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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Matt Duffy: Overlooked (best) option for LF

Everybody and their mother are aware of the Giants lack of offense heading into the 2015 season, even more magnified now that they'll be without Hunter Pence for at least the first few weeks of April, if not all of it.

Now, the general consensus is Gregor Blanco will slide into left maybe platooning with Juan Perez a bit until Pence returns and moves Nori Aoki back to left. However, with the spring the kid has had, the way he seemed to come up big at times in clutch situations last fall, I'm wondering why the Giants haven't been more active at using Matt Duffy out in left field some more. He's a right-handed bat with power potential and a guy who's been raking all spring long (.383/2/12 with 1.101 OPS) and the Giants' light hitting order can use all the pop they can handle. As far as whether he'd be able to handle it, the 24 year-old infielder has played most his career on the left side of the diamond at shortstop, and has done outfield drills in spring. He's arguably had the best springs of any Giant outside of maybe Brandon Belt, and he's got to have a significant role on this team should that offense carry over into the regular season. If I'm Bochy, I'd be doing everything I could to get that kid as much time in left as possible before the opener and see whether he can be a legit, regular option there.

Each time I watch this guy play and check his box-score, I'm liking him more. The thing is, I don't want him on the roster if it's for 5 at-bats a week. If he makes the 25-man, it's gotta be with a role intended to get him some consistent pt, at least two starts per week. Otherwise they may as well have him polishing his game over in Sacramento for the time being. Based on what he did last year and how he's played this spring, that should not be the case though, and he should be getting platoon time with Blanco in left so long as he's at least at Morse's level with the glove, which I already know he surpasses. Justin Maxwell too is making a name for himself this spring so the only reason Duffy should be sent down is in order to ensure he's in the lineup daily in Sac. I personally would like to see him play role of Michael Morse and let Blanco sub in for him defensively to start the year and see how that goes, but I simply don't see that happening.
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The Giants Baseball Blog
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7 Comments:

  • At 7:53 PM, Anonymous Charlie Bagger said…

    I so agree with this. Perez is a mean defender but can't hit for squat. I love the idea of giving the young guys a chance look how well it worked last year with panick...

    Good post!

     
  • At 8:16 AM, Blogger obsessivegiantscompulsive said…

    Perez has already been sent down so he's not involved with anything happening at the MLB level.

    Perhaps if Maxwell made the team, then he and Blanco can platoon some, but technically, Aoki hit LHP better than RHP, so he and Blanco could technically platoon, even though both are LHH. So Bochy might just end up picking among these three for the starters depending on the opposing starting pitcher.

    Duffy might be showing some power this spring, but if you look at his career, both amateur and pro, he hasn't shown any power at all before. Even last season, his breakout season in Richmond, his ISO was a weak 112. For all we know, he's the second coming of Randy Elliott.

    Here's what I see as more important: get Duffy down to AAA so that he can start getting regular play at both 3B and 2B, as well as the OF. He could be a Zobrist type of player, playing multiple positions, giving rest to starters, particularly aging ones, while providing some offense as well. And doing it again in AAA would help show that 2014 was not a fluke, that he has developed some, and can contribute regularly to the MLB team.

    In addition, 3B is open next season, perhaps he and Duvall can battle for the starting position for 2016.

    I don't know what Aoki gets so little love. He is superior at OBP and at SB, better than Pagan, he should be the leadoff hitter, shifting Pagan to third, allowing Posey, Pence, Belt to bat in RBI situations.

     
  • At 11:41 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Obsessive-

    I agree with you in the sense that I'd rather have Duffy in AAA playing daily rather then getting 5-10 at-bats a week with the Giants, but I think throwing Panik into the fire worked fine last year and maybe could work with Duffy... I like the player and he's shown able to handle the outfield, but yeah, can't hurt to give him more seasoning over in Sac...

    I'm just into the youth movement, and I really do think Duffy does things that don't always show up in a box score plus he, to me, seems like a prototypical late-bloomer with his lenky, think frame.

     
  • At 11:43 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    I mean, Maxwell's had a nice spring and all, but is 32 with a lifetime .224/.311/.417 line which is none to flattering if you ask me.

    I do like the power potential though, he has another year like 2012 he could be our poor mans Mike Morse.

     
  • At 11:50 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    BTW, helluva comparison with Zobrist and Duffy. Although Duffy has a ways to go to get to that level, he could become that type of steady, play anywhere type of guy who can do a little bit of everything well.

    This, again, is why I'd like to see him up sooner then later, I think that if he tears it up in Fresno, he's flexible enough and Boch is creative enough to find him AB's....

    We'll just have to wait and see.

    I love this game! Can't wait till the 6th!

     
  • At 11:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Im just glad Maxwell made it over Perez. I think Perez is trash too. I can't recall really one time where he's made an impact in a game? Such a waste of roster space.

    I hope Diffy makes it too, his Home run on Wednesday was impressive. He's seems to be getting better and better. I think the offense will be just fine when Pence is back. I don't get all the worrying by everyone.

     
  • At 2:17 AM, Anonymous Jason Billingsley said…

    Well, the only reason to send Duffy down is if he isn't playing but hell, if he hits like he is now, he needs to be out there in left field. Who cares Blanco goes back to the bench, Duffy looks like a force this spring, so does Maxwell though and duff has options so that's probably that. I'd love to see it though, throw him into the fire like they did with Panik and id bet he'd produce too.

     

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