SF Giants News

ESPN Says San Francisco Giants Starting Rotation Isn’t Top 5

By Bryan Rose

You know, everybody is entitled to their own opinions – but sometimes, well, you can’t help but drop your jaw at their insanity. Needing an example? Fantastic – because ESPN’s David Schoenfield has you covered.

Schoenfield listed his top five major league starting rotations yesterday and oddly missing were the San Francisco Giants, who couldn’t crack his tough love list:

"San Francisco Giants: Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong, Barry Zito. Yes, the Giants had the second-best rotation ERA in the majors last season, but I’m not sure I believe in Vogelsong, I definitely don’t believe in Zito, and soft-tosser Eric Surkamp is the only insurance depth."

While his points are both valid for Zito and Surkamp, I don’t buy his disinterest in Vogelsong. Ryan will certainly be hard pressed to replicate his 2011 season, but any ERA sub 4.00 would be considered solid for a fourth starter which I don’t see Vogelsong having any trouble doing. I’d be so inclined to say he’d be much closer to a 3.50 ERA than anything near 4.

Yes, park factors in the National League West certainly favor the Giants, but the G’s lead the league in road batting average against last year. And for every positive note you’d find for playing in the cavernous NL West ballparks, you could certainly find equally as important ones for staffs like Atlanta (also missing from his list) who benefited from routinely playing offenses like Washington, New York and Miami last year. That’s not a dig at Atlanta by any stretch, they have a very talented rotation – just saying that for every argument centering around the fact that the Giants play in the NL West and at AT&T, there’s a counter for other high quality rotations.

The Giants didn’t have the wildly inconsistent Jonathan Sanchez for much last season and when they did, he was quite possibly the worst starter in their rotation – so the loss certainly isn’t going to negate any of the positives that the remaining members of the Giants staff accomplished.

How you go nearly unchanged from a season in which you lead the National League in both home and road batting average against, lead the league in home ERA, rank third on road ERA but yet can’t crack the MLB top five pitching rotations?

Yeah, I can’t explain that one either.

Ball’s in your court, David. We’re all ears. Hopefully we’ll get a better answer than “I’m not sure I believe in Vogelsong”.