Last September the San Francisco Giants extended their right fielder Hunter Pence for five years and $90 million. At first glance it seems like a fairly large overpay and yes, I believe the Giants overpaid to get Pence, but these days teams are having to pay top dollar to keep their potential free agents. In my opinion, the biggest question isn’t necessarily if Pence is worth his entire $90 million contract, but how badly do the Giants need Pence on their team? I believe he is a crucial part of this team.
Not only did Pence have a very solid offensive season in 2013, but he also played 162 games. That is huge for a team with very little depth in the minor leagues. The Giants had enough injury problems last year and having Pence play every single game was a huge boost. He brings energy, power, and durability to a team and a lineup that needs it.
Now let’s get into the numbers. Pence hit a career-high 27 home runs last year while playing 81 of his games in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the majors. He had an ISO of .200 and a .483 slugging percentage. He led the Giants in home runs and was a legitimate power threat in one of the most power-lacking lineups in the game.
Much like Brandon Belt, Pence had a much better second half than he did first half. In the first half he hit .262/.305/.455 with a 113 wRC+ and a .328 wOBA. In the second half he put up some pretty impressive numbers, hitting .314/.387/.525 with a 160 wRC+ and a .390 wOBA. Not only was his offense very good overall, but he also stole a career high 22 bases.
So overall Pence is probably not going to be worth that extreme amount of money throughout the length of the contract, considering he is entering his age 31 season and it wouldn’t be outlandish to think the he could see a decline in the next few years, but he is solid at every part of the game and is an essential part of a hopeful playoff contender.
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