The SF Giants have gotten solid production from their core group of outfielders, but a pair of lesser-known outfielders are providing surplus value as well. Steven Duggar and LaMonte Wade Jr. have seen an uptick in playing time recently due in part to injuries and because of their respective strong play. In the case of Wade, he is beginning to see more time at first base because both Darin Ruf (hamstring) and Brandon Belt (oblique) are out with injuries. That said, the left-handed bat has appeared predominantly in the outfield as a pro.
SF Giants OF Steven Duggar and LaMonte Wade Jr have offered surprising value.
Neither one was necessarily expected to see major playing time in 2021, but each one is making a case to stick on the major league roster.
Duggar debuted with the club back in 2018, but he has struggled mightily to find his footing in the batter’s box. In his first three seasons, the 27-year-old slashed .236/.281/.349 (70 OPS+) with a 28.4 percent strikeout rate. Of course, he battled several shoulder injuries that undoubtedly hampered his production.
The 2021 campaign has been a very positive stride in Duggar’s development. In 70 plate appearances, he has registered a .308/.357/.554 line (156 OPS+) with three home runs and 11 RBI while being worth 0.8 WAR. The strikeouts remain high with a 35.7 percent rate, but that seems like it will always be part of Duggar’s game.
Now, it bears mentioning that an unsustainable .459 BABIP is driving Duggar’s production. However, the left-handed bat is posting career highs with an 89.7-MPH exit velocity and a 14.9-degree launch angle, so he consistently makes quality contact.
On the other hand, Wade has seen far less playing time than Duggar so far. Nevertheless, Wade has made a favorable impression as well. In 20 at-bats, he has recorded seven hits with four runs, one home run, two RBI, and three walks.
In his brief time with the Giants, Wade has put together plenty of gritty plate appearances as he has shown off good knowledge of the strike zone. Power has never been part of his game, but the Giants believe he can generate a few extra-base hits with a change in swing mechanics.
The SF Giants’ depth has been tested as the injuries begin to pile up. This has created opportunities for players like Steven Duggar and LaMonte Wade Jr to see more playing time. Both have done well with the playing time they have earned. The regulars will come back at some point, but the Giants must like what they see from a couple of players who might be slowly climbing up the depth chart.