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San Francisco Giants: 5 most important players for the second half

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 03: Joe Panik #12 of the San Francisco Giants is congratulated by Buster Posey #28 after he hit a home run in the fourth inning against the Seattle Mariners at AT&T Park on April 3, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 03: Joe Panik #12 of the San Francisco Giants is congratulated by Buster Posey #28 after he hit a home run in the fourth inning against the Seattle Mariners at AT&T Park on April 3, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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SAN FRANCISCO, CA – APRIL 13: Pitcher Reyes Moronta #54 of the San Francisco Giants reacts after he strikes out three batters in a row against the Colorado Rockies to end the top of the eighth inning of a Major League Baseball game at Oracle Park on April 13, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – APRIL 13: Pitcher Reyes Moronta #54 of the San Francisco Giants reacts after he strikes out three batters in a row against the Colorado Rockies to end the top of the eighth inning of a Major League Baseball game at Oracle Park on April 13, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

RP Reyes Moronta

Will Smith was a great acquisition for the San Francisco Giants in 2016, and he will most likely become a key acquisition of another team before the end of the month.

His departure will create an opening in the closer’s role, and it’s unclear who will take the reins. Mark Melancon has been better this season and both Sam Dyson and Tony Watson have ninth-inning experience if they’re still around on Aug. 1.

While it is possible that the Giants could try to garner future trade value for Melancon by seeing if he can hold down the ninth, it is more likely that they try to groom their closer of the future.

Reyes Moronta has a chance to be that guy.

The 26-year-old is under team control through the 2023 season and he has absolutely electric stuff. Still, he’s going to need to prove he can handle closing out games.

Despite some early-season hiccups, Moronta has been largely dominant this season. In 39.2 innings of work, he has a 2.72 ERA with 54 strikeouts and 19 walks.

According to Baseball Savant, his strikeout rate of 32.1 percent places him in the top eight percentile of the league and puts him in the same company as closers like Aroldis Chapman and the aforementioned Smith.

With an upper 90s fastball and a sweeping slider that has some of the best horizontal break in baseball, there’s no question Moronta has closer stuff. His 12.8 inches of horizontal movement rank among the top 25 in baseball, and that’s nearly 5 inches more than the average. Out of those 25 pitchers, he then ranks in the top five in average slider velocity at 83.2 mph.

However, there’s a difference between having elite stuff and having the ability to close out games, and Moronta still needs to prove he can slam the door when the pressure is highest. If he can do that, he could help the bullpen flourish this year and for many years to come.

Next. 5 bold predictions for the second half

There you have it, the five most important players for the San Francisco Giants for the second half of the season.

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