Below are some thoughts I had on roster decisions looming for the team. I suggest a review of Zach Buchanan’s Roster Article from March 5th and Steve Gilbert’s Roster Article from March 14th for added context.
Some other resources you’ll want to look at:
A few things I write below are different than what they wrote, and they are much closer to it than I am. But at least they make sense to me.
1.) I wonder if in an odd way Chris Devenski and Trayce Thompson are competing for a roster spot. Both are Non Roster players, meaning someone has to be removed from the 40 man roster to make room for them. (Unless there is a trade, or a serious injury to a 40 man roster player requiring a 60 day IL move, then a spot opens up as well). While one can go through the 40 man roster and perhaps identify a more likely candidate to be removed if needed, picking TWO players to remove from the 40 man must not be easy for the team.
2.) Devenski has pitched well. Or at least gotten good results. It’s anybody’s guess how the team has evaluated his stuff . But MY guess is they’re happy with what they see and he makes the roster. So that would mean at least one player needs to be removed from the 40 man. And that puts Thompson on even more of a bubble than he already was due to 40 man roster crunch. That said I think they really want his right hand power bat off the bench and in a platoon so are giving him every chance to stick. The next week is critical to his chances. The right handed Stuart Fairchild was just optioned to AAA Reno this morning, so that is another sign that Thompson’s chances are improved.
3.) Another key element with Devenski is that his career split vs. Left hand batters is very similar to his split vs. righties. There have been a slew of left handed NRI signed and getting some spring innings. (follow that link for list and stats) But it’s not clear if any have impressed enough to be given a roster spot. The guy I picked as a favorite pre spring, Ryan Buchter, has been hit very hard and struggled with command. A few others have done well. But with the tough 40 man roster decisions just outlined above, it’s hard to imagine the team making room for all three of Devenski, Thompson, AND another lefty. So it seems likely Alex Young will be the lone lefty in the pen, and Devenski will be the other option when they need a guy to face a tough left hand batter.
4.) I thought there was a good chance that J.B. Bukauskas had passed Yoan Lopez and Kevin Ginkel on the depth chart but he was just optioned to Reno as well.
Based on this, right now my Bullpen projection is
- Soria (CL)
- Young (L and Long)
- Clarke (Long/Swing)
And then pick two from Lopez, Ginkel, Widener, or as a long shot if they free up a roster spot somehow, one of the left hand options.
5.) Josh Rojas appears to be a lock, and probable starter at 2b. Stephen Vogt and Asdrubal Cabrera are on the opening day roster too of course.
That leaves 4 spots for left for these 6 guys: Pavin Smith who might start in RF until Calhoun comes back, Daulton Varsho, Tim Locastro, Wyatt Mathisen, Trayce Thompson and Josh VanMeter
My Guess: If they are true to their word that they view Varsho as a catcher, he gets sent out to catch every day. VanMeter would be redundant if they have Rojas, so I think he gets optioned too.
So that leaves Smith, Locastro, Mathisen, and Thompson to make the roster, with the aforementioned caveat of 40 man roster issues for Thompson.
6.) I expect Torey to announce Madison Bumgarner as the opening day starter. If not after today’s start, certainly within the next week. He’s lined up to have starts against the White Sox and Reds in his next two starts after today, and then could go on April 1st vs. San Diego with 5 days rest.
In addition to bullpen projection above, the rest looks like this:
- C- Carson Kelly
- INF- Christian Walker (1B) , Josh Rojas (2B) , Nick Ahmed (SS) , Eduardo Escobar (3B)
- OF- David Peralta (LF) , Ketel Marte (CF) , Pavin Smith (RF)
- Bench: Stephen Vogt, Asdrubal Cabrera, Tim Locastro, Trayce Thompson, Wyatt Mathisen
- Rotation: Madison Bumgarner, Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly, Luke Weaver, and Caleb Smith
That’s all for now. Watch this space.