SCOTTSDALE, Arizona–As the rest of baseball emphasizes youth, the Giants will once again field a roster that skews older and highlights veteran experience.
Following a 64-98 season, San Francisco added 32-year-old third baseman Evan Longoria, 31-year-old right fielder Andrew McCutchen and 31-year-old outfielder Austin Jackson in an offseason loaded with intrigue.
Though much could change between now and Opening Day, the Giants are poised to begin the year with six position players over the age of 30, while the rival Dodgers work with a lineup featuring a slew of regulars –Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor, Austin Barnes– who haven’t reached their third decade and two stars –Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger– who have yet to turn 24.
While Brandon Belt, 29, and Joe Panik, 27, are the only two Giants’ position players south of 30 likely to see their names on Bruce Bochy’s first lineup card, there are several young talents who could battle their way onto the roster this season.
With pitchers and catchers set for their first workout in Scottsdale, Arizona, here are five young Giants who could shake up the desert landscape and change the team’s outlook in 2018.
Steven Duggar, 24, outfield
The last Giants’ outfield draft pick who became a full-time starter for more than one season was Marvin Benard, a 50th round selection back in 1992. Considering it’s been more than a quarter century since Benard was drafted –and baseball’s draft is now 40 rounds instead of 50–the Giants are well overdue for a homegrown outfield talent to seize a starting job.
Duggar is the organization’s latest hope, a 2015 sixth round draft pick out of Clemson who shot through the Minor Leagues during his first two summers with the franchise. The rangy center fielder hit .321 in 60 games with Double-A Richmond in 2016, but a hip injury derailed Duggar’s progress last year and limited him to just 44 games, 13 of which came with Triple-A Sacramento.
Giants’ general manager Bobby Evans is eager to watch Duggar perform this spring, and hasn’t ruled out the possibility of awarding an Opening Day roster spot to a rookie outfielder. Duggar might not be ready for Major League pitching, but his speed in center field is an asset the Giants desperately need and he could platoon with Jackson at the outset of the year.
The Giants will give Duggar every opportunity to prove himself in Cactus League play, and it’s up to the prospect to play …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports