Projecting the 2023 SF Giants Opening Day position players
Assuming that the Giants carry five starting pitchers and eight relievers, then they will have enough room to carry 13 position players. The projected Opening Day group of position players is a weird one.
The front office targets versatility and optionability, but the current group is light on both. There are several imperfect fits. So, without further adieu, here are the projected position players:
Catcher (2): Joey Bart and Blake Sabol
Infielders (6): LaMonte Wade Jr., Wilmer Flores, J.D. Davis, Thairo Estrada, Brandon Crawford, and David Villar
Outfielders (4): Michael Conforto, Austin Slater, Mike Yastrzemski, and Mitch Haniger
Designated hitter (1): Joc Pederson
The Giants have likely maxed out in terms of defensively-limited position players with Pederson, Davis, and Flores. Davis can spot start at third base, whereas Flores has experience at second base and third base. However, neither one has graded out favorably with the glove in recent years and should be limited to just first base. On the other hand, Pederson will work primarily as the team's designated hitter.
This leaves the rest of the roster exposed in terms of coverage. As currently constructed, the Giants do not have a left-handed-hitting second baseman or third baseman. A pair of lefties in Isan Díaz and Brett Wislely are listed as infielders on the 40-man roster, but they likely should be limited to the right side of the field.
In fact, the Giants only have two left-handed-hitting infielders from the group above in Wade Jr. and Crawford. Estrada and Villar both had encouraging seasons in 2022, but the former is really the only infielder who is capable of moving around the diamond. Though, the defensive metrics might say otherwise.
Speaking of light, the Giants appeared poised to go with Bart and Sabol behind the dish. Bart is coming off of season where he produced mixed results. Sabol has a total of 101 plate appearances above Double-A.
The good news is that the outfield is relatively settled. Slater and Yastrzemski should split time in center field with Haniger and Conforto holding down the corners. Wade Jr. could see time in the outfield as well.
The Giants only have two optionable players from the group - Bart and Villar. Bart cannot be optioned unless the Giants add another catcher or two. Villar could be optioned if the Giants add another infielder, but the organization is motivated to give him an extended look.
This roster best represents trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It might fit, but you will have to force it though. That is what the Giants are content with doing at the moment.