Giants using September to showcase young talent

September 11th, 2022

CHICAGO -- Sitting seven games under .500, the Giants are using September to see young players grow and prove themselves in the big leagues.

Saturday’s 5-2 victory against the Cubs at Wrigley Field continued to show the development of several young Giants. and  both homered and logged four of the team’s five extra-base hits to help uplift the offense.

“There’s development happening, it’s kind of cool,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “It’s definitely a silver lining right now. [Bart] has had a really challenging season on a number of levels. But those two players, David and Joey, are showing real development and their work is really important to the future of this organization.”

The club released Dominic Leone before Saturday’s win, signaling the direction it’s heading over the final four weeks of the season. Leone, a standout for the Giants’ bullpen last year with a 1.51 ERA, posted a 4.01 ERA over 55 games in ‘22.

But the move gives the club flexibility to test out other arms to see who could help build the next contender in San Francisco. 

“I think mainly we want to see a couple of relievers, the arms that we haven’t seen as much of,” Kapler said pregame. “Obviously, we have Cole [Waites] here on [the taxi squad] and Shelby [Miller] here on taxi, and there may be some opportunities to activate those guys. There’s some guys in our ‘pen right now that we’re wanting to see more of and get more opportunities too.” 

The Giants are all about growth and opportunity this month. And San Francisco would love to see offensive players like Bart and Villar end the year strong to set themselves up for 2023. 

Bart, who has had a difficult season and was sent down to Triple-A in early June, has started to show glimpses of the talent the Giants saw when he was drafted. His 3-for-4 day at the plate hinted at the catcher’s power. 

“I think he is starting to feel not only does he belong, but he has real leadership characteristics that are beginning to make an impact in our Major League environment,” Kapler said. “That’s when I think you see a player relax his shoulders a little bit and then you see the talent level emerge.”

Since rejoining the Giants on July 6, Bart has hit .288 with seven home runs and 16 RBIs across 43 games. It’s a major improvement from his numbers before his demotion (.156 with four homers and seven RBIs).

“I would say that he’s more relaxed than he was earlier,” Kapler said. “He’s putting less pressure on himself.

Villar has shown similar strides since he was called up earlier this month. After batting just .175 in 23 games before being sent down early in August, the rookie has started to make an impact with the Giants. Villar hit his fourth home run in his last seven games on Saturday and continues to show signs of improvement at the plate.

“It’s fun for me to see guys get more comfortable,” starter  said. “To see David come up and swing comfortably, that’s fun to watch. Joey’s been doing amazing. It’s been fun to see.”

Over those last seven games for Villar, he is hitting .455 (10-for-22) with four home runs, two doubles and seven RBIs, a sample of what the rookie can bring to the Giants’ future.

“All he needs is a little taste of blood,” Bart said of Villar. “You can tell that he’s got real ability. He’s ready to go. He wants to do a lot of damage and that’s what he’s going to do when you put him out there.”

Bart, Villar, Webb, and , who notched his 21st save of the season, all have made their way through the Giants’ system and all are 25 years old. Their contributions to Saturday’s win showed San Francisco’s bright future.

“I think Giants fans have a lot to be excited about with David and what’s happening in his career,” Kapler said. “Even though it’s a smaller sample body of work, it’s a good one so far.”