SF Giants leave 2 top position players off of Opening Day roster

San Francisco Giants v Seattle Mariners
San Francisco Giants v Seattle Mariners / John E. Moore III/GettyImages

The SF Giants finalized its Opening Day roster on Thursday. There were a few notable moves including leaving both Luis Matos and Marco Luciano off of the roster to start the year.

SF Giants leave 2 top position players off of Opening Day roster

Both were optioned to Triple-A according to the team's transaction log. Neither move was a surprise given that the numbers just were not in their favor. The Opening Day roster tends to get scrutinized more than any other roster, but it is a long season. Thursday's roster will look a bit different than the one two months from now and much different than the one at the end of the year.

Players with minor league options tend to get left off in favor of those who need to be added. In the case of both Matos and Luciano, they did not need to be added.

That said, Matos was one of the Giants' best hitters in spring training and made a strong case to make the club. He tallied 16 hits, including 10 extra-base hits, with 11 RBI and 53 at-bats during the Cactus League.

San Francisco's current outfield alignment consists of Michael Conforto, Jung Hoo Lee, and Mike Yastrzemski. Austin Slater will serve as the fourth outfielder. It would be easy to say that Matos should supplant either Conforto or Yastrzemski, but the team has substantial commitments tied up to either player. That may not matter in August or July, but it matters early in the year.

The pressure will be on both Conforto or Yastrzemski to perform. If either player experiences an injury or below-average production, Matos could slot right into place. The Giants could see the 22-year-old outfielder sooner rather than later given that Yastrzemski is set to go on paternity leave. This would be a short-term move as paternity leave can last for up to three days.

On the other hand, Marco Luciano got off to a slow start but finished camp on a high note. Nick Ahmed came into camp as a non-roster invitee and made a strong case to make the club. Going to Triple-A is not a bad thing for Luciano. He is light on experience in the upper minors and playing with Sacramento will give him a chance for regular playing time.

Giants manager Bob Melvin told Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area that the Giants would like the 22-year-old prospect to work on his defense. During spring training, Luciano recorded 10 hits, including five extra-base hits, with nine RBI in 44 at-bats.