After receiving a second opinion on his injured left AC joint, Giants outfielder Steven Duggar has received the best possible news, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle: he won’t require surgery. Instead, the 25-year-old is looking at a four-to-six week rehab timeline. He’ll still miss the remainder of the season, but it’s nonetheless encouraging that Duggar won’t need to undergo a procedure.
Of course, it’s a promising development for Duggar, who was recently rumored to be “leaning towards” surgery to repair the grade 3 strain he suffered shortly after returning to the Majors. However, a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache revealed that such a surgery won’t be necessary.
Notably, Duggar is no stranger to shoulder injuries—his 2018 season was cut short by a surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
The premature conclusion to Duggar’s first full Major League season represents the continuation of a string of frustrating developments. Once viewed by many as a key piece of the Giants’ future, he’s since been forced out of regular role, supplanted by surprising outfielders such as Mike Yastrzemski, Alex Dickerson, and Austin Slater, along with trade acquisition Kevin Pillar.
With the Giants experimenting with droves of outfielders in hopes of forging an above-average unit, Duggar has done little to distinguish himself. After a promising rookie season in which he posted a passable (if unspectacular) 92 OPS+, he’s seen his offensive output dip this season. His OPS has dropped to .619 while striking out in 27.7% of his plate appearances, compared to just a 5.7% walk rate. Of course, his value comes primarily as a defensive outfielder in a spacious San Francisco outfield: this year, he’s credited with 6 DRS between center and right field. As a consequence, he won’t need to hit as much as others in order to carve out a role on a Major League team, though that might mean his best-case outcome looks something like Ender Inciarte.
While there’s still time for the young outfielder to recoup his value, his development will have to wait until next season in light of the shoulder injury. And with emerging commodities in the San Francisco outfield, he won’t be short on competition as he seeks to prove his worth to a new front office.