San Francisco Giants: 5 bold predictions for the second half of the season
Austin Slater has played his last game with the Sacramento River Cats
Barring any future rehab assignments, Austin Slater is finished honing his craft at the minor league level.
The 26-year-old did not start the season on the MLB roster. Instead, he headed to Triple-A Sacramento where he continued to tweak his swing to get more loft and drive the ball with authority more consistently.
He also worked to improve his defensive versatility, playing all over the diamond to make him a more attractive fit on the MLB roster. Now, with a team president in place who places significant value on that versatility, Slater has finally found a home on the 25-man roster.
After hitting .308/.436/.529 with 17 doubles and 12 home runs in 296 plate appearances at Triple-A, he’s posted a .429/.500/1.143 with two home runs and nine RBIs in five games since earning his first MLB call-up of the year on July 1.
Even though that’s an extremely small sample size, it’s enough to believe he may have already solidified his spot on the roster or the rest of the season.
The original motivation behind promoting Slater seemed to be the fact that the Giants were set to face three consecutive left-handed starters in a series with the San Diego Padres, and Slater had always hit well against left-handed pitching.
However, he’s quickly proven to be more than just a platoon option. He took Padres right-handed reliever Phil Maton in his 2019 debut and then he hit a grand slam off St. Louis Cardinals right-handed starter Miles Mikolas a few days later.
While he’s been used exclusively in the outfield so far, it’s inevitable with future roster moves approaching that he’ll eventually see some time on the infield dirt.
It doesn’t look like the Sacramento River Cats will be getting their hard-hitting utility man back any time soon.