The San Francisco Giants handed the ball to Shaun Anderson for his MLB debut on Wednesday and he turned in one of the team’s best pitching debuts in recent memory.
The San Francisco Giants are building toward 2020 and beyond, and a potential long-term piece of the future puzzle made his MLB debut on Wednesday when right-hander Shaun Anderson took the mound against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The 24-year-old began the season as the team’s top pitching prospect and No. 4 prospect overall, according to MLB.com.
Anderson ended up tossing five strong innings in a no-decision while showing the poise and stuff to stick in the rotation. At the very least, he’s earned himself another start.
“He’s in the rotation right now,” manager Bruce Bochy told reporters after the game.
So where does Anderson’s debut rank among the best by a Giants starting pitcher in recent memory? To answer that question, we turned to the Game Score statistic, which is described as follows on MLB.com:
"Game Score measures a pitcher’s performance in any given game started. Introduced by Bill James in the 1980s and updated by fellow sabermetrician Tom Tango in 2014, Game Score is presented as a figure between 0-100 and usually falls between 40-70.A Game Score of 50 is considered “average,” while a Game Score of 40 is deemed to be “replacement level.” Game Scores in the 80s and 90s are widely regarded as impressive, and scores of at least 100 are exceptionally rare.The formula is as follows:Start with 40 points• Add 2 points for each out recorded (or 6 points per inning)• Add 1 additional point for every strikeout• Remove 2 points for each walk allowed• Remove 2 points for each hit allowed• Remove 3 points for each run allowed (earned or unearned)• Remove 6 additional points for each home run allowed"
With that in mind, here’s a look at the top 10 Giants debuts by a starting pitcher in the past 25 years, via Baseball Reference:
- Osvaldo Fernandez (1996): 8.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 71 Game Score
- Joe Nathan (1999): 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 70 Game Score
- Ryan Sadowski (2009): 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 63 Game Score
- Eric Surkamp (2011): 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 57 Game Score
- Shaun Anderson (2019): 5.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 55 Game Score
- Madison Bumgarner (2009): 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, K, 53 Game Score
- Jamie Brewington (1995): 7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 52 Game Score
- Andrew Suarez (2018): 5.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 51 Game Score
- Matt Cain (2005):5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 51 Game Score
- Ryan Jensen (2001): 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 51 Game Score
The guys ranked ahead of Anderson did not exactly go on to enjoy significant success at the MLB level, which if nothing else tells us that it’s always prudent to avoid putting too much stock in one game.
Still, Anderson was impressive, and he’ll continue to be an exciting storyline for the rebuilding Giants as he looks to carve out a regular role at the MLB level.
His next start will tentatively be on Tuesday, May 21 at home against the Atlanta Braves if the San Francisco Giants follow a standard five-man rotation.