With the World Baseball Classic underway, the Cactus League can feel like a bigger let down than usual. Some of the best players in the game are playing in the WBC which means the already watered down spring rosters just got a lot worse. When the only news you hear from the black and orange is that Cole Gillespie is eyeing that final roster spot on the bench; I forgive you for rolling your eyes and asking to be brought up to speed when they take the field against the Dodgers on opening day.
You can still be a great Giants fan and pay no attention to spring training; however I would advise against it because if you do you’ll miss some of the best storylines in the majors. With Marco Scutaro, Angel Pagan, and Pablo Sandoval out competing for their countries many Giants fans hoped that San Francisco’s two top position prospects, Gary Brown and Joe Panik, would grab the opportunity and open eyes amongst the Giants brass. Well, that really hasn’t happened yet; Brown is hitting just .238 and Panik has been even worse going 0-4 in very limited action. Obviously neither one of these two is going to be breaking camp with the big club, but fortunately for the Giants, they aren’t the only outfield and second base prospects in spring.
Little known infielder Brock Bond, who the Giants mistakenly drafted in the 24thround of the 2007 draft, (they actually wanted Casey Bond who they would grab a round later) has been on fire for the World Champs. Bond is hitting .500, with two homeruns, and four RBI. He’s played stellar defense at second and while he might be over matched at short, he could easily fill the Emmanuel Burris, Ryan Theriot role from last season.
The other Giant prospect opening eyes in Arizona is the Fred Lewis clone, Francisco Peguero. He is a player with all the tools you want to see in a ball player, except hitting for power, but has used them all wrong in the past. He is a good to great defender in center or left, makes good contact and has incredible speed. This spring he seems like he has finally put it all together; he is batting an absurd .550, with two doubles and a triple. If you don’t feel comfortable with the Blanco/Torres leftfield this is the guy you probably want to see steal the job.
Last season first baseman Brandon Belt struggled out of the gate and was always looking over his shoulder, wondering when Bruce Bochy was going to bench him in favor of the veteran Aubrey Huff. Well if his spring stats are any indication of what a worry free Belt can do; the National League better watch out. Belt is leading the Giants in homeruns with 3, RBI with 8, and is batting .464 to top it off.
With one opening in the Giants’ bullpen pitcher Chad Gaudin is doing everything in his power to stay with San Francisco; he has registered a team leading ERA of 2.16 in 8.1 innings of work. The right handed swingman has also shown his versatility with one start and three bullpen appearances for the Black and Orange this spring. He faces tough competition highlighted by former Giants Ramon Ramirez and Ryan Sadowski, plus former Dodger Scott Proctor, but if he keeps pitching this well San Francisco will have to find room for him.