The San Francisco Giants would have liked to have more competition for their final two rotation spot. But with the performances that Stratton and Blach have put in, I think they’ll be just fine.
Spring training results and numbers mean nothing for proven veterans. But for those in competition for opening day roster spots, it’s everything. That is the case for the fringe roles within the San Francisco Giants squad in 2018, more specifically the back end of the rotation.
At the start of Spring Training, there were four or five players in contention for the final two spots in the Starting Rotation. Now the two that were there towards the end, are there now, and firmly in place. Both Chris Stratton and Ty Blach have run away with those jobs this spring. Tyler Beede, Andrew Suarez, and Derek Holland were in the mix. Holland still might be in the mix as he’s had a decent spring. However, Blach and Stratton have been too good to surrender their chance there.
Here is a look at all five’s numbers so far this spring:
Beede’s numbers are severely concerning. He isn’t missing any bats and is just getting hit around. Suaez has had some strikeouts, but as usual with him it’s been strikeout or bust. Both of them will get some serious needed run in triple-a this season, as they clearly aren’t ready for the big leagues.
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Blach and Stratton are going to be the fourth and fifth starters going forward. There is just too much separation between them and their competition. The question now stands, in what order do you want them? I would argue that Blach should be fourth, even though I believe Stratton is the better pitcher. Why?
Well, the Giants rotation is likely going to be in the order of Bumgarner, Cueto, Samardzija. That means they’ll be in the order of LHP, RHP, RHP. By putting Blach in the fourth spot, you get a nice balance of RHP and LHP.
As I said, I think Stratton is the better pitcher. If the ability gap was very significant, I would put Stratton fourth. But it’s not. And when you’re virtually going to get the same thing from either pitcher, it’s worth it to switch it up a little bit.
We can split hairs over little things like rotational organization another date. But one thing has become clear in this race for the back end of the rotation: Blach and Stratton are far ahead of any of the “highly ranked” prospects.