Will Hunter Pence Maintain His Production in 2014?

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
Will Hunter Pence Maintain His Production in 2014?
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

In an otherwise painfully rough season, one of the few offensive bright spots for the San Francisco Giants in 2013 was right fielder Hunter Pence.

The Giants' season was mostly plagued with inconsistency, and just about everyone wearing a Giants uniform was a culprit. But Pence proved to be the exception, appearing in all 162 games while compiling a .283/.339/.483 line to go along with 27 HRs, 99 RBIs and 22 stolen bases.

The question, then, becomes whether we can expect Pence to repeat his performance in 2014. The best indicator is the Giants right fielder's steady production over the years.

Indeed, when it comes to consistency in power and run production, it doesn't get much better than Pence. The Giants right fielder's season lows in home runs, RBIs and runs in the last six seasons stand at 22 (2011), 72 (2009) and 76 (2009), respectively, which would be fantastic totals for just about anyone else in the Giants lineup.

In his career, Pence's 162-game average, per baseball-reference.com, consists of 25 home runs, 94 RBIs, 87 runs and 14 steals (on top of an .815 OPS). Considering he played in all 162 games last season, it's not a stretch to expect similar numbers in 2014.

Speaking of which, another element that defines Pence, aside from his consistency, is his rather impressive durability. He hasn't played in fewer than 154 games in any season in the majors other than when he was called up midway through the season in 2007, his rookie year.

That means the Giants can rely on Pence to show up every day and give 110 percent, something they haven't always been able to get out of their top hitters in the past. (i.e. Buster Posey's injury history, Barry Bonds eclipsed 150 games just once in his last nine seasons in San Francisco.)

Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Pence will also hit behind Brandon Belt and Buster Posey in 2014. Belt has the potential to really break out in 2014 if he hits like he did in the second half of 2013, and Posey has high expectations after adding muscle in the offseason to combat the fatigue of catching duties that may have led to his .244 second-half average in 2013.

Pence was still able to drive in 99 runs in 2013, despite dealing with a largely inconsistent group of batters hitting ahead of him. Since coming over to the Giants, Pence has proven to be a bona fide RBI machine (144 RBIs in 221 games), but his best run producing season yet could be 2014, thanks to the guys hitting in front of him.

The most reasonable expectation for Pence is a slight dip in average, with similar numbers otherwise across the board. I'd expect NL pitchers to learn how to better handle his over-aggressiveness (which reared its ugly head at times in 2013), and Pence's slightly-above-average .308 BABIP (per Fangraphs) could level out.

It's also unreasonable to expect Pence to repeat his unprecedented 22 steals in 25 attempts in 2013, as his 22 swipes nearly doubled his combined total from 2011 and 2012. But double-digit steals is still a near certainty.

If you're looking for power, run production and a clubhouse presence, Pence will once again be your guy in 2014.

Load More Stories

Follow San Francisco Giants from B/R on Facebook

Follow San Francisco Giants from B/R on Facebook and get the latest updates straight to your newsfeed!

San Francisco Giants

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.