LaMonte Wade Jr.'s breakout season with the Giants has made him a fan-favorite, earned him a sweet nickname and a giveaway t-shirt night at Oracle Park, and put him in the cleanup spot in Gabe Kapler's lineup. It also has caught the eye of the previous Giants manager.
Bruce Bochy, now a special advisor to the organization, said on Monday's Giants Talk podcast that Wade is one of his favorite players to watch.
"I love his swing. To me, if I'm a young hitter, I would watch him," Bochy said. "You know, he's even choking up on the bat, he's on the plate, he's looking for a pitch and he's looking to do something with it, do some damage. He's looking to pull it and get it in the air but he goes the other way, too. That's an ideal hitter for me. You don't cookie-cutter guys but if he has that ability that Wade has then that's the kind of hitter you want them to be."
It's no surprise that Bochy has been drawn to Wade, who has 18 homers in his first season with the Giants. While Bochy's teams in San Francisco didn't always hit a ton of homers, he often said there were few things he liked more than a three-run blast. Bochy would become especially frustrated when watching a young hitter with raw power fail to get the ball in the air, especially to the pull side.
Bochy credited the new Giants hitting coaches for the work they've done with Wade, along with the adjustments he made in the offseason when he went back to the University of Maryland to work with his old coaches there. The approach Giants hitters have taken is one he likes watching.
"They're hunting a pitch and if it's not their pitch they take it," he said. "It's been a fun offense to watch.
The Giants have 237 homers, the second-most in the big leagues. While newcomers like Wade have made huge contributions, it's some of Bochy's old stars who are leading the way. Brandon Belt hit 29 homers before suffering a thumb fracture that might end his season. Brandon Crawford has a career-high 23 homers and Buster Posey has 18.
Mike Yastrzemski, who broke out under Bochy in 2019, has 25.
"It's like they're feeding off each other, these veterans. They're leading the way and that's what they should be doing," Bochy said. "These guys are dangerous. I mean, one through eight, it's really amazing. They get down and you know they're going to come back.
"They're outclassing everybody to be honest."