Aoki, McGehee top list of Giants' newcomers

Aoki, McGehee top list of Giants' newcomers

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants entered last season having made just two significant roster moves. You know what happened after that. The pair of additions, right-hander Tim Hudson and left fielder/first baseman Michael Morse, played key roles in the club's surge to its third World Series triumph in five seasons.

Not much has changed. San Francisco again obtained two performers, left fielder Nori Aoki and third baseman Casey McGehee, who will be counted on heavily. The Giants also added pitching depth to their 40-man roster.

The Giants' Spring Training preview series, which covered bounce-back candidates on Wednesday, takes a look at the new faces in camp in Part 2:

OF Nori Aoki: It's an oversimplification to call Aoki a slightly more accomplished version of Gregor Blanco. It's also somewhat accurate. Both bat left-handed, possess good speed, play decent defense and fit a leadoff batter's profile. Aoki hit one home run in 549 plate appearances last year, but his outfield and baserunning skills should make the Giants more athletic. Aoki has been stunningly consistent in his three big league seasons, recording batting averages of .288, .286 and .285 to go with on-base percentages of .355, .356 and .349.

Outlook: Aoki, RF, SF

3B Casey McGehee: The Giants probably would be thrilled if McGehee comes close to duplicating his 2014 performance. He outhit the departed Pablo Sandoval, .287 to .279, and drove in 79 runs, three more than the Kung Fu Panda (granted, McGehee had 53 more plate appearances). McGehee doesn't come close to matching Sandoval's power, and Sandoval recorded a better range factor (a defensive metric). Still, those who fear that McGehee will represent a considerable dropoff from Sandoval could be in for a pleasant surprise.

OF Daniel Carbonell: A Cuban defector, Carbonell finished 2014 with Class A Advanced San Jose, batting .344 with three home runs, 12 RBIs and seven stolen bases in nine tries. Observers have been impressed by Carbonell's tools, but at age 23 he must progress relatively quickly to avoid metamorphosing from prospect to suspect.

RHP Cody Hall: Ranked No. 19 among Giants prospects by MLB.com in 2014, Hall probably will open the season in Triple-A but could compete for a setup role during Spring Training. Though Hall possesses decent velocity, he fits the strike-throwing profile of most Giants relievers. He's coming off a strong winter-ball campaign in Venezuela.

RHP Ray Black: Shoulder problems robbed Black of two seasons after the Giants selected him in the seventh round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. A blindingly hard thrower, Black struck out 71 batters in 35 1/3 innings last year while pitching 33 games for Class A Augusta and four with San Jose. It helps that Black, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 225 pounds, is physically imposing.

RHP Joan Gregorio: The Giants have been content to let Gregorio, 23, steadily gain experience. From 2010-14 he rose one classification per year, a pace that would put him with Double-A Richmond this season. Ranked San Francisco's No. 18 prospect by MLB.com in 2014, Gregorio still can afford to pack a lot more bulk onto his 6-foot-7, 180-pound frame.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.