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Friday, March 25, 2016

The three stages of Spring Training

Ah, the three stages to spring, at least the way I see it. First is, you get everyone here, healthy and and in shape (man has that third part gotten easier without the Panda bumbling into Scottsdale) the for those first few weeks, the majority of teams actually think they have a shot, and this year, they do. So for the first week or 2 of games it's slow process getting back into the swing of things and it's a time for the young guys to shine. And most importantly, keep everyone healthy. But then things pick up...

Then all the sudden before you know it it's the time that first cuts come and guys who make the cut and are actually performing, are getting their chance to shine. For the younger guys, it's crunch time in terms of putting up or shutting up in the Cactus League because at the end of spring the vets will all be getting 7+ inning tune-up. This group contains guys like IF Kelby Tomlinson, OF Jarrett Parker, IF Ehire Adrianza, OF Mac Williamson, catchers Trevor Brown and Miguel Olivo and reliever Mike Broadway. Of course star young prospect, Christian Arroyo (the best all-around talent level since Buster Posey) and one of the top young SP's Kyle Crick, were optioned to minor league camp early but were very impressive during their brief stay (especially Arroyo).

Of the group remaining though, I think Jarrett Parker and Ehire Adrianza seem to have grabbed a stranglehold on the final bench sports now, but Mac Williamson is doing his best to be that right-handed power bat off the bench. Usually you get a big slugger like that and he's anchored to one position. To me though, Arroyo didn't make the cut but was obviously the most intriguing of any prospect, and not necessarily a guy to rule out in 2016, especially with Panik's back issues. Brandon Crawford doesn't really have to worry this year about the 21 year-old "could be phenom" but this kid should be more than ready by 2017 which means someones getting dealt. (I know it's all purely speculation and Aroyo's yet to even face a big league arm, and BCraw has been crucial in 2 of them). Arroyo won't make the squad outta spring of course as the team will want him playing everyday, but he should just keep working his way up the prospect charts.

Now, of course, we've hit third and final phase, it's really put up or shut up for the fence guys when they do get their chances and turn up time for the 20 odd players guaranteed a spot for April 4th. So far things have been pretty good in terms of health and even production from the Giants' on and offensives standpoint, especially offensively. Most of the starters are hitting around .300 or north of it and everyone appears on target for opening day.

On a pitching standpoint, however, especially on the starting end, it's the complete opposite, as everyone has an ERA north of Jake Peavy's 8.31. Let's hope it's just the thin air fellas cause these guys have got to be a strength and a key start is huge (see 2014), even though the lineup is a top one (this is a team with championship aspirations afterall). They also had that little scare with Cueto's shot off the head but he came out just fine and entrenched his spot as the man behind MadBum in the Giants official starting rotation, announced Friday. The big focus down the stretch and into the preaseason Bay Bridge Series, will be that final spot. Which again, at the moment should belong to Adrianza or Parker. I love the idea of the right-handed Williamson, but Parker showed a lot last year and I think is big power option off the bench and a guy who's already proven he can change games with one swing of the bat. Wiliamson does give you that right-handed option whereas you only have Susac and/or Brown. So that will be it. Could be a guy like Mike Broadway, especially given Cain's worries, but I think that's exactly what Heston is for.

Extras: Bochy announced the rotation Friday with absoutley no surprises. Madison Bumgarner will be followed by necomers Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija then Jake Peavy will give way to Matt Cain as the fifth man. However, and not not as surprisingly, the veteran manager has not announced his opening day lineup and likely won't do so until last weekend of the spring. My guess though, it too will be as expected: Span-Panik-Posey-Pence-Belt-Duffy-Pagan-Crawford. Although Duffy could swap into the 3-hole and drop everyone down the spot (possibly including a Pagan/Crawford swap depending on matchups). Those are the only two outcomes I can see and we should know in a matter of days.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 5:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think Cueto and Samardzija are gonna be average and the Giants will underachieve. I think their magic wore off last season once Cain started getting hurt and Lincecum started sucking. Hope I'm wrong but I don't think they're gonna have that even year sucess.

  • At 10:44 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Previous commentor, I'm sorry but your off a bit on your observation.

    Lincecum did nothing for the 2014 ws champiionship and Matt Cain basically dissapeared and wasn't even there for the tittle over KC. Don't you remember it was MadBum and hold your breath (besides Peavy every three starts or so)...It was a nightmare as far is the starters after MadBum and somehow they won in 2014. I think your thinking 2012 but that's 4 years ago we're talking about. It's a very different team than it was 4 years ago. Gone are Lincecum and Vogey, in are Cueto and the Shark. Gone are Panda and Ryan Theriot and here are Matt Duffy and Joey Panik. I mean, a lot is the same, but we're talking about a decent enough overhaul in order enough for this team to be better than the 2014 version, significantly.

    I think your concern is a little premature at this point and I think the Giants are setting up to be just fine out the gate. The one area in which not many seem to focus on is that bullpen. I mean I know we need Cainer and Peavy to be good but if Casilla is the bat Casilla, and Romo loses another few inches on that slider then either Hunter Strickland and Geroge Kontos need to be ready to be Wade Davis/Greg Holland (before the injury) of the Giants are screwed there.

    Other than that their main worries still lye within the rotation, especially the back-end. Not to mention the back end. If Peavy and Cain have ERA's in the 5's come June (assuming both are healthy), you gotta start assessing some options.

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