Spring is here, and the Giants are in Scottsdale as they gear up for what should be the most interesting season in a very long time.
Almost everything is new: the manager, the coaching staff and even the facilities in Arizona. What isn’t all that different? The roster.
Despite being in an unofficial rebuild, Farhan Zaidi mostly stood pat this offseason, signing only one player, veteran infielder Wilmer Flores, to a multi-year contract.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t players to watch this preseason. Giants broadcaster Dave Flemming explained which four players, three veterans and one youngster, that he has his eye on, when he joined Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks on Thursday.
Let’s start with the vets.
“Of the veterans, I’m really excited to see Cueto again. Cueto is a wild card for this team. Johnny Cueto was pitching about as well as anybody in the league the first year and a half he was with the Giants. Even though that has obviously changed with his injury, I think he can get back to something approximating that level. That would be a huge boost for this team, whether he’s with the Giants or whether that turns him into something that can get them a really exciting young player. Whatever it is, I’m really eager to watch Johnny on the mound.”
“I’m eager to watch Buster. You guys talked to him this weekend. It was clear that he was, embarrassed is too strong a word, but he really feels strongly that that was not the player that he is on the field last year, and he’s motivated to being the old Buster. Whether he can get there we’re about to find out, but that interests me too.”
“I’m super eager to see if Mike Yastrzemski can back up his performance from last year, because he was a really good player for the Giants last year out of nowhere, and sometimes those guys sustain it, sometimes those guys don’t.”
And finally Jaylin Davis, whose potential Flemming compared to one of the best hitters in baseball:
“I do think this guy Jaylin Davis is intriguing. He did not have a great debut, but he put up such enormous numbers in the minor leagues last year. I’m not saying that he’s gonna be Khris Davis in Oakland, but he was a guy with this enormous power who had a little bit of a hard time when he first got an opportunity, found a coaching staff, an organization that believed in him and sort of unlocked that natural ability on the big-league field.
“Jaylin Davis in my mind is standing in for all those types of players, and this is not a knock on the Giants coaching staff, but this is a whole new system of coaching and giving players information to try to get better even when they reach the highest level. He’s one of those guys to me where the upside is really, really big if they can unlock what is in there. I don’t know if they can do that, but I’m eager to find out.”
Listen to the full interview below.