Now that the regular season has officially begun, and Bruce Bochy has set his initial 25-man roster, let's take a look at the players donning the orange and black.
There are quite a few new faces in the dugout this season, who weren't even in the organization in 2018. Joining the club are a few youngsters who contributed as rookies, last season, and are primed to become integral components of this year's squad.
Included in the new bunch are some names Bay Area fans likely hadn't heard of before Opening day. Likewise, a couple of old faces from around the league have found their way to a new home in San Francisco. Without any further ado, let's get to know these 2019 Giants, who will be swinging back here for their home opener on Friday, April 5 after a couple more games in LA.
Quite a few players still remain from the Giants' World Series run, between the years 2010 and 2014. Buster Posey (C), Brandon Belt (1B), Brandon Crawford (SS), Joe Panik (2B), Pablo Sandoval (3B), and Madison Bumgarner (SP) were each present for one, two, or all three championships during the Giants' recent dynastic run. San Francisco fans are undoubtedly familiar with these home-grown core players, as each of them has been with the team since at least as far back as 2014. A star-studded and award-laden group, their accolades include: a National League MVP, two World Series MVPs, six Gold Gloves, seven Silver Sluggers, and 16 All-Star game appearances.
The Next-Tier G Men
This group is made up of guys who missed the World Series run but have played at least a full season with the big league club. Here we have Jeff Samardzija (SP), Will Smith (RP), Mark Melancon (RP), Sam Dyson (RP), Evan Longoria (3B), Tony Watson (RP), and Derek Holland (SP). Samardzija and Smith are the only ones in this group who played during the Giants' most recent postseason appearance, back in 2016. Melancon was signed in 2017 as the would-be answer for San Francisco's abysmal closing situation from the previous season, though, he has lived up to his whopping 4 year/$62 million contract. Sam Dyson was acquired via trade during the 2017 season and has given Bruce Bochy a year-plus of stellar late inning bullpen work. Evan Longoria, the former and long-time Tampa Bay Ray, was signed before the 2018 season and has fit in nicely as a veteran fixture at third base, slotting into the lineup as a middle of the order power threat. Another solid bullpen fixture and late-inning specialist, lefty Tony Watson was a nightmare for pinch hitters in clutch situations. Finally, Derek Holland was signed basically for rotational depth before last season. Though, numerous injuries opened the door for the one they call "Dutch," and he took full advantage, establishing himself as the most consistent starter on Bochy's 2018 staff.
The New Guys
There are really two tiers within this group, as well. The first tier being the returning rookies from last season, who proved themselves during their time spent with the '18 club and in '19 Spring Training: Reyes Moronta (RP), Dereck Rodriguez (SP), and Steven Duggar (CF). These fellas are, in a word, exciting. Reyes Moronta has the stuff and the demeanor to slot-in as the Giants' closer of the future. He was part of the four-headed monster in the back of the bullpen, for Bochy, last season. Rodriguez, son of Hall-of-Fame catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, came from almost nowhere and became the strongest starter, down the stretch, for a San Francisco team that needed an injection of life. That brings us to Steven Duggar. Giants fans have been hearing about this speed demon, defensive stud, who pencils-in at the top of the lineup. He burst on the scene during the summer of 2018, played a stellar center field, learned well on the fly in the leadoff position, but ultimately succumbed to injury heading into the final month of the season. All three of these studs are healthy and ready to be stalwart performers for the G Men for years to come.
The second tier features an interesting mixture of brand new names and journeymen. Outfielders Conner Joe and Michael Reed were both acquired literally days before Opening Day in San Diego; Reed received scant playing time spread over three seasons, while Joe would make his MLB debut with the Giants. Reliever Travis Bergen, claimed by San Francisco via the Rule 5 Draft, rode a dominant streak in Spring Training to make the Bochy's roster. Young right-handed reliever Trevor Gott, similar to Reed, spent parts of a few seasons playing sparingly for the Nationals and Angels. Like Bergen, Gott pitched his way onto the 25-man roster with a scoreless Spring. The journeymen include: Gerardo Parra (OF), Yangervis Solarte (IN/OF), Erik Kratz (C), Drew Pomeranz (SP), and Nick Vincent (RP). Giants fans should be very familiar with Parra, as he's spent time with Colorado and Arizona. Pomeranz was a member of the Rockies, A's, and Padres before heading over to the Red Sox. He was a member of Boston's 2018 World Series Championship team. Kratz has spent much of his career as an average-at-best backup catcher. Solarte played with San Diego for a few years and appears to still have moderate tread left on his tires. Lastly, reliever Nick Vincent has recorded several solid seasons out of the bullpen and should provide a welcome veteran presence in the 'pen.
This team has enough talent (mostly pitching and defense) to remain competitive throughout the 2019 season. Time will only tell how soon the bevy of minor league talent GM Farhan Zaidi has at his disposal will remain untapped. The hope is that each player on the 25-man roster can remain healthy and productive, but veteran baseball fans know that the 162-game grind is never that forgiving.