3 under-the-radar SF Giants players off to a good start in 2023
3. First baseman/outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr.
Wade, 29, is another player who took a bit to find his stride in the big leagues, but he's shown time and time again why the Giants were smart to hold on to him through a rough 2022 campaign.
Coming off of a breakout performance in 2021 in which he hit 18 home runs with an .808 OPS and 117 OPS+, Wade came crashing back down to earth last year. In just 77 games, he managed eight home runs with a ghastly .207 average and 88 OPS+.
Fortunately, the Giants did not cut bait after his significant regression. Instead, they tabbed him as their starting first baseman and he has once again exploded offensively.
In 32 games so far, Wade has six home runs and 10 RBI, scoring 14 runs and posting an incredible .949 OPS and 163 OPS+. The latter number alone suggests that he's been 63 percent above league-average at the plate through the first month-plus of the season.
These numbers are great and all, but perhaps the most impressive aspect of Wade's performance so far has been his patience/eye at the dish. After walking in 8.7% of plate appearances in 2021, he bumped the number up to 10.4% last year. To start off this season, his BB% is all the way up to 20.3. He has drawn as many walks (25) as strikeouts so far, which is highly encouraging to see from a player who had previously struggled to draw free passes.