‘It’s fun to see him swing the bat well down here’ — Evans discusses Duggar’s strong spring, opening day chances

Giants GM joins ‘The Greg Papa Show’ w/ Bonta to discuss top CF prospect

Karl Buscheck
March 06, 2018 - 3:31 pm

With opening day just over three weeks out on the horizon, Steven Duggar continues to make a push for the starting spot in center field for the San Francisco Giants.

MLB.com’s No. 3 overall prospect for the orange and black is producing a .412 average (4-for-7) with three home runs through a limited seven-game sample size.

Giants general manager Bobby Evans joined “The Greg Papa Show” with Bonta Hill on Tuesday to address another small sample size: Duggar’s minor league track record. The 2015 sixth-round pick has appeared in just 232 games, totaling 900 at bats.

Evans sounds inclined to give Duggar a fair crack at making the opening day trip to Chavez Ravine to face the Los Angeles Dodgers — even with his minimal minor league experience.

“The advantage to us of starting him opening day is the fact he can cover a lot of ground out there in center field,” Evans said on 95.7 The Game. “We know he’s defensively already ready for a major league role — even with the limited at bats and appearances or games in the minor leagues.”

Duggar's main competition comes in the form of veterans Austin Jackson, Gregor Blanco and Gorkys Hernandez.

“I think where you would love to give him more time would be offensively,” Evans continued. “Really, that’s more for him — just so that he is sure that he’s 100 percent ready. And these at bats in spring training are not easy to evaluate for us, but again, it’s certainly a good sign.”

On Sunday, against the Dodgers, Duggar delivered a nifty catch and connected on longball No. 3.

(via @NBCSGiants)

“The advantage, though, for us is what he offers defensively,” Evans said. “We just have to be prepared for some ups-and-downs offensively and that’s a decision we’ll make closer to the end, but it’s fun to see him swing the bat well down here, even though ultimately that may not be the final determining factor.”

Evans also discussed the power potential of the 24-year-old, who’s hit 17 home runs in parts of two-and-a-half minor league seasons.

“I think he’s a guy that’s got five tools,” Evans said. “That’s probably the one area where you’d say (it) is the fifth tool, if you will, in the sense that the four ahead of those are the glove and the speed and the ability to hit and field.”

“So, in many ways, the power is probably not going to be a core part of his game, but the reality is he has power and he can use that to his advantage whether it’s in a big ballpark hitting it in the gap or a small ballpark hitting it out and getting home runs. The ball flies off his bat. It’s a sweet swing, a strong swing.”

Check out the full interview with Evans in the podcast below and skip to the 3:36 mark to hear his breakdown of Duggar:

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