On Wednesday, we looked at the projected group of position players for Opening Day. In doing this exercise, it became clear that the SF Giants have several right-handed infield options, but they are very light on left-handed-hitting infielders, especially middle infielders.
The SF Giants are extremely light on left-handed-hitting middle infielders
That was the role that Tommy La Stella was expected to fulfill but that did not come to fruition as he struggled through two seasons before being released earlier this month. San Francisco cleared that roster spot but did not necessarily have a replacement in mind.
As currently constructed, the Giants have two left-handed-hitting infielders in Brandon Crawford and LaMonte Wade Jr. Crawford brings a steady presence to shortstop as he has been one of the more durable and productive shortstops over the last decade.
On the other hand, the Giants are hoping that Wade Jr. can rebound from a rough 2022 campaign in which he posted a .665 OPS in 217 plate appearances while making multiple trips to the injured list.
The problem is, neither Crawford or Wade Jr. are versatile. The Giants do not need versatility from Crawford because he is so reliable. However, the only infield position Wade Jr. will play is first base, meaning that San Francisco does not have a proven left-handed bat at second base or third base.
The Giants have Isan Díaz and Brett Wisley on the 40-man roster. Díaz has appeared in parts of three seasons with the Miami Marlins, seeing time at second base and third base. Regardless of the position, the defensive metrics do not paint a favorable picture of his defense as he has been worth -12 Outs Above Average (OAA) at second base and -3 OAA at third base throughout his career.
OAA indicates that he struggles to move laterally and flashes a below-average arm. This likely limits his defense to the right side of the field. Similarly, Wisely is not known for his defense with Fangraphs referring to him as a bat-first utility infielder.
So, the Giants might have some coverage from the left side at second base, but they really do not have a left-handed-hitting third baseman on the 40-man roster. If you go further down the depth chart, a pair of left-handed-hitting minor leaguers have experience on the left side of the infield in Ford Proctor and Colton Welker.
The Giants briefly saw Proctor at the end of 2022 but removed him from the 40-man roster earlier this winter. Welker was claimed off of waivers by the Colorado Rockies after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery.
Proctor has struggled to hit in Triple-A, but he has posted a .367 on-base percentage across four minor league seasons. Welker was a top prospect at one point but he has just 224 plate appearances as a pro since the start of 2020. He just needs to stay on the field.
This is all to say that the Giants still have a need for infield help. They may not addess it through free agency or the trade market, but this feels like an area where they are extremely light. It is an odd issue given how the Giants leverage platoon matchups. They cannot really rely on two lefty infield bats for extended period of time.