Giants

Giants

You should take virtually nothing away from the Giants' spring training lineups that get posted every morning. The schedule is mapped out to make sure veterans get maximum rest and those fighting for jobs get a solid opportunity, and the actual batting order is often about simply getting someone reps. 

But on Tuesday, against the Rangers, the Giants will go with Brandon Crawford at the top, followed by Evan Longoria, Brandon Belt and Buster Posey. That gets four players in their thirties a good opportunity to get two to three at-bats before departing for the day. 

Having said all of that, Tuesday's lineup does show something interesting about the 2020 Giants. They have a chance to be elite defensively at times, and the group behind Logan Webb certainly shows that:

Crawford SS
Longoria 3B
Belt 1B
Posey C
Yastrzemski RF
Duggar LF
Flores DH
Sanchez 2B
Hamilton CF

Put another way, here's that lineup by Defensive Runs Saved (minus the DH):

Crawford: negative-4 
Longoria: 7
Belt: 6
Posey: 14
Yastrzemski: 7 as a right fielder
Duggar: 6 as an outfielder (he has never played left)
Sanchez: 4
Hamilton: 8

Weirdly, the only one in that group who doesn't rate well above average is the shortstop with three Gold Gloves, and the eye test doesn't really match the metrics on that one. This, to be clear, is not a likely starting lineup for the Giants, but it is an example of what they're thinking could be a closing lineup.

 

The plan to go platoon-heavy means manager Gabe Kapler will utilize most of his roster every night, and with a 26th man the Giants will have more flexibility for someone like Hamilton, who could play just about every game as a defensive replacement if he makes the team.

[RELATED: Duggar changed swing with eye on Giants' outfield spot]

Crawford will lose some starts this year, particularly against lefties, but the Giants still plan to have him involved on those days to shore up the defense. Sanchez, a Gold Glove winner last year, could do the same if he starts a game behind Flores or Donovan Solano, and this lineup doesn't even include Mauricio Dubon, who should be an impact defender somewhere in the lineup. If someone like Jaylin Davis makes the team over Duggar or Hamilton, the outfield alignment would still be strong. 

The Giants are concerned about how they're going to score runs and there are serious questions to be answered about the rotation and the bullpen, but if you're looking for an area of strength, here's one right in front of you on the third day of March. They have a chance to be very, very good defensively, particularly when they're trying to hold a lead in the late innings.