There is nothing that the SF Giants like more than a good platoon hitter and one recently became available. The Minnesota Twins designated experienced platoon hitter Jordan Luplow for assignment on Monday. Should the Giants take a flyer on him?
Should the SF Giants take a flyer on experienced platoon hitter?
It is mildly surprising that the Giants have not added Luplow in the past. After all, he has been available several times this season. This will be Luplow's third time on the waiver wire in 2023, so it does feel like if the Giants were interested, they would have added him by now.
Nonetheless, the Giants tried to fill a similar skill set when adding A.J. Pollock earlier this season. Of course, maybe the Giants just felt that they needed to hit some imaginary quota with the Seattle Mariners in that trade as well. Pollock tallied six hitless at-bats before landing on the injured list and eventually being released.
The concept of adding Luplow would follow a similar process. The Giants have posted a .250/.311/.283 line (92 wRC+) against left-handed piching this season. There is definitely room for improvement and that is where someone like Luplow comes into play.
In a way, Luplow has a similar skill set as Austin Slater in that both have strong numbers against lefties. Slater has posted a .284/.371/.462 line (130 wRC+) with a 10.6 percent walk rate, 22.6 percent strikeout rate, and a .178 ISO in his career in those platoon matchups.
The veteran hitter grinds out at-bats, finds ways to get on base, and does damage when he connects against southpaws. Luplow is not too dissimilar as he has a .228/.339/.500 (125 wRC+) with a 13.8 percent walk rate, 24.4 percent strikeout rate, and a .272 ISO in seven seasons against left-handed pitching.
Luplow's batting average is much lower than Slater's, but he does see a lot of pitches and gets on base at a good clip. The overall production in those matchups are not too far off between the two players.
And, the 29-year-old's numbers against lefties have continued to be strong in 2023 as he has posted an .820 OPS in 52 plate appearances. If the Giants want to inject a little more life into the lineup against lefties, claiming him would be one way to do so.
In the field, the right-handed bat has considerable experience at all three outfield positions. He can capably fill in as a center fielder but is better suited for the corners. That same could be said for Slater as well.
The fit would be imperfect as is the case with most players on waivers. Luplow has exhausted his third minor league option year this season and he is eligible for arbitration this winter after making $1.4 million in 2023. That is not significant money, but it would be a modest commitment to a fringe roster player.
Plus, the Giants lineup is at full strength at this point. It may have made more sense when Mitch Haniger was on the injured list, so the timing might not be right. Nonetheless, he has a track record for excelling in an area where the Giants are struggling. Even if it is an imperfect fit, it does make sense on some level.