The San Francisco Giants Are Wasting What Young Potential they Have

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 01: Austin Slater #53 of the San Francisco Giants celebrates after hitting a home run in the sixth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 1, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 01: Austin Slater #53 of the San Francisco Giants celebrates after hitting a home run in the sixth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 1, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco Giants don’t normally drive me to emotional writing, but I’ve about hit my limit. They’re wasting some really good young potential, and hurting themselves in the long run with their current roster.

As I said in the intro, I do my best to keep my emotions out of my writing. It’s hard to do when you’re a fan of the team you’re writing about. The Giants are struggling so of course that has me not feeling so hot. But to see the success of player down in AAA, then knowing the Giants likely won’t give them a shot right now, is deeply frustrating. First, let’s look at who I’m talking about.

There are two that currently come to mind: Steven Duggar, Austin Slater. Who in my mind are the logical players to excommunicate (DFA)? They would be Gorkys Hernandez, Gregor Blanco. Now before you scoff, let’s take a look at what’s going on.

The Giants are bad right now, and a lineup that features two of Gorkys, Blanco, and Austin Jackson every day is likely not going to do a whole lot of damage, and they’re still without Mac Williamson for a solid 7-10 days (per Kerry Crowley). So what did the Giants do? Oh they just called up another bullpen arm and SENT down (thus creating the option issue) Austin Slater, after Mac was in the concussion protocol.

Here is the current situation, numbers wise in the outfield:

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We’ll get to Duggar in a minute, but come on Bobby Evans. Austin Slater is performing 85% ABOVE AVERAGE IN AAA! It’s entirely pointless to keep him down there, especially when you’ve got guys in the big leagues who barely pose an extra base threat. So why are they not going to bring him up? Because their pitching staff is so much of a wild card that they need to carry eight relievers. Eight.

The most frustrating thing about this is the fact that they had Slater up at the big league level for all of what felt like 72 Hours (it was 96). They then added Law and wasted options on a guy who hasn’t had it for a second since 2016. So now, they don’t want to bring back Slater for the fear of having to use yet another option on him. He has one left, because they optioned him for Law.

Look, I get that the Giants have had a lot of confounding injury issues, but goodness sakes. Derek Law was the choice there? Lord have mercy. Now to Steven Duggar.

Duggar honestly hasn’t enjoyed a great start to his AAA season, which can be expected of a guy who had a total of 54 plate appearances above the AA level. But, his overall numbers are starting to rebound to the level they were last year. And you’d of course expect him to continue building on them. But that glove? Yeah, it’s probably better than anything else the Giants have at the Center Field spot.

The San Francisco Giants front office made some incredibly bold statements about their belief in him this offseason, so why is he still just hanging out down there when they currently have the worst defensive metrics of any center-field in baseball?!

Yeah. Not pretty. Here is my thoughts on Duggar: It’s a Jackie Bradley Jr. type scenario. He’s extremely talented defensively, and the bat will come. But the Red Sox understood that he was helping them win games with his defense, and that his defense was such a big asset that they couldn’t be without him, even if he was working on his hitting game at the big league level.

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There are usually two ways that goes: JBJ, or Billy Hamilton. The thing with Duggar is that he’s shown a knack for getting on base, which Hamilton has never shown the ability to get on base that much.

Duggar may not be a logical call-up now, but when the same issues that are plaguing the Giants now haven’t changed come July, and he’s showing his improvement, they’ll be faced with that choice. Will they do it? You would hope.

There is really no doubt in my mind that Duggar and Slater would be better options than Gorkys and Blanco and here is another fun thing to look at: how this affects their standing within the luxury tax.

They’re currently $1.8 million over according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts. You can whittle that down to just over $1.3 million by eventually replacing both Gorkys and Blanco on the roster.

They have until the 2019 financial year kicks in for MLB (basically when free agency begins) to shave $1.8 million off the books. Over the course of the season, that helps to add young, league minimum contracts in replacement for overpaid, underperforming veterans.

Look I understand the situation isn’t great. It doesn’t help that the Giants have been abysmal, and that their pitching staff is at the point that requires eight bullpen arms. But at some point, Slater and Duggar have got to get their looks. Sending down Slater for Law was a terrible choice, and Jose Valdez (Law’s replacement) isn’t that great either. So now we’re hanging onto Gorkys and Blanco because we need to have some experienced outfielders? Come on.

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It’s inexcusable to have someone performing at the level of Slater, while running out a lineup with Gorkys, A-Jax, and Blanco in it. But that’s how the Giants have been rolling lately. So, for now, we’re stuck where we’re at.