SF Giants: The 3 biggest surprises from the first half of the season
3. David Villar
This is not the surprise many fans expected when the season began. David Villar put his name on the map with an excellent performance with the Richmond Flying Squirrels last season where he set a franchise record by blasting 20 home runs.
The adjustment curve from Double-A to Triple-A can take time for some hitters but that was not the case at all with Villar. The right-handed bat mashed Pacific Coast League (PCL) pitching to the tune of a 1.043 OPS with 21 homers, 62 RBI, and 53 runs in 281 plate appearances with the Sacramento River Cats.
He remained in Triple-A longer than many fans wanted. With each passing game, the clamor for his promotion grew louder until his contract was selected at the beginning of July.
The early returns have been promising. He has shown a good feel for the strike zone, which is not a trait that you usually see with rookies.
It is a small sample, but Villar has registered a .222/.420/.389 line (130 OPS+) with one home run, five RBI, and five runs in 50 plate appearances. His 34 percent strikeout rate is a bit too high for comfort, but his plate appearances will result in the three true outcomes at a high rate.
Speaking of three true outcomes, he has walked in 22 percent of his plate appearances as well. That rate is not sustainable but he has done well to stay in the strike zone as he has a strong 21.9 percent chase rate.
Many rookies look overwhelmed against major league pitching. That has not been the case with Villar as he has a plan at the plate and does not often deviate from it.