By Patrick Karraker @PatrickKarraker on March 12, 2014
Now that we are nearly halfway through spring training, it’s reasonable to begin speculating about how 25-man rosters across the MLB are going to pan out, and the San Francisco Giants are no exception. There’s still a fair amount of time to go in spring training, but here are how things look to shake out on Opening Day as they stand now.
Barring injury, these five are locked in as the starters to begin the season. Based on their spring performance, there’s reason to believe that the Giants’ rotation can be elite again in 2014. Vogelsong is probably the biggest question mark as he attempts to rebound from an injury-riddled 2013. If anyone struggles or gets hurt the Giants will also have prospect Edwin Escobar, who has dominated during spring training, waiting in the wings.
With Romo, Affeldt, Lopez and Casilla locked into roles, Petit, Machi and Hembree are winning the roles that are up for grabs here. Of the three, Machi probably has the firmest grip on a job right now. But Hembree hasn’t done anything to reverse the momentum that he built towards the end of last season, and while Petit has struggled, no one else has really stepped forward to claim the long relief job that Petit had a grip on coming into camp.
This means that bullpen candidates George Kontos, Jake Dunning, and Kameron Loe will initially be left out of the equation, but it’s nice for the Giants to know that they’ll have great depth this year, as opposed to their experience in 2013, when they were forced to rely on players like Dunning and Hembree who had no big-league experience.
Posey obviously will be the primary catcher, but it should be interesting to see if Sanchez is further utilized this season after showing some quality offensive potential near the tail end of 2013.
Putting Scutaro on the disabled list instead of the active roster is the boldest prediction on this list, considering that the Giants have yet to officially acknowledge that he is even injured. But with just three weeks to go until Opening Day, he has yet to play in a Cactus League game, so it’s about time to start getting concerned.
The other interesting move here is the Giants choosing to keep Hicks over fellow infielder Tony Abreu. While Abreu had some nice moments during 2013, he struggled too often with injuries and now has struggled at the plate this spring. Meanwhile, Hicks is more durable and has been on fire this spring. It wouldn’t be too surprising to find that he has climbed above Abreu on the depth chart.
There isn’t too much suspense with this position group, and the only mild surprise of the bunch is Perez winning the fifth outfield spot. While Perez is engaged in a battle with Roger Kieschnick and veteran Tyler Colvin, he’s put in the only respectable performance of the bunch, as Kieschnick is hitting .063 while Colvin wasn’t doing much before sore legs sidelined him on March 4.
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