The Giants announced to reporters, including Maria I. Guardado of MLB.com, a series of roster moves prior to tonight’s game. Trade acquisition J.D. Davis has been activated, while outfielder Bryce Johnson has had his contract selected. Left-hander Sam Long and infielder Jason Vosler were optioned to make room on the active roster. The club already had an opening on the 40-man roster, so no corresponding move will be required for Johnson’s addition.
Johnson, 26, was selected by the Giants in the sixth round of the 2017 draft. This is his first selection to an MLB roster and he will be making his major league debut whenever he gets into a game. As pointed out by Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter links), the Giants have been trying to find ways to improve their defense and Johnson is a glove-first center fielder. The Giants as a whole have a -36 Defensive Runs Saved on the year, putting them 29th in the majors in that regard. Their -29 Outs Above Average is also second-last. Their -29 Ultimate Zone Rating is even worse, coming in dead last. Johnson can hopefully give them a boost in that department.
Johnson has spent the entire year in Triple-A, playing 74 games and hitting .283/.352/.397 for a wRC+ of 91. He’s already stolen 24 bases on the year, something he has a penchant for, swiping at least that many bags in each season since he was drafted.
It seems that speed and defense might be the highlights of his game, with his bat a little less exciting. However, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle points out, there might be platoon opportunities. Though he’s a switch-hitter, Johnson has much better results this year against lefties. He has a .361/.446/.569 line against southpaws but a .249/.309/.321 on the flip side. The Giants have three lefty hitters in their outfield mix right now in Mike Yastrzemski, LaMonte Wade Jr. and Luis Gonzalez, which could allow the club to figure out ways to maximize Johnson’s efforts.