2015 San Francisco Giants report card continued (Part III): Starting pitchers edition

By Danny Vietti
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Apr 6, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner against the Arizona Diamondbacks during opening day at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

#40 Madison Bumgarner (A-)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there no other pitcher in all of Major League Baseball that I would rather have ace my staff than Madison Bumgarner. Cowboy Bum just did his thing this year, earning himself a ticket to his third straight All Star Game. It’s not just his ability to locate and execute pitches, it is also because he is the best hitting pitcher in the league, never backs down from a challenge, and simply is just unique.

Bumgarner finished his season ranked 12th in ERA, 6th in wins, and 7th in strikeouts. Just as I said with Posey, San Francisco has nothing to worry about with their leader and ace of the staff.

Final Statistics:

(18-9), 2.93 ERA, 218 1/3 innings pitched, 4 complete games, 2 shutouts, 234 strikeouts, 4.9 WAR, and 2015 National League All Star (*special batting statistics: .247/.275/.468/.743, 5 home runs, 9 RBIs, 2 doubles, 1.1 WAR)

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#53 Chris Heston (B+)

After Matt Cain was placed on the DL on August 8th, Heston was not informed until days after Opening Day that he would even have a chance at making the big league roster, let alone being the number two starter. Besides his drastic decline in August and September, Heston was truly a surprise all season long, and even made history by throwing the 288th no-hitter ever in MLB.

I am a little skeptical of his recent struggles and San Francisco should be wary of the “sophomore slump” with Heston in 2016.

Final Statistics:

(12-11), 3.95 ERA, 177 2/3 innings pitched, 141 strikeouts, 2.20 SO/W, 1.5 WAR, Threw a No-Hitter

#17 Tim Hudson (B-)

I think I speak for each and every baseball fan when I say, “We will miss you Tim Hudson.” Huddy is a guy full of class, respect for the game, and integrity. It could not have been any more fitting for Hudson to be able to pitch his second-to-last game in the stadium where his career began, O.Co Coliseum, while facing off against his former tandem partner Barry Zito.

As for the 2015 season, Hudson had his highest ERA since 2006 and tied his lowest singe-season win total in his career, but his public response after San Francisco traded for Mike Leake to take the place of Hudson did not go unnoticed (via John Shea of SF Gate):

“My reaction is, great. He’s really going to help our club, hopefully get our club to the next level as far as another World Series,” Hudson said. “I’m on board for what makes us better and gets us a better chance to win the world championship. “If that means me changing roles or what have you, I’m all for it. Everyone in this locker room should be on the same page, and that’s to win a World Series. Put your egos goes aside and figure out what’s best for everybody in this locker room.”

Final Statistics:

(8-9), 4.44 ERA, 123 2/3 innings pitched, 64 strikeouts, 1.383 WHIP, 0.3 WAR

Jun 11, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) hands the ball to manager Bruce Bochy (15) after being taken out of the game in the fifth inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

#55 Tim Lincecum (C)

Just as Giants fans were beginning to believe in Lincecum once more, his location mistakes and dwindling velocity began to catch up to him, and a line-drive up the middle sent him straight to the DL. At one point in time, Lincecum was at the top of the National League wins leaders, but since his blow up against the Los Angeles Dodgers on national television on June 21st, the Giants front-office began frantically looking for a reason to put Timmy on the DL.

The Freak-era in San Francisco may or may not come to a close as Lincecum is a free agent who is recovering from hip surgery and may want to sign with his hometown team–the Seattle Mariners.

Final Statistics:

(7-4), 4.13 ERA, 76 1/3 innings pitched, 60 strikeouts, 4.5 BB/9, 7 home runs given up, 0.3 WAR

#32 Ryan Vogelsong (C+)

It was another typical year for Vogelsong, in that he was nothing spectacular, but just very reliable and consistent. However, Vogelsong had a tough time pitching deep into ballgames as he averages just over 5 innings pitched in his 22 starts this year.

Vogelsong will also be a free agent this season, but Vogelsong said it perfectly after the last game of the season when he said:

Final Statistics:

(9-11), 4.67 ERA, 135 innings pitched, 33 games/22 games started, 1.467 WHIP, 108 strikeouts, -0.4 WAR

Next: Mid-Year Starting Pitchers