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San Francisco Giants: Who was the team’s biggest surprise in 2019?

DENVER, CO - JULY 17: Mike Yastrzemski #5 of the San Francisco Giants watches the flight of a fifth inning double against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on July 17, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 17: Mike Yastrzemski #5 of the San Francisco Giants watches the flight of a fifth inning double against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on July 17, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
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San Francisco Giants
SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 28: Donovan Solano #7 of the San Francisco Giants hits an RBI single during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park July 28, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

Donovan Solano

Written by: Jeff Young

The easy choice would have been Mike Yastrzemski.

The San Francisco Giants outfield situation had more questions than answers at the start of the 2019 season, and the hope was that someone would take advantage. Yastrzemski did just that.

On the other hand, when the Giants signed Donovan Solano to a minor league contract last offseason, the transaction barely registered.

He was a .257/.306/.331 hitter in 1,168 plate appearances at the MLB level prior to this season, and he had not played in the majors since 2016.

The 31-year-old started the year at Triple-A and forced his way onto the Giants roster with a strong start to the season.

While he did not have a role right away, when the season ended, he was one of the more clutch hitters on the team.

In 228 plate appearances, he hit .330/.360/.456 with 18 extra-base hits and 27 runs scored.

With that, he began to push Brandon Crawford for playing time at shortstop, and with how Crawford has performed it is very possible Solano will continue to compete for more playing time next season.

To me, that was an unexpected surprise.

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