In an alternate universe, this would be the last weekend before Opening Day, which was originally scheduled for March 31. Instead, teams are still in Arizona or Florida, playing out spring training schedules that were adjusted on the fly. The Giants have ten more games, including today’s, before their home opener on Friday, April 8. (They have April 3 and 7 off.)
Now that the rush of free agent signings and trades seem to be mostly over with, we can speculate about the Giants’ Opening Day roster. It was announced a few days ago that the rosters through April will be expanded to 28 players, so that factors in. There aren’t too many question marks or position battles for this Giants roster, so correctly pegging the 28-man roster comes down to (a) health and (b) inventory management, specifically who’s out of minor league options (Thairo Estrada, Mauricio Dubon, and Tyler Beede) or can opt out if they don’t make the team (Carlos Martinez). As to health, the big question marks are Tommy La Stella (Achilles surgery) and Evan Longoria (finger from a HBP last August still bothering him). Brandon Belt hasn’t seen any action in a spring training game yet due to some knee soreness. Another possible factor is whether the Giants will split their 28-man allotment 14-14 or will go 15-13 in favor of more pitching early in the year.
HaakAway, with help from The Tevister, has been preparing a ballot for My28ManGuys™ 2022, a little contest we do every year to pick the Opening Day roster. Look for a special post this week with the details. We’re going “high tech” (a Google Form to fill out instead of emailing your guesses) and adding the wrinkle of picking the Opening Day starting lineup for bonus points. The deadline will be a week from tomorrow, Sunday, April 3, so be thinking about your guesses.
Spring Training Notes
The Giants are 2-5 in their Cactus League games so far. We shouldn’t worry much about the spring training record, well, ever, but especially not this year. A lot of guys sure to make the Opening Day roster have not been playing, and in particular, a lot of no-names have been picking up innings and giving up most of the runs. So far the projected starting rotation has looked very good:
- Logan Webb (two starts): 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 10K
- Anthony DeSclafani (one start): 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R
- Alex Wood (one start, second one today): 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3K
- Carlos Rodon (one start): 2.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K
Alex Cobb has not pitched yet but is scheduled to make his Giants debut tomorrow. I haven’t heard anything to be concerned about with him, and maybe it’s just that he’s likely to be the fifth starter, so he can get a couple of Cactus League starts in and then be ready for the Giants’ fifth regular season game. The Giants clearly wanted to take a look at Beede (out of options) and Sam Long. Cobb is the oldest of the five starters, so maybe that’s also why they’re slow-playing him.
The hitting has been less impressive. Estrada is making a good case to crack the Opening Day roster. Diego Rincones, who will likely start the season in Sacramento, is reminding the Giants that they’re glad there was no Rule 5 Draft this year. Youngsters Armani Smith and Grant McCray (both from the 2019 draft) have impressed. Marco Luciano is raking in the minor league games, and so is Luis Matos, who also made this catch in CF in a Giants game at Scottsdale Stadium (and raise your hand if your first thought was that Steven Duggar would have made that catch and then needed shoulder surgery).
— Evan Webeck (@EvanWebeck) March 22, 2022
Don’t get me wrong: I’ve followed Duggar since 2016 and am rooting for him. He’s a scrappy Matt Duffy-esque guy who’s easy to like. But it’s pretty exciting thinking about Matos being the Giants’ CF of the future before too much longer. I was listening to Alex Pavlovic and Cole Kuiper’s Giants Talk podcast this morning, and Alex, who made a trip to minor league camp before the lockout was settles, was gushing about Matos–and Alex is not especially a gusher.
MLB Top 30 Giants Prospects
Speaking of Matos, MLB has finally published their top-30 prospects list for the Giants. Here are some quick observations about this list.
- There are a lot of international signees on the list: Luciano (#1), Matos (#3), Jairo Pomares (#7), Aeverson Arteaga (#11), Randy Rodriguez (#13), Manuel Mercedes (#16), Adrian Sugastey (#19), Kervin Castro (#20), Luis Toribio (#23), Ryan Reckley (#25), and Ricardo Genoves (#30). Gregory Santos (#15) was also an international signee, but he was obtained via trade from the Red Sox in 2017. Anyway, that’s more than a third of the list, and it’s about evenly divided between the Evans and Zaidi regimes. This has been a huge weakness for the Giants for nearly 20 years. The last major international signee for the Giants was Pablo Sandoval (2002); since then, only Reyes Moronta (now a Dodger, ugh) has made any kind of major league impact for the Giants. That is about to change.
- Well over half of them have ETAs of either 2022 or 2023. While these are just guesses and you never really know until you know, it’s fun to think of R.J. Dabovich (2020 draftee, ETA 2022) contributing to this year’s bullpen or Will Bednar (2021 draftee, ETA 2023) in next year’s rotation. Or the three 2018 amigos, Luciano, Matos, and Pomares, in the 2023 lineup.
- There are a couple of disappointments who have dropped in the rankings. Most notably, Seth Corry went from the top-ranked pitching prospect last year to only #21 on the list, now behind 10(!) other pitchers. His stock dropped so badly this past year that the Giants left him unprotected from the (now-canceled) Rule 5 Draft. Will Wilson (#22), a 2019 draftee who was acquired from the Angels before the 2020 season when Zaidi took on Zack Cozart’s dead money, has not been impressive so far. And Sean Hjelle, the #2 pick in 2018 behind Joey Bart, is down to #27 on the list, though he’s the closest to the major leagues (added to the 40-man roster last fall and finished last season in AAA).
Reds at Giants, 1:05 p.m. at Scottsdale Stadium. TV: NBCS-BA, Radio: KNBR
Hunter Greene vs. Alex Wood
Enjoy the game and this spring weekend! Lefty out.