The Giants have recalled outfielder/infielder Austin Slater to make his season debut, the team announced. In a corresponding move, right-hander Dereck Rodriguez was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento for the second time this season. Slater will be the 12th different outfielder used by the Giants in 2019. Five of the previous outfield options are no longer with the organization.
Now 26 years old, Slater showed some promise when he was called up for his big league debut in 2017, hitting at a .282/.339/.402 clip with three home runs in 127 plate appearances. Over a larger sample of 227 plate appearances the following season, however, Slater’s strikeout rate spiked from 22.8 percent to 30.7 percent as his batting line dipped to .251/.333/.307. He posted characteristically strong numbers in Triple-A last year, but his struggles led him to pursue some changes to his swing mechanics in the offseason, as recently explored at McCovey Chronicles.
Within that interview Slater admitted to struggling with his new swing in Spring Training, but the results so far in 2019 have been promising. Slater has posted a .308/.436/.529 line with a dozen homers and 17 doubles in 296 plate appearances. The Pacific Coast League is a known hitters’ haven, so the numbers are surely a bit inflated, but it’s also worth noting that Slater is walking at a career-best 15.5 percent clip as well.
Perhaps most interesting with Slater is the manner in which he’s been deployed defensively in Sacramento. While he’s primarily been a corner outfielder and first baseman in recent seasons, Slater has played all three outfield positions as well as first base, second base and third base. That marks his first real exposure to third base and his first significant action at second base since playing 96 games there back in 2015. If he’s able to continue his hot hitting in the big leagues, he could be deployed all over the diamond and give manager Bruce Bochy some flexibility when making moves late in games.
The demotion for Rodriguez, 27, is the latest speed bump in what’s been a disappointing season for the righty. Rodriguez looked like a needle-in-a-haystack find for the Giants last season when he parlayed a minor league contract into a 2.81 ERA / 3.74 FIP over the course of 118 1/3 innings. The organization surely hoped that Rodriguez could be a long-term option, at least at the back of the rotation, but he’s struggled to a 5.27 ERA in 2019. Rodriguez’s walk and home-run rates have soared while his strikeout rate has simultaneously dipped. San Francisco has also tried him in the bullpen, but Rodriguez has yielded 10 runs in 15 innings out of the bullpen. Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle suggests (via Twitter) that the plan for him is to go to Sacramento and get regular work as a starter once again.
Slater was overdue to return…..hitting ball well in AAA and very versatile
Hmmm, I think I read that somewhere???
If history is any marker, Giants outfielders hitting well in AAA means diddly squat in the majors.
IMO Dereck is not a bullpen guy. He needs to start!
Definitely, but he needs to tweak something and to do that he probably needs 4 or 5 minor league starts to just figure it out.
This is a lost year for the Giants. Leave Derrick in Sacramento to refine his arsenal Let him add another out pitch and work on it. Have the pitching coaches work with his spin rate on both the fastball and his curve ball.
Remember the guy was an outfielder that transitioned to a pitcher. Give him time to grow into the role. There is no rush for Derrick. Let him become a pitcher instead of a thrower. This club isn’t going anywhere. What’s the rush?
Thats awesome, Derek doesn’t have the arsenal to be a quality SP or a reliever. Slater has shown consistency throughout his career in the minors. Next Shaw needs to come up, probably when they trade Sandoval.
I think the long line of outfield failures continues as follows, Parker, Williamson, Shaw. Everyone sees the home runs these guys hit. They forget about the less than average defense, the massive strikeout rates (+25%), no plate discipline (1 walk for every 12 strikeouts), and the batting averages that hover between .190 to .230.
The Giants sent Shaw to Richmond to see if he can make more contact. There has been a huge disconnect in the Giants minor league coaching of drafted outfielders with power. I don’t think three months in Richmond will change anything with Shaw.
Steve, it isn’t just the Pacific coast league, it’s all of AAA, they’re using MLB balls now from what I hear, and we all know that those balls carry a lot further than your standard ball that they are using in the lower minors
Nice to see Slater back but I hope Dickerson is considered their everyday left fielder at this point. And I’m liking Yas and Pillar too. Slater is a good 4th outfielder. No rush for Duggar to return. He has no bat and his defense doesn’t make up for it in the slightest.
Rodriguez clearly has some things to figure out in Sacramento and will hopefully return to last year’s form.
If Pillar could draw more than 1 walk a month he would be useful, but that OBP is hard to have in the lineup every day.
What are you liking about Yaz and Pillar? Have you looked at their stats?
Slater is by far better than Yaz. They need to cut ties with Austin. He’s terrible
One of the very few “feel good” stories from last year has struggled this year. There is no reason to rush Rodriquez’ development along. This team isn’t going anywhere.
The Giants pitching coaches need to work with Rodriquez to develop another out pitch. His location has been terrible this year. The same can be said about Suarez who has a better pitch selection than Ridruquez. It has to be discouraging to come into spring training after 2018 and have your slot in the rotation taken by the likes of Pomeranz and Holland (now relegated to the bullpen).
Let’s hope that Anderson, and Beede continue to develop and both Suarez and Rodriquez return to 2018 form. This would certainly bode well for the Giants future starting rotation. Rodriquez should be looking at some of the changes that Beede incorporated in his spin rate. When Beede is on, he is filthy. Anderson just looks like a big league pitcher and has great ball movement.
Following the Giants minor league development, the work shown by Menez, Hjelle, and Santos stands out. Logan Webb should be returning from suspension soon.
Chins up Andrew and Derrick. Rome wasn’t rebuilt in a day after Nero (Baer, Evans, Bochy, Sabean) burnt it to the ground.
I think Pillar goes by 7/31/2019.
I doubt it. That’s one of Zaidi’s guys. He’s also the stable veteran presence in a dysfunctional outfield.
Also, he’s really picking it up as of late and the giants could really use some offense.
Never thought he’d be leading the team in RBI’s …and by a lot
Pillar increasing his trade value, but he has come alive.
Trade pillar. Let Austin, Duggar, Dickerson, Slater and whoever else they acquire or bring up battle it out. Pillar doesn’t fit their long turn plans. Slater earned this promotion, hopefully he takes advantage
I believe Pillar, Slater, and Dickerson are the type of hitters the Giants need. Pillar has the launch angle that Slater is trying to establish. The rest of the cast are the hitters that need to go.
Age standpoint, he’s a bit older. Have to keep the other older guys due to bad contracts but I’m guessing they move pillar.
Slater should have been with the team long ago, especially over the cast of nobodies they’ve had come through the outfield this year.
He’s shown more than just about anybody else they’ve brought up over the last few years, but yet they always seem reluctant to give him playing time
Let Slater play!
I like Slater’s bat and the potential he’s shown with it, but there’s more to the game than that. And it’s not that he’s a bad defender. But I remember him making a number of bone-head plays, both running the bases, and throwing to the wrong base. I hope he’s used his AAA time, to not only work on his swing, but to just play the game better as well.
And dropping fly balls. He’s earned his recall and hopefully he’s more polished now
Lets hope so. I’d hate to see him making the last out at 3B again.
Dropping those fly balls, Kind of like Pillar who now has five errors in the outfield this year. But, before management goes off and trades him, let Pillar sit down with B. Posey, B. Crawford, B. Belt and tell them what it’s like searching for a new home when you are an aging “once was”. At least Pillar drives in runs, something that Buster has been dreaming about for three years.
As for fielding, Crawford is not rated in the top ten shortstops in baseball. His current WAR is -0.2.
It is good to see Slater back. Would love to see his bat in the lineup replacing Panik -0.2 WAR or Solano -0.2 WAR at second base. Keep an eye on Bochy who has never liked Slater. Slater will get his starts against Kershaw, Greinke Bueller, etc.
Does that mean Yaz is gone when Duggar comes back?
Duggar needs to stay in aaa
“numberFire’s models expect Yastrzemski to record 4 homers, 14 RBI, and 12 runs scored over the rest of the season.” Duggar does not seem capable of those meager numbers.
I think Pillar is the odd man out. He is hitting well enough and driving in enough runs to warrant a trade deadline move.
Meanwhile what in the heck happened to DRod? He got blasted Sunday.
No Dickerson in the lineup again!?!? It’s like the Giants don’t want to find starting outfielders.
It is the Bochy way.
Dickerson went 2 entire seasons without a single AB because of a back injury and TJ surgery. Bochy is bringing him along slowly to try and protect him physically. It’s clear Dickerson isn’t going anywhere, and this year, neither are the Giants, at least as far as the postseason goes. Why push the guy in meaningless games? They’re trying to conserve Dickerson for when the games will actually mean something.
Lefty pitcher. Prior injury history. I believe they’re facing 3 lefties in SD. That’s why Slater is here and Duggar was left in Sacramento
Anyone else see Panik laugh when Longoria was hit by a pitch? It looked odd seeing everyone else in the duggout concerned or angry while he’s there smiling.
Panik is gone anyway. -0.2 WAR, Can’t hit his way out of a paper sack. Terrible base runner. Marte is what Panik should have been had he put in the work.
As we see with Dickerson now sitting the bench, when do you think Slater will start again. Right now with Slater and Dickerson, they should be playing every day to see if the Giants have a right and left fielder going into next year.
Everybody say a prayer tonight for Samardzija. if he can string back to back starts like tonight we may be able to get rid of him.
Its sad watching Rodriguez struggle. Everyone knew he was gone after his last outing. What I want to know is how come Melancon never gets sent down.. Must be those pictures of Bochy and Baer with those sheep. Now you know why Baer wanted that phone so bad from his wife.
Because Melancon is making like 14M a year. He ain’t going anywhere.
Slater is on a fire!
Who are these guys and what did they do with the Giants? Exept Panik. Why is he still there?
Time to get Dickerson back in left field and look for a home for Tyler Williamson errr Mac Austin,
Well, Posey should be out of gas tomorrow so we should see Vogt behind the plate. Which means that the Giants will have another RBI bat in the lineup. This game marked the fourth consecutive game that Posey has not batted in the 3 hole. Three of those four games have resulted in double-digit run totals.
The team is doing well with Crawford on the bench. Solano is not as good in the field but is batting ;close to 100 points higher.
Is it me or does Longoria actually look like he is in shape. This past week he has looked better than at any time since the trade.
Let’s get a sweep tomorrow. Go Giants!
3 days off for Dickerson. Bochy sure knows how to cool a guy off.
I agree, this is the best Longo has looked in a Giants uniform. And I’m glad to see it.
Hopefully Craw and Panik are thrown in with a potential Bumgarner or Smith trade. Giants can’t expect to win with a middle infield batting just above .200
I still prefer Tyler Austin to Duggar.
I’m not sold on Duggar either but he is a terrific defensive player. Much better than Pillar. I’m wondering when we see Gerber? Also tonight Suarez threw 8 innings of one-hit ball. Good to see Suarez starting to throw well. There are many more changes yet to come.
Ok, just because pillar has had only 5 errors doesn’t mean that Duggar is a better defensive player. Pillar is our best defensive OF in our lineup. How many doubles and triples do you think players would’ve gotten if pillar wasn’t snatching them away midair? All of them. Sure Duggar is a great defensive player, I mean he has no errors for the year, but he wouldn’t be able to get more than half of those outs that pillar has recorded.
I see what you’re trying to say upandcomer, but I disagree. I think Pillar is a good defensive outfielder (even though he makes bizzare, bonheaded plays thus the 5 errors), but Duggar is fast and gets excellent jumps. I think he takes away many hits as well, but the ones he takes away are from good jumps and not having to make a lot of diving plays. Either way, I hope Duggar picks up the bat, because he has a lot of talent.
I’d love a nice, young outfield of Slater, Duggar, Dickerson, and Reynolds (oh wait, they traded him and he’s hitting ,360 now)
I have to agree with the stray cow on this one. Duggar’s quick reads on balls hit, plus his angles of pursuit, clearly make him the best defensive outfielder on the Giants. He doesn’t need to dive for many fly balls, because he is already there when the ball drops.
What has been surprising to me is the timeliness of Pillar’s hits and the power he has shown. His 12 home runs plus 47 RBIs are well ahead of his 7-year career highs of 16 home runs and 59 RBIs. He has delivered at the plate. I also think some of his errors are the result of his wish to prove Toronto’s management wrong.. I’m sure after spending 7 years as Toronto’s defensive Superman, being traded had to sting. Some of his errors appear to be from trying too hard to impress management or to affect the game being played.
Definitely understand. Duggar is absolutely one of our better outfielders and has great jumps so he doesn’t have to make diving plays most of the time. I just wish his hitting was a lot better. I just still think pillar is a better defensive player. But I mean these are all opinions and I’m not trying to force you guys into thinking that pillar is a better OF than Duggar.
Pillar is definitely tho one of our best hitters in the lineup, and longo is having a comeback, I can feel it!
Since we will probably not make it into the playoffs they should put sandavol as a starter pitcher;)
Soooo your attempt to disparage Posey as a terrible middle of the order hitter is to point out how when they hit him in the 4 hole, they scored in the double digits 3 straight times?
Wow, Slater gets called up snd we have new 50 comments. This guy was stinking up the joint with his lackluster defense and inability to hit in any pressure situations. what’s going to be different this time. Let’s package him and Panik to NY for Wheeler.
Not sure what you’re talking about because he has good numbers with RISP, especially for a guy without much service time. He is just about to enter his prime, and has produced at every level of professional baseball.
Stats with RISP:
2019 (AAA): 323/456/516
2018 (AAA): 291/349/418
2017 (AAA): 356/426/578
2016 (AAA): 393/521/607
He seems to have a track record of succeeding in crucial situations, quite the opposite of the inability to hit.