SF Giants surprisingly option pair of Opening Day roster favorites

SF Giants left-handed reliever Sam Selman pitches against the Texas Rangers on August 1, 2020. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SF Giants left-handed reliever Sam Selman pitches against the Texas Rangers on August 1, 2020. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
SF Giants, Jason Vosler
SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA – MARCH 04: Jason Vosler #32 of the SF Giants grounds out during the second inning of a spring training game against the Chicago White Sox at Scottsdale Stadium on March 04, 2021, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Vosler has excelled in the early parts of spring training. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

The SF Giants made one of their first surprising roster cuts of this preseason on Wednesday. Prior to the team’s 7-3 victory over the Padres, the organization optioned left-handed pitcher Sam Selman and infielder Jason Vosler to minor-league camp. Both seemed like favorites for the Opening Day roster heading into spring training. Instead, they are slated for Triple-A.

Vosler was the biggest story early in camp, tearing the cover off the ball. In recent weeks though, he’s slumped a bit, and his triple-slash has dipped to .304/.327/.435. While still respectable, he’s struck out in 14 of his 49 plate appearances alongside just two walks. On the other hand, Selman struggled from the start, walking four batters in 4.2 innings and posting an ugly 9.64 ERA.

SF Giants optioned INF Jason Vosler and LHP Sam Selman to the minor-leagues.

The Giants signed Selman to a minor-league deal prior to the 2019 season. After dominating at Triple-A Sacramento, he earned his first big-league call-up but was relatively ineffective in a limited sample. Then, last season, Selman asserted himself as one of the most consistent relievers in their bullpen. In 19.1 innings pitched across 23 appearances, Selman recorded a 3.72 ERA (3.86 FIP), allowed just 13 hits, struck out 24, and walked 9.

While Vosler has never appeared in an MLB game, the Giants were confident enough in his prospects to offer him a big-league contract this offseason. With an option remaining, though, the Giants knew they could retain his rights by optioning him and keeping him on the 40-man roster. Sending him to the minors is probably good news for Darin Ruf‘s chances to make the Opening Day roster.

A 16th round selection by the Cubs in 2014, Vosler got off to a quiet start as a professional. However, since a swing adjustment in 2017, his performance has taken off. With the Padres Triple-A affiliate in 2019, Vosler hit .291/.367/.532. He was particularly lethal against right-handed pitchers, batting .300/.371/.563 and blasting 19 of his 20 home runs.

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These 40-man roster moves can be undone in an instant. If the SF Giants suffer an injury or change their opinion of a player, they could quickly recall Jason Vosler or Sam Selman to the big-league roster. For now, though, both are slated to receive ample opportunities to perform with the Sacramento River Cats at Triple-A.