MLB: Pill looking like strong prospect at first base
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The San Francisco Giants’ first-base spot has been the subject of much discussion during the offseason.
There has seemingly been as much debate about who they didn’t sign to play there (Adam LaRoche, Ryan Garko) as who they did sign (Aubrey Huff). There has been talk about the guy who played there a lot last year but who is now hurt (Travis Ishikawa).
And there is another group of players who play other positions but also list first base on their resume — Pablo Sandoval, Mark DeRosa, John Bowker, Kevin Frandsen, and, more recently, catching prospect Buster Posey.
The man who could wind up passing all of them is Brett Pill.
Pill has had a steady climb through the minor-league system since becoming the team’s seventh-round draft pick in 2006. He hit .298 with 19 home runs and 109 RBIs for Double-A Connecticut in 2009.
He likely will begin the 2010 season at Triple-A Fresno, but it might not be too long before he gets the call from the big club.
Pill, 25, had started four games and had played more innings than Huff at first base entering Sunday’s game against Milwaukee.
“I know my numbers haven’t been great, but I’m using this as a learning experience. I’m trying to learn as much as I can,” said Pill, a member of Cal State Fullerton’s 2004 NCAA championship team. “I am trying not to think about who’s ahead of me. I just need to take care of my job.”
The timing of his swing is still off, said Pill. He has been a slow starter in April in past seasons, and he is hoping he can limit his frustration this time around.
He has had a couple of former Giants first basemen, J.T. Snow and Will Clark, offer him encouragement during his first big-league spring camp.
“He is very talented with the glove,” Clark said. “He had a good all-around year last year and has made himself into one of our top prospects.”