When right fielder Hunter Pence went down with a hamstring injury earlier this month, it was a big loss to the San Francisco Giants offense, especially considering they were already without injured left fielder Angel Pagan. But it presented a big opportunity for minor league outfielders Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson, who have both put up impressive power numbers in Triple-A but have struggled to break into the Major Leagues.
So far, there have been some positives, but for the most part neither Parker nor Williamson has done enough to earn a regular spot in the Giants’ long-term plans. They’re both batting under .200 and are striking out way too much. Williamson has two extra-base hits and has failed to draw a walk in 27 at-bats.
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On the flipside, Parker has hit three home runs in 51 at-bats. So the power is there, as he has showed last September after being called up to the Big Leagues. But, like Williamson, Parker also isn’t doing much else to produce runs.
These are small sample sizes—even the best hitters can look lackluster in 27 or 51 at-bats—but with the Giants’ decision-makers already skeptical of whether these two are worthy of starting in the Major Leagues, they can’t afford to take too much time to prove themselves.
This was a great opportunity for either or both to force the Giants to consider reducing Pagan’s role upon his return from the disabled list. But now Pagan, who has been out since May 23 with a strained hamstring, is on a rehab assignment with the Giants’ Triple-A team in Sacramento and could return to the Giants’ active roster in the next couple days. He is sure to reclaim his left field job without any dispute of whether he should be battling the youngsters for playing time.
Parker and Williamson still have some time to prove themselves—but the opportunities will be limited. Pence probably won’t be back before August, so there are at-bats to be had. The problem there is that neither has proven he deserves to play over longtime fourth outfielder Gregor Blanco, who is an excellent defender and an adequate offensive player. And, when Pagan returns, one of them will likely be sent back to the Minors.
It sure would help the Giants, though, if one of them could step up to help replace the power vacuum created in Pence’s absence.