San Francisco Giants send nine to minor league camp
By Laith Agha
The San Francisco Giants made a slew of cuts over the weekend, re-assigning some of their more interesting prospects to minor league camp. Outfielders Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker, both of whom have shown promise with the big club, were the most notable of the nine sent down.
Joining them were infielders Grant Green, Conor Gillaspie and Ramiro Pena, outfielder Gorkys Hernandez, catcher George Kottaras, and pitchers Mike Broadway and Baulio Lara.
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Williamson has 5 home runs this spring, to go along with a .298 average and 14 RBI in 57 at-bats. His .983 OPS ranks fourth on the Giants, behind starters Hunter Pence, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford.
While there’s no room for him on the big league roster at the moment, either Williamson or Hernandez will likely be the first outfielder to be summoned from Triple-A Sacramento if a spot opens up—which is highly likely.
The Giants’ starting outfield is set with Pence in right field, Denard Span in center and Angel Pagan in left, along with Gregor Blanco as the fourth outfielder, but depth and health are issues. All three starters dealth with significant injuries in 2015, and Blanco is the only backup currently on the projected Opening Day roster.
Has struggled a bit this spring. The team leader in at-bats thus far, with 67, he is batting .239 with three home runs, 11 RBI, and a .715 OPS
While the power is there, the Giants aren’t expecting a continuation of Parker’s impressive debut back in September, when he slammed six home runs in just 49 at-bats, while posting a 1.163 OPS.
As a 27-year-old who strikes out too much—once every 2.9 at-bats in his minor league career, and 21 times in his brief stint with the Giants last year—Parker will likely hang on mostly as organizational depth.
Broadway offers the most immediate value for the Giants. He had a rough major league debut in 2015, when he recorded a 5.19 ERA in 17⅓ innings. But he dominated in Triple-A last year, with a 0.88 ERA, and looked solid this spring, giving up just one run in six innings.
Gillaspie has the most proven bat of the re-assigned players. He had a disastrous 2015 season, but in 2014 was the White Sox primary third baseman, when he bated .282 with a .336 on-base percentage. If the Giants find themselves needing a left-handed bat off the bench, Gillaspie, is probably their best option in the minors.
Green offers some versatility to the Giants, being capable of playing multiple infield and outfield positions, but the former top A’s prospect has never been able to establish himself in the majors.
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If the Giants run into some problems with their infield, Green could get the call. But depth currently isn’t an issue, with Ehire Adrianza and Kelby Tomlinson occupying bench spots.