Spring training for the San Francisco Giants and the rest of baseball ended rather abruptly. You probably had your mind on other things around then. I know we did here.
It’s not like the Giants were expected to do much in 2020. Or 2021, really. Arguably losing only increases the likelihood of adding some pretty good prospects in the drafts who might be useful bargaining chips a few years from now.
But there’s something about spring training: watching the roster take shape, looking for unexpected players to try to force their way onto the roster when you expected them to be little more than roster filler at the start of February.
We know the stats don’t necessarily mean anything, but it’s still fun to look at some of the small-sample outliers as they progress.
Yesterday we looked at three Giants who could use a spring training do-over.
With that in mind, here are three pitchers and three position players who performed well during the first month or so of spring training.
3 SF Giants pitchers who performed well at spring training
LHP Jarlin Garcia — 0.00 ERA, 8 strikeouts
Jarlin Garcia made six appearances totaling five innings, all out of the bullpen. He gave up three hits and a walk, and struck out eight during that time.
Garcia had almost certainly played his way into a roster spot anyway, and he’s all but a lock going forward.
RHP Trevor Cahill — 0.00 ERA, 8 strikeouts
Trevor Cahill is one of those players who was signed with the hope that he would rebuild his value a bit, maybe be someone to trade later on. At the least, he would be able to provide a pretty steady veteran presence.
The right-hander made one start out of three appearances, allowing two unearned runs on two hits in 4.2 innings. He struck out eight and issued just one walk.
RHP Dereck Rodriguez — 3.86 ERA, 5 strikeouts
Dereck Rodriguez made two starts and three appearances, allowing two earned runs in 4.2 innings on the mound. But he did strike out five, and he didn’t walk anyone. Both runs came off reliever Carlos Navas, but Rodriguez did allow the baserunners.
A disappointment in 2019 after looking good a season prior, Rodriguez was on the fence for making the roster, so his spring training performance was potentially an influential one. Still, he appeared bound to start in Triple-A for the year. There might be more room on the roster if it expands to 29 if baseball resumes. (Yes, that’s a lot of ifs.)
3 SF Giants position players who performed well at spring training
UTIL Darin Ruf — .429 average, .469 OBP, 1.000 slg, 1.469 OPS
A non-roster invitee who played in Korea for the previous three seasons, Ruf made quite an impression during his time in Scottsdale. Ruf went 12-for-28 with three walks and nine extra-base hits.
Ruf played a little bit of everywhere, too: nine games at first base, four in left field, two in right, and two at designated hitter.
The question for the Giants is where, exactly, they put him, on a roster of position players that seems pretty full. On the other hand … after inviting him to camp, what more could you have asked him to prove than what he did?
OF Joey Rickard — 389 / .450 / .667 / 1.117 OPS
Joey Rickard is a non-roster invitee as well, but continued to survive a narrowing roster as spring went on. He was one of eight outfielders left in camp when things came to a halt.
He was probably going to narrowly miss out on making the Opening Day roster, but put on a good show in the opportunity he had: 7-for-18, four extra-base hits, and a stolen base.
3B Zach Green — 438 / .500 / 1.063 /1.563
The final of our three non-roster invitees, you can’t say Zach Green didn’t seize the opportunity. He went 7-for-16 with three homers and a double. Now you can’t say he faced the strongest competition, with Baseball Reference estimating his opponents were an average of about the High-A to Double-A level. But he took care of the pitches that came in his direction.
Green saw some time on the Giants’ roster last year. He might again this year. But even with a mighty spring he seemed and still seems pretty unlikely to make the Giants’ Opening Day roster, whenever it happens to be.