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San Francisco Giants Narrow Spring Training Roster Competition

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 10: Matt Cain #18 of the San Francisco Giants and teammates warm up before the spring training game against the Cleveland Indians at Scottsdale Stadium on March 10, 2017 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 10: Matt Cain #18 of the San Francisco Giants and teammates warm up before the spring training game against the Cleveland Indians at Scottsdale Stadium on March 10, 2017 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
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The San Francisco Giants made their first round of roster cuts after today’s game. It means that some players will be heading to minor league camp, rather than playing with the big club.

Who is not making the Opening Day roster, you ask? Well, here is a list:

There is a difference between optioning a player versus reassigning him. However, rather than bore you with roster rules and procedures, just know that the effect is that the player is no longer in the big league camp.

In the list provided by Alex Pavlovic, there are few surprises. The Giants might have one open bullpen spot. As a result, the first round of cuts were heavy on bullpen arms. From the start of Spring training, it was unlikely that Pierce Johnson, Okert, Snelten, and Cyr were going to make the team. It would have taken a surprising performances from any one of those players to keep them around.

Johnson and D.J. Snelten impressed in their Spring Training outings, but need to wait for an opportunity to arise. Both players will likely make an appearance in the regular season.

Johnson, in particular, needs to improve his command before he can become a reliable bullpen arm. He has a solid fastball and curveball, and is a difficult pitcher to barrel-up as evidenced by his 0.6 HR/9 throughout his minor league career. Despite his strong repertoire, Johnson has battled control problems. A move to the bullpen could help his career take off.

Snelten, similar to Steven Okert, is a left-handed reliever. Due to the presence of Will Smith, Tony Watson, Derek Holland, and Josh Osich, Snelten was going to have a tough time cracking the roster. However, he has a funk delivery that adds a level of deception to his pitches. Since becoming a reliever in 2015, Snelten has posted solid numbers across the board. He was added to the 40-man roster this winter, so it seems as if it is a matter of time before he gets called up.

Aside from Johnson and Snelten, there were hardly any surprises. With the addition of Watson and the return of health for Will Smith, Okert has fallen down the depth chart of left-handed relievers.

In addition to this, Aramis Garcia and Miguel Gomez were not going to make the roster. Garcia is the third catcher, on the 40-man roster. He will be up at some point this season. Gomez does not have much of a glove, but he could offer some upside as a switch-hitting utility player.

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With the first round of cuts in the books, many camp battles are taking shape. Well, with the exception of outfield battles. No outfielder has been cut yet, so we will continue to speculate as to who may make the roster as the fourth and fifth outfielders. Chances are, our guesses are going to be wrong, just like our March Madness brackets.

The battle for a backup infielder spot appears to be taking shape. With Gomez and Alen Hanson out of the picture, the Giants look to be prioritizing players who can play shortstop. Kelby Tomlinson is a lock to make the roster, but Andres Blanco and Chase d’Arnaud will likely compete for one of the last roster spots. The golden ticket will go to the player who can prove to play shortstop. My money is on Blanco.

Lastly, the rotation seems to be set at this point. Chris Stratton and Ty Blach are pitching their way into the back-end of the rotation. In addition to this, there might be one spot remaining in the bullpen. The Giants will need a left-handed reliever to fill in for Smith until he returns. The Giants will choose between Derek Holland and Osich to fill that final spot. However, Julian Fernandez will continue to get opportunities so long as he can throw baseballs hard.

Next: Interview with Heath Quinn

The roster cuts did not answer many questions. The players who remain in camp are the ones we would expect. And, we still have no resolution to the outfield composition yet. With two weeks of Spring Training left, there are still a few questions remain as to who will round out the roster.

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