Projecting the 2022 SF Giants lineup
Outfielders (5) - Darin Ruf, Mike Yastrzemski, LaMonte Wade Jr., Steven Duggar, and Austin Slater
The outfield contingent might be the most fungible area on the roster as each player listed above serves a specific role in the lineup depending on the type of pitcher that the Giants are facing. Nevertheless, the front office is committed to adding another right-handed-hitting outfielder to the mix.
Kris Bryant, Seiya Suzuki, and Nicholas Catsellanos all fit that description. The Giants have been connected to Suzuki early and often this offseason.
As currently constructed, the Giants have two right-handed-hitting outfielders in Darin Ruf and Austin Slater with three lefties including Mike Yastrzemski, LaMonte Wade Jr., and Steven Duggar. Giants manager Gabe Kapler has been aggressive in playing the platoon matchups, and that will likely continue, especially in the outfield.
Wade Jr. and Yastrzmeksi have proven to do damage against right-handed pitching with the hopes that the latter regains the form that earned him some MVP votes in 2020. On the other hand, Duggar had a modest breakout season as he posted a .767 OPS in 297 plate appearances while providing the best outfield defense of anyone on the 40-man roster.
Duggar is better-suited as a platoon hitter, matching up against right-handed pitching but his defense will get him into the lineup against southpaws as well.
Ruf and Slater are the top righties in the outfield. After signing a minor league deal prior to the 2020 season, Ruf has quietly become one of the better hitters in baseball as he has posted a 143 OPS+ over the last two seasons.
The 35-year-old did not have extreme platoon splits (.824 OPS vs RHP, 1.007 OPS vs LHP) last season, so he should see plenty of playing time regardless of who is pitching. Plus, he can fill in at DH and first base if the need arises.
Lastly, there is Slater. If anything, the right-handed bat has proven that he should be used strictly as a platoon hitter. He posted a .497 OPS against righties in 2021 compared to an .894 OPS against lefties last year.
The Giants do not have a lot of outfielders capable of playing center field on the 40-man roster, but Slater is competent with the glove in center field. Given this, he should continue to play an important role, but that role could change if the Giants add another right-handed bat.