February 17, 2020

Five things we learned at Giants HQ: Bart’s defense, Slater at shortstop and sweeping sliders

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Every spring, pitchers across baseball experiment with new grips, different mechanics and various cues that may lead to slight improvements or huge breakthroughs.

With a 13-person coaching staff, the Giants have no shortage of voices in the ears of their players. One who’s already commanding their attention is Brian Bannister, the Giants’ pitching director who came to the organization after spending five seasons with the Red Sox.

Bannister spent the offseason examining arm slots, evaluating pitch shapes and studying the Giants’ personnel so he could jump right in this spring. The former big leaguer suggested new pitches for prospect Logan Webb, quickly earned the trust of free-agent signee Kevin Gausman and is now assisting reliever Trevor Gott with implementing a “sweeping slider.”

Manager Gabe Kapler said Friday that Gott unveiled his new slider in his first bullpen of the spring and impressed the Giants’ coaching staff with the shape of the pitch. Gott was a valuable asset in the Giants’ bullpen last year and Kapler believes the right-hander has the ability to succeed in any situation.

Gott could be in the mix for a late-inning role such as the closer job, but the Giants are less focused on determining which pitchers will appear in specific situations and emphasizing the value of versatility in the bullpen.

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Gott finished last season on the injured list after a groin issue hampered him during his last five games of the year. Before the injury zapped his effectiveness, Gott had posted a 3.44 ERA and allowed only three home runs in his first 45 games.

The Giants love Gott’s command of the strike zone and his ability to throw more than one inning at a time –he recorded at least five outs in eight games last year– and believe an improved breaking ball will keep hitters off balance.

Joey Bart’s defense a priority

The Giants have catching coach Craig Albernaz and bullpen catchers Brant Whiting and Taira Uematsu working closely with top prospect Joey Bart during bullpen sessions on improving his glove positioning when he catches a pitch.

Kapler said the Giants want Bart to get his mitt “underneath the ball” so he can make his the glove appear …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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