SF Giants News

San Francisco Giants Center Field Expectations Going into Regular Season

By Hiren Patel
SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 05: Austin Jackson
SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 05: Austin Jackson /
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SAN FRANCISCO, CA – AUGUST 21: Gregor Blanco #7 of the San Francisco Giants catches a fly ball hit off the bat of Jay Bruce (not pictured) of the New York Mets during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – AUGUST 21: Gregor Blanco #7 of the San Francisco Giants catches a fly ball hit off the bat of Jay Bruce (not pictured) of the New York Mets during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /

Most fans, myself included, likely saw the 34-year old Gregor Blanco signing as another instance of classic Giants nostalgia, but he’s been working extremely hard this spring and the results have paid off to the tune of a .333 batting average and 1.128 OPS.

While, like most spring statistics, the sample size is small, if Blanco can post anything near average offensive statistics he would be a productive member of the bench.

That’s exactly what he was for the Giants from 2012 to 2015 – 2016 was a bit of a lost year. But in those four seasons before 2016, he was the paramount fourth outfielder, effectively playing good defense and being a pest at the plate.

He also made this insane catch during Matt Cain‘s perfect game. So there’s still some nostalgia, and that’s okay!

He would also be owed about $1MM if he makes the roster as a non-roster invite, which is more than the pre-arbitration center field options would make. That luxury tax cap space could be invaluable if the team ends up needing to make midseason trades – so that potential salary is not a point in his favor for making the roster.

He’s definitely not a full-time option barely surpassing 500 plate appearances and a .650 OPS over the past two seasons combined, but the Giants are not strangers to veterans finding the fountain of youth (although not so much in recent seasons).

Prediction: If the team likes his left-handed bat as a complement to Austin Jackson more than Gorkys Hernandez’s right-handed bat, or they value his outfield versatility more than, say, Jarrett Parker, Blanco should have a strong shot at making the opening day roster in a reserve role.

Chances of Making Roster: 40%

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