With the 50-game suspension of Melky Cabrera (and the announcement of him not coming back in the playoffs), a huge hole was created in left field. The Giants have created a nice system there, platooning Nady and Blanco. But, it’s definitely a weak area, and it makes the Giants weaker as a team.
Pence and Pagan are both great players. Pence is a free swinger, but he has lots of power and can easily change a game with one speed. Pagan is a great hustler who has some power, but has used the space of AT&T Park to shatter the franchise record for triples (he has 15, and the old record was 12). He leads off for the Giants, and he has excelled there.
Just like Pagan, Blanco is great on defense. He saved Matt Cain’s perfect game with a breathtaking catch, and he’s supported his pitchers with amazing catches numerous times this year. He gets on base a lot, despite his high strikeout rate and tendency to be very on-and-off. Blanco is a decent guy to have patrolling left field and providing speed and hustle at the bottom of the order.
Nady is very different from Blanco. He has the ability to take pitches and work the count, but he also has a tendency to chase pitches and strike out a lot. Nady is a very streaky hitter, but luckily for the Giants, he has done well since joining the team. In 29 at-bats, Nady has nine hits (for a .310 batting average) and six RBI. In his first at-bat with the Giants, he hit a three-run double to spark a 5-2 win over the Chicago Cubs.
Even though Nady has done well with the Giants, I have trouble trusting him in the postseason. Luckily for me, Blanco will be starting more often than not, and Nady will mostly be regulated to pinch-hitting duty. Blanco is a lefty and Nady is a righty, and the Reds have four righties. The Nationals, the other team the Giants could play, will have two lefties and two righties in their playoff rotation.
Blanco isn’t great, and neither is Nady. But the fact that the Giants need a left fielder means that Nady and Blanco are both locks for the playoff roster, and the same goes for Pence and Pagan. That leaves one roster spot open, and it’s up to Justin Christian and Francisco Peguero to seize control of it.