The Giants announced Wednesday that up-and-coming rookie center fielder Steven Duggar‘s 2018 season has likely come to an end after he sustained what doctors have diagnosed as a torn labrum in his left shoulder in Tuesday night’s game against the Diamondbacks.
Images from an MRI performed Wednesday offered team doctors the evidence they needed to recommend surgery for Duggar, though manager Bruce Bochy said after Wednesday night’s loss to Arizona that the final decision is up to Duggar and he’s yet to make it:
“I’m sure he’s crushed by this. The guy loves to play the game, he loves baseball and he was really in a good place as far as his confidence, his swing and of course defensively.”
The injury came after he took a ninth inning walk in Tuesday’s scoreless game against the D-backs. He moved to second base on a Nick Hundley single, but after a wide turn toward third he thought better of it and sprinted back to second, diving headlong into the bag. He felt his left shoulder pop on the tag from Ketel Marte and after writhing facedown in the dirt for a moment, he said it seemed to glide back into socket on its own. Despite the pain he vied to stay in the game and scored the winning run on a walkoff single from Gorkys Hernández.
In just 41 games Duggar has been worth 1.1 wins above replacement — compared to Hernández who’s gotten into 116 games and has been worth just 0.6 WAR. Statcast designates the young center fielder as worth three outs above average, tied with players like Nick Markakis and Giancarlo Stanton.
His offense has been slower to come along as he has 44 strikeouts in 152 plate appearances and he’s batting .255/.303/.390, but the power and speed have been on display with his 11 doubles.
It’s a safe bet that the 2019 starting center field position is already in the bag for Duggar, but playing the final month of 2018 would’ve afforded him benefits like continuing to forge confidence and experience at the big league level and scoping out pitchers in the division he’s likely to be seeing for quite a while.