The Giants want an outfielder capable of tracking down fly balls left and right, behind and in front, as their center fielder in 2018. That won't be Denard Span, who turns 34 in February.
Steven Duggar, celebrating his 24th birthday on Saturday, could soon be the solution.
"A lot of things come natural for him in the outfield," Brian Sabean said to Alex Pavlovic in early October. "His reads, his breaks, his ability to outrun the ball, is very impressive."
Duggar's hitting ability has always taken a bit of a back seat to his defense despite putting up encouraging numbers in the minor leagues. Over three years in the minors, Duggar is a career .292 hitter with 17 home runs.
"While the bat is still on the come, he should be a complementary type of offensive player in a major league lineup," Sabean said in the same interview with Pavlovic. "Now, is he let’s say top of the order? I don’t know if we have enough information."
In the Arizona Fall League, Duggar is beginning to find his stroke while showing the patience of an ideal table setter for the Giants. After trying to catch up at the plate against elite prospect pitching, Duggar is on a four-game hitting streak where he is batting .438 (7-for-16).
Duggar went 2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored Thursday to continue his recent surge at the plate. Through 14 games, Duggar is now slashing .269/.381/.308. He leads the Scottsdale Scorpions in stolen bases, going a perfect 8-for-8 so far, and is second on the team with nine walks.
If it weren't for injuries, Duggar only played in 44 games this past season, the Giants most likely would have given him a shot at the bigs already. With an aging roster as it is, especially in the outfield, the Giants can hand the keys to the Clemson product and let him develop in San Francisco.