first base, Matt Chapman at third base, and Jorge Soler at DH. Getting Wade Jr. more time in the outfield opens up playing time at first base.

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Wade Jr. originally came up as an outfielder, including a lot of time in center field, with the Minnesota Twins. Adding first base to his skill set was a way to keep his bat in the lineup over the past couple of seasons, but it felt like he was being pigeon-holed there to some extent.

The lefty bat has arguably been the team’s most consistent hitter in the early going, slashing .368/.478/.526 (180 wRC+) with one home run, three RBI, and seven runs in 46 plate appearances.

SF Giants cut ties with veteran lefty bat after not making the Opening Day  roster

On the other hand, Mike Yastrzemski has just four hits in 29 at-bats, whereas Austin Slater has one hit in 11 at-bats. Both hitters have quality track records, so the Giants will remain patient. Until then, Wade Jr. could continue to see more time in the outfield to give the lineup an added boost.

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