San Francisco Giants: Is Hunter Pence’s New Swing Enough to Save Him?
By Daniel Sperry
The San Francisco Giants have had Hunter Pence playing in AAA for a while after his initial hand injury. He’s revamped his swing, and looks quite different. We’ll take a look at the changes, the results, and if it’s good enough to get himself back with the big league squad.
San Francisco Giants fans are in a quandry at the moment. Their hearts want to hang on to Hunter Pence and the fond memories from 2012-2016. But the past two season haven’t been up to snuff. With the surge from outfielders in the system such as Austin Slater, Chris Shaw, and Mac Williamson, Pence’s lack of success doing his “same ol” has forced him into some changes.
Pence started off the season miserably, hitting .172 and slugging .190 (yikes) before going on the DL for an injury to his hand.
According to reports, he’s been working with Mac Williamson’s personal swing coach. Here is a nice freeze frame of Pence’s swing courtesy of Brooks Knudsen’s twitter:
Here is a view and nice video his stance/swing from Giants Potential:
Taking a look at that video (click the link), his stance has become significantly more upright with his hands a bit lower, and less cocked back behind him, allowing him to get the bat head quicker to the ball.
It’s been working, and last week he crushed a Grand Slam. Here is the video, courtesy of the River Cats’ twitter:
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Pence’s motion to the ball is very similar to Williamson’s but not exactly the same. Pence still keeps the same swing feel, but the plane is slightly more of an uppercut. Plus, Pence’s stance still starts open, where Williamson’s stance is more straight up.
The numbers are starting to get there for Pence, as he’s hitting .329 in his lengthy rehab stint. His power numbers are starting to look up as his OPS is getting up above .750 and closer to .800.
Changing a swing of a 38 year old vet is going to come with a longer adjustment period. For someone who has been hardened into doing something one way, and been incredibly successful doing it, massive changes will take a while to get down pat.
If Pence can continue his success, there is a chance he could get back to the big league roster.
But he’s going to have to be better than Slater, Shaw, and Blanco if he has a shot at coming back and keeping a spot. It’s a tough ask as the younger guys are raking, and making a big case for their inclusion at some point this year.
Next: Preview of Giants vs. Rockies
The coming weeks will be quite the development when it comes to Pence’s future with the Giants from here on out. He’s doing everything he can to stick around. The question still remains: will it be enough?