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Who Will Hit the First Righty Splash Hit?

Current Giants' 3B J.D. Davis when he was with the New York Mets; Photo via D. Benjamin Miller

The baseball world and Giants fans alike have become very familiar with the “splash hit” home run at Oracle Park in San Francisco that leaves the stadium and lands in McCovey Cove beyond right field. These splash hits have gained some attention recently, as Lamonte Wade Jr. hit the 100th home run into the cove. Barry Bonds, known home run hitter, is responsible for 35 of the 101 splash hits. Bonds’ total of 35 is far higher than second place, which is 10 by Brandon Belt. Lefties have a massive advantage in the splash hit game, which leads to an incredible statistic surrounding these types of home runs: no right-handed hitter has ever hit one. One notable hit from a righty that was close to being the first right-handed splash hit was Buster Posey’s home run in the 2021 NLDS off Walker Buehler. This article will examine the Giants’ roster and farm system from top to bottom, producing three candidates to hit the first right-handed splash hit.

J.D. Davis (MLB)

As far as active, MLB-level Giants go, J.D. Davis has proven himself to be the most dangerous power hitter from the right-handed batter’s box. Davis’ game has seemingly improved since joining the Giants at the trade deadline of 2022. His power numbers and high percentile rankings are something that carried over from his 2022 season. In 203 at bats this year, Davis has 9 home runs, 34 RBI, and a .854 OPS. His batting average is as good as ever, too, sitting nicely at .286. Of course, batting average hardly captures a player’s full skillset, but J.D.’s high average is worth mentioning because his 58 hits and solid batting average show that he doesn’t exactly sell out for home runs.

Speaking of home runs, Davis’ spray chart from this year is extremely promising when searching for a righty who could hit a ball into the cove. In fact, four of Davis’ nine home runs have gone to the opposite field. Pairing this fact with his incredible power percentiles would get any Giants fan excited about the potential he has to hit this never-before-seen home run. Davis sits in the 92nd percentile for HardHit %, 90th in Average Exit Velocity, 76th in Barrel %, and 73rd in Max Exit Velocity. The only downside to this possibility is his age of 30. Davis may need a few years for this accomplishment to happen, and some natural regression of power could be in play for him as he ages. If Davis continues to play at the same rate he currently is and his power-hitting abilities do not regress too quickly, he has a legitimate shot at hitting the first ball into McCovey Cove from a right-handed hitter.

Luis Matos (AAA)

Luis Matos has been a familiar name in the Giants’ farm system for many seasons. Matos was signed internationally and began working his way up the minors in 2019. In 2021, he led all Low-A players in hits, extra-base hits, doubles, total bases, and RBI. However, Matos has had some struggles in his professional career. He has battled injuries that took away some of the sharpness of his tools as an athlete. Luis injured his quadricep last season, and when he returned, he was not the same player he once was, slashing only .211/.275/.344 in High-A in 2022.

Since this setback, Matos has had a quick rise to the highest level of competition in the minors. In his last 30 games between AA and AAA, he is slashing .396/.434/.660 and has five home runs in his last five games. He needed only 31 games played at AA to prove that he was ready for his next promotion. The aforementioned five home runs in five consecutive games played have all come at the AAA level in the past week. His confidence is returning. Matos’ ability to play at multiple levels in the same season and capture impressive results is a crucial quality as a prospect, proving he is able to play up to and above his competition. Matos was written off by lots of fans after his down season in 2022. He has fully bounced back since then, seemingly fueling himself with that criticism. If someone tells him that it is impossible to hit a ball into McCovey Cove as a righty, Matos might shock people again and get it done.

Some of the reasons why Matos might not score a splash hit are his size and his scouted power numbers. Matos is listed as 5’11’’ and 160 pounds. His scouting grades only listed him with a power ranking of 45 out of a possible 80. However, as stated before, Luis has dealt with doubt and adversity in his young career and has proven he can rise above those expectations. If he adds size and more power to his game, don’t be surprised to see Matos send a screamer into the cove to accomplish the righty splash hit.

Marco Luciano (AA)

Marco Luciano has some of the best raw power for a middle infielder in all of the Giants’ organization. He received a 65 out of 80 for his scouting grade and has demonstrated the ability to hit the ball out of the park in his time in the minors. In his entire 2021 season, he hit 19 home runs with 71 RBI. However, similar to Matos, his performance in the minors has been a bit derailed because of an injury. Luciano injured his back in 2022, only allowing the 20-year-old to play in 57 full games. Fortunately, his injury has come and gone, and Luciano is back playing for the AA Flying Squirrels in 2023.

Marco Luciano’s start to the year has been unique based on his stats. He is slashing a .191/.309/.452, good for a .761 OPS. When seeing that batting average below .200, it immediately makes one think he is not producing close to what he is supposed to be. However, the gap between his average and his on-base percentage is so large (118 points), and he has above-average slugging numbers, pointing to a player who is experiencing some bad luck with balls put in play. Now, there are no expected stats for these minor leaguers, so the bad luck claim does not have a ton of statistical evidence behind it. However, the type of hitter that Luciano has been the last few years makes his cold batting average a little more acceptable. His numbers will certainly regress to the mean. When that regression takes place, his impressive power ability would be a huge bonus, potentially resulting in Luciano taking a huge step forward as a prospect.

As far as his chances for the future righty splash hit, there is some serious consideration to be had for Marco. MLB Pipeline’s description of his abilities said “He'll always be a power-over-hit guy but his natural ability and aptitude for making adjustments could mean that he's a .270 hitter with 35 homers per season.” If Luciano continues to be a dangerous power threat and his development in the minors sees him refine his hitting abilities, he could be the star shortstop the Giants will need after Brandon Crawford is out. And what better way to introduce yourself as the new star shortstop than collecting the first righty splash hit?

This list of right-handed hitters is not the full possibility of everyone in the Giants’ system that could collect the first right-handed splash hit. There could be other prospects who develop into power threats or even new draft picks who might collect this elusive home run. However, based on numbers and scouting of all of the players listed above, there is a better chance that one of them will be the one to do it. Still, this type of accomplishment is impossible to predict, and whoever gets the first right-handed splash hit will instantly become a Giants legend, cementing themselves into a moment that no Giants fan will forget.


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