Three up, three down from Week 2 of Giants spring training
OF Jaylin Davis
When spring training began, it certainly felt like outfielder Jaylin Davis had an inside track to make the Opening Day roster. He forced his way onto the roster late last season after blasting 35 minor league home runs across two levels.
The right-handed hitter came over to the Giants in a midseason trade that sent reliever Sam Dyson to the Minnesota Twins. Davis was part of a return package that included Prelander Berroa and Kai-Wei Teng.
The 2019 season was a breakout year for the former 24th-round pick, which saw him transform from an organizational filler into a legitimate prospect. The Giants were no doubt drawn to his ability to play all three outfield positions and his power.
Once Davis was called up, he struggled to get the ball off of the ground, producing a 67.7 percent groundball rate. The coaching staff has been working on his swing path in an effort to generate more loft.
However, those changes have not yet paid dividends. In 25 at-bats, Davis is only hitting .200 with 14 strikeouts. He has never struck out at a rate like this, which makes one think he is not yet comfortable in the batter’s box. With that type of stat line, Davis is likely ticketed for Triple-A Sacramento.
IF/OF Austin Slater
Austin Slater has appeared in each of the last three seasons with the Giants. His performance so far has been mixed. The former Stanford University product has produced a .254/.335/.368 line across 544 career plate appearances.
The good news is that he has a knack for getting on base thanks to a 9.2 percent walk rate. However, he has struggled to swing with a positive launch angle, and as a result, he has generated a groundball in over half of his batted ball events. In addition to this, he has posted an alarmingly high 28.9 percent strikeout rate. Those factors limit his overall upside.
However, he could still turn into a nice platoon player. The right-handed hitter has produced a solid .761 OPS against southpaws in 216 career plate appearances.
The 27-year-old has played all over the field since being drafted. With the Giants, Slater has played primarily in the outfield, but he has also appeared at first base, second base, and third base. This type of versatility should appeal to team president Farhan Zaidi, but he has yet to consistently produce in the batter’s box.
Slater has just four hits in 20 at-bats so far this spring, to go along with 10 strikeouts. On a positive note, he has seen time in center field, and the ability to handle that position can only benefit his case. Despite his struggles, he still has a shot of making the roster.
LHP Jerry Blevins
The Giants brought in reliever Jerry Blevins on a minor league deal with a camp invite. When that deal was signed, it would have been fair to speculate that the veteran hurler was going to make the roster.
The Giants are thin on experienced relievers, and Blevins brings plenty of experience to the table. In 13 seasons, the southpaw has pitched to the tune of a 3.54 ERA while posting a 9.2 K/9 rate across 495.1 innings.
With that being said, a new rule hurts Blevins’ chance on making any roster.
Relievers are now required to face a minimum of three batters before being removed. Over the years, Blevins has largely been used as a situational lefty, in a similar fashion to former Giants reliever Javier Lopez. That does not bode well for Blevins, as he only tallied 32.1 innings in 45 appearances with the Atlanta Braves last season.
This could all be a moot point as the hitter-friendly environment of the Cactus League has not been kind to Blevins. The 36-year-old has made six appearances this spring, but he has only recorded 11 outs while allowing 10 hits and nine earned runs.
Spring training numbers do not leave small sample size territory, and it is going to be difficult for Blevins to shake off the early spring rust.
They say pitchers are not athletes, and Kevin Gausman did not do anything to help dispel that rumor on this play:
Stay tuned for more of the best and worst from Giants spring training.