San Francisco Giants: Outfield Options For The Reigning Champs


If you are a San Francisco Giants fan, or are at least a casual follower of the team, you know the dire situation they face with their injury plagued outfield. Hunter Pence is out for roughly the first month of baseball after sustaining a forearm fracture in a meaningless Spring Training game. Pence is the heart and soul of this close knit clubhouse, and is also a key contributor in San Francisco’s lineup.

But San Francisco’s injury woes don’t end there.

San Francisco Giants
San Francisco Giants /

San Francisco Giants

The table setter of the Giants batting order , Angel Pagan, is currently out with a back injury. He had two injections to his lower back in hopes of alleviating the consistent pain that has bothered him for the majority of this Spring Training. But it’s looking like he will be kept out of the Giants’ lineup until Monday or Tuesday of this upcoming week at the earliest.

According to William Boor of, Pagan’s latest injury setback was believed to be caused by his own mattress. Pagan took BP today and is targeting a return to the diamond on Tuesday.

These setbacks are potentially crippling to an anemic Giants offense already missing free agent departures Michael Morse and Pablo Sandoval.  The absence of their power, combined with the injuries San Francisco has sustained in the outfield, exposes the team’s problems even more.

At this moment, the light hitting Juan Perez, Gregor Blanco and Nori Aoki are the leading candidates to start in San Francisco’s outfield. Blanco and Perez have both made phenomenal defensive plays in the outfield this spring, but are widely considered to be far better with the leather, than with a bat. In baseball parlance, they are widely considered to be “banjo hitters.”

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Another intriguing name who is considered to be something of a longshot to make the Opening Day roster is Justin Maxwell. His minor league stats are not that impressive overall, but the amount of time he’s spent among the lower echelon teams in the Major Leagues, has no doubt taught him to take advantage of each and every opportunity handed to him by a big league club.

Maxwell did just that in a recent game, stroking a double to go along with his first homer of the spring. His bat will make him stand out in an outfield currently weak on hitting, but he will need to show that off more to have a possibility of making the major league squad.

Adam Duvall and Matt Duffy, both natural infielders, are also being mentioned as possibilities to bolder the outfield. Duvall has the power for the outfield, but his defense might be the main reason for his lack of playing time. Duvall was used primarily as a right handed power bat off the bench for the reigning champs and the organization is well aware of his strengths as well as his weaknesses.

Mar 6, 2015; Surprise, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants second baseman Matt Duffy hits a home run against the Texas Rangers during a spring training baseball game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Duffy is tearing the cover off the ball in this spring, as he’s hitting .387 overall and recently tallied his second home run. Duffy looks to have a better chance of making the move to the outfield, as the middle infield is locked up with two talented, young studs in Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik.

Gary Brown is another interesting name from the Giants’ farm system that has resurfaced as the potential internal answer to the outfield problems. He is now 25, but the 2010 first round draft pick has the speed and defensive skills to help the team out. His stock has faded over the past few seasons, but he still was drafted in the first round for a reason.

Brandon Belt has been mentioned as a possibility to move to the outfield — an experiment that has already taken place, but one whose results are still uncertain. He has played 35 games in the outfield, but only one inning in the past 2 seasons. San Francisco skipper Bruce Bochy has admitted that Belt might get the chance to make a name for himself in the outfield, but it’s still up in the air at this point.

If Belt is actually moved to the outfield, that opens up the option of having minor league hitting phenom Adam Duvall move out of his tricky situation — the one where a player can rake at the plate, but can’t field a position at a major league caliber. Hector Sanchez playing first base is a little more farfetched, but he’s shown a knack for hitting from the left side and has been reported to be in the best shape of his professional career.

Allen Craig is another name that the Giants have been linked to recently, as he is currently one of the expendable members of the logjam in the outfield that Boston has accumulated. The Sox want a handsome return however, and this makes the deal less likely to happen as San Francisco typically does not like to part with young, homegrown talent, which has been their blueprint to building a championship franchise.

According to Jeff Todd of, there are claims that the Giants are interested in a power bat for their outfield and have been linked to Tyler Moore, the 1B/OF power hitter with the Washington Nationals. Moore is a player who would add instant power to a weak Giants lineup. This 25 year old out of Mississippi State has been lightly used by the Nats and he would be one of the top power options if he were to don the orange and black this year. His stats show that he is a kind of hitter that will swing hard and look to take pitchers deep — something that may not fit well for the Giants philosophy or ballpark.

After looking at all of the options, it seems fairly safe to say that Giants fans are hoping for a speedy recovery from Hunter Pence, while also praying that Pagan has a few more seasons left in his back. Because if not, the pressure will be on the Giants to make some big moves to bring in an outfielder that can actually carry his his own weight.

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