With spring training right around the corner, the SF Giants plan to test their center field depth by seeing how a new addition fits in the middle of the outfield.
SF Giants manager Gabe Kapler is eager to use LaMonte Wade Jr. in center field early in camp to see how well he handles the challenge.
New SF Giants outfielder to see time in center field
San Francisco acquired Wade from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for reliever Shaun Anderson earlier in the month. He debuted in 2019 and has slashed .211/.336/.347 (86 OPS+) in 113 plate appearances in a Twins uniform. This comes with a solid 13.3 percent walk rate against a 15.9 percent strikeout rate.
On offense, he brings a patient and disciplined approach from the left side that gives the Giants a little extra balance. They will likely run out a mix of Mike Yastrzemski, Alex Dickerson, Mauricio Dubon, Austin Slater, and Darin Ruf to start the year.
From that mix, only Yastrzemski and Dickerson hit from the left side to go along with Wade. All three options are best suited for corner outfield roles, but Wade does have extensive experience in center field that the Giants are hoping they can leverage. Plus, he has a pretty strong arm:
Wade, who was originally drafted in the ninth round of the 2015 draft out of the University of Maryland, has spent over one-third of his time across five minor-league seasons at center field. Upon his promotion to the Twins, the 27-year-old still saw some time in center field, but he was clearly behind Byron Buxton on the depth chart.
Now that Wade is with a new team, San Francisco is eager to see first-hand how the University of Maryland product looks in the outfield. Versatility is a key tenet of the front office, and if Wade proves that he can handle the position, it is another stripe on his belt.
Spring training is the perfect time to test the waters and see where each player’s comfort level and competence are at a key position. The Giants like what Wade brings to the table and will see if he can give them even more potential utility by working out in center field.