Surprising breakout seasons from Giants outfielders Mike Yastrzemski and Alex Dickerson have created a plethora of headlines, and rightfully so. Don't overlook what Austin Slater has done, though.
Farhan Zaidi certainly hasn't.
"He's been a revelation for us," Zaidi, the Giants' president of baseball operations, said Thursday night on KNBR.
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Slater, 26, is batting .299 with four homers and a .952 OPS in 41 games for the Giants this season. His power numbers significantly have increased after hitting 12 homers and 17 doubles for Triple-A Sacramento this season, too.
The ability was always there for Slater but he crushed far too many balls into the ground. He reworked his swing this offseason -- his launch angle is up nearly four degrees this season -- and the results have followed. Now, manager Bruce Bochy is finding more ways to get Slater in the lineup.
"I think even Boch is trying to find different ways to get him in the lineup, not just against left-handed pitching. He's done well against righties, too. The at-bat quality is there, he's gotten some really big hits for us and he's played some really good defense for us in the outfield. He's fit in well with Pillar and Yaz."
Bochy usually slots Slater into his lineup against left-handed pitching -- he's hitting .349 against lefties this season compared to .266 when facing righties -- but just one of his eight career homers in the bigs have come off a right-hander.
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To get him in the lineup more often, Zaidi would like to see Bochy take advantage of Slater's defensive versatility.
"One thing that I think we're gonna want to take a look at -- it might not happen this year -- but he's obviously got some experience in the infield at first base and second base," Zaidi said. "That may be a way to get him more at-bats going forward."
Slater actually spent more time at first base than the outfield this season in Triple-A. He played 38 games at first compared to 17 in the outfield. Slater also played 11 games at third base and seven at second in Sacramento this year.
With Brandon Belt struggling against left-handed pitching, especially lately, it would make sense to slot Slater in at first more going forward. As the Giants slide down the NL wild-card standings, it's time to turn an eye towards 2020 and see where Slater and many others fit on this roster.