SAN FRANCISCO -- When Giants fans think of 2019, many may remember Connor Joe and Michael Reed as Opening Day starters.
But will you recall that Tyler Austin got 130 at-bats? Or that Scooter Gennett and Yangervis Solarte combined for 49 appearances? How about Corban Joseph's 17 times up at the plate, or Nick Vincent's day as The Opener?
It was a season of experimentation, and that's kind of what was expected when Farhan Zaidi took over last November. He talked right away of trying to find incremental gains from every corner of the roster and giving players the runway to prove they were big leaguers. That all led to some historic roster manipulation, though.
The Giants ended up using 64 different players, which was second in MLB history to only the 2019 Mariners (67). They shattered their previous franchise record of 51 players used by the 1990 team and used 15 more players than the 2017 squad that lost 98 games and was in a constant search for answers.
The amazing thing about all this is that the Giants were actually tied with the Reds for the fewest Injured List days in the National League, so they weren't trying to fill holes for that reason. They were simply looking for contributors and to bolster their big league and Triple-A rosters, which led to some short stints in San Francisco:
--- Only four Giants got more than 500 plate appearances, but 15 different players got at least 100. The tier below is where there were really some random 2019 Giants. Gennett, Joey Rickard, Yangervis Solarte and Gerardo Parra are among the players who got between 50 and 100 plate appearances for this team.
--- Eight different position players took the field but got fewer than 25 total plate appearances: Cristhian Adames, Chris Shaw, Joseph, Zach Green, Joe, Abiatal Avelino (what a costly run through a stop sign that was), Reed and one more outfielder we'll get to shortly.
--- The Giants had 33 different players throw a pitch, including Pablo Sandoval, who led the team in ERA (0.00). Familiar faces Ray Black and Ty Blach made two appearances apiece, the same number as Pat Venditte, the first player to sign a big league deal under Zaidi.
--- Twelve different pitchers made a start. The 2017 Giants had just seven starters.
--- The most interesting line of the year, as mentioned above: Outfielder Aaron Altherr was claimed off waivers, struck out in one at-bat, and then got DFA'd again. He ended up batting .129 for the Mets.
--- There were so many guys to come through the door, but all that churn led to some keepers. Mike Yastrzemski broke through and should be a starter next year. Donovan Solano and Alex Dickerson should have roles, too. None of them were with the Giants on Opening Day.
There were plenty of new or young pitchers who showed enough to be in the mix next season, including Trevor Gott, Sam Coonrod, Jandel Gustave, Tyler Rogers, Wandy Peralta and Enderson Franco.
Giving guys an opportunity led to some strange roster moves, but paid off in the long run.