Today we’ll take a look at the Giants infield situation. The core players are returning, but some well-known veterans may make a case for a spot on the roster. Also is this the year one of the Giants top prospects make the opening day roster? The Giants have also signed a Korean star can he make the club? Let’s make our way around the horn.
Locked In: Buster Posey
Battling for a Spot: Nick Hundley and Trevor Brown
Former MVP Buster Posey returns and is looking forward to another season behind the plate. Trevor Brown was Busters main backup last season, but lacked the consistency offensively. The Giants have signed veteran and longtime Rockies player Nick Hundley to compete with Trevor Brown in Arizona. Bochy has mentioned that he would like to give Buster more days off this season and having a backup that can contribute consistently will be key. Trevor Brown has been taking reps at first base, second base, and third base. He started 96 games at second base and a dozen starts at first base in the minors, but hasn’t been exposed to it in the majors. Bochy hasn’t ruled out carrying 3 catchers at the start of the season. If they do decide to it could mean one less pitcher or 1 less infielder on the 25 man roster.
Prediction: Posey and Hundley
Locked In: Brandon Belt
Battling for a spot: Morse, Blanks, Gillaspie, Tomlinson
Brandon Belt showed improved patience at the plate last season almost doubling the number of walks from 56 in 2015 to 104 in 2016. He also increased his RBI production from 68 to 82. Brandon looks to improve from last seasons success as he’s once again slated to be the starter at first base. He will also get some time in left field as he has been the past few seasons. Buster Posey will get a lot of time at first base as he’s been for the past few seasons. Kyle Blanks is also back at camp and could provide depth at both outfield and at first base. Blanks has the power to hit in the big leagues, but the issue has been staying healthy. Last seasons post season hero Conor Gillaspie is also back and is hoping to provide depth in the infield. Kelby Tomlinson is also back trying to make the opening day roster. Last season wasn’t the season Kelby expected as he spent most of it on the DL. Michael Morse is also back with the Giants and is hoping to capture the magic he had in 2014.
Prediction: Belt and Gillaspie
Locked In: Joe Panik
Battling for a spot: Rollins, Beckham, Tomlinson
Joe Panik struggled last season with a back injury and is hoping to regain his form. He’s locked in to be the everyday second baseman. There are a few players battling to be the backup to Panik. Jimmy Rollins is joining the club in Arizona and is trying to make the opening day roster. Gordon Beckham was signed late last season for depth and is being brought back in camp this season. Tomlinson can play all over the infield and that makes him valuable to Bochy and the Giants
Prediction: Panik and Rollins
Locked In: Brandon Crawford
Battling for a spot: Rollins, Tomlinson, Arroyo
Gold Glove winner Brandon Crawford is back and the Giants are hoping he continues to improve his hitting. Jimmy Rollins, Kelby Tomlinson, and Christian Arroyo will get some time at shortstop.
Prediction: Crawford and Rollins
Locked In: No one
Position Battle: Eduardo Nunez, Conor Gillaspie, Jae-Gyun Hwang, Christian Arroyo
Eduardo Nunez became the everyday started after he was acquired mid-season. He took over after Matt Duffy was traded to the Rays for Matt Moore. Nunez has the speed and bat control they need at the top of the lineup, but I think he isn’t a lock to be the opening day starter. No doubt he’ll make the club, but there are guys that are more than capable to take the spot from him. Conor Gillaspie is coming off an epic post season run for the Giants and could be the guy that can start opening day. The Giants signed Korean infielder Jae-Gyun Hwang hoping he can find success in the big leagues. He showed some power in Korea. Christian Arroyo is the organizations number 1 prospect and they’re expecting big stats from him. He’s been playing a lot of third base lately and could be the everyday starter in the future.
Prediction: Gillaspie and Nunez
The Giants have a lot of depth in the infield and all the guys mentioned will contribute throughout the whole season. The two guys I’m interested in are Jae-Gyun Hwang and Christian Arroyo. Initially when they traded Matt Duffy away I thought it was time for Christian Arroyo to be the guy a third base, but Nunez was brought in and Gillaspie found second life with the Giants. If Gillaspie or Nunez struggle at any course of the season I believe Arroyo will be the guy. Hwang is supposed to be the next big hitter from Korea and the Giants are hoping he can provide power.
Opening Day Roster Infield Predictions:
Catcher: Buster Posey and Nick Hundley
Infielders: Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford, Conor Gillaspie, Eduardo Nunez, and Jimmy Rollins