The SF Giants recently welcomed back Brandon Crawford, who has been battling a knee ailment all season. They are also set to get back another key infield bat in Thairo Estrada as he has begun a rehab assignment with the Sacramento River Cats.
Key SF Giants middle infielder nearing a return
Some of the biggest additions they can make now will be getting a few key players back from the injured list. Estrada is the next in line, but the Giants hope that Mitch Haniger can still help them out in the final part of the season.
I realize that Giants fans wanted the front office to be more active at the deadline and I can sympathize with that. That said, there just may not have been a move to make. The next best thing is getting the roster back to full strength and keeping them on the field. That last detail has been one of the bigger challenges for the Giants in 2023.
Estrada sustained a hand fracture on a pitch by reliever Adam Ottavino in a game against the New York Mets on July 2. The right-handed bat had been one of the Giants' more reliable hitters prior to the injury, and it is hard to ignore that the offensive production dipped once he landed on the injured list.
July was a rough month for Giants hitters. As a whole, the offense struggled to the tune of a .632 OPS. Despite these struggles, they managed to tread water by posting a 12-13 record. As bad as the offense was as a whole, Giants second basemen were exceptionally unproductive as they posted a .365 OPS in 69 plate appearances last month.
It would be difficult for Estrada to not be a huge improvement in comparison to numbers like that. The 27-year-old has registered a .272/.327/.434 line (108 OPS+) with nine home runs, 31 RBI, and 46 runs in 315 plate appearances. His defense at second base has been a huge asset as well as he has been worth +3 Defensive Runs Saved and +11 Outs Abobe Average (OAA) this year.
His return to the lineup and the field should be a boost. The five-year veteran has recorded one hit in seven at-bats so far during his rehab assignment. Given that he has missed over a month of game action, he should see a couple more minor league games before he is activated.