The woes of the San Francisco Giants in left field have been well documented at this point. Pretty much since the disappearance of Barry Bonds, left field has been a problem for the black and orange. In fact, according to baseball-reference.com, the Giants have not had the same left fielder on Opening Day, since Bonds in 2006 and 2007. Not only have the Giants not had a player lay claim to the spot; they’ve started multiple players that spent most of their careers away from left. Here are the ten players to start in left since Bonds: Dave Roberts, Fred Lewis, Mark DeRosa, Pat Burrell, Aubrey Huff, Andre Torres, Michael Morse, Nori Aoki, Angel Pagan, and Jarrett Parker. A few of those players didn’t spend most of their career in the outfield.
The 2017 season is 5 games old for the Giants. Parker got the Opening Day start, but Chris Marrero and Aaron Hill have also seen starts out there so far. Generally, three different players haven’t started at one position less than a week’s worth of games into a season. To make matters worse, the left field position for the Giants has a grand total of…zero hits so far (Hill’s home run came as a 2nd baseman). Traditionally the corner outfield is a power spot, so the fact that they haven’t even been able to scrape out singles is unnerving, at best.
This morning the Giants agreed with Melvin Upton Jr. to a minor league contract, but the answer has been right there all along.
The player the Giants should be playing in left, can start there four out of every five games, and is currently 2nd on the club in home runs. That’s right. Madison Bumgarner!
You’re probably thinking this is crazy, but it may not be as insane as it seems. The San Diego Padres employ a two way player (pitcher/position) in Christian Bethancourt, and Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani announced yesterday he’ll be coming state side next year. For those of you who haven’t heard of Ohtani, he’s considered Japan’s version of Babe Ruth and pitches like Clayton Kershaw, while hitting like Bryce Harper. Baseball has seen the two way player before, and it may be making a comeback.
With that in mind, it could be possible to put Bumgarner in left and give him a shot. Last season, manager Bruce Bochy gave up the DH when playing in American League parks, and Bumgarner hit just fine for himself. For those worried about injuries, they can happen at anytime, and “MadBum” appears to be indestructible.
The Giants left field situation is in deep need of an overhaul, and a strong left handed hurler, who can crank them out of the ballpark as good as any of the sluggers, may just be the kick in the pants the “actual” left fielders need. Regardless, something has to change. Who says it has to be traditional?