Here's how the Giants' roster is shaping up

March 5th, 2019

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants are nearing the halfway point of Spring Training, and the club’s decision-makers are starting to gain more clarity on the pool of talent they’ll have at their disposal once it comes time to assemble their roster.

Three weeks ago, made its predictions for the 25 players who would be with the Giants when they open their regular season against the Padres on March 28. It’s time to revisit the initial picks:

Catcher (2): Buster Posey, Rene Rivera

Posey has been progressing well from his August hip surgery and has given the Giants no reason to believe he won’t be ready for Opening Day. His backup remains a bit of a question mark, as the Giants brought non-roster invitees Cameron Rupp, Stephen Vogt and Rivera into camp to compete with rookie Aramis Garcia for the job this spring. Rivera and Garcia have caught the most Cactus League innings thus far, but the Giants could opt to start Garcia in the Minors since he has options remaining. Vogt’s left-handed bat and ability to play multiple positions intrigue the Giants, but he is coming off shoulder surgery and has not caught in a game thus far in spring. 

First base (1): Brandon Belt

After appearing in just 112 games last year, the key for Belt will primarily be to stay healthy and provide consistent production for the Giants in 2019.

Second base (1): Joe Panik

Panik worked with hitting coaches Alonzo Powell and Rick Schu to tweak his batting stance and load after posting a career-worst .639 OPS last year, and he’s looked more comfortable at the plate early this spring. The starting job remains his, but he could lose at-bats to Yangervis Solarte if his offense begins to dip during the regular season.

Third base (1): Evan Longoria

Longoria has enjoyed a promising start to the spring, going 6-for-11 with two home runs in his first six Cactus League games, stoking optimism that he’ll return to his usual levels of offensive production after a down year in 2018.

Shortstop (1): Brandon Crawford

Crawford is another Giants veteran who will be counting on better health this year, as he saw his All-Star campaign marred by a nagging left knee injury that hampered him at the plate in the second half of last season.

Outfield (4): Steven Duggar, Mac Williamson, Gerardo Parra, Cameron Maybin

Duggar continues to progress well from left shoulder surgery and is expected to get a shot to start in center field. Williamson, who didn’t play after June 22 because of a concussion last year, is also healthy and is likely to make the team since he’s out of options. Parra is technically in camp as a non-roster invitee, but he’s likely to secure a spot in the corner outfield given his experience and strong defense. Maybin, another non-roster invitee, has endured a slow start to the spring after overhauling his swing over the offseason, but he could find a fit as a right-handed-hitting complement to Duggar in center field. The Giants will have to make a tough call on Rule 5 Draft pick Drew Ferguson, who must be offered back to the Astros if he doesn’t make the 25-man roster.

Utility (2): Pablo Sandoval, Yangervis Solarte

Sandoval has been slowed early in camp by a tweaked side muscle, but if he’s healthy, he figures to be a valuable piece off the bench as a backup corner infielder, experienced pinch-hitter and emergency pitcher. Solarte, who signed a Minor League deal last month, can play all four infield spots and is also getting some reps in left field this spring. Solarte can provide the type of power the Giants have been missing in recent years, as he crushed 17 home runs for the Blue Jays last year and has reached double digits in four consecutive seasons. Alen Hanson, who is out of options, would be the odd man out in this scenario.

Starting pitcher (5): LHP Madison Bumgarner, LHP Derek Holland, RHP Jeff Samardzija, RHP Dereck Rodriguez, LHP Drew Pomeranz

Samardzija appears to have put his shoulder issues behind him and has enjoyed the strongest start to the spring of any Giants starter. The bigger question here is whether San Francisco will choose to start Rodriguez in the Minors and round out its rotation with right-hander Chris Stratton, who is out of options and is competing for a rotation spot or long-relief role. A dark horse to watch is right-hander Tyler Beede, who has emerged as one of the biggest surprises of the spring.

Relief pitcher (8): LHP Will Smith, LHP Tony Watson, RHP Mark Melancon, RHP Sam Dyson, RHP Reyes Moronta, LHP Travis Bergen, RHP Chris Stratton, RHP/LHP Pat Venditte

The Giants have a glut of quality relievers in camp this spring, so they’re going to be forced to make tough decisions once it comes time to construct their bullpen. Smith, Watson, Melancon, Dyson and Moronta appear to be locks for now, though more spots could open up if either of them are traded in the coming weeks. Nick Vincent, Ray Black, Trevor Gott, Ty Blach and Derek Law are options to fill any potential voids that might crop up before Opening Day.

Here’s the projected 25-man roster in list form:

Buster Posey
Rene Rivera

Brandon Belt
Joe Panik
Evan Longoria
Brandon Crawford

Steven Duggar
Mac Williamson
Gerardo Parra
Cameron Maybin

Pablo Sandoval
Yangervis Solarte

LHP Madison Bumgarner
LHP Derek Holland
RHP Jeff Samardzija
RHP Dereck Rodriguez
LHP Drew Pomeranz

LHP Will Smith
LHP Tony Watson
RHP Mark Melancon
RHP Sam Dyson
RHP Reyes Moronta
LHP Travis Bergen
RHP Chris Stratton
RHP/LHP Pat Venditte

RHP Johnny Cueto