The first month of the new year is coming to an end, and that means Spring Training is just around the corner.
There is no official report date for Giants pitchers and catchers yet, although the New York Mets, Tampa Bay Rays, and Baltimore Orioles are expected to report to their Florida camps on February 16 and 17.
President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi and General Manager Scott Harris have been vocal this offseason in regards to what moves they expect to make to fill numerous holes on the roster.
With (give or take) three weeks until the highly-anticipated start to spring training, many questions regarding the makeup of the roster still remain.
The Giants have made it clear what the immediate future holds for rookie catcher Joey Bart. Everyone from Zaidi to Harris to manager Gabe Kapler believe that Bart could use a little bit more development in the minor leagues.
Bart made his debut at the beginning of the shortened 2020 season, weeks after Buster Posey decided to opt out. He had some nice moments, but was rather inconsistent throughout the season, compiling a mediocre line of .233/.288/.320 with zero home runs and just seven RBIs.
Barring a drastic change throughout spring training, Bart will likely start the season in Triple-A before returning to the major leagues later this season. The signing of veteran catcher Curt Casali signals that the Giants plan on deploying a veteran tandem behind the plate to begin the season.
Zaidi, through multiple media sessions, has been consistent when it comes to the team’s desire to add a left-handed bat. Earlier in the offseason, he felt as if the team was one left-handed bat short last season, and made it clear that the team will look to add another bat to the lineup.
Offensively, the Giants have only made two additions to their active roster: backup catcher Curt Casali, a right-handed hitter, and utility infielder Jason Vosler, a left-handed hitter. Neither of those two players are expected to earn starting jobs, so the need still remains.
The Giants infield is very crowded, which leads me to believe that the outfield could be an area where the Giants address this need. Mike Yastrzemski and Alex Dickerson are projected to start at the corner outfield positions, with Mauricio Dubon and Steven Duggar splitting time in center field.
Where I could see the Giants adding a left-handed bat is center field. Duggar has never really shown much at the major league level, and it presents an opportunity to add a left-handed compliment to the right-handed hitting Dubon.
A free agent to watch: CF Jackie Bradley Jr.
The list of free agent outfielders who fit what the Giants are looking for is limited, which leads me to believe that a trade could be in the works.
Short answer: Very important.
Long answer: Reyes Moronta provides late-game stability out of the bullpen that the Giants were missing in 2020. Recovering from a shoulder injury that sidelined him all of last season, Moronta will be in contention for the closer job, according to manager Gabe Kapler.
This is a tough question, because there are so many factors that go into these decisions. Last season was kind of a lost year in terms of minor league development. There was an alternate site in Sacramento that some Giants minor leaguers spent the summer at, facing other players who are in the same organization as them.
It was better than nothing, but nowhere near the same as a full season against other teams in a structured minor league season.
The Giants have a blossoming farm system with plenty of exciting talent. I’ll keep it short and just talk about the top six players in the system.
No. 1 Prospect: Joey Bart, C
The Giants seek to further develop Bart in the minor leagues, and I believe that will result in him starting the season in Triple-A with the Sacramento River Cats.
No. 2 Prospect: Marco Luciano, SS
In my opinion, Luciano is the most exciting prospect in the Giants farm system. The 19-year-old phenom from the Dominican Republic has yet to play above rookie ball. He was a part of the Giants major league summer camp prior to the 2020 season, and looked good considering he was the only teenager on the field.
Because of his age and inexperience in the minors, I wouldn’t anticipate seeing Luciano this season or even most of next season. I would expect him to start the season in either low Single-A with the San Jose Giants, or high Single-A with the Eugene Emeralds.
No. 3 Prospect: Heliot Ramos, OF
Ramos is intriguing because of how close he is to making his major league debut, and the fact that the Giants haven’t developed a starting-caliber outfielder in forever. Ramos is a prospect who could see some playing time at the major league level in the second half of this season.
He’ll likely start the season in Triple-A alongside Bart, but don’t be fooled, Heliot Ramos is knocking on the door.
No. 4 Prospect: Hunter Bishop, OF
Bishop is another exciting outfield prospect for the Giants. Drafted in the first round out of Arizona State in 2019, Bishop finished the season in rookie ball. Expected to join the major league team during summer camp last season, his 2020 development was delayed after he tested positive for Covid-19.
He’s 22 years old, and because of his age and collegiate experience, I would anticipate Bishop starts the season in Double-A with the Richmond Flying Squirrels.
No. 5 Prospect: Seth Corry, SP
Seth Corry is one of two starting pitchers among the Giants ten best prospects; the other being Sean Hjelle. Drafted in the third round of the 2017 draft, this season is a huge year for Corry to cement himself as the Giants top pitching prospect.
I don’t anticipate him reaching the big leagues this season, but could be an interesting starting pitching option in 2022. He’s 22 years old and has done very well in Single-A. I could see him starting the season in Double-A with the Flying Squirrels, before advancing to Triple-A to close out the season.
No. 6 Prospect: Patrick Bailey, C
“Why list off six prospects,” you might ask, “five is a nice even number.” Patrick Bailey is why we’re discussing six prospects. Joey Bart was deemed the future at catcher before the Giants decided to double down and draft another top catching prospect in Bailey.
How the Giants anticipate building a team around two big catching prospects fascinates me. Bailey was drafted in 2020, a lost year of minor league development. He was part of the summer camp group, and faced some major league talent, but has yet to play in the minor leagues.
He’s 21 years old, but there’s no rush to bring him up soon because the Giants have Bart waiting. Also, the Giants anticipate using him at both catcher and first base, so there’s plenty of development to be had.
It’s hard to determine where he will start the season because he has yet to put any minor league film on tape. Because of his age, I would expect him to start the season in Double-A with the Flying Squirrels. Maybe he could reach Triple-A if all goes well, but we won’t see him with the major league team for probably another season and a half.