San Francisco Giants state of the position: Center field
The San Francisco Giants head into the offseason with several items on the to-do list. Will finding a new center fielder be one of them?
Heading into the 2019 season, the San Francisco Giants felt confident with the speedy Steven Duggar as their starting center fielder. Despite the fact that his rookie season had ended prematurely with a shoulder injury, he had shown impressive flashes, and look like arguably the best outfielder on the roster entering the year.
Very quickly, the front office realized that an outfield contingent of Duggar, Connor Joe, Michael Reed, and Gerardo Parra was not going to cut it.
On April 2, just a handful of games into the regular season, Kevin Pillar was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays. He made his presence felt immediately, crushing a grand slam in his first week with the team.
The 30-year-old went on to have a very solid season, batting .259/.287/.432 with 37 doubles, 21 home runs and 88 RBI. He was one of the main offensive producers for the Giants and also took home the prestigious Willie Mac Award.
Not only was he solid at the plate, but his defense was as-advertised, even in the difficult Oracle Park outfield.
Despite his strong showing, there is some question whether Pillar will be back with the Giants in 2020. He’s projected to earn $9.7 million in his final year of arbitration, a significant raise from the $5.8 million he took home in 2019, and his .287 on-base percentage speaks to an obvious hole in his game.
If he does return, he can once again provide some stability at the position. If the team decides that’s too steep a price to pay, it will need to explore alternative options.
Regardless, the future of the center field position should excite fans with some top-tier prospects waiting in the wings.