There aren’t a lot of real roster battles to watch this spring. Center field is up in the air, there’s two unsettled spots at the back of the rotation, and a couple of bench and bullpen spots, of course. But watching the players this spring isn’t just about 2018. Here’s 4 guys to watch for the future.
4 Spring Training Prospects To Watch For Beyond 2018
Miguel Gomez - You’ll see his name a little later in this report, because if there’s one thing you can count on, it’s Miguel Gomez hitting. Gomez’s biggest concern has to do with defense, and where he will play. It will be worth watch to see how he handles himself in the field. Through five games, at least, Gomez hasn’t committed any errors, despite the Giants having many.
Chris Shaw - This one borders on adding “Duh” at the end of it. Shaw is not the left fielder of 2018, barring some unforeseen injuries. But as reported earlier this week, Shaw has worked hard to improve his game as an outfielder, losing weight and getting into better shape. With two corner outfielders ending their contracts this season, how Shaw performs now and all season will be a big factor in what decisions are made this offseason.
Ryan Howard - After a breakout 2017 season, a lot of pressure may be put on Howard to make an impression in a shallow farm system. Howard has a short, quick swing that allows him to adjust to pitches and make good contact, albeit for not much power. However, he hasn’t turned it into working deep into counts and drawing walks, and despite being able to play all over the infield, he’s got some room to improve on defense. He’s getting pushed with the big dogs this Spring, how he reacts could set the tone for a pivotal year.
Aramis Garcia - The Giants have 5 catchers not named Aramis Garcia in camp, so Garcia’s playing time will be slim. That said, the Giants’ own Musketeer is lowkey one of the Giants top remaining prospects. His power still remains tantalizing throughout the injuries he’s suffered, but the injuries have prevented him from developing behind the plate. His value is in being a catcher. Getting any chance he can to work with the big league pitchers will help him in that regard. And, on top of everything else, if there’s any prospect teams might ask for in midseason trades that the Giants would be willing to trade, Garcia tops that list.
Good Prospect-ish Impressions This Week:
Miguel Gomez - Sure, we know he can hit. But when he’s gotten chances this Spring, he has hit and been a part of rallies. He is 5-for-9 across five games, including a double and a home run, with four runs scored and three RBI. Gomez is a big long shot to make the Major League squad out of Spring Training, but he is leaving an impression for the future, as a player whose bat will play at the next level.
Kyle Jensen - On Tuesday, Jensen became the first Giant in Spring Training to collect multiple home runs in impressive fashion, with a walk-off Grand Slam to salvage a win in a game they had trailed all the way. Home runs in the Spring are not rare, but the impression comes from the size of the home runs. The first left the ballpark entirely at Camelback Ranch, and the second looked like it would have cleared the center field batter’s eye at Scottsdale Stadium (it came down five feet to the left), 430 feet away and 25’ high. Jensen’s almost certainly not going to make the big league team, but he could be an impressive presence in Sacramento.
Pablo Sandoval’s Bat - Sandoval is no lock to make the team, but has a good track to be a bat off the bench. Through 3 games, Sandoval is 3-for-8 with two doubles and a home run, and one of those doubles was inches away from being a grand slam over that impressive batter’s eye in center field. Obviously, the Giants would like a bench that has some power off of it, and Sandoval could be that guy.
Bad Prospect-ish Impressions This Week:
Tyler Rogers - Rogers leads the team’s pitching staff with three appearances, and yet isn’t even an official invite to the Major League camp. But he has not succeeded the way one would hope. In his first outing, he gave up two unearned runs, and while the error contributed, two walks and 1 hit allowed did not help. On Tuesday, he came in with the bases loaded, and allowed two runners to score, on a sacrifice fly and another error. Obviously, errors behind him haven’t helped, but a non-roster guy won’t get many chances, and he hasn’t done as well as one would want.
Tyler Beede - Beede is one of the team’s most important pitchers, part of a mix of pitchers who are most likely to be competing for two spots in the rotation. Beede got the Monday start, and struggled in two innings. He gave up four hits and a walk en route to three runs allowed, including a double and triple. Spring is never an easy time for pitchers, and this year’s schedule with less time for workouts certainly didn’t help. Beede has a lot of time to really earn that starting spot, but it wasn’t a good first outing.
Pablo Sandoval’s Glove - Two errors on Tuesday’s game left a bit of a bad taste in the mouth, despite the bat’s performance. At least so far this Spring, Sandoval has not shown the quick reflexes and sure glovework that Sandoval showed as a Giant at the start of the decade has not quite been there. His Tuesday game did also include a nice play charging a ground ball and throwing home to get a runner with the bases loaded. If Sandoval will get a bench role, defense won’t be as important, but the team still won’t want a liability.
Don’t Tease Us
Most interesting thing from today's media session: Giants haven't ruled out Heliot Ramos getting into a game this spring. He's only 18 years old.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) February 22, 2018
The least that Bochy could have done is give us a date so that Giants fans could start requesting the time off and get flights and reopen the Pink Pony for a get-together and possibly attend that game.
Sir Bam Bam of the Drills
Okay, the story behind this is that Hensley Meulens has suggested this drill for the outfielders to improve multiple skills. Three balls are put into the fly-ball machine right after each other. Players need to get up and get their gloves on, identify which ball they will take before making the catch. Ideally, this drill not only addresses dexterity and fly ball identification skills, but also communication skills between the outfielders.
The switcheroo obviously needs some work. Perhaps Panik and Crawford can get together with them and talk about pitching items to each other. But Slater had good form using the glove to protect himself! (Poor Slater.)
It’s the Yankees loss and the Giants gain that they did not choose Meulens for their manager. He will be a manager one day. And a damn fine one.
It’s Spring For Everyone
#SFGiants prospect Tyler Rogers, a submarine-style pitcher is entering the game. Triple-A closer last year, I thought we might see him in September.— Kerry Crowley (@KO_Crowley) February 23, 2018
In Friday’s Spring opener, this tweet came at the end of the 6th inning, as Crowley reported that Tyler Rogers was coming in to replace Tyler Cyr. The submariner, who is a guy I irrationally like for the Giants, would be pretty distinctive.
However, since I was at work and only checking the at-bat app (and the audio was buggy), as I saw runs go on the board, At-Bat reported it was Tyler Herb on the mound, and not Rogers.
In the end, At-Bat corrected itself and it was Rogers having an unfortunate outing (2 unearned runs, but two walks and a hit allowed did not help). But the lesson is that it’s Spring for everyone, including the At-Bat operators.
Also, the Giants have far too many pitchers named Tyler.
A Little Tease For July
The Giants keep getting connected to SS Marco Luciano as someone they may be targeting out of the Dominican as an international free agent. That’s five months off (July 2nd to be precise), but here’s a little video to whet your appetite, thanks to Split Change in the comments from last week.
Not a lot of now raw power guys in BP today like Vlad Jr or Jhailyn Ortiz in years past so I gave my prettiest swing award to SS Marco Luciano pic.twitter.com/52SZiAGNhp— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) February 21, 2018
Non-Giants System Ballpark News
Anyone who knows me knows I like watching all around Minor League Baseball for news of ballparks and uniforms, even if they aren’t in the Giants system. One I’ll let you know about is in a city I tend to visit every spring alongside Spring Training: Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas ‘51s got approved for a new stadium in the offseason, in the Vegas suburb of Summerlin (to the west of the Las Vegas proper). Uniquely, the naming rights of the stadium were purchased by the city of Las Vegas. It will simply be called “Las Vegas Ballpark.” Their current stadium, Cashman Field, sits north of old Downtown. Take a gander:
The future home to Las Vegas baseball, community and nonprofit events, tournaments and more.— Las Vegas 51s (@LasVegas51s) February 24, 2018
All things to create memorable moments and bring us closer together. ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/zQL284GJj1
The ‘51s will move into the new stadium alongside a new affiliate. They are currently affiliated with the New York Mets, but with the Mets buying the Syracuse Chiefs, they need to separate from Las Vegas. The Giants won’t be moving, but the A’s are a dark horse to try to move their Triple-A team closer to the West Coast (from Nashville). The A’s have history in Las Vegas, playing 6 home games at Cashman Field there in 1996 while the Oakland Coliseum was finished renovations.
See more preliminary renderings of the new Las Vegas Ballpark here. I have to admit, I dig the upward curve of the roof behind home plate. And I’m sure Roger will like a stadium with better cameras for highlights.
Giants System Ballpark Update
We’re about 6 weeks away from Opening Day in Augusta, and the GreenJackets posted a video on Facebook Live showing the progress at SRP Park. It still looks very much like a construction site, though the majority of seats are installed. There is still no grass or scoreboard up yet, but you can make out how this new park will look.
Of course, the stadium should be ready and brand, sparkling new on Opening Day, April 12th (they’ll play a college game there on the 10th). They are obviously excited to show it off, and I’m looking forward to visiting it.
GreenJackets Uniform Updates
One final bit. The GreenJackets will be holding a press conference this morning to debut their new look and the new look of Auggie, their mascot. We’ve already seen the new logos and wordmarks. Will there be plaid pants? I hope there’s plaid plants.
I’ll update this post with the uniforms once they are up. So please make sure you check back for more than just the comments later today.
EDIT: They’re here! Take a gander!
Just look at that lineup pic.twitter.com/x1ya47nBST— Augusta GreenJackets (@GreenJackets) February 28, 2018
Wow, those are, uh...safe.
They sure got the Green out, and by out, I mean off, and by Green, I mean the word, not the color. Although the color is limited on the uniforms, too. I never realized just how naked a uniform can look without any piping at all, in regards to that road uni. The center uniform is a sunday alternate Giants-themed uniform, to prepare players for the uniforms they’ll wear at the next level of the minors. And maybe they meant the big league team, too. Nice touch that the hat has an orange alternate version of the Auggie logo.
There’s no plaid pants (save for the redesigned mascot. However, the home jersey does have plaid socks, so at least they’ve got a touch of character there.
Overall, though, these are pretty plain. I’m not wildly excited. I’m not mildly excited. I don’t really hate them. They’re just...pretty basic. I still love the “A” logo with the wings, and will get the road cap. But, yeah, that’s pretty much it.