The San Francisco Giants have a number of options when it comes to outfield depth. With Hunter Pence, Andrew McCutchen, and Austin Jackson all ensured a roster spot barring injury, it will be interesting to see who the fourth and fifth outfielders will be to start the year.
This will likely be one of San Francisco Giants manager, Bruce Bochy‘s, toughest decisions to make this spring. The focus of this article, however, is on comparisons between Gorkys Hernandez and Gregor Blanco.
With the other outfield bench spot probably going to a corner outfielder with some pop (i.e. Mac Williamson or Jarrett Parker), it’s probable that Bochy will want a speedy outfielder who can handle center to back up or share time with Austin Jackson. Steven Duggar seems like he could fit this mold but since he has options it’s more likely that he starts the year in Triple A even though he’s shown promise.
Last year, Giants fans were hoping that Hernandez could be a right-handed version of Blanco. That wasn’t quite how it worked out. He was touted as being an above average defender who had a below average bat and that’s pretty much what we got.
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So, the Giants decided to bring Blanco back to see if he could rekindle the stellar glove and timely bat that helped the Giants win two World Series championships. So far, it seems like he never left. He’s hitting .421 so far while Hernandez dwindles at .179 with nine more at-bats. Both have one dinger and 3 RBIs.
Blanco may be four years older than Hernandez at 34, but it doesn’t show. Gregor has looked like he could still track down that fly ball in triple’s alley which preserved Matt Cain‘s perfect game.
While Spring Training stats don’t automatically equate to success in the regular season, Blanco’s early performance coupled with nostalgia make it likely that he makes the team out of spring. Hernandez is out of options so it’s possible that a team looking for a speedy back-up center fielder will pick him up should he not make the roster.
In short, Blanco should and likely will make the team. Let’s hope that he is able to help them make another championship run.