Giants reportedly eyeing another speedster who can improve outfield defense

When you go 64-98 like the Giants did in 2017, it means an awful lot of things went wrong. It takes a total team effort to be that bad. The pitching, the offense, the defense ... they all have to conspire to lose 98 games.

So far this offseason San Francisco is targeting their outfield defense as an area in need of improvement. Over the weekend it was reported they have trade interest in Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., and now the Giants have been connected to Reds speedster Billy Hamilton.

Hamilton is, without question, one of the top defensive center fielders in baseball. Will he hit? So far the answer is no. Hamilton hit .247/.299/.335 (66 OPS+) in 2017 and owns a .246/.297/.333 (70 OPS+) batting line in nearly 2,200 plate appearances from 2014-17. He can really go get the ball though. Hamilton would push the aging Denard Span to left field and be a massive defensive upgrade in center field, which is quite spacious at AT&T Park.

The Giants are right to address their outfield defense, of course. Their glovework in the outfield this past season was miserable. Arguably the worst in baseball, really, which is a problem given how much room there is to cover at their home ballpark. Some Giants defensive numbers:

  • Batting average on fly balls and line drives to the outfield: .370 (25th in MLB)
  • Ultimate Zone Rating: -11.4 (28th in MLB)  
  • Defensive Runs Saved: -45 (30th in MLB)

Yikes! Whether it's Hamilton or Bradley or someone else entirely, the Giants have to address their outfield defense this offseason. It's a must. 

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for,,,... Full Bio

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