SF Giants: Key infield bat turning corner on 2021 season
By Jeff Young
Several key contributors got off to slow starts for the SF Giants, but one might be turning the corner in 2021.
Wilmer Flores had a rough April as he was not driving the ball like Giants fans have seen from him since he joined the club before the 2020 season. Injuries could have certainly been a factor as he has spent time on the injured list with a right hamstring strain.
SF Giants infielder Wilmer Flores is finally heating up.
Since he has returned, he has been handled carefully by the coaching staff. It does seem like the hamstring injury continues to bother Flores, but it has not impacted his production at the plate recently.
On the year, the 29-year-old has registered a .248/.328/.380 line (101 OPS+) with three home runs and 16 RBI across 137 plate appearances. This comes with a strong 10.2 percent walk rate against a 14.6 percent strikeout rate. However, he has not consistently shown the type of power that Giants fans have come to expect, especially considering that he led the team in home runs with 12 in 2020.
Like so many of his teammates, Flores got off to a slow start in 2021 as he posted a rough .618 OPS in April. His struggles carried over into May as he generated a .689 OPS before hitting the injured list midway through the month. His production at the plate was trending in the right direction, but he still did not look right.
However, a trip to the injured list may have been overdue. It is a very small sample, but he has registered seven hits in 16 at-bats since returning from the IL. This includes two extra-base hits, and anecdotally, it looks like he is driving the ball better.
There is still a lot of baseball left in 2021 for Flores to reach his annual numbers. At the very least, it looks like he is beginning to turn the corner and the Giants will need his bat as the season progresses.