Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Coming into Spring Training, one of the many positional battles for the San Francisco Giants was to be, who is going to be the fifth outfielder?We know the starting 3 will be Hunter Pence Angel Pagan Mike Morse, with Gregor Blanco as the fourth to most likely replace Morse for defense late in games. At this point in the spring I would guess that spot belongs to Juan Perez, but from what Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle said, in his blog this past Wednesday, Tyler Colvin is still in the running for the job
"Juan Perez has a hot bat this spring and great speed, a plus for a fifth outfielder. But do not count out Tyler Colvin. He has been out of sight, out of mind because of a sore back, but he looked very healthy hitting a home run Tuesday night."
To say that Perez has had a hot bat, may be a bit of an understatement. For the spring, Perez leads all Giants with 48 at bats and only Buster Posey (33) and Brandon Hicks(33) have a higher On Base Percentage (players with 20 or more at bats).
You will see above, that 9 of Perez’s 15 hits have been for extra bases, 7 doubles 1 triple and home run.
Colvin, who was signed to a Minor League Deal on February 22,2014, has only had 19 at bats all spring, thanks to some back troubles. Aside from the game this past Tuesday, in which he went 1 for 5 with a home run, Colvin has not really done much with the bat
You will see that in those 19 at bats, Colvin has 3 hits with no walks for an On Base Percentage of .158. The question tho could be, how much has his back affected him early in the spring?
Colvin does have more Major League experience, having played with the Chicago Cubs from 2009 until 2011 and the Colorado Rockies the previous 2 seasons. His 2 best seasons came in 2010 with the Cubs
and 2012 with the Rockies
There are some nice power numbers there from Colvin. One of the worries that I would have in him making the team, would be that there are already 2 regulars on the team nursing back issues (Pagan and 2B Marco Scutaro)
Perez, made his Major League debut in 2013, as Schulman said does have more speed and would make for a late game pitch runner (if Blanco is in the game for Morse). Another advantage to Perez becoming the fifth outfielder would be that he is a right handed hitter and since Colvin is a left handed hitter, it would make more sense that your 2 backup outfielders bat from different sides of the plate since (Blanco is a left handed hitter)
I think another advantage that I would give to Perez, would be his defense.
In his Major League debut last season, Perez made this outstanding catch
He also has a pretty good arm as you can see by this video
I think it would be in the best interest of the Giants if Perez is on the baseline when the team is introduced on March 31st when they open the season in Arizona versus the Diamondbacks.