Two men expecting to be factors in San Francisco found themselves in Fresno. Brian Wilson earned the trip to Triple-A with a poor spring. That 7.71 ERA in the Cactus League does not belong in the majors.
Kevin Frandsen saw a lot of playing time in the spring and made the 25-man roster initially but barely played once the team went north to San Francisco. Frandsen is arguably the Giants' best insurance policy for Ray Durham. The regular second baseman stayed healthy and hit well during the first week of the year, thus making Frandsen superfluous.
Wilson was sent down to get himself right after the bad spring season, and pitching out of the Grizzlies' bullpen has worked well for him. He has two saves and a perfect ERA so far. Frandsen made a statement immediately after getting sent down. He is hitting .353 with two RBI in three games.
Neither is "stuck" in Fresno. Frandsen simply needs to play every day. He told Marek Warszawski of the Fresno Bee: "I feel I'm a big leaguer, but I wasn't given the opportunity to show that."
The Giants could lose patience with closer Armando Benitez sooner than later and if (or when) Benitez is declared out, Wilson is the best bet to get the call at closer. Wilson is confident about his ability, as stated in the Monday edition of the Bee: "You give me a chance to get in there, I'm going to take it."
Not only is it better to have these two playing a regular role on a ball club, it's beneficial to have them playing for a winner. Wilson can't close games if he gets no save opportunities and those certainly aren't coming with the Giants. Fresno finally looks like the last stop on the way for Giants prospects, no longer a dumping ground for has-been and never-was guys. Give Wilson and Frandsen some more time in Fresno, and they'll be ready to take over when they're needed in San Francisco.
Player of the week
Dan Ortmeier is a force on offense. He has a 10-game hitting streak going back to April 6 with four multi-hit games. He's hitting .455 with nine RBI, one home run, and two stolen bases.
By the numbers
Since winning the first two series of the year, the Grizzlies have looked a little more ordinary. They dropped two games to Portland including a tough loss in extra innings on April 13. The team is 4-3 this week and is tied with Sacramento for the lead in the PCL South. They can split the series with the Beavers with a win Monday.