Mike Krukow Discusses Options for Giants in Center Field

As we inch closer to 2018, the Giants' outfield is still a mystery. The team sent Denard Span to Tampa Bay in their trade for Evan Longoria, there have been talks for months of Hunter Pence moving to left field, Jay Bruce remains linked to them in the free agent market and Billy Hamilton likewise as a trade option

One thing is certain though, the Giants need a defensive upgrade in center field.

"You have to have a center fielder who covers ground at that ballpark," Mike Krukow said Thursday on the Murph & Mac Show. "You have to have a center fielder who can cover ground in that division. You think about all the ballparks in the National League West, they're big yards and you cannot ham-and-egg it in center field. You have to have coverage there." 

Hamilton, 27, is currently with the Reds and becomes a free agent in 2020. He is one of the fastest players in the game and saved nine runs in center field this past season, according to FanGraphs

But getting on-base to use his speed has been an issue. Hamilton has a .298 career on-base percentage and finished at .299 in 2017. He also only walked 44 times to 133 strikeouts.

"In regards to Hamilton, on-base percentage is huge. You can't steal first base," Krukow said. "And that's going to be a challenge for Hamilton as he goes forth in his career.

"He needs to learn how to take a walk. He hasn't mastered the art of leading off yet. I think there's improvement that can be made to his game." 

The Giants could also stay in-house and put a younger, cheaper option in center field. Prospect Steven Duggar is known to be high on the team's radar. 

"If you get another guy like a Jay Bruce that lengthens out your lineup, you're just looking for someone to get on base at the top of your lineup. That means you can eat a position in the lineup with a guy like Steven Duggar," Krukow said. "I haven't seen him play center field, but they say he can go get it. 

"Well, why not get a guy on the cheap that's a defensive player out there and let him learn to hit at the big league level in the eight spot?" 

Between three levels, Duggar slashed .262/.365/.445 with six home runs and 10 stolen bases in 2017 while battling injuries. 

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