The 2016 San Francisco Giants season grades have been underway for a few days now. So far we've covered the position player groupings, and are now moving on too the pitching staff.
For the San Francisco Giants, the pitching staff is has always been the strong-suit. The weight on pitcher's grades will be relatively the same, with the grade being based on expectations, past performances and projected career trajectories. However, the weighted stats will be heavily on ERA, and WHIP. To split hairs we'll look at batting average against, xFIP, Pitching WAR, and K/BB ratio. K/BB ratio will come much more into play for bullpen pitchers than it will starters.
To be included in the grades, pitchers must have amassed a total of 20 appearances, with the exception of starters needing a minimum of 10 starts (presumably 50 days with the big league club).
Let's get started!
Jake Peavy, for all his community outreach and charity activity, just didn’t have the type of year the Giants expected. He battled, which is a testament to his character. He just didn’t have it this year, and the numbers show it.
In his 31 appearances (21 starts), Peavy amassed a 5.54 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. Not only were those number sky high, his opponent’s batting average was .282. Only Cain had a higher batting average against. He lost his rotation spot, and rightfully so. It’s clear Peavy’s time with the Giants is slowly coming to a halt.
He’s a fantastic clubhouse guy, and a great teammate. However, that can hold true while simultaneously being a below average pro. He’s going to have to do something to figure how to increase his longevity in the game, or his time as a Giant seems to be on its last legs.
I'm giving Matt Cain a "C" because his contract was one of the top five most expensive contracts for the club, and he had the worst season of any starting pitcher in the club.
I'm not sure what more to say on Cain. It's extremely disappointing to see him where he's at, and I'm sure the front office feels the same way. Since his 5yr/$112.5 million dollar contract extension leading into the 2012 season, Matt Cain has posted a 4.01 ERA, 1.211 WHIP, and a dismal 4.16 FIP. At 22.5 million a year, that doesn't cut it. And this year's numbers especially don't cut it.
In 2016, Cain posted a 5.64 ERA, opponent's average of .299 (!!!!!) and a 1.51 WHIP. Cain is in the same boat as Peavy now. There is virtually no way he gets another contract with the Giants after this. Maybe one at literally 1/22.5 of the price, but his form post-contract extension has been a disaster. Yes, it's been riddled with injuries, but even when he's come back from the injuries, it's been well below par for Cain.
I had relatively low expectations for Samardzija coming into 2016. He was awful with the White Sox, granted they're a terrible organization, and were a terrible team last year. However, he had roughly one good season with the Cubs, and I was skeptical of that being the basis of the Giants contract agreement with him. That and how many innings he had left in his arm. That being said, he was a pleasant surprise.
I halfway expected the type of numbers Cain and Peavy put up to come from Samardzija, but he had a solid year. Samardzija's 3.81 ERA, coupled with a 1.2 WHIP was more than what I was expecting from him. It goes to show what happens when you put good, hardworking ballplayers into a winning environment. Yes, that's a shot at the White-Sox.
Samardzija exceded expectations for me in 2016, and I'm looking forward to his 2017 campaign. He also got through 200+ innings, which was a first for him in his MLB career.
Samardzija will be a part of the Giants' organization for the for-seeable future if he keeps putting up numbers like he did in 2016.
For some reason, a lot of Giants fans were attached to Matt Duffy, a well below average hitting third-baseman. Yes, he was a clubhouse guy and enjoyed a very good, full rookie campaign. However, he was pretty bad in 2016. Flipping him, and a few guys who never suited up at a level higher than AAA, for Matt Moore was a brilliant move from Bobby Evans. Moore is under control until 2019, and for a cheap price too.
The postseason performance from Matt Moore was one of the best pitching performances I can recall in the post-season, and there have been a TON of brilliant performances from the Giants since 2010. However, his regular season wasn't too shabby either. Moore ended with 4.08 ERA with the Giants, and a 1.33 WHIP. For a pitcher thrown into an entirely different league, during his rebound season from Tommy John surgery, he did quite alright.
His final few starts are more of what we're looking at from Moore. When it was time to come up clutch, Moore threw a few gems, including his postseason performance. Add in the fact that he was a Corey Seager bloop single away from a no-hitter, Moore had a pretty good second half with the Giants. He'll have to learn to minimize the damage in his "off" games. If he does that, he could be a fantastic Giant for the next few years.
Suarez had a pretty decent season. I don't think he projects as a full-time rotational guy quite yet. I'd place my bets on Ty Blach, or even Chris Heston to be the fifth starter before him. However, when the Giants were short on starters, Suarez filled in admirably.
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He put up virtually the same numbers as Matt Moore in the same amount of appearances.
It wouldn't be fair to give him a grade lower than Moore's based on how little was expected from him. Suarez projects to me as more of the "Long-relief/Spot Starter" type. I think he had to be called upon well before he was ready to be in the big league rotation. Maybe more time next year in Sacramento next year will allow him to develop more into a solid rotational asset.
Jonny Cueto should be in the top ten of the Cy Young award voting. If he's not, shame on the BWAA voters. Cueto was absolutely stellar this season. His 18-5 record led the way for the Giants' rotation this year. His other stats? Easily Cy-Young worthy.
Cueto posted a 2.79 ERA and 1.07 WHIP, in his 219.1 Innings. Opponents squeaked out a .238 average against. Cueto also had a K/BB ratio of 4.40, good for second in the league. Not only did his K/BB ratio place top five in the NL, but so did his FIP. Cueto's FIP and xFIP were both within the top five in the NL.
Cueto was a blockbuster signing and has proved to be worth his contract. As the Giants have seemed to be duped by pitchers after signing big contracts (see Zito, Lincecum, and Cain), Cueto pitched to the level that his contract demanded. You can't really ask much more from a player.
Madison Bumgarner might have just had his best full season as a pro. With the seasons Jose Fernandez, Max Scherzer, and a few others had, it's a tossup for the NL Cy Young award. Bumgarner was clearly one of the best though.
Bumgarner threw the most innings in the National League and posted a 2.74 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. Opponents only hit .219 off of the workhorse, and Bumgarner finished with a K/BB ratio of 4.65. His FIP was a 3.24, and Bumgarner stranded almost 80% of his runners on base this year.
While Crawford and others may have gotten more play as, "The Team MVP" this year, none were more integral to the team's success. Bumgarner is probably the best pitcher the Giants franchise has seen, and we can't really expect more from him than this. His WAR was a 4.9, higher than any Giants field player, with Jonny Cueto the only Giant with a higher WAR (5.5).
Here is the posting schedule for The Giant’s 2016 Season Grades: