Batting Fifth: Alex Dickerson, left field
Alex Dickerson and Austin Slater made fantastic platoon partners this season when healthy. While the injury bug cost Slater quite a bit of time, Darin Ruf was able to fill in nicely. Still, the only left-handed hitter of the trio, Dickerson should be slated to get the majority of at-bats.
Early this season, Dickerson seemed like he was heading toward being non-tendered. He slashed just .195/.284/.351 in his first 88 plate appearances of the season, but the Giants believed that he was just a victim of some bad luck. Sure enough, things turned around soon.
By season’s end, Dickerson raised his triple-slash to an impressive .298/.371/.576 line (157 OPS+) with 10 home runs. Alongside his impressive power output, he put the ball in play consistently, striking out in just 17.6% of his plate appearances.
The Giants re-signed him to a guaranteed one-year, $2.1 million contract to avoid arbitration last week. Dickerson has had some severe back injuries in the past and that remains a concern but in a heavy platoon role, he hopefully has enough built-in rest to stay healthy.
Prior to joining the Giants in 2019, Dickerson had been buried on the San Diego Padres depth chart. Since joining San Francisco though, he’s been an elite hitter (143 OPS+). Even if he regresses towards his career numbers, which include his time in San Diego, he looks like an above-average .274/.342/.492 hitter.
Dickerson shares a lot of similarities with Belt. They both have struggled against same-sided pitchers, have long injury histories, hit for power, walk at a decent clip, and tend to have long streaks of success or struggles. Having two guys like that gives the lineup another level of volatility. If both get hot at the same time, the lineup becomes unstoppable. Even if they’re both off though, they can still work counts and get on base.