Luis González is back. After a brief stint in Triple-A to work on his mechanics, the 26-year-old outfielder was recalled on Saturday. He went 0-3 with a run scored in an agonizing 3-2 defeat to the Minnesota Twins.
SF Giants bring back outfielder after brief stay in Triple-A
Speedy outfielder Bryce Johnson was optioned back to Triple-A, per the team's transaction page. He was recalled just a couple of days ago and did not make an appearance. In total, the switch-hitter has tallied four hitless at-bats since being added to the 40-man roster in early August.
González got off to a blistering start this season, earning the National League Rookie of the Month distinction for May. The left-handed bat slashed .368/.410/.500 with one home run, 13 RBI, and eight runs in 83 plate appearances in May, but he has cooled off since then.
The Giants optioned González 10 days ago and he collected just four hits with six walks in 23 plate appearances with the Sacramento River Cats. The move to recall him is likely due to give San Francisco more offense than Johnson can offer.
On the year, González has registered a .257/.329/.374 (99 OPS+) with four home runs, 32 RBI, and 27 runs in 292 plate appearances. This includes an 8.9 percent walk rate,19.2 percent strikeout rate, and a 27.6 percent chase rate.
The outfielder works the count, does not chase outside of the strike zone often, and makes a lot of contact. However, he does not hit with nearly enough power to stick as a corner outfielder. Walking more is going to be how the lefty adds offensive value.
In fairness, González might be best-suited for a platoon role. He has posted a .768 OPS against right-handed pitching in 2022, so he gives the Giants leverage in that regard, but he has struggled to the tune of a .556 OPS in 89 plate appearances against southpaws.
Part of González's struggles could be a product of a roster imbalance. The Giants have four left-handed-hitting outfielders including González, Mike Yastrzemski, LaMonte Wade Jr., and Joc Pederson. Pederson and Wade Jr. are often used primarily in platoon matchups, but they have too many outfielders filling a similar role.
González flashed potential as a productive role player earlier in this season. He has hit a speed bump, but he will need to produce more with the bat to give the Giants confidence that he can be a role player next season.