Bocock To Start At SS For Giants

Baseball America correspondent Andy Baggarly reports that Giants general manager Brian Sabean confirmed that Brian Bocock will be San Francisco’s starting shortstop on Opening Day.

"He’ll have to play the little game till he gets his feet on the ground," Sabean said. "He’s making more contact this spring, that’s the good thing."

The Giants seem to expect Bocock to only be in the big leagues for a week or two until incumbent shortstop Omar Vizquel finishes his recovery from left knee surgery. Bocock’s name in the Opening Day lineup would certainly rank among the top surprises of spring training. His tools as a hitter are all below average at best, and his strike-zone judgment is presently subpar. Bocock, 23, hit just .243/.312/.344 last year in 576 plate appearances split between the low Class A South Atlantic League and the hitter-friendly high Class A California League.

To put that into some context, there were 120 players in the Cal League last year who registered at least 200 plate appearances (Bocock had 398). Bocock’s .621 OPS ranked 111th out of 120. Bocock struck out 105 times in the Cal League (26 percent of his plate appearances). Of those 120 players, only 13 struck out at a more frequent rate.

Bocock’s greatest strengths are his speed and his defense. He is the best defensive infielder and has the best infield arm in the Giants farm system. The decision to have Bocock start the season in San Francisco means the Giants will also now have to place Bocock on the 40-man roster.