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Thairo Estrada placed on 10-day IL with wrist strain

David Villar returns to the Giants and maybe along with Brett Wisely, the team can manage until their would-be All-Star middle infielder returns.

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San Francisco Giants v Minnesota Twins Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Thairo Estrada’s inflamed wrist will need some more rest, prompting the San Francisco Giants to place their best hitter, second baseman Thairo Estrada, on the 10-day IL. According to’s Giants beat writer Maria Guardado, the move is retroactive to yesterday, meaning he’d be eligible for reactivation to kickoff a weird 12-day stretch where the Giants will play three road series but also one home weekend series.

Estrada hurt his wrist on a swing during Wednesday’s finale in Minnesota. An MRI was negative for any significant structural damage, but he didn’t pass the range of motion tests the team had for him. It’s a big loss for the Giants, who are more dependent on his performance than you might think.

For starters, I wasn’t damning with faint praise. Coming into today’s game, Estrada’s 1.9 fWAR was 19th-best in MLB — 9th-best in the National League. Sorted by position, Estrada is the best second baseman in the National League, behind Marcus Semien (2.4 fWAR) in all of baseball. He leads all second basemen in Statcast’s Outs Above Average (+5).

He has been so good as a second baseman — his overall Outs Above Average is just +3 because of the minuses playing shortstop — that it seems like he’ll be tough to replace even in the aggregate or even in part, but we should have a little confidence that the Giants will be able to weather storm a little.

For starters, they’ve recalled David Villar from Triple-A Sacramento in a corresponding move. You’ll recall that Villar hit a superbad .148/.240/ .318 in exactly 100 plate appearances, but he was a plus defender at second base even while struggling with the bat. He’s played just 8 games in Sacramento, but hit .250/.400/.500 in 35 plate appearances with 7 walks to 8 strikeouts. I think that’s the part of his game we really need to watch. He was striking out way too much. Better at bats are what he needs to show the team that he’s learning their lessons. The power is certainly there and so is the glove.

The other part of this, of course, is Brett Wisely’s performance at second base. He’s +3 Outs Above Average there, and yesterday’s big day at the plate shows there’s some potential with the bat, still. Combined, he and Estrada have made the Giants formidable up the middle: they lead all of baseball in FanGraphs’ Defensive Runs (+7.3).

The thrust of the front office’s project is to build depth and scour the market for any useful player who fits their system. Estrada has been a wild success when it comes to the latter part of the plan, and between Villar and Wisely and even Casey Schmitt at times, they might have figured out — at least for now — the other part of the plan at a key position.