Next up on the San Francisco Giants reviews: outfielder Steven Duggar.
21 games, 36 plate appearances, .176/.222/.235, .438 OPS, 0 home runs, 3 RBI, 1 walk to 11 strikeouts
27 OPS+, 28 wRC+, -0.4 rWAR, -0.3 fWAR
Status throughout the season
Duggar started the year at the Alternate Training Site in Sacramento. He was recalled a week into the season to replace Jaylin Davis and Joe McCarthy, who were both optioned (July 30 was a big day for the Giants, who optioned Davis and McCarthy, designated Dany Jimenez for assignment, called up Duggar, and activated Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria).
Duggar was then optioned on Aug. 6 when rosters were trimmed from 30 players to 28, recalled on Aug. 17 to replace the optioned Dereck Rodriguez, optioned again on Aug. 19, recalled again on Aug. 22 when Austin Slater was injured, optioned again on Sept. 5, and recalled one final time on Sept. 23 when Luis Alexander Basabe was injured.
It felt like Duggar had a lot more than 36 plate appearances and, unfortunately, I don’t mean that as a compliment.
He came and went and came and went, and while you can blame his rough season on never getting to settle in, it’s probably easier to blame it on him simply not appearing to be an MLB-level player.
Duggar struggled to make contact, ending the season with 11 strikeouts to just six hits and a single walk. Admittedly some of his hits were hard, but there wasn’t a time during the season where he looked anything like an offensive weapon. Though he was responsible for one of the best broadcast calls of the season.
Defensively he was just fine, but not the elite player that many had hoped he would grow into. The Giants only gave him 24 innings in center field, so he didn’t even have much of an opportunity to show off his best defensive value.
There’s a chance that Duggar is still shaking off the impact of the shoulder injury suffered a few years back. And there’s a chance that he’s still just a tweak or two away from making his bat shine. He did hit .331/.461/.542 in AAA a year ago, albeit in a relatively small sample size (102 plate appearances).
The Giants kept trusting him this year, while players like Jaylin Davis and Chris Shaw hung out and watched from a distance. Was that because they just valued a good defensive replacement and pinch-runner? Or was it because they wanted to see if he could put it all together?
Whatever the reason, it didn’t happen. Duggar was one of the worst players on the team, and while the Sacramento Shuffle couldn’t have helped him, it’s not a fair excuse, either.
Role in 2021
On the one hand, Duggar has been a poor offensive player in all three of his MLB seasons, and the Giants don’t seem interested in putting him in center field where he would have a chance to suppress some offensive limitations. The Giants might get rid of him.
On the other hand, he’s only two years removed from being the team’s second-ranked prospect, per Fangraphs, and speedy outfielders with strong defense aren’t always easy to find. The Giants might want to keep trying to tweak his swing.
If I had to guess, Duggar toils away in the farm system in 2021, before moving to a new organization in 2022, or as the outgoing piece in a small trade. If he plays a big role on the 2021 Giants something will have either gone terribly wrong (with the outfielders) or tremendously right (with his development).
Can I use the shrug emoji?
How would you grade Steven Duggar’s season?
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