If it weren't for a bevy of injuries this year, Steven Duggar would be roaming the outfield for a higher level than the San Jose Giants right now. Just ask his manager.
"If healthy at the beginning of the year, he could be playing at higher levels or the big leagues," Giants manager Nestor Rojas said before the team's 12-7 win Thursday night.
Duggar backed up his manager's comments hours later in only his sixth game of the year with San Jose. The 23-year-old hit a grand slam, scored two runs and stole a base. Of his six hits in six games with the Giants, five have gone for extra base hits -- four doubles and Thursday's grand slam.
"He's a solid player. It's fun to watch him play and go out there and compete every day," Rojas said.
San Francisco selected Duggar in the sixth round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of Clemson. Between Advanced Single-A in San Jose and Double-A with the Richmond Flying Squirrels, Duggar hit .302 with 10 home runs and 15 stolen bases while playing center field in 2016. So far with San Jose this season though, Duggar is primarily playing right field. The change isn't permanent and only shows his versatility to Rojas.
"He’s one of those guys who’s a really good athlete and can play all three positions in the outfield," Rojas said.
Once he became healthy, Duggar joined another Giants top prospect, Bryan Reynolds, in San Jose's outfield. And like Duggar, center field is Reynolds' first position, but he's been seeing a lot of time in the corners too.
"I think it's too early to dictate if he'll be in a corner or center," Rojas believes. "He's really good and he has the tools to play center field. He's got speed and he's got range. He can do really well in all three."
After starting in left field Thursday night, Reynolds has now played 45 games in center, 24 in right and five in left field this season.
At the plate, Reynolds, who was the Giants' lone representative at the Futures Game this year, is slashing .300/.348/.448 in 80 games. He has also hit five home runs, eight triples and 18 doubles. As he becomes stronger and continues to mature, Rojas thinks Reynolds' power will be unleashed with five-tool potential.
"Yeah, no doubt about it. The power's gonna come," Rojas said. "First of all, he's a good hitter. I believe that will come around later on and he can hit already. He hasn't shown that much, but it will come."
The key for Reynolds to climb up the ranks is a simple concept and no different than any other prospect.
"Just be consistent, it's the most important thing in this business," Rojas said. "It is baseball. You're going to be hot for one month and then go into a slump. Consistency will come with better mechanics and an approach at the plate.
"The kid has been very solid here and very consistent with his approach at the plate. He has the tools."
Rounding out San Jose's stacked outfield is the speedy Ronnie Jebavy, Gio Brusa (second on the team with 11 home runs) and Heath Quinn, who Rojas sees as having big-league pop in his bat.
"The power is there, he’s one of those big-tool players," Rojas says of Quinn.
While the Giants have gone through a grueling game of outfield musical chairs in San Francisco this season, a bright future awaits just a drive away in San Jose.