Pablo Sandoval is an impending free agent. He also hasn’t been healthy for a full season since 2010. On the big league roster, the Giants have Joaquin Arias and Tony Abreu who can both play 3B, but lack the offensive profile of a starter. Lets look at who would be up next in the Giants’ system.
Adam Duvall is a guy I’m excited to see at AAA Fresno this year. He has the ability to do what few Giants prospects can — hit for power. After hitting 30 bombs in the Cal League in 2012, he slashed a .252/.320/.465 line with 17 homers in a notoriously tough hitting environment at AA Richmond last season. Duvall was added to the 40-man roster in November, so if there aren’t any major shakeups, he could get the call when San Francisco needs help at 3B in 2014.
The key for Duvall will be his ability to make contact consistently and his glove. Below is a quote from Carson Cistulli at Fangraphs, who is one person that agrees with me that Duvall might not be the clank mitt some have reported.
During the course of this particular game, at least, Duvall’s play suggested that concerns about his defense might be overstated. Twice — in the second inning, with New Hampshire first baseman Kevin Ahrens batting, and also in the third, off the bat of catcher Jack Murphy — Duvall fielded hard-hit grounders down the third-base line at full length, brought himself to his feet quickly, and made strong and accurate throws across the diamond for outs. Spectacular-looking plays aren’t always objectively good ones, of course: every fielder has a “zone,” so to speak, on the outer margins of his range where plays will appear extraordinary — but these were illustrative in that they exhibited, in Duvall, an athleticism not immediately indicated by his body type.
After Duvall you have to look a long way down the road for a potential contributor at the big league level. 2013 first round pick Christian Arroyo had a good year in rookie ball hitting .326/.388/.511. Reports on Arroyo’s ability at shortstop vary. He’s thickly built and some scouts think he’ll have to move to 2B or 3B eventually. Fellow 2013 draftee Ryder Jones had a nice debut in the rookie league as well (.317/.394/.400). Both players were drafted out of high school and wouldn’t sniff the majors, in a best case scenario, until late 2016. It will be interesting to see how aggressively the organization pushes these guys.
Mark Minicozzi has exclusively played 1B this spring, but is scorching the ball and spent significant time at 3B in the minors. Chris Dominguez, who is slowly becoming the Mayor of Fresno, could finally get the call in 2014. Ehire Adrianza, the slick fielding shortstop, is another guy who will start the year in AAA and could be called upon in a utility role.
There’s been specualtion that Buster Posey could move to 3B from behind the plate, but that idea has been squashed, at least for the time being. The best bet would be to re-sign Pablo Sandoval. If not, its up to Adam Duvall to press the issue or the team will have to look elsewhere via the free agent market in 2015.
[Update] Tony Abreu was waived and Ehire Adrianza, who was out of options, made the club. Abreu cleared waivers and assigned to AAA Fresno.