by Cutter Hicks, Sports 1140 KHTK
At the time of publication, the San Francisco Giants are 12-23. The Sacramento River Cats, the Giants’ triple-A affiliate, are 13-20.
What do these two teams have in common? They’re both in last place in their division and the second worst teams in their respective leagues.
Despite the abysmal standings, the River Cats have a few players who can contribute on their major league counterpart.
Here are the five best candidates to be promoted to the Giants 25-man roster:
5. Trevor Brown (C)
Good ol’ Trevor. The California native was a great backup for Posey last year. Not perfect, but he played the part of a solid catcher. Despite his late struggles in Sacramento, he’s proven he can play behind the plate while his MVP counterpart covers first base.
Remember last year when the Giants faced the Dodgers at home in their first rivalry series of the 2016 season? To be more specific, game two?
The Dodgers were combining to no-hit the orange and black behind a solid start by Ross Stripling. They were down 2-0 at the bottom of the eighth inning when Brown hit a rocket to deep left-center field for a game-tying home run. These miracle moments solidified Brown as a fan-favorite and he could be back to San Francisco to do more damage.
Oh yeah, the Giants went to win that game in extra innings 3-2.
4. Jae-Gyun Hwang (3B)
Yeah, I know, the Giants have plenty of infielders at the moment. With Brandon Crawford coming back from the disabled list, Christian Arroyo will potentially move to third base. However, with Eduardo Nunez stepping back as the starting third baseman to play left field, the Giants need someone who can hit.
Conor Gillaspie is a hero in Giants fans’ eyes because of his three-run dinger at Citi Field last season to eventually beat the Mets in the NL Wildcard game. Since then, he’s been brought up this season he’s hitting .133.
However, Hwang had a great spring training with the Giants and is now hitting .293 with 14 RBIs for Sacramento.
The Korean native has also put in his time as an outfielder, a position that’s desperate for players. You never know.
3. Tyler Beede (RHP)
The former first round pick by the Giants continues to prove that his ticket to play in the majors will be punched very soon. Last year, he finished 8-7 with a 2.81 ERA in Richmond and he’s starting the 2017 River Cats’ season with a 3.38 ERA and 2-1 record.
Sure, there will be some work that needs to be done before toeing the rubber at AT&T Park, but for a team that’s grasping for rotation wins, it’s time to bring in some young blood.
Three of the Giants starting pitchers are over 30 years old and the team has combined for a 5.01 ERA. That doesn’t mean they can’t play but maybe it’s time to bring in the 23-year old to compliment the youngest of the rotation (Ty Blach, 26-years old).
2. Austin Slater (LF)
The outfield is in need of revamping. Denard Span and Jarrett Parker are rehabbing injuries, meaning there’s been some switching around in both center and left field. Nunez and Justin Ruggiano are filling in but a young player could be a spark.
Right now, Slater is hitting .286 and with 15 RBIs for the River Cats. Against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox on Thursday he went 3-6 with four RBIs. The Sox aren’t shabby either, as they hold a 20-9 record.
He probably won’t win any awards but when you have a 24-year old itching to play in the majors, why not give him a shot?
1. Mac Williamson (RF)
Let’s face it: Hunter Pence needs days of (cue a Hunter Pence sign idea). It’s part of the game to allow players off-days to give them rest, but when he does have those rare chances to take a step back he doesn’t have a solid backup that can play right field and hit.
Enter Mac Williamson. Yes, he just recently came off the disabled list, but what’s the holdup? With the team struggling in the outfield, the experienced player needs to step in. Last year, he hit only .223 for the Giants but had six home runs and was terrific in the outfield. He can be real difference-maker defensively because he’s fast on his feet and has a great glove.
Complement this with a clutch bat and he certainly plays the part of a hero.