Eleven games down, and only three weeks remaining until Opening Day. I thought this might be a good time for a little update on the position battles front. As you’d expect, there have certainly been a few risers and fallers. A couple of surprise names have also thrown their hats into the ring, making these competitions even juicier.
Remember, we’re looking at five positions here. One reserve outfielder, one reserve infielder, and three bullpen spots. I’ve broken those pitching positions into long-relief and middle-relief, just as I did in my original position battle series. We’ll break down the position player spots here, then look at the bullpen battles in the next post.
Tyler Colvin: 9 AB, .222, 1 2B, 0 BB, 3 K | Odds: 60% (65% pre-spring) | Trending: Down
Outlook: Nothing real exciting yet from Colvin so far, who’s been held out of action for a few days with a minor injury. I still think he’s the frontrunner if shows some power, but Perez is closing the gap.
Juan Perez: 23 AB, .304, 4 2B, 1 RBI, 5 BB, 4 K | Odds: 55% (45% pre-spring) | Trending: Up
Outlook: He owns the most AB of anyone in camp, and he’s been very impressive (.906 OPS) so far. He hasn’t tried to steal any bases yet, and he did have one big misplay in the outfield. But his patience at the plate is a nice surprise, and he’s definitely putting some heat on Colvin early.
Roger Kieschnick: 15 AB, .067, 3 BB, 8 K | Odds: 20% (20% pre-spring) | Trending: Down
Outlook: He wasn’t really expected to make the team out of camp anyway, but Roger’s really been struggling at the plate (only one hit in 15 AB so far). Considering he’s an offensive-minded player, you’d really like to see him flash some of that power before camp breaks.
Ehire Adrianza: 14 AB, .286, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K | Odds: 75% (50%) | Trending: (Way) Up
OutlooK: Sometimes it’s hard to put Spring Training in perspective. Think of it this way: Adrianza has essentially logged less than 4 full games worth of AB this month. However, I don’t think there’s been a cooler customer in Giants camp. The dude fields with the best of them, and he’s been constantly turning heads at the plate. I think he makes the team, and wouldn’t be shocked if he’s the Opening Day 2B (if Scutaro isn’t ready to start the year).
Tony Abreu: 20 AB, .250, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K | Odds: 60% (60%) | Trending: Stable
Outlook: Abreu hasn’t done anything wrong, so much as Adrianza has just done everything right so far. Before camp, I gave Abreu the slight edge in this battle. Now, I think he’s got an uphill fight to catch young Ehire. He’s healthy, and he’ll get every chance to show he’s worthy. I’m not convinced Scutaro will be healthy for Opening Day. In that case, I believe both Abreu and Adrianza would make the team.
Brandon Hicks: 14 AB, .429, 4 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 6 K | Odds: 45% (20%) | Trending: Up
Outlook: I said before camp that Hicks was an interesting player to watch for his pop at the plate and versatility in the field. Turns out I was right (doesn’t happen often!), as Hicks suddenly has everyone’s attention after launching a 2-run shot off Clayton Kershaw yesterday. The Giants really could use some power off the bench, and I think Hicks could provide that. Don’t give up on him just yet.
Nick Noonan: 17 AB, .176, 1 BB, 4 K | Odds: 25% (25) | Trending: Stable
Not much to update on Noonan here. He’s off to a slow start, but he was a pretty big longshot this spring anyway. Fresno will likely be his April landing spot.
Other notes: Barry Bonds, back in Giants orange and black… the way it should be.
Mike Morse and Hunter Pence are back in the lineup after sitting out a couple days to some (hopefully) minor dings. Actually, both of them just crossed home plate on Pablo’s 2-rbi single off Jeff Samardzija.
Matt Cain is dealing today. He’s perfect through 5 with 7 K’s. Think Cainer isn’t out to make a statement this year?
I’ll leave you with this: Finally, there is actual video of lefty pitcher Luis Ysla, and it’s high-quality footage. Big ups to Conner Penfold, who might have just uncovered a future big leaguer. Ysla, the little-known Venezuelan prospect, went 91-95 with his fastball, flashed a tight slider and an impressive changeup. Only one player made solid contact, and that was recent draftee Jonah Arenado. Otherwise, Ysla looked good.
I’m not sure how Ysla stayed off the radar for so long, but he’s a Giant now, potentially headed for full-season ball, and might have a big year in store. Please, go visit Giant Potential and check that clip out. I hope you like pitching, because there’s going to be plenty of it this summer.