With a little over one week under the Spring Training belt, the San Francisco Giants have looked as advertised, with a couple of pleasant surprises, and some obvious areas that need to improve if they want to have a bounceback season.
Obviously one week into Spring Training is too early to tell how well a team, or even individuals will fare, but based on what the Giants have displayed, these are some players who have been hot in Spring Training and some players who have to improve if they want to be a contending team in 2019.
Yangervis Solarte (3B): When the Giants signed Solarte, they weren’t expecting someone who would be able to overtake Evan Longoria for the starting third base position, but his slash line of .417/.462/.833 in five games so far has been eye-opening. In fact, Solarte was only signed to a Minor League contract, but If he can keep this up, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him crack the opening day 25-man roster as a backup to Longoria, who, for disclosure, has been playing superbly in his few appearances.
Gerardo Parra (OF): Coming into Spring Training and the regular season, the Giants only bolstered what is considered one of their biggest weaknesses in the outfield by adding veterans to a young core of up-and-coming outfielders. So when the Giants catch glimpses of an aging Parra displaying his athleticism by knocking two extra-base hits including a solo home run in his limited time so far. Hitting 3-for-10 with a stolen base and three runs scored so far, Parra is looking like he still has it in him to be an everyday starter, despite being a non-roster invitee.
Pat Venditte (P): Although Venditte has not been able to cement himself as a Major League reliever, he is currently making his case with the Giants. In three relief appearances, giving up no hits and walking only one while striking out three. Although the sample size is still extremely small, he’s been as efficient as you can get, retiring nine of ten batters faced while throwing a mere 19 pitches. Although he’s not the typical dominant, hard-throwing reliever most teams want, his ability to induce soft contact is all you want if you are the Giants.
Starting Rotation: Despite boasting their strongest six starters in a constant rotation, Giants’ starters have been, for the most part, abysmal. Although it’s still early and they are readjusting to face live batters in live situations, Giants starters have combined to throw 18.2 innings, allowing 24 hits and giving up 17 earned runs for a combined ERA of 8.20. Despite their struggle giving up hits, they’ve combined for 18 strikeouts and only six walks, so if there’s any silver lining, it’s that. But if the Giants want to have a bounceback season, their starters are going to have to limit opponents to a lower OBP than .352.
Cameron Maybin (OF): Like Parra and Solarte, the Giants didn’t expect much from Maybin, signing him to a Minor League contract, but their desperate attempt at having Maybin be a leader in the outfield has backfired, as he has yet to find his groove and be a role model. In 13 at-bats, Maybin has seen more playing time than the average invitee, yet he hasn’t mustered a single hit. His only run came on a walk and his five strikeouts has suggest he is uncomfortable at the plate. Despite the inexperienced outfield, it would be surprising to see Maybin make the opening day roster if he continues at a similarly slow rate.