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Inbox: Which OF prospects are future starters?

Beat reporter Chris Haft answers questions from fans
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

Who do you see as the Giants' future starting outfielders? They've got Heliot Ramos, Austin Slater, Chris Shaw, Sandro Fabian and Steven Duggar all in their farm system. Who do you think will make it?
-- Dylan H., Merced, Calif.

Put your money on Duggar, who almost certainly will emerge as the everyday center fielder. He appeared poised for a strong finish before sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury in early September. Giants manager Bruce Bochy already has cited Slater as a potential backup for 2019. Shaw, Ramos and Fabian possess tremendous power but have yet to master strike-zone awareness. Thus, at least one prospective Giants outfielder could be acquired through free agency or trade.

Who do you see as the Giants' future starting outfielders? They've got Heliot Ramos, Austin Slater, Chris Shaw, Sandro Fabian and Steven Duggar all in their farm system. Who do you think will make it?
-- Dylan H., Merced, Calif.

Put your money on Duggar, who almost certainly will emerge as the everyday center fielder. He appeared poised for a strong finish before sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury in early September. Giants manager Bruce Bochy already has cited Slater as a potential backup for 2019. Shaw, Ramos and Fabian possess tremendous power but have yet to master strike-zone awareness. Thus, at least one prospective Giants outfielder could be acquired through free agency or trade.

Video: ARI@SF: Dugger drills a 2-run homer to right in 2nd

Submit a question to the Giants Inbox

The Kung Fu Panda [Pablo Sandoval] looks like he could help the Giants in a bench or utility man's role. Thoughts?
-- Robert P., Omaha, Neb.

He certainly helped them as a reserve this year. His credentials included batting .323 with runners in scoring position and .286 as a pinch-hitter. Moreover, Sandoval maintained a superb attitude whether he was playing or sitting, and established himself as a respected clubhouse presence. And that doesn't begin to address his oustanding relief pitching.

Video: Must C Curious: Sandoval tosses perfect 9th inning

In your last Inbox, you mentioned the possibility of trading Madison Bumgarner. Would management really do this? To me, Bumgarner perfectly represents who the Giants are -- not the most spectacular in the regular season, but the grittiest in the postseason. I still believe this group could find some magic if they could just manage to get in the postseason.
-- Austin H., Blaine, Minn.

In no way does management want to trade Bumgarner. But the Giants' decision makers owe it to themselves to discover what other teams would give up for him. They might be surprised. However, the problem with trading Bumgarner is obvious: If the Giants parted with him, they'd create a fresh void for themselves becaused they'd need an ace pitcher to anchor the staff.

How much longer will the Giants stick with Brandon Belt? It has been many years since the first-base position has provided quality offensive production.
-- Joel B., Eagle River, Wis.

Belt's contract would hamper any effort by the Giants to trade him. He's due to receive $16 million in each of the next three seasons. Also, the Giants lack an adequate replacement for him, unless catcher Buster Posey agreed to switch to first. Addressing Belt's status is among the many issues awaiting the arrival of the club's new general manager.

Why don't the Giants, given the fan base in the Bay Area, more aggressively pursue players from Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea?
-- Scott S., Palo Alto, Calif.

They have, albeit not overly aggressively. International scouting simply hasn't been a Giants forte, though they pioneered player acquisition in Latin America in the 1950s and signed the first Japanese Major Leaguer, left-hander Masanori Murakami, in 1964. Recent Giants rosters have included Japanese right-hander Keiichi Yabu (2008), Korean third baseman Jae-gyun Hwang (2017) and Japanese outfielders Kensuke Tanaka (2013) and Nori Aoki (2015). None of these performers were drafted and developed by San Francisco.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

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