SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants have officially reached the halfway point of Spring Training, creating an opportune moment to spotlight the players who have impressed early in camp.
We polled half a dozen players in the Giants’ clubhouse to see which of their teammates had stood out to them the most thus far. The answers were varied, but one player was mentioned more than once.
Mauricio Dubón, INF
Acquired from the Brewers in exchange for relievers Drew Pomeranz and Ray Black at last year’s Trade Deadline, Dubón earned his first look with the Giants last season and performed well in an extended audition at second base. The 25-year-old is a middle infielder by trade, but the Giants are experimenting with him in center field to try to maximize his versatility and create more opportunities for him to get in the lineup. Dubón has made only one appearance in the outfield, but he’s seen regular time at shortstop and second base as he prepares to potentially take on a super-utility role for the Giants this season. His peripatetic defensive positioning hasn’t impacted his bat this spring, as he entered Wednesday 7-for-14 with two home runs over six Cactus League games.
“Dubón has a couple of homers. That surprises me. I haven’t seen him a ton, but I think he’s done well at every position he’s been at so far. So we’ll go with Dubón.” -- Brandon Crawford
“Watching Dubón has been pretty cool. I've seen a lot of his at-bats. He’s just got athleticism, charisma and charm. It's fun to watch him play.” -- Hunter Pence
Steven Duggar, OF
Duggar served as the Giants’ Opening Day center fielder last year, but he struggled to establish himself as an everyday player after hitting .234 with a .278 on-base percentage and 78 strikeouts over 261 Major League at-bats in 2019. Injuries also played a role in stunting his progress, as he landed on the injured list twice with back and shoulder issues. Duggar, 26, is healthy now, and he’s attempting to strengthen his push for the center field job by making some adjustments at the plate this spring. He’s narrowed his batting stance to put himself in a more optimal position to hit and has seen some encouraging results so far, going 3-for-14 with a triple and two walks over his first six Cactus League games.
“I actually really like the improvements that Duggar is making with his swing. He looks really comfortable, really confident. I think those guys have a really good grasp on him and helping him kind of progress where he wants to go. It’s been fun to watch that unfold.” -- Mike Yastrzemski
Yolmer Sánchez, 2B
Sánchez, 27, is in camp as a non-roster invitee and is competing with Dubón, Wilmer Flores, Donovan Solano and Kean Wong for time at second base this spring. A Gold Glove Award winner with the White Sox in 2019, Sánchez has been making some tweaks to his swing to try to prove that he’s capable of generating more offense than he has in the past. Those adjustments have not yet shown up in games, as he’s hitless in his first 14 Cactus League at-bats, but his elite defense is already turning heads.
“Personally, I’ve loved playing behind Yolmer Sánchez and his defense. There’s been a lot of easy singles I thought would get through. Most of the time in spring they do, and you just see him sweep across laterally and not just keep the ball in the infield, but make a play on it. He helped me with an assist the other day, so I think defensively, that’s been the big one for me.” -- Alex Dickerson
Tyler Beede, RHP
Beede logged a 5.08 ERA over 117 innings for the Giants last year and entered Spring Training as the favorite to claim the fifth spot in the club’s rotation. The 26-year-old right-hander logged two hitless innings in his Cactus League debut against the Mariners last week and reached 98 mph on his fastball, showcasing the tantalizing potential he has long exhibited on the mound. Beede’s development will be delayed after he was diagnosed with a flexor strain and a UCL sprain in his right arm on Wednesday.
“Tyler Beede. It’s impressive to see him come in here, throwing as hard as he does. It’s impressive. I think he spent a lot of time in the offseason getting himself prepared. He’s fun to watch. I always try to pick his brain, too. We were drafted the same year, so we kind of have that relationship where if he sees something, he’ll tell me. If I see something, I’ll tell him. We kind of feed off each other.” -- Logan Webb