Updated Camp Battles (Part 2): Long Reliever

Updated Camp Battles (Part 2): Long Reliever

This might be the most wide-open battle in camp at the moment. With the front runners struggling early, a couple of dark horse candidates have emerged as real threats to win the long-man spot.

Yusmeiro Petit:  12.60 ERA, 5 IP, 14 H, 1 BB, 2 K | Odds: 60% (80% pre-spring) | Trending: Down

Outlook: Petit had a job to lose this spring, and so far he’s heading that way. While it’s a very small sample size, he’s been very hittable in almost all of his outings. There’s still time to iron out the wrinkles, but I don’t think he’s guaranteed the spot by any means unless he shows some improvement.

David Huff: 9.00 ERA, 1 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 0 K | Odds: 50% (40% pre-spring) | Trending: Stable

Outlook: His odds of making the team have risen, but that’s more an effect of Petit’s struggles than Huff’s performance. The lefty made his spring debut over the weekend, and looked a little rusty after missing some time to shoulder stiffness. He’s nothing spectacular, but the Giants like his versatility. He’s definitely in the running for this spot if he can show some consistency in the next few weeks.

Edwin Escobar: 1.50 ERA, 6 IP, 1 H, 5 BB, 1 K |Odds: 40% (N/A) | Trending: Up

Outlook: Ideally, the Giants would like Escobar to start the season in AAA, a stop he’s never experienced before. That’s probably still his likely destination, but Esky isn’t going away without a fight. He stepped up big in his start against Clayton Kershaw last weekend, working through some control issues and only allowing one run over 3 IP. I didn’t even include him in my pre-spring battles series, as I honestly didn’t think he was in the running for this spot. He’s definitely in the mix now.

Jose De Paula: 0.00 ERA, 4 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 4 K | Odds: N/A (25% pre-spring) | Trending: Up

**Update: Assigned to minor league camp.

Outlook: Offseason waiver claim wasn’t really even in consideration for the long-man spot when camp opened (I had him in the bullpen group as a lefty specialist). Four appearances later, De Paula’s got some folks talking about him. He features a 92-94 fastball from the left side, as well as a hard breaking ball and a nice changeup. In the outing that I watched, he was filthy for two innings. Lefties are very valuable out of the bullpen, so watch out for this guy going forward.

Jason Berken: 4.50 ERA, 6 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 3 K | Odds: N/A (N/A) | Trending: Stable

**Assigned to minor league camp.

Outlook: Another guy who wasn’t really in the mix when camp broke. He’s not flashy, but Berken has MLB experience, and was solid in 3 IP against LA over the weekend. Like I said, this spot is wide open at the moment right now, and stranger things have happened. Don’t forget about him.

Mike Kickham: No stats | Odds: N/A (25% pre-spring) | Trending: Down

**Assigned to minor league camp.

Kickham hasn’t appeared in any Cactus League games yet, although I think he’s pitched an inning or two in “B” games. I don’t recall what injury had been holding him back, but I’m curious to see what his stuff looks like this spring. Sounds like he throws a cutter now, but you can’t win a job from the bench, so he needs to get going.

2014 sf giants, spring training, photo

(SFGiantsphotos.mlblogs.com)

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5 thoughts on “Updated Camp Battles (Part 2): Long Reliever”

  1. Kickham pitched an inning for the “real” Giants in the Futures game. Matt Duffy absolutely killed a ball off him; it went to dead center over the CF’s head for a double. I was impressed with Duffy at SS, too. Kickham–not so much.

    1. Thanks lefty! I couldn’t remember when Kickham pitched, but I knew I’d seen his name pop up recently. I didn’t realize Duffy’s big hit was off him. Hopefully Mike can get his control figured out, even if it’s in a relief role. I wonder why they’re still holding him out of ST games.

  2. Last year in ST Petit got knocked around as well. He was very unimpressive. I think David Huff is a legit dark horse. And Escobar is really impressing, but unless there is an injury I just don’t see the Giants not giving him his regular reps at Fresno. Kickham is having a hard time getting the final polish eh? That can be the hardest part of all. He has good stuff but he gets squared up by advanced hitters quite consistently.

    1. Hey now, does that sound like a reliever label on Kickham? Just kidding, I would really like to see them try him out in the pen. Really thought De Paula would stick around a little longer… the stuff looked GOOD. Berken looked strong in his final appearance too. All 3 of these guys should be in the Fresno rotation at this point. Add Escobar to that list, and there’s only one more spot open… who gets it?

      The Giants are showing a lot of belief in Petit, cutting about 60% of his competition. As long as he keeps the ball down, he should still get the job.

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