2015 MLB Spring Training: 5 San Francisco Giants Position Battles To Watch

By Kit Duggan

2015 MLB Spring Training: 5 San Francisco Giants Position Battles To Watch

San Francisco Giants Spring Training 2015
Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports

Manager Bruce Bochy has the luxury of presiding over a solid roster that's a proven playoff contender. However, questions still linger about the exact composition of his starting rotation. The Giants have also been unable to settle on a left fielder in recent years, but they may have found their man in the form of Nori Aoki. Here's a list of five positions that have multiple players competing for regular playing time in San Francisco.

5. Backup Catcher

Hector Sanchez Injury
Kyle Terada - USA TODAY Sports

5. Backup Catcher

Hector Sanchez Injury
Kyle Terada - USA TODAY Sports

Hector Sanchez was injured late last year and couldn't contribute to the 2014 World Series run. Prospect Andrew Susac performed decently as Buster Posey's backup, but Sanchez will expect to return now that he's healthy. Sanchez has a bit more pop in his bat than Susac, and he caught Tim Lincecum's no-hitter in 2014. However, if Susac proves that he can hit consistently off the bench, he should edge out the more experienced Sanchez.

4. Left Field

Gregor Blanco San Francisco Giants
Kelley L Cox - USA TODAY Sports

4. Left Field

Gregor Blanco San Francisco Giants
Kelley L Cox - USA TODAY Sports

Gregor Blanco is probably one of the best reserve outfielders in all of baseball. That being said, his offensive abilities are limited and it's unlikely he'll ever break out as a top RBI producer. Blanco's main competition in left field will be newcomer Nori Aoki, who hit .285 while driving in 43 runs for the Kansas City Royals last year. The Giants expect Blanco to play spectacular defense, but Aoki might offer them more value at the plate.

3. Primary Pinch-Hitter

Travis Ishikawa San Francisco Giants
Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports

3. Primary Pinch Hitter

Travis Ishikawa Giants
Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports

This isn't an official position, but Bruce Bochy will use spring training to survey his options off the bench. Travis Ishikawa earned himself a one-year contract after his heroic pinch-hit home run in the NLCS last year. Infielder Matt Duffy will get plenty of chances to follow up on his promising campaign in 2014. Utility player Joaquin Arias should also see some pinch hitting opportunities, but look for Duffy to favored by Bochy this year.

2. Late-Inning Relievers

Sergio Romo San Francisco Giants
Ed Szczepanski - USA TODAY Sports

2. Late-Inning Relievers

Sergio Romo San Francisco Giants
Ed Szczepanski - USA TODAY Sports

Santiago Casilla likely has the closer role locked down, but things could get interesting if he struggles or gets injured. Sergio Romo has cemented his position as the Giants' setup man, but he can't offer the type of power pitching typical for a closer. Keep an eye on fireballer Hunter Strickland, who flashed signs of dominance last year. He ended up having a tough postseason, but Strickland seems primed to become a late-inning force in 2015.

1. Fifth Starter

Tim Lincecum San Francisco Giants
Bob Stanton - USA TODAY Sports

1. Fifth Starter

Tim Lincecum San Francisco Giants
Bob Stanton - USA TODAY Sports

Tim Lincecum was banished to the bullpen in 2014 and found himself largely irrelevant during the Giants' World Series run. The team brought back veteran Ryan Volgelsong during the offseason, leading some to question Lincecum's role in 2015. With the rest of his starting rotation in place, Bruce Bochy has a tricky decision to make. Fans in San Francisco will be hopeful that Lincecum can conduct his freakish electricity on the mound in 2015.

Kit Duggan writes about baseball for RantSports. You can follow him on Facebook and link up on Google

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