Few saw this career resurgence coming from the three-time All-Star. Hunter Pence struggled through a few injury-plagued seasons with the San Francisco Giants as his production quickly declined. His biggest highlight over the last few years was dating Stephanie Tanner on an episode of Fuller House.
Moving to a hitter-friendly park in Texas has revitalized Pence’s career. He’s hitting .294/.353/.608 with 15 home runs and 48 RBI.
Pence has hit well enough against pitchers who throw from either side throughout his career to warrant being an everyday player but he’s been particularly good against lefties this season. He’s hitting .324 with a 1.061 OPS, .433 wOBA, and 169 wRC+ against LHP. He doesn’t rank quite as high as the other bats on this list against lefties but he’s a better overall hitter than any of them if his bounce-back season is to be believed.
He also comes with plenty of postseason experience, winning two championships with the Giants and posting a .390 batting average in 11 career World Series games. If anyone on this list is going to follow in Pearce’s footsteps as an under-the-radar mid-season pickup turned postseason hero, it’s Pence.
Pence was placed on the injured list this week with a right groin strain but it’s not considered a serious issue and he may return after the minimum 10-day stint. That may make it a moot point long before the deadline but it’s worth monitoring given Pence’s injury history.
The Rangers are paying Pence next to nothing on a minor league deal before he hits free agency again after the season. The price is right for a Red Sox team working on a tight budget and it shouldn’t take a significant haul to acquire a 36-year old that the Rangers won’t control beyond this season.
Texas is only a game behind Boston for the second Wild Card spot so they might talk themselves into being buyers instead of sellers. Will their success last until the deadline? It seems unlikely with the 23rd ranked pitching staff in the majors. If Texas starts to slip in the standings then Pence is a prime candidate to be dealt at the deadline if he’s healthy and productive.