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Wade Meckler’s eye-popping ‘video-game numbers’ earn him Giants call-up

SAN FRANCISCO — The Eastern League is a tough environment for hitters, and with the season approaching the final weeks, only three qualified players have an average over .300. Giants prospect Wade Meckler hit .336 during his short time in the Double-A league, which makes that stint an outlier, but not just because of how he compared to other minor league hitters.

That was also Meckler’s only stop in the minors where he didn’t bat at least .400. The 23-year-old outfielder tore up both A-ball levels and hit .400 in 10 games in Triple-A. Overall, Meckler had a .377 average and .472 on-base percentage in 92 minor league games, and on Monday the Giants decided they had seen enough.

With Mike Yastrzemski still unavailable and the lineup in desperate need of a boost, the Giants called up Meckler and threw him right into the fire against Tyler Glasnow and the Tampa Bay Rays. Meckler is playing center field and batting second on Monday night.

“Wade Meckler’s FanGraphs page or Baseball Reference page or pick your stats page is a pretty fun one to look at,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “It’s just kind of silly, video-game numbers. Not huge home run numbers, of course, but the on-base stuff is pretty impressive. A lot of that is just he’s got really good plate discipline and really good bat-to-ball skills.

“There’s a little bit of Luis Matos there in terms of similar skill sets. Meckler is a little different in that the plate discipline goes back pretty far. We saw it in spring training, a calm approach at the plate and a disciplined approach at the plate. I think given the success that he’s had at the minor league level it’s fair to assume that he’s going to be able to put the bat on the ball and make good swing decisions (here).”

The skill set got Meckler to the big leagues just 13 months after he was taken in the eighth round of the 2022 draft, and the Giants are confident he won’t be overwhelmed. Meckler caught the staff’s eye this spring when he stuck to his approach instead of trying to impress, as most young hitters do in their first camp. He never wavered while earning an early promotion to Double-A, and then two more.

The final one came Monday, when the River Cats arrived back home from Las Vegas and manager Dave Brundage told Meckler he was headed to San Francisco along with veteran Johan Camargo. Meckler immediately called his parents, who got on a flight to come up from Orange County.

“Obviously when I got drafted last year I wasn’t expecting to be here (this soon), but I was expecting to hit,” Meckler said. “I was kinda just setting the standard high for myself and keeping myself accountable every day and that’s what got me here.”

Meckler comes to the park every night looking to pick up three hits, and lately the entire Giants lineup has had trouble hitting that mark sometimes. As thrilling as Sunday’s win was, the Giants had just one run until Patrick Bailey’s walk-off homer. They hoped that Yastrzemski could provide a spark on Tuesday, but the outfielder had a setback with his hamstring and will need another couple of weeks to rehab.

That should give Meckler a chance to show what he can do, and he’ll get a tough early challenge. Glasnow is one of the best pitchers in baseball, but Meckler doesn’t plan to change anything. His approach is always the same, and he showed that Monday afternoon when he stopped his first BP session after taking a pitch.

RELATED: Why Zaidi believes Meckler can be ‘special’

In the minors, Meckler would always ask his coaches if every take during BP was on a ball or a strike. He did the same in the cage at Oracle Park.

“The ability to manage the strike zone is probably my biggest strength,” Meckler said. “I have pretty good bat-to-ball skills as well. For the most part, hitters, no matter how good or bad your swing is, if you get a middle-middle fastball most guys hit them. I’ve done a good job through the minor leagues of forcing guys into the middle of the plate and getting my fastball and not missing.”

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