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San Francisco Giants: Pre-Spring Training Roster Prediction

Sep 10, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy (15) looks on prior to the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 10, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy (15) looks on prior to the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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May 22, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants outfielder Denard Span (2) makes a leaping catch in center field against the Chicago Cubs in the ninth inning at AT&T Park. The Giants defeated the Cubs 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Outfielders:

Alright, let’s break it down. Here is the outfield situation: there are only two people on the 40-man roster with the ability to play centerfield, competently. Sure, you could stick one of them out in centerfield, but there is no way that the Giants would be as good defensively as they were last year. That’s an issue! Sound defense has always been the calling card of the Giants. That almost guarantees the Gorkys Hernandez will end up on the Giants’ roster.

Denard Span played 132 games in centerfield last year, with seven of them not being finished. That means for 30 games, other people needed to play in centerfield. The Giants had competent defensive cover there, and arguably the same offensive production as well. The losses of Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco will hamper that situation. Williamson doesn’t have the speed and range to play the position, at AT&T park at least. And Hunter Pence hasn’t played centerfield for more than an inning since his rookie year.

So you’re left with Gorkys, Parker, Austin Slater, Stephen Duggar, and Wynton Bernard as the only guys in camp who have played center. That’s not all that exciting. So the big question is what happens with the loser of the Left Field battle?  Well, Bobby Evans hinted at that yesterday!

In his routine interview with KNBR, Bobby Evans said this of the left field battle,

"“Yeah, I don’t know that I want both of them to be on this club,” Evans said. “I really would rather one guy take the job and then maybe one of the veteran guys or other non-roster invites to manage so that he’s the second part to the puzzle. In the case of Williamson, he can go down to Triple-A. If Williamson makes the club as the every day guy, then Parker would either have to make the club and be a backup — not necessarily a platoon but a backup — or you’d have to put him through waivers and I don’t see him getting through waivers. I really need him to step up and make this club.”"

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Wow! So basically, they are hoping Parker steps up and wins the job, or else they likely lose him. The biggest thing here, is I don’t see Parker out-playing Williamson for the job in left field. Evans has been clear on not using a platoon. That’s big.

So then he either has to prove he can be the backup, which would likely force him to try his hand at playing center-field. Parker can play pretty much all of the positions, and while the Giants like him at the corners, he has shown his hand at center-field. I know. Three games (36 total innings) at the big league level isn’t a whole lot. But he didn’t commit an error! And, in 371 innings he never made an error in the outfield. He has also logged over 1,000 innings at Center-Field in the minors

So I know it sounds weird, but maybe they give Parker a couple looks in center-field IF Williamson runs away with the job early. So maybe the last week? If he shows any sign of life, compared to Gorkys, that fourth outfield job is his. And then much like Blanco did for the last four years, the Giants will have an outfielder that can play all three spots competently.

SO. All that to say, here is how I see it shaking out:

Oh hey, surprise! At this point, I feel like Parker would have to absolutely crap the bed for Gorkys to make the roster. I think the Giants will end up going with six infielders, and five outfielders, so Parker gets a spot. And I really do think Morse figures it out. He either makes the team, or is terrible, and it’s way more fun to think about hearing “Take on Me” blaring over the AT&T Park speakers in 2017.

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