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SF Giants: Grading the LaMonte Wade Jr. trade

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 14: LaMonte Wade Jr #31 of the San Francisco Giants bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the bottom of the second inning at Oracle Park on June 14, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 14: LaMonte Wade Jr #31 of the San Francisco Giants bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the bottom of the second inning at Oracle Park on June 14, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 17: San Francisco Giants players LaMonte Wade Jr #31, Steven Duggar #6 and Mike Yastrzemski #5 celebrate a win against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Oracle Park on June 17, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

In the offseason, the SF Giants acquired outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr. from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for reliever Shaun Anderson. That trade has paid off nicely for the Giants, but the Twins’ side of the ledger is already off of the books.

Anderson was recently designated for assignment and claimed by the Texas Rangers on Friday. The right-handed hurler’s tenure with Minnesota was a brief struggle as he allowed nine earned runs across 8.2 innings in 2021.

SF Giants: Grading the LaMonte Wade Jr. trade

Anderson will get a fresh start in Texas, but how does this minor swap look from the Giants’ standpoint? When Wade came over to the Giants, he had a relatively small sample to analyze. With the Twins, he slashed .211/.336/.347 (87 OPS+) with two home runs and six RBI across 113 plate appearances.

As a left-handed bat, the Giants were hoping that they could leverage him against right-handed pitching. Up until this point, they have used him primarily in a platoon role as he has seen just 10 of his 81 plate appearances against southpaws.

Furthermore, the coaching staff believed that Wade had more power in his bat than he demonstrated with the Twins. They made a couple of adjustments to his setup such as lowering his hands and standing more upright. These changes seemingly took time to adjust to as Wade did not necessarily hit the ball well in spring training.

His bat has been a different story since the season began. With the Giants, Wade has registered a  .257/.350/.443 line (122 OPS+) with four home runs and seven RBI while being worth 0.5 WAR. Wade has always had a discerning eye at the plate, so the plate discipline he has shown is not that surprising.

However, he has driving the ball into the air with more regularity as his 20.1-average launch angle is a career-high to go along with a solid 90.4 average exit velocity. This is resulting in more game time power than he previously displayed with the Twins.

With the glove, Wade has filled in nicely in the corner outfield spots and he can handle center field as well on occasion. When Brandon Belt and Darin Ruf hit the injured list, the 27-year-old filled in surprisingly well at first base. First base is not an entirely new position to him as he has spent some time there with the Twins, but he looked like a veteran with the glove.

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The Giants must like what they have seen so far from Wade. He has put in the work to generate more power just as the coaching staff had hoped. With Shaun Anderson leaving the Twins organization after only four appearances, the early returns are in the Giants’ favor by a considerable margin.

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