Giants' incredible depth demonstrated by Triple-A lineup

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Giants' incredible depth demonstrated by Triple-A lineup originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

How do the Giants still have the best record in Major League Baseball? That's a question a lot of fans around the country -- particularly in Los Angeles -- are asking, and there's not just one answer. 

But if you had to boil them down to one strength, you would probably go with their incredible depth, and perhaps the best way to demonstrate it right now is to look at a lineup that's not even the big league one.

Imagine it's opening day and I tell you that the Giants are going to have a down year but will accelerate the rebuild at the July 30 deadline. They'll trade a lot of their veterans to further load up on prospects, and they'll mostly turn to rookies down the stretch. You probably would have nodded and understood. You probably wouldn't have blinked if you saw this lineup at Chase Field on Aug. 2, 2021:

That's two veterans (Brandon Belt and Tommy La Stella), two top prospects (Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos) and four young players looking to break through and become everyday big leaguers (Jason Vosler, Mauricio Dubon, Jaylin Davis and Braden Bishop). Everyone in that lineup but Ramos and Bishop already has played for the Giants, and Bishop saw big league time in Seattle. 

It would have made total sense as an August 2 lineup for a team in a rebuild. It also happens to be a pretty stacked group that the Giants threw out in Triple-A on Monday night, as the big league team scored 11 runs in Arizona.

That's perhaps the greatest way to see how far the Giants have come in a couple of years. Belt and La Stella will be back in the big leagues the rest of this season, but Vosler, Dubon, Bishop and Davis have a lot of guys in front of them. Bart and Ramos entered the year thinking they might lock down long-term jobs in the second half, but it'll take an injury or expanded rosters to get Bart up and Ramos is looking at a full season in the minors. 

The current big league group is so deep that Monday's bench consisted of LaMonte Wade Jr., Wilmer Flores, Thairo Estrada,  Austin Slater and Curt Casali, all of whom have made plenty of starts. 

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It's a reminder that some difficult decisions are coming when the Giants need to open up spots for Belt, La Stella and Evan Longoria, who could join the Triple-A roster for his own rehab assignment later this week. Belt and La Stella should be back before the team starts a series against the Brewers on Friday. 

"Tommy is doing really well. I think there's at least a possibility that he joins us in the next couple of days and Belt's not far behind," manager Gabe Kapler said Monday. "He actually feels really enthusiastic about both his performance and the way his body is responding."

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