Wednesday, March 31, 2021


The Giants will open the season with 13 pitchers. The five starters are all right-handed. Southpaw Alex Wood (#57) will likely be placed on the Injured List. There are 10-day, 15-day, and 60-day assignments. The Giants have three off-days in their first twelve games. Wood, with a 15-day stint, could come off the IL for the road series in Miami starting on April 16th.

Kevin Gausman (#34), Johnny Cueto (#47), Logan Webb (#62), Anthony DeSclafani (#26), and Aaron Sanchez (#48) make up the rotation.

That makes eight spots for relievers. Five of them are lefties: Jake McGee (#17), Jarlin Garcia (#66), Jose Alvarez (#50), Wandy Peralta (#60), and Caleb Baragar (#45).

The three remaining right-handers are Reyes Moronta (#54), Matt Wisler (#37), and Tyler Rogers (#71).

That leaves 13 position players. Lefty-hitting shortstop Brandon Crawford (#35) and lefty-hitting first baseman Brandon Belt (#9) will be back for perhaps their final seasons in orange-and-black after a decade of fine work. The same could be true for veteran backstop and franchise icon Buster Posey (#28). Curt Casali (#2) will catch when Posey sits.

Evan Longoria (#10) will man third base and be backed up by lefty-hitting FNG Tommy La Stella (#18) who will also see time at second base. Donovan "Donnie Barrels" Solano (#7) will mostly man the keystone. Versatile Mauricio Dubon (#1) will see time in the infield as well as in center field. Wilmer Flores (#41) returns in his multi-position role, mostly on the left side of the infield.

Lefties Mike Yastrzemski (#5) and Alex Dickerson (#12) will be the main corner outfielders although Yaz will man center field as well. Austin Slater (#13) will see playing time in all three spots and Darin Ruf (#33) will come off the bench to play left field and likely get starts at first base.

Like last season, expect to see platoons against lefties. Marco Gonzalez starts for Seattle tomorrow so I think we'll see Slater leading off and playing left field, followed by Yaz in right, Solano at second, and Longo at third. Flores will DH with Belt, Posey, and BCraw behind him, and Dubon in center in the ninth spot. Or something like that!

Projection systems are not kind to the 2021 Giants, calling for 74-77 wins. Bettors have the under/over pegged at 75-1/2 wins. If the starting pitchers can stay healthy I think a .500+ record (82 wins) is a real possibility, even with the stiff competition in the NL West. The Dodgers have even more talent now than before, and the Padres are the most improved team in baseball. It will be a grind for the Giants, but they have good pitching depth overall even if there aren't any superstar arms, and that will be crucial this year. The team is a little thin at key positions like SS and CF so let's hope they avoid injuries in those spots. Fielding was an issue last year and in spring training so they'll have to clean up the defense to stay competitive.

I'm of course excited for Opening Day and the possibility of a full season of baseball. The first game is in Seattle against the Mariners tomorrow night at 7:10 PDT.



p.s. I know it is hard to keep track of all the changes and all the new guys so I recommend FanGraph's ROSTER RESOURCE pages. I'm there almost every day. (I have a link in the sidebar.) Like I said before I'm glad they are putting the names on the home jerseys this year!

Monday, March 29, 2021

Logan Webb gave up a run

Heliot Ramos was selected for the Barney Nugent Award which is given to the best of the first-time-in-camp ballplayers. Ramos is only 21 and it is exciting to see his emergence. I suspect we will see him on the big league roster sometime this season. The 2017 1st-round pick went 15-for-36 with 3 doubles and 3 homers. He's been in pro ball since he was signed out of Puerto Rico at age 17 and has logged over 1100 PAs in the minors. He'll start the year in AAA-Sacramento.

But the real story of the spring, for me, is that of Logan Webb. He gave up a run against the A's today in the Giants final tune-up. (The 7-2 win gives them an 11-12 Cactus League record.) What's notable is that's the only run Webb allowed in his 17 IP across five starts. The 24-year old from Rocklin has also been in the organization since he was 17 years old and he has logged almost 400 IP in the minors. He's spent time in the bigs the last two seasons, starting 19 games, but the results haven't been there. Armed with a new change-up he's elevated his game and secured a spot in the starting rotation. Webb will pitch on Saturday against the Mariners in Seattle.

Kervin Castro was another spring standout. The 22-year old right-handed starter from Venezuela has yet to pitch above low-A ball and will probably be assigned to the new high-A affiliate in Eugene. Here's the word from Kap:

"That is a future Major League pitcher," Kapler said after Castro posted a quick, 1-2-3 inning against the Padres on March 5. "That pace, that tempo, he's on the mound and ready to deliver the baseball before the hitter is ready. He's pounding the strike zone, and when he's not in the strike zone he's very close to it and throwing his secondary weapons for strikes.

“He's just a really impressive kid."

The Giants need good, young players and they especially need good, young pitchers. Let's hope we see more performances like these.

I'll do another post on the final roster before Thursday's opener. Looks like the only NRI that will make the team is Nick Tropeano. The 30-year old journeyman right-hander has mostly been a starter and will likely be the key swingman/long reliever/bulk innings guy out of the 'pen.


Thursday, March 25, 2021


The Giants cut the roster in camp from 42 down to 36 players. LH reliever Sam Selman, who I thought was a lock to open the season with the Giants, was optioned to the minors (presumably AAA). Infielder Jason Vosler, who seems to be the kind of versatile player FZ and Kap love, joins Selman. It's good to have quality backups in the system, and I should note that both players have options remaining.

Roster Resource shows veteran Wandy Peralta as the next LH reliever on the depth chart. They also like NRIs Shun Yamaguchi and Nick Tropeano as RH swingmen behind Tyler Rogers, Matt Wisler, and Reyes Moronta. Both Yamaguchi and Tropeano have starting experience. Southpaws Jake McGee, Jarlin García, and José Álvarez will likely make up the rest of the 'pen.

Kevin Gausman gets the nod to open the season in Seattle (Thursday, April 1st) with Johnny Cueto slotting in the next day. The first game at home isn't until the 9th (Rockies) and it looks like Cueto will get the ball then as its game #7. I expect Gausman will pitch game #6 in San Diego. At this point Anthony DeSclafani and Logan Webb will get the next two spots. Alex Wood is still uncertain and that probably means Aaron Sanchez will be the 5th starter.

The other four players cut were NRIs and will be re-assigned, those are pitchers Silvino Bracho, Rico Garcia (who needs surgery), Phil Pfeifer, and OF Joe McCarthy.

If you were counting, that's 14 pitchers (5 starters and 9 relievers) leaving room for only 12 position players. MLB is allowing 14 pitchers this season instead of capping the 26-man at 13--that's a holdover from last season. Only 12 position players makes it hard for someone like LaMonte Wade, Jr. or Steven Duggar to crack the roster. Much will depend on the health and readiness of Evan Longoria and Brandon Belt. Only one week until real baseball!


Saturday, March 20, 2021


'Tis the season, so it's churn, churn, churn, with apologies to the Bard of Duluth. I've come to appreciate the churn, actually, as baseball is a war of attrition and you have to have the most guys still standing at the end of the season.

Rule V pick RH reliever Dedniel Nuñez, who had a good shot at making the team, needs Tommy John surgery. Ah, that pesky ulnar collateral ligament! Perhaps we should replace them earlier, say in utero, and then these fellows will be better prepared for their pitching careers. Alas, I don't mean to make fun. Here's wishing our FNG a successful procedure and a speedy recovery. I'm not sure what happens to him, with his Rule V status, as the final rosters get set. I'm assuming that decision will come up after the 60-day IL stint expires.

Southpaw starter Alex Wood, expected to be one of the Starting Five, may not be ready for the opening of the season. He's had a history of back injuries and has missed time the last two years. No one expected him to log 30 games, but his track record suggests he's still very effective and can give the team a number of quality outings, so let's hope he gets back soon. It creates an opening for young Logan Webb, and Webb has two options remaining, and that's something the brass likes. Something else the brass likes? How about 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 W, 10 K (22 TBF) this spring!

The Giants picked up another lefty reliever, this time Phil Pfeiffer, a Vanderbilt teammate of Mike Yastrzemski and Tyler Beede. (Walker Buehler was also on that team.) He's 28 and has no ML-time but has over 300 IP in the minors, mostly in the Atlanta Braves system. The Giants have a solid group of lefty bullpen guys, with Jake McGee, Jarlin García, Sam Selman, and the recently acquired José Álvarez. There are also three other NRI southpaws in camp: Scott Kazmir, Sam Long, and Anthony Banda. Hollister's own Conner Menez, LHP, is slated for AAA but he's on the 40-man roster.

It's a good thing they are putting names on the home jerseys this year!


Thursday, March 18, 2021


These charts are from an article by Travis Sawchick on FanGraphs back in 2018. It's preliminary stuff and not definitive, and raises a lot of questions, but is interesting nonetheless. Is baseball better or worse for this trend of fewer chances by fielders? I don't know, but it points out that the game is certainly different than before and is constantly changing.



The whole article is worth a read. And there are some good points raised by readers in the comments section. I've been looking for more on this and would like to find some fresher references than a three-year old column, but I think this is fascinating stuff regardless.


Friday, March 12, 2021

Kevin Gausman

The Giants are hoping for a lot from Kevin Gausman. If he can perform close to his projections, there's a good chance they'll make him a multi-year offer. The team has learned a lesson or two about long-term contracts, so I suspect the 30-year old righty would get something like three years, not five. But in today's market three years is a long time. The only new Giants player with a three-year deal is Tommy La Stella, for example. Even Trevor Bauer signed a three-year deal, and he has a CYA on his shelf.

Gausman made his spring debut today and pitched two uneventful innings. The Giants have over 40 pitchers in camp and we've seen an inning, it seems, from every one of them! Now that they are getting closer to the opener the projected starters are getting scheduled for some game time. (Scott Kazmir also pitched today.)

It will be all about the results for Gausman. He's said publicly that he'd like to stay in San Francisco, and I think the Giants feel similarly. The former first-round draft pick (#4 in 2012) has some strong seasons behind him but injury and ineffectiveness pushed him into baseball limbo. Last year he changed his pitch mix and increased his velocity and saw the payoff with a career-high strikeout rate and a career-low FIP. Walk and homer rates edged below career averages, too. It's hard to know how that will translate to a 30-start season rather than a 10-start one, but the Giants like his attitude and work ethic. They'd like to see him be the ace they can match up with Kershaw and Buehler and Snell and Darvish and the rest.

He may not be quite at their level, but he has a good chance to be very close. Close enough to give the team a fair chance against them. Projections tend to give Gausman about 30 starts (~170 IP) with solid peripherals, around a 3.65 FIP and 3+ WAR. The Giants would be happy with that, as would I. What the 2021 team needs is some solid, consistent pitchers. They need a starter they can count on every turn through the rotation. (Johnny Cueto, can you be that guy, too?) And if Kevin Gausman turns into the second coming of Jason Schmidt that could make the year very interesting indeed.


Sunday, March 7, 2021

Heliot hit two homers!

21-year old outfielder Heliot Ramos was the Giants 1st-round pick (#19 overall) in the 2017 June draft. He hit two homers today to help the Giants clobber the Reds 9-4. Let's hope he continues to rake. Three other Giants--Steven Duggar, LaMonte Wade, and Joey Bart--also hit homers, making it five overall. Better still, seven Giants pitchers allowed zero homers by the Reds. Giants errors led to two late runs but their 14-hit attack was enough. Youngsters Hunter Bishop and Marco Luciano each had a hit, as did roster dark horse Jason Vosler who also drove in a run. Vosler, who has been impressive this spring, may get a chance to stick on the big club if Evan Longoria goes to the IL. Word is Longo is dealing with plantar fasciitis. Vosler played left field yesterday and second base today although he is primarily a third baseman. He was excellent for the Padres AAA-El Paso club in 2019 and at age 27 should be hitting his peak. I hope he gets a chance to show his stuff. Speaking of stuff, southpaw Sam Long had three whiffs in his inning of relief, he's been a standout so far. Long is from Fair Oaks and starred at Sac State so he's everyone's favorite story this spring. He's mostly been a starter but has yet to pitch above A-level. Speaking of starters, new free agent righty Anthony DeSclafani made his debut and went two innings, allowing one hit and one run.


Thursday, March 4, 2021

A Spring Win

The Giants prevailed 3-1 (in seven innings) over the Chicago White Sox in Scottsdale to notch their first win of the Cactus League. They have a loss and two ties as well. The highlights included scoreless innings from Alex Wood and Jake McGee, two lefty free agents who will likely be key pieces of the pitching staff. NRI Yunior Marte impressed with a scoreless frame against the heart of the ChiSox order. Giants pitchers allowed five hits and three walks. On the hitting side homers by Joe McCarthy and Darin Ruf took care of the scoring. Heliot Ramos had two hits and Marco Luciano reached base on a walk. Luis Basabe got a hit and scored a run and made a good catch in the outfield. Steven Duggar made a nice grab, too. Brandon Crawford made his spring debut and got a hit. Shun Yamaguchi was credited with the win, he pitched a scoreless top of the 5th and the Giants got their runs in the bottom half.

They face the Padres tomorrow in Peoria at 5:40 Pacific.