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SF Giants: Predicting the Opening Day roster in 2023

Joey Bart #21 of the SF Giants looks on walking back to his position against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the top of the eighth inning at Oracle Park on September 07, 2020. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Joey Bart #21 of the SF Giants looks on walking back to his position against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the top of the eighth inning at Oracle Park on September 07, 2020. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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SF Giants, Corey Seager
GLENDALE, ARIZONA – MARCH 10: Corey Seager #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is set to be a free agent after the 2021 season. Could he be a future SF Giants star? (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

SF Giants Opening Day lineup in 2023:

  1. Austin Slater, LF
  2. Corey Seager, 3B
  3. Jose Abreu, 1B
  4. Mike Yastrzemski, RF
  5. Heliot Ramos, CF
  6. Joey Bart, C
  7. Alex Dickerson, DH
  8. Will Wilson, 2B
  9. Marco Luciano, SS

Mike Yastrzemski and Austin Slater are under team control through arbitration for the foreseeable future and seem like long-term starters in the corner outfield. Of course, prospects like Heliot Ramos and Hunter Bishop could very quickly become a part of that mix as well. Ramos seems primed to debut at some point in 2021 and should quickly become an everyday contributor. Bishop could move quickly through the minor leagues, but given his previous struggles with strikeouts, I project him to make his big-league debut at some point in 2023 after Opening Day.

While most prognosticators project Ramos to move to a corner, the Giants remain confident in his ability to stick in center field. Slater has looked comfortable in his first taste of center this year, but they might be inclined to push him to a less strenuous spot given his injury history.

Alex Dickerson is a free agent at the end of 2022, but he seems like a long-term fit with the organization as a platoon bat capable of handling either corner outfield spot. With the universal DH likely coming to the National League soon, Dickerson’s left-handed pop is an even better fit as a primary DH against right-handed pitching.

The current infield could undergo a complete renovation by 2023. Bart still looks like the catcher of the future, even after his struggles last season. Outside of him, though, there are no high-end infield prospects with much upper-level experience. Will Wilson has never played full-season ball but improved mightily over the course of spring training and could reach the upper minors by the end of this season. He has the defensive versatility to end up starting at second or third base by the end of next season.

Of course, the stars of this lineup are Corey Seager and José Abreu. Seager highlights the upcoming free-agent class as a power-hitting shortstop still in his twenties. After signing Mookie Betts to a large contract last year, and with prospect Gavin Lux already on the big-league roster, the Dodgers might not be willing to make an intense pursuit of Seager. The Giants, on the other hand, have plenty of payroll available to make him one of the highest-paid players in baseball to replace Brandon Crawford. Defensively, he has faded in recent years and could project to move to third base. However, with shortstop prospect Marco Luciano moving through the system, that will not keep San Francisco from a bidding war.

Luciano would still be only 21 on Opening Day in 2023. He struggled mightily in spring training this year and might be further away than most realized, but his elite hitting ability remains far above his age. Assuming he stays on track, he has a decent shot at reaching High-A or Double-A by the end of 2021, with an outside chance of debuting in 2022. Once that happens, it’s only a matter of time before he’s playing every day.

Abreu is not a free agent until after the 2022 season. However, with Wilmer Flores under contract through next season, the Giants will not be forced to make a move at first base even if Brandon Belt departs in free agency. Abreu has been one of the most consistent hitters in baseball since 2014. The White Sox have several corner bat prospects, leading them to move on from their fan-favorite. San Francisco could see him as a solid veteran bridge to a player like Toribio, Logan Wyatt, or Garrett Frechette.

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