As a weekly reminder of who's doing good things down in the minors, Giant Potential will name a "Prospect of the Week" every Thursday afternoon, along with a few honorable mentions, highlighting the best of San Francisco Giants hopefuls. It's now week five, and taking the honor is Richmond Flying Squirrels centerfielder, and former Stanford Cardinal, Austin Slater.
- Age: 23
- Hometown: Jacksonville, Fla.
- Height/Weight: 6'2", 215 lbs
- Drafted: 2014, 8th round
- College: Stanford University
- Key Stats: 3 2B, 1 HR, .636 AVG, 15.4 K%
While we still don't know for certain why Austin Slater missed 12 days following an April 25 game at Bowie, what we do know is that since returning, in three games totaling 13 plate appearances, the Flying Squirrels' center fielder has been on a tear. His seven hits over the span include a breakout 5-for-5 night, featuring his third home run and fourth double of the season.
He appears to be getting back into the groove that helped him bat almost .300 in 114 games last season.
"As a guy that uses the whole park, if I'm starting to miss balls or foul things off down the line, my swing's not where it needs to be. To keep staying through the middle of the field is probably the right approach for me right now, especially getting into two strikes," Slater told MiLB.com reporter Tyler Maun. "I had a couple two-strike hits tonight. For me, that's a good self-check."
Slater is an athletic defender who can play many different positions, including center field and both corners, as well as second base and even a bit of shortstop. He logged 96 games at second base in 2015 between San Jose and Richmond, but has played center field in all 21 games this year with the Flying Squirrels.
(*The first is Slater's fifth hit of the night, completing a remarkable five-hit performance that included a double and a home run. The second video is a long home run Slater hit in major league spring training — off Yordano Ventura, no less.)
- 3B Miguel Gomez: 9 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, .409 AVG, 7.7 K%
- C Matt Winn: 9 H, 3 2B, 2 HR, .450 AVG, .900 SLG
- RHP Connor Kaden: 2 G, 7 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 5 K, 1.29 ERA, 0.571 WHIP
- RHP Chris Stratton: 2 GS, 13 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 13 K, 0.769 WHIP
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