It didn't seem like there was much of a battle to follow this spring. Tony Abreu was supposed to fight Kensuke Tanaka for the last middle-infield job, and that was supposed to be the bulk of it.
Since then, there have been developments:
- Tanaka has looked rough, both at the plate (small samples, you dink) and in the field (where you can kinda tell he's not a natural shortstop), though according to Alex Pavlovic, his defense at second looks like it's pretty good.
- Abreu strained his quad, which has kept him out of spring action. He's supposed to be a capable defender and a switch-hitter with a little pop/speed, but right now he's nothing more than a rumor. An infield chupacabra.
- Brock Bond has been a spring dynamo:
Brock Bond is in line for plenty of time while Marco Scutaro is gone, and he continues to take advantage. Bond had two more hits today to improve to 6 for 12 this spring, and he also had a pretty slick day on defense. Bond took a poor feed from Kensuke Tanaka and made a twisting throw for a double play. Later, he threw Dewayne Wise out at second when the speedy outfielder tried to take an extra bag on a flare to center that bounced off a diving Gary Brown’s glove.
I always figured that Bond looked like Conor Gillaspie wearing cement shoes on defense, and that's why he's never been up in the majors. But if he's competent, or even better, what in the heck has taken so long? Has it been the lack of power? Because Emmanuel Burriss got over 300 plate appearances over the last two seasons, and he had two extra-base hits. That isn't one of those stupid jokes where hyperbole is used for comedic effect. Burriss had two extra-base hits. So if the Giants were putting up with a player like that, why not add a little OBP?
Wilson Valdez has quietly picked up as many at-bats as any middle infielder in camp. If you're looking for a positive on Valdez, it's that he has the lowest career ERA of anyone on the roster. If you're looking for a downside, it's Burriss-like power combined with a defensive profile that doesn't stand out. He's definitely the least-interesting candidate; but he's also the most experienced: The 35-year-old has 800 at-bats over the last three years, hitting .243/.285/.321.
If I had to guess at a power ranking:
But the idea that Bond is there at all is a good sign. Spring stats don't mean anything, but watching Bond get on base for a month compared to Valdez could make a difference.