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Meet the Giants’ other spring training invites: holdovers, fliers and dreamers


Zach Green. Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports


You know Joey Bart, who has yet to play a game above Double-A yet looms as maybe the most important 2020 Giant.

You probably know Sean Hjelle, the team’s No. 6 prospect and literally the biggest: At 6-feet-11, it’s not just his fastball that will catch the eye of Scottsdale onlookers.

And then there are a mishmash of 16 other players in the Giants organization who have been invited to spring training, some of whom you might remember from a few at-bats last season, some of whom you’ve never heard of.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the other Giants hopefuls, who will arrive in camp with a chance to make an impression. For a Giants team still in transition, there will be roster spots that can be wrested.

Pitchers

RHP Matt Carasiti: With no more Joe Panik, the Giants were obligated to bring in another St. John’s product. Carasiti, at 26, already has had an eventful professional career, a 2012 sixth-round pick who debuted in 2016 with the Rockies, was traded to the Cubs, played in Tokyo, then came back last season and spent time with the Cubs and Mariners.

He appeared in 11 games with Seattle, posting a 4.66 ERA, relying heavily on a 95-mph fastball.

RHP Tyler Cyr: The 26-year-old has been around for a while now, a 2015 pick who seemed on the cusp of getting his chance in the majors before 2018 elbow surgery limited him to just nine innings.

Last season he resurrected, reaching Triple-A Sacramento and posting a combined 1.97 ERA with 59 strikeouts and 23 walks (too many) in 50 1/3 innings.

RHP Rico Garcia: The Giants just can’t quit him. Garcia, a Hawaii native, was claimed from Colorado in November, then non-tendered in December, before the Giants picked him right back up on a minor-league deal. The Rockies saw Garcia rise through the system as a starter before debuting last season. San Francisco likely will want to see how he looks out of the bullpen, too.

RHP Trey McNutt: A borderline name Hall of Famer, McNutt is a favorite of Matt Daniels, the Giants’ coordinator of pitching sciences.

The 30-year-old was a late-round pick in 2009, missed all of 2014 after shoulder surgery and has been in and out of affiliated ball since.

LHP Sam Moll: The lone lefty non-roster invitee was once a top prospect, a third-round pick in 2013 who made 11 appearances with Oakland in 2017. Last year was Moll’s first with the Giants, posting a 2.39 ERA in 49 innings split between Double-A Richmond and Sacramento.

RHP Carlos Navas: The 27-year-old from Venezuela, like many of these invites, has not yet reached the majors, an aging prospect trying to break through. Navas, who came up with Oakland and had a stop in Cincinnati’s system, spent last year with Richmond and Sacramento, where he struck out about a batter an inning and got a lot of groundballs, which the Giants like. He finished with a 3.40 ERA in 84 2/3 innings, primarily out of relief but also making seven starts.

RHP Andrew Triggs: The 30-year-old, who apparently holds an impressive “Triggonometry” nickname, made sporadic appearances as both a starter and reliever with the A’s from 2016-18, posting a 4.53 ERA in 163 career innings. At the end of 2018 he had surgery after being diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome and has a history of hip injuries.

RHP Raffi Vizcaino: The 24-year-old, with the organization since 2013, will get his first extended look after maxing out at Richmond and pitching in the Dominican Winter League this offseason. He’s always had good strikeout rates and was converted from starter to reliever last year. Another righty with a power fastball in his arsenal, Vizcaino put up a 3.16 ERA in 62 2/3 innings last season.

RHP Sam Wolff: The 28-year-old was part of the return when the Giants traded Matt Moore to the Rangers before the 2018 season. Another high-strikeout guy, Wolff hit Sacramento last season and finished with a 2.87 ERA and 1.149 WHIP.

Catchers

Tyler Heineman: Both catchers listed will be in competition with Aramis Garcia for the big-league backup job. Heineman, who crushed in the PCL last year with Miami and Arizona (.336/.400/.590), has the advantage of being a switch-hitter, a catching rarity. Ideally, the Giants would like a lefty to complement with Buster Posey.

Chad Tromp: Tromp, 25 next month, is still searching for his major league debut after breaking in with the Reds in 2013. The Aruba native had an abbreviated 2019 season after shoulder surgery, but put up big numbers in 151 plate appearances with Rookie League and Triple-A ball last year (.280/.397/.568).

Infielders

Cristhian Adames: The 28-year-old got some run with Colorado from 2014-17, then resurfaced with the Cubs last year before an injury led to his DFA, and the Giants pounced. Adames is a candidate to replace Pablo Sandoval, a switch-hitting infielder who can play all over and looked good in limited time last year, slashing .318/.375/.364 in 24 September plate appearances.

Zach Green: Another one-time top prospect, the Sacramento native was a third-round pick of Philadelphia in 2012 and scooped up by the Giants in last year’s offseason. He rejiggered his swing, which resulted in 25 homers in 297 Triple-A plate appearances, and appeared in eight games with the Giants. A hip injury prematurely ended his season.

Drew Robinson: The 27-year-old is the type of multi-positional weapon Farhan Zaidi craves, a utilityman who, over the last three seasons, has played every position in the big leagues except first base, catcher and pitcher. He broke through with Texas and played last year with St. Louis, but his season was cut short by Tommy John surgery.

Outfielders

Joey Rickard: Rickard was the other outfielder to come over from Baltimore’s system last season, overshadowed by Mike Yastrzemski. After a solid if unspectacular first season in San Francisco — .280/.333/.380 in 54 plate appearances, mostly used to pound southpaws — Rickard was non-tendered, then brought back as more depth.

Jamie Westbrook: A fifth-round pick in 2013, Westbrook is still awaiting his chance. This will be the 24-year-old’s first season away from Arizona, in whose system he played all over the outfield and some second base. Last season he reached Triple-A but stalled there, finishing the season with a combined slashline of .281/.358/.451. The Giants’ potential starting outfield of Yastrzemski, Alex Dickerson and Steven Duggar is all lefty; Westbrook and Rickard are both righty hitters.

 

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