When Bruce Bochy first became the Padres' manager in 1995, he had a speedy, left-handed hitting Steve Finley roaming center field and swiping stolen bases. Finley was 30 years old in 1995. Steven Duggar wasn't even two years old yet.
Fast forward 23 years later and Bochy may have his new Finley, but he throws right handed and is younger at 24 years old.
"As far as talent, they're both good runners, good ballplayers, smart ballplayers, and they're both built the same," Bochy said to Mike Krukow after comparing Duggar to Finley in the second inning of the Giants' spring training game Sunday against the Dodgers.
Bochy sees more than just a talent comparison with the two. "I'll tell ya, not just in his style of play -- left-handed hitter and a great defender, but the way he looks. He looks like Steve Finley's kid." Bochy even said he saw Finley before spring training and told Finley he had to come to Scottsdale to meet Duggar.
The rookie is looking to make his case to be the Giants' Opening Day center fielder and put on quite the display against the Orange and Black's biggest rival. Duggar has started off hot at the plate this spring and has flashed his glove that everyone can't stop talking about. Bochy is certainly taking notice.
"He's got a chance to make this club," Bochy said. "We're giving him a lot of playing time. He's a gifted defender. The hitting part -- he's gonna be a good hitter.
"He's intriguing because the defense he's bringing. He's gonna bring speed. He's got discipline at the plate and for a young hitter trying to make the major leagues, the discipline he's got, it works the way he can get on base and work pitchers. We're taking a good, hard look at him."
And only a few minutes later, Duggar showed how gifted of a defender he is. With the bases loaded and Jeff Samardzija struggling in a long second inning, Chase Utley came to the plate. The veteran smoked a line shot to center field and Duggar ended the inning with a smooth diving catch.
The Giants badly need more athleticism in the outfield after seeing balls continuously drop or get over their head last season. Samardzija and the rest of the pitching staff may soon have a new best friend.
"To see someone out there go get the ball makes my job a whole lot easier. That's such an important part of the game. Up the middle -- center field, short, second. Obviously we got the catcher on lock, short and second so we're not worried about that.
"It's good to see someone in center running that ball down and having fun doing it. It looks real natural for him and he plays the ball real well in the air," Samardzija said of Duggar on the NBC Sports Bay Area broadcast.
Already showing off his glove, it was time for Duggar to grab another tool from his bag in the next inning with his bat. In the bottom of the third inning, Duggar stepped in against Kenta Maeda and crushed a hanging curveball over the right-field fence.
The home run was Duggar's third of the spring in seven games. Duggar finished the day 1-for-1 with the home run, a walk, and raised his batting average to .412.
In Bochy's first season as a manger, his center fielder hit 10 home runs, stole 36 bases and went on to win a Gold Glove. This season, the manager is being pushed by Finely 2.0 and the veteran Giants could soon have a fresh face leading the outfield.