When I decided to preview San Francisco Giants positions ahead of their April 8 opener against the Miami Marlins, I originally planned to preview each position individually. You know, preview left field, right field, and center field as three separate entities.
But it turned out to be an impossible task.
Baseball is moving away from fixed positions and the Giants are at the forefront of that change.
As such, they have no left fielder, no right fielder, and no center fielder. Not only because they have many people who can play these positions, but because they have people who can play two or three of them, creating a dance routine that even the most accomplished TikTokers would struggle to learn.
To illustrate the point, we need only go back to 2021, when Steven Duggar — widely considered the team’s best defensive outfielder by a country mile — somehow spent 15.2 innings playing outfield spots that were not in the center of the field.
Here’s who I’m pretty sure will be playing in the outfield this year:
LaMonte Wade Jr.
Here are two more people who I think are very, very, very likely to play in the outfield this year:
Here are three other guys who could play in the outfield and I wouldn’t think so:
Oh, and I was so busy listing all these players that I forgot these two guys who will definitely be playing:
Random waiver request who is then already on the 40 man list so why not
Random Minor League signing that works great in AAA
Not to mention this guy who already makes a solid case:
Random prospect that you don’t really think of that makes a rapid rise and intrigues us all when multiple players are injured
So that’s 17 different outfielders, and if you think that’s crazy, just know that the Giants used 13 outfielders last year, and that was without having a designated hitting position to put people like Darin Ruf and Kris Bryant to keep them from playing in the grass.
The Giants have been hailed over the past year for their remarkable depth, and while that certainly deserves praise, it’s worth noting that depth can only take you as far as the talent it’s made up of. San Francisco’s outfield was good last year because Ruf was one of the best hitters in baseball, LaMonte Wade Jr. was the Majors’ fastest hitter, and Steven Duggar did things no one else would. could predict.
They still need those things. Not necessarily those specific things, although that would be nice, but things of that nature. It could be Luis Gonzalez becoming the next Mike Yastrzemski. It could be Yastrzemski becoming the next Yastrzemski. It could be Ramos’ exit party, Pederson going back in time, Dubón taking off, or a trade for Aaron Judge when the New York Yankees hilariously collapse and get beaten again by the Tampa Bay Rays.
The fun part of building the Giants roster is on full display with the outfield. You know who some of the main cast will be, but not all of them. You know there’s a surprise lurking in the shadows. You are quite confident that the output will be admirable, but your eyes move in 10 directions to see where it will come from.
Really, that sums up the Giants perfectly. They will be good. You don’t really know how.