With Spring Training only a couple months away, the time has come to focus our collective attention on exactly who will be on the San Francisco Giants’ 25-man roster come the end of Spring Training. This slideshow breaks down the odds of each player for making the squad.
These odds are randomly generated (by me), and factor on the Giants having a staff consisting of:
5 starting pitchers
7 relief pitchers
This is the easy part. These are the players that have all-but locked up their jobs.
You may be surprised at the names absent from the “100%” club. I like to call this, to quote Occupy Wall Street (unfortunately), the 99% club. These are players who missed a substantial part of the season with injuries last season and are absolutely locks to return to the club if they return healthy.
This list also includes a certain third baseman who has a penchant for putting on pounds. If he can keep in shape, he will not only be on the club but likely the star of the offense.
While Aubrey Huff was not injured, the San Francisco Giants are paying him entirely too much money for him not to make the starting 25-man roster. Given his 2011 performance, however, I find it very difficult to include him in the 100% club. The same is true for underachieving-yet-somehow-beloved shortstop Brandon Crawford.
Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez will contribute significantly, providing they both rebound well from their injuries. The same is true for Brian Wilson who was not completely healthy last season.
To break it down, we are left with the following openings:
Starting Pitcher: 1
Relief Pitcher: 2
To top it off, there is a significant amount of competition for each of those spots. Here are players who I think have at least a 50% chance of making the 25-man roster for the San Francisco Giants coming out of Spring Training.
I think Zito has a much better chance than Eric Surkamp of occupying the fifth-starter slot come Opening Day. He generates significant good will in the clubhouse and excels at the “I’ve changed” stump speech. Plus, he is making an awful lot of money. Expect him to make the squad. Don’t be surprised, however, if he suddenly suffers a phantom wrist injury before leaving his first start with a 12-0 deficit in the first inning.
I give the edge to Chris Stewart over Hector Sanchez coming out of Spring Training. Granted, Sanchez has a much better bat. Should Posey return to full health, or should the Giants elect to go minus-one infielder in order to play Posey at first base occasionally, Sanchez will still make the club. As for now, however, Stewart’s defense and chemistry with Lincecum is entirely too strong to ignore. Have you seen any catcher in a Giants uniform that quick to second base? Ever?
I want to go on the record to say that I don’t necessarily approve of this decision. I still think, however, that Burriss will likely make the opening day squad. He has speed and can play a wide variety of infield positions, which will compliment Mike Fontenot.
This is tough, because with this selection I am ostensibly shutting the door for other infielders. Be that as it may, it is impossible to deny Pill’s offensive contributions during his trial-run in September. He put up outstanding numbers in the minor leagues and hit .300 in his (admittedly very brief) stint in the majors. I say it’s time to give him a legitimate shot to prove what he can do.
I know that this is cheating, since the roster lists him as an infielder. I expect that Brandon Belt, Brett Pill, and Aubrey Huff will all sort out which one of them will be playing left field by the end of Spring Training. Belt has a lot of holes in his swing and needs to patch them up if he is going to have any chance at being a productive major league hitter. He does, however, turn on an inside pitch better than any Giant since Barry Bonds. He, like Pill, needs to prove what he can do, and I predict he has a strong chance of making the club.
These are players who could theoretically make the 25-man roster if they impress during the spring, if a starting player gets critically injured, or if—for lack of a better term—fortune favors them. Call this the 20%-49% club. To recap, we now have the following openings :
Starting Pitcher: 0
Relief Pitcher: 2
There are a few players in “full” positions who I think could make the club anyway, and I have listed them here.
Giants fans have been rough on Eric Surkamp. Perhaps this stems from the fact that we have seen the whole “left-handed pitcher with a big curveball and junky fastball who pitches well his first few outings only to lose his control and unravel shortly thereafter” thing before. He does have one advantage on Barry Zito, though: Age. You can’t teach an old Zito new tricks. But with a bit of minor league conditioning and a bit more big league acclimation, Surkamp might end up making the club. It’s a bit of a stretch to think he’ll make it on Opening Day, however.
Runzler has control issues, but if he is able to get his proverbial “act together” he should compete for a job on the roster.
I was very impressed with Steve Edlefsen last season. Despite mediocre minor league numbers, he has a live sinker and good poise. Because his delivery and stuff greatly contrasts that of the starting rotation, Edlefsen could very well emerge as a key specialty reliever.
Hector Sanchez is the backup catcher of the future. If Buster Posey takes a page out of Joe Mauer’s book and moves to first base, Sanchez would be a legitimate contender for the starting job. I don’t think that this is imminent, however, and believe that Chris Stewart is the better backup. That makes Sanchez a wonderful trading chip.
He has a great story and even better speed. If the Giants decide that they want to play small-ball, Christian will find himself with a big-league job.
It’s time to see what he can do.
Okay, so maybe there is a glimmer of hope for these players. That being said, I don’t see them making the 25-man roster. Feel free to debate!
…and anybody I inadvertently left out.