The San Francisco Giants traded for Casey McGehee this offseason with the expectation he would be an adequate third-base replacement for Pablo Sandoval.
It clearly hasn’t worked out that way so far.
With McGehee struggling to a .183 average and hitting into double-plays seemingly every game he’s in the starting lineup, the Giants have been looking at other options—like the Duffman.
Matt Duffy is hitting .297 and is coming off a career five-RBI day in Houston. Could the young Duffy replace the 2014 Comeback Player of the Year winner?
Here are five reason why Duffy should start over McGehee at third base:
1. He’s younger
Matt Duffy, at 24 years old, is a more dynamic player than McGehee. While McGehee is no old goat at 32, he looks like it right now. And nothing makes a baseball player look older than hitting into double plays. McGehee leads the majors with 11 double plays ground into. Duffy has only grounded into two (albeit with less at-bats).
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In 2010, the Giants let Bengie Molina go to make room for rookie Buster Posey—and Giants fans know how that went. Duffy wasn’t the highly touted player Posey was, but sometimes a hint of youth mixed with veterans can lead a team to success.
2. Better fielding
Duffy has better range and is fielding the ball cleaner than McGehee right now. McGehee has made the second-most errors among National League third baseman, with six miscues in 28 games. On the other hand, Duffy has not made an error in 13 games at third (9 started). According to Fangraphs.com, McGehee’s UZR rating is -1.0 (meaning he cost the Giants a run with his defense this season). Duffy’s is 1.6.
3. Better speed
Hitting into lots of double-plays usually is conducive to a slow runner—and that’s the case with McGehee. But not with the Duffman. Fans first got a taste of Duffy’s speed in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series, when he scored from second on a wild pitch.
With the Giants struggling with power this season, they will have to make up for it with good speed and opportune baserunning. Duffy can provide all that. Bruce Bochy even said Duffy is the best baserunner on the team, according to Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow in Thursday’s broadcast.
4. He’s hot right now
And McGehee is not. In May, Duffy is hitting .393, with a .414 on-base percentage. In Houston on Tuesday, he had a five-RBI game including a three-run double. In that game, he flashed his skill set from the get-go, stealing second base and scored on a Posey single after drawing a walk. Duffy has a good approach at the plate and is driving the ball right now, while it seems McGehee is over-anxious at the plate, swinging at everything and (you guessed it!) grounding into double plays.
5. He’s popular with the fans
When you’re a hot hitter and have a nickname like Duffman, how can you not be popular? Just look at what fans are saying on Twitter:
Photo Credit: Reddit