The San Francisco Giants signed Aaron Hill as a veteran depth presence. Somehow, he’s been given a much bigger role over the first few weeks of the season. But frankly, he’s not the person that deserves those roles.
When the San Francisco Giants signed Aaron Hill, it was basically a veteran upgrade to Kelby Tomlinson. They knew what they were getting. His major league track record is pretty solid, and he can play all over the infield. But, that’s about it.
I know the title seems a little harsh. He’s a good vet, and definitely deserves to be on this roster (at least at the moment). However, giving him chances to bat leadoff, or cleanup, before other deserving people is almost a betrayal to the players who have been in this organization, and proven themselves in those situations.
Let’s take a look at who all was available last night to hit leadoff OTHER than Hill:
I could list Gorkys Hernandez here, but he’s frankly no better option than Hill at the leadoff spot. But we’re looking at Joe freakin Panik. The guy with a career OBP of .344, career batting average of .281, career BABIP of .300, and a K% of less than 10%. He was batting eighth last night. Why? Why have him down there? In his one game batting leadoff this year (and his entire career) he went 2-4.
San Francisco Giants
The goal of the leadoff position is always to get on base, get some pressure on the starter and get things started for the best part of your lineup. The Giants this season out of the leadoff spot are hitting LESS THAN .200. That’s terrible! How about putting someone there who can actually hit the ball and get on base?
Hill, so far in a Giants uniform, has this statline: .130/.259/.261/.520, in just under 30 PA. What makes whoever made the lineup decision last night think that Hill is a better option there than Panik or Nuñez? It’s not like he has crazy numbers over his career in the leadoff spot either. In 22 games there he’s batting .176 with an OBP of .228.
I mentioned Nuñez as a possibility as well. Why? Despite a lower OBP than Panik’s over their careers, Nunez has the ability to get on base, and make things happen with his speed. Pair him with a contact and high average hitter like Panik, you can make things happen at the top of the order, and early. Let’s check out Nunez’s career numbers at the leadoff spot:
- 411 PA; .284/.314/.426/.740 with 59 runs scored, 50 RBI, 26 SB.
That’s a little over half a season’s worth of games in the lead-off spot. Yet the Giants chose to give Aaron Hill a chance to hit leadoff?
There have been some questionable moves by the management and front office, and this is one of them. Look. I know the left field thing is dire at the moment. I really don’t mind him playing there, or being in the lineup. But putting a guy with that futile of a record at the spot, when you have two proven options elsewhere in the lineup is absolutely absurd. Especially when guys like Panik have done a heck of a lot to bring you a ring. It’s almost disrespectful to them.
Nuñez is a guy they traded one of their top pitching prospects for, and has earned/been given the third base role on a nightly basis. So WHY on earth is a guy you brought in for bench depth batting leadoff? It’s a question that honestly should be answered, but it won’t.
For now, we have to move on to Colorado. But if they start one game with Aaron Hill in the leadoff spot again, before giving Nuñez or Panik more than a games chance, you can bet people will continue to gripe about it, and we’ll be right there alongside them.