SF Giants manager Bob Melvin needs to find a way to keep hot-hitting infielder in the lineup

Los Angeles Angels v San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Angels v San Francisco Giants / Brandon Vallance/GettyImages

Brett Wisely is off to a hot start, posting an .807 OPS through 70 plate appearances in 2024. SF Giants manager Bob Melvin needs to continue riding the hot hand while it lasts.

SF Giants manager Bob Melvin needs to find a way to keep hot-hitting infielder in the lineup

The Giants activated Nick Ahmed from the injured list before the three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. He started the first two games of the series given that the Giants faced a pair of lefty starters in Tyler Anderson and Patrick Sandoval. Wisely sat on the bench.

However, Ahmed sat in the third game of the series with the Angels employing a bullpen game started by hard-throwing righty Ben Joyce. The Giants notched a 13-6 win over the Angels and Wisely played a key part in that. He laced a two-run double in a surprising nine-run fourth inning against the Angels. Overall, he tallied two hits in six at-bats with three RBI.

On the other hand, Ahmed has a .581 OPS with no home runs in 126 plate appearances with the Giants. He has generally been a solid option against left-handed pitching, so I can understand the desire to use him in those matchups.

However, there is a pretty easy solution to this. Slide Wisely over to second base against lefties. Thairo Estrada has posted a respectable .704 OPS against southpaw pitchers in his career. In 2024, he has a .647 OPS with eight home runs in 272 plate appearances. Estrada has played excellent defense at second base, but in order to milk more production out of the lineup, it might make sense to use Wisely at second base against lefties for the time being.

Wisely is slashing .313/.329/.478 (130 wRC+) with two home runs, 12 RBI, and nine runs in 70 plate appearances this season. This includes a 2.9 percent walk rate, 21.4 percent strikeout rate, and a .164 ISO. He is benefitting from a .373 babip, so some regression will likely occur.

While Heliot Ramos' breakout season is exciting, Wisely's production so far has seemingly come out of nowhere. He looked overmatched last season as he struggled to the tune of a .497 OPS in 131 plate appearances.

What has led to his improved production at the plate? It is hard to ignore that he is consistently hitting the ball harder than he did last year. He has an average exit velocity of 90.3 MPH and a hard-hit rate of 43.8 percent. Both marks are well above average. The lefty bat is also making more contact on pitches in the zone, posting a 92.0 percent zone contact rate this year.

Some of his improved offense seems to come down to better swing decisions. During his time in the minors, he generally excelled at covering the inner part of the plate. He showed that on Sunday when he lined a two-run double on a hanging slider from José Suarez.

Finding ways to keep Wisely's bat in the lineup should be relatively easy. He has experience at shortstop, second base, and center field. Perhaps, getting more offense out of the shortstop position is the greatest need, but there is still some playing time at the other two postions. Who knows how long Wisely's hot streak will go, but for now, Bob Melvin needs to ride the hot hand.