The Cactus League is underway and after the first week, some interesting stories are beginning to develop for the SF Giants.
As is usual around this time of year, pitching is ahead of the hitting and that seems to be the case for the SF Giants as well. Few hitters are truly making noise, whereas plenty of pitchers have put together a solid start to spring training.
The Giants have registered a 1-3 record with two ties. With that being said, the results are far less important than the process of players building up arm strength, getting live repetitions, and staying healthy.
SF Giants: Three up from week 1 of spring training
1. Jason Vosler
In a mild surprise, the Giants signed Jason Vosler to a major-league contract and is expected to play a “significant role” in 2021. The surprising part was that the left-handed bat had six years of minor-league experience, but he had spent no time on a major-league roster.
That looks like it will soon change as Vosler was brought in as a super-utility player. He has a lot of experience at first base and third base, but the Giants have been experimenting with him in left field as well. In the batter’s box, the 27-year-old brings a patient approach, good plate discipline, and platoon advantage against righties that San Francisco hopes it can leverage.
Vosler is one of the few hitters to quickly make some noise in spring training. He has slashed .462/.462/.846 with three doubles and one triple. In a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Vosler smashed a pair of doubles against Walker Buehler and Dustin May while showing off a nice, opposite-field approach.
2. Joey Bart
After a rough rookie campaign in 2020, Joey Bart is slated to begin the year in Triple-A. He posted a .233/.288/.320 (69 OPS+) with no home runs and seven RBI across 111 plate appearances with the Giants.
Before his promotion to the majors, the catching prospect had accumulated a total of 87 plate appearances above Single-A, so it is fair to say he was a bit rushed. It is always interesting to see how a player responds to adversity and Bart has responded well so far.
He has collected three hits in five at-bats, but that comes with two strikeouts as well. Getting a chance to work with Buster Posey and Curt Casali should be a positive moment in Bart’s development as well.
There are plenty of relievers who are performing well in the Cactus League, but no one has made more than two appearances, so we are dealing with very small samples. Nevertheless, Kervin Castro might be one of the more intriguing names in camp.
After all, he was added to the 40-man roster in November after accumulating a total of 89.2 innings as a pro. None of his appearances have been above short-season ball, so it is a huge step to go from that to being on the 40-man roster.
Castro has quickly impressed as he has flashed a high-90’s fastball with a good curveball. So far, he has pitched two scoreless outings with three strikeouts. Given how the SF Giants speak of Castro, it sure sounds like he will be with the team at some point in 2021.