The San Francisco Giants have added Connor Joe to the mix, acquiring the former Dodger from the Reds. Joe was acquired by the Reds this offseason, claiming him off the Dodger’s Waivers.
Joe is the type of player Farhan Zaidi covets: Plays multiple positions, not allergic to taking a walk, and stands in the right side of the batter’s box.
Joe has professional experience at 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base, right field, and left field. Whether he is competent at any of these positions remains to be seen.
However, the positional versatility gives the San Francisco Giants options. They have seen the Dodgers move their players all over the field in recent years. This is a strategy the Giants can expect to employ while Zaidi is in charge.
Joe is somewhat of a late bloomer. He was a 1st round pick in 2014, but the bat did not come around until he joined Zaidi in the Dodgers organization last season. Last season, Joe posted a .299/.408/.527 slash line across 2 levels.
This breakout could be due in part to the adjustments he made to his swing mechanics. These swing changes are noted below:
To summarize, Joe’s swing now looks eerily similar to Chris Taylor. Like Joe, Taylor is a player with a 1st round pedigree who did not hit the ground running in his professional career. As is the case with many of today’s swing revisions, Joe added a noticeable leg kick to his swing. So far, the results have been encouraging.
Joe batted .275 with a .806 OPS this spring. Those stats would put him just behind Steven Duggar as the most impressive stat line for a Giants outfielder this spring. However, the Reds did not have room for Joe on their roster.
The Giants will not have enough room to keep all 3 as well as Joe unless a phantom injury comes in to play. Sandoval is the least versatile of the group, unless you count him as a reliever, but his roster spot appears to be in real jeopardy.
As a Rule 5 draftee with 1 week left in Spring Training, the San Francisco Giants will try to give Joe as long of a look as possible. The Giants will likely keep him as they traded an actual prospect in Johnson to acquire him.
Given his positional experience and right-handed bat, the Giants will see if he can handle a corner outfield spot in addition to 1st base and 3rd base.
Joe did not play in the outfield in 2018, so there will be some rust and a learning curve if the Giants intend to give him a shot out there.
Either way, the Giants outfield situation is in shambles. They are trying to see if someone will finally show something outside of Duggar. Given Joe’s status as a Rule 5 draftee, it is likely he will be donning a Giants cap on opening day.