Giants' No. 3 prospect powers career-high 6-RBI night behind first pro slam

May 19th, 2024

felt stuck.

Returning from a hamstring injury in April, the Giants’ No. 3 prospect and 2023 first-round selection tried gaining his timing back at the plate on the fly. While his swing felt right, his rhythm felt off, as he made late movements toward pitches.

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The organization’s hitting coordinators set him straight in a recent visit to San Jose during the Giants’ home series with the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres) two weeks ago. The staff helped Eldridge gain back his timing by putting his hands further back into a position that he can explode more quickly from.

“My bat speed will play, my hands will always play,” Eldridge said. “You just always got to be on time and dance with the pitcher, so that’s been a huge thing for me -- getting set as early as I can, so I can adjust and be adjustable.”

Those adjustments bled into this week, where Eldridge added another multihit game Saturday against the Modesto Nuts (Mariners). In a 12-1 victory at John Thurman Field, six runs were powered behind Eldridge’s lefty swing, including a seventh-inning grand slam -- the only home run of the contest.

After a trio of Giants singled their way on and a fourth grounded into a force out, Eldridge entered the box and immediately came out swinging. He fouled off a pitch and then bounced back into the at-bat, clubbing a low offspeed pitch beyond the right-center-field wall for his first professional grand slam.

“I was fired up,” Eldridge laughed. “I got my first hit of the day that at-bat before. Started off 0-for-2 and I just went up there with the attitude that, 'You need to make some adjustments.' I knew that guy liked to spin the breaker.”

It marked Eldridge’s first official grand slam that he could recall. He doesn’t remember connecting on one during his high school career, but he did tag a pitch for a grand slam during Spring Training on the backfields in Arizona.

Eldridge entered this week slashing .253/.310/.400 with two homers, but his bat has heated up since a series last week with the Stockton Ports (A's). In his previous 10 games before Saturday, the 19-year-old hit .342 with a .952 OPS and five extra-base hits.

Behind his career-high six-RBIs, Eldridge boosted his season slash line to .265/.327/.480 -- which includes a run of three homers and 17 RBIs during his current 10-game hitting streak. After feeling sped up, the towering outfielder has settled in. He went from having no clearance for his back elbow to a three-homer week with one more game left on the docket.

“I’ve not had a great time playing the Modesto Nuts,” said Eldridge, who watched his team drop five of six games with the California League foe in April. “Now we’ve beaten them four straight, so it’s good to beat a good team like that and be on a little roll.”

Eldridge is hopeful of swinging the same way over the coming weeks, keeping his eyes forward on climbing the Giants' organizational ladder. Just a year removed from his senior year of high school, though, he’s come to learn from his older teammates.

“I call Cole Foster, ‘my little, big bro,’ because he’s a few years older than me but much smaller than I am,” the 6-foot-7, 223-pound outfielder said about his 6-foot-1, 193-pound teammate. “He’s been my older brother figure out here. He’s been through it.”

While also drafted in 2023 by the Giants, Foster still has more experience under his belt that Eldridge has leaned on. From playing in the SEC at Auburn to being one of the “mature” players on the San Jose roster, Foster has become a guide for Eldridge in his adjustment to professional baseball.

“I’m still adjusting,” Eldridge said. “I’m still not as good as I want to be, but you got to give yourself some grace. I’m 19 out here, playing a bunch of older guys and good pitchers. There’s a lot of adjusting still left to be done, but I just think every day is an opportunity to get better.”