For the past couple of months, SF Giants fans have been clamoring for the front office to promote third base prospect David Villar. Their patience is being rewarded as the 25-year-old infielder is off to a solid start for his career.
SF Giants third base prospect making a solid first impression
Villar began to make a name for himself in 2021 when he set a Richmond single-season record by blasting 20 home runs. That record did not stand for long as another power-hitting prospect in Sean Roby eclipsed that total in the first week of July.
Nevertheless, Villar carried that momentum into 2022 as he torched Triple-A pitching, slashing .284/.409/.633 (141 wRC+) with 21 home runs, 62 RBI, and 53 runs in 281 plate appearances for the Sacramento River Cats before his promotion. It can be tough to evaluate a hitter in the Pacific Coast League (PCL) given how offensively-inclined the league is, but the Giants' new third baseman has continued to hit in the early going.
Since his promotion, Villar has recorded a .258/.385/.452 triple-slash line with one home run, five RBI, and four runs in 39 plate appearances. He has struck out in 33 percent of his plate appearances, but he is doing a lot of good things in the batter's box.
The right-handed bat's plate discipline and pitch selection improved as he faced better competition and that is one of his more impressive skills so far.
His approach at the plate fits the organizational philosophy to hitting in that he sees a lot of pitches and grinds out at-bats. He sees 4.37 pitches per plate appearance, which is much higher than the league average of 3.93 pitches for plate appearance.
Plus, he does not fish outside of the strike zone often. He only has a 25.6-percent chase rate, which is a very good mark, especially for a rookie.
A great example of his patience came in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 4-3 victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Villar stepped to the plate against Mark Melancon with a runner on first base and second base and no outs.
Melancon wanted Villar to hit a ground ball to the right side of the field to set up a double play. He threw four pitches just off of the outer half of the plate. Villar did not offer at any of the pitches, working a walk to load the bases and setting the stage for Brandon Crawford's walk-off single.
Villar was only promoted last week, so his numbers are still very much in small sample territory. However, there is an excitement to his at-bats and you can see the potential upside with his approach. The early returns have been encouraging.