The San Francisco Giants still have some ongoing roster battles as spring training nears its end. What will the Opening Day roster look like?
At the midway point of spring training, we are finally beginning to get some clarity on who will comprise the San Francisco Giants 26-man roster on Opening Day.
The roster is far from set in stone, but we can make pretty good guesses as to who will be on the team at this point.
There are some surprises, both in terms of who will probably make it and who won't. At the beginning of spring training, a guy like Jandel Gustave is someone I would have assumed would make the team based on his performance last year, but he was instead part of the first round of roster cuts.
Chris Shaw also seemed to be someone with a shot at making the team, representing the youth and power the team has craved. Alas, he was cut as well.
But this article is about who will make the team. The following slides will break down the likely members of the starting lineup, the bench, the starting rotation, and the bullpen.
Without further ado, let's take a crack at projecting the 26-man Opening Day roster for the San Francisco Giants.
CF Mike Yastrzemski
After a great rookie season, Mike Yastrzemski comes into 2020 with high expectations. I anticipate him playing a lot of center field so they can work as many productive bats as they can into the lineup. He doesn't have the most range or the strongest arm, but he provides enough with the bat to make up for any potential defensive deficiencies.
2B Mauricio Dubon
There was some question as to whether Mauricio Dubon would start the year in the majors or at Triple-A, but his performance this spring should ensure him a spot on the roster. He is hitting too well and provides too much versatility for his talents to be used elsewhere. He can play in the infield and the outfield, and as long as he hits well, there will be a place for him on the roster.
1B Brandon Belt
The tall lefty may be coming off of a disappointing and unlucky 2019, but Brandon Belt is definitely the starting first baseman heading into the year. He's not going to magically hit 30 home runs this season, but there's a good chance he will have a better year if he stays healthy.
C Buster Posey
The 2019 season was Buster Posey's worst season in the majors, but it should be noted that he was dealing with the lingering effects of his hip surgery. This spring he has looked a lot better, using his lower body and driving the ball in a way that is refreshing to see. Watch out for a rebound year from him in 2020.
3B Evan Longoria
Evan Longoria had a solid 2019, and the Giants will lean on him to be one of their biggest offensive producers once again in 2020. He's not the same guy he was with the Tampa Bay Rays, but he is still a solid player who provides a veteran presence.
LF Alex Dickerson
Alex Dickerson ignited the offense after he was acquired from the San Diego Padres last summer, and if he can stay healthy he could do the same in 2020. He will probably not be an everyday player given his struggles against left-handed pitching, but even in a platoon role he can make an impact.
SS Brandon Crawford
Brandon Crawford had a rough 2019 season, but he has hit very well in spring training. He will be the starting shortstop, so let's hope his strong spring is a sign of things to come.
RF Hunter Pence
Hunter Pence may not be an everyday starter, but I am putting him in the starting lineup section because he will definitely be on the roster. The same can't be said about the other outfield options projected for spots on the bench. Looking at the bigger picture, his strong numbers against left-handed pitching make him the ideal platoon candidate for Dickerson.
C Tyler Heineman
Rob Brantly and Tyler Heineman are competing for the backup catcher spot. Brantly has better numbers this spring, but neither has hit spectacularly. Heineman is a switch-hitter, which counts for something, so I think he will ultimately get the nod. It may end up being a moot point with Joey Bart waiting in the wings and possibly getting called up quickly if he tears it up in the minors.
1B/OF Darin Ruf
Darin Ruf has all but hit his way onto the Opening Day roster this spring. He has torn the cover off the ball and provides the Giants with some much-needed pop. Plus, he can play the outfield as well as first base, which checks the versatility box. It remains to be seen if his hot swing can translate to the regular season, but he's at least earned the right to find out.
IF Wilmer Flores
The former Giants-killer is now a Giant. That's right, Wilmer Flores cannot kill the Giants this year! He can play second base and first base reasonably well, and if Belt struggles, he may even platoon with him at first base. He is a solid hitter and undoubtedly makes the Giants a better team in 2020.
IF Donovan Solano
One of last season's biggest surprises, Donovan Solano is back to try to provide the same production he did last year. It's unlikely he'll duplicate his 2019 numbers, but he is still a solid bench option who can play up the middle and give Crawford or Dubon a day off.
OF Billy Hamilton
While Davis has impressive power, he has struck out 15 times in 27 at-bats this spring, so it's clear he would benefit from more seasoning in the minors. Hamilton has just five hits in 21 at-bats himself, but his speed and defensive ability make him a great fit at spacious Oracle Park and a solid addition to the bench.
RHP Jeff Samardzija
Coming off of a very solid year in 2019, Jeff Samardzija has earned the right to be the team's ace in 2020. He has looked sharp in spring training and the Giants will lean on him to be the horse of the staff, so we shall see if the 35-year-old can chew through innings once again in 2020.
RHP Johnny Cueto
While Johnny Cueto was injured for nearly all of 2019, he showed promise at the end of the year and has continued to progress in spring training. He is still supremely talented, even if his days of being a top-tier starter are behind him. If he can stay healthy, he should have a respectable 2020 campaign.
RHP Kevin Gausman
While Kevin Gausman was awful as a starter in 2019, he looked solid as a reliever. That said, the Giants plan on using him as a starter in 2020. Thus far in spring, he has pitched extremely well, and the Giants are hoping that translates to regular season success.
LHP Drew Smyly
After struggling mightily with the Texas Rangers in 2019, Drew Smyly turned things around after joining the Philadelphia Phillies. Perhaps moving to the Giants along with new manager Gabe Kapler will make his transition easier and lead to a solid season. Like Gausman, he has looked sharp this spring, and he will likely be the lone lefty in the rotation to start the year.
RHP Trevor Cahill
The final rotation spot is still very much up for grabs after the troubling injury news surrounding Tyler Beede. Trevor Cahill turned in a strong start last time out, and he brings a good deal of experience to the role with his starting experience as a member of the Oakland Athletics.
LHP Andrew Suarez
There is still a chance that Andrew Suarez could nab the last spot in the rotation, but if he doesn't it makes sense to have him in the bullpen. He was solid as a reliever in 2019, and it is nice to have a guy who can go several innings in the case of an early exit from the starter.
RHP Rico Garcia
Claimed off waivers from the Colorado Rockies in November, Rico Garcia has looked serviceable this spring. He provides some upside in a middle relief role, though he would need to be added to the 40-man roster.
RHP Sam Coonrod
Sam Coonrod hasn't been especially sharp this spring, and his low strikeout rate from last season is worrisome, but he still throws gas and deserves a place in the bullpen.
LHP Wandy Peralta
Wandy Peralta has been on fire this spring. In five innings pitched, he has 10 strikeouts and he has yet to allow a run. He could fill a late-inning role if that continues during the regular season.
RHP Tyler Rogers
Another guy who has been impressive this spring is Tyler Rogers. His submarine delivery keeps hitters guessing, and he strikes out righties and lefties at a similar rate which is more important with the three-batter minimum in place. Watch out for Rogers this season.
LHP Jarlin Garcia
Jarlin Garcia may wind up being one of Zaidi's best steals of the offseason. He has impressed in spring training, and there is always a role for a lefty with good velocity.
RHP Trevor Gott
While Trevor Gott probably has some of the best raw stuff of any reliever on the team, his spring has been a little rough. That said, with a wide open bullpen competition, he is one of the few guys who was comfortably penciled in at the start of spring training. He could be a closer candidate if Tony Watson is hurt. Otherwise, expect to see him in a setup role.
LHP Tony Watson
It remains to be seen if Tony Watson will even be ready for Opening Day. He has yet to pitch this spring due to shoulder tightness and Opening Day is fast approaching. If he is not ready to go, the closer situation becomes even foggier, so let's hope he is healthy and effective to start the year.
Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think of my 26-man roster predictions in the comments below or on our Twitter page.