David Villar Gets His Chance

David Villar
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

David Villar will get his chance as the new third baseman for the San Francisco Giants. After moving on from veteran Evan Longoria and the disaster with Carlos Correa that was going to move shortstop Brandon Crawford to third, it is now Villar’s chance to show he belongs in the starter position.

Third Base was Problematic

Last season third base was problematic for the Giants. Longoria missed the beginning of the season due to finger surgery, and then missed the remainder of the season with injuries to his hamstring and oblique. Teammate and fan favorite Wilmer Flores played some third base, but he’s really more of a shortstop and second baseman. His lack of arm strength showed that. Others that played at third base last year included J.D. Davis and Jason Vosler. However, both were defensive liabilities, and really seen as utility players and not full-time starters.

Rookie Season

David Villar will get this opportunity as the new third baseman, having started 25 games there during his rookie campaign in 2022. He also started nine games each at first base and DH, and another four at second base. His batting average was just .231, but Villar showed some power and respectable plate discipline. He ended up hitting nine home runs with six doubles in 156 at-bats.

Not a Top Prospect

While Villar has never been a top prospect for the Giants, he has hit well in MiLB. He was the Pacific Coast League MVP last year when he hit 27 home runs with 19 doubles. Villar hit .275 in 84 games. He has hit 73 home runs in four seasons.

Some Adjustments Needed

David Villar needs to make some adjustments on both offense and defense. Offensively, he needs to cut down on his strikeouts, and have a better idea of what pitches to hit. He has worked with hitting coaches to take advantage of more pitches in the zone. They would like him to be more than a just power hitter, but also a slugger who can hit all over especially in the power alleys.

He certainly can become an impact player offensively, but the bigger assignment will likely come on the defensive end. Villar has worked on his conditioning, and looks great physically. The organization feels he can handle the range demands with his athleticism, along with the foot work to handle the corner spot.

Might be Temporary

While Villar is getting his chance at third, the assignment might be temporary. He also has seen some action at second base during spring training. The Giants have Casey Schmitt, who likewise can play at third, waiting in the background. Last year Schmitt started at High-A level, and made it all the way to Triple-A with both his bat and glove.

Schmitt is currently the Giants’ fourth-best prospect according to mlb.com and is regarded as their best defensive prospect in the organization. He won a Minor League Gold Glove Award at third last year. Though he’ll start 2023 in the minors, if he is doing well, he will be in the big leagues sooner than later. The Giants will use him at third base as a platoon with Villar. Villar’s playing background does provide the Giants options. If he can make offensive adjustments to cut down on his strikeouts, he gives the team a power hitter who can play both third and second.

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James Marshall

James Marshall

Jim Marshall has lived in Phoenix, AZ for 50 years. He is an avid baseball fan, but enjoys all of Arizona's local sports teams, including Diamondbacks, Suns, Cardinals and Coyotes. In addition to the four major sports, he closely follows the Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Rattlers and Arizona State Sun Devils. Jim's passion for baseball continues beyond the field as he is an avid collector of baseball memorabilia. His favorite athlete of all time is Baseball Hall of Fame member Harmon Killebrew. In addition to watching, reading and talking about sports, he takes time to travel and appreciate the great state of Arizona with his lovely wife, Patti.

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