The San Francisco Giants have already decided to carry five outfielders on their 25-man roster in 2014, which gives non-roster invitee Tyler Colvin a fantastic chance of snagging a role with the orange and black when camp breaks. It’s a familiar color scheme for Colvin, who previously signed a big league deal with the Baltimore Orioles this offseason, but his contract was nullified after a physical spurred concern over back problems.
Colvin spent most of the 2013 campaign with triple-A Colorado Springs, where he posted a .275 batting average with nine home runs and 32 RBI in 272 plate appearances. If recent history is a clear indicator, Colvin is bound for a productive season at the big league level in 2014. The 28-year-old outfielder has struggled to sustain consistent success since making his MLB debut in 2009 though. His best season happened in 2012, when Colvin smashed 18 home runs and drove-in 72 runs in 420 official at-bats for the Colorado Rockies.
Colvin owns a .743 OPS with 118 extra-base hits and 160 RBI in nearly 1,200 career plate appearances. He isn’t the clear-cut favorite to win the Giants’ final outfield spot, but he boasts solid value, nonetheless. Colvin owns a .984 career fielding percentage. He has decent pop and could prove to be a reliable bench option for manager Bruce Bochy. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Colvin will earn $1 million if he makes the Giants’ big league roster.
Speedy outfielder Juan Perez is presently the favorite to win the Giants’ camp battle for the fifth outfield spot. Perez is an excellent defensive player, posting a .987 fielding percentage in 218 innings last season. He doesn’t offer much value at the plate though. He posted a .258 batting average in 89 official at-bats and often looked flustered at the plate. Roger Kieschnick is also expected to be in the mix, but he struggled on a massive level in 2013, barely escaping the Mendoza line with a .202 batting average in 84 at-bats.
The Giants ultimately made a no-risk move by adding Colvin to big league camp. He’s a decent fall back option if Perez and Kieschnick noticeably struggle in Spring Training. San Francisco’s bench depth remains a concern, as general manager Brian Sabean failed to effectively improve the bottom of a roster that was exploited in 2013. Sabean’s decision to sign slugging outfielder Michael Morse created a need for the Giants to carry an additional outfielder, specifically because of Morse’s extreme lack of outfield range.
Now, the Giants are faced with a perplexing dilemma to fill out their roster. The fifth outfield spot could be more efficiently used to solidify a bullpen that was over-worked last season due to lackluster starting pitching. Colvin is an ideal stop-gap who can produce when called upon. He’s reportedly healthy, despite concerns over possible back problems, according to Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News. The Giants need all the help they can get offensively. Colvin simply needed an opportunity.