Position Battle Update - 3/25

It's getting so tough on playing time that one contender had to play a minor league game this week! Good thing he dominated. And the races are so tight that they are overflowing into one another. Will the loser of the 5th starter race get a bullpen spot? Can Jason Ellison's grand slam Saturday keep the relievers from getting the 25th man spot? And why is Kevin Frandsen throwing a monkey wrench in the Giants plans?

Position: 5th Starter

Contenders:
Brad Hennessey: 4.1 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 SO
YTD: 7.02 ERA, 16.2 IP, 23 H, 15 R, 13 ER, 2 HR, 0 HBP, 9 BB, 8 SO

Kevin Correia: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO
YTD: 2.45 ERA, 11.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 8 SO

Jamey Wright: DNP in any Cactus League Games; Tossed 5 innings in a minor league game, giving up 1 hit and no runs.
YTD: 0.00 ERA, 9.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 HBP, 5 BB, 7 SO

Did Good: Jamey Wright, with a lack of playing time with, had a dominating minor league performance that won't be reflected in his spring-to-date stats, but made an impression none the less.

Did Not So Good: Hennessey had another bad outing, and may not get another chance to bounce back.

The Battle So Far: Hennessey has been all but eliminated. The former front runner simply has had a bad spring, and a stint in Fresno should help him bounce back. That leaves Correia and Wright. Both are doing so well that they both might make the team, with one as a long reliever. The talk right now is that person will be Correia, who finally allowed his first walk of the spring. Alou has all but said that Wright has earned a spot on the team in some capacity, which leaves an intriguing question for the 40 man roster to be resolved.

Position: Back-Up Catcher

Contenders:
Todd Greene: 1-5, 1 2B, 1 SO
YTD: .240/.269/.480, 6-25, 3 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 6 SO, 0 SB, 0 CS

Eliezer Alfonzo: 2-6, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 2B, 3 SO
YTD: .357/.379/.607, 10-28, 3 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 1 BB, 7 SO, 0 SB, 0 CS

Did Good: Alfonzo had the slightly better week, but 3 strikeouts aren't impressive.

Did Not So Good: Greene needs to step it up, as Alfonzo is keeping the pressure on.

The Battle So Far: The backup catcher isn't always a big offensive deal, so that Alfonzo's impressive pop is negated by Greene's experience with big league pitchers. Add in Wright's likely addition to the team and connection with Greene, and Alfonzo still has a hill to climb to win the job.

Position: Bullpen

Contenders:
Jack Taschner: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO
YTD: 2.70 ERA, 6.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 7 SO

Scott Munter: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0BB, 1 SO
YTD: 1.42 ERA, 6.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 4 BB, 4 SO

Jeremy Accardo: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO
YTD: 1.50 ERA, 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 5 SO

Tyler Walker: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO
YTD: 10.80 ERA, 6.2 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 4 BB, 4 SO

Merkin Valdez: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO
YTD: 4.91 ERA, 7.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 3 BB, 7 SO

Did Good: Accardo's 2 inning outing this week helped his stock immensely as the reliever talk has centered around players not originally in this competition.

Did Not So Good: Walker had one good outing, then went out the next day and gave up 2 runs in 1 inning. Ouch.

Don't Forget About: Kevin Correia and Jamey Wright are both in this battle, as both could make the roster and only one will be a starter. Both have been impressive, and Correia in particular could be a starter.

Other News: The Sporting News' Ken Rosenthal reports that the Giants are shopping Tyler Walker. Meanwhile, other teams see the Giants 3 lefty relievers (Taschner along with Steve Kline and Jeff Fassero), and are inquiring. An intriguing possibility is that the Giants might make the loser of the 5th starter competition the new long reliever, while Jeff Fassero (who they view as a long guy first, and a lefty second) might bring something in trade.

The Battle So Far: Walker had to do terrible to lose his spot, and he's doing his best to do just that. Valdez still garners a lot of talk, but it might just be that, talk. He has impressive stuff, but still needs to refine it. The top relievers are still last year's trio of rookies, and Munter is looking like an odd man out with his walks. That's not good for a groundball pitcher who will allow a fair number of hits to balls that simply find a hole.

Position: 25th Man
Contenders:
Bullpen pitchers (See Above)
Todd Linden: 0-3, 1 R, 1 SO, 1 BB
YTD: .265/.387/.347, 13-49, 10 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 8 BB, 9 SO, 1 SB, 0 CS

Jason Ellison: 2-4, 2 R, 4 RBI, 1 HR, 1 BB, 1 E
YTD: .447/.544/.660, 21-47, 14 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 9 BB, 2 SO, 2 SB, 1 CS

Kevin Frandsen: 3-6, 2 R, 2 2B
YTD: .354/.396/.625, 17-48, 10 R, 3 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 10 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 0 SB, 1 CS

Angel Chavez: 2-6, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 SO, 2 BB
YTD: .295/.415/.432, 13-44, 7 R, 6 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 9 BB, 4 SO, 0 SB, 0 CS

Did Good: Ellison's Grand Slam Saturday left the biggest impression, but Frandsen's overall performance remained the best of the bunch.

Did Not So Good: Linden's no hit half-week have dropped him perhaps too far back in this race.

Don't Forget: With Correia and Wright in the bullpen competition, the overflow of that race could impact this one.

The Battle So Far: Ellison's done the most to earn this job, clearly, but Frandsen is still getting a lot of talk. You can't say Linden's not getting the chances to earn this spot, as he's had the most at-bats for any Giant this spring. But he's getting out slugged by notable non-power hitters like Ellison and Frandsen. Frandsen is throwing a monkey wrench in the Giants' plans, though. They clearly want him starting in Fresno to get as much experience as possible before throwing him in the major league fire (and having to clear a roster spot for him, too). But Frandsen's hot push this spring will make it hard for them not to include him. Chavez is still in the mix, and he countered some bad defense in the previous week with a couple of walks to increase his all-around game, but Ellison and Frandsen are pushing this race to a new level.



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