PHOENIX — In need of an injection of energy and offensive firepower, the Giants on Monday called up their hottest-hitting prospect from Triple-A Sacramento.
Infielder David Villar, whose 21 homers lead the Pacific Coast League, was promoted ahead of the Giants’ series opener with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Villar, 25, was San Francisco’s 11th-round pick in the 2018 MLB draft.
“It was just utter shock,” Villar said of his reaction upon receiving the news.
Triple-A manager Dave Brundage called Villar into his office after Sacramento’s game Sunday night, but he only arrived in Arizona shortly after noon on Monday. Before he could make his MLB debut, he had to overcome a flight that was canceled as it sat on the runway. Villar was running on about two hours of sleep in the past 24 hours, he said.
Villar also had to overcome a couple confusing moments in his conversation with Brundage.
“He asked if my arm was OK, which I found kinda weird,” Villar said. “Then he told me I wouldn’t be joining the team on the Salt Lake flight, that I’d be flying to Arizona. I really had no idea why I was flying to Arizona. I didn’t know the big league club was here. … I didn’t sniff anything. I didn’t have any hints. When I came out of the office I was bombarded with hugs and cheers. It’s a feeling I’ll never forget.”
The promotion was first reported by The San Francisco Chronicle.
The Giants will have to make moves to add him to the 40-man and the active roster.
With a 1.042 OPS — second in the PCL — Villar has asserted himself among the Giants’ most promising prospects, despite receiving little recognition before this season. Villar only appeared in San Francisco’s Top 30 prospects according to Baseball America in its midseason update, checking in No. 29, and he is absent from MLB.com’s Top 30.
In 229 at-bats this season, Villar has more home runs than in any of his three previous full minor-league seasons.
“Just constant adjustments and not settling for what I was doing last year, just trying to be better every single year. More important every single day,” Villar said. “It was just how can I help Sacramento win. Now that I’m up here it’s how can I help San Francisco win.”
The Giants’ offense is in need of the infusion.
San Francisco has lost 10 of its past 13 games, including a 2-6 home stand, and is averaging 4.0 runs per game over that stretch — inflated by one 12-run outburst and another of nine runs.
Villar has primarily played third base, but he started to get action at second base this season. That is where he is most likely to see playing time at the moment with the Giants, who at least for one more day are without Thairo Estrada (COVID IL) and Brandon Crawford (left knee inflammation).
Villar started working at second base last season, “so I had a leg up on the competition. That way I wasn’t caught off guard.” This year, he’s learned from working with coaches Ron Wotus and Jolbert Cabrera and watching natural second baseman Donovan Walton and Isan Diaz.
“It’s been great to see all the hard work I’ve put in, not just this offseason but every offseason,” Villar said. “What I’ve been working toward is this goal, to get here now and to stay.”
Right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, who will undergo season-ending surgery, is expected to be placed on the 60-day injured list to clear room on the 40-man roster for Villar. Yermín Mercedes, Sean Hjelle and Yunior Marte are candidates to be optioned to create space on the active 26-man roster.
Source: Paradise Post