It seems like every year since 2020, every spring is like no other spring we’ve ever had. Sure enough, the delayed and shortened Spring Training we are following this year fits that bill. The minor leaguers were already well underway in their own camp before the CBA was signed and the big leaguers could arrive. And for the Giants, there are few traditional position battles to follow as we knew them.
But, as we are almost upon April, there’s still a lot of prospects getting into games and things to watch. So here is your round-up of how the prospects have done so far this spring, and what to expect going forward.
Marco Luciano: 5 G, 1-for-7, 2 BB, 4 SO, .143/.333/.143
Luciano is still a Single-A player, which is important to remember when looking at his numbers. What’s worth noting is that he has drawn walks, and while he’s struck out a little more than half his at-bats, they’re quality at-bats. Luciano probably won’t get much more time this spring, but he’s going to get a good look at High-A Eugene this season.
Joey Bart: 4 G, 2-for-8, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 3 SO, .250/.250/.625
Bart is headed to the Majors this season, that’s not really a debate. His spring performance will be more about how much playing time he’ll get, and it’ll be judged just as much on stats that won’t be in the batting line. Bart has shown what might be to be expected from him, however, with a lower batting average but with power behind it.
Luis Matos: 4 G, 0-for-7, 1 BB, 1 SO, .000/.125/.000
No Giants prospect was higher on the Buzz-O-Meter than Matos coming into the spring, but Matos is also facing the best pitching he ever has this spring, which is why he’s gone hitless. This shouldn’t take any shine off of him coming into this season, it’s just his first taste of facing the best competition.
Heliot Ramos: 5 G, 4-for-8, 2 2B, 2 BB, 4 SO, .500/.600/.750
The time will likely be soon for the 2017 first round pick. Probably not on Opening Day. However, maybe, if Ramos keeps striking the ball as well as he has this Spring. No home runs yet, but this is the second straight excellent spring for Ramos in big league camp. The Giants may stick with giving him some Triple-A reps first. After all, last year he struggled at the start of the minor league regular season. But…soon. The right-handed outfield bat the Giants may need will be right here.
Big League Roster Candidates:
Thairo Estrada: 4 G, 4-for-9, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 0 BB, 2 SO, .444/.545/.778
Estrada got a lot of time in the Majors last season, and technically may not be a prospect anymore, but he’s not quite a big league roster lock, either. With Tommy La Stella coming along slowly in his injury recovery, Estrada is the top candidate to get time at second base. He’s done nothing to dispel that notion during regular playing time this spring.
Wyatt Mathisen: 3 G, 2-for-6, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 0 BB, 3 SO, .333/.286/1.000
Mathisen was a late-season pickup in 2021, the fourth organization he spent time with on the year, and overall had a disappointing year. His spring has been solid, with a couple of extra-base hits. He can play either infield corner, and the Giants have injury questions at both corners. It’ll be worth seeing if he keeps getting regular playing time the rest of this short spring.
Luis Gonzalez: 5 G, 2-for-9, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SO, .222/.333/.222
Gonzalez was claimed by the Giants late in 2021 but he was lost for the season with shoulder surgery, and they re-signed him as a free agent in the offseason. Gonzalez is a versatile outfielder who plays mostly in center. However, so far he looks like he’s still shaking off some rust after that surgery, but he could be an interesting player to watch during the regular season.
Jason Krizan: 6 G, 4-for-15, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 5 SO, .267/.267/.267
Krizan had a strong 2021 in Triple-A Sacramento last season, and with the Giants facing some injury woes around their infield, Krizan seems placed in a prime position to get a shot with the big league team this year. He has not exactly set the world on fire so far this spring, but if he can get a tick better, he’s probably a shoe-in for an opening day roster spot.
Jason Vosler: 5 G, 1-for-10, 1 2B, 2 BB, 6 SO, .100/.250/.200
Vosler is having a very rough spring, which is unfortunate, because with the news of Evan Longoria’s injury opens the door for Vosler to get some time at third base. Vosler did not impress much in his time at in the Majors in 2021, but he did look good at Triple-A. He might get the chance despite struggles this spring, but it would be helpful if he got things going soon this spring.
Jaylin Davis: 3 G, 1-for-6, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 5 SO, .167/.143/.333
As the Giants were unable to find an impact right-handed bat in free agency, the time seemed ideal for a player like Davis and his power to grab the opportunity to step forward. Unfortunately, Davis hasn’t been able to do that in the opportunities given to him this spring. There’s still time for Davis to step up, but he hasn’t gotten into a big league game in close to a week.
Bryce Johnson: 5 G, 3-for-9, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 3 SO
Johnson had one of those years that was just overshadowed in 2021. The switch hitter has proved he can play a capable center field, and his bat is solid, with a stronger performance from the left side. While he’s never been at the front of people’s thoughts, he could be a center field option if the Giants need to use Mike Yastrzemski more in the corners, or Steven Duggar needs some help.
Tyler Beede: 2 G, 3.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 2 HR, 2 BB, 1 SO, 14.73 ERA, 2.45 WHIP
Beede came back from Tommy John surgery in 2021 and had a difficult time of it at Triple-A Sacramento, posting a 6.66 ERA in 16 starts. Unfortunately, Beede hasn’t been able to shake off the rust in the spring either, with a couple of home runs allowed in a short amount of time.
Sam Long: 2 G, 3.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 HR, 2 BB, 7 SO, 12.27 ERA, 2.18 WHIP
Long made his debut last season, working both as a starter and reliever, but struggling in his first big league action. Long still has the potential as either a starter or reliever, but has hit some road bumps this spring, with a couple of big flies raising his ERA early in the spring.
Camilo Doval: 2 G, 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
Doval ended last season as the team’s closer, and came into camp as the favorite to win the job. Although he hasn’t had many appearances yet this spring, he has looked very good. No walks, just one hit batter as a free pass. Doval is cementing his spot at the very least as a late-inning guy, even if he’s not the outright closer. It should be noted that Gabe Kapler has said McGee would be the closer if the season started now, but Doval likely won’t be out of the running for it.
Kervin Castro: 2 G, 2.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 SO, 0.00 ERA, 2.25 WHIP
Castro had a heck of a Major League debut last season, not allowing a run. He has yet to allow one this spring either. Castro reported to camp lighter than he was last season, and while he hasn’t allowed any runs yet, he’s had some issues with his control. Still, he should be in a good place to begin the regular season on the big league roster.
Raynel Espinal: 3 G, 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 6 SO, 2.60 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
Signed as a minor league free agent out away from the Boston Red Sox, Espinal made his MLB debut with one appearance in 2021. The 30-year old is a longshot to make the big league roster, but with extended rosters in the first month, he could be a depth piece in the bullpen to start the year.
Emmanuel De Jesus: 3 G, 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 5 SO, 6.75 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
One of the Giants minor league free agent signing, De Jesus spent most of 2021 in Double-A with one game in Triple-A as a starter. He could be a swingman and innings eater for the Giants with a chance to impress to make the majors. He’s shown some struggles early in the spring, however, and may be falling behind in the race.
Patrick Bailey: 6 G, 4-for-12, 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI
As one of the catchers in camp, Bailey would be getting a lot of time just because the Giants are going to rest the top catchers. But Bailey’s made the most of his time in the big league games, striking the ball far better than he did at almost any point in 2021. Bailey finished the season well, and this is just keeping the momentum going for a strong 2022.
Grant McCray: 3 G, 2-for-6, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 3 SO, .333/.429/.833
McCray’s been moving slowly since being a 3rd round pick in 2019, only getting some Low-A playing time late in the 2021 season (2020 didn’t help, obviously). McCray will likely only get cameos this spring, but he hit a home run already in his sparse playing time, which doesn’t hurt the momentum at all.
Brett Auerbach: 6 G, 2-for-9, 2 3B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 6 SO, .222/.300/.667
There’s no doubt that the Giants are enamored with Auerbach’s versatility and potential. He’s nowhere near ready, but he’s had some interesting trips to the plate already, with two triples in six games, his only hits so far. He’s split his time between catcher and second, but the fact he was put in at DH at one point means that the Giants are interested in his bat as well.
Armani Smith: 5 G, 4-for-9, 1 2B, 2 HR, 0 BB, 3 SO, .444/.444/1.222
No prospect has been hitting the ball harder than Armani Smith, with three extra-base hits out of four total hits this spring. Smith has always had the raw talent, but he put it into games in 2021. Smith could get pushed to Double-A after spending most of 2021 in High-A, where he had adjustments to make. The power is real, and Smith is getting noticed this spring by the braintrust.
Luis Toribio: 4 G, 2-for-6, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO, .333/.429/.333
Toribio had about as disappointing a 2021 as possible in San Jose, so it’s worth keeping an eye on his chances in the spring this season. So far, he’s looked more like the prospect that was advertised. Hopefully, this portends good things for the season coming forward.
Will Wilson: 3 G, 3-for-7, 1 2B, 0 BB, 2 SO, .429/.429/.571
It’s nice to see Wilson bouncing back after a difficult 2021. The Giants were aggressive in pushing him to Double-A after a solid-at-best performance at High-A in 2021, and then keeping him at Double-A as he struggled there. Wilson is striking the ball well to start this season, and the Giants will want to see him keep that up all year.
Sean Hjelle: 2 G, 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO, 3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
Hjelle is on the verge of making the Majors, and after a rough time in Triple-A last season, Hjelle has made a good show of it this spring. He will still need to prove himself in Triple-A to start this season, but is showing that he’ll be a talented starter when the time comes.