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San Francisco Giants Spring Training Battles: Mac Williamson vs. Hunter Pence

Jake Mastroianni
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Mac Williamson #51 of the San Francisco Giants is greeted in the dugout after a solo home run in the eighth inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on September 24, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Mac Williamson #51 of the San Francisco Giants is greeted in the dugout after a solo home run in the eighth inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on September 24, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
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As we go through spring training, we’ll take a look at some position battles and compare two players competing for the same position.

Today we’ll look at the starting job in left field, which I think is currently coming down to Mac Williamson and Hunter Pence.

Pence is obviously the veteran and likely to start the season in left field.

Williamson has just over 200 at-bats in the major leagues, but entering his age 27 season he may have finally found his stroke.

Mac has been the best hitter for the Giants this spring hitting .378 in 37 at-bats with a team-high 14 hits and 13 RBI. He’s also second on the team with 4 home runs and 10 runs scored.

On the other hand, Pence has gotten off to a very slow start this spring. He’s hitting just .167 in 24 at-bats with 11 strikeouts.

Pence did hit a grand slam the other night and has a hit in each of his last three games, so maybe his swing is starting to come around. You tend to give veterans the benefit of the doubt in spring training.

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For Mac, he’s hit just .226 over 212 at-bats in the major leagues with 9 home runs and 68 strikeouts. The hope is that he can be a .260 hitter with 20-plus home runs over a full season.

Pence, who turns 35 in April, has really struggled with injuries and production the past three seasons. Last year he hit just .260 in 493 at-bats with 13 home runs. The writing is kind of on the wall that his time as an every day outfielder is over.

If Mac has indeed figured something out at the plate that to elevate his game, then maybe he can overtake Pence for the starting job in left field.

They are both right-handed hitters, so it’s not like you could create a platoon with the two. And I’m not really in favor of a platoon any way, but I know that’s probably how the left field spot is going to play out this year.

Next: Interview with San Francisco Giants Prospect Heath Quinn

My personal hope is that Mac continues to impress this spring and takes the starting job away from Pence. I like the idea of having a younger guy get the start and see what they can do.

If the season started today, I’d have Mac Williamson starting in left field with Hunter Pence coming off the bench.

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