Home News Why Bob Melvin continues to shake up SF Giants’ batting order

Why Bob Melvin continues to shake up SF Giants’ batting order


PHOENIX — With more everyday players and a new manager pulling the strings, the 2024 Giants have featured more lineup stability than any of the clubs of the past few years. As injuries have piled up, naturally, that hasn’t been as much the case more recently.

The first 38 games Bob Melvin filled out his lineup card, it featured two players in the leadoff spot. Jung Hoo Lee batted first 30 times, and Austin Slater filled the role in the other eight games.

On Monday night, Brett Wisely became the Giants’ seventh different leadoff man in their past 23 games since losing their two primary table setters to collisions with the outfield wall in the span of a week.

While Slater (concussion) is nearing the end of his rehab assignment, Lee was set to undergo season-ending surgery Tuesday in Los Angeles, and since he separated his shoulder crashing into the center field fence last month, the Giants have missed his never-ending motor, his effervescent personality and his presence on the field.

One quality, though, has proven particularly difficult to replicate.

“We’re trying to get some more guys up top with more on-base percentage than we’ve had recently,” Melvin said, offering a similar explanation for why he rotated Heliot Ramos into pole position the previous day. “We were a little behind as far as that went for a couple weeks there.”

If there is one duty above all else asked of the top of the batting order, it is to put themselves in position to be driven in by the big bats in the middle of the lineup, and the Giants’ leadoff men in Lee’s absence have been worse at that than all but one team in the majors.

Since Lee’s last game May 12, the top spot in the Giants’ batting order has gotten on base at a .253 clip, ahead of only the Nationals (.228). That includes the production Luis Matos provided in 10 games batting leadoff while earning National League player of the week honors before cooling off, prompting Melvin to shake up the top of the order.

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