It’s not surprising to hear the Giants connected to an outfielder, given the news yesterday that the club is looking to add there. But Pence represents quite an interesting target for the rebuilding Giants.
When last he plied his trade in San Francisco, Pence looked to be ramping down. He was highly productive for the organization after his mid-2012 acquisition, but turned in successive duds (87 wRC+ in 2017; 60 wRC+ in 2018) in his final two seasons.
Pence flipped that script with a 2019 revival. Over 316 plate appearances with the Rangers, he knocked 18 long balls and turned in a .297/.358/.552 batting line — good for a healthy 128 wRC+. Pence generated personal bests in hard contact (42.6%) and exit velocity (91.4 mph) while approximately doubling his average launch angle (10.1 degrees) over his prior output.
True, Pence was limited mostly to DH work last year and hasn’t graded terribly well in the field of late. But he’s still got quite a lot of spring in his legs. Statcast numbers show that Pence ranked in the 84.7th percentile in average sprint speed last year.
No doubt the Giants would view Pence as a part-time option who’d help bring along and supplement younger players. The presence of the beloved Pence, along with the just-re-signed Pablo Sandoval, would also go a long way towards comforting some segments of the fanbase that are less than enthused with the degree of recent roster turnover.