Sep 26, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants center fielder Jarrett Parker (47) second from right celebrates his grand slam home run with his teammates L to R left fielder Trevor Brown (56) shortstop Brandon Crawford (35) right fielder Marlon Byrd (6) Parker and first baseman Buster Posey (28) in the eighth inning of their MLB baseball game with the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports
As expected, the San Francisco Giants aren’t going away quietly this 2016 season. Somehow, they are finding ways to stay alive in the what seems like an impossible NL West. The best part of it all is the fact that this isn’t your ordinary Giants team.
Take a look at the starting lineup in Tuesday night’s game:
San Francisco Giants starting lineup (September 29, 2015)
Take notice of the low amount of veterans: Pagan, maybe Duffy, Posey, Byrd, Crawford, and Bumgarner. Although Kevin Frandsen has played a good amount of baseball in the big-leagues, even he has never had a starting role in a crucial playoff push. Giants insider Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area tweeted this, which emphasized the puzzling Giants lineup prior to Monday night’s game:
Ironically, the misfit Giants went on to beat the rival Los Angeles Dodgers via an extra-inning walk-off sacrifice fly by Alejandro de Aza in the 12th inning. Wait a minute, havn’t we heard the Giants labeled “misfits” in a previous season? Well, it would be an incredible feat to pull of the impossible in the last week of the season, but whether or not they have a legitimate shot of making the playoffs is another story.
The kids that were promoted in September are making the most of their opportunities and it is fun to watch. In fact, since September 5th, San Francisco is 13-8, all played without regulars Hunter Pence, Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Nori Aoki, Gregor Blanco, sporadically Brandon Crawford, Andrew Susac, and pitchers Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum. The list goes on and on. The point is, these call-ups are playing above expectations and it is not going unnoticed.
Some of the notable upcoming free agent Giants include Marlon Byrd, Mike Leake, Nori Aoki, Santiago Casilla, George Kontos, Yusemeiro Petit, Ryan Vogelsong, Jeremy Affeldt, and Tim Lincecum. Should we spend big to retain them or build from within? With a number of Giants players possibly finding new homes next season, the spots and opportunities to make the big league roster may never be greater.
So, which of these newcomers will become permanent players and have a role in 2016?
1. RHP Brett Bochy–No
Although it is a great story having Bruce as the manager and Brett as a player, there is too much talent in front of Brett, including Mike Broadway. However, Bochy may have a shot depending on if a Giants bullpen arm gets injured.
2. RHP Mike Broadway–Maybe
With George Kontos potentially gone, the Giants will be in need of a 5th or 6th inning bullpen guy. Nevertheless, Brett Bochy and Cody Hall, who have both pitched better in September, will be fighting for that same role. We will have to see how Spring Training 2016 has in store for us.
June 26, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Mike Broadway (57) during the eighth inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. The Rockies defeated the Giants 8-6. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
3. RHP Cody Gearrin–No
Gearrin has missed his locations, leading to some batting practice for teams like the San Diego Padres. Gearrin has been up and down his whole career, and it looks like he will be seeing more down than up in 2016.
4. RHP Cody Hall–Maybe
As discussed with Mike Broadway, the trio of Hall, Bochy, and Broadway will be fighting for the same role. The #22 Giants prospect Hall has shown an electric fastball, but a 2-run home run against Colorado escalated his ERA to a current 5.06.
5. C Trevor Brown–No
Brown has been a stunning surprise for the Giants and his recent 3-hit game against the Oakland A’s showed he can handle the bat a little bit. With that being said, The Giants are stacked at the catcher position between Susac and Posey, and Brown’s only chance would be if one of them gets injured.
6. C Jackson Williams--No
Williams has been over-matched, exemplified by going hitless in his small sample of five at-bats, and Williams is in a long line of talented Giants catchers.
Sep 19, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Trevor Brown (56) during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
7. UTI Kevin Frandsen–No
The local kid from Los Gatos who also played at San Jose State is no longer a kid anymore. The 33-year-old might be an upgrade over Ehire Adrianza as a utility infielder, but I am hoping the Giants can upgrade their bench this off-season with names like Emilio Bonifacio, Cliff Pennington, and Stephen Drew.
8. 2B Nick Noonan–No
If you remember back in 2013, Noonan began to win over the fans and the manager when he surprisingly made the Giants roster and slashed .281/.303/.313 while adding a couple RBIs in his first 19 games of the season. However, Noonan would come back to Earth and hit for a batting average of just .192 the rest of the season. Similar to Frandsen, I like the kid and think he works really hard, but personally I hope GM Bobby Evans and VP Brian Sabean will find a way to deepen their very thin infield bench.
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9. 2B Kelby Tomlinson–Yes
Arguably more of an August call-up (if that’s such a thing), Tomlinson has proved that his short stroke to the ball and speedy wheels on his feet can impact games. Tomlinson was expected to be simply an emergency back-up infielder for Ehire Adrianza and Brandon Crawford when Joe Panik went down to injury, but he proved to be a far better option than Adrianza at second base. Tomlinson should fill in nicely in a back-up infield role next season.
10. OF Mac Williamson–No
Williamson has been another one of those surprises that we have been talking about as he has hit .417 in 12 at-bats for the Giants. Clearly another small sample, but if Williamson can edge out Jarrett Parker for a left field role next season, which I do not see happening, that would be his only shot.
11. OF Jarrett Parker–Yes
Speaking of Parker, maybe he is just getting lucky, maybe he is just on a hot streak, whatever the reasons, Parker has proven that he can hit the long ball, while adding speed and stellar defense in the outfield. As I discussed in a previous article, Parker has a legitimate shot to win the starting left field spot in 2016–he has been that good.
A 3 home run game, 6 total home runs, and 12 RBIs in 34 at-bats will do that, and the Giants may be better off relying on Parker than over spending on a free agent. Worst case scenario, Parker will be a power threat and provide a great glove on a team that prides themselves on defense.