Chris Marrero has some modest big league experience, tallying 125 at-bats in his career, but none since the 2013 season with the Washington Nationals. More recently Marrero spent the 2016 season in Triple-A Pawtucket with the Red Sox farm team and elected free agency following the campaign. And that is how he ended up getting his shot at making the SF Giants this spring as a non-roster invitee.
Before the start of spring training, GM Bobby Evans said that he could see a platoon or a time share taking shape in left field with either Jarrett Parker or Mac Williamson as the starter and pairing them with another player with either some veteran experience in the majors or minors. After being drafted out of high school in '06, Marrero has spent plenty of time in professional baseball. Now 28, he's looking at making an impact with San Francisco.
With Parker being a left-handed bat and Marrero being a righty, the two should compliment each other well in a traditional platoon. Both have regular splits, which is one reason why Parker and Williamson didn't quite mesh in a roster sense, because of Mac's reverse splits. With the outfield set (Pence, Span and Parker as starters, Marrero and Hernandez as bench options), it got me thinking: Is Marrero really ready?
Even if you don't know much about the newcomer, you've likely heard that he has a penchant for hitting late home runs this spring, which is true. He has seven homers and the earliest any of them has come is in the 6th inning, while he has two in each of the final three innings. During the regular season, that is an awesome stat that you can hang your hat on. In spring, it looks like it could be setting up a bit of a mirage.
I did some sleuthing and looked up each of the pitchers that Marrero has taken deep in the Cactus League, and none of them have very extensive big league careers. Here is who he has homered off of, and how much MLB service time they've had.
|MLB IP (or highest level)||MLB ERA|
|Kevin Shackelford, RHP (Reds)||AAA||--|
|Broooks Pounders, RHP (Angels)||12.2||9.24|
|Grant Dayton, LHP (Dodgers)||26.1||2.05|
|Jonathan Aro, RHP (Mariners)||11.0||6.55|
|Jose Torres, LHP (Padres)||3.0||0.00|
|Jairo Diaz, RHP (Rockies)||24.2||2.55|
|Pierce Johnson, RHP (Cubs)||AAA||--|
As you can see from the table, he hasn't exactly been lighting up Major League pitching when producing his power, although Grant Dayton is a reliever that the Dodgers may come to rely upon in the coming season.
Shackelford, Pounders and Johnson headed back to the minors in the middle of March, while Aro was sent down yesterday and Torres is still waiting on the decision to see where he will start the season. Diaz is still recovering from Tommy John surgery and his outing against the Giants was just his second of the spring.
I am not trying to discount what Chris Marrero has done this past month and a half by any means, but instead am trying to temper expectations. He has proven that he has some pop in his bat, which will be a welcome sight for the Giants' light-hitting squad, but his outfield defense is average at best. He has made the team because of his bat, and it will be up to his bat to keep him in San Francisco with a number of other outfielders that could come charging for that spot on the roster as the season wares on.