San Francisco Giants San Francisco Giants

San Francisco Giants: Who’s Left for Left Field?

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Sep 30, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Austin Jackson (right) prepares on deck at the beginning of a game with the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Austin Jackson

If the Giants are looking for an outfielder they can stick in left field while also providing protection in center field, and who can also take over as the everyday center fielder after Angel Pagan‘s contract runs out, Austin Jackson is probably their best bet among these options.

Jackson isn’t a game-changer, but is a good enough player to provide the Giants with a solid everyday outfielder. He’s an excellent defensive outfielder with great speed, which is a combination that the Giants haven’t had in left field in years. In 2011 as a member of the Detroit Tigers, Jackson earned the Fielding Bible Award for American League center fielders (it’s not quite a Gold Glove, but it’s a thing).

Offensively, Jackson uses his speed to make his biggest impact. He’s stolen at least 20 bags three times (in 2010, 2011, and 2014), hit at least 30 doubles three times (in 2010, 2013, and 2014), and has led the American League in triples twice (in 2011 and 2012). His career strikeout rate of over 23 percent is a little higher than the Giants’ 2015 rate, but it shouldn’t be enough to turn the team off completely.

Jackson is young enough to be considered a long-term option for the Giants, as he will turn 29 years old on February 1st. The main downside would be Jackson’s inexperience in left field. He’s played 836 of his 856 career games in center field, with just 22 appearances in right field, and four in left field. His defensive prowess would make one think he can handle a corner job on a regular basis.

Next: Gerardo Parra