The San Francisco Giants have had one of the worst outfields in the history of major league baseball this season. However, over the last couple of weeks the Giants have started to get production from some unlikely sources. Alex Dickerson has had a 1.211 OPS since being called up to the major league team, Tyler Austin has continued to be one of the biggest home run threats on the roster and Austin Slater has been on fire in the few games since returning to the majors for the first time this year. On top of this they have been getting roughly league average from, grandson of Carl Yastrzemski, Mike Yastrzemski.
The Giants have struggled to get offensive production from the outfield for the last few years. Left field has been a problem for even longer, with a different player starting opening day in left field since Barry Bonds retired in 2007. This unlikely group represent a start for the Giants rebuild. They have shown that Farhan Zaidi’s way of doing things can bring results for the Giants even if these players are never part of a winning team.
Yastrzemski, Dickerson and Tyler Austin are players that have had struggles with other organisations and were acquired cheaply by the Giants. This is Zaidi’s strategy, to acquire players that other teams do not want and give them a chance. This strategy allows for a fluid roster as there is little risk if a player does not pan out. This is not the first group of players to have been tried out by Zaidi in the outfield this season. Earlier in the season Michael Reed, Connor Joe and Mac Williamson were playing in the outfield with very limited success.
During this rebuild there will be many players that do not pan out. However, the process of heavily rotating the roster is starting to work. Zaidi is now managing to get value out of players that previously had no value. For the Giants at this point, how they got there is irrelevant.
Unlike the other three, Austin Slater has been in the Giants organisation long term. However, he has mainly been a contact hitter with low power numbers. Since he was last playing in the majors Slater has been working on his swing, in order to elevate the ball more. This is also a theme around Zaidi’s management. Justin Turner, Chris Taylor and Max Muncy all revamped their swings when Zaidi was the Dodgers general manager. For all three players this turned their careers around.
The Giants may still be a long way from contending but the new approach from the front office is starting to work and a productive outfield means we are well and truly entering a new era of Giants baseball.