When the Giants gathered for FanFest on Saturday, a member of the staff joked that there were so many new faces that he might need name tags for the first couple of days of spring training. After the team released its non-roster list, that actually might not be a bad idea.
The Giants have 37 non-roster invitees headed to big league camp, including 19 pitchers. When you add them to the 40-man roster, there will be 77 players in camp before the Giants even make a move, plus one of the biggest coaching and support staffs in the league.
It will be crowded, but that's nothing new for an organization that used 66 players over 162 games last season. The front office doesn't want to get to that point this year, but the Giants again should be near the top of the league in terms of player movement, which means all of the players who were invited to camp will come with at least a glimmer of hope that they'll be needed in 2023.
From the top prospects to the familiar names to the career minor leaguers, here's what you need to know about this year's group:
Melvin Adon, Raymond Burgos, R.J. Dabovich, Sam Delaplane, Nick Duron, Jorge Guzman, Kyle Harrison, Trevor Hildenberger, Mauricio Llovera, Kade McClure, Erik Miller, Sean Newcomb, Ljay Newsome, Darien Nuñez, Joe Ross, Drew Strotman, Daniel Tillo, Miguel Yajure
While Harrison is the headliner, this group of pitchers actually is light on prospects and filled with players coming off injuries.
It starts with Adon, who was a hard-throwing righty reliever in the system years before the Camilo Doval/Gregory Santos class arrived, but tore his labrum before the 2021 season. He returned last season and got back to Double-A. Delaplane (San Jose) and Hildenberger (Mountain View) are locals who dealt with injuries last season. Newsome made four starts for the Seattle Mariners in 2021 before having Tommy John surgery. Nuñez and Ross both had Tommy John last year.
Newcomb was a top-25 prospect early in his minor league career and posted a 3.90 ERA in 30 starts in 2018. He has been a reliever ever since and had an 8.78 ERA for the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs last year, but he's the type of high-upside arm this front office likes to bet on. Even while struggling last year, he ranked in the 93rd percentile in fastball spin rate and 87th percentile on his curveball.
Harrison will be one of the biggest stories in camp, but he might not be the first player from that 2020 MLB Draft class to reach the big leagues. Dabovich struck out 38 in 26 1/3 Double-A innings last year, and while the initial adjustment in Triple-A was rough, the Giants liked what they saw at the end of the season. Farhan Zaidi already has mentioned the hard-throwing righty as someone who could be in the bullpen mix early. With Luke Jackson likely starting the year on the 60-day IL, the Giants could turn to a young reliever like Cole Waites or Dabovich to fill the void.
Brett Auerbach, Patrick Bailey, Brett Cumberland, Ricardo Genoves, Roberto Perez, Austin Wynns
Perez and Wynns, the two veterans, will battle to back up Joey Bart, and there's nobody else in camp who realistically can work his way into that mix.
Bailey was taken 13th overall in 2020 and most rival evaluators generally view that as a miss, but the Giants haven't given up hope. Bailey won a minor league Gold Glove Award last season and had a .851 OPS against right-handed pitching. His main problem was he hit .131 against lefties, and the Giants know they either need to figure out that right-handed swing or scrap switch-hitting all together.
Bailey is headed for Double-A and still is just 23. If he keeps showing proficiency from the left side, he remains an ideal long-term partner for the right-handed-hitting Bart.
Auerbach was one of the most impressive players in camp last year before posting a .220/.311/.398 slash line with 17 homers in Double-A. He got double-digit starts behind the plate and also at second and third, and that versatility is his ticket to the big leagues at some point.
Cumberland was once a second-round pick out of Cal, and he spent parts of the previous two seasons in Triple-A with the Baltimore Orioles. At the moment, he's depth for the Triple-A roster. Genoves has had a lot of fans in the Giants' front office over the years, but he was pushed through the system in a disjointed way. He also enters camp as a Triple-A depth option.
Armando Alvarez, Tyler Fitzgerald, Ford Proctor, Casey Schmitt, Donovan Walton, Colton Welker, Brady Whalen, Will Wilson
Because he was placed on the 40-man roster over the winter, Marco Luciano no longer counts as a non-roster invitee, but he'll again be the most-watched player behind Brandon Crawford. Another highly-touted prospect could take some of those reps, though.
Schmitt might be the best defensive third baseman in the minors but also has looked fine when moved over to short, so the Giants will get him some work there this spring. The 2020 second-rounder hit .342 in Double-A last year, and the Giants expect him to debut in the big leagues at some point this season.
Fitzgerald is coming off a solid year in Double-A, having hit 21 homers in a pitcher-friendly league. He primarily has been a shortstop in the minors, and this is an organization without much depth behind Crawford, so he could get a shot at some point soon.
The Giants paid quite a bit in hopes that Wilson would be that guy, but he struggled in a Triple-A cameo last season. He's still only 24, though, and has shown some flashes in past spring games.
Alvarez has spent his whole career in the Yankees system and primarily played third, where the Giants have a pretty big crowd of right-handed hitters. Proctor's versatility gives him a leg up over others, although the Giants do now have a somewhat similar type in Rule 5 pick Blake Sabol. Whalen and Welker are corner guys, while Walton is back as middle infield depth.
Vaun Brown, Clint Coulter, Bryce Johnson, Stephen Piscotty
Taken in the 10th round in 2021, Brown burst onto the scene last season, hitting .346 with 23 homers and 44 stolen bases. The huge season moved him up to sixth on Baseball America's list of top 10 Giants prospects, with the outlet ranking him as the best athlete in the system.
He'll start the year in Double-A, and if he keeps showing that power/speed combination against better pitching, he has a real shot to move quickly. Brown and Luis Matos -- now on the 40-man roster -- will be the two best outfield prospects in camp.
Coulter, 29, was a first-rounder over a decade ago and has nearly 400 plate appearances in Triple-A, but still is waiting for his debut. He had a .910 OPS and nine homers in 54 Triple-A appearances for the St. Louis Cardinals last season.
Piscotty has more big league success than just about anyone in camp, but he's coming off some rough years with the Oakland Athletics. If he shows the form that led to a couple of 20-homer seasons earlier in his career, he eventually could be a platoon partner for someone on a big league roster that has a lot of left-handed-hitting outfield options.
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Johnson was just 2-for-18 in the big leagues last season, but this is a roster short on good defensive center fielders, and he's one of the best defenders in the organization. That could get him back in the mix during the season.
Two-way players (1)
For the first time, the Giants listed a two-way player on their spring roster. Guzman has more than 800 plate appearances in the big leagues and hit 16 homers for the Texas Rangers in 2018, but he's trying to reinvent himself:
At the very least, that ability will make Guzman one of the most interesting players in camp. A year ago, the Giants repeatedly turned to Luis Gonzalez in an effort to save the bullpen. Could Guzman do the same, while also providing some left-handed power off the bench? The Giants are going to try and find out over the next six weeks.