The San Francisco Giants have a few options for their 2020 leadoff hitter. Who is best equipped to set the table for the offense?
The San Francisco Giants did not have a clear leadoff hitter in 2019, and that spot in the lineup will most likely be up in the air once again when spring training rolls around.
So it begs the question: Who should bat leadoff for the team in 2020?
The 2019 season saw many different leadoff hitters, from Joe Panik to Brandon Belt to Steven Duggar to Mauricio Dubon by year’s end. Their struggling offense forced manager Bruce Bochy to constantly make adjustments in order to manufacture runs.
Heading into 2020, new manager Gabe Kapler will likely do a lot of the same mixing and matching in the leadoff spot. Kevin Pillar is gone, and even though he did not bat leadoff very much last year and was more of a middle-of-the-order presence, his departure still throws a wrench into things.
Conventional wisdom would have a speedy center fielder as the leadoff man, and that is possible depending on how Steven Duggar factors into the team’s plans. But there other less traditional options, including Dubon and Mike Yastrzemski.
It is unlikely that Belt will bat leadoff as much in 2020, even though he has a high walk rate. It is more likely that the team will want him in the middle of the order to maximize his power. And barring the team making any surprise additions to the roster, they are going to have to work with what they have heading into next season.
For a Giants team with a tendency to go cold on offense, the leadoff spot will be key in trying to jumpstart the lineup when it enters a cold spell.
So let’s take a look at a few candidates for the leadoff spot, examine their pros and cons, and determine how likely it is that we’ll see them leading things off for the Giants in 2020.