SF Giants Gifts: Austin Slater/Alex Dickerson Health
Austin Slater and Alex Dickerson have both flashed the potential to be big-league outfielders. However, long injury histories and inconsistencies had left both of their futures up in the air. When both were able to take the field in 2020, it was easily each of their most productive years. Slater posted an impressive .282/.408/.506 triple-slash in just 31 games. Dickerson, on the other hand, played in nearly every Giants game and posted a .298/.371/.576 line of his own.
For the first time in his career, Slater consistently drove the ball in the air and was able to turn his propensity for solid contact into extra-base hits. On top of his career year at the plate, he also showed an increased willingness to be aggressive on the basepaths. Slater stole eight bases in just nine attempts, and for a sizable amount of time early in the season, he led the league in steals.
An elbow injury would eventually prevent Slater from playing in the outfield, but he remained productive as a designated hitter. However, next season, the Giants can no longer count on the designated hitter position to be available. Without that to fall back on, Dickerson and Slater’s health becomes even more pivotal for the lineup.
Still, even with that uncertainty, the Giants front office made sure to retain both for another season. It’s easy to understand why. Not only did both players post OPS north of .900, but each compliment the other perfectly. When healthy, both grade as above-average defensive outfielders in either corner with severe platoon splits. Against left-handed pitchers this season, Slater hit .316/.469/.658. Dickerson, who bats left-handed, .300/.373/.579 in an even larger sample against a right-handed pitcher. Neither are perfect players, but they could combine to give the Giants elite production opposite of Mike Yastrzemski if they can platoon in the left field.