The Giants, tired of losing and making their fans sleepy, have called up Austin Slater, one of their top hitting prospects. The 24-year-old Slater was hitting .322/.381/.460 in Sacramento, and he’s coming off a stellar 2016 season in which he hit .305/.393/.500 between two levels.
The over-under is 2½ games before Mike Krukow drops a “he can hit” on him. I’ll take the under.
The right-handed Slater will likely be immediately plugged into the lineup in left field, as the Giants aren’t typically fond of calling prospects up to be part-timers. There are a couple statistical red flags in those stellar minor-league numbers, starting with the plate discipline. While he’s not a wild hacker, he’s struck out roughly two times for every walk in the minors, which is something that can foreshadow initial struggles in the majors.
Another red flag is that Slater is a typical Giants prospect, reliant on line drives that stay in the park. The Giants have a bunch of those, and adding another one scares me.
Still, Slater has been scalding the ball in Triple-A lately, hitting .354/.420/.525 in May. He’s shown some platoon splits over the last two years, too, punishing lefties far more than righties, so it’s possible that we could even see him in a quasi-platoon in center field if the Giants think his glove can handle it.
He’s also played over 100 games at second base in the minors, if you’re looking for maximum zobrisosity.
Slater starred at Stanford, and he was drafted in the eight round of the 2014 draft, two picks before Grant Heyman, who is known for combining crappy jokes with comprehensive rumors. He will be the first player from his round to make the majors, so good work, Giants.
There has been no corresponding move announced yet, but there’s a wrinkle in that Slater has to be added to the 40-man roster, which means someone has to be removed. Considering that Slater is right-handed and has played center field in the minors, it would seem likely that either Gorkys Hernandez or Justin Ruggiano could make room. I would guess Ruggiano could stay because he’s one of the only hitters on the roster who can hit a ball farther than 330 feet, but we’re aware that someone up there really likes Hernandez, too.
Henry Schulman is also suggesting that the Giants will drop a position player for a reliever when they’ll have to play a man short because of Hunter Strickland’s suspension, suggesting that either Christian Arroyo or Kelby Tomlinson could make room for Kyle Crick or Reyes Moronta. We might not know the exact roster moves until Friday.
For now, though, I’m guessing that either one Gorky or both Gorkys will be designated for assignment, with Chris Stratton coming up, because that would be the most boring move possible, and we don’t deserve fun. Still, we’ll get to watch Austin Slater, who briefly dated Donna after she broke up with Steve, if I’m remembering correctly. I’m not sure if he’ll line-drive his way into our hearts right away, but I’m pretty sure he can’t be worse than the parade of left fielders that’s been inflicted on us all season.