San Francisco Giants Spring Training Preview: Relief Pitchers

Oct 8, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Derek Law (64) pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning during game two of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball series at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 8, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Derek Law (64) pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning during game two of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball series at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /
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San Francisco Giants
Apr 27, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Steven Okert (48) throws a pitch during the seventh inning against the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports /

Who Will Earn the Final Rose?

Ryan Vogelsong earned the final roster spot as a non roster invitee in 2011. He went on to pitch in the All-Star game that season and help the Giants win two more World Series championships in 2012 and 2014. While non roster invitees rarely make that kind of impact on a team, it is possible that one of the many pitchers brought in do find their way onto the Opening Day roster.

Carlos Alvarado

Alvarado pitched for three teams in the Giants farm system in 2016, ending up with the Richmond Flying Squirrels. He did not allow a run with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes or San Jose Giants over 11 appearances and 12 innings pitched. In 19.1 innings in Richmond, Alvarado maintained a 2.79 ERA and 0.67 WHIP.

Jose Dominguez

Dominguez has pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tampa Bay Rays and San Diego Padres in the last four seasons. In 34 appearances in San Diego last year, Dominguez earned a 5.05 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP.

Cory Gearrin

Gearrin is the most likely of the group to make the 2017 team among right-handed pitchers. He recently signed a new deal with the Giants along with shortstop Ehire Adrianza. Although, as we saw with Adrianza, that doesn’t guarantee a spot on the roster. If Gearrin doesn’t make the team, it also means the loss of one of the team’s left fielders.

Roberto Gomez

Gomez pitched five seasons in the Tampa Bay Rays organization from 2010-2014. He was released by the Montgomery Biscuits on October 8, 2014 and did not sign with anyone again until he was assigned to the Aguilas Cibaenas on Nov. 7, 2016. This winter he struck out 16 batters and gave up 16 hits over 16 innings for Aguilas Cibaenas.

Bryan Morris

Morris made his major league debut in 2012 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and has spent the last three seasons with the Miami Marlins. After a total of 106 appearances in 2014 and 2015, Morris only appeared in 24 games in 2016. He did maintain a 3.06 ERA over 17.2 innings but had a 6.49 FIP as well.

Steven Okert

Okert has moved up the Giants farm system through the bullpen. In 2014, he converted 24 of 26 save opportunities for San Jose and Richmond. Throughout his minor league career he has maintained a 3.01 ERA and never had an ERA higher than 3.82 in any season. As a September call up in 2016, Okert maintained a 3.21 ERA over 16 appearances and 14 innings pitched during the pennant race.

Josh Osich

Osich’s numbers were outstanding in 2015, earning an ERA of 2.20 along with 1.116 WHIP over 35 appearances and 28.2 innings pitched. However, his 2016 numbers were not good as injuries played a huge role in his performance. Osich earned a 4.71 ERA and 1.376 WHIP over 59 appearances and 36.1 innings pitched. If he comes into Spring Training looking like he did in 2015, he will make the Opening Day roster.

Neil Ramirez

Ramirez began his major league career in 2014 with the Chicago Cubs and has also pitched for the Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins. His numbers in 2014 were outstanding with a 1.44 ERA over 50 appearances and 43.2 innings pitched. Injuries cut short his 2015 to just 19 appearances and he has struggled ever since. The former first round pick of the Texas Rangers in 2007 is being given another chance to turn his career around.

Matt Reynolds

Reynolds pitched for the Giants in 2016, posting a 7.50 ERA in eight relief appearances. However, he was originally signed by the Giants last season because he had 20 scoreless appearances in Double and Triple-A for Richmond and the Sacramento River Cats. Over six major league seasons with the Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks and Giants, Reynolds has a career ERA of 3.80 in 221 relief appearances and 173 innings.

Michael Roth

Roth began his major league career in 2013 with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and pitched last season for the Texas Rangers. In 36 major league innings pitched in his career, he had earned a ERA of 8.50. The 26-year-old left-hander was a former ninth round pick of the Angels in 2012.

Kraig Sitton

Sitton is a former seventh round pick of the Colorado Rockies in the 2010 amateur draft. After pitching through Double-A in the Rockies organization, he joined the Mariners in 2016. He pitched for their Triple-A affiliate, the Tacoma Rainiers. Sitton earned a 2.93 ERA and 1.14 WHIP over 35 appearances and 43 innings pitched. The 28-year-old left-hander is another minor league free agent option if farm hands like Okert and Osich struggle.