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San Francisco Giants: Mac Williamson for Left Field in 2017

Jul 27, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants right fielder Mac Williamson (51) hits the ball during the fourth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 27, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants right fielder Mac Williamson (51) hits the ball during the fourth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports
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The San Francisco Giants have tried 31 different left fielders since Barry Bonds left. They struck lightning in a bottle during their championship seasons, with performances from Pat Burrell, Cody Ross, Michael Morse and Gregor Blanco. The San Francisco Giants head into the 2017 off-season with two major questions to answer. Who will close out games and who will play left field?

For the San Francisco Giants, left field has been a tough position to fill over the years. Usually, the Giants have settled on year to year replacements since 2007. However, they have yet to find someone to take the reigns over the way they have at so many other positions.

For a team with homegrown talent at catcher, first base, second base, and shortstop as well as the ace of their staff, finding someone in their own system has become much more commonplace in recent years. The outfield hasn’t been so lucky and trades for players like Hunter Pence and Angel Pagan as well as free agents like Denard Span have been the routine.

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Enter the 2017 off-season and big names are available at the position. Meanwhile, homegrown players Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker are among the in house candidates to take over. While Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Bautista would be great names to add to any lineup, they might be names to avoid for the Giants.

Instead, it would make more sense for the Giants to give Williamson a shot at the starting job. As a minor leaguer in five seasons, he had a career slashline of .287/.367/.488. Only Burrell and Melky Cabrera had better slashlines in LF for the Giants in the last nine seasons.

While minor league numbers don’t automatically translate to the Major League level, it is clear that Williamson has power from the right side of the plate. His home runs in Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park were evidence of that earlier this season. Had Williamson stayed healthy, he may have been the missing power bat the Giants needed this post-season against the Chicago Cubs.

The Giants also have Parker as an option and he has shown flashes of tremendous power as well. Many Giants fans remember Parker’s three home run, seven runs batted in game vs the Oakland Athletics at the end of the 2015 season. However, his left handed bat could be a reason he doesn’t win the job. With Span, Brandon Belt, Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford all left handed, the Giants may decide Williamson is more needed to balance the lineup if the two end up neck and neck for the job.

Williamson, a former third round pick out of Wake Forest University, should get the first shot at the job in Spring Training. He has shown all five tools while in the Minor Leagues, and his ability to play defense, strong arm, speed and ability to hit for average and power will all be welcomed additions to AT&T Park, where most left fielders in orange and black have not had the tools Williamson does.

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Next: Four Free Agents the Giants Should Avoid

With so much attention devoted to the bullpen during the season and the closer this off-season, it won’t be a surprise if the Giants decide to stay home in the outfield and finally give a homegrown product a chance to grow in the outfield.

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