San Francisco Giants: What Hunter Pence Means and What's Next
The Giants clearly needed more power in their lineup, and Pence is the perfect upgrade. Pence's 17 home runs now lead the team, and runs are a must with the team's rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers, upgrading their offense with the additions of Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino.
Not only does Pence add offense in general, he adds offense at AT&T Park. In 20 career games in San Francisco, Pence has hit .329 with five home runs and 10 RBI in 76 at-bats. The Giants sure could have used Pence's success in their recent 8-6 extra-innings loss to the New York Mets, with the team just missing several home runs.
Pence is the kind of player that every team wants. When you watch him, you will think the man has never swung a bat, but every fan will fall in love with him. Pence simply gets the job done. He is not outstanding at any one aspect of the game, but he is solid at every part of the game.
The real question is, where exactly does Pence fit?
Clearly Pence will be the starting right fielder, giving the Giants a very formidable outfield. Pence should find himself somewhere in the middle of the Giants lineup. Having Melky Cabrera, Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval (when healthy) and now Hunter Pence, gives the Giants four big weapons in their offense.
Though his power is a big upgrade, don't expect Pence to be hitting bombs left and right at AT&T Park.
First off, San Francisco simply isn't an easy park to hit home runs in unless you happen to be Barry Bonds. Sorry Giants fans, Pence isn't the second-coming of the home run king. However, Pence will hit in San Francisco.
Pence has been a very respectable overall hitter with a career slash line of .290/.342/.481. Look for Pence to take advantage of the gaps in AT&T and find the left field bleachers at times. The Giants clearly bolstered their offense by getting Pence.
This move may not have been a counter move to the Dodgers, but it makes for a fun race in the NL West, with two rivals gunning for each other. Pence will bring a hard-nosed attitude to the Giants and improve the team, both offensively and defensively.
The Giants should take a serious look at bringing prized prospect Gary Brown up to the big leagues.
Brown, a speedy center fielder, could be the leadoff hitter the Giants desperately need. The former first-rounder was having a bit of a disappointing season for the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels, hitting only .285/.352/.388 (not bad at all) in the first half of the season. As of late, though, Brown is on fire.
In July, Brown is hitting .355/.389/.573 with four home runs and eight stolen bases. Brown is clearly heating up, and the Giants better be paying attention.
On the season Brown is now hitting .288/.352/.406 with seven home runs and 29 stolen bases. Brown would be a big upgrade over Pagan in center and at the plate, with Pagan hitting .210 in July and injuring his hand in frustration. Even if Brown doesn't start everyday, he is also a better option than Gregor Blanco off the bench.
Sabean did a solid job at the trade deadline, and now he must look internally at Brown.
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