SF Giants need to find reliable DH for 2020 season
One of the biggest rule changes that nobody saw coming for the 2020 MLB season was the use of the universal designated hitter. What the San Francisco Giants and other NL teams do about it will have to be decided soon.
Each NL team now has to evaluate their options to fill this roster spot that they didn’t have to fill when the 2019-20 offseason started. Let’s take a look at the three best options the Giants have on their roster to fill this role.
SF Giants DH candidates: The catchers
Sure, a 60-game season is already great for a catcher who is used to catching 100-plus games a year. On top of that, adding the DH has got to be a dream.
This is a good place for the Giants to start looking for many reasons. The first reason is that a platoon is easily right in front of them with Buster Posey and more-than-likely Joey Bart.
It’s obvious that Posey has been used in this spot whenever the team plays in American League ballparks over the last few years, which makes him a prime candidate for this. However, Bart could gain the much-needed time of learning by being the intensity of a major league game.
Another reason this could help is that the Giants could just decide to have Posey catch 40 of the games, with Bart doing the other 20. This is something that would also make plenty of sense since there would be no need to put unneeded inning on Bart’s legs.
In the 2010s, we saw what Posey being in the squat for 150+ games a year did to his legs and how fast it ended his prime. This is a mistake the Giants don’t want to make again if they can help it, which is exactly what the DH does.
As if Bart and Posey weren’t enough to fill the role from the catcher’s spot, the Giants could also use Darin Ruf, who was having a nice spring before everything as stopped. This makes him a person to at least look at for this role because he was doing so well in the original spring training in March.
Ruf and Bart should both make the 30-man roster to begin the season as well, which is what makes them safe choices for the role.
These could be some of the best candidates for the DH spot for the 2020 season, even if it comes in the way of a platoon.
SF Giants DH candidates: Jaylin Davis, Hunter Pence, Heliot Ramos
The Giants figure to have loads of young talent of the roster this year for many reasons. The first reason is that there won’t be any minor league baseball in 2020, which makes the big league rosters even bigger.
Similarly to the situation with the catchers, there is a mixed bag as far as the options in the outfield. On one hand, you have plenty of outfield options to help make the lineup super flexible. However, that also means you have to get them in the lineup in order to keep their skills up.
That’s what makes these three guys viable options to fill this spot.
Starting with Pence, this is something he’s done when he was in the NL and then even more so when he played for the Texas Rangers in the 2019 season. Plus, this is one way to get some more speed and youth in the outfield on a day-to-day basis.
This is the option that makes the most sense with these players.
On the other hand, Heliot Ramos and Jaylin Davis will be entering their rookie seasons with the roster pools set to be at 60 players. This means there will be many fresh faces on the MLB rosters this season.
Teams have a prime opportunity to get a good look at their prized prospects, which is exactly what the Giants should do here. At the very least, they can see how they perform in the batters’ box while being in the everyday lineup as the DH.
The Giants have plenty of outfielders, which is why they should explore this option to fill the newly-needed role.
SF Giants DH candidates: Pablo Sandoval
When the original spring training was going on, it appeared as if Sandoval was going to have to battle for a roster spot. With rosters set to expand to 30 this season, he should be good to make the team. Sandoval should also be fully healthy after being injured during spring training in March.
However, this could be the perfect chance for him to be on the roster. After all, he’s another player who has served in this role previously when the team had to play in American League parks. He’s also shown the ability to produce even when he’s not an everyday player, so that should help him land this role.
By far the biggest reason for him to be the everyday DH is his switch-hitting ability combined with the power he can add to the lineup. On top of that, this is a way to keep him from getting injured and get some much-needed production from him.
Sandoval has had his last two seasons cut short due to injuries, so the tiny number of games and the DH is a good way for him to make it through the whole season.
Sandoval also has plenty of incentive to do well, too. After all, he is only on a one-year minor league deal that means he has to prove himself to get another nice payday.
While all options are plausible, this is the one the Giants should go with. Using Sandoval as the DH just seems like a perfect match.