Saturday, October 6, 2018

Giants Dept Chart: First Base

Brandon Belt is another core Giant signed to a large longterm contract who is coming off an injury marred season which ended in surgery.  In Belt's case. one of the injuries was not really in injury, but appendicitis which required emergency surgery.  Later he hyperextended his knee which ultimately required season ending surgery.  Belt actually got off to a great start to the season hitting .316 in April and .314 in May with 11 HR's in the 2 months.  He went out with appendicitis on June 2.  His numbers plunged after that and never recovered.  After his season ended, the Giants tried Austin Slater and Aramis Garcia at 1B with mixed results.  Here is the Depth Chart:

MLB:  1.  Brandon Belt- Belt remains the most polarizing Giants player among the fanbase.  He drives me crazy watching him bat too, but when he is healthy, he puts up numbers that cannot be argued with.  While it is true this was his second injury-marred campaign in a row, both situations are ones he should fully recover from with no reason to suspect they will seriously hamper him in the future.  2.  Buster Posey- The plan seems to be for Buster to catch again next season coming off his own season-ending surgery.  A potential dilemma for the Giants is a scenario where Buster can't catch anymore.  His only other position is 1B which is occupied by Belt.  3.  Austin Slater- Slater struggled on defense when he played 1B and does not have enough power for the position.  4. Aramis Garcia- Garcia has the power and he could play both C and 1B, but his bat probably needs a bit more salt in AAA.  5.  Ryder Jones- Jones has an intriguing bat and can give plus D at 3B and 1B. He still has not quite put it all together at the plate.  Needs more seasoning.

AAA:  Empty

AA:  Jonah Arenado- intriguing bat and pedigree but still has long way to go.  John Riley- Very slow developing prospect who started his pro career as a catcher.  Light tower power, but struggles to make contact.

A+:  Gio Brusa- Lots of power, but contact is an issue and his career seems to have stalled in San Jose.

Low A:  Ryan Kirby- just completed his 3'rd season for Augusta.  Is he the Mayor of Augusta yet? The bat just isn't quite there.

Short Season:  Wander Franco(The Younger)- Nice numbers in a hitter's league but is Rule 5 draft eligible.  Robinson Medrano- Has some power but development has been way too slow.  I think he is eligible for minor league free agency.

Rookie AZL:  Frankie Tostado- Love the bat.   Let's see what he can do at higher levels.  Angeddy Almanzar- Had a nice pro debut in the DSL in 2016, but has struggled in Arizona the last 2 seasons. Candidate for release.  Beicker Mendoza- Bat came alive in his 3'rd Arizona season.

DSL:  Ismael Alcantara- $300 K bonus baby.  First pro season ended after 6 AB due to injury.  He probably played well enough in 2018 for a promotion to Arizona.  Samuel Jorge- Improved his numbers from 2017 at age 19.

Free Agents:  Matt Adams, Luca Duda, Marwin Gonzalez, Mark Reynolds, Hanley Ramirez.

Summary:  Not a lot of great options besides Belt.  Giants best bet is probably to sit tight with Brandon Belt and hope he can stay healthy for a full season.  Potential for drama if Buster Posey can no longer catch.


  1. Shouldn’t Panda be on the MLB depth chart too?

    1. He's listed as a FA on MLBTR. I think the Giants may have a option of some sort on him.

    2. Yeah, when he signed with the Giants, it was basically a year by year contract, with team options for each year, covering the rest of his Red Sox contract. He gets the last of his $18M in 2019, plus $5M parting gift, team buyout, for 2020, so I assume the Giants will pick up his option for 2019, and maybe keep him around as long as he wants and can still be a productive bat off the bench.

  2. What about Chris Shaw???

  3. This was actually the first year since he was drafted Shaw didn't play first base. He's as much real depth is as Slater or Garcia IMO

    1. Chris Shaw played 18 games at first base early in 2917 while he was still playing in Richmond. He also played 18 games in LF for Richmond in 2017. He did not play any first base in 76 games after his promotion to AAA and he played exclusively LF in 2018. At the MLB level in 2018, the Giants played Austin Slater at 1B. They played Aramis Garcia at 1B, they played Chase d'Arnaud at 1B, they played Ryder Jones at 1B and they played Joe Panik at 1B. They did not play Chris Shaw at 1B.

      Conclusion: Chris Shaw is not on the Giants 1B depth chart.

    2. TYPO ALERT! 18 games in 2017... :)

      Great blog - love catching up on Los Gigantes.

      Go Astros (at least they have similar team colors as the NorCal Nine...and they beat LA last year and will likely do so again in a couple of weeks)!!!


  4. The Giants selecting Chris Shaw in 2015 1st round puzzled me since he sounded like good power hitting/poor defensive 1st baseman/outfielder and they just signed Belt to long term deal. I thought they would have traded Shaw to the American league by now. If Shaw continues to improve his overall game, the Giants might have something. They could certainly use his power.


    1. Yeah, a bit puzzling, clearly they loved his bat, but wasn't sure where he could play.

      My best guess now is that they liked his OF defense enough in college to try him at 1B in the pros, and see if he can do the defense there at all. Since they decided to move him back to the OF (and to LF, not his original RF in college), I have assumed that the experiment ended poorly (and as DrB showed quite conclusively above, the Giants will willing to play almost anybody but Shaw at 1B at the end of the season).

      I was excited by the progress he made after the hitting coaches fiddled around with him. Makes me wonder why the Giants can't give that type of instruction down in the minors. I guess if they are that good, they quickly make their way to the majors, and get a MLB coaching job.

      I'm hoping the Giants will let Williamson and him battle with Slater for the starting LF job. I'm assuming that they will sign someone for RF (whether Harper, McCutchen, or whomever option C ends up being). I can see them signing both a LF and RF, if someone comes cheap enough in Jan/Feb timeframe. But I think Williamson will be out of options next season, meaning he could be a utility OF if he's not starting, as I don't see them giving up on him without seeing what he can do once he has health and regular opportunities. I think Slater has one more option.