CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly broke the news late Monday afternoon that the San Francisco Giants have decided to recall first baseman Brett Pill and outfielder Roger Kieschnick for Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies. Depending on how these two players are utilized, these could be the two most significant moves that the Giants have made with their farm system this season.
Both Kieschnick and Pill have flashed significant power potential in the minors, and it will be interesting to see if they can add some pop to a Giants lineup that scored all of three runs against the lowly Chicago Cubs pitching staff and has hit only one home run since the All-Star break, a July 20 shot by Buster Posey.
Pill has shown that he is capable of hitting homers at the big-league level, but he has struggled to hit for average when faced with inconsistent playing time. Presumably, one major league roster spot will be cleared by the impending demotion of left fielder Kensuke Tanaka, but unless they make a trade, the Giants have no other obvious candidates for demotion. It is possible, with Pill’s recall, that the Giants will send starting first baseman Brandon Belt back to Triple-A for yet another tuneup, as he is hitting only .225 in the month of July. In fact, with Belt being 916 at-bats into his big-league career and only having a .258 average with 26 homers to show for it, perhaps the era of Belt as a starter is coming to an end. Then again, maybe the Giants will be trading right fielder Hunter Pence, and a roster spot will be free.
Kieschnick, meanwhile, is an intriguing player, and he should provide a much better lefthanded-hitting complement to Jeff Francoeur than Tanaka had been over the last several weeks. After getting off to a scorching-hot start, Tanaka is 2 for his last 15 and is not a very good defensive outfielder. By comparison, Kieschnick is a player who is very similar to what Francoeur was during the prime of his career. The 26-year-old has a cannon arm which can be utilized in left or right field and has really come into his own as a power hitter this season at Triple-A Fresno. He has 27 doubles, nine triples, and 13 homers, though that is complemented by a slightly disappointing .273 batting average. He will be getting his first-ever major league action whenever he first plays for the Giants.
It’s odd to see how quick the Giants have become with their moves since basically falling out of contention after the All-Star break. The front office is showing no allegiance to any complementary players, and those players’ big-league spots are going to constantly be up for grabs. We’ll see if that tension causes some of the players on the bottom half of the 25-man roster to step up and start performing better.