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The Giants’ spring position battles, updated

Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson are both having strong springs, but what about the bench candidates?

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Oakland Athletics Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants actually have a plethora of spring training battles this year. I’m not sure how to handle it. For the last five years, there might have been a bullpen battle or two, and there’s usually some question about the exact permutation of bench players, but there hasn’t been a lot of roster chaos over the years.

This spring is filled with a dusting of roster chaos. It’s not a blizzard, but it’s definitely enough to notice. It’s both unsettling and delightful. Spring training is a horrible alternate dimension where everything is meaningless and meaningful, and the only reason we cannot burn it is because it has no soul and cannot be burned. As such, we need to pay attention to spring-training stats.

These are how the Giants’ position battles are shaping up, based on ... ugh ... a third of a Cactus League season.

Left field

Jarrett Parker — .222/.417/.611, 18 AB
Mac Williamson — .286/.375/.571, 21 AB

Well, well, well. It probably won’t surprise you how this is all shaking out. Parker has the low average and the bushel of strikeouts, but he also has more walks and extra power. Williamson is the middle bowl of porridge, doing everything quite well, but not enough to pull away from Parker.

It’s almost like we can’t tell enough from a couple dozen at-bats, spring or otherwise. But you already clicked, dummy.

The only answers we have so far is that neither player is playing himself out of the competition. Both of them have stayed in the position battle. Both of them are adding to the chaos.

Backup center fielder

Gorkys Hernandez — .125/.222/.250, 16 AB
Justin Ruggiano — .067/.125/.133, 15 AB
Orlando Calixte — .235/.278/.294, 17 AB

These three are adding to the chaos, too! Just, you know, in a very different way. The window is still open for Calixte to fill two roles at once, and exactly one good game can boost those numbers.

It’s almost like we can’t tell enough from a couple dozen at-bats, spring or otherwise. But you already clicked, dummy.

The favorite is still Gorkys, I’d wager, but it’s not like he’s carpéing the diem.

Utility infielder

Aaron Hill — .333/.375/.400, 15 AB
Jae-gyun Hwang — .313/.313/.750, 16 AB
Gordon Beckham — .308/.412/.385, 13 AB
Orlando Calixte — .235/.278/.294, 17 AB
Kelby Tomlinson — .267/.250/.400, 15 AB
Jimmy Rollins — .143/.333/.143, 14 AB

It’s looking bad for the Official Utility Infielder of McCovey Chronicles, Kelby Tomlinson, but that’s partially because of Jae-gyun Hwang, the Official Dreamy Power Hope of McCovey Chronicles, who keeps hitting extra-base hits.

The old-timers are mostly doing well, with the exception of Jimmy Rollins, who might not win his second MVP this season.

The power rankings probably go something like this:

  1. Hill
  2. Hwang
  3. Tomlinson
  4. Calixte
  5. Beckham
  6. Rollins

Hill is the giantsest Giant who has never giantsed, and he’s been off to a hot start, both with the bat and the glove.

Fifth starter

Ty Blach — 6⅔ IP, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 1.35 ERA
Matt Cain — 7⅓ IP, 7 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 7.36 ERA

You know how this race is going. You also know that the Giants might not care.

The biggest tell wasn’t how either pitcher fared but how they were used. Bochy said he intended to insert Blach in the middle of an inning rather than use a non-roster pitcher to get through the fourth. With no real long relief candidates in camp, Blach could find himself in that role to start the season.

I would agree with the suggestion that Blach would fare better in relief, but that leads me to ask if that’s because he’s better suited for it, or if it’s because he’s the better pitcher. If it’s the latter, well, that’s a hint.

I’m still not willing to shovel dirt on Cain. That’s not fair on several levels, and I can’t hide behind “IT’S ONLY SPRING” when I feel like it. But I have my suspicions about how this is going to go, both with the spring results and the eventual winner, and the early returns have to be making the Giants second guess themselves.

Spring roster chaos! It’s been too long. Before spring started, I guessed that the Giants would go with Jarrett Parker, Gorkys Hernandez, Aaron Hill or Jae-gyun Hwang, and Matt Cain. Two weeks in, and not much has changed, even as the evidence trickles in.