Developing an outfielder has been problematic for the San Francisco Giants. To put it into context, the last time the Giants drafted an outfielder who became a full-time starter for more than one season was fan favorite Marvin Benard.
From guys like John Bowker, Fred Lewis and the forgettable Gary Brown, it’s Benard who, between 1995 and 2003, racked up the most starts by a drafted Giants outfielder with 585.
Now, Steven Duggar looks like he’s ready to break the mold and become the Giants center fielder for the next five to 10 years, but there’s a guy that may be ready to lock up the left field position for the foreseeable future.
His name is Mac Williamson.
Once the Giants decided to place veteran outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list, it was Williamson’s time to shine. Some fans were lukewarm on the call-up, since Williamson hasn’t had consistent at-bats in the bigs.
But that shouldn’t be the case any longer. Since Williamson was called up last Friday, he homered in his first game against the Los Angeles Angels.
In the first two games of the Giants’ series against the Washington Nationals, Williamson hit a go-ahead two-run bomb 464-feet to right center field, and followed that up with the game-winning home run on Tuesday night with a blast to center.
In five games, Williamson has hit three homers and six RBI with a .316 batting average. Not bad at all when you consider the roller coaster ride he’s had with this franchise.
After shuttling between the majors to minors the last four seasons, Williamson — who was drafted out of Wake Forest in the third round of the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft — retooled his swing in the offseason, and it’s paying dividends this season.
In the offseason, Williamson — at the recommendation of former teammate Tim Federowicz — reached out to well-known hitting expert Doug Latta, who helped the Dodgers’ Justin Turner become an All-Star.
Like Turner, Williamson has added a leg kick to his swing, and has kept his hands lower.
All Williamson did since spending time with Latta in the offseason is bat .318 in Spring Training with four homers and 14 RBI. However, that wasn’t good enough and the Giants sent him back to Triple-A with the Sacramento Rivercats.
Despite the initial disappointment of not making the big league club out of Spring Training, Williamson sucked it up and kept grinding.
In 11 games with the Rivercats, Williamson torched Triple-A pitching, hitting a robust .487 with six homers and 16 RBI in just 39 official at-bats. Folks, that’s what you call raking.
For the Giants sake, they should be patient with Williamson. Let him do his thing in left field with consistent playing time. His power is real, and with a new swing, he looks like a legit left fielder.
Bonta Hill of 95.7 The Game can be heard from noon to 3 p.m. on the Greg Papa Show. Born and bred in San Francisco, he is a sports junkie who loves to sit in the lab (home), eats breakfast food for dinner and has a newfound love for tequila. Follow at your own risk on Twitter @BontaHill.