Spring training has started for the Giants and they’re already looking pretty solid… on paper. With the addition of Andrew McCutchen, and if they put Gregor Blanco in center, with Pence in left, the outfield will be quite flexible and the Giants still have plenty more outfielders to choose from if the first three fall apart.
Going into the offseason, the Giants needed to take care of three major holes that plagued their 2017 season: the outfield, third base, and the bullpen. Both the outfield and third base have been thoroughly addressed, but the depth of the bullpen remains unchanged. The third base situation was taken care of when the Giants traded for Evan Longoria, who batted .261 last year and has hit at least 20 home runs in every season he was healthy. In the process of this trade, the Giants lost top prospect Christian Arroyo.
As for the bullpen, it seems the Giants are relying on comeback and breakout seasons from the men who a posted a 4.34 ERA, sixth worst in the majors. Sam Dyson recorded the most saves, but Mark Melancon still holds the closing spot after recording an ERA of 4.50 and 11 saves in 30 innings pitched in 2017. Reliever Hunter Strickland has the potential to be an efficient set-up man in the eighth with a 2.64 ERA in 61.1 innings of work. But the Giants still lack a long man to go two to three innings if needed.
The starting pitching goes something like this: Bumgarner, Cueto, Samardzija, Blach, and the fifth position is up for grabs. A healthy season from Bumgarner, strong innings from Samardzija, and a healthy, bounce back season from Cueto would prove most favorable for the Giants organization. And if they find the right man to fill the fifth position, the pitching rotation will be pretty reliable.
The coaching staff got rumbled up. The bench coach is now the third base coach, the hitting coach is now a bench coach, and GM Brian Sabean has now taken to calling himself the Executive General Manager… need we say more? Giants batters will get a new perspective from former Astros hitting coach Alonzo Powell and pitchers will receive insight from former Athletics pitching coach, Curt Young.
So, the outfield is good, faith has been restored in the third base position, the pitching could be dynamite, but the same can’t be said for the bullpen, and they’ll all have the same coaches but with different titles to guide them along this promising 2018 season.
Written in collaboration with Briana Hayward.