As expected the Giants have decided against adding Melky Cabrera to the roster for the World Series and will stick with the same group they used in the NLDS and NLCS.
Cabrera’s exclusion was all but given considering the team’s comments about the situation for the past several weeks, but there was some speculation that San Francisco might add a third catcher in Eli Whiteside.
Cabrera was eligible to return from his 50-game steroid suspension for the NLCS, but the Giants stuck with Gregor Blanco as their starting left fielder. Blanco is never going to equal Cabrera’s lofty .346 batting average during the regular season, but he has gotten on base at a .364 clip during the playoffs.
Still, it’s hard to think that the Giants wouldn’t be better off with Cabrera on the roster, if only as a bench bat.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.