Three reasons for SF Giants fans to be excited about LaMonte Wade Jr.
3. Swing Change
Wade has never projected to become a big-time home run hitter, but several scouting reports have described average to above-average power potential. A cursory look at his stat line suggests he’s a prime candidate for a swing change. These adjustments generally lead to higher strikeout rates, but Wade has a strong baseline to start with. Besides, as strong as his walk and strikeout rates have been, his career .347 slugging percentage is a huge reason the Twins were willing to part with him in the first place.
Plenty of players around the league, including Yastrzemski, have seen massive gains from such tweaks. Could Wade be the next beneficiary of such a move? Staple of Giants Twitter (and highly recommended follow), GPT, speculated from a recently posted YouTube video by Maryland Made Hitting that Wade could be making “significant changes to his swing this offseason.”
In the video, Wade is hitting against underhanded tosses. While these drills tend to promote extreme swing patterns, Wade appears to begin his hands low and utilize a significant leg kick. Both are telltale signs of a change designed to hit the ball in the air more consistently.
The Giants player development team has targetted coaches with experience working with hitters on swing changes. While it remains to be seen what their plan is for Wade, he seems like an obvious target. If it’s just successful enough to produce a .400 slugging alongside his defensive versatility and elite walk rates, he would easily have a place on an MLB roster. Of course, there could be even more potential than that.
SF Giants fans have gotten used to a revolving door of mid-20s outfielders with above-average plate discipline under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. However, recent acquisition LaMonte Wade Jr. cost Zaidi a young pitcher with big-league experience. That cost suggests a level of organizational confidence in Wade. A look at his resume makes it easy to see why.