In part three of our four part series, we take a look at outfielders and catchers who could land playing time in Sacramento. With Buster Posey's backup yet to be set in stone, the odd man out for the number two spot in San Francisco will be trying to make an impression this Spring. As for the outfield, former River Cats Mac Williamson, Jarrett Parker, and Gorkys Hernandez will all be competing for a spot on the Major League roster, opening the door for a new crop of talent in the outfield.
Tim Federowicz: Tim Federowicz brings Major League experience to the team after spending 17 games with the eventual World Champion Chicago Cubs last year, hitting .194 with three RBI in 33 plate appearances. He spent the majority of 2016 with the Triple-A Iowa cubs and was productive hitting in the middle of the order. In 65 games, he knocked in 39 runs to go along with eight home runs and a .293 batting average. Federowicz also contributed behind the plate, throwing out 18 of 48 attempted base stealers. Federowicz will be competing with others, including former River Cats catcher Trevor Brown, for a spot in the show.
Matt Winn: Drafted in the 14th round of the 2015 draft by San Francisco, Matt Winn spent last season between Single-A Augusta and Double-A Richmond. The VMI product made his Double-A debut to begin the season, going 2-for-4 with an RBI in his first game with the team. He played 15 games with Richmond before being sent down to Augusta where he shined, leading the team in walks with 44 and tied for the most home runs with 13 in 95 games. Winn was also a three-time Johnny Bench Award finalist while in college and has all the requisite tools to take the next step in his professional career.
Austin Slater: One of the most exciting players from last year's River Cats season was outfielder Austin Slater. In his first Triple-A season, Slater struggled early, hitting .222 and .232 in June and July before finding his stride. In August, Slater was named the Pacific Coast League's Player of the Month, hitting .381 with nine home runs and 26 RBI. At one point during his August tear, the Stanford alum hit six home runs in six games and was named the River Cats' most improved player of 2016. Ranked as the 22nd best prospect in the Giants system, Slater will look to pick up where he left off in 2016.
Hunter Cole: Ranked one spot ahead of Slater on MLB.com's top 30 Giant's prospects is Hunter Cole. Cole played in a career-high 126 games last season with Double-A Richmond and led the team with 197 total bases. He finished with 13 home runs (a career-high) and had 62 RBI. A right fielder by trade, the 24-year-old also led all Richmond outfielders with 203 putouts and 10 outfield assists. If Cole can have a strong showing during Spring Training, he should find a spot as one of Sacramento's corner outfielders this season.
Orlando Calixte: Orlando Calixte has spent his entire career in the Royals organization and is coming off a career-high 126 games played in 2016. He spent the majority of the season with the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers where he hit .265 with nine home runs and 29 RBI. For the Storm Chasers, Calixte logged time at shortstop, third base, second base, left field and center field. In 2012 MLB.com ranked him as the 13th best prospect in the in the Royals' system. He made his MLB debut in 2015 playing two games for Kansas City. Calixte's strong defense (.989 fielding percentage) along with his speed (19 stolen bases last year) make him a prime candidate for a starting outfield job.
Myles Schroder: Myles Schroder was a key addition to the River Cats roster last season after being called up June 25 from Richmond. In his 49 games with Sacramento, he hit .221 with 13 RBI and played in a career-high 115 games between both teams. Along with playing all three outfield positions, Schroder played second and third base and was named Sacramento's most versatile player. Schroder has played at least 40 games at every position except for shortstop and will be an important piece for new manager Dave Brundage.
Others to Consider: Pitchers and catchers report in a mere 26 days and catcher Jeff Arnold could also be a name to watch if he puts forth an impressive camp. River Cats veteran Ryan Lollis, currently a Free Agent, could make his way back to Sacramento as an outfielder after proving he can not only play at all three outfield spots, but was also the team's starting first baseman for much of 2016. Giants fans will remember Michael Morse from his memorable 2014 with the Giants and if he can't crack the big league roster he could start the year proving himself in Triple-A. Justin Ruggiano also could bring Major League experience to Sacramento, as he has played eight seasons in the show and has proven versatility at all three outfield positions. Carlos Moncrief could make his way onto the Sacramento roster after hitting .261 with five home runs and 22 RBI with Richmond in 2016. Darren Ford has been with San Francisco's organization since 2008 but as of this writing is still a Free Agent.
What do you think? Are there any other players you expect to (or want to) see in Sacramento on Opening Day? Let us know!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.