Hunter Pence has come alive at the plate for the Giants since August started. But, is the veteran worth another look off the waiver wire?
Things have not gone exactly well for the Giants this season. They have struggled all year, and sit with a 50-75 record. The season is lost for a myriad of reasons, but the precipitous decline of Hunter Pence’s production has been a theme over the last three seasons.
But, now that he is hot at the plate, is he worth another look off the waiver wire?
Hunter Pence was a fantasy stalwart nearly his entire career. He had six seasons of 20+ HR and at least 69+ RBI. He was a stud for a long time, but injuries have derailed his career since 2015. Pence was once an iron man in MLB, playing in at least 157 games from 2008-2014.
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Since 2015 though, he has not played in more than 106 games The AVG has been there, but the power has faded. After his .289/13 HR/57 RBI/.808 OPS line in 2016. Pence shaped up to be nothing more than an OF4/5 flier late in drafts this spring.
He got out of the gates decently in April, .266/1 HR/10 RBI, but had a horrid May and missed time due to injury. He came back to life in June, .310/2 HR/14 RBI, but faded again in July with a .186/2 HR/12 RBI line. It has been a roller coaster for Pence in terms of production, and fantasy owners have looked elsewhere.
Yet, here we are in August, and Pence is hotter than ever. Over 17 games this month, he holds a .344/4 HR/14 RBI/1.010 OPS line. Pence finally looks like his vintage self and the results show it. His BB rate is the lowest of his career, 6%, but he has six walks to only 11 K this month.
His power decline probably has to do with his career low 13% LD rate, and career high 55% GB rate. Besides his four homers this month as a positive, Pence has four doubles already as well, which already ties his year high set in June. The Giants lineup continues to be a train wreck, but Pence has seen at-bats in the two hole helping build his counting stats with Denard Span also being hot in front of him.
Hunter Pence has the track record to believe in, and even though he has not lived up to the stat lines that he once produced, he is hot at the plate right now and can provide solid production. Those owners looking for that boost down the stretch, why not take the gamble on a guy that has proven he can do it.