With OTAs behind us, and training camp still about a month away, we are unmistakably in the dog days of the New York Giants’ offseason. This is a scant period for the sports calendar in general, too. Once the Stanley Cup Finals wrap up shortly, baseball will be the only going concern until football season begins again in September. Giants fans passing the time watching America’s pastime might wonder which members of Big Blue would fare best on the diamond.
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So, in the spirit of pointless but fun thought exercises, let’s build a nine-man starting baseball lineup out of current Giants players.
Starting Pitcher: QB Daniel Jones
The quarterback-to-pitcher projection is obvious, so we’ll get it out of the way before heading into more speculative territory. The fact that Jones already throws a ball professionally makes him an easy choice to toe the rubber. At 6’5″ and 221 pounds, Jones possesses the ideal frame for a pitcher, too. The throwing motions for quarterbacks and pitchers certainly aren’t identical, but Jones can probably make the adjustment.
Catcher: LB Blake Martinez
Martinez is already the defensive signal caller for Big Blue, so we may as well make him the signal caller behind the plate for our imaginary baseball team. The Stanford product has the stocky, thickly built frame typical of a backstop. Plus, he exudes the kind of positive, optimistic personality that would comfort a struggling pitcher.
First Base: DL Leonard Williams
Williams is one of the best overall athletes on the Giants, so finding a spot for him makes sense. Why not stick him at first base, where is length and short-area quickness would be assets? First baseman are usually relied upon to be power hitters in the middle of the lineup. While we don’t know if Williams can swing a bat, the ball would go a long way if he connects.
Second Base: WR Sterling Shepard
For some reason, Shepard just gives off heavy second baseman vibes. Maybe it’s his solid but unspectacular style, or his sure hands, or his heady play. The veteran slot receiver has the quick hands and feet to turn the double play, and should be mindful enough to cover his responsibilities on bunt attempts.
Shortstop: WR Kadarius Toney
When searching for a Giant to fill the most athletically demanding position on a baseball diamond, look no further than the electrifying Toney. The second-year receiver has every physical tool you’d look for to play shortstop effectively, including incredible change of direction and reactive quickness. Not to mention, Toney was a high-school quarterback, so we know he has the arm strength to make the throw to first from deep in the hole.
Third Base: QB Tyrod Taylor
A quarterback’s arm strength is the most baseball-relevant skill a football player could have. So putting Taylor on the team, especially at third base, makes too much sense. He’ll have no problem making that cross-diamond throw to nab runners at first base. It’s hard to know if Taylor possesses the requisite quickness and hand-eye coordination to play the hot corner, but he’s a very good overall athlete so he’s worth a shot.
Right Field: WR Kenny Golladay
There’s no evidence that Golladay can play baseball in the slightest, but his 6’4″, 213-pound frame screams “rangy right fielder”. He’s built almost identically built to legendary right fielders Dave Winfield or Vladimir Guerrero. There may not be much to go off here, but at least Golladay fits the physical profile.
Center Field: S Xavier McKinney
Free safeties are often referred to as the “center fielder” of a defense, so it’s logical to make McKinney our actual center fielder on this fake team. Breaking on a deep pass and tracking it through the air to make an interception isn’t too dissimilar from tracking a deep fly ball to the warning track to record an out.
Left Field: RB Saquon Barkley
It’d be no fun to go through this whole team without finding a spot for Saquon. In real-life baseball, left field is often reserved for the slugger that doesn’t necessarily have a natural defensive position. In our case, we’ll give left field to Barkley, just in case his preternatural athleticism can translate to the diamond. It feels wrong to leave a supreme athlete like Adoree’ Jackson off this team, but unfortunately we ran out of spots.