Are the SF Giants preparing to send down David Villar?

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks / Norm Hall/GettyImages

David Villar entered the season as the starting third baseman for the SF Giants, but after a rough first month, has that changed? The 26-year-old has only started one game in the last week and has only appeared in two games so far in May, so it feels like his hold on a roster spot is slipping away.

Are the SF Giants preparing to send down David Villar?

It was rather telling that the Giants opted to play Wilmer Flores at third base instead of Villar in Sunday's 7-3 loss against the Milwaukee Brewers. Flores has plenty of experience at the position, but he has played there sparingly in 2023.

The Giants wanted to get another bat in the lineup, which likely explains why they went with the veteran instead of Villar. And, there has been a little more of that over the past week. It is also hard to ignore Davis' strong start as well.

The right-handed bat is off to a really nice start, slashing .289/.358/.526 (141 wRC+) with seven home runs, 19 RBI, and 11 runs in 109 plate appearances. This includes a 7.3 percent walk rate against a 27.5 percent strikeout rate. His seven home runs leads the Giants, who have been surprisingly strong in the home run category.

We knew Davis could hit. He has hit consistently throughout his seven-year career. However, he has surprised the Giants with his defense at third base. Normally known as a bat-first position player, the 30-year-old has been worth +2 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and +4 Outs Above Average (OAA) at the hot corner.

His bat was always going to find ways into the lineup, but his strong work with the glove has turned him into an everyday player. Of course, this has come at the expense of Villar's playing time. Villar got off to a strong start, but his production at the plate has cratered since then.

In 95 plate appearances, the young third baseman has registered a .145/.242/.325 line (57 wRC+) with four home runs, 11 RBI, and 10 runs. This comes with an 8.4 percent walk rate against a 33.7 percent strikeout rate. His overall line is rough, but he has tallied just a .403 OPS in 45 plate appearances since April 15.

This stretch has corresponded with Davis' strong play and Villar's dwindling playing time. To his credit, Villar has remained passable defensively and adjusted nicely to seeing more time at second base.

However, manager Gabe Kapler's decision not to start him on Sunday feels like a sign that Villar will be optioned soon. That happens. Adjusting to the majors is a roller coaster for young players, and we are getting to the point where a trip to Triple-A might make sense for both the Giants and Villar.