5 Players Who Won’t Make San Francisco Giants’ 2014 Opening Day Roster
Bruce Bochy Looks to Round Out San Francisco Giants' Roster In Spring Training
After a thoroughly disappointing 2013 MLB season in which the San Francisco Giants struggled with injuries up and down their roster and lost control of the National League West, it is up to Bruce Bochy to pick up the pieces. In order to recover from the team's 76-86 record in 2013, Bochy will have to ensure that his starting five -- Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Tim Hudson and Ryan Vogelsong -- stays healthy and that he can scramble together a lineup that can score four to five runs per game.
Of course having a good combination of pitching and hitting sounds easy on paper, but it will be up to Bochy to pick the right role players both on the bench and in the bullpen that can come through in case of injuries to top players which proved difficult last year. During the 2013 season the Giants struggled mightily because of the fact that they did not have enough depth in the long relief position to move up into the rotation when starters did get hurt, and as a result the team had a 4.37 ERA from starters. Meanwhile the team also struggled in depth in their lineup for what seems like the tenth straight year, and they ended up scoring the 21st most runs in MLB.
In an effort to ensure that depth is not once again an issue for the Giants, the organization has brought 37 pitchers and 29 position players to camp. While getting to know every single one of these players would be useless, there is certainly a good amount of guys who have a genuine shot to make the big league roster, or at the very least be the first option to come up if an injury does occur.
Keeping this in mind, I have formed a list of the five players who have a genuine shot to make the Giants roster as a long reliever, extra arm in the middle innings, or backup position player but ultimately won't make the cut. I will let you know why they won't make the cut and who will end up taking their spot.
5. Kameron Loe
After not starting for a full year since 2007, Kameron Loe has come to spring training with the mission of being a starting pitcher in 2014. Unfortunately this will be near impossible with the Giants, as they already have a set starting five in addition to Yusmeiro Petit and David Huff lined up as potential spot starters. Despite being 6-foot-8, Loe is a guy who relies on location to get batters out, and he will have to figure out in the minor leagues how to use his sinking fastball to avoid the career-high 31.7 percent fly-ball rate he compiled last year if he ever wants to appear in the majors again.
4. Guillermo Quiroz
Guillermo Quiroz will be fighting against Hector Sanchez in an effort to become the backup catcher behind Buster Posey, who will likely play 30-40 games at first base in 2014. Unfortunately Quiroz faces an uphill battle as he isn't on the 40-man roster, is eight years older than Sanchez and has a thoroughly disappointing career slash line of .201/.258/.280 in 343 career MLB at-bats. Quiroz is clearly the inferior player in the fight for the backup catcher spot, and he will end up going to AAA after losing out on a roster spot this spring.
3. Angel Villalona
Angel Villalona will conceivably have a shot to end up on the Giants' big league roster out of spring training because he is on the 40-man roster, but in all actuality he has no shot. The 23-year-old does have power that makes jaws drop, but after not playing professional baseball in the U.S. from 2010-2012 he only compiled a slash line of .231/.276/.425 in High-A and Double-A last year. Of course he did hit 20 home runs and 27 doubles, but there is no doubting he will receive more at-bats in the minor leagues before gaining a look at the big league level where Pablo Sandoval will start at first base.
2. Roger Kieschnick
Roger Kieschnick is going up against Juan Perez to become the Giants' fifth outfielder and actually has a decent shot. During the 2013 season Kieschnick split time between AAA and MLB, although his slash line of .202/.295/.226 was indicative of a guy that was overwhelmed by the better pitching. Ultimately, Kieschnick will not get the job because he is limited to only playing corner outfield positions while Perez can play all three outfield positions, is more athletic and has had more success at the big league level.
1. David Huff
David Huff is going to be fighting with Yusmeiro Petit for the long relief spot in the Giants' bullpen and potentially to become the fifth starter if an injury occurs to any other starting pitchers. Huff will have it working against him that Bochy is already familiar with Petit and has seen the pitcher compile a very successful 3.56 ERA in 48 innings pitched last year. Additionally, Huff has never really proven to be a guy that can consistently get batters out at the big league level, as his 5.32 ERA in 323 career big league innings indicates. Look for him to be in AAA at the start of the year.