SF Giants Prospects

Jake Dunning: Worthy of being in the big leagues?

By Timmy Kennedy

Jun 28, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Dunning (51) delivers a pitch during the sixth inning against the Colorado Rockies Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

With Matt Cain being placed on the DL, the San Francisco Giants used their extra spot on the roster to promote reliever, Jake Dunningto the big leagues. Whilst the move may come as a surprise, given that Heath Hembree is still pitching like an ace out of the bullpen in Fresno, promoting Dunning was a great move.

Last season, Dunning pitched 25.1 innings in the majors, and was rather impressive. Over his 29 appearances, he compiled a 2.84 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. Dunning stranded 83% of base runners whilst striking out 5.68 batters per nine innings on average. When calling up a prospect to the major leagues, some prior experience is always favorable.

He has been pretty sharp thus far in the minors, too. Over eight appearances and 14 innings of work – including one start – he has collated a 2.51 earned run average whilst limiting batters to a .211 batting average on balls in play.

Whilst his stats are quite modest compared to other Fresno relievers, his ability to pitch multiple innings was certainly a key factor. With David Huff, the other Giants reliever capable of going the distance, on the DL and with Yusmeiro Petit, the long reliever of the bullpen, now in the rotation, the Giants may need a pitcher to who can hurl multiple innings.

Dunnings throws a four-seam-fastball, a sinker, a slider and a changeup. His fastball and sinker both average around 90 mph, whilst his slider clocks in at 80 mph, and his changeup is thrown at 81 mph.

With batters only swinging at 20% of his pitches that are outside of the strike zone, if Dunning is to succeed, he will need to establish the command of his fastball – sinker and four seam –  which are valued at -0.57 runs above average. If he can do that, watch for him to work the legendary, sinker, slider combination to induce plenty of ground balls.

Overall, Dunning is the perfect choice. He brings some major league experience to the table, and most importantly, brings some endurance. He could play a pivotal role in the Giants bullpen over the next few days.