For one day, veteran shortstop Paul DeJong was the hottest hitter in baseball as he tallied three hits with five RBI in his debut in a SF Giants uniform last week. However, he has been held hitless since then, continuing a frustrating offensive season for Giants shortstops.
Paul DeJong's slump continues frustrating trend for SF Giants shortstops
The Giants have been in the midst of a rough offensive stretch that has spanned multiple months. They hope that the return of Mitch Haniger and Mike Yastrzemski help turn the needle in the right direction, but they still need more help.
As bad as the offense has been as a whole recently, no position has struggled as badly as the Giants' shortstop position. Giants shortstops have combined to slash .196/.256/.304 (55 wRC+) with just eight home runs in 497 plate appearances in 2023. The 55 wRC+ ranks as the second-worst mark in baseball at that position with only the Detroit Tigers (53 wRC+) performing worse.
As bad as the season-long struggles have been, the recent production has been more abysmal. Since the start of the second half, Giants shortstops have registered a .148/.206/.239 (23 wRC+) with three home runs in 197 plate appearances. That is the type of production you expect from a pitcher hitting.
Brandon Crawford and Casey Schmitt have spent the bulk of the time at shortstop. Crawford has battled injuries and ineffectiveness, whereas Schmitt has battled just the latter. The Giants have tried to scrape the barrel to add more offense to the position by signing Johan Camargo and Paul DeJong within the past month.
They both had career numbers that, while not great, if they performed anywhere close to that, it would be a substantial improvement to what the Giants have seen from that position so far. The Giants have already ended the Camargo experiment as he was sent outright to Sacramento.
The DeJong experiment may not be far behind. The right-handed bat has just three hits, including a home run, with 10 strikeouts in 25 at-bats since joining the Giants. That is still a small sample, so there is time for him to turn it around.
Though, you have to wonder how much patience the organization will have for a player who was signed after being released by the Toronto Blue Jays earlier this month. In fairness to DeJong, he continues to play a solid shortstop. He does have a reputation as a good defender, so that might help his case.
Though, this is not about DeJong. The Giants have struggled as a whole, but the far-below-average offensive production from their shortstops is frustrating. They have used a handful of different options but to no avail. You do not expect someone who you sign in the middle of the season to make much of an impact, but you do expect that there has to be someone out there who can perform better. Unfortunately, with time winding down in the season, they will likely proceed with that being an extreme soft spot in the lineup.