Remember yesterday, when I pointed out that Hunter Pence was having the worst month of any Giants regular? That was true, but the key word was "regular." If you expanded the search to, say, 25 plate appearances, Gregor Blanco’s August has actually been much worse. The worst month of any position player this year, to be specific*. His .237 OPS was one of the worst months of any position player with more than 25 plate appearances in the AT&T Park era.
So in some way, this is almost a relief. There’s something wrong with Blanco, and he’s going to have some time to fix it.
#SFGiants OF Gregor Blanco has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder impingement.— SFGiants (@SFGiants) August 23, 2016
It’s always important to remember just how much something like this can mess with a swing. A hitter needs to react in .3 seconds with perfect mechanics to hit a baseball. Anything going on with the body that adds time or futzes with the mechanics? That’ll make a fella hit like Blanco just did.
The twist, though, is in whom the Giants called up. Gorkys Hernandez, who was in the running for the fifth outfielder spot this spring, is the new extra outfielder. Hernandez was a top-100 prospect in baseball before the Giants had won a single World Series in San Francisco, and he was hitting .302/.382/.421 in 503 Triple-A plate appearances this season. The 28-year-old has been in the majors for two limited trials, once in 2012 with the Pirates and Marlins, and once last year with the Pirates again.
It’s a touch curious that the Giants would go for Hernandez over Austin Slater if they were willing to add someone to the 40-man roster. It’s a lot curious that they would add him over Jarrett Parker, who can also play center in a pinch. Hernandez is more of the plus-defender type, but Parker is a much better power weapon off the bench. Parker was hitting .239/.340/.543 in 46 at-bats after being demoted to make room for Eduardo Nuñez and Hunter Pence, which seems like something the Giants might need a little more than extra defensive help right now.
That written, Hernandez is a perfectly fine fifth-outfielder option, and there’s almost no possible way he can hit worse than Blanco did over the last month. So, progress?
Angel Pagan’s groin is loose again, not tight, so he’ll continue getting starts in left, with Denard Span in center, so the Giants won’t need Hernandez just yet.
The Giants’ 40-man roster had a spot open, so there will not be a corresponding move to fit Hernandez on the roster.
*Blanco's April was also the best month of any Giants position player this year, so go figure