SAN FRANCISCO — With a franchise-record 107 wins and an extensive list of things that contributed to them, the San Francisco Giants have been able to fill a gap of the modern era. In times hungry for great nicknames like Dizzy (Dean), Three-Finger (Brown) or Catfish (Hunter), the Giants have introduced “Late Night” Lamonte Wade Jr.
He’s neither a talk-show host nor a local television personality, but a versatile outfielder-first baseman turned pitcher Shaun Anderson for a short, mostly unnoticed move with Minnesota last February. A career.211 hitter in only 95 major league at-bats coming this season, 27-year-old Wade was nicknamed “Late Night” because of his penchant for ninth-inning heroics. In 336 at-bats this summer, Wade hit six game-tying or go-forward hits in the ninth inning or later. According to Stats, this is the most of any player in the last 40 seasons.
It’s hard to tell who is having more fun with the nicknames of Wade’s teammates or San Francisco fans. Sure, in the dugout during tense moments and in the clubhouse during moments of celebration, his teammates are very vocal about it.
“Whenever the ninth inning comes they say, ‘We’ve got to come around to Wade,'” said Wade as the Giants worked at Oracle Park here Thursday afternoon to prepare for Game 1 of their Division Series against Los Angeles. Friday Night Dodger.
It is easy to see why. He is hitting .565 in the ninth inning with 1.409 on-base plus slugging percentage. In “late-and-close” situations—defined by baseball context with the batting team tied in or after the seventh inning, with a tying run ahead of or at least on the deck—Wade is batting. 362 a .444 on-base percentage and .511 slugging percentage on 55 plate appearances. Wade hitting .407/.484/.889 in 31 plate appearances with two outs and runner scoring position with three homers and 17 RBIs
“I just want to point out, I’m pretty sure I gave him that nickname, so I want his credit,” said injured first baseman Brandon Belt, a mentor to Wade and other young veterans during the team’s run. has been made. The season saw remarkable and unexpected success, earning him his nickname: “Captain Belt.”
Belt explained that after one of Wade’s winning moments he was on the Giants postgame television show when he was given a variety of nicknames for San Francisco’s newest hero.
“He said ‘Late Game LaMonte’, something else or ‘Late Night LaMonte,’ and I said I liked Late Night,” Belt said, before adding, “It’s a blast seeing him.”
Wade is the latest example of the success that Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations, has mined the discard pile for overlooked players. One thing that caught the attention of Zaidi and his analytics staff was the plate discipline Wade displayed while still scrambling to reach the big companies. With more than 480 career minor league games coming up in 2021, he walked more often (303) than (281).
“Our hitting group spent a lot of time with them in the off-season and felt they could make some adjustments,” Zaidi said. “And I have to say that when you go back, he had three home runs in his major league career coming into the season, but when you look at him, they weren’t cheap. He scored a massive home run against Shane Bieber. He was one of the best pitchers in baseball.
He continued: “You look at those swings and they run home and you say, this guy has power, it’s a matter of consistently getting it.”
However, Wade isn’t the only secret ingredient to San Francisco’s success.
The Giants’ franchise record of 241 home runs this season had another quirky feat: his 18 pinch-hit home runs are also a major league record, and Gates Brown (a former Tigers pinch-hitter with another outstanding nickname isn’t the only one in the world). When Detroit got him out of jail), Manny Mota (longtime pinch-hitting specialist for the Dodgers) or Lenny Harris (career pinch-hit leader of MLB with 212).
Instead of a specialist being responsible for them, pinch-hit homers have been spread: Austin Slater led with four (and there were 12 homers total for the season); Alex Dickerson had three; Donovan Solano, Wilmer Flores and Belt each had two; And five other hitters had one each.
“Shoot, it’s been really cool,” Belt said. “It’s something we’re very proud of, especially a pinch-hit record. It’s not easy to hit the pinch. It takes a special kind of person. You really have to help the team to make it happen. If you are more concerned about yourself, it will be a bit difficult in my opinion.”
One reason the Giants have so many pinch-hit homers is because there are so many opportunities. Manager Gabe Kapler believes strongly in the importance of hitter-pitcher matchups, so many positions are filled by a platoon of lefty and right hitters.
“Beyond the players and the coaches, you have to give the cup a lot of credit for pulling the trigger in those conditions,” Zaidi said. “He uses his judgment, goes with what he sees in the flow of a game, but isn’t afraid to play a good matchup, even if a man has two or three hits in a game or a homer. Be.”
Indeed, of those 18 pinch-hit homers, the pinch-hitter was replacing someone who had already been in the game twice: Dickerson (batting for Slater) in Seattle on April 1 and in Auckland. Wade on August 22 (Batting for Darin Roof)
“No one ever likes to be pinched, but when a guy comes out and he high-fives the guy coming in for him and he’s the most excited player on the top move when those guys come over, see It’s a wonderful thing to have,” Zaidi said.
a close one emerges
The Giants needed every single one of their 107 wins to take on the NL West this year as the Dodgers won 106. Los Angeles won 70 percent of the post-All-Star break game and still finished second.
One major reason is that the Giants’ bullpen went 16-2 in September with an MLB-leading 2.38 ERA. Rookie Camilo Doval was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on September 5. It was his fourth recall of the season, and this time it all came together for Doval, the 24-year-old right-hander, whose 100 mph fastball and wipeout slider brought back memories of Francisco Rodriguez when he played in the majors. He made a dent and helped the Anaheim Angels defeat the Giants in the 2002 World Series.
Doval has come in the role of a closer and he has played 15 consecutive and third consecutive no-scoring since August 12. It is the fifth longest active streak in the major.
Kapler points to Doval’s early struggles and the fact that he was sent to the minors as examples of how a team can learn valuable lessons through experience.
“So you can take that anecdote with Camilo Doval and expand it to our entire roster, and many players who have been in Triple-A this year and they share similar experiences,” Kapler said. said. “They are not all completely the same, but you get my point. They are all better to be in those moments.”