The San Francisco Giants made their first personnel change in the starting lineup this season for Wednesday’s contest against the Arizona Diamondbacks, removing second baseman Joaquin Arias and replacing him with Ehire Adrianza. As things stand now, this move is just to keep the bench players active in the early going—manager Bruce Bochy said the plan had been to start Adrianza on Wednesday all along—but since there’s little variation in Arias and Adrianza’s qualifications for a starting position, it’s feasible that he could begin to push for the starting spot.
Arias and Adrianza have certainly had differing starts to the season. Arias has had some rough moments in the field at second, and he’s hitless in his first six at-bats. Meanwhile Adrianza, who is a surefire defender and provides an edge on the basepaths, also made a huge offensive contribution on Monday night with his RBI double, which kicked off the scoring in the Giants’ four-run seventh inning.
Arias has been rather reliable when thrust into the starting lineup over the course of his seven-year big-league career, having hit .276 as a starter. With that said, he’s a pretty known quantity; he is a 29-year-old career utilityman who has never played more than 112 games in a season and only has six career homers.
The 24-year-old Adrianza, meanwhile, still has a decent chance to develop into a reliable full-time starter. He’s struggled with making consistent contact at times during his minor league career, but it’s easy to tell that he has developed as a hitter and is now starting to really tap into the power potential that scouts saw him having when he was signed as a teenager out of Venezuela.
Due to the fact that Arias is so accustomed to being a utility player and Adrianza has never had to come off the bench for an extended period, it may be more logical for Adrianza to get the majority of the starts at second. He’s certainly superior as a defender and runner, and he deserves a chance to show that he can be a good enough hitter to merit being a regular.