The second week of spring training is in the books for the SF Giants and some players are beginning to stand out while one is rebounding nicely from a tough first week.
For the SF Giants, there are not many active competitions taking place for spots on the Opening Day roster outside of a couple of bullpen roles. They brought in a handful of veteran arms to compete for bullpen spots, but few have created separation from the competition.
Interestingly, the Giants appear to be relying heavily on simulated games to build up arm strength and get at-bats. For example, Kevin Gausman, who is likely to be the Opening Day starter, has pitched a total of two Cactus League innings this spring. There has been no mention of an injury, so the assumption is that he is building up arm strength outside of Cactus League games. It is a different approach that the team is taking to prepare for the season, and this is likely a product of the COVID-19 protocols.
SF Giants: Three up from week 2 of spring training
After struggling badly in the first week of spring training, Steven Duggar has found another gear. The left-handed bat was seemingly battling to stay on the 40-man roster as he has struggled at the plate over the last two seasons and carried that over to the start of this spring.
In fairness, he may still be battling to stay on the 40-man roster, but he has bought himself some time. In the meantime, he has dazzled at the plate. In 18 at-bats, the 27-year-old has collected five hits, including two opposite-field home runs, and five RBI. This includes nine strikeouts against seven walks. The strikeout total is still high, but he is at least finding a way to get on base.
2. Logan Webb
When spring training began, it seemed as if Logan Webb was on the bubble of the starting rotation competition. After all, the Giants had brought in a number of veteran starters on major-league contracts including Gausman, Alex Wood, Anthony DesClafani, and Aaron Sanchez.
With Johnny Cueto also in the mix, it seemed as if Webb, who has two minor-league options remaining, would not break camp as a result of circumstance. However, no one has looked better on the mound than the young, right-handed hurler.
Webb dazzled in a start on Saturday against the Cleveland Indians where he pitched three scoreless innings with six strikeouts and one walk. Overall, he has not yielded a run in two appearances across six frames with ten strikeouts against only one walk. Webb has the stuff to compete, but the command has eluded him at times. Perhaps, he is beginning to turn a corner.
The SF Giants brought in a bunch of veteran relievers on minor-league deals and none are more intriguing than Nick Tropeano. Earlier in his career, the righty registered a 3.65 ERA in 21 appearances from 2015-2016 and looked poised to establish himself as a mid-rotation arm.
However, injuries have plagued him, including a UCL injury that required Tommy John surgery. It took some time to regain his footing, but the 30-year-old put together a strong 2020 campaign in which he posted a 1.15 ERA in seven appearances as a bulk-innings reliever with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Surprisingly, he became a free agent after the Pirates placed him on waivers.
To his credit, the Giants do not really have a bulk-innings arm outside of Tropeano. So far, he has pitched well enough to put his name in the conversation for an Opening Day roster spot. He has yielded just one run with six strikeouts in six innings.