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The San Francisco Giants Now Have a Great Defensive Outfield

Nick San Miguel
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 11: Kevin Pillar #11 of the Toronto Blue Jays catches a fly ball hit by Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox during the sixth inning at Fenway Park on September 11, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts.(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 11: Kevin Pillar #11 of the Toronto Blue Jays catches a fly ball hit by Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox during the sixth inning at Fenway Park on September 11, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts.(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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While it is abundantly clear that the San Francisco Giants have an offensively weak outfield, there is no question that they are superb when it comes to outfield defense.

Great defense is crucial if the Giants are going to have a chance this year.

With that in mind, the acquisition of Kevin Pillar on Tuesday nicely complements the defensive prowess of center fielder Steven Duggar and primary right fielder Gerardo Parra. If the Giants have these three patrolling the outfield grass at the same time, it will be tough for opposing hitters to get anything in between them.

While Pillar has been a center fielder for most of his career, he’s not locked into that position in San Francisco. In fact, Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic reported that he’ll make his first Giants start in right field on Wednesday.

With the Giants struggling mightily to score runs, manager Bruce Bochy simply can’t afford to bench Duggar, who has been hitting the ball hard.

To that point, a sputtering offense makes strong outfield defense that much more important as the Giants search for ways to keep games close.

Leaving the developing Duggar in center field makes sense. The 25-year-old has become a joy to watch defensively. Similar to Brandon Crawford at shortstop—although not quite on the same level just yet—he simply makes things look easy.

Take last night’s game for example. The red-hot Cody Bellinger slapped a ball into the left-center gap that was slicing away from Duggar. As a former center fielder, I know this is not an easy play, especially when you have a ton of ground to cover.

Yet Duggar’s speed, focus, and agility allowed him to make the play look like a can of corn. A far cry from two years ago, when Denard Span would have been hard-pressed to make that play.

A lot will have to go right for the Giants to contend this season.

Barring injury, they can at least bank on a great defensive outfield.

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