The fields are empty. As are the sidewalks and beaches and offices (or at least they should be).
The world is a changed place in a lot more meaningful ways than just baseball in the time of the coronavirus. Still, there are about 56,000 less people at Dodger Stadium than there were expected to be a couple weeks ago today, as Opening Day has become just another sheltering-in-place Thursday.
San Francisco and Los Angeles and the rest of baseball won’t be opening their season likely until at least June and perhaps later as the world separates to contain the spread of the pandemic.
What would the Giants have looked like today if the season had not been suspended indefinitely? Glad you asked!
First, let’s go over the roster.
The position-player certainties:
C: Buster Posey
1B: Brandon Belt, Wilmer Flores
3B: Evan Longoria
SS: Brandon Crawford
OF: Hunter Pence, Alex Dickerson, Mike Yastrzemski
And the projected to join them:
C: Rob Brantly
2B: Yolmer Sanchez
OF: Billy Hamilton
Util: Mauricio Dubon, Darin Ruf
Which means players such as Donovan Solano, Jaylin Davis, Austin Slater and Joey Rickard would begin the season at Triple-A Sacramento.
Rob Brantly and Tyler Heineman were very close when camp broke, but Brantly’s bat showed a bit more. Darin Ruf is the biggest surprise, but then he was the biggest surprise of camp, going 12-for-28 with three home runs before spring training let out. He is a tough roster fit because he’s redundant in left with Hunter Pence, and Wilmer Flores can play first against lefties, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the Giants gave him a look at right. In this projection, Flores would play a decent chunk of second base. Mauricio Dubon, meanwhile, would be filling in at shortstop, second and center field, and Yolmer Sanchez, the everyday second baseman, would serve as Evan Longoria’s backup.
Adding Brantly, Sanchez, Hamilton and Ruf to the team would mean space would have to be created on the 40-man roster. Tyler Beede and Tyler Anderson could go to the 60-day injured list, while just-claimed outfielder Jose Siri and infielder Abiatal Avelino could be DFA’d.
Projected starting pitchers:
The first four are penned, not penciled, in. If and when camp picks back up, Logan Webb would become the favorite for the No. 5 job, with a shorter season rendering his innings limit much more manageable. But if the season were to start today, Webb may have found himself still building up at Sacramento, while Cahill beats out Andrew Suarez, Trevor Oaks and Dereck Rodriguez.
Watson is a certainty only if he is healthy. Gott and Garcia have no more options, while Jimenez, as a Rule 5 pick, cannot be sent to the minors. Rogers has separated himself as perhaps the class of the bullpen.
Projecting the rest of the pen
Peralta was brilliant in camp, and Suarez, who also pitched well, would be a nice two- or three-inning reliever and lefty complement to Cahill. The Giants would hope to stash Andrew Triggs, Trevor Oaks and Tyson Ross in Triple-A. Enderson Franco and Rico Garcia, who both impressed, would have to do more impressing in Sacramento, while Jerry Blevins misses out on a bullpen that has three lefties.
Because Cahill has to be added to the roster, Kean Wong could be DFA’d.
Johnny Cueto vs. Clayton Kershaw. It would have been fun, wouldn’t it?
It’s possible the Giants would bench Brandon Belt against a lefty, but it would be surprising for Gabe Kapler to make that move after an offseason and spring that have been filled with pumping up the first baseman — including touting his at-bats against southpaws.
So with that in mind, let’s take a blind stab:
1. Mike Yastrzemski, RF
2. Wilmer Flores, 2B
3. Evan Longoria, 3B
4. Brandon Belt, 1B
5. Hunter Pence, LF
6. Buster Posey, C
7. Brandon Crawford, SS
8. Mauricio Dubon, CF
9. Johnny Cueto, P