The title seems like a pretty straight forward question, right? There are a lot of people vying for very few spots on the roster. Let’s look at the plethora of names that have thrown their name in the basket this spring: Jarrett Parker, Mac Williamson, Jae-gyun Hwang, Chris Marrero, Aaron Hill, Nick Hundley, Mike Morse, Gordon Beckham, Tim Federowicz, Justin Ruggiano, Jimmy Rollins, Trevor Brown, and Kelby Tomlinson. That’s a lot of names that a lot of fans will recognize. But unfortunately, there’s not that many spots left.
If you ask me which guys I would personally want to keep. My heart and head will give you two separate answers, right now the numbers point to Hwang, Hundley and either Parker/Williamson depending on who doesn’t get the starting job.
My heart is screaming “BUT MORSE! REMEMBER THE GOOD TIMES?! REMEMBER HOW MUCH HE HELPED THE GIANTS IN 2014?” I just don’t think that Morse has made enough of an impact to win himself the job over these two younger, talented outfielders. Yes – Morse can play a little bit of first base, and that adds a little bit to his stock, but I don’t think it’s enough to keep him around.
Jae-gyun Hwang is having an excellent Spring but with one GAPING hole. His patience. Hwang hasn’t drawn a walk in 30 at-bats. To me, that’s a little disconcerting and I hope it’s not just me. Patience is an important attribute to have in this beautiful game we call baseball. If Hwang can’t figure that part out, he might end up in AAA to start the season, which he has gone on record saying that he would be okay with. I think he does have the power that the Giants have been missing off the bench the past few years and I think he can be an excellent compliment for the bench. He has kept his strikeout numbers down striking out 6 times in his 30 spring at-bats while swatting three home runs and hitting .333.
Both Hundley and Federowicz have been above average defensive catchers in their careers, both never finishing the season with a defensive WAR in the negative. Hundley has hit well at AT&T Park, slashing a .323/.382/.355 over the past 3 years. His defensive numbers have been declining for the past few years, which is very concerning, but Hundley still gets the edge of Federowicz.
The Parker/Williamson debacle has been going back and forth all spring. At the beginning of March it seemed like Williamson was the favorite, but nothing was set in stone. Now Parker has shown that he can be patient at the plate, racking up a .435 OBP and drawing 7 walks in his 38 at-bats. Not to count out Williamson though, he has still done a fantastic job, Parker is getting more playtime, but that’s not a very good indicator of how the job battle is going at this point in the spring. Once the World Baseball Classic is over, the amount of playtime will definitely be something to pay more attention to to get a better feel for how Bruce Bochy is leaning for that battle.