3 young SF Giants players to be excited about as the season winds down
2. Infielder David Villar
Saturday's 5-2 victory against the Chicago Cubs was fun for several reasons including how both Joey Bart and David Villar took control of the game on offense.
The young infielder started to put his name on the map last season when set a Richmond Flying Squirrels' record by crushing 20 home runs. Oddly enough, that mark has been surpassed by corner infielder Sean Roby (25) and middle infielder Tyler Fitzgerald (21). Perhaps, a sign of things to come?
Villar carried that momentum into 2022 as he quickly proved to be too much for Triple-A pitching. In 366 plate appearances, the right-handed bat slashed .275/.404/.617 (148 wRC+) with 27 home runs, 82 RBI, and 67 runs in 366 plate appearances for the Sacramento River Cats. This includes a 15.0 percent walk rate against a 25.4 percent strikeout rate.
To put it differently, Villar has simply been one of the best hitters in the Pacific Coast League (PCL). The Giants rewarded him with a midseason promotion where he posted a .623 OPS in 80 plate appearances with the Giants. He got off to a nice start and showed great discipline as he tallied a 16.3 percent walk rate during that stretch.
The 25-year-old's performance began to fade and he was optioned back to Sacramento. He was recalled in September and the Giants coaching staff appears motivated to give him an extended look. He has rewarded their faith as he has recorded 10 hits, including two doubles and four home runs, in 29 at-bats in September.
Similar to Bart, Villar did not make significant changes to his swing when he was optioned back to Triple-A, but rather it looks like he is more aggressive on pitches in the strike zone. His impressive streak has included a two-homer game against the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier in the week and a no-doubt last while facing off against the Cubs on Saturday.